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But what is coming over me? Do I wish to suffer mockery, [1050] letting my enemies go unpunished? Must I put up with that? No, it is mere weakness in me even to admit such tender words into my heart. Children, go into the house. Whoever is not permitted to attend my sacrifice [1055] shall feel concern for them: I shall not weaken my hand. [Oh! Do not, my angry heart, do not do these things. Let them go, hard-hearted wretch, spare the children. If they live with me in that other place,1 they will gladden you. By Hell's avenging furies, [1060] I shall never leave my children for my enemies to outrage.2 They must die in any case. And since they must, the one who gave them birth shall kill them. These things are settled in any case and cannot be undone.]

The children begin to move toward the house.
[1065] Already the crown is on her head and the royal bride is perishing in the robe, I know it well. But—since I now go down the road of greatest misery and send these down one unhappier yet—I want to say farewell to the children.

The children return to Medea.
Give me [1070] your right hands to kiss, my children, give them to me. O hands and lips so dear to me, o noble face and bearing of my children, I wish you happiness—but in that other place. What is here your father has taken away. Oh, how sweet is the touch, [1075] how tender the skin, how fragrant the breath of these children! Go in, go in. I can no longer look at you but am overwhelmed with my pain. And I know well what pain I am about to undergo, but my wrath overbears my calculation, [1080] wrath that brings mortal men their gravest hurt.Exit the children into the house followed by Medea.

1 The author of these lines apparently means ‘Athens.’ Contrast the expressively ambiguous use of ἐκεῖto mean Hades in 1073 below.

2 Among the reasons for deleting these lines is that they make no intelligible sense. Medea cannot resolve on murdering her children as the only alternative to leaving them to be outraged by the Corinthians when less than twenty lines earlier she discussed taking them with her. Also they refer explicitly in the children's hearing to their murder, unlike the ambiguous language elsewhere in the speech.

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Athens (Greece) (1)

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1073 AD (1)
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