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Ah! my beloved, yours is a piteous death indeed! If you had died for your city, when you had tasted of the sweets of manhood, of marriage, and of godlike power over others, [1170] then were you blessed, if anything here is blessed. But now after one glimpse, one dream of them, you know them no more, my child, and have no joy of them, though heir to all. Ah, poor child! how sadly have your own father's walls, those towers that Loxias reared, shorn from your head [1175] the locks your mother fondled, and so often caressed, from which through fractured bones the face of murder grins—briefly to dismiss my shocking theme. O hands, how sweet the likeness you retain of his father, and yet you lie Iimp in your sockets before me! [1180] Dear mouth, so often full of words of pride, death has closed you, and you have not kept the promise you made, when nestling in my robe, “Ah, mother, many a lock of my hair I will cut off for you, and to your tomb will lead my troops of friends, taking a fond farewell of you.” [1185] But now I am not to be buried by you, but you, the younger one, a wretched corpse, are buried by me, on whom old age has come with loss of home and children. Ah me, those kisses numberless, the nurture that I gave to you, those sleepless nights—they all are lost! What shall the bard inscribe upon your tomb about you? [1190] Argives once for fear of him slew this child? Foul shame should that inscription be to Hellas. O child, though you have no part in all your father's wealth, yet shall you have his brazen shield in which to find a tomb. Ah! shield that kept safe the comely arm of Hector, [1195] now have you lost your valiant keeper! How fair upon your handle lies his imprint, and on the rim that circles around are marks of sweat, that trickled often from Hector's brow as he pressed it against his beard in battle's stress. [1200] Come, bring forth, from such store as you have, adornment for the hapless dead, for fortune gives no chance now for lovely offerings; yet of such as I possess, you shall receive these gifts. He is a foolish mortal who thinks his luck secure and so rejoices; for fortune, like a madman in her moods, [1205] springs towards this man, then towards that; and no one ever experiences the same unchanging luck.

Chorus Leader
Look! all is ready and they are bringing at your bidding from the spoils of Troy adornment to put upon the dead.

Hecuba
Ah! my child, it is not as victor over your comrades [1210] with horse or bow—customs Troy esteems, without pursuing them to excess—that Hector's mother decks you now with ornaments from the store that once was yours, though now Helen, whom the gods abhor, has bereft you of your own, yes, and robbed you [1215] of your life and caused your house to perish root and branch.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 627
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    • Raphael Kühner, Friedrich Blass, Ausführliche Grammatik der Griechischen Sprache, (Abundantia)
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