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Lichas returns from the palace.

Lichas
Madam, what shall I say to Heracles?
Tell me; for I am going, as you see.

Deianeira
How quickly you are leaving, when your visit
has been so short, and we have talked so little.

Lichas
If you have questions for me, I will stay.

Deianeira
Will what you tell me be the honest truth?

Lichas
Yes, by great Zeus, in anything I know of.

Deianeira
400Who is the woman you have brought here with you?

Lichas
She is Euboean; I know nothing more.

Messenger
Look here: to whom do you think you are speaking?

Lichas
And who are you to question me like that?

Messenger
Answer me, if you understand my meaning.

Lichas
To royal Deianeira, if my eyes
do not deceive me - Oeneus's daughter,
Heracles' wife, and, furthermore, my queen.

Messenger
That is the very word I wished to hear.
You say she is your queen?

Lichas
And rightly so.

Messenger
410Well then, what punishment will you be willing
to undergo if you are proved dishonest?

Lichas
What do you mean, "dishonest"? Are these riddles?

Messenger
No, it is you instead whose words are riddles.

Lichas
Farewell. I was a fool to listen to you.

Messenger
Stay here until you answer one brief question.

Lichas
Speak if you wish - and you will not be silent!

Messenger
That captive whom you brought here to the palace -
you know her, surely?

Lichas
Yes. Why do you ask?

Messenger
Did you not say that she, whom you cannot
420now name, was Eurytus' child Iole?

Lichas
To whom did I say that? Where is the man
who will bear witness that you heard it from me?

Messenger
Many good citizens of Trachis heard you
proclaim it in our public meeting place.

Lichas
Yes;
they say so, but it is a different thing
to state one's fancy and to speak correctly.

Messenger
Fancy! Did you not swear that you were bringing
this girl to be the wife of Heracles?

Lichas
To be his wife? In God's name, my dear mistress,
430tell me, I pray you, who this stranger is.

Messenger
One who was there when you said that desire
destroyed the city - not the Lydian woman
Omphale, but his passion for this girl.

Lichas
Madam, let this man be dismissed. To prate
with such a madman suits not my discretion.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 1227
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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