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

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?

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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