Youve been playing the dicof war against thArgives forlasten years and you ill ha not wonw. All Isk for iso gime

Youve been playing the dicof war against thArgives forlasten years and you ill ha not wonw. All Isk for iso gime插图

Euripides – Greek Dramas (p251, 1900):Internet Archive Book Images

Translated by George Theodoridis ©Copyright2010, all rights reserved -Bacchicstage

This work may befreelyreproduced, stored and transmitted, electronically or otherwise, for anynon-commercial purpose

Under no circumstances should any of this work be used as part of a collage, which includes the work of other writers or translators.

Paris(aka Alexandros, a Prince ofTroy)

Odysseus(One of the chiefs of the Greek army)

Diomedes(Another of the chiefs of the Greek army)

Hektors tent outside the walls ofTroy.

The guards outside the tent are asleep. A little further the next shift of guards is also sleeping. They are all fully armed.

SL leads to the seashore where the Greeks are camped.

SR leads toTroyand the Trojan camps.

Fire can be discerned from the Greek camp.

The whole play takes place during the night and the stage should be filled with shadows created by the fires in the Greek camps. The Trojan camps (SR) have no fire.

The silence is suddenly broken by the agitated entry of the Chorus of Soldiers.

Get me one of Hektors guards or any one of his soldiers.

The guards wake up in fright and stand to attention.

Go inside and tell Hektor theres news he must hear!

ChorusWere the fourth watch who patrol our front line.

Some of the chorus gather around the entrance of the tent and shout through its flaps.

Hektor, wake up! Either sit up and listen or just lean on your elbow.

ChorusCome on, Hektor! Open those fearsome eyes of yours and come out!

ChorusGet off your bed of leaves, Hektor. You must hear our news immediately!

Who is it? Friend or foe? What is the watchword? Speak quickly, now!

What men come to my sleeping quarters in the middle of the night? Speak!

ChorusThis is the armys guards, Hektor!

Enter Hektor with a couple of his men. They are all fully armed and ready for battle.

HektorWhats all this rushing about? Whats all this noise?

Why did you leave your post unattended, soldier?

Why rush over here with so much noise and wake up the whole camp if you have nothing to report?

Dont you know that the Greeks are camped just out there? Cant you see were sleeping in full armour, to be ready for them?20

Arm yourself and go over to where our allies are sleeping.

ChorusOrder them to get themselves armed, Hektor. All of them!

ChorusSend some of your close mates to our soldiers and get them to get their horses reined and ready !

ChorusWhat about Sarpedon, Europas son, the leader of the Lycians?

ChorusWhere are the men in charge of the sacrifices?

ChorusWhere are the leaders of the light armed forces?31

ChorusAnd our archers? Where are the Phrygian archers?

ChorusCome, hurry up and put strings to your horned bows!

Some of your words send fear and others courage.

You havent been stung by Pans prick, have you? Cronus son? Is that what made you so frightened? You get up and leave your post unattended, rush over here and send the army into disarray with silly stories!

What am I to make of this odd report?

So many words and none of them say anything I can understand!

The Greeks have fires lit up everywhere, right through the whole night. You can see the moorings of all their ships from here and everyone is milling around Agamemnons tent. Theres noisy business taking place in there. It sounds like theyre waiting for some important news. Ive never seen this fleet get into such turmoil of panic.

I have come to you because Im afraid of what they might have in store for us, not because I need to be told off by you!

HektorAh! A rather frightening report! Still, you have come just at the right time.52

It seems the Argives want to escape from me, run off, even while my eyes are watching them. They want to get away from our land in those ships of theirs under the wide cover of darkness. Now I know what all these fires are about!

Oh, gods! You have robbed me of my feast as you would rob a lion of its kill. A feast out of the whole Argive army with this spear!

Had the rays of the Sun not vanished, I would have continued until my glorious spear had set fire to all their ships, destroyed all their tents and, with this murderous hand, slaughtered a horde of them!60

My heart was urging me on, thats for certain! I wanted to keep up the pace the gods have given me and to go on killing through the night but the seers, our wise men who know the ways of the gods, convinced me to wait until the new light and then leave no Achaian alive.

But the Achaians! The Achaians dont listen to the words of my prophets.

Well then! We must rush! Wake up the army and get it armed, hurry!70

Spear those cowards in their backs as they try to climb onto their ships!

Paint their ladder-bridges red with their own blood and if any of them survive, rope them all and teach them how to till our Phrygian fields!

ChorusHold it, Hektor, dont be in such a rush!

We are not yet certain about what they are actually doing.

We dont know if they are really trying to escape.

HektorWhat else would they be doing with all these fires?

ChorusI dont know, Hektor but I am a little afraid80

If youre afraid of a little thing like this then youd be terrified of everything!

ChorusThe Argives have never lit fires like that before.

HektorNor have they ever suffered such a devastating defeat as the one they suffered yesterday, either!

ChorusAll thanks to you, Hektor, yes but now think of what we should do next.

HektorWhat we should do next is simple. With enemies, my command is always, grab a spear!

Ah, heres Aeneas rushing towards us. Obviously hes got some news for us!

Enter Aeneas accompanied by his guard. SR

AeneasHektor, what is going on? Why have the night guards come here, to your camp, in such a panic?

What are you all talking about? The whole army is thrown into confusion!

HektorAeneas, get yourself fully armed and ready for an attack!90

AeneasWhy? Whats going on? Have you seen reports that the enemy is planning something secret during the night?

HektorYes, the Greeks are boarding their ships. Theyre getting away.

AeneasWhat makes you say that? What have you seen, tell me!

HektorTheyve been burning huge fires all night, Aeneas, so I dont think theyll still be here in the morning. Once they burn all their torches theyll jump aboard their well-benched ships and sail away for home.

AeneasAnd you? What will you do? Why the spear in your hand?

HektorIll be using it against them while theyre trying to jump aboard their ship.100

Spear them hard, in the back. That should stop them. Itd be a great shame for us, a cowardly thing to do, to reject the good will of the gods who have handed to us these enemies. Itd be a shame to let them all go without a fight after they have caused us so much grief!

AeneasHektor, if only your eagerness to fight was combined with a wisdom to make good plans! But, I suppose, men cant be perfect at everything. Each of us has his own talent. Your talent is fighting, thinking is a talent that others have.

You saw the fires burning and you immediately thought that the enemy is leaving, so you now want to take your army there, trying to get through the deep moats in the middle of the night. Impossible! But, still, let us say you do manage to cross those moats. What if when you do that you are faced with the fact that the enemy is not sailing off but it is right there, in front you, all ready and fully prepared for your spears?110

Hektor, if you lose that battle, youll never make it back here again!

Theyve got pikes all around their camps. How would your defeated army get back through them again when theyre retreating? And tell me also, how will your charioteers run over all those embankments theyve got there, without getting their axles broken?

And even still, let us say you did win that battle. There would still be an Achilles there, Peleas son, waiting just for you. And hes not going to let you set fire to the ships and hes not going to let you kill the Achaians the way you think you will.

That man is a raging fireball in battle! Towering courage!121

Better still, I say, let our men rest quietly by their shields. Theyre exhausted from the battle. Lets just send a spy over there, to the enemy lines, some volunteer to check on them, see if they are really trying to escape and if we find that they are, well then we can charge at them. But if the Argives are using these fires to trick us, then well learn even more about our enemys tactics and then respond appropriately.

I think hes right. Best if you do as he says rather than what you think.

I hate it when the leadership of generals stands on unsafe ground.

ChorusIt would be far safer if some fast-footed spy of ours rushes over to their ships and quickly see what our enemy is up to with all those fires in their camps.

Other members of the chorus nod their heads in agreement.

HektorAll, right, Aeneas, you win! The majority agrees with you.

Now, Aeneas, go and pacify our allies because the army might feel a bit uneasy if they hear we are having meetings like this in the night.

Ill send a spy myself, to check out what the Greeks are up to. Your camp is nearby, so if we hear anything, youll know about it quickly. But if we see that theyre jumping aboard their ships, youll know about it through a trumpet call. I wont be coming around to you. Ill be rushing over there this very night.140

Ill be fighting the Greeks among their own ships.

AeneasRight. Yes, now youre being sensible. Do send someone over there immediately.

As for me, when the time comes, youll see me acting as bravely as you.

Enter Dolon SR without Hektor noticing him.

HektorWell then, men! Youve heard what we need. Who among us Trojans will go to the Greek ships to spy on them?149

Who will do this great service to our nation?

Who will agree to do this? I cant serve everyone all the time, both, Trojans and allies!

Ill take this risk for the sake of our country.

I will go to the ships of the Achaians, find out what theyre planning to do and then come back here and tell you all about it. I promise you that I shall undertake this task.

HektorAh, our very own Dolon! Your name does justice to your nature, my wily friend. And a man who loves his country, too!

And a man wholl double the glory of his fathers race!

DolonYes, Hektor but do let me ask you, shouldnt a mans work be rewarded in some way? I will certainly work for my country and perform this task but a task is twice as sweetly done if theres a reward attached to it.161

HektorQuite right, quite right. I do not say otherwise. Name your reward, Dolon. Ask for anything except my throne.

DolonYour throne? No, keep your throne, Hektor. I have no wish at all to be a king and protector of a city!

HektorAh! I know! Join our household. Marry one of Priams daughters.

DolonNo, no marriage above my station, Hektor!

HektorGold then, Dolon. We have an abundance of that!

DolonSo do we, Hektor. We lack no wealth either.170

HektorWhat then, Dolon? What else canTroyoffer you?

DolonThe reward will be given after we destroy the Greeks. I want a reward that can come only after we destroy them.

HektorName it. Anything except their chiefs.

DolonTheyre all yours to slaughter Hektor! I wont be begging you for Menelaus head!

HektorNotAjax, Oileus son? You dont want him for a slave do you?

DolonNo, Hektor. The hands of nobles likeAjaxare no good in the farms.

HektorDo you want ransom? Which of the Greeks do you want for that?

DolonNo, no ransom either. Ive told you already. We have enough gold.

HektorWell put you among the first to choose from the spoils. You can come and pick whatever you like.

No, you can hang those on the columns of the temples. Dedicate them to the gods.

HektorWell, whats better than all these things Ive offered you, Dolon? What more do you want from me?

DolonAchilles horses, Hektor. When one lets his life ride on the dice thrown by the gods, then the prize should be worthy of the effort.

HektorOh, no! Those horses, Dolon! You and I both love them!

Immortal beasts sired by immortals and ridden by the fast-footed Achilles, son of Peleus. They say that Poseidon himself, that god whos the lord of all horses and lord of all the sea they say it was Poseidon who had given them to Peleus as a wedding gift.

But, I wont start reneging on my promise now. I will give you Achilles horses as well as his chariot.

It will be a truly magnificent adornment to your house!

DolonNot only that but, if I do get these horses, Ill also be able to say that the Trojans have shown their appreciation of my bravery by rewarding me with this splendid gift.191

And, of course, you should not be jealous of me, Hektor because, as the first hero of our nation, you will be able to get myriads of other things that will make you happy.

ChorusThe task is huge, Dolon but so are the rewards.

ChorusIf you succeed, Dolon, youll be among the blessed!

ChorusGlory only comes with the pain of hard work.

ChorusStill, it wouldnt be a small prize, to be married into royalty, either.

ChorusSo far as the gods are concerned, Justice herself will decide this but so far as mortals are concerned well, youve got it all, Dolon!200

DolonYes, well, Ill be off now. Ill go home first and change into clothes that are more appropriate for the task before I go down to the Argive ships.

ChorusChange into what sort of clothes, Dolon?

DolonClothes fit for a covert operation.

ChorusA wise man should teach others wise things. Tell us what youll wear, Dolon.

DolonWolf skin on my back, with its gaping jaws over the top of my head, its forelegs over my shoulders and its hind legs around my feet.

And, while Im approaching the moat and the walls around their ships, Ill walk on all fours, to make it hard for the Greeks to detect me but when Ill get out into the open land, Ill stand up and walk on my two feet.212

ChorusI hope Hermes, the god of thieves, Maias son, will help you get there and back.

ChorusYouve got your plan, Dolon, now all you need to do is to see it through!

DolonI will get there safely, kill Odysseus and bring you his head as proof that I, Dolon have got to the Greek ships Or perhaps, Ill kill Diomedes, Tydeus son.219

In any case, Ill be back before the break of dawn with my hands dripping blood!

ChorusYou walk in the precincts ofLycias shrine!

Come to us with your bow and arrows!

ChorusCome and protect that man! Dolon, who has started on a journey to save the sons of Dardanus!229

ChorusHelp Dolon get to the gathered ships of our enemy, those Greeks, Apollo, those Greeks!

Help him spy upon the army of the Greeks and then let him return here safely.

ChorusHelp him return toTroy!To the altars of his fathers house!

ChorusAnd help him also defeat the Achaian army!

ChorusHelp him ride triumphantly the chariot drawn by Achilles horses! The horses of Phthia!240

ChorusThe horses that Poseidon himself, Lord of the sea, gave to Peleus, the son of Aeacus.

ChorusGrand Dolon success in his mission, Apollo for it is he, alone, who dared to go to the Greek ships and spy upon them on our behalf, for the sake of our country and his home.

ChorusWhen the wild and dark seas batter a country it is always hard to find such brave men.

ChorusYet we have brave men amongst us! Brave Phrygian men, their heart bold and full of courage.250

ChorusThere is no Mysian, bravest of our allies, whod scorn my company in battle!

I wonder wholl be the Greek that our Dolon will kill, as he crawls about their camp, like a four-footed beast, sniffing at their tents!

ChorusAgamemnon! Kill him, cut off his head and drop it in Helens lap!260

ChorusLet her mourn her beastly brother-in-law!

ChorusAgamemnon! The man who dared to come here, to thelandofTroy, with his huge army and his thousand ships!

Enter a messenger SR. He is a shepherd.

My lord! If only I could always bring my lords such good news as those I have for you to hear now!

HektorHa! Stupid peasants and their stupid ways!

Look around you, peasant! Your masters are in full armour, ready for battle and you decided to come here, at this hour to give us news about your flocks of sheep!

Dont you know where my house is? Where my fathers throne is located?

Its there you should go and talk of the welfare of your herds, not here!

This is the wrong place for such concerns.

MessengerIts true, my Lord! We, peasants are stupid, one cant argue about that, my Lord but, nevertheless, I am bringing you good news!271

HektorEnough with the tales of peasants and the fortunes of their sheep!

Can you not see? We have spears in our hands and battles to fight!

MessengerYes, my Lord but this is exactly what my news is about. Armies and suchlike.

Theres a man, my Lord, a man, at the head of a huge army, an ally of ours, coming our way.

MessengerFromThrace, my Lord. His fathers name is Strymon.

HektorRhesus? Are you telling me that Rhesus has come toTroy?280

MessengerYes, my Lord. Thats what I mean. Thank you for making my message half as long and arduous!

Why would he not come through the wide highways of our valleys and, instead come down through the gullies and the deep gorges of Ida to where you are?

MessengerI dont know for certain about that, my Lord, but I suppose I can guess, though.

I guess it would be a difficult job to drive an army into a country through the night if you know that the open meadows are swarming with enemy soldiers.

It was a frightening thing for us shepherds, who live on those rocks, high up on Mount Ida, to see that army, my Lord, that huge Thracian army, rolling in like a huge river, making so much noise, rolling and rolling all through the woods, woods swarming with wild beasts.

We were so frightened, we moved our sheep to the higher crags. At first we thought they were Greeks and we were afraid that they would rush out and pillage your herds, my Lord. We thought theyd run off with your sheep, as spoils of war, I mean. But then we heard voices. And the voices werent in the Greek tongue, so we relaxed.290

I walked right up to the scouts at the head of their army and spoke to them in their own tongue, in Thracian.

Whos your General? I asked them, Whats his fathers name? Who is this man whos bringing this army of allies toTroy?

And when I heard all I wanted to hear, I got up. Thats when I saw Rhesus. There he was, up on his chariot, looking like a god behind his Thracian horses.300

The yoke that held the horses in place by the neck was made of gleaming gold. Horses whiter than snow!

From his shoulder hung a light shield with shining plates of gold embossed on it.

On the cheek-pieces of the horses there was embossed a glaring Gorgon just like that on Athenas Aegis. Bells hung from them and they made such a frightening noise!

And there are more men in this army than there are pebbles on Earth. Countless men!310

A countless cavalry, countless the shields, hordes and hordes of bowmen and light-armed troops, all in their Thracian battle gear!

Thats the army of our allies that has come to the aid ofTroy, my Lord Hektor.

Achilles will not be able to escape them. Not by running away nor by fighting them with his spear!

ChorusWhen the gods want to help the people, they can turn even a disaster into a joyful event!

Its now that my spear has done its work and Zeus sides with me, its now that Im finding friends everywhere!320

No, now I have no need of them! I have no need of those who were not my friends from the beginning of all this, from when belligerent Ares was blasting his winds of war against the sails of this ship, ripping them to shreds!

Rhesus has shown us just what sort of friend he is to our city!

When the hunters were hunting the beast, he and his spear were nowhere to be seen! Now, now that weve killed it, here he is, present at the feast!

ChorusHektor! Of course, you have every right to protest and censure your friends but do let people come and help save our city, if they wish!

HektorTheres enough of our own people to save it and weve been doing that well enough now for many years.

ChorusAre you that certain that you have totally destroyed our enemy, Hektor?330

HektorI am certain and it will be made clear when the gods bring us the new morning!

ChorusLook to the future, Hektor! The gods can topple everything!

HektorAh, how I despise people who arrive too late to help their friends!

Well then, since he is here, let him be received as a guest at my table but not as an ally to the war.

The sons of Priam owe him no gratitude.

ChorusStill, my lord, disdain towards allies, leads to all sorts of animosity.

MessengerMy Lord if the enemy but just takes a glimpse of the man, theyll get frightened!

HektorPonders over the situation for a minute and then decides.To the Chorus:

And youve delivered me a timely report.

Well then! All right! Let Rhesus in his golden armour, as the report goes, enter our city as an ally!

ChorusLet Zeus daughter, Adrasteia, who punishes the conceited, keep my words safe from divine anger! I will utter only such things as are anxiously waiting in my heart to be uttered.

Son of our river, Rhesus, you have arrived!

ChorusYou have come near the palace that prays to Zeus, the god of Friendship and the palace welcomes you.

ChorusIt has taken too long for your mother, the Muse,Pieriaand for your father, Strymon, the river of many splendid bridges, to send you here.

ChorusIt was this beautiful river, Strymon, himself, who wound his waters through the pure gulfs of your mother, the Muse, the melodious singer and with his seed she gave birth to you, a glorious youth.351

ChorusI see you as if you were Zeus, giver of light, entering our city on a chariot behind your spotted mares.

ChorusNow,Phrygia, nowTroy, my fatherland, now, with the help of the god, you may sing to Zeus, the god victory.

ChorusWill the day come, I wonder, when the oldTroywill re-emerge?360

TheTroywith her lovers secret hideaways, her joyful singing, her drinking parties where the wine was passed from hand to hand, drinking parties that lasted all day long?

ChorusWill the day come when the Atreus brothers leave our shores, leave us and head back for their own homes, inSparta, after sailing through the wide ocean?

ChorusAh, Rhesus, my friend! How I wish you could accomplish this dream of mine!

ChorusAccomplish it with your hand and with your spear, my friend, before you return home toThrace!

ChorusCome, my friend! Appear before Achilles face and raise your golden shield to him!370

ChorusSwing it to the right across the opening of your chariots rails!

ChorusShake your two-pronged spear at him!

ChorusNo enemy shall ever see the day when he can dance at the plains of thetempleofHerathe Argive!

ChorusNo, he shall die a death by a Thracian spear and this soil shall welcome the weight of his corpse and will take it with delight.

Enter Rhesus. An imposing figure with his full armour and glittering shield

ChorusOh,Thrace! What a magnificent man you have raised!

ChorusAh! Admire the golden armour that covers his body!

ChorusAh! Listen to the boisterous clang of the bells that hang from the rims of his shield!

ChorusThe son of our river, Strymon and a Muse!

ChorusOh,Troy, this god has come to breath courage into your soul!

Noble son of a noble father! King of this land!

This is a belated greeting I am addressing to you, I know but but I am pleased that you are winning this war and your men are now very close to the enemy gates.

I am here to help you tear down their walls and set fire to their ships.

Noble son of the Muse of melody and of the Thracian river Strymon!

My way is to always to tell the truth. I am not a two-faced man.

Your duty was to come here a long time ago and fight with all your might forTroy. Stop the Argive spears from destroying her.

And, no, you cant use the excuse that you were not invited and thats why you didnt come to see your friends any earlier, to help them in their hour of need!399

We have sent to you numerous envoys and embassies of elders to try and persuade you to come and protect our city. We have even sent you rich gifts of honour!

But you! Even though you are of the same race as us, a barbarian from barbarian stock, you have betrayed us!

Yes, you have betrayed us to the Greeks by your delays!410

Was it not this very hand of mine that has made you the great king ofThracethat you are now?

Had I not thrown myself against the shields of the bravest of men ofThraceand had I not smashed their lines around Pangaeum, in the land of the Paionians, you would still be one of their petty chieftains!

It was I who has made you the leader of those people and it was I who has delivered them to you to be your subjects.

And you? How did you repay me for that deed?

You have brushed it aside and, instead of showing us gratitude, you have left the task of coming to help your friends until its too late, until their difficult days have passed.

There are men here, who are total foreigners, totally unrelated to us, men whove been here for a long time; some of them have even died here and their bodies lie in graves on our own soil now thats real proof of their loyalty to us, to our Troy!

And there are others, too, brave men, in full armour and on battle chariots, who stand watch and endure the chilly winds or the unquenchable heat of Ares, the god of war. Men who are not idly resting in warm and comfortable couches, passing each other deep cups of draught, like youve been doing all this time.

There! I, Hektor speak like a free man and I speak only the truth.420

I have made my complaints to you, personally and openly.

My words are straight, no double meaning in them. Youll find no forked paths in my speech.

My heart, Hektor, suffered even more than yours because I wasnt here. I grieved more painfully than you. But, as I was preparing to come over here, the Scythians, my neighbours, decided to attack me.

I was about to cross the hostileBlack Seawith my men when, there, at the shore, the spear of war soaked the soil with much of our Thracian blood as well as that of the Skythians.430

Thats what had stopped me from crossing over and heading for the plains ofTroy, to come here and help you.

I won that war and then, afterwards, I took their children as hostages and set an annual tax for them to pay me. It was after Ive completed those tasks, that I started off again for here. First I took to the sea with a ship, crossed over and then walked through all the other lands. Ive neither slept in golden palaces nor drank those deep draughts youre prattling on about.

Instead, I had to put up with the icy blasts that hit the frozen sea acrossThraceand Paeonia with only these clothes here for a blanket. Not a wink of sleep!440

I know, I am late but there is still time!

Youve been playing the dice of war against the Argives for the last ten years and you still have not won the war. All I ask you for is to give me the sunlight of a single day and Ill have those towers of theirs torn down, attack their dockyards and kill all the Greeks! All of them! And with that, I will have saved you a lot of pain, so, then, the next day, Ill leaveTroyand head back home.

None of you will need to raise a shield, because, even though Im a late arrival, with this spear I will kill all those Argives, all those Greeks whove been boasting so loudly about their bravery.451

ChorusWhat a joy, your words give us, Rhesus! Obviously you were sent here by Zeus himself, to give us all this joy!

ChorusI hope Zeus will protect us from the anger of any of the other gods who may feel offended by your words, Rhesus.460

ChorusA man like you, Rhesus! No war ship, no Greek ship of war, has ever brought a man better than you! Not ever before and not now!

ChorusI dont know how Achilles, or evenAjax, will be able to cope with your spear, my Lord!

ChorusOh, Lord! If only I could be there to see it!

If only I could be there on the day when your killing hand and your bloody spear exact the righteous punishment!

RhesusAnd, as a recompense for my long delay coming here, which has caused you such great offence, Ill give you another gift, provided, of course, the goddess Adrasteia approves of what I am about to say.

When we have freedTroyfrom the attacks of the Greeks and after you have made offerings to the gods from the best of the spoils, I want you, Hektor, you and I, together, to go toGreeceand, with this spear, punish them, punish the whole country. Teach them all what it is to suffer!469

HektorI will be very thankful to the gods if I just get out of this disaster alive and well and get to rule beautifulTroyin safety again, as I did befo