— sed ecce prōlēs rēgis inimīcī latet,
Lycī nefandum sēmen. invīsō patrī
haec dextra iam vōs reddet. excutiat levēs
nervus sagittās. tēla sīc mittī decet990
AM. Quō sē caecus impēgit furor?
vastum coāctīs flexit arcum cornibus
pharetramque solvit, strīdet ēmissa impetū
harundo — mediō spīculum collō fugit
HER. Cēteram prōlem ēruam995
omnēsque latebrās. quid moror? maius mihi
bellum Mycēnīs restat, ut Cyclōpia
ēversa manibus saxa nostrīs concidant.
hūc eat et illūc valva dēiectō obice
rumpatque postēs; columen impulsum labet.1000
perlūcet omnis rēgia; hīc videō abditum
nātum scelestī patris.
Hercules hallucinates that his own children are Lycus’s and aims his bow at them. Amphitryon relates his shock at this action. Amphitryon narrates the death of one child, then Hercules goes hunting for the rest of his family, destroying his own palace to get inside.
987–88 prōlēs ... sēmen: both referring to Hercules’ children, whom he mistakes for Lycus’ children.
988–89 invīsō ... reddet: i.e., Hercules will send the children to join their father in death.
989 excutiat: hortatory subjunctive (AG 439); the verb means “shoot” here.
990 sic mittī decet “it is fitting that [Hercules’ arrows] be shot in this way,” i.e., to kill the family of a tyrant. decet is an impersonal verb that governs a complementary infinitive (AG 454).
991 quō: “where.” sē … impēgit: “has driven itself.” The metaphor is that of dashing or smashing into something (LS impingo).
992 coactīs … cornibus: ablative absolute (AG 419), “with the horns of the bow being brought together.”
992–93 flexit ... solvit: the subject is Hercules.
993 pharetramque solvit: ancient quivers usually had a top that needed to be opened to access the arrows.
994 mediō … collō: ablative of place from which without a preposition (AG 428.g), “(out) from the middle of the neck.”
995 vulnere relictō: ablative absolute (AG 419), “having left behind a wound.”
997–98 Mycenīs: locative ablative (AG 421). Cyclōpia … saxa: the Cyclopean walls were the western part of the great circuit walls at Mycenae. restat, ut … concidant: substantive clause (AG 569.2), “remains, (namely) that … fall.” Hercules’ reference to the palace of Eurystheus at Mycenae may mean simply that he plans to travel there and attack Eurystheus after he is finished killing “Lycus’” family. But some scholars interpret these lines as an intensification of Hercules’ hallucination: Hercules may believe that he is actually attacking Eurystheus’ palace as he batters down his own palace.
999–1000 Seneca refers to three parts of a large door: the valvae (the double or folding door itself), the ōbex (the bar or bolt that fastens the door), and the postēs (the door jam or frame). eat … rumpat … labet: hortatory subjunctive (AG 439). deiectō ōbice: ablative absolute (AG 419). rumpatque postēs: the valva, in being thrown open by Hercules, will break its door frame.
1000 columen: the ridge-pole of the roof, or the roof as a whole. impulsum: “broken,” “forced to give way,” perfect passive participle > impellō, agreeing with columen.
1001 perlūcet: light pours into the palace through the shattered doorway and roof.
1002 scelestī patris: Hercules thinks he is abusing his enemy Lycus (or Eurystheus: see 996–8n.), but in reality he is describing himself as he kills his own son.
prōlēs prōlis f.: descendants
Lycus –ī m.: Lycus
nefandus –a –um: unspeakable, abominable
sēmen sēminis n.: seed; offspring
invīsus –a –um: hated
excutiō excutere excussī excussum: to shake out or off; cast out; examine, investigate
nervus –ī m.: muscle, tendon; cord, string
sagitta sagittae f.: arrow
Herculeus –a –um: of Hercules; Herculean
impingō –ere –pēgī –pāctus: to fasten upon; drive
vāstus –a –um: empty, desolate; vast
flectō flectere flēxī flexus: to bend; turn, direct; persuade
arcus arcūs m.: bow; arch
cornū –ūs n.: horn; the tip of an object (e.g., of a bow)
pharetra –ae f.: quiver
strīdō –ere: to make a shrill noise
ēmittō ēmittere ēmīsī ēmīssus: to send out, release
harundō –inis f.: reed; rod; arrow
spīculum –ī n.: sharp point; arrow
collum collī n.: neck
prōlēs prōlis f.: descendants
ēruō ēruere ēruī ērutus: unearth, dig up, discover
latebra –ae f.: hiding place
maior māius: bigger
Mycēnae –ārum f. pl.: Mycenae
restō restāre restitī: to remain; resist
Cyclōpius –a –um: pertaining to the Cyclops
concidō –cidere –cidī: to collapse
valva –ae f.: leaf of a door; a folding door
dēiciō dēicere dēiēci deīctum: to throw down, eject
ōbex, obicis m./f.: a bolt, bar; obstacle, barrier
postis –is m.: doorjamb; door
labō labāre labāvī labātus: to give way
perlūceō –lūcēre –lūxī —: to transmit or emit light; shine
rēgia rēgia f.: palace, court; royal power
abditus –a –um: removed, hidden
scelestus –a –um: wicked