The Trojan Women and Hippolytus [NOOK Book]

Overview



Played out against the ruined walls of Troy, The Trojan Women — one of the most powerful indictments of war ever written — grimly recounts the murder of the innocent, the desecration of shrines, and the enslavement of Trojan women. Hippolytus, the second drama, depicts the struggles to master human passion, struggles symbolized by gods who behave like irresponsible humans. These two classics of human self-examination are essential reading for anyone interested in world drama. ...
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The Trojan Women and Hippolytus

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Overview



Played out against the ruined walls of Troy, The Trojan Women — one of the most powerful indictments of war ever written — grimly recounts the murder of the innocent, the desecration of shrines, and the enslavement of Trojan women. Hippolytus, the second drama, depicts the struggles to master human passion, struggles symbolized by gods who behave like irresponsible humans. These two classics of human self-examination are essential reading for anyone interested in world drama.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780486113111
  • Publisher: Dover Publications
  • Publication date: 3/28/2012
  • Series: Dover Thrift Editions
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 64
  • File size: 592 KB

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The Trojan Women and Hippolytus


By Euripides, Edward P. Coleridge

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2014 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-11311-1



CHAPTER 1

THE TROJAN WOMEN


DRAMATIS PERSONÆ

POSEIDON.
ATHENA.
HECUBA.
CHORUS OF CAPTIVE TROJAN WOMEN.
TALTHYBIUS.
CASSANDRA.
ANDROMACHE.
MENELAUS.
HELEN.


SCENE.—Before Agamemnon's Tent in the Camp near Troy.


THE TROJAN WOMEN

Pos.


Lo! from the depths of salt Ægean floods I, Poseidon, come, where choirs of Nereids trip in the mazes of the graceful dance; for since the day that Phoebus and myself with measurement exact set towers of stone about this land of Troy and ringed it round, never from my heart hath passed away a kindly feeling for my Phrygian town, which now is smouldering and o'erthrown, a prey to Argive prowess. For, from his home beneath Parnassus, Phocian Epeus, aided by the craft of Pallas, framed a horse to bear within its womb an armed host, and sent it within the battlements, fraught with death; whence in days to come men shall tell of "The wooden horse," with its hidden load of warriors. Groves forsaken stand and temples of the gods run down with blood, and at the altar's very base, before the god who watched his home, lies Priam dead. While to Achæan ships great store of gold and Phrygian spoils are being conveyed, and they who came against this town, those sons of Hellas, only wait a favouring breeze to follow in their wake, that after ten long years they may with joy behold their wives and children. Vanquished by Hera, Argive goddess, and by Athena, who helped to ruin Phrygia, I am leaving Ilium, that famous town, and the altars that I love; for when drear desolation seizes on a town, the worship of the gods decays and tends to lose respect. Scamander's banks re-echo long and loud the screams of captive maids, as they by lot receive their masters. Arcadia taketh some, and some the folk of Thessaly; others are assigned to Theseus' sons, the Athenian chiefs. And such of the Trojan dames as are not portioned out, are in these tents, set apart for the leaders of the host; and with them Spartan Helen, daughter of Tyndarus, justly counted among the captives. And wouldst thou see that queen of misery, Hecuba, thou canst; for there she lies before the gates, weeping many a bitter tear for many a tribulation; for at Achilles' tomb,—though she knows not this,—her daughter Polyxena has died most piteously; likewise is Priam dead, and her children too; Cassandra, whom the king Apollo left to be a virgin, frenzied maid, hath Agamemnon, in contempt of the god's ordinance and of piety, forced to a dishonoured wedlock. Farewell, O city prosperous once! farewell, ye ramparts of hewn stone! had not Pallas, daughter of Zeus, decreed thy ruin, thou wert standing firmly still.


ATH.


May I address the mighty god whom Heaven reveres and who to my own sire is very nigh in blood, laying aside our former enmity?


Pos.


Thou mayst; for o'er the soul the ties of kin exert no feeble spell, great queen Athena.


ATH.


For thy forgiving mood my thanks! Somewhat have I to impart affecting both thyself and me, O king.


Pos.


Bringst thou fresh tidings from some god, from Zeus, or from some lesser power?


ATH.


From none of these; but on behalf of Troy, whose soil we tread, am I come to seek thy mighty aid, to make it one with mine.


Pos.


What! hast thou laid thy former hate aside to take compassion on the town now that it is burnt to ashes?


ATH.


First go back to the former point; wilt thou make common cause with me in the scheme I purpose?


Pos.


Ay surely; but I would fain learn thy wishes, whether thou art come to help Achæans or Phrygians.


ATH.


I wish to give my former foes, the Trojans, joy, and on the Achæan host impose a return that they will rue.


Pos.


Why leap'st thou thus from mood to mood? Thy love and hate both go too far, on whomsoever centred.


ATH.


Dost not know the insult done to me and to the shrine I love?


Pos.


Surely, in the hour that Aias tore Cassandra thence.


ATH.


Yea, and the Achæans did naught, said naught to him.


POS.


And yet 'twas by thy mighty aid they sacked Ilium.


ATH.


For which cause I would join with thee to work their bane.


Pos.


My powers are ready at thy will. What is thy intent?


ATH.


A returning fraught with woe will I impose on them.


POS.


While yet they stay on shore, or as they cross the briny deep?


ATH.


When they have set sail from Ilium for their homes. On them will Zeus also send his rain and fearful hail, and inky tempests from the sky; yea, and he promises to grant me his levin-bolts to hurl on the Achæans and fire their ships. And do thou, for thy part, make the Ægean strait to roar with mighty billows and whirlpools, and fill Eubœa's hollow bay with corpses, that Achæans may learn henceforth to reverence my temples and regard all other deities.


POS.


So shall it be, for the boon thou cravest needs but few words. I will vex the broad Ægean sea; and the beach of Myconus and the reefs round Delos, Scyros and Lemnos too, and the cliffs of Caphareus shall be strown with many a corpse. Mount thou to Olympus, and taking from thy father's hand his lightning bolts, keep careful watch against the hour when Argos' host lets slip its cables. A fool is he who sacks the towns of men, with shrines and tombs, the dead man's hallowed home, for at the last he makes a desert round himself, and dies.


HEC.


Lift thy head, unhappy lady, from the ground; thy neck upraise; this is Troy no more, no longer am I queen in Ilium. Though fortune change, endure thy lot; sail with the stream, and follow fortune's tack, steer not thy barque of life against the tide, since chance must guide thy course. Ah me! ah me! What else but tears is now my hapless lot, whose country, children, husband, all are lost? Ah! the high-blown pride of ancestors! how cabined now! how brought to nothing after all! What woe must I suppress, or what declare? What plaintive dirge shall I awake? Ah, woe is me! the anguish I suffer lying here stretched upon this pallet hard! O my head, my temples, my side! Ah! could I but turn over, and lie now on this, now on that, to rest my back and spine, while ceaselessly my tearful wail ascends. For e'en this is music to the wretched, to chant their cheerless dirge of sorrow.

Ye swift-prowed ships, rowed to sacred Ilium o'er the deep dark sea, past the fair havens of Hellas, to the flute's ill-omened music and the dulcet voice of pipes, even to the bays of Troyland (alack the day!), wherein ye tied your hawsers, twisted handiwork from Egypt, in quest of that hateful wife of Menelaus, who brought disgrace on Castor, and on Eurotas foul reproach; murderess she of Priam, sire of fifty children, the cause why I, the hapless Hecuba, have wrecked my life upon this troublous strand. Oh that I should sit here o'er against the tent of Agamemnon! Forth from my home to slavery they hale my aged frame, while from my head in piteous wise the hair is shorn for grief. Ah! hapless wives of those mail-clad sons of Troy! Ah! poor maidens, luckless brides, come weep, for Ilium is now but a smouldering ruin; and I, like some mother-bird that o'er her fledgelings screams, will begin the strain; how different from that song I sang to the gods in days long past, as I leaned on Priam's staff, and beat with my foot in Phrygian time to lead the dance!


1ST


HALF-CHO. O Hecuba! why these cries, these piercing shrieks? What mean thy words? For I heard thy piteous wail echo through the building, and a pang of terror shoots through each captive Trojan's breast, as pent within these walls thy mourn their slavish lot.


HEC.


My child, e'en now the hands of Argive rowers are busy at their ships.


1ST


HALF-CHO. Ah, woe is me! what is their intent? Will they really bear me hence in sorrow from my country in their fleet?


HEC.


I know not, though I guess our doom.


1ST


HALF-CHO. O misery! woe to us Trojan dames, soon to hear the order given, "Come forth from the house; the Argives are preparing to return."


HEC.


Oh! do not bid the wild Cassandra leave her chamber, the frantic prophetess, for Argives to insult, nor to my griefs add yet another. Woe to thee, ill-fated Troy, thy sun is set; and woe to thy unhappy children, quick and dead alike, who are leaving thee behind!


2ND


HALF-CHO. With trembling step, alas! I leave this tent of Agamemnon to learn of thee, my royal mistress, whether the Argives have resolved to take my wretched life, whether the sailors at the prow are making ready to ply their oars.


HEC.


My child, a fearful dread seized on my wakeful heart and sent me hither.


2ND


HALF-CHO. Hath a herald from the Danai already come? To whom am I, poor captive, given as a slave?


HEC.


Thou art not far from being allotted now.


2ND


HALF-CHO. Woe worth the day! What Argive or Phthiotian chief will bear me far from Troy, alas! unto his home, or haply to some island fastness?


HEC.


Ah me! ah me! Whose slave shall I become in my old age? in what far clime? a poor old drone, the wretched copy of a corpse, set to keep the gate or tend their children, I who once held royal rank in Troy.


CHO.


Woe, woe is thee! What piteous dirge wilt thou devise to mourn the outrage done thee? No more through Ida's looms shall I ply the shuttle to and fro. I look my last and latest on my children's bodies; henceforth shall I endure surpassing misery; it may be as the unwilling bride of some Hellene (perish the night and fortune that brings me to this!); it may be as a wretched slave I from Peirene's sacred fount shall draw their store of water.

Oh! be it ours to come to Theseus' famous realm, a land of joy! Never, never let me see Eurotas' swirling tide, hateful home of Helen, there to meet and be the slave of Menelaus, whose hand laid Troyland waste! Yon holy land by Peneus fed, nestling in all its beauty at Olympus' foot, is said, so have I heard, to be a very granary of wealth and teeming fruitage; next to the sacred soil of Theseus, I could wish to reach that land. They tell me too Hephæstus' home, beneath the shadow of Ætna, fronting Phœnicia, the mother of Sicilian hills, is famous for the crowns it gives to worth. Or may I find a home on that shore which lieth very nigh Ionia's sea, a land by Crathis watered, lovely stream, that dyes the hair an auburn tint, feeding with its holy waves and making glad therewith the home of heroes good and true.

But mark! a herald from the host of Danai, with store of fresh proclamations, comes hasting hither. What is his errand? what saith he? List, for we are slaves to Dorian lords henceforth.


TAL.


Hecuba, thou knowest me from my many journeys to and fro as herald 'twixt the Achæan host and Troy; no stranger I to thee, lady, even aforetime, I Talthybius, now sent with a fresh message.


HEC.


Ah, kind friends, 'tis come! what I so long have dreaded.


TAL.


The lot has decided your fates already, if that was what you feared.


HEC.


Ah me! What city didst thou say, Thessalian, Phthian, or Cadmean?


TAL.


Each warrior took his prize in turn; ye were not all at once assigned.


HEC.


To whom hath the lot assigned us severally? Which of us Trojan dames doth a happy fortune await?


TAL.


I know, but ask thy questions separately, not all at once.


HEC.


Then tell me, whose prize is my daughter, hapless Cassandra?


TAL.


King Agamemnon hath chosen her out for himself.


HEC.


To be the slave-girl of his Spartan wife? Ah me!


TAL.


Nay, to share with him his stealthy love.


HEC.


What! Phoebus' virgin-priestess, to whom the god with golden locks granted the boon of maidenhood?


TAL.


The dart of love hath pierced his heart, love for the frenzied maid.


HEC.


Daughter, cast from thee the sacred keys, and from thy body tear the holy wreaths that drape thee in their folds.


TAL.


Why! is it not an honour high that she should win our monarch's love?


HEC.


What have ye done to her whom late ye took from me,—my child?


TAL.


Dost mean Polyxena, or whom dost thou inquire about?


HEC.


To whom hath the lot assigned her?


TAL.


To minister at Achilles' tomb hath been appointed her.


HEC.


Woe is me! I the mother of a dead man's slave! What custom, what ordinance is this amongst Hellenes, good sir?


TAL.


Count thy daughter happy: 'tis well with her.


HEC.


What wild words are these? say, is she still alive?


TAL.


Her fate is one that sets her free from trouble.


HEC.


And what of mail-clad Hector's wife, sad Andromache? declare her fate.


TAL.


She too was a chosen prize; Achilles' son did take her.


HEC.


As for me whose hair is white with age, who need to hold a staff to be to me a third foot, whose servant am I to be?


TAL.


Odysseus, king of Ithaca, hath taken thee to be his slave.


HEC.


O God! Now smite the close-shorn head! tear your cheeks with your nails. God help me! I have fallen as a slave to a treacherous foe I hate, a monster of lawlessness, one that by his double tongue hath turned against us all that once was friendly in his camp, changing this for that and that for this again. Oh weep for me, ye Trojan dames! Undone! undone and lost! ah woe! a victim to a most unhappy lot!


CHO.


Thy fate, royal mistress, now thou knowest; but for me, what Hellene or Achæan is master of my destiny?


TAL.


Ho, servants! haste and bring Cassandra forth to me here, that I may place her in our captain's hands, and then conduct to the rest of the chiefs the captives each hath had assigned. Ha! what is the blaze of torches there within? What do these Trojan dames? Are they firing the chambers, because they must leave this land and be carried away to Argos? Are they setting themselves aflame in their longing for death? Of a truth the free bear their troubles in cases like this with a stiff neck. Ho, there! open! lest their deed, which suits them well but finds small favour with the Achæans, bring blame on me.


HEC.


'Tis not that they are setting aught ablaze, but my child Cassandra, frenzied maid, comes rushing wildly hither.


CAS.


Bring the light, uplift and show its flame! I am doing the god's service, see! see! making his shrine to glow with tapers bright. O Hymen, king of marriage! blest is the bridegroom; blest am I also, the maiden soon to wed a princely lord in Argos. Hail Hymen, king of marriage! Since thou, my mother, art ever busied with tears and lamentations in thy mourning for my father's death and for our country dear, I at my own nuptials am making this torch to blaze and show its light, in thy honour, O Hymen, king of marriage! Grant thy light too, Hecate, at the maiden's wedding, as the custom is. Nimbly lift the foot aloft, lead on the dance, with cries of joy, as if to greet my father's happy fate. To dance I hold a sacred duty; come, Phœbus, lead the way, for 'tis in thy temple mid thy bay-trees that I minister. Hail Hymen, god of marriage! Hymen, hail! Come, mother mine, and join the dance, link thy steps with me, and circle in the gladsome measure, now here, now there. Salute the bride on her wedding-day with hymns and cries of joy. Come, ye maids of Phrygia in raiment fair, sing my marriage with the husband fate ordains that I should wed.


CHO.


Hold the frantic maiden, royal mistress mine, lest with nimble foot she rush to the Argive army.


HEC.


Thou god of fire, 'tis thine to light the bridal torch for men, but piteous is the flame thou kindlest here, beyond my blackest bodings. Ah, my child! how little did I ever dream that such would be thy marriage, a captive, and of Argos too! Give up the torch to me; thou dost not bear its blaze aright in thy wild frantic course, nor have thy afflictions left thee in thy sober senses, but still art thou as frantic as before. Take in those torches, Trojan friends, and for her wedding madrigals weep your tears instead.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Trojan Women and Hippolytus by Euripides, Edward P. Coleridge. Copyright © 2014 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

DOVER THRIFT EDITIONS FICTION,
Title Page,
Copyright Page,
Publisher's Note,
THE TROJAN WOMEN,
HIPPOLYTUS,
DOVER THRIFT EDITIONS,

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