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Odysseus, I see you hiding your right hand beneath your robe and turning away your face, so that I may not touch your beard. [345] Take heart; you are safe from the suppliant's god in my case, for I will follow you, both because I must and because it is my wish to die; for if I were unwilling, a coward would I show myself, a woman faint of heart. Why should I prolong my days? I whose father was lord [350] of all the Phrygians, my chiefest pride in life. Then I was nursed on fair hopes to be a bride for kings, the center of keen jealousy among suitors, to see whose home I would make my own; and over each lady of Ida I was queen; [355] ah me! admired among maidens, equal to a goddess, save for death alone, but now I am a slave! That name first makes me long for death, so strange it sounds; and then perhaps my lot might give me [360] to some savage master, one that would buy me for money—me the sister of Hector and many others—who would make me knead him bread within his halls, or sweep his house or set me working at the loom, leading a life of misery; [365] while some slave, bought I know not where, will taint my bed, once deemed worthy of royalty. No, never! Here I close my eyes upon the light, free as yet, and dedicate myself to Hades. Lead me away, Odysseus, and do your worst, [370] for I see nothing within my reach to make me hope or expect with any confidence that I am ever again to be happy. Mother, do not seek to hinder me by word or deed, but join in my wish for death before I meet with shameful treatment undeserved. [375] For whoever is not used to taste of sorrows, though he bears it, yet it galls him when he puts his neck within the yoke; far happier would he be dead than alive, for life bereft of honor is toil and trouble.

Chorus Leader
A wondrous mark, most clearly stamped, does noble birth [380] imprint on men, and the name goes still further where it is deserved.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1144
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