A newer edition of this work is available: 2018

Seneca the Younger, Hercules

LCL 62: 138-139



verbera pulsent ultrice manu. gemitus vastos audiat aether, 1105audiat atri regina poli vastisque ferox qui colla gerit vincta catenis imo latitans Cerberus antro. resonet maesto clamore chaos latique patens unda profundi 1110et (qui melius tua tela tamen senserat) aer. pectora tantis obsessa malis non sunt ictu ferienda levi: uno planctu tria regna sonent. 1115Et tu, collo decus ac telum suspensa diu, fortis harundo, pharetraeque graves, date saeva fero verbera tergo; caedant umeros robora fortes stipesque potens 1120duris oneret pectora nodis; plangant tantos arma dolores.

Non vos patriae laudis comites ulti saevos vulnere reges, non Argiva membra palaestra flectere docti 1125fortes caestu fortesque manu—

  • 1110melius A: medius E


be struck by his avenging hands. Let heaven hear his mighty groans, let the queen of the dark world hear them, and fierce Cerberus where he skulks in his deep cave, his necks still bound with mighty chains. Let Chaos re-echo your sad cries, and the open waters of the vast deep, and the air— though it felt your arrows to better purpose. 55 The breast beset by such ills cannot be struck lightly: with one blow let three realms resound. And you, long hung from his neck as glorious weapons, strong arrows and heavy quiver, rain savage lashes on his untamed back. Let the powerful tree trunk batter his stalwart shoulders and tax his breast with its hard knots: let his weapons mourn these immense sorrows.

You had not shared your father’s glory by violent punishment of cruel kings; 56 you had not learnt command of your limbs in a Greek palaestra, hardy with boxing gloves and with bare hands;

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.seneca_younger-hercules.2002