Vanessa Redgrave as Andromache in The Trojan Women (1971)


Ὦ φίλτατ’, ὦ περισσὰ τιμηθεὶς τέκνον,
θανεῖ πρὸς ἐχθρῶν μητέρ’ ἀθλίαν λιπών.
ἡ τοῦ πατρὸς δέ σ’ εὐγένει’ ἀπώλεσεν,
ἣ τοῖσιν ἄλλοις γίγνεται σωτηρία,
τὸ δ’ ἐσθλὸν οὐκ εἰς καιρὸν ἦλθε σοὶ πατρός.
ὦ λέκτρα τἀμὰ δυστυχῆ τε καὶ γάμοι,
οἷς ἦλθον ἐς μέλαθρον Ἕκτορός ποτε,
οὐ σφάγιον υἱὸν Δαναΐδαις τέξουσ’ ἐμόν,
ἀλλ’ ὡς τύραννον Ἀσιάδος πολυσπόρου.
ὦ παῖ, δακρύεις; αἰσθάνει κακῶν σέθεν;
τί μου δέδραξαι χερσὶ κἀντέχει πέπλων,
νεοσσὸς ὡσεὶ πτέρυγας εἰσπίτνων ἐμάς;
οὐκ εἶσιν Ἕκτωρ κλεινὸν ἁρπάσας δόρυ,
γῆς ἐξανελθὼν, σοὶ φέρων σωτηρίαν,
οὐ συγγένεια πατρός, οὐκ ἰσχὺς Φρυγῶν·
λυγρὸν δὲ πήδημ’ εἰς τράχηλον ὑψόθεν
πεσὼν ἀνοίκτως, πνεῦμ’ ἀπορρήξεις σέθεν.
ὦ νέον ὑπαγκάλισμα μητρὶ φίλτατον,
ὦ χρωτὸς ἡδὺ πνεῦμα· διὰ κενῆς ἄρα
ἐν σπαργάνοις σε μαστὸς ἐξέθρεψ’ ὅδε,
μάτην δ’ ἐμόχθουν καὶ κατεξάνθην πόνοις.
νῦν, οὔποτ’ αὖθις, μητέρ’ ἀσπάζου σέθεν,
πρόσπιτνε τὴν τεκοῦσαν, ἀμφὶ δ’ ὠλένας
ἕλισσ’ ἐμοῖς νώτοισι καὶ στόμ’ ἅρμοσον.
ὦ βάρβαρ’ ἐξευρόντες Ἕλληνες κακά,
τί τόνδε παῖδα κτείνετ’ οὐδὲν αἴτιον;
(Euripides, Troades 740-765)


O my sweet child, too loved, too doted on,
Now you will be killed by enemies, leaving
Your mother bereft. What ought to have been your haven,
Your father’s high birth, only brings you death,
His courage your undoing. When I came
To Hector’s house, I never thought those vows,
That marriage bed, would lead to misery.
I thought I had given birth to a king over all
Of fertile Asia’s wealth. I never thought
I bore you to be slaughtered by the Greeks.
Is that why you cry, too, child? Do you see
What’s soon to happen, what they’re about to do?
Why hold tight to me, clinging to my dress
Like a young bird burrowing for safety
Under my wings? No one can save you; Hector
Can’t rise from his grave, his famous spear in hand,
Nor any of his kin, nor any strong-armed
Soldier from the Trojan ranks. No one will come
To stop them or even pity you when they hurl you
From that great height, and your thin neck shatters,
Snuffing your life out. O my little one,
So precious to your mother, O the unbearable
Sweet scent of your skin! So it was all for nothing
That I suckled you at this breast and swaddled you
And fussed and worried, wearing myself out.
Now kiss your mother one last time, come hug her
Who gave you life, one final time your arms
Around my neck, your lips on mine. O Greeks,
Not even a barbarian could invent
Atrocities like this – why kill this child,
What has he done to you? Whom has he ever harmed?
(tr. Alan Shapiro)

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