The Tragedies of Euripides Part 37

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MED. Thou dost not yet mourn enough: stay and grow old.[45]

JAS. Oh my dearest sons!

MED. To their mother at least, but not to thee.

JAS. And yet thou slewest them.

MED. To grieve thee.

JAS. Alas, alas! I hapless man long to kiss the dear mouths of my children.

MED. Now them addressest, now salutest them, formerly rejecting them with scorn.

JAS. Grant me, by the Gods, to touch the soft skin of my sons.

MED. It is not possible. Thy words are thrown away in vain.

JAS. Dost thou hear this, O Jove, how I am rejected, and what I suffer from this accursed and child-destroying lioness? But as much indeed as is in my power and I am able, I lament and mourn over these; calling the Gods to witness, that having slain my children, thou preventest me from touching them with my hands, and from burying the bodies, whom, oh that I had never begotten, and seen them thus destroyed by thee.

CHOR. Jove is the dispenser of various fates in heaven, and the Gods perform many things contrary to our expectations, and those things which we looked for are not accomplished; but the God hath brought to pass things unthought of. In such manner hath this affair ended.


[1] The Cyaneae Petrae, or Symplegades, were two rocks in the mouth of the Euxine Sea, said to meet together with prodigious violence, and crush the passing ships. See Pindar. Pyth. iv. 386.

[2] e?et?sa? signifies to make to row; e?et?sa?, to row. In the same sense the two verbs derived from p??e?? are used, p??e?? signifying ad bellum excito; p??ee?, bellum gero.

[3] Elmsley reads f??? in the nominative case, "_a flight indeed pleasing_," etc.

[4] Literally, _Before we have drained this to the very dregs_. So Virgil, aen. iv. 14. _Quae bella exhausta canebat_!

[5] Ter. And. Act. ii. Sc. 5. _Omnes sibi malle melius esse quam alteri_.

Ac. iv. Sc. 1. _Proximus sum egomet mihi_.

[6] Elmsley reads ?a? for e?, "_And their father_," etc.

[7] In Elms. Dind. t? ?a? e???s?a?, "_for the being accustomed_," etc.

[8] d??ata? here signifies ?s??e?, s?e?e?; and in this sense it is repeatedly used: ??de?a ?a????, in this place, is not to be interpreted "intempestive", but "immoderate, supra modum." For this signification consult Stephen's Thesaurus, word ?a????. EMSLEY.

[9] ??de is used in this sense v. 49, 687, 901, of this Play.

[10] ??e?a is best taken with Reiske as the accusative plural, though the Scholiast considers it the nominative singular. ELMSLEY.

[11] ?e??ta? need not be translated as ?????e????, the sense is [Greek; ontas]: so a??ad?? ?e???, line 225.

[12] That is, the character of man can not be discovered by the countenance: so Juvenal,

Fronti nulla fides.

??st??, though in the singular number, refers to ??t?? in the plural: a similar construction is met with in Homer, Il. G. 279.

a????p??? t????s???, ?? t?? ?' ep?????? ???ss??.

[13] Grammarians teach us that ?ae?? is applied to the husband, ?ae?s?a?

to the wife; and this rule will generally be found to hold good. We must either then read ?? t' e??at?, which Porson does not object to, and Elmsley adopts; or understand e??at? in an ironical sense, in the spirit of Martial's _Uxori nubere nolo meae_: in the latter case ??? t' e??at?

should be read (not ??? t'), as being the proper syntax.

[14] The primary signification of p??e??? is _absonus_, _out of tune_: hence is easily deduced the signification in which it is often found in Euripides. The word p??e??sa? occurs in the Phnissae, l. 1669.

[15] Elmsley approves of the reading adopted by Porson, though he has given in his text

p????e? ??e??, ?' ?? p???? ?e???e?a.

"_We are oppressed with cares, and want not other cares_," as being more likely to have come from Euripides. So also Dindorf.

[16] ??? e???a?; is here used for the more common expression ??? e???e?. So Herodotus, Clio, clv. ?? pa?s??ta? ??? ??d??, ??? ???as?, p?a?ata pa?e???te?, ?a? a?t?? e???te?. See also Hecuba, 801.

[17] Beck interprets this passage, "Mea quidem vita ut non habeat laudem, fama obstat." Heath translates it, "Jam in contrariam partem tendens fama efficit, ut mea quoque vita laudem habeat." We are told by the Scholiast, that by ??ta? is to be understood f?s??.

[18] Iolcos was a city of Thessaly, distant about seven stadii from the sea, where the parents of Jason lived: Pelion was both a mountain and city of Thessaly, close to Iolcos; whence Iolcos is called Peliotic.

[19] For the same sentiment more fully expressed, see Hippolytus, 616-625.

See also Paradise Lost, x. 890.

Oh, why did God, Creator wise, that peopled highest heaven With spirits masculine, create at last This novelty on earth, this fair defect Of nature, and not fill the world at once With men, as angels, without feminine?

[20] Porson rightly reads ta?' a? p????? with Wyttenbach.

[21] Elmsley has

"??? ?a? d??e? ?? ta?ta, ?a? ?a??? e?e??

?a??? t??a????, ???? p??d??? ??a? e?e?, ?a? ??f??' e??a?, ?a? ?a??? e???se?a."

"_that these things appear good to me, and that the alliance with the princes, which he, having forsaken me, has contracted, are both advantageous and well determined on_." So also Dind. but ?a??? e?e?. Porson omits the line.

[22] In Elmsley this line is omitted, and instead of it is inserted

"??f?? fe???ta?, t??de ? fe??e?? ????a."

"_offering them to the bride, that they may not be banished from this country_," which Dindorf retains, and brackets the other.

[23] Although the Scholiast reprobates this interpretation, it seems to be the best, nor is it any objection, that ????s??? is elsewhere represented as the Mother of the Muses; so much at variance is the poetry of Euripides with the received mythology of the ancients. ELMSLEY.

[24] The construction is p???? ??e??? p?ta??; thus Thebes, Phnis. l. 831, is called p????? d?d??? p?ta??. A like expression occurs in 2 Sam. xii.

The Tragedies of Euripides Part 37

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