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Xerxes We have been stricken by misfortune such as will endure for ages. Chorus We have been stricken; it is abundantly clear. Xerxes By strange woe, strange woe! Chorus It was with bad luck that we encountered Ionia's mariners. Unfortunate in war, indeed, is Persia's race.
Xerxes How true it is. In the loss of so great an armyI have indeed been dealt a blow, wretched as I am. Chorus What that belonged to Persia, unfortunate one, has not been destroyed? Xerxes Do you see this remnant of my royal robe? Chorus Yes, I do indeed. Xerxes And this quiver— Chorus What is this you say has been saved? Xerxes Treasury for shafts? Chorus Truly a small remnant from an ample store. Xerxes We have been deprived of defenders. Chorus Ionia's people shrink not from the spea
Chorus O Queen, most exalted of Persia's deep-girdled women, venerable mother of Xerxes, wife of Darius, all hail! You were the consort of the Persian's god, and of another god the mother, that is, unless its former good fortune has now forsaken our host.
Messenger O cities of all the land of Asia,O realm of Persia, and bounteous haven of wealth, at a single stroke all your plenteous prosperity has been shattered, and the flower of the Persians has fallen and perished! Ah, it is a terrible task to be the first to deliver news of disaster. And yet, Persians, I must relate the entirety of the calamity—the whole barbarian host is los
No longer will men keep a curb upon their tongues; for the people are set free to utter their thoughts at will, now that the yoke of power has been broken.The blood-stained soil of Ajax' sea-washed isle holds all that once was Persia.
Darius Since dread long ingrained in your mind restrains you,cease, noble woman, venerable partner of my bed, from your tears and laments, speak to me with all frankness. Afflictions ordained for human life must, we know, befall mankind. For many calamities from the sea, many from the land, arise to mortal men if their span of life is extended far. Atossa O you who in prosperity surpassed all mortal men by your happy destiny,since, so long as you gazed upon the beams of the sun, you lived a life of felicity, envied of all, in Persian eyes a god, so now too I consider you fortunate in that you died before you beheld the depth of our calamities. The whole tale, O Darius, you will hear in brief space of time: the power of Persia is ruined almost utterly.
Chorus What then, O king Darius? What is the intention of your words? How, after this reverse, may we, the people of Persia, best prosper in time to come? Darius If you do not take the field against the Hellenes' land, even if the forces of the Medes outnumber theirs. The land itself is their ally. Chorus What do you mean? In what way “their ally”? Darius It wastes with famine an enemy force which is too large. Chorus But we will dispatch a force of select and easily managed troops. Darius Not even the host which now remains in Hellas will be able to return to safety. Chorus How is that? Will not the whole barbarian army cross from Europe over the Hellesp
Chorus And there is no man skilled to withstand the mighty stream of men, and with strong barriers keep out the sea's invincible surge;for Persia's host cannot be withstood, and her men are courageous.
Enter Xerxes in tattered robes, and attended by a scanty retinue Xerxes Alas, wretched am I who have met this cruel doomwhich did not give the faintest sign of its coming! In what savage mood has Fortune trampled upon the Persian race? What misery is yet in store for me, unhappy wretch? The strength of my limbs is loosened as I look upon this aged group of citizens.Ah, Zeus,I wish that the doom of death had buried me, too, together with the men who have been laid low! Chorus Alas, my king, for our noble army, for the high honor of Persia's rule,and for the splendor of the men now cut off by Fate! The land bewails her native youth, slaughtered for Xerxes, who has crowded Hades with Persian slain.Many warriors, masters of the bow, our country's pride, a great multitude of men, have perished. Alas, alas, for our trusty defence! The land of Asia, the leading power of the earth,has piteously, yes piteously, been bowed to her knees.