LYC. Animosne mersus inferis coniunx facit?
MEG. inferna tetigit, posset ut supera assequi.
LYC. telluris illum pondus immensae premit.
MEG. nullo premetur onere, qui caelum tulit.
MEG. cogi qui potest nescit mori.
LYC. effare thalamis quod novis potius parem
MEG. aut tuam mortem aut meam.
LYC. moriere demens.
MEG. coniugi occurram meo.
LYC. sceptrone nostro potior est famulus tibi?
MEG. quot iste famulus tradidit reges neci!
LYC. cur ergo regi servit et patitur iugum?
MEG. imperia dura tolle: quid virtus erit?
LYC. obici feris monstrisque virtutem putas?
MEG. virtutis est domare quae cuncti pavent.
LYC. tenebrae loquentem magna Tartareae premunt.
MEG. non est ad astra mollis e terris via.
(Seneca Minor, Herc. Fur. 422-437)
LYC. You take courage from a husband sunk in the underworld?
MEG. He visited the underworld to gain the upper world.
LYC. He is crushed by the weight of the vast earth.
MEG. No burden will crush the one who carried the heavens.
LYC. You will be forced.
MEG. One who can be forced does not know how to die.
LYC. Say what kingly gift I should prepare instead for our new marriage.
MEG. Either your death or mine.
LYC. You will die, madwoman.
MEG. Then I shall find my husband.
LYC. And is a slave more to you than my sceptered power?
MEG. How many kings that “slave” has delivered to death!
LYC. Then why does he serve a king and endure subjection?
MEG. Take away harsh commands: what will valour be?
LYC. You think being thrown to beasts and monsters is valour?
MEG. Valour consists of subduing what everyone fears.
LYC. The darkness of Tartarus covers that great boaster.
MEG. The path from earth to the stars is not a smooth one.
(tr. John G. Fitch)