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The herald, Talthybius, enters. Talthybius Where can I find Hecuba, who once was queen of Ilium, you Trojan maidens? Chorus Leader There she lies near you, Talthybius, stretched full length upon the ground, wrapped in her robe. Talthybius O Zeus! what can I say? that your eye is over man? or that we hold this opinion all to no purpose, [falsely thinking there is any race of gods,] when it is chance that rules the mortal sphere? Was not this the queen of wealthy Phrygia, the wife of Priam highly blessed? And now her city is utterly overthrown by the foe, and she, a slave in her old age, her children dead, lies upon the ground, soiling her wretched head in the dust. Ah! old as I am, may death be my lot before I am caught in any shameful mischance. Arise, poor lady! lift up yourself and raise that white head. Hecuba stirring Oh! who are you that will not let my body rest? Why disturb me in my anguish, whoever you are? Talthybius I, Talthybius, have come, the servant of the Da
Now Hecuba, having discovered the death of her son, brought me here on this pretext, saying she would tell me of hidden treasure stored up in Ilium by the race of Priam; and she led me apart with my children into the tent, that no other might hear her news. So I sat down on a couch in their midst to rest; for there were many of the Trojan maidens seated there, some on my right hand, some on my left, as if beside a friend; and they were praising the weaving of our Edonian handiwork, looking at this robe as they held it up to the light; while others examined my Thracian spear and so stripped me of two-fold protection. And those that were young mothers were dandling my children in their arms, with loud admiration, as they passed them on from hand to hand to remove them far from their father; and then after their smooth speeches—would you believe it?—in an instant snatching daggers from somewhere in their dress they stab my children; while others, like foes, seized me hand and foot;
The Chorus of captive Trojan women enters. Chorus Hecuba, I have hastened away to you, leaving my master's tent, where the lot assigned [and appointed] me as his slave, when I was driven from the city of Ilium, hunted by Achaeans at the point of the spear; no alleviation do I bring for your sufferings; no, I have laden myself with heavy news, and am a herald of sorrow to you, lady. It is said the Achaeans have determined in full assembly to offer your daughter in sacrifice to Achilles; for you know how one day he appeared standing on his tomb in golden armor, and stayed the sea-borne ships, though they had their sails already hoisted, with this pealing cry: “Where away so fast, you Danaids, leaving my tomb without its prize?” A violent dispute with stormy altercation arose, and opinion was divided in the warrior army of Hellas, some being in favor of offering the sacrifice at the tomb, others dissenting. There was Agamemnon, all eagerness in your interest, because of his love f
Chorus I left my bed, wearing only a tunic, like a Dorian girl, and sought in vain, ah me! to station myself at the holy hearth of Artemis; for, after seeing my husband slain, I was led away over the broad sea; with many a backward look at my city, when the ship began her homeward voyage and parted me from Ilium's strand; till alas! for very grief I fainted,
Chorus And I was braiding my tresses beneath a tight-drawn head-band before my golden mirror's countless rays, so that I might lie down to rest; when through the city rose a din, and a cry went ringing down the streets of Troy: “You sons of Hellas, when, oh! when will you sack the citadel of Ilium, and seek your homes
Chorus No more, my native Ilium, shall you be counted among the towns never sacked; so thick a cloud of Hellene troops is settling all around, wasting you with the spear; you are shorn of your crown of towers, and fouled most piteously with filthy soot; no more, ah me! shall I tread your streets.