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AJAX by Sophocles, Part 06

Child of Teleutas, fearful are thy tidings,
That our prince has been maddened by his griefs.

AJAX within
Alas! Woe, woe!

Soon, I fear, worse will follow. Heard you not?
'Twas Ajax. Oh, how dreadful was that cry.

Alas! Woe, woe!

He seems either still frenzied, or else grieving
For his past frenzies, now he sees their work.

Alas! My son, my son!

Woe's me! Eurysaces, 'tis for thee he calls.
What can he purpose?-Where art thou?-Ah, woe!

Teucer, come!-Where is Teucer? Will he never
Come back from cattle-raiding?-while I perish!

He seems in his right mind. But open the doors.
Perhaps even the sight of me may sober him.
She opens the doors of the tent. AJAX is revealed sitting among the slain beasts.

See, I have opened. You may now behold
What he has done, and in what plight he lies.

AJAX chanting
My shipmates and friends, you that alone to me
Loyal and true remain, of all friends alone,
Behold how great a billow lately rising from the storm of blood
Surging around engulphs me!

Ah me, too true, it seems, was thy report.
This sight reveals the work of no sane mind.

AJAX chanting
My mates, skilled and tried in brave seamanship,
Ye who embarking drove the wave-cleaving oar,
In you, in you alone I see a help and refuge from despair.
Smite me, and spill my blood too.

Keep silence from dread words; nor curing ill
By ill, so swell the misery of this curse.

AJAX chanting
Behold now the bold, the man stout of heart,
Who ne'er shrank in fight against foes-behold
How I have spent my rage on beasts that feared no harm!
Ah me, the mockery! To what shame am I brought low

Ajax, my master, I entreat thee, speak not so.

AJAX chanting
Away hence, I command thee! Take thyself elsewhere.
Aiai! Aiai!

Oh, by the Gods, we pray thee, yield to wisdom's voice.

AJAX chanting
Oh, wretch that I was to allow
Those cursed foes to slip from my hands, and assaulting
Horned kine and goodly flocks, madly to spill
Their life in streams of dark blood!

Why still be afflicted, now the deed is done past cure?
Never can these things be as though they had not been.

AJAX chanting
Thou all-spying knave, of all deeds of shame
The prompt, easy tool, Odysseus the wise!
Villain, of all the camp the most foul and vile!
Huge laughter doubtless shakes thee now for sheer delight.

As God appoints, so every man laughs or laments.


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