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How cursed I must be, how abhorred by the gods, [255] if not a word of my miserable condition has reached my homeland, or any Greek land at all! Instead those men, who against the gods' laws cast me away, keep their secret and laugh, while my plague has ever flourished and grows worse! [260] O my son, boy whose father was Achilles, here I am before you, the man of whom you have perhaps heard as lord of the bow of Heracles, Philoctetes the son of Poeas. I am he whom the two marshalls and the Cephallenian king [265] shamelessly hurled to this solitude which you see, when I was wasting with a fierce disease, stricken by the savage bite of the murderous serpent. With that plague for my sole companion, boy, those men put me out [270] here alone and left, after they landed here with their fleet from sea-washed Chryse. Delighted they were then, when they saw me asleep after much tossing on the waves, in the shelter of a cave upon the shore, and they abandoned me, first setting out a few rags, as though for an unfortunate beggar, and a bit of food, too— [275] a small work of charity. But may they get what they gave me! Can you imagine, boy, what kind of awakening I had when they had gone, and I rose from sleep that day?—what stinging tears I wept, and what miseries I bewailed when I saw that the ships with which I had sailed [280] were all gone, and that there was no man in the place, not one to help me, not one to ease the sickness that afflicted me, when looking all around me, I could find nothing at hand, save agony—but of that a ready store?

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 1326
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