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Athena Always, son of Laertes, have I observed you on the prowl to snatch some means of attack against your enemies. So now at the tent of Ajax by the ships where he has his post at the camp's outer edge, I watch youfor a long time as you hunt and scan his newly pressed tracks, in order to see whether he is inside or away. Your course leads you well to your goal, like that of a keen-scenting Laconian hound. For the man has just now gone in,with sweat dripping from his head and from his hands that have killed with the sword. There is no further need for you to peer inside these doors. Rather tell me what your goal is that you have shown such eagerness for, so that you may learn from her who holds the knowledge. Odysseus Voice of Athena, dearest to me of the gods,how clearly, though you are unseen, do I hear your call and snatch its meaning in my mind, just as I would the bronze tongue of the Tyrrhenian trumpet! And now you have discerned correctly that I am circling my path on
Athena I see. And the son of Laertes, how does his fortune with respect to you? Has he escaped you? Ajax That blasted fox! You ask me where he is? Athena Yes, I do. I mean Odysseus, your adversary. Ajax My most pleasing prisoner, mistress, he sits inside. I do not wish him to die just yet. Athena Until you do what? Or win what greater advantage? Ajax Until he be bound to a pillar beneath my roof— Athena What evil, then, will you inflict on the poor man? Ajax —and have his back crimsoned by the lash, before he dies. Athena Do not abuse the poor man so cruelly! Ajax In all else, Athena, I bid you take your pleasure, but he will pay this penalty and no other. Athena Well, then, since it delights you to do so,put your arm to use; spare no portion of your plan. Ajax I go to my work. And I give you this commission: be always for me the close-standing ally that you have been for me today!Exit Ajax. Athena Do you see, Odysseus, how great is the strength of the gods? Whom
Ajax Ah, you who spy out all things,you ready tool of every crime, ah, son of Laertes, you filthiest sneak in all the army, I am sure you laugh loud and long for joy! Chorus It is at the god's dispensation that every man both laughs and mourns. Ajax Yet if only I could see him, even shattered as I am!Oh! Oh! Chorus Make no big threats! Do you not see the trouble you are in? Ajax O Zeus, forefather of my forebears, if only I might destroy that deep dissembler, that hateful sneak, andthe two brother-kings, and finally die myself, also!