HER. Vōx est digna genitōre Herculis.1295
hōc ēn perēmptus spīculō cecidit puer.
AM. Hoc Iūnō tēlum manibus immīsit tuīs.
HER. Hōc nunc ego ūtar.
AM. Ecce quam miserum metū
cor palpitat pectusque sollicitum ferit.
HER. Aptāta harundo est.
AM. Ecce iam faciēs scelus1300
HER. Pande, quid fierī iubēs?
AM. Nihil rogāmus; noster in tūtō est dolor:
nātum potes servāre tū sōlus mihi,
ēripere nec tū. maximum ēvāsī metum;
miserum haud potes mē facere, fēlīcem potes.1305
sīc statue, quidquid statuis, ut causam tuam
fāmamque in artō stāre et ancipitī sciās:
aut vīvis aut occīdis. hanc animam levem
fessamque seniō nec minus fessam malīs
in ōre prīmō teneō. tam tardē patrī1310
vītam dat aliquis? nōn feram ulterius moram,
lētāle ferrum pectorī impressō induam;
hīc, hīc iacēbit Herculis sānī scelus.
Amphitryon returns Hercules’ bow, and his son aims it at his own chest. Amphitryon changes persuasive tactics, arguing that Hercules’ suicide would be committing a crime with foreknowledge (volens sciensque 1301) rather than in madness, and tantamount to killing Amphityon himself, since Amphitryon is on death’s door and determined to die if Hercules does. This would be a deliberate and unforgivable crime.
1295 Vox: “remark,” “words.” genitōre: ablative of specification with the adjective digna (AG 418.b)
1296–97 spiculō, manibus: ablative of means (AG 409)
1300 faciēs: “you will make.”
1301 Pande: “explain,” a poetic use of the verb, which usually means “open, spread out” (LS pando -ere II.B.2).
1302 tūtō: substantive adjective: “in a safe [place].” That is, as Amphitryon goes on to explain, Hercules cannot steal Amphitryon’s son from him (natum … eripere nec tu [potes], 1304–4). This is because, if Hercules kills himself, Amphitryon will die with him.
1303 nātum … tū: both referring to Hercules. Third-person address is a feature of the elevated and stylized dialogue of tragedy. See 1267.
1304 maximum … metum: i.e., the fear of losing his son
1306–7 statue sīc … ut … scias: “decide in such a way that you know,” substantive clause of result (AG 569).
1307 in artō … et ancipitī: substantive adjectives, “in a tight and precarious place,” the opposite of Amphitryon’s tuto (1302).
1308 occīdis: supply mē. Amphitryon is making it clear that, for Hercules, suicide (which the Romans claimed to be justifiable in certain circumstances) is tantamount to killing his father (always a horrible crime).
1309 seniō … malīs: ablatives of means (AG 409), depending on the repeated adjective fessam.
1310 in ōre prīmō teneō: “I am holding (my soul) on my very lips.” He is so close to death that his soul may escape his body at any moment.
genitor genitōris m.: father
Herculēs –is m.: Hercules
ēn or em: Look! Behold!
perimō –ere –ēmī –ēmptus: to annihilate; prevent; kill
spīculum –ī n.: sharp point; arrow
Iūnō Iūnōnis f.: Juno
immittō immittere immīsī immīssus: to send in
palpitō palpitāre: to tremble, move quickly
sollicitus –a –um: moved, agitated; worried, troubled
feriō ferīre: to strike, hit
aptō aptāre aptāvī aptātus: to adapt to, prepare; fit together, join
harundō –inis f.: reed; rod, crown, arrow
pandō pandere pandī passus: to spread out, extend; unfold
ēvādō ēvādere ēvāsī ēvāsus: to go out, escape
artus –a –um: fitted, close, narrow
anceps: two–headed; with a double meaning
lētālis –e: deadly, fatal
imprimō –primere –pressī –pressum: to apply with pressure, imprint
induō induere induī indūtus: to put on, clothe
Herculēs –is m.: Hercules