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Second Semi-Chorus With trembling step, alas! I leave this tent of Agamemnon to learn of you, my royal mistress, whether the Argives have resolved to take my wretched life, or whether the sailors at the prow are making ready to ply their oars. Hecuba My child, your wakeful heart! Second Semi-Chorus I have come, stricken with terror. Has a herald from the Danaids already arrived? To whom am I, poor captive, given as a slave? Hecuba You are not far from being allotted now. Second Semi-Chorus Alas! What man of Argos or Phthia will bear me in sorrow far from Troy, to his home, or to some island fastness? Hecuba Ah! ah! Whose slave shall I become in my old age? in what land? a poor old drone, the wretched copy of a corpse, alas! set to keep the gate or tend their children, I who once held royal rank in Troy.
Chorus Leader Hold the frantic maiden, royal mistress, lest with nimble foot she rush to the Argive army. Hecuba You god of fire, it is yours to light the bridal torch for men, but piteous is the flame you kindle here, beyond my blackest expectation. Ah, my child! how little did I ever dream that such would be your marriage, a captive, and of Argos too! Give up the torch to me; you do not bear its blaze aright in your wild frantic course, nor have your afflictions left you in your sober senses, but still you are as frantic as before. Take in those torches, Trojan friends, and for her wedding madrigals weep your tears instead. Cassandra O mother, crown my head with victor's wreaths; rejoice in my royal match; lead me and if you find me unwilling at all, thrust me there by force; for if Loxias is indeed a prophet, Agamemnon, that famous king of the Achaeans, will find in me a bride more vexatious than Helen. For I will slay him and lay waste his home to avenge my father's and my
Chorus Ah! my loved husband, you are a wandering spectre; unwashed, unburied lies your corpse, while over the sea the ship sped by wings will carry me to Argos, land of steeds, where stand Cyclopian walls of stone reaching to heaven. There in the gate the children gather, and weep their piteous lamentation; they cry, they cry: Mother, alas! torn from your sight, the Achaeans bear me away from you to their dark ship to row me over the deep to sacred Salamis or to the hill on the Isthmus, that overlooks two seas, the seat that holds the gates of Pelops.