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HECUBA by Euripides, Part 08

LEADER
Alas for thee! how some deity, whose hand is heavy on thee, hath
sent thee troubles beyond all other mortals! But yonder I see our lord
and master AGAMEMNON coming; so let us be still henceforth, my
friends.
(AGAMEMNON enters.)
AGAMEMNON
HECUBA, why art thou delaying to come and bury thy daughter? for
it was for this that Talthybius brought me thy message begging that
none of the Argives should touch thy child. And so I granted this, and
none is touching her, but this long delay of thine fills me with
wonder. Wherefore am I come to send thee hence; for our part there
is well performed; if herein there be any place for "well."
(He sees the body.)

Ha! what man is this I see near the tents, some Trojan's corpse?
'tis not an Argive's body; that the garments it is clad in tell me.
HECUBA (aside)
Unhappy one! in naming thee I name myself; O HECUBA, what shall
do? throw myself here at AGAMEMNON's knees, or bear my sorrows in
silence?
AGAMEMNON
Why dost thou turn thy back towards me and weep, refusing to
say, what has happened, or who this is?
HECUBA (aside)
But should he count me as a slave and foe and spurn me from his
knees, I should but add to my anguish.
AGAMEMNON
I am no prophet born; wherefore, if I be not told, I cannot
learn the current of thy thoughts.
HECUBA (aside)
Can it be that in estimating this man's feelings I make him out
too ill-disposed, when he is not really so?
AGAMEMNON
If thy wish really is that I should remain in ignorance, we are of
one mind; for I have no wish myself to listen.
HECUBA (aside)
Without his aid I shall not be able to avenge my children. Why
do still ponder the matter? I must do and dare whether I win or
lose. (Turning to AGAMEMNON) O AGAMEMNON! by thy knees, by thy beard
and conquering hand I implore thee.
AGAMEMNON
What is thy desire? to be set free? that is easily done.
HECUBA
Not that; give me vengeance on the wicked, and evermore am I
willing to lead a life of slavery.
AGAMEMNON
Well, but why dost thou call me to thy aid?
HECUBA
'Tis a matter thou little reckest of, O king. Dost see this
corpse, for whom my tears now flow?
AGAMEMNON
I do; but what is to follow, I cannot guess.
HECUBA
He was my child in days gone by; I bore him in my womb.
AGAMEMNON
Which of thy sons is he, poor sufferer?
HECUBA
Not one of Priam's race who fell 'neath Ilium's walls.
AGAMEMNON
Hadst thou any son besides those, lady?
HECUBA
Yes, him thou seest here, of whom, methinks, I have small gain.
AGAMEMNON
Where then was he, when his city was being destroyed?
HECUBA
His father, fearful of his death, conveyed him out of Troy.
AGAMEMNON
Where did he place him apart from all the sons he then had?
HECUBA
Here in this very land, where his corpse was found.
AGAMEMNON
With Polymestor, the king of this country?
HECUBA
Hither was he sent in charge of gold, most bitter trust!
AGAMEMNON
By whom was he slain? what death o'ertook him?
HECUBA
By whom but by this man? His Thracian host slew him.
AGAMEMNON
The wretch! could he have been so eager for the treasure?
HECUBA
Even so; soon as ever he heard of the Phrygians' disaster.
AGAMEMNON
Where didst find him? or did some one bring his corpse?
HECUBA
This maid, who chanced upon it on the sea-shore.
AGAMEMNON
Was she seeking it, or bent on other tasks?
HECUBA
She had gone to fetch water from the sea to wash Polyxena.
AGAMEMNON
It seems then his host slew him and cast his body out to sea.
HECUBA
Aye, for the waves to toss, after mangling him thus.
AGAMEMNON
Woe is thee for thy measureless troubles!
HECUBA
I am ruined; no evil now is left, O AGAMEMNON.
AGAMEMNON
Look you! what woman was ever born to such misfortune?

 

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