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Heracles
I wish I had the power to convey your wife to the light from the halls below and could do you this service.

Admetus
[1075] I know that you would wish to. But what is the good of such a wish? It is not possible for the dead to come back to the light.

Heracles
Do not then be excessive in grief but bear your sorrow moderately.

Admetus
It is easier to give advice than to endure suffering.

Heracles
But what good will you accomplish if you lament forever?

Admetus
[1080] No good, I know, but longing drives my groans forth.

Heracles
Yes, your love for the departed stirs up your tears.

Admetus
Her death has destroyed me, even more than I can say.

Heracles
You have lost a noble wife. Who will deny it?

Admetus
And so I shall have no more joy in life.

Heracles
[1085] Time will soften the pain. Now it is still intense.

Admetus
Time, yes, if by time you mean death.

Heracles
A woman and a new union will put an end to your longing.

Admetus
Hush! What a shocking thing you have said! I should never have thought it of you.

Heracles
What? Will you never marry but keep a widower's bed?

Admetus
[1090] No woman shall ever lie beside me.

Heracles
Do you suppose you are doing your dead wife any good that way?

Admetus
Wherever she is, she must be held in honor.

Heracles
I commend you, truly. But you deserve the name of fool.

[Admetus
You will never call this man a bridegroom.

Heracles
[1095] I commend you for being faithful to your wife.]

Admetus
May I die if ever I betray her, even though she is gone!

Heracles
Take this woman, then, into your noble house.

Admetus
I beg you by Zeus who begot you, do not ask this!

Heracles
And yet you will be making a mistake if you do not.

Admetus
[1100] And if I do, my heart will be stung with sorrow.

Heracles
Consent, for perhaps this may prove a timely favor.

Admetus
Oh, how I wish you had never won her at the games!

Heracles
But when I win, you are a sharer in my victory.

Admetus
Excellent sentiments, but the woman must go away.

Heracles
[1105] She will if she must. First see if she must.

Admetus
She must unless you mean to get angry with me.1

Heracles
I too have reasons for insisting.

Admetus
Be the winner, then. But you do not act to my liking.

Heracles
Yet some day you will praise me. Just do as I say.

Admetus
To his servants
[1110] Take her in, since I must receive her into my house.

Heracles
I will not release the woman into the hands of servants.2

Admetus
Take her into the house yourself, if you like.

Heracles
No, I shall put her into your hands.

Admetus
I will not touch her. She may go into the house.

Heracles
[1115] I trust only your right hand.

Admetus
My lord, you compel me to do this against my will.

Heracles
Have the courage to stretch out your hand and touch the stranger.

1 Or, with Monk's conjecture, ‘unless you intend to make me angry.’

2 Proper form, when entrusting valuable property to a friend, was to put it into his very hands.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek, The Article
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