AJAX by Sophocles, Part 17
Shieldless, I would outmatch you panoplied.
How terrible a courage dwells within your tongue!
He may be bold of heart whose side right favours.
Is it right that my assassin should be honoured?
Assassin? How strange, if, though slain, you live!
Heaven saved me: I was slain in his intent.
Do not dishonour then the gods who saved you.
What, I rebel against the laws of heaven?
Yes, if you come to rob the dead of burial.
My own foes! How could I endure such wrong?
Did Ajax ever confront you as your foe?
He loathed me, and I him, as well you know.
Because to defraud him you intrigued for votes.
It was the judges cast him, and not I.
Much secret villainy you could make seem fair.
That saying will bring someone into trouble.
Not greater trouble than we mean to inflict.
My one last word: this man must not have burial.
Then hear my answer: burial he shall have.
Once did I see a fellow bold of tongue,
Who had urged a crew to sail in time of storm;
Yet no voice had you found in him, when winds
Began to blow; but hidden beneath his cloak
The mariners might trample on him at will.
And so with you and your fierce railleries,
Perchance a great storm, though from a little cloud
Its breath proceed, shall quench your blatant outcry.
And I once saw a fellow filled with folly,
Who gloried scornfully in his neighbour's woes.
So it came to pass that someone like myself,
And of like mood, beholding him spoke thus.
"Man, act not wickedly towards the dead;
Or, if thou dost, be sure that thou wilt rue it."
Thus did he monish that infatuate man.
And lo! yonder I see him; and as I think,
He is none else but thou. Do I speak riddles?
I go. It were disgrace should any know
I had fallen to chiding where I might chastise.
Begone then. For to me 'twere worst disgrace
That I should listen to a fool's idle blustering.
MENELAUS and his retinue depart.
Soon mighty and fell will the strife be begun.
But speedily now, Teucer, I pray thee,
Seek some fit place for his hollow grave,
Which men's memories evermore shall praise,
As he lies there mouldering at rest.
TECMESSA enters with EURYSACES.