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HECUBA by Euripides, Part 11

HECUBA
Hath he any recollection of me his mother?
POLYMESTOR
Aye, he was longing to steal away hither to thee.
HECUBA
Is the gold safe, which he brought with him from Troy?
POLYMESTOR
Safe under lock and key in my halls.
HECUBA
There keep it, but covet not thy neighbour's goods.
POLYMESTOR
Not I; God grant me luck of what I have, lady!
HECUBA
Dost know what I wish to say to thee and thy children?
POLYMESTOR
Not yet; thy words maybe will declare it.
HECUBA
May it grow as dear to thee as thou now art to me!
POLYMESTOR
What is it that I and my children are to learn?
HECUBA
There be ancient vaults filled full of gold by Priam's line.
POLYMESTOR
Is it this thou wouldst tell thy son?
HECUBA
Yes, by thy lips, for thou art a righteous man.
POLYMESTOR
What need then of these children's presence?
HECUBA
'Tis better they should know it, in case of thy death.
POLYMESTOR.
True; 'tis also the wiser way.
HECUBA
Well, dost thou know where stands the shrine of Trojan Athena?
POLYMESTOR
Is the gold there? what is there to mark it?
HECUBA
A black rock rising above the ground.
POLYMESTOR
Is there aught else thou wouldst tell me about the place?
HECUBA
I wish to keep safe the treasure I brought from Troy.
POLYMESTOR
Where can it be? inside thy dress, or hast thou it hidden?
HECUBA
'Tis safe amid a heap of spoils within these tents.
POLYMESTOR
Where? This is the station built by the Achaeans to surround their
fleet.
HECUBA
The captive women have huts of their own.
POLYMESTOR
It is safe to enter? are there no men about?
HECUBA
There are no Achaeans within; we are alone. Enter then the tent,
for the Argives are eager to set sail from Troy for home; and, when
thou hast accomplished all that is appointed thee, thou shalt return
with thy children to that bourn where thou hast lodged my son.

(HECUBA leads POLYMESTOR and his children into the tent.)

CHORUS (chanting)
Not yet hast thou paid the penalty, but maybe thou yet wilt;
like one who slips and falls into the surge with no haven near, so
shalt thou lose thy own life for the life thou hast taken. For where
the rights of justice and the law of heaven are one, there is ruin
fraught with death and doom. Thy hopes of this journey shall cheat
thee, for it hath led thee, unhappy wretch! to the halls of death; and
to no warrior's hand shalt thou resign thy life.
POLYMESTOR (within the tent)
O horror! I am blinded of the light of my eyes, ah me!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Heard ye, friends, that Thracian's cry of woe?
POLYMESTOR (within)
O horror! horror! my children! O the cruel blow.
LEADER
Friends, new ills are brought to pass in yonder tent.
POLYMESTOR (within)
Nay, ye shall never escape for all your hurried flight; for with
my fist will I burst open the inmost recesses of this hall.
LEADER
Hark! how he launches ponderous blows! Shall we force an entry?
The crisis calls on us to aid HECUBA and the Trojan women.

(HECUBA enters, calling back into the tent.)

HECUBA
Strike on, spare not, burst the doors! thou shalt ne'er replace
bright vision in thy eyes nor ever see thy children, whom I have
slain, alive again.
LEADER
What! hast thou foiled the Thracian, and is the stranger in thy
power, mistress mine? is all thy threat now brought to pass?
HECUBA
A moment, and thou shalt see him before the tent, his eyes put
out, with random step advancing as a blind man must; yea, and the
bodies of his two children whom I with my brave daughters of Troy
did slay; he hath paid me his forfeit; look where he cometh from the
tent. I will withdraw out of his path and stand aloof from the hot
fury of this Thracian, my deadly foe.

(POLYMESTOR rushes out. Blood is streaming from his eyes.)

 

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