1272-1295

THE.                                Sunt quidem patriae precēs

satis efficācēs, sed tamen nostrō quoque

movēre flētū. surge et adversa impetū

perfringe solitō. nunc tuum nūllī imparem1275

animum malō resūme, nunc magnā tibi

virtūte agendum est; Herculem īrāscī vetā.

 

HER.      Sī vīvo, fēcī scelera; sī morior, tulī.

pūrgāre terrās properō; iamdūdum mihi

mōnstrum impium saevumque et immīte ac ferum1280

oberrat. agedum, dextra, cōnāre aggredī

ingēns opus, labōre bis sēnō amplius.

ignāve, cessās, fortis in puerōs modo

pavidāsque mātrēs? — arma nisi dantur mihi,

aut omne Pindī Thrācis excīdam nemus1285

Bacchīque lūcōs et Cithaerōnis iuga

mēcum cremābō, aut tōta cum domibus suīs

dominīsque tēcta, cum deīs templa omnibus

Thēbāna suprā corpus excipiam meum

atque urbe versā condar, et, sī fortibus1290

leve pondus umerīs moenia immissa incident

septemque opertus nōn satis portīs premar,

onus omne mediā parte quod mundī sedet

dirimitque superōs, in meum vertam caput.

 

AM.       Reddō arma.

Theseus encourages Hercules to endure his guilt rather than yield to his anger and kill himself, but Hercules continues to rationalize the thought of suicide. He addresses his right hand and wonders why it appears to hesitate. He demands his weapons and threatens to destroy his surroundings unless they are brought to him.

1272 patriae: “fatherly,” modifying preces

1274–75 impetū … solitō: ablative of manner (AG 412)

1275–76 nullī … / malō: dative with adjective imparem (AG 384)

1276–77 tibi … agendum est: passive periphrastic (AG 500.2). magnā … virtute: ablative of manner (AG 412)

1279 tulī: “I suffered them,” and am thus the victim, rather than the perpetrator.

1279 mihi: dative of reference depending on oberrat (AG 376), “ranges before me.”

1280 mōnstrum: referring to himself, as though he were one more monster to be dispatched

1281 conāre: imperative of deponent conor (AG 190)

1282 labōre bis sēnō: ablative of comparison depending on amplius (AG 407.c), referring to the Twelve Labors.

1283 ignāve: Hercules finds himself hesitating and blames his right hand, calling it a “coward” that is only brave enough to attack boys and their mothers.

1284–94 By paying careful attention to the main verbs and the use of nisi and si, this Herculean sentence can be divided into relatively short, straightforward clauses. Here it is in prose word order:

nisi arma mihi dantur,

aut omne nemus Pindi Thracis excidam

Bacchique lucos et iuga Cithaeronis mecum cremabo,

aut tota tecta cum suis domibus dominisque [cremabo],

[et] templa Thebana cum omnibus deis supra meum corpus excipiam,

atque urbe versa condar,

et, si, leve pondus, moenia immisa fortibus umeris incident,

[et] opertus septem portis non satis premar,

in meum caput vertam omne onus,

quod sedet media parte mundi,

dirimitque superos.

1285–86 Pindī ... Cithaerōnis: Mt. Pindus and Mt. Cithaeron, see lines 976–81. excīdam: “I will cut down” (> excīdō, not excidō) in order to make a colossal pyre (see cremābō 1287). nemus is the direct object.

1287–88 tōta cum domibus suīs / dominīsque tēcta: “every building with its family and master” (Fitch 2018). LS domus II.B. tōta = omnia.

1290 urbe versā condar: ablative of means (AG 409), “I shall be buried by the ruined city” (LS verto I.B.2.e).

1290–91 fortibus … umerīs: dative depending on the adjective leve, “for my strong shoulders.”

1292 septem … portis: the Seven Gates of Thebes, ablative of means.

1293 mediā parte: locative ablative (AG 421)

1294 dirimitque superōs: “and keeps the gods separate” (Fitch 2018)

efficāx –ācis: effectual, powerful, efficient

flētus fletūs m.: weeping

perfringō perfringere perfrēgī perfrāctus: to break, smash

solitum –ī n.: the customary, what is usual

impār –aris: unequal, in unequal combat

resūmō –sūmere –sūmpsī –sūmptum: to take up again, resume

Herculēs –is m.: Hercules

pūrgō pūrgāre pūrgāvī pūrgātus: to clean

iamdūdum or iam dudum: now for a long time (+ present tense)

mōnstrum mōnstrī n.: monster; omen

impius –a –um: disloyal, wicked

immītis –e: hard, harsh, cruel

oberrō oberrāre: to wander

agedum: come!

aggredior aggredī aggressus sum: to approach

bis: twice

sēnī –ae –a: 6 each

ignāvus –a –um: lazy

cessō cessāre cessāvī cessātus: to delay; cease; be idle

pavidus –a –um: scared, frightened

Pindus or –os –ī m.: Pindus

Thrāca –ae f.: Thrace

excidō excidere excidī: to fall out, drop; perish; be forgotten

Bacchus –ī m.: Bacchus; Bacchant; wine

lūcus lūcī m.: grove, wood

Cithaerōn –ōnis m.: Cithaeron

cremō cremāre cremāvī cremātus: to burn

dominus dominī m.: master, lord

Thēbānus –a –um: Theban

verrō verrere verrī versum: to sweep

umerus umerī m.: shoulder

immittō immittere immīsī immīssus: to send in

septem; septimus –a –um: seven

operiō operīre operuī opertum: to cover, hide

dirimō –ere –ēmī –ēmptus: to take asunder; to separate

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