Listen, mother; hear what thoughts have passed across my mind.
I am resolved to die; and this I want to do with honor, dismissing from me what is mean. Towards this now, mother turn your thoughts, and with me weigh how well I speak; to me the whole of mighty Hellas
looks; on me the passage over the sea depends; on me the sack of Troy
and in my power it lies to check henceforth barbarian raids on happy Hellas
, if ever in the days to come they seek to seize her women, when once they have atoned by death for the violation of Helen's marriage by Paris
. All this deliverance will my death insure, and my fame for setting Hellas
free will be a happy one.
Besides, I have no right at all to cling too fondly to my life; for you did not bear me for myself alone, but as a public blessing to all Hellas
. What! shall countless warriors, armed with shields, those myriads sitting at the oar, find courage to attack the foe and die for Hellas
, because their fatherland is wronged,
and my one life prevent all this? What kind of justice is that? could I find a word in answer? Now let us turn to that other point. It is not right that this man should enter into battle with all Argos
or be slain for a woman's sake. Better a single man should see the light than ten thousand women.
If Artemis has decided to take my body, am I, a mortal, to thwart the goddess? no, that is impossible. I give my body to Hellas
; sacrifice it and make an utter end of Troy
. This is my enduring monument; marriage, motherhood, and fame—all these is it to me.
And it is right, mother, that Hellenes should rule barbarians, but not barbarians Hellenes, those being slaves, while these are free.