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The central doors of the palace have opened and have disclosed Heracles lying asleep, bound to a shattered column. Amphtryon steps out. The following lines between Amphitryon and the Chorus are chanted responsively.

Amphitryon
Softly, softly! you aged sons of Thebes, let him sleep on and forget his sorrows.

Chorus
[1045] For you, old friend, I weep and mourn, for the children too and that victorious chief.

Amphitryon
Stand further off, make no noise nor outcry, do not rouse him from his calm [1050] deep slumber.

Chorus
O horrible! all this blood—

Amphitryon
Hush, hush! you will be my ruin.

Chorus
That he has spilled is rising up against him.

Amphitryon
Gently raise your dirge of woe, old friends; [1055] or he will wake, and, bursting his bonds, destroy the city, rend his father, and dash his house to pieces.

Chorus
I cannot, cannot!

Amphitryon
Hush! let me note his breathing; [1060] come, let me put my ear close.

Chorus
Is he sleeping?

Amphitryon
Yes, he is sleeping, a deadly sleepless sleep, having slain wife and children with the arrows of his twanging bow.

Chorus
[1065] Ah! mourn—

Amphitryon
I am mourning.

Chorus
The children's death—

Amphitryon
Ah me!

Chorus
And your own son's doom.

Amphitryon
Alas!

Chorus
Old friend—

Amphitryon
Hush! hush! he is turning, he is waking! Oh! [1070] let me hide myself, concealed beneath the roof.

Chorus
Courage! darkness still holds your son's eye.

Amphitryon
Oh beware! it is not that I shrink from leaving the light after my miseries, poor wretch! but if should he slay me, his father, [1075] then he will be devising woe on woe, and to the avenging curse will add a parent's blood.

Chorus
Well for you if you had died in that day, when, for your wife, you went forth to exact vengeance for her slain brothers [1080] by sacking the Taphians' sea-beat town.

Amphitryon
Fly, fly, my aged friends, from before the palace, escape his waking fury. Or soon he will heap up fresh slaughter on the old, [1085] ranging wildly once more through the streets of Thebes.

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