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Nurse
Too true! If you had been nearby and seen
her death, your pity would be greater still.

Chorus
And did a woman's hand dare do this deed?

Nurse
Most horribly, as I will tell you now.
900After she went, alone, into the palace
and saw her son strewing a hollow litter
outside, with which to go and meet his father,
she hid herself, lest anyone should see her,
and, falling near the altars, moaned aloud
that they were empty now; and wept whenever
she touched the objects she had known so well.
Then, as she roamed at random through the house,
if she but saw one of her own attendants,
she looked at him in misery, and sobbed,
910calling upon the fate which now was hers
and on her childless state forever after.
     But then she ceased, and suddenly I saw her
rush to the room which Heracles had slept in.
There I concealed myself and watched her actions
in secret, and beheld the woman spreading
coverlets on the couch of Heracles.
When she had finished this, she leapt upon them
and sat there in the middle of the bed,
where, bursting into streams of molten tears,
920she called upon her couch and bridal chamber,
crying, "Farewell forever! In the future
you will not hold me as a bride again."
She spoke no more, but with a vehement motion
she loosed her tunic, where the golden brooch
was fastened, just above her breast; and then
uncovered all her left side and her arm.
I ran away as fast as I had strength
and told her son of what she had contrived;
but by the time we reached her room again
930we saw her with a two-edged sword stuck through her,
piercing her side and cleaving to her heart.
Her son screamed when he saw her, for he knew
that he had driven her to this in anger,
learning too late from servants that her deed
was done in ignorance, at the Centaur's bidding.
And then the wretched boy showed no restraint
in sobbing and lamenting for her death,
caressing her with kisses; he fell down
and lay there by her side, and groaned that he
940had falsely charged her with a wicked crime.
He wept that he must be deprived of both
her and his father, orphaned for his life.
     Thus have these things occurred. And so, whoever
counts on the morrow or the days beyond,
thinks foolishly. Tomorrow will not come
until the present day is safe behind us.

load focus Notes (Sir Richard C. Jebb, 1902)
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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 513-862
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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