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My friends, I shudder when I hear how great
a suffering afflicts so great a prince.
Many fierce toils, hard not in name alone,
my hands and shoulders have endured before;
but never did the wife of Zeus or hateful
Eurystheus lay so great a burden on me
1050as this one which the false-faced child of Oeneus
has fastened on my back - a binding net
woven by furies, in which I am dying.
Glued to my sides, it eats my flesh away
deep down within, and dwells inside my lungs
choking my breath: already it has drunk
my fresh warm blood and wasted my whole body,
binding me with unutterable chains.
And yet, no spearman on the battlefield,
no earth-born troop of Giants, no wild beast,
1060nor Greece, nor any foreign land which I
purged in my wanderings, could do this to me!
A woman - weak, not masculine by nature -
alone, without a sword, has vanquished me!
O child, now show you are my true-born son:
do not revere your mother more than me!
Go in the house and bring her here outside
and place her in my hands, so I may know
if you will grieve more at my tortured body
or hers, when I have wrought my just revenge.
1070Go, child, be bold! And pity me, for I
am pitiful indeed as I lie sobbing
and moaning like a virgin! No one living
has ever seen me act like this before;
for I have never groaned at my misfortunes
till now, when I have proved myself a woman.