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140

Deianeira
Your words show clearly that my suffering
is known to you. Oh, may you never learn
the heartfelt anguish you are innocent of!
Like you, the young plant grows in sheltered regions
all by itself, and no fierce summer heat
nor any storm nor any wind prevents it
from living peacefully a life of pleasure
till she who was a girl becomes a woman
and learns her share of troubles in the night,
150fearful for her loved husband and her children.
By looking on her own plight, such a one
might understand the cares which burden me.
I have wept often for my many sorrows,
but now one greater than before assails me;
for when lord Heracles set forth from home
upon his latest undertaking, he
left tablets here behind, inscribed with words
which he had never deigned to tell me of
in all the previous labors he endured -
160so great was his belief that he would triumph.
But this time, like a dying man, he told me
what my inheritance would be, and how
the children should divide their father's land.
He set a time, and said that when a year
and three months had gone by since his departure,
then it was fated either that he die,
or else, if he survived, that he should live
his life thereafter free of grief and pain.
This was the fate he said the gods had destined
170to end the many toils of Heracles:
this was the prophecy the ancient oak tree
spoke through Dodona's two divining doves.
And now the moment when the oracle
ordained these things to happen has arrived;
and I have started forth from my sweet slumber
trembling with fear, my friends, to think that I
might live without this noblest of all men.

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Dodona (Greece) (1)

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hide References (6 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 555
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 764
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek, Copula
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
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