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Chorus Leader
[1425] And where were you? fled long before in terror?

Phrygian
It happened that I, in Phrygian style, Phrygian, was wafting the breeze, the breeze by the curls of Helen, Helen, with a round feathered fan, before her face, [1430] in barbarian style; and she was twisting flax on her distaff with her fingers, and letting her yarn fall on the floor, for she wanted to sew with her flax purple cloth [1435] as adornment for the tomb from the Trojan spoils, a gift to Clytemnestra. Orestes said to the Spartan girl: “Daughter of Zeus, get up from your chair [1440] and come here to the old hearth of Pelops, our ancestor, to hear something I have to say.” He led her, led her, and she followed, [1445] no prophet of the future. But his accomplice, the Phocian villain, was off on other business: “Out of my way! Well, Phrygians always were cowards.” So he shut them up in different parts of the house, some in the stables, others in the halls, [1450] one here, one there, disposing of them [severally] at a distance from their mistress.

Chorus Leader
What happened next?

Phrygian
Mother of Ida, great, great mother! [1455] Oh! the murderous scenes and lawless wickedness that I saw, I saw, in the palace! They drew forth swords from hiding under their purple-bordered cloaks, each darting his eye a different way, lest anyone should be near. Like boar of the hills, [1460] they stood opposite the woman and said: “You will die, you will die; your cowardly husband is killing you, because he betrayed his brother's son to death in Argos.” [1465] She screamed, oh, oh! she screamed, and brought down her white arm upon her breast and beat her poor head; then turned her golden-sandalled steps in flight, in flight; but Orestes got before her in his Mycenean boots and clutched his fingers in her hair, [1470] and, bending back her neck on to her left shoulder, was on the point of driving the black sword into her throat.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 40
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