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Hecuba
Are not you then playing a sorry part to plot against me thus, after the kind treatment you by your own confession received from me, showing me no gratitude but all the ill you can? A thankless race! all you who covet honor from the mob [255] for your oratory. Oh that you were unknown to me! you who harm your friends and think no more of it, if you can say a word to win the mob. But tell me, what kind of cleverness did they think it, when against this child they passed their bloody vote? [260] Was it duty that led them to slay a human victim at the tomb, where sacrifice of oxen is more fitting? or does Achilles, if claiming the lives of those who slew him as his recompense, show his justice by marking her out for death? No! she at least never injured him. [265] He should have demanded Helen as a victim at his tomb, for she it was that proved his ruin, bringing him to Troy; or if some captive of surpassing beauty was to be singled out for death, this did not point to us; for the daughter of Tyndareus was fairest of all, [270] and her injury to him was proved no less than ours. Against the justice of his plea I pit this argument. Now hear the recompense due from you to me at my request. On your own confession, you fell at my feet and embraced my hand and aged cheek; [275] I in my turn now do the same to you, and claim the favor then bestowed; and I implore you, do not tear my child from my arms or slay her; there are dead enough. In her I take delight and forget my sorrows; [280] she is my comfort in place of many a loss, my city and my nurse, my staff and journey's guide. It is not right that those in power should use it out of season, or, when prosperous, suppose they will be always so. For I also was prosperous once, but now my life is lived, [285] and one day robbed me of all my bliss. Friend, by your beard, have some regard and pity for me; go to Achaea's army, and talk them over, saying how hateful a thing it is to slay women whom at first you spared out of pity, [290] after dragging them from the altars. For among you the same law holds good for slave and free alike respecting bloodshed; such a reputation as yours will persuade them even though its words are weak; for the same argument, when proceeding from those of no account, [295] has not the same force as when it is uttered by men of mark.

Chorus Leader
Human nature is not so stony-hearted as to hear your plaintive tale and catalogue of sorrows, without shedding a tear.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 1186-1222
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), SERVUS
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