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AJAX by Sophocles, Part 13


SEMI-CHORUS 1 chanting
'Tis toil on toil, and toil again.
Where! where!
Where have not my footsteps been?
And still no place reveals the secret of my search.
But hark!
There again I hear a sound.
SEMI-CHORUS 2 enters.

SEMI-CHORUS 2 chanting
'Tis we, the ship-companions of your voyage.

SEMI-CHORUS 1 chanting
Well how now?

SEMI-CHORUS 2 chanting
We have searched the whole coast westward from the ship.

SEMI-CHORUS 1 chanting
You have found nought?

SEMI-CHORUS 2 chanting
A deal of toil, but nothing more to see.

SEMI-CHORUS 1 chanting
Neither has he been found along the path
That leads from the eastern glances of the sun.

CHORUS singing
strophe

From whom, oh from whom? what hard son of the waves,
Plying his weary task without thought of sleep,
Or what Olympian nymph of hill or stream that flows
Down to the Bosporus' shore,
Might I have tidings of my lord
Wandering somewhere seen
Fierce of mood? Grievous it is
When I have toiled so long, and ranged far and wide
Thus to fail, thus to have sought in vain.
Still the afflicted hero nowhere may I find.
TECMESSA enters and discovers the body.

TECMESSA
Alas, woe, woe!

CHORUS chanting
Whose cry was it that broke from yonder copse?

TECMESSA
Alas, woe is me!

LEADER OF THE CHORUS
It is the hapless spear-won bride I see,
Tecmessa, steeped in that wail's agony.

TECMESSA
I am lost, destroyed, made desolate, my friends.

LEADER
What is it? Speak.

TECMESSA
Ajax, our master, newly slaughtered lies
Yonder, a hidden sword sheathed in his body.

CHORUS chanting
Woe for my lost hopes of home!
Woe's me, thou hast slain me, my king,
Me thy shipmate, hapless man!
Woful-souled woman too!

TECMESSA
Since thus it is with him, 'tis mine to wail.

LEADER
By whose hand has he wrought this luckless deed?

TECMESSA
By his own hand, 'tis evident. This sword
Whereon he fell, planted in earth, convicts him.

CHORUS chanting
Woe for my blind folly! Lone in thy blood thou liest, from friends' help afar.
And I the wholly witless, the all unwary,
Forbore to watch thee. Where, where
Lieth the fatally named, intractable Ajax?

 

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