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But has my host done a terrible thing to me?

You have not come at the proper time for the house to receive you. [For we are in mourning, and you see our shorn hair and our black garb.]

[Who is it that has died?] [820] Is one of his children or his aged father gone?

No, stranger, it is Admetus' wife who has died.

What are you saying? And yet you still entertained me?

Yes, for his sense of honor kept him from thrusting you from his house.

O poor man, what a help-meet you have lost!

[825] We have all perished, not she alone.

I noticed the weeping eyes and the shorn hair and the expression of grief, but he convinced me that he was burying someone unrelated. And against my better judgement I passed through these gates [830] and caroused in the house of this hospitable man in his hour of grief. And can I now go on revelling, my head garlanded? But it is your task now, with such a great misfortune brought on the house, to tell me, where he is burying her, where I must go to find her.

[835] Next to the straight road that leads to Larisa you will see from the outskirts of the city a sculpted tomb.

O heart and hand that have endured so much, now show what kind of son Tirynthian Alcmene, daughter of Electryon, bore to Zeus. [840] For I must save the woman who has just died and show my gratitude to Admetus by restoring Alcestis once more to this house. I shall go and look out for the black-robed lord of the dead, Death himself, and I think I shall find him [845] drinking from the offerings near the tomb. And if once I rush from ambush and catch and encircle him in my side-crushing grip, no one shall take him from me until he releases the woman to me. [850] But if I fail to catch this quarry and he does not come to the blood offering, I shall go down to the sunless house of Persephone and her lord in the world below and shall ask for Alcestis, and I think I shall bring her up and put her in the hands of my friend. [855] He welcomed me into his house and did not drive me away, though smitten with a heavy misfortune. In his nobility he concealed it, out of respect for me. What Thessalian is more hospitable than he, what Greek? Therefore he must never be able to say that in his nobility [860] he has done a kindness to a man who is ungrateful.

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Larisa (Greece) (1)

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 414
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.6.1
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