Apōthoumestha

heracles children-1

[ΙΟΛΑΟΣ]

Ὦ τέκν’, ἔοιγμεν ναυτίλοισιν οἵτινες
χειμῶνος ἐκφυγόντες ἄγριον μένος
ἐς χεῖρα γῇ συνῆψαν, εἶτα χερσόθεν
πνοιαῖσιν ἠλάθησαν ἐς πόντον πάλιν.
οὕτω δὲ χἠμεῖς τῆσδ’ ἀπωθούμεσθα γῆς
ἤδη πρὸς ἀκταῖς ὄντες ὡς σεσωμένοι.
οἴμοι· τί δῆτ’ ἔτερψας ὦ τάλαινά με
ἐλπὶς τότ’, οὐ μέλλουσα διατελεῖν χάριν;
συγγνωστὰ γάρ τοι καὶ τὰ τοῦδ’, εἰ μὴ θέλει
κτείνειν πολιτῶν παῖδας, αἰνέσαι δ’ ἔχω
καὶ τἀνθάδ’· εἰ θεοῖσι δὴ δοκεῖ τάδε
πράσσειν ἔμ’, οὔτοι σοί γ’ ἀπόλλυται χάρις.
ὦ παῖδες, ὑμῖν δ’ οὐκ ἔχω τί χρήσομαι.
ποῖ τρεψόμεσθα; Τίς γὰρ ἄστεπτος θεῶν;
ποῖον δὲ γαίας ἕρκος οὐκ ἀφίγμεθα;
ὀλούμεθ’, ὦ τέκν’· ἐκδοθησόμεσθα δή.
κἀμοῦ μὲν οὐδὲν εἴ με χρὴ θανεῖν μέλει,
πλὴν εἴ τι τέρψω τοὺς ἐμοὺς ἐχθροὺς θανών·
ὑμᾶς δὲ κλαίω καὶ κατοικτίρω, τέκνα,
καὶ τὴν γεραιὰν μητέρ’ Ἀλκμήνην πατρός.
ὦ δυστάλαινα τοῦ μακροῦ βίου σέθεν,
τλήμων δὲ κἀγὼ πολλὰ μοχθήσας μάτην.
χρῆν χρῆν ἄρ’ ἡμᾶς ἀνδρὸς εἰς ἐχθροῦ χέρας
πεσόντας αἰσχρῶς καὶ κακῶς λιπεῖν βίον.
(Euripides, Heraclid. 427-450)

[IOLAUS]

My children, we are like sailors who have escaped the wild blast of the storm and are a hand’s breadth from dry land, but then are driven by winds into the deep again! That is how we are being thrust from this land when we are already at its shores and feeling safe. Ah me! Why did you give me pleasure before, cruel Hope, if you did not intend to carry out your favor to the end? For, of course, Demophon’s position is quite understandable, that he is unwilling to kill the children of his citizens, and I can find words of praise even for what has happened here: if it is the gods’ will that I should fare thus, you at any rate have not lost the gratitude we owe you.
My children, I do not know what I am to do for you. Where shall we turn? What god’s altars have we not garlanded? To what land have we not come for refuge? We are doomed, my children, now we shall be given up! I do not care for myself if I must die, unless my death gives pleasure to my enemies. It is you I weep for, you I pty, my children, and Alcmene your aged grandmother! How unlucky you are in your long life! I too am luckless for having toiled so long in vain. It was fated, fated, I see it now, that we must fall into the hands of our enemy and lose our lives in disgrace and pain! (tr. David Kovacs)

Hesperan

haze_and_clouds_obscure_the_setting_sun_-_noaa

Habet et cuiusque hominis aetas suam vesperam, quae simul atque advenit, iuventae gratia vertitur in taedium. ita senex quidam apud Alexidem: ἤδη γὰρ ὁ βίος οὑμὸς ἑσπέραν ἄγει [fr. 230 K-A], id est: mea quippe seram vita ducit vesperam. sub occasum autem solis incumbunt umbrae, unde Euripides: τί δ’ ἄλλο; φωνὴ καὶ σκιὰ γέρων ἀνήρ [fr. 509 N]. quid aliud atque vox et umbra vir senex?
(Erasmus, Adagia 2215)

And every man’s life has its evening, at whose onset the graces of youth change into weariness. There is an old man in Alexis, who says ‘For now the evening of my life draws on,’ and at the setting of the sun the shadows gather. Hence, as Euripides has it, ‘Old age: a voice, a shadow, and no more.’ (tr. Roger Aubrey Baskerville Mynors)

Katoptron

siiasa1605b

[ΦΑΙΔΡΑ]

Μόνον δὲ τοῦτο φασ’ ἁμιλλᾶσθαι βίῳ,
γνώμην δικαίαν κἀγαθὴν ὅτῳ παρῇ.
κακοὺς δὲ θνητῶν ἐξέφην’ ὅταν τύχῃ,
προθεὶς κάτοπτρον ὥστε παρθένῳ νέᾳ,
χρόνος· παρ’ οἷσι μήποτ’ ὀφθείην ἐγώ.

[PHAEDRA]

One thing only, they say, competes in value with life, the possession of a heart blameless and good. But as for the base among mortals, they are exposed, late or soon, by Time, who holds up to them, as to a young girl, a mirror. In their number may I never be found! (tr. David Kovacs)

Neossos

trojan-women
Vanessa Redgrave as Andromache in The Trojan Women (1971)

[ΑΝΔΡΟΜΑΧΗ]

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)

[ANDROMACHE]

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)

Theous

Φησίν τις εἶναι δῆτ’ ἐν οὐρανῷ θεούς;
οὐκ εἰσίν, οὐκ εἴσ’, εἴ τις ἀνθρώπων θέλει
μὴ τῷ παλαιῷ μῶρος ὢν χρῆσθαι λόγῳ.
σκέψασθε δ’ αὐτοί, μὴ ἐπὶ τοῖς ἐμοῖς λόγοις
γνώμην ἔχοντες. φήμ’ ἐγὼ τυραννίδα
κτείνειν τε πλείστους κτημάτων τ’ ἀποστερεῖν
ὅρκους τε παραβαίνοντας ἐκπορθεῖν πόλεις·
καὶ ταῦτα δρῶντες μᾶλλόν εἰσ’ εὐδαίμονες
τῶν εὐσεβούντων ἡσυχῇ καθ’ ἡμέραν.
πόλεις τε μικρὰς οἶδα τιμώσας θεούς,
αἳ μειζόνων κλύουσι δυσσεβεστέρων
λόγχης ἀριθμῷ πλείονος κρατούμεναι.
(Euripides, fr. 286 Nauck2)

Does someone say there are indeed gods in heaven? There are not, there are not, if a man is willing not to rely foolishly on the antiquated reasoning. Consider for yourselves, do not base your opinion on words of mine. I say myself that tyranny kills very many men and deprives them of their possessions; and that tyrants break their oaths to ransack cities, and in doing this they are more prosperous under heaven than men who live quietly in reverence from day to day. I know too of small cities doing honor to the gods which are subject to larger, more impious ones, because they are overcome by a more numerous army. (tr. Christopher Collard)