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

volēns sciēnsque.


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 the bow and arrows to Hercules, who 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 Amphitryon 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). Hercules identifies arrow that killed his son, and Amphitryon argues that it was actually Juno who shot it, using Hercules’ hands.

    1298 hōc: ablative governed by utar (AG 410). quam: “how,” modifying palpitat and ferit. metū: ablative of cause, depending on palpitat.

    1300 aptāta: “nocked,” i.e., “fitted [against the bowstring].” faciēs: “you will commit.”

    1301 Pande: “explain,” a poetic use of the verb, which has the basic meaning “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 (nātumeripere nec tū [potes], 1303–04). This is because, if Hercules kills himself, Amphitryon will die with him.

    1303 nātum … tū: both referring to Hercules.  

    1304 maximum … metum: i.e., the fear of losing his son.

    1306–07 statue sīc … ut … scias: “decide in this 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 tūtō (1302).

    1308 occīdis: supply . 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.

    1310–11 tam ... aliquis: Amphitryon is surprised that anyone would hesitate to save his own father’s life.

    1311–12 nōn ... induam:  Amphytrion has drawn a sword and threatens to stab himself. 

    1312 “I will plunge the deadly blade into my chest pressed against it.” induam describes Amphitryon pushing the sword into his chest; impresso describes Amphitryon’s chest “pressed onto,” i.e. pushing back against the sword.

    1313 sānī: this is the key word. Hercules was furēns when he killed his wife and children, but if he drive his father to kill himself, then this would be a crime committed while sane.

    genitor genitōris m.: father

    Herculēs –is m.: Hercules

    ēn or em: Look! Behold!

    perimō –imere –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; narrate, tell

    ēvādō ēvādere ēvāsī ēvāsus: to go out, escape

    artus –a –um: fitted, close, narrow

    anceps: two-headed; with a double meaning; uncertain

    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

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