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Philoctetes
Now is it not astounding, boy, that Odysseus would ever have expected by means of soft words [630] to lead me from his ship and show me in the middle of the Greeks? No! I would sooner listen to that greatest and worst of my enemies, the viper which made me crippled as I am! But there is nothing that he would not say or dare. And now I know that he is coming here. [635] Come, son, let us be moving, so that a wide sea may part us from the ship of Odysseus. Let us go! Good speed in good season brings sleep and rest when toil is finished.

Neoptolemus
Then as soon as the wind is not at our prow, [640] we will sail. At present it blows against us.

Philoctetes
The sailing is always fair, when you flee trouble.

Neoptolemus
Not so; this weather is against them also.

Philoctetes
No wind stands in the way of pirates who sense a chance to steal and plunder by force.

Neoptolemus
[645] Well, if you are so resolved, let us go, once you have taken from the cave whatever you need or desire most.

Philoctetes
Yes, there are some things that I need, though the choice is not large.

Neoptolemus
What is there that will not be available on board my ship?

Philoctetes
I have a store of a certain herb, whereby I can always [650] best lull this wound, until it is wholly tamed.

Neoptolemus
Fetch it, then. Now, what else do you wish to take?

Philoctetes
Any of these arrows that may have been forgotten, and may have slipped away from me, so that I not leave it for another to take.

Neoptolemus
Is that indeed the famous bow which you hold?

Philoctetes
[655] This, and no other, that I carry in my hand.

Neoptolemus
Is there any way that I might have a closer view of it—and handle it, and salute it as divine?

Philoctetes
To you alone, my son, this shall be granted, along with anything else in my power that is in your interest.

Neoptolemus
[660] I do indeed crave to touch it, but my craving takes this form: if it is lawful, I would be glad. If not, think no more of it.

Philoctetes
Your words are reverent, son, and your wish is lawful. For you alone have given to my eyes the light of life and the hope of seeing the land of Oeta, of seeing [665] my aged father and my friends; and you alone, when I lay beneath the feet of my enemies, have lifted me beyond their reach. Be bold. The bow shall be yours to handle and to return to the hand that gave it, and you will be able to boast aloud that in reward for your goodness, you alone of mortals have touched it. [670] Yes, it was by a good deed that I myself won it.

Neoptolemus
I am not sorry that I found you and have gained your friendship, since whoever knows how to render benefit for a benefit received must prove a friend more valuable than any possession. Please, do go inside.

Philoctetes
Agreed, and I will bring you also. [675] My sickness craves the comfort of your presence.Philoctetes and Neoptolemus enter the cave.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 1143
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 594
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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