previous next

No man shall say that you have spoken a bastard word, Ajax, or one not bred of your own heart. Yet at least pause; dismiss these thoughts, and grant friends the power to rule your purpose.

[485] Ajax, my lord, the fortune that humans are compelled to endure is their gravest evil. I was the daughter of a free-born father mighty in wealth, if any Phrygian was. Now I am a slave, for somehow the gods so ordained, [490] and even more so did your strong hand. Therefore, since I have come into your bed, I wish you well, and I do beg you, by the Zeus of our hearth, by your marriage-bed in which you coupled with me, do not condemn me to the cruel talk [495] of your enemies, do not leave me to the hand of a stranger! On whatever day you die and widow me by your death, on that same day, be sure, I shall also be seized forcibly by the Greeks and, with your son, shall obtain a slave's portion. [500] Then one of my masters will name me bitterly, shooting me with taunts: “ See the concubine of Ajax, who was the mightiest man in the army. See what menial tasks she tends to, in place of such an enviable existence!” Such things will men say, and so will destiny afflict me [505] while the shame of these words will stain you and your family. Show respect to your father, whom you abandon in miserable old age, and respect your mother with her share of many years, who often prays to the gods that you may come home alive. [510] Pity, too, my king, your son. Pity him the great sorrow which at your death you will bequeath both to him and to me, if robbed of nurturing care he must spend his days apart from you, an orphan tended by guardians who are neither family nor friends.

I have nothing left to which I can look, [515] save you, and you are the reason. Your spear ravaged my country to nothingness, and another fate has brought down my mother and father, giving them a home in Hades in their death. What homeland, then, could I have without you? What wealth? My welfare is entirely in your hands. [520] So remember me, too. A true man should cherish remembrance, if anywhere he takes some pleasure. It is kindness that always begets kindness. But whoever lets the memory of benefits seep from him, he can no longer be a noble man.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Notes (Sir Richard C. Jebb, 1907)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 718
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 345-351
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: