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It is not cowardice or any longing for life that hinders my dying, but my wish to save my son's children, though no doubt I am longing for the impossible. See! here is my neck ready for the sword [320] to pierce, to hack, to hurl from the rock; only one favor I crave for both of us, king; slay me and this hapless mother before you slay the children, that we may not see the hideous sight, as they gasp out their lives, calling on their mother [325] and their father's father; for the rest work your will if so you are inclined; for we have no defense against death.

I too implore you add a second favor, that by your single act you may put us both under a double obligation; allow me to deck my children in the robes of death, [330] first opening the palace gates, for now we are shut out, so that this at least they may obtain from their father's halls.

I grant it, and bid my servants undo the bolts. Go in and deck yourselves; robes do not grudge. But as soon as you have clothed yourselves, [335] I will return to you to consign you to the nether world.Lycus and his retinue withdraw.

Children, follow the footsteps of your hapless mother to your father's house, where others possess his substance, though his name is still ours.Megara and her children enter the palace.

O Zeus, in vain, it seems, did I get you to share my bride with me; [340] in vain used we to call you partner in my son. After all you are less our friend than you pretended. Great god as you are, I, a mortal, surpass you in true worth. For I did not betray the children of Heracles; but you by stealth found your way to my bed, [345] taking another's wife without leave given, while to save your own friends you have no skill. Either you are a god of little sense, or else naturally unjust.Amphitryon follows Megara into the palace.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 910
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