|Philoctetes Monologue by Sophocles|
- PHILOCTETES: O thou fire!
- Thou universal horror! Masterpiece
- Abominable, of monstrous villainy!
- What hast thou done to me? How hast thou cheated me!
- Art not ashamed, O rogue, to look at me
- Thy supplicant, me thy petitioner?
- Thou has robbed me of my life, taking my bow.
- Give it back, I beg thee! Give it back, I pray!
- By our father's gods, son, do not take my life!
- Woe's me! he does not even answer me!
- He means to keep it--see, he turns away!
- You bays, you promontories, O you haunts
- Of mountain brutes, O cliffs precipitous,
- To you--for other hearers I have none--
- Present, my old familiars, I appeal;
- See how Achilles' son is wronging me!
- Swearing to take me home, to Troy he drags me;
- And pledging his right hand, he has obtained--
- Relic of Jove-born Heracles--my bow,
- Meaning in the Argives' sight to flourish it;
- Like some strong prisoner, by force he drags me,
- And knows not he is killing a dead man,
- A vapour's shadow, an unsubstantial shade!
- For in full strength he never had captured me,
- Since even thus he had not, save by guile;
- But now, unhappy, I have been deceived.
- What must I do? Nay, give it back to me;
- Nay, even yet, be thy true self once more;
- What say'st thou? Thou art dumb! I am lost, unhappy!
- O double-portalled frontal of the rock,
- Back, once again, I come and enter thee,
- Bare, without means of life; but I shall starve
- Here, in the fields alone; not killing now
- Winged bird, or silvan quarry, with my bow,
- But I myself, wretched, when I am dead,
- Yielding a meal to things on which I fed.
- Creatures I chased before will now chase me;
- And I shall pay for bloodshed with my blood,
- By practice of a seeming innocent!
- O may'st thou perish!--not yet, until I know
- Whether thou wilt repent, and change thy purpose;
- But if thou wilt not, evil be thine end!
Credits: Reprinted from Dramas. Sophocles. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1906.