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You that once were the wife of Hector, bravest of the Phrygians, [710] do not hate me, for I am not a willing messenger. The Danaids and sons of Pelops both command—

What is it? your prelude bodes evil news.

It is decreed your son is—how can I tell my news?

Surely not to have a different master from me?

[715] None of all Achaea's chiefs shall ever lord it over him.

Is it their will to leave him here, a remnant of Phrygia's race?

I know no words to break the sorrow lightly to you.

I thank you for your consideration, unless indeed you have good news to tell.

They mean to slay your son; there is my hateful message to you.

[720] Oh me! this is worse tidings than my forced marriage.

So spoke Odysseus to the assembled Hellenes, and his word prevails.

Oh, once again alas! there is no measure in the woes I bear.

He said they should not rear so brave a father's son.

May such counsels prevail about children of his!

[725] He must be thrown from Troy's battlements. Let it be so, and you will show more wisdom; do not cling to him, but bear your sorrows with heroic heart, nor in your weakness think that you are strong. For nowhere do you have any help; consider this you must; [730] your husband and your city are no more, so you are in our power, and I alone am match enough for one woman; therefore I would not see you bent on strife, or any course to bring you shame or hate, nor would I hear you rashly curse the Achaeans. [735] For if you say anything to anger the army, this child will find no burial nor pity either. But if you hold your peace and with composure take your fate, you will not leave his corpse unburied, and you yourself will find more favor with the Achaeans.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 179
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