Sophocles, Ajax

LCL 20: 30-31

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Ἀεὶ μέν, ὦ παῖ Λαρτίου, δέδορκά σε πεῖράν τιν᾿ ἐχθρῶν ἁρπάσαι θηρώμενον· καὶ νῦν ἐπὶ σκηναῖς σε ναυτικαῖς ὁρῶ Αἴαντος, ἔνθα τάξιν ἐσχάτην ἔχει, 5πάλαι κυνηγετοῦντα καὶ μετρούμενον ἴχνη τὰ κείνου νεοχάραχθ᾿, ὅπως ἴδῃς εἴτ᾿ ἔνδον εἴτ᾿ οὐκ ἔνδον. εὖ δέ σ᾿ ἐκφέρει κυνὸς Λακαίνης ὥς τις εὔρινος βάσις. ἔνδον γὰρ ἁνὴρ ἄρτι τυγχάνει, κάρα 10στάζων ἱδρῶτι καὶ χέρας ξιφοκτόνους. καί σ᾿ οὐδὲν εἴσω τῆσδε παπταίνειν πύλης ἔτ᾿ ἔργον ἐστίν, ἐννέπειν δ᾿ ὅτου χάριν σπουδὴν ἔθου τήνδ᾿, ὡς παρ᾿ εἰδυίας μάθῃς.


ὦ φθέγμ᾿ Ἀθάνας, φιλτάτης ἐμοὶ θεῶν, 15ὡς εὐμαθές σου, κἂν ἄποπτος ᾖς ὅμως, φώνημ᾿ ἀκούω καὶ ξυναρπάζω φρενὶ χαλκοστόμου κώδωνος ὡς Τυρσηνικῆς. καὶ νῦν ἐπέγνως εὖ μ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἀνδρὶ δυσμενεῖ βάσιν κυκλοῦντ᾿, Αἴαντι τῷ σακεσφόρῳ. 20κεῖνον γάρ, οὐδέν᾿ ἄλλον, ἰχνεύω πάλαι.




The stage building represents the hut where Ajax has his quarters during the siege of Troy. Enter odysseus, prowling about and looking closely at the ground; then comes athena, who stands there quietly.

Always, son of Laertes, my eye is on you as you prowl about to snatch some opportunity against your enemies; and now I see you by the hut of Ajax near the ships, where he occupies the last position, a long while on his trail and scanning his newly made footprints, to see whether he is inside or not; moving like a Spartan hound with keen scent, you travel quickly to your goal. Yes, the man is now inside, his face and hands that have slaughtered with the sword dripping with sweat. And now you no longer need to peer inside this gate, but you must tell me what is the reason for your efforts, so that you may learn from me who knows.


Voice of Athena, dearest of the gods to me, how easily do I hear your words and grasp them with my mind, even if I cannot see you, as though a Tyrrhenian trumpet spoke with brazen mouth. And now you have rightly guessed that I am circling round on the trail of an enemy, Ajax the shieldbearer. For it is he and no other I have long been

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.sophocles-ajax.1994