Euripides, Alcestis

LCL 12: 162-163

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ἦ μὴν σὺ παύσῃ καίπερ ὠμὸς ὢν ἄγαν· 65τοῖος Φέρητος εἶσι πρὸς δόμους ἀνὴρ Εὐρυσθέως πέμψαντος ἵππειον μετὰ ὄχημα Θρῄκης ἐκ τόπων δυσχειμέρων, ὃς δὴ ξενωθεὶς τοῖσδ᾿ ἐν Ἀδμήτου δόμοις βίᾳ γυναῖκα τήνδε σ᾿ ἐξαιρήσεται. 70κοὔθ᾿ ἡ παρ᾿ ἡμῶν σοι γενήσεται χάρις δράσεις θ᾿ ὁμοίως ταῦτ᾿ ἀπεχθήσῃ τ᾿ ἐμοί.


πόλλ᾿ ἂν σὺ λέξας οὐδὲν ἂν πλέον λάβοις· ἡ δ᾿ οὖν γυνὴ κάτεισιν εἰς Ἅιδου δόμους. στείχω δ᾿ ἐπ᾿ αὐτὴν ὡς κατάρξωμαι ξίφει· 75ἱερὸς γὰρ οὗτος τῶν κατὰ χθονὸς θεῶν ὅτου τόδ᾿ ἔγχος κρατὸς ἁγνίσῃ τρίχα.


—τί ποθ᾿ ἡσυχία πρόσθεν μελάθρων; τί σεσίγηται δόμος Ἀδμήτου; —ἀλλ᾿ οὐδὲ φίλων πέλας <ἔστ᾿> οὐδείς, 80ὅστις ἂν εἴποι πότερον φθιμένην χρὴ βασίλειαν πενθεῖν ἢ ζῶσ᾿ ἔτι φῶς λεύσσει Πελίου τόδε παῖς Ἄλκηστις, ἐμοὶ πᾶσί τ᾿ ἀρίστη δόξασα γυνὴ 85πόσιν εἰς αὑτῆς γεγενῆσθαι.

  • 64πείσῃ F. W. Schmidt
  • 79<ἔστ᾿> Monk
  • 81χρὴ βασίλειαν πενθεῖν Blomfield: β- π- χ- C
  • 82λεύσσει Πελίου τόδε Bothe: τ- λ- Π- C



I swear to you that, ruthless as you are, you will yet cease from your hateful ways. The man to make you do so is coming to the house of Pheres sent by Eurystheus to fetch the horses and chariot from the wintry land of Thrace. He, entertained as a guest in this house of Admetus, shall take the woman from you by force. You shall do precisely as I have asked and yet get no gratitude from me but hatred instead.

Exit by an Eisodos (A?).

Your plentiful talk will gain you nothing. The woman is going down in any case to the house of Hades. I go to her to take the first sacrificial cutting of her hair. For when this sword has consecrated the hair of someone’s head, he is the sacred property of the gods below.

Exit death into the palace. Enter the chorus by Eisodos B. They divide into two semi-choruses.
Leader of Chorus a

What means this stillness before the palace? Why is the house of Admetus wrapped in silence?

Leader of Chorus b

What is more, there are not even any of his kin about who might say whether the queen has died and one should mourn her or whether Pelias’ daughter still lives and looks on the light, Alcestis, the best of wives to her husband, as I and everyone regard her.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.euripides-alcestis.1994