The Tragedies of Euripides Part 66

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IOL. A domestic care has come upon me, by which I am constrained.

SERV. Raise now thyself, erect thy head.

IOL. I am an old man, and by no means strong.

SERV. But I am come, bearing to you a great joy.

IOL. And who art thou, where having met you, do I forget you?

SERV. I am a poor servant of Hyllus; do you not recognize me, seeing me?

IOL. O dearest one, dost thou then come as a savior to us from injury?

SERV. Surely; and moreover you are prosperous as to the present state of affairs.

IOL. O mother of a doughty son, I mean Alcmena, come forth, hear these most welcome words; for you have been long wasting away as to your soul in anxiety concerning those who have come hither, where they would ever arrive.[19]

ALCMENA. Wherefore has a mighty shout filled all this house? O Iolaus, does any herald, coming from Argos, again do you violence? my strength indeed is weak, but thus much you must know, O stranger, you shall never drag these away while I am living, else may I no longer be thought to be his mother; but if you touch them with your hand, you will have no honorable contest with two old people.

IOL. Be of good cheer, old woman; fear not, the herald is not come from Argos bearing hostile words.

ALC. Why then did you raise a shout, a messenger of fear?

IOL. To you, that you should approach near before this temple.

ALC. I do not understand this; for who is this man?

IOL. He announces that your son's son is come.

ALC. O! hail thou also for this news; but why and where[20] is he now absent putting his foot in this country? what calamity prevents him from appearing hither with you, and delighting my mind?

SERV. He is stationing and marshaling the army which he has come bringing.

ALC. I no longer understand this speech.

IOL. I do; but it is my business to inquire about this.

SERV. What then of what has been done do you wish to learn?

IOL. With how great a mult.i.tude of allies is he come?

SERV. With many; but I can say no other number.

IOL. The chiefs of the Athenians know, I suppose.

SERV. They do; and they occupy the left wing.[21]

IOL. Is then the army already armed as for the work?

SERV. Ay; and already the victims are led away from the ranks.

IOL. And how far distant is the Argive army?

SERV. So that the general can be distinctly seen.

IOL. Doing what? arraying the ranks of the enemies?

SERV. We conjectured this, for we did not hear him; but I will go; I should not like my masters to join battle with the enemy, deserted as far as my part is concerned.

IOL. And I will go with you; for we think the same things, being present to aid our friends as much as we can.

SERV. It is not your part to say a foolish word.

IOL. And not to share the st.u.r.dy battle with my friends!

SERV. One can not see a wound from an inactive hand.

IOL. But what, can not I too strike through a s.h.i.+eld?

SERV. You might strike, but you yourself would fall first.

IOL. No one of the enemy will dare to behold me.

SERV. You have not, my good friend, the strength which once you had.

IOL. But I will fight with them who will not be the fewer in numbers.

SERV. You add but a slight weight to your friends.

IOL. Do not detain me who am prepared to act.

SERV. You are not able to do any thing, but you may perhaps be to advise.

IOL. You may say the rest, as I not staying to hear.

SERV. How then will you appear to the soldiers without arms?

IOL. There are within this palace arms taken in war, which I will use and restore if alive; but the G.o.d will not demand them back of me, if I fall; but go in, and taking them down from the pegs, bring me as quickly as possible the panoply of a warrior; for this is a disgraceful house-keeping, for some to fight, and some to remain behind through fear.

CHOR. Time does not depress your spirit, but it grows young again, but your body is weak: why dost thou toil in vain? which will harm you indeed, but profit our city but little; you should consider your age, and leave alone impossibilities, it can not be that you again should acquire youth.

ALC. Why are you, not being in your senses, about to leave me alone with my children?

IOL. For valor is the part of men; but it is your duty to take care of them.

ALC. But what if you die? how shall I be saved?

IOL. Your sons who are left will take care of your son.

The Tragedies of Euripides Part 66

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The Tragedies of Euripides Part 66 summary

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