how dear they are or how thou art their mother. This one brief day forget thy children dear, and after that lament; for though thou wilt slay them yet they were thy darlings still, and I am a lady of sorrows.
Cho. O earth, O sun whose beam illumines all, look, look upon this lost woman, ere she stretch forth her murderous hand upon her sons for blood; for lo! these are scions of thy own golden seed, and the blood of gods is in danger of being shed by man. O light, from Zeus proceeding, stay her, hold her hand, forth from the house chase this fell bloody fiend by demons led. Vainly wasted were the throes thy children cost thee; vainly hast thou born, it seems, sweet babes, O thou who hast left behind thee that passage through the blue Symplegades, that strangers justly hate. Ah! hapless one, why doth fierce anger thy soul assail? Why in its place is fell murder growing up? For grievous unto mortal men are pollutions that come of kindred blood poured on the earth, woes to suit each crime hurled from heaven on the murderer’s house.
1st Son (within). Ah, me; what can I do? Whither fly to escape my mother’s blows?
2nd Son (within). I know not, sweet brother mine; we are undone.
Cho. Didst hear, didst hear the children’s cry? O lady, born to sorrow, victim of an evil fate! Shall I enter the house? For the children’s sake I am resolved to ward off the murder.
1st Son (within). Yea, by heaven I adjure you; help, your aid is needed.
- The construction is intentionally irregular. Her emotion prevents a grammatical completion of the sentence.
- This use of ἀμειβεται is so unusual that the passage is open to grave suspicion. The three following lines are extremely confused and probably corrupt. Weil proposes ἐπέγειρεν for ’επὶ γαῖαν; var. lect. for ξυνῳδὰ is ξύνοιδα