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[280] Admetus, since you see how things stand with me, I want to tell you before I die what I wish. Because I give you the place of honor and have caused you to look on the light instead of me, I am dying. I need not have died in your place [285] but could have married the Thessalian of my choice and lived in wealth in a royal house. But I refused to live torn from your side with orphaned children and did not spare my young life, though I had much in which I took delight. [290] Yet your father and mother abandoned you, though it well befitted them to be surfeited with life1 and well befitted them to save their son and die a noble death. For you were their only son, and there was no hope, with you dead, that they would have other children. [295] Had they agreed to die, you and I would now be living the remainder of our lives together, and you would not be grieving at the loss of your wife or raising your children as orphans. But some god has brought these things to pass.

Well, then. Remember to show your gratitude for this. [300] I shall not ask you for the return my act deserves (for nothing is more precious than a life), but for what is right, as you will agree. For you love these children as much as I do, if you are in your senses. Keep them as lords of my house [305] and do not marry again, putting over them a step-mother, who will be less noble than I and out of envy will lay a hostile hand to your children and mine. No, do not do it, I beg you. For a step-mother comes in as a foe [310] to the former children, no kinder than a viper. And though a son has in his father a bulwark of defense, how will you, my daughter, grow to an honored womanhood? What sort of step-mother will you get? [315] I fear she will cast some disgraceful slur on your reputation and in the prime of your youth destroy your chances of marriage. For your mother will never see you married, never stand by to encourage you in childbirth, my daughter, where nothing is better than a mother's goodwill. [320] For I must die: this calamity does not come upon me tomorrow or the day after, but this very hour I will be numbered among the dead. Farewell! I wish you joy! You, my husband, have the right to boast the best of wives, [325] and you, my children, the best of mothers.

Fear not (I do not hesitate to speak for him): he will do this if he has any sense.

1 I translate the first of my tentative conjectures. The text is almost certainly corrupt.

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