Forceful he bore me off, a ten-year slender roe,
And in Aphidnus’ keep shut me, in Attica.
But thence full soon set free, by Castor, Pollux too,
In marriage wast thou sought by chosen hero-band.
Yet hath Patroclus, he, Pelides’ other self,
My secret favor won, as willingly I own.
But thee thy father hath to Menelaus wed,
Bold rover of the sea, and house-sustainer too.
His daughter gave he, gave to him the kingdom’s
And from our wedded union sprang Hermione.
But while he strove afar, for Crete, his heritage,
To thee, all lonely, came an all too beauteous guest.
Wherefore the time recall of that half-widowhood,
And what destruction dire to me therefrom hath grown!
That voyage unto me, a free-born dame of Crete,
Hath also capture brought, and weary servitude.
As stewardess forthwith, he did appoint thee here,
With much intrusted,—fort and treasure boldly won.
All which thou didst forsake, by Ilion’s tower-girt
Allured, and by the joys, the exhaustless joys of love.
Remind me not of joys: No, an infinitude
Of all too bitter woe o’erwhelm’d my heart and brain.
Nathless ’tis said thou didst in two-fold shape
Seen within Ilion’s walls, and seen in Egypt too.
Confuse thou not my brain, distraught and desolate!
Here even, who I am in sooth I cannot tell.
’Tis also said, from out the hollow shadow-dream,
Achilles, passion-fired, hath joined himself to thee,
Whom he hath loved of old, ’gainst all resolves of Fate.
As phantom I myself, to him a phantom bound;
A dream it was—thus e’en the very words declare.
I faint, and to myself a phantom I become.
[She sinks into the arms of the semi-chorus._]