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Poseidon From the depths of salt Aegean floods I, Poseidon, have come, where choirs of Nereids dance in a graceful maze; for since the day that Phoebus and I with exact measurement set towers of stone about this land of Troy and ringed it round, never from my heart has passed away a kindly feeling for my Phrygian town, which now is smouldering and overthrown, a prey to Argive might. For, from his home beneath Parnassus, Phocian Epeus, aided by the craft of Pallas, framed a horse to bear within its womb an armed army, and sent it within the battlements, a deadly statue;[from which in days to come men shall tell of the Wooden Horse, with its hidden load of warriors.] Groves stand forsaken and temples of the gods run down with blood, and at the altar's very base, before the god who watched his home, Priam lies dead. While to Achaean ships great store of gold and Phrygian spoils are being conveyed, and they who came against this town, those sons of Hellas, only wait a favoring breeze
Enter Talthybius and attendants, bearing the corpse of Astyanax on Hector's shield. Chorus Leader All me! ah me! new troubles fall on my country, to take the place of those that still are fresh! Behold, you hapless wives of Troy, the corpse of Astyanax, whom the Danaids have cruelly slain by hurling him from the battlements.
Hecuba Place the shield upon the ground, Hector's shield so deftly rounded, a piteous sight, a bitter grief for me to see. O you Achaeans, more reason have you to boast of your prowess than your wisdom. Why have you in terror of this child been guilty of a murder never matched before? Did you fear that some day he would rear again the fallen walls of Troy? It seems then you were nothing after all, when, though Hector's fortunes in the war were prosperous and he had ten thousand other arms to back him, we still were daily overmatched; and yet, now that our city is taken and every Phrygian slain, you fear a tender child like this! I do not commend the fear of one who fears but never yet has reasoned out the cause.
You swift-prowed ships, rowed to sacred Ilium over the deep dark sea, past the fair havens of Hellas, to the flute's ill-omened music and the dulcet voice of pipes, to the bays of Troy, alas! where you tied your hawsers, twisted handiwork from Egypt, in quest of that hateful wife of Menelaus, who brought disgrace on Castor, and on Eurotas foul reproach; who murdered Priam, the father of fifty children; the cause why I, the unhappy Hecuba, have wrecked my life upon this disastrous strand. Oh that I should sit here, over against the tent of Agamemnon! As a slave I am led away from my home, an old woman, while from my head the hair is piteously shorn for grief. Ah! unhappy wives of those armored sons of Troy! Ah! poor maidens, luckless brides, come weep, for Ilium is now a smouldering ruin; and I, like some mother-bird that over her fledgelings screams, will begin the strain; not the same as that I once sang to the gods, as I leaned on Priam's staff and beat with my foot in Phrygia
Hecuba It seems the only things that heaven concerns itself about are my troubles and Troy hateful in their eyes above all other cities. In vain did we sacrifice to them. But if the god had not caught us in his grip and plunged us headlong beneath the earth, we should have been unheard of, and not ever sung in Muses' songs, furnishing to bards of after-days a subject for their minstrelsy. Go, bury now in his poor tomb the dead, wreathed all duly as befits a corpse. And yet I think it makes little difference to the dead, if they get a gorgeous funeral; but this is a cause of idle pride to the living.The corpse is carried out for burial.
Chorus Leader Alas! for your unhappy mother, who over your corpse has closed the high hopes of her life! Born of a noble stock, counted most happy in your lot, ah! what a tragic death is yours! Soldiers are seen on the battlements of Troy, torch in hand. Ha! who are those I see on yonder pinnacles darting to and fro with flaming torches in their hands? Some new calamity wiII soon alight on Troy. Chorus Leader Alas! for your unhappy mother, who over your corpse has closed the high hopes of her life! Born of a noble stock, counted most happy in your lot, ah! what a tragic death is yours! Soldiers are seen on the battlements of Troy, torch in hand. Ha! who are those I see on yonder pinnacles darting to and fro with flaming torches in their hands? Some new calamity wiII soon alight on Troy.
Hecuba Woe! oh woe! Son of Cronos, prince of Phrygia, father of our race, do you behold our sufferings now, unworthy of the stock of Dardanus? Chorus He sees them, but our mighty city is a city no more, and Troy's day is done. Hecuba Woe! oh woe! Ilium is ablaze; the homes of Pergamos and its towering walls are now one sheet of flame. Chorus As the smoke soars on wings to heaven, so sinks our city to the ground before the spear. With furious haste both fire and enemy spear devour each house.