previous next

Chorus
Joy to you, Herald from the Achaean host!

Herald
I do rejoice. I will no longer refuse to die, if that pleases the gods.

Chorus
[540] Was it yearning for this your fatherland that wore you out?

Herald
Yes, so that my eyes are filled with tears for joy.

Chorus
It was then a pleasing malady from which you suffered.

Herald
How so? Teach me, and I shall master what you say.

Chorus
You were smitten with desire for those who returned your love.

Herald
[545] Do you mean that our land longed for the longing host?

Chorus
Longed so, that often from a darkly brooding spirit I have sighed.

Herald
Where did this gloom of melancholy upon your spirit come from?

Chorus
Long since have I found silence an antidote to harm.

Herald
How so? Did you fear anyone when our princes were gone?

Chorus
[550] In such fear that now, in your own words, even death would be great joy.

Herald
Yes, all's well, well ended. Yet, of what occurred in the long years, one might well say that part fell out happily, and part in turn amiss. But who, unless he is a god, is free from suffering all his days? [555] For were I to recount our hardships and our wretched quarters, the scanty space and the sorry berths——what did we not have to complain of . . . 1Then again, ashore, there was still worse to loathe; for we had to lie down close to the enemy's walls, [560] and the drizzling from the sky and the dews from the meadows distilled upon us, working constant destruction to our clothes and filling our hair with vermin.

And if one were to tell of the wintry cold, past all enduring, when Ida's snow slew the birds; [565] or of the heat, when upon his waveless noonday couch, windless the sea sank to sleep—but why should we bewail all this? Our labor's past; past for the dead so that they will never care even to wake to life again. [570] Why should we count the number of the slain, or why should the living feel pain at their past harsh fortunes? Our misfortunes should, in my opinion, bid us a long farewell. For us, the remnant of the Argive host, the gain has the advantage and the loss does not bear down the scale; [575] so that, as we speed over land and sea, it is fitting that we on this bright day make this boast:2“The Argive army, having taken Troy at last, has nailed up these spoils to be a glory for the gods throughout Hellas in their shrines from days of old.” [580] Whoever hears the story of these deeds must extol the city and the leaders of her host; and the grace of Zeus that brought them to accomplishment shall receive its due measure of gratitude. There, you have heard all that I have to say.

1 For λαχόντες in l. 557 numerous emendations have been proposed, e.g. κλαίοντες, λάσκοντες, χαλῶντες. ἤματος μέρος probably means “as our day's portion.”

2 Or “to this light of the sun.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Argive (Greece) (2)
Troy (Turkey) (1)
Greece (Greece) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 151-215
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 1.3.1
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (3):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: