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[1155] Ah! there is nothing better than a trusty friend, neither wealth nor monarchy; a crowd of people is of no account in exchange for a noble friend. You were the one who devised the vengeance against Aegisthus, and stood by me in danger, [1160] and now again you are offering me a means to punish my foes and do not stand aside—but I will cease praising you, for there is something wearisome even in being praised to excess. Now since in any case I must breathe my last, I want to do something to my enemies before my death, [1165] so that I may requite with ruin those who betrayed me, and so that those who made me suffer may grieve. Yes! I am the son of Agamemnon, who was considered worthy to rule Hellas, no tyrant but yet god-like in power; I will not disgrace him [1170] by submitting to die like a slave; my last breath shall be free and I will take vengeance on Menelaus. For if we could secure one object, we would be lucky, if a means of safety should unexpectedly come our way from somewhere, and we should be the slayers, not the slain; this is what I pray for. [1175] This wish of mine is a pleasant dream to cheer the heart, without cost, by means of the mouth's winged words.

I think I have it, brother, a means of safety for you, and for him and thirdly for myself.

You mean divine providence. But why do I say that? [1180] Since I know the natural shrewdness of your heart.

Listen to me now; and you pay attention also.

Speak; the prospect of good news holds a certain pleasure.

You know Helen's daughter? Of course you do.

I know her, Hermione, whom my mother reared.

[1185] She has gone to Clytemnestra's tomb.

To do what? What hope are you hinting at?

She was going to pour a libation over the tomb of our mother.

Well, how does what you have said lead to our safety?

Seize her as a hostage on her way back.

[1190] What good can your suggested remedy do us three friends?

If, after Helen's slaughter, Menelaus tries to do anything to you or to Pylades and me—for this bond of friendship is wholly one—say that you will kill Hermione; you must draw your sword and hold it to the maiden's throat. [1195] If Menelaus, when he sees Helen fallen in her blood, tries to save you to insure the girl's life, allow him to take his daughter to his arms; but if he makes no effort to curb the angry outburst and leaves you to die, then cut the maiden's throat. [1200] And I think if he puts in a mighty appearance at first, he will calm down in time; for he is not bold or brave by nature. That is my line of defense for our safety. My speech is over.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 623
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.1.3
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