Captivae

merry-joseph blondel, hécube et polyxène, 1814
Merry-Joseph Blondel, Hécube et Polyxène (1814)

[HECVBA. NVNTIVS.]

[HEC.] Ite, ite, Danai, petite iam tuti domos;
optata velis maria diffusis secet
secura classis: concidit virgo ac puer;
bellum peractum est. quo meas lacrimas feram?
ubi hanc anilis expuam leti moram?
natam an nepotem, coniugem an patriam fleam?
an omnia an me? sola mors votum meum,
infantibus, violenta, virginibus venis,
ubique properas saeva: me solam times
vitasque, gladios inter ac tela et faces
quaesita tota nocte, cupientem fugis.
non hostis aut ruina, non ignis meos
absumpsit artus: quam prope a Priamo steti.
[NVN.] repetite celeri maria, captivae, gradu:
iam vela puppis laxat et classis movet.
(Seneca Minor, Tro. 1165-1178)

[HECUBA. MESSENGER.]

[HEC.] Go, go, you Danaans, now you can head for your homes in safety. Let the fleet spread its sails and cut through the longed-for seas without a care. A maiden and boy have fallen: the war is finished. Where shall I take my tears? Where shall I spew out this obstacle to an old woman’s death? Shall I weep for daughter or grandchild, husband or country? For my whole world, or for myself? O death, my only prayer, you come with violence to infants and to girls, everywhere you appear with savage haste; you fear me alone and shun me. Though I sought you all night amid the swords and spears and firebrands, you flee from my desire. No enemy or collapsing building, no fire consumed my body; yet how close I stood to Priam!
[MESS.] Head quickly towards the sea, you prisoners; already the ships are unfurling their sails and the fleet is moving.
(tr. John G. Fitch)

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