Women Of Trachis Monologue
|Women Of Trachis Monologue by Sophocles|
- HERACLES: How many and how fierce and sore to tell
- The labours I with body and hands have wrought!
- And such an one not even the Spouse of Jove
- Set me, or the abhorred Eurystheus, ever,
- As this, which neus' daughter crafty-faced
- Fitted upon my shoulders--the web-toil
- Woven of the Furies, which is killing me.
- For plastered to my sides, it has gnawed off
- The surface of my flesh, and settles in
- And battens on the channels of the lungs,
- And has already drained all my fresh life-blood,
- And through my whole frame I am overthrown,
- Worsted by this unthought-for fetterment!
- Treatment such as I never yet endured--
- No, not from lances in the battle-field,
- Or Giants' earthborn army, or Centaurs' might,
- Or Grecian or barbarian, or all lands
- Which I, cleansing their borders, visited;
- But one sole woman--a female, not a male
- By sex--weaponless--puts an end to me.
- O boy, now show yourself my true-born son;
- Set not the name of mother all too high;
- But with your own hands hale out of the house
- And render her that bare you unto mine,
- That I may know whether you grieve to see
- This form of mine abused, rather than hers
- Righteously punished. Up, my son, take courage!
- Have pity on me, whom any men might pity,
- Weeping and moaning like a girl--a thing
- No one could say that he had seen me do
- Ever before; rather, where hardships led
- I followed uncomplaining. Now, alas,
- Falling from thence, I have been proved a woman.
- And now come near; stand by your father's side;
- See under what mischance I suffer thus;
- Here, I will show you without coverings;
- Lo, behold all, a miserable frame!
- Mark me, poor wretch, how I am pitiable!--O woe! Alas, ah me,
- Again, once more, that racking fever pain
- Right through my side! The desperate gnawing plague
- Will not release me from its harassing;
- O Hades, king, receive me! O Jove's lightning, strike me!
- Smite me, O king! Dart down thy thunderbold,
- Father, on me! for once again it revels,
- It has blossomed--it has burst forth. O hands--hands,
- O back and breast, O shoulder-blades of mine,
- And have you come to this, who formerly
- Beat down by force the lion habitant
- Of Nemea, the perilous beast and wild,
- Fatal to herdsmen; and the water-snake
- Of Lerna; and the two-form prancing host
- Of Centaurs, insolent, unsocial, rude,
- Rampant at might; and the Erymanthian boar;
- And the infernal triple-headed hound
- Of Hades, the resistless monster, whelp
- Of the dread Basilisk; and the Dragon-guard
- Of golden apples, growing at the world's end?
- And countless other toils I tasted of,
- And no man set up trophies over me!
- Now here I lie, with dislocated bones,
- With lacerated flesh, by a dark mischief
- Utterly cast away, unhappy! I,
- Named of a mother most illustrious,
- Reputed son of Zeus, Lord of the stars!
- But be ye sure of this; though I be nothing,
- Albeit I cannot move, even as I am,
- Her who did this, still, I can overcome;
- Let her come only, that she may be taught,
- And have it to relate to all, how I,
- Living and dying, punished wickedness!
Credits: Reprinted from Dramas. Sophocles. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1906.