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Enter Teucer.

Teucer
Here I am! I hurried back when I saw the supreme commander, Agamemnon, rapidly approaching. [1225] It is plain to me that he will let his clumsy tongue fly.

Enter Agamemnon.

Agamemnon
So it is you, they tell me, who dared open your mouth wide to make fierce threats against us—and are you still unpunished? Yes, I mean you—you, the captive slave's son. No doubt if you were born from a noble mother, [1230] your talk would reach the sky and you would proudly strut about, when now it is the case that, though you are a nobody and a nothing, you have stood up for this other nothing lying here, and have vowed that we came out with no authority either as admirals or as generals to rule the Greeks or you. No, as an autonomous ruler, you say, Ajax set sail.

[1235] Does it not shame me that I hear these proud words from slavish mouths? What was the man whom you shout about with such arrogance? Where did he advance, or where did he stand his ground, where I did not do the same? Have the Greeks, then, no other men but him? To our own harm, it seems, we announced [1240] to the Greeks the contests for the arms of Achilles, if on all sides we are accounted corrupt because of Teucer, and if it will never satisfy you Salaminians, even when you are defeated, to accept the verdict which satisfied the majority of the judges. But instead you will always no doubt aim your slanderous arrows at us, [1245] or treacherously lash at our backs when you fall behind us in the race.

Yet in a place where such ways prevail, there could be no settled order for any law, if we are to thrust the rightful winners aside and bring those in the rear up to the front ranks. [1250] These tendencies must be checked. It is not the stout, broad-shouldered men that are the steadiest allies. No, it is the wise who prevail in every engagement. A broad-backed ox is kept straight on the road all the same when only a small whip directs him. [1255] And a dose of this very medicine, I foresee, will find you before long, unless you gain a little good sense. He no longer exists, but is already a shade, yet still you boldly insult us and give your tongue too much freedom. Restrain yourself, I say. Recall your birth, your nature. [1260] Bring someone else here—a man who is freeborn—who can plead your cause before me in your place. For when you speak, I no longer understand— I do not know your barbarian language.

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hide References (5 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1417
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 472
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 927
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (2):
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