Women Of Trachis Monologue
|Women Of Trachis Monologue by Sophocles|
- DEIANIRA: Friends, while our guest is parleying in the house
- With the girl-captives, on the point to go,
- I am come forth to you in private, first
- Wishing to tell you my devices, next
- To be condoled with for my injuries.
- For I have taken to my house a maid--
- A maid no more, but mated, to my thinking--
- Even as a shipman takes a load on board,
- A losing bargain for my heart! And now
- We two abide beneath one coverlet
- To be embraced. This reward Heracles--
- Faithful and good as we reputed him--
- Sends, in return for my long house-tending.
- And him I cannot be indignant with,
- Often afflicted by this malady;
- But to keep house with her, and to go shares
- In the same marriage-bond--what wife could do it?
- For I see bloom on her side coming on,
- And on mine fading; and of such an eye
- Will pick the flower, and eschew the rest.
- This, then, is what I fear; lest Heracles
- Come to be called my consort, but her mate,
- The younger woman. Still it is not well
- A wife who has discretion, as I said,
- Should become wroth; rather in what way, friends,
- I may find easement, to deliver me,
- Lo, I will tell you. I have long possessed
- A keepsake of a monster of old time,
- Put by in a brass vessel, which I took
- When yet a girl, out of the mortal wound
- Of the shag-bosomed Nessus, as he died;
- Who used to carry men across the ford
- Of the Evenus, a deep stream, for hire,
- With his mere hands, plying without oar or sail.
- He, when I first with Heracles a bride
- Went, at my sire's disposing, carried me
- Upon his back, when he was in mid-passage,
- Touched me with wanton hands. And I cried out;
- And straight the son of Jove turned, and his hands
- Launched a winged shaft; and it whizzed through the breast,
- Into his lungs. And as the brute expired,
- He spake these words; "Child of old neus,
- If you will hear, you shall have this much profit,
- Seeing you were my last of passengers,
- Out of my ferrying; for if you collect
- The gore that stiffens round my deadly wound,
- Just where the black envenomed shafts were dipped
- In blood of the Lernaean water-snake,
- A medicine for the heart of Heracles
- It shall be to you; so that he shall love
- No woman whom he looks on, more than you."
- Mindful of this, my friends--for since his death
- It has been carefully locked up at home--
- I dipped this tunic, and threw in the whole
- Of what he told me just before he died.
- This has been done. Now never may I know--
- Never be taught--malign experiments;
- Nay, those who try them I detest; but if
- Against this girl by charms I may prevail,
- And by a philtre used on Heracles--
- Why, means have been supplied; unless I seem
- Busied in vain; if so, I will not do it.
Credits: Reprinted from Dramas. Sophocles. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1906.