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[115] “Daughter of Leda, in addition to my first letter, I am sending you word —.”

Old man
Say on and make it plain, that what my tongue utters may accord with what you have written.

“Not to despatch your daughter to [120] Euboea's deep-gulfed wing, to the waveless bay of Aulis, for after all we will celebrate our child's wedding at another time.”

Old man
And how will Achilles, cheated of his bride, [125] curb the fury of his indignation against you and your wife? Here also is a danger. Make clear what you are saying.

It is his name, not himself that Achilles is lending, knowing nothing of the marriage or of my scheming [130] or my professed readiness to betroth my daughter to him for a husband's embrace.

Old man
A dreadful venture yours, king Agamemnon, you that, by promise of your daughter's hand to the son of the goddess, [135] were bringing the maid here to be sacrificed for the Danaids.

Ah me! I am utterly distraught; alas! bewilderment comes over me. Away! hurry your steps, [140] yielding nothing to old age.

Old man
I will make haste, king.

Do not sit down by woodland fountains; scorn the witcheries of sleep.

Old man

And when you pass any place where roads diverge, [145] cast your eyes all round, taking heed that no mule-wagon eacape you, passing by on rolling wheels, bearing my child to the ships of the Danaids.

Old man
It shall be so.

Start then from the bolted gates, [150] and if you meet the escort, start them back again, and drive at full speed to the abodes of the Cyclopes.

Old man
But tell me, how shall my message find credit with your wife or child?

[155] Preserve the seal which you bear on this tablet. Away! Already the dawn is growing grey, lighting the lamp of day and the fire of the sun's four steeds; [160] help me in my trouble. Exit Old man.

No mortal is prosperous or happy to the last, for no one was ever born to a painless life.Exit Agamemnon.

1 The old man cuts short Agamemnon's warnings, as being an un-called-for reflection on his own loyalty.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 463-512
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