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Philoctetes Text - Philoctetes By Sophocles Written 409...

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Philoctetes By Sophocles Written 409 B.C.E Translated by Thomas Francklin Dramatis Personae ULYSSES, King of Ithaca NEOPTOLEMUS, son of Achilles PHILOCTETES, son of Poeas and Companion of HERCULES A SPY HERCULES CHORUS, composed of the companions of ULYSSES and NEOPTOLEMUS Scene A lonely region on the shore of Lemnos, before a steep cliff in which is the entrance to PHILOCTETES' cave. ULYSSES, NEOPTOLEMUS and an attendant enter. ULYSSES At length, my noble friend, thou bravest son Of a brave father- father of us all, The great Achilles- we have reached the shore
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Of sea-girt Lemnos, desert and forlorn, Where never tread of human step is seen, Or voice of mortal heard, save his alone, Poor Philoctetes, Poeas' wretched son, Whom here I left; for such were my commands From Grecia's chiefs, when by his fatal wound Oppressed, his groans and execrations dreadful Alarmed our hosts, our sacred rites profaned, And interrupted holy sacrifice. But why should I repeat the tale? The time Admits not of delay. We must not linger, Lest he discover our arrival here, And all our purposed fraud to draw him hence Be ineffectual. Lend me then thy aid. Surveying round thee, canst thou see a rock With double entrance- to the sun's warm rays In winter open, and in summer's heat Giving free passage to the welcome breeze? A little to the left there is a fountain Of living water, where, if yet he breathes, He slakes his thirst. If aught thou seest of this Inform me; so shall each to each impart Counsel most fit, and serve our common cause. NEOPTOLEMUS leaving ULYSSES a little behind him If I mistake not, I behold a cave, E'en such as thou describst. ULYSSES Dost thou? which way? NEOPTOLEMUS Yonder it is; but no path leading thither, Or trace of human footstep.
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ULYSSES In his cell A chance but he hath lain down to rest: Look if he hath not. NEOPTOLEMUS advancing to the cave Not a creature there. ULYSSES Nor food, nor mark of household preparation? NEOPTOLEMUS A rustic bed of scattered leaves. ULYSSES What more? NEOPTOLEMUS A wooden bowl, the work of some rude hand, With a few sticks for fuel. ULYSSES This is all His little treasure here. NEOPTOLEMUS Unhappy man! Some linen for his wounds. ULYSSES This must be then His place of habitation; far from hence He cannot roam; distempered as he is, It were impossible. He is but gone A little way for needful food, or herb
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Of power to 'suage and mitigate his pain, Wherefore despatch this servant to some place Of observation, whence he may espy His every motion, lest he rush upon us. There's not a Grecian whom his soul so much Could wish to crush beneath him as Ulysses. He makes a signal to the Attendant. who retires. NEOPTOLEMUS He's gone to guard each avenue; and now, If thou hast aught of moment to impart Touching our purpose, say it; I attend.
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