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Neoptolemus
[730] Please, come on. Why so silent with no apparent cause? And why are you paralyzed?

Philoctetes
Ai, ai!

Neoptolemus
What is the matter?

Philoctetes
Nothing serious—go on, son.

Neoptolemus
Are you in pain from the disease that frequents you?

Philoctetes
[735] No, indeed no. I think it is better now.—Gods, oh!

Neoptolemus
Why do you groan like this and call on the gods?

Philoctetes
That they may come to me with power to save and soothe.—Ai! Ai!

Neoptolemus
[740] What troubles you? Speak, do not keep so silent. It is plain enough that you are suffering somehow.

Philoctetes
I am destroyed, boy—I can never conceal my suffering when you are close. Ah! Ah! It shoots through me, shoots straight through! Oh, the pain,the misery! [745] I am destroyed, boy—I am devoured! Ah, by the gods I beg you, if you have a sword ready to hand, strike at my ankle—cut it off now! Do not spare my life! [750] Quick, boy, quick!

Neoptolemus
What new thing has come on you so suddenly that you wail for yourself with these loud shrieks?

Philoctetes
You know, son.

Neoptolemus
What is it?

Philoctetes
You know, boy.

Neoptolemus
What ails you? I do not know.

Philoctetes
How could you not know? Oh, oh!

Neoptolemus
[755] Yes, terrible is the burden of your disease.

Philoctetes
Terrible beyond telling! Oh, pity me!

Neoptolemus
What shall I do?

Philoctetes
Do not betray me because of fear. This plague comes only now and then,—perhaps when she has been sated with her roamings elsewhere.

Neoptolemus
[760] Ah, poor wretch! Poor man, truly for all your sufferings! Shall I support you, or somehow offer a helping hand?

Philoctetes
No, no. But take this bow of mine—as you earlier asked of me—and keep it in your care and safe [765] until this present bout with my disease is past. For indeed sleep takes me as soon as this pain passes away, nor can it cease before then. But you must allow me to sleep in peace. And if [770] those men come in the meantime, then by the gods I forbid you willingly or unwillingly, or by any skilled trickery, to give up this bow to them, lest you bring destruction at once on yourself and on me, who am your suppliant.

Neoptolemus
Have no fears as to my caution. The bow shall pass [775] into no hands but yours and mine. Give it to me, and may good luck accompany it!

Philoctetes
There, take it boy. And humble yourself before the jealous gods, so that the bow may not prove baneful for you, as it did for me and for him who owned it before me.

Neoptolemus
O gods, grant this to the two of us! And grant us a voyage [780] prosperous and unimpeded, to whatever goal the god may deem right and that our mission provides!

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 480
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 734
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