Aeschylus, Persians (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Pers.].
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433

Atossa Alas! In truth a vast sea of troubles has burst upon the Persians and the entire barbarian race. 435

Messenger Be assured of this, not even half of the disaster has as yet been told. A calamity so dreadful as to outweigh these ills twice over befell them.

Atossa But what greater misfortune than this could have befallen them? Speak! What is this other disaster you say 440came upon our force, sinking the scale to greater weight of ill?

Messenger Those Persians who were in their life's prime, bravest in spirit, pre-eminent for noble birth, and always among the foremost in loyalty to the King himself— these have fallen ignobly by a most inglorious doom. 445

Atossa Ah, I am truly reduced to misery through this disaster! By what fate was it that you say they met their end?

Messenger There is an island [Note]lying before Salamis, a small one and dangerous anchorage for ships; its sea-washed shore is the haunt of Pan, who loves the dance. 450There Xerxes dispatched these, his choicest troops, in order that when the Hellenic enemy, wrecked from their ships, should flee in search of safety to the island, they might slaughter their force, an easy prey, and rescue their comrades from the straits of the sea. Grievously did he misjudge the issue. For when some god 455had given the glory to the Hellenes in the battle on the sea, on that same day, fencing their bodies in armor of bronze, they leapt from their ships and encircled the whole island, so that our men were at a loss which way to turn. Often they were struck by stones slung from their hands, 460and arrows sped from the bow-string kept falling upon them and doing them harm. At last the Hellenes, charging with one shout, struck them and hacked to pieces the limbs of the poor wretches, until they had utterly quenched the life of all. 465Xerxes groaned aloud when he beheld the extent of the disaster, for he occupied a seat commanding a clear view of the entire army—a lofty headland by the open sea. Tearing his robes and uttering a loud cry, he straightaway gave orders to his force on land 470and dismissed them in disorderly flight. This, besides the one already told, is the disaster you must bewail.



Aeschylus, Persians (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Pers.].
<<Aesch. Pers. 395 Aesch. Pers. 433 (Greek) >>Aesch. Pers. 472

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