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I shudder, friends, to hear these sorrows [1045] which our King suffers. What a man is here, and what misfortunes lash at him!


Ah, many and hot and cruel not in name alone have been the labors of these hands, the burdens hoisted upon these shoulders! And yet no toil ever laid on me by the bedfellow of Zeus or by the hateful Eurystheus was as harsh [1050] as this thing which the daughter of Oeneus, fair and false, has fastened upon my back, this woven net of the Erinyes in which I perish! Plastered to my sides, it has eaten away my inmost flesh and sucks the channels of my lungs, [1055] making my body its home. Already it has drunk away my fresh lifeblood, and my whole body is wasted, conquered by these indescribable bonds. Not spearmen on the battlefield, nor the Giants' earth-born army, nor the might of savage beasts, [1060] not Hellas, nor the land of the barbarian, nor any land which I came to purify has ever done this to me. No, a woman, a weak woman, born not to the strength of man, all alone has brought me down without a stroke of the sword!

Son, show yourself my trueborn son, [1065] and do not honor your mother's name above your father's. Bring out the woman that bore you, and give her with your own hands into my hand, that I may know for certain which sight grieves you more—my tortured frame, or hers, when she suffers her just punishment! [1070] Go, my son, be bold! Show your pity for me, whom many might think deserving of pity—pity me moaning and weeping like a girl! No one could say that he had ever seen this man do that before. No, always without complaint I used to pursue my troubles. [1075] But now in my misery I have been found a woman, instead of the man I used to be.

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