Hors d’Oeuvres

To provide a ‘taste’ of the range and variety of fragments, here is a (fragmentary) mix, taken from the free translations of some of the texts for performance available in this site (source plays are identified at the bottom of the page).

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1.

Dionysos, my father’s father, with thyrsus and fawnskin, dance-leaping in torch-flame-light across Parnassus with the Delphic virgins… Ariadne… his four sons… each an island… Lemnos… and I… exiled… the yoke… Jason… by the Clashing Rocks….

2.

The god-force gives great dislocations to our lives and upends fortune.

3.

In place of fire – a further fire

forth – we women – sprang

fiercer – harder far – to fight.

4.

Mother, by far the best woman of all top women, I have been… moved, urged… by premonitions, compelled, but not against my will it comes, madness, Apollo’s speech through me. Because of my… ways, I feel, in front of girls my age, shame, shame above all on account of my father, best of men. Pity for you. I hate myself. You have given Priam the best children, except for one. Me. It hurts, they are full of promise, of becoming, I am a dead end; they compliant, flexible, I… in the way.

5.

Ungrateful for my lavished kisses! Your own pure perfect limbs you took for granted!

6.

Pointless, words in song

In praise of ‘good birth’.

Earth, long ago, bred us all

Much of a muchness.

Distinguishing features, OK (we’re individual).

But ‘good-birth-marks’? No way!

Bottom to top, one species, us.

All this fuss the wealthy make

’s habit, hard to break, time-ingrained

But hare-brained. It’s what’s inside, up-top,

that counts

that’s ‘good birth’ –

Not your ‘ultra net worth’.

7.

But now – on my own – I am nothing. Yet I have often regarded all womankind in this way. We are nothing. As little girls in our father’s house, we live, I believe, the happiest possible human lives – for short-sightedness always raises children in happiness, for happiness. But when we reach awareness, when we ‘ripen,’ we are shoved out, sold, away from parents, from gods of the hearth, some to foreign men, some to barbarians, some into joyless homes, some into houses of abuse. And this, after a single night has yoked us, we are to approve and consider ‘the good’.

8.

They – they – are going to stone me? Don’t imagine, ever, that I, the son of Peleus, will fall, body broken, bloodied, here, on Trojan earth, to their stones! For that way I would save the Trojans, let them sit at ease and win without a battle!

9.

And I became a slave, sea-freighted here, mere trafficked goods.

10.

All one tribe, people

One day begot us one father one mother

Not

one born above

another below –

But from nature to nurture

ill fate fingers some – some

strike it rich – some

a slave’s bonds teach

necessity.

11.

To be born is to be mortal, thence to suffer. We bury children, beget others, and die  ourselves in turn. And mortals grieve at the return of earth to earth. Yet it must be. Life is a harvest, an abundant crop, though one of us lives and another does not. Why should we lament this? Why grieve at what is in the nature of human life?

12.

Testifying to misfortune in front of all, a man lacks brain; concealment is smart.

13.

Who – on out the chambers

up the Ether – what the Sign –

the giving grape – the spreading

drip of nectar – drip of nectar

maybe maybe  (joy!)

Revered thing of gods

mistress our earth

invisible the light

the firstborn in mist – Desire

willed it – and the Night

On the breeze – smoke

even in rooms the roarer god goes

three-leaved his stick

and in my house

and on my shoulder

and in my hand.

14.

I have a  teacher of brazen boldness, most ingenious in intractable situations – Eros,  hardest of all gods to resist.

15.

But a single day holds multiple changes.

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1. From Euripides’ Hypsipyle; 2. From Euripides’ Oedipus; 3. From Euripides’ Hipployos Veiled; 4. From Ennius’ Alexander; 5. From Aeschylus’ Myrmidons; 6. From Euripides’ Alexandros; 7. From Sophocles’ Tereus; 8. From Aeschylus’ Myrmidons; 9. From Euripides’ Hypsipyle; 10. From Sophocles’ Tereus; 11. From Euripides’ Hypsipyle; 12. From Euripides’ Oedipus; 13. From Euripides’ Hypsipyle; 14. From Euripides’ Hippolytos Veiled; 15. From Euripides’ Oedipus.

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