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Chorus Leader
It is pardonable, for a man suffering from evils too heavy to bear, to rid himself of a wretched existence.

Agamemnon and his retinue enter.

Agamemnon
Hearing a cry I have come here; for Echo, [1110] child of the mountain-rock, has sent her voice loud-ringing through the army, causing a tumult. If we had not known that Troy's towers were levelled by the might of Hellas, this uproar would have caused no slight terror.

Polymestor
Best of friends! for by your voice I know you, [1115] Agamemnon; do you see my piteous state?

Agamemnon
What! hapless Polymestor, who has stricken you? who has blinded your eyes, staining the pupils with blood? who has slain these children? whoever he was, fierce must have been his wrath against you and your children.

Polymestor
[1120] Hecuba, helped by the captive women, has destroyed me—not destroyed, far worse than that.

Agamemnon
addressing Hecuba
What do you say? Was it you that did this deed, as he says? You, Hecuba, that have ventured on this inconceivable daring?

Polymestor
Ha! what is that? is she somewhere near? [1125] Show me, tell me where, that I may grip her in my hands and rend her limb from limb, bespattering her with gore.

Agamemnon
You creature, what are you about?

Polymestor
By the gods I entreat you, let me vent on her the fury of my arm.

Agamemnon
Hold! banish that savage spirit from your heart [1130] and plead your cause, so that after hearing you and her in turn I may fairly decide what reason there is for your present sufferings.

Polymestor

Polymestor
I will tell my tale. There was a son of Priam, Polydorus, the youngest, a child by Hecuba, whom his father Priam sent to me from Troy to bring up in my halls, [1135] suspecting no doubt the fall of Troy. I killed him; but hear my reason for killing him, how cleverly and wisely I had planned. My fear was that if that child were left to be your enemy, he would repeople Troy and settle it afresh; [1140] and the Achaeans, knowing that a son of Priam survived, might bring another expedition against the Phrygian land, and then harry and lay waste these plains of Thrace, for the neighbours of Troy to experience the very troubles we were lately suffering, O king.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.6.1
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