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Orestes
Where is the one who fled from the palace to escape my sword?

Phrygian
falling at the feet of Orestes
Before you I prostrate myself, lord, and supplicate you in my foreign way.

Orestes
We are not in Ilium, but the land of Argos.

Phrygian
Everywhere, the wise find life sweeter than death.

Orestes
[1510] I suppose that shouting of yours was not for Menelaus to come to the rescue?

Phrygian
Oh no! it was to help you I called out, for you are more deserving.

Orestes
Did the daughter of Tyndareus die justly, then?

Phrygian
Most justly, even if she had three throats to die with.

Orestes
Your cowardice makes you glib; this is not what you really think.

Phrygian
[1515] Why, surely she deserved it, the one who destroyed Hellas and the Phrygians too?

Orestes
Swear you are not saying this to humor me, or I will kill you.

Phrygian
I swear by my life, an oath I would keep!

Orestes
Did every Phrygian in Troy show the same terror of steel as you do?

Phrygian
Take your sword away! Held so near it flashes a dreadful gleam of blood.

Orestes
[1520] Are you afraid of being turned to a stone, as if you had seen a Gorgon?

Phrygian
To a stone, no! but to a corpse; I don't know this Gorgon's head.

Orestes
A slave, and yet you fear death, which will release you from trouble?

Phrygian
Slave or free, every one is glad to gaze upon the light.

Orestes
Well said! Your shrewdness saves you; go inside.

Phrygian
[1525] You will not kill me after all?

Orestes
You are spared.

Phrygian
How well you said that!

Orestes
Now it's time to change my plans.

Phrygian
You didn't say that well!

Orestes
You fool! Do you think I could endure to make your throat bloody? You weren't born a woman, nor do you belong among men. The reason I left the palace was to stop your shouting; [1530] for Argos is quickly roused, once it hears a cry to the rescue. As for Menelaus, I am not afraid of measuring swords with him; let him come, proud of the golden ringlets on his shoulders; for if, to avenge the slaying of Helen, he gathers the Argives and leads them against the palace, refusing to attempt the rescue of me, [1535] my sister, and Pylades, my fellow conspirator, he will have two corpses to behold, his daughter's as well as his wife's.The Phrygian departs as Orestes re-enters the palace.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 1023
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