A monologue from the play by Euripides

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Plays of Euripides in English, vol. ii. Trans. Shelley Dean Milman. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1922.
  • ADMETUS: My friends, I deem the fortune of my wife
    Happier than mine, though otherwise it seems;
    For never more shall sorrow touch her breast,
    And she with glory rests from various ills.
    But I, who ought not live, my destined hour
    O'erpassing, shall drag on a mournful life,
    Late taught what sorrow is. How shall I bear
    To enter here? To whom shall I address
    My speech? Whose greeting renders my return
    Delightful? Which way shall I turn? Within
    In lonely sorrow shall I waste away,
    As widowed of my wife I see my couch,
    The seats deserted where she sat, the rooms
    Wanting her elegance. Around my knees
    My children hang, and weep their mother lost:
    These too lament their mistress now no more.
    This is the scene of misery in my house:
    Abroad, the nuptials of Thessalia's youth
    And the bright circles of assembled dames
    Will but augment my grief: ne'er shall I bear
    To see the loved companions of my wife.
    And if one hates me, he will say, "Behold
    The man, who basely lives, who dared not die,
    But, giving through the meanness of his soul
    His wife, avoided death, yet would be deemed
    A man: he hates his parents, yet himself
    Had not the spirit to die." These ill reports
    Cleave to me: why then wish for longer life,
    On evil tongues thus fallen, and evil days?