The Return of Philoktetes (page 639 upper)

Chapter 16, The Trojan War

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Lykophron, Alexandra 57-68

 all which things the jealous spouse shall bring to light, sending her son to indicate the land, angered by her father’s taunts, for her bed’s sake and because of the alien bride. And herself, the skilled in drugs, seeing the baleful wound incurable of her husband wounded by the giant-slaying arrows of his adversary, shall endure to share his doom, from the topmost towers to the new slain corpse hurtling herself head foremost, and pierced by sorrow for the dead shall breathe forth her soul on the quivering body.  Greek Text

Apollodoros, Bibliotheke (Library) 3.12.6

Now Hector married Andromache, daughter of Eetion, and Alexander married Oenone, daughter of the river Cebren. She had learned from Rhea the art of prophecy, and warned Alexander not to sail to fetch Helen; but failing to persuade him, she told him to come to her if he were wounded, for she alone could heal him. When he had carried off Helen from Sparta and Troy was besieged, he was shot by Philoctetes with the bow of Hercules, and went back to Oenone on Ida. But she, nursing her grievance, refused to heal him. So Alexander was carried to Troy and died. But Oenone repented her, and brought the healing drugs; and finding him dead she hanged herself.  Greek Text

Ovid, Heroides 5

Oenone to Paris

MAY I hope that you will read this? Or, over-awed by your new bride, must you treat it with neglect? Read it over, I entreat you: it is no threatening letter sent you from Mycenæ. I, the Nymph Œnone, famous in the Phrygian woods, complain of injuries received from you, whom I am still fond to call mine, if you permit. What God opposes himself to my wishes? What crime have I committed, that I no longer possess your love? Where we suffer deservedly, we ought to bear it with patience; but unmerited calamities sit heavy upon us. You were yet in low circumstances, when I, a Nymph sprung from a mighty river, was contented to receive you for my husband. Thought now the

son of Priam, (excuse my freedom,) you were then no more than a slave: nor did I disdain to wed you even in that meanest rank. Oft under the shade of a tree, have we quietly rested amidst the flocks, where the ground, strewn with leaves, afforded a pleasant couch. Oft in our Iowly cottage, secure from hail and freezing winds, have we contentedly reposed on straw or a bed of hay. Who shewed you the forests best stocked with game, or pointed out the rocky caverns where the savage dam concealed her young? A constant companion of your toils, I often spread the knotted net, and cheered your sweeping hounds along the mountain’s brow. The beeches still preserve my name carved by your hand; and ‘Œnone,’ the work of your pruning-knife, is read upon their bark; and, as the trunks increase, the letters still dilate. Grow on, and rise as testimonies of my just claim. There grows a poplar (I remember it) by the river’s side, on which is carved the motto of our love. Flourish. thou poplar, fed by the bordering stream, whose furrowed bark bears this inscription: Sooner shall Xanthus hasten back to his source, than Paris be able to live without his Œnone. Xanthus,

flow backward; backward flow, ye streams! Paris still lives, though faithless to his Œnone. My misfortunes began from that unhappy day, in which Venus, Juno, and Minerva (most graceful when clad in shining armor) appointed you judge of the prize of beauty. It was then that a black storm overcast my former peace. My heart failed while you repeated the fatal tale, and a cold trembling shot through all my bones. I acquainted the aged matrons and sages with my just fears; and they all agreed that some misfortune was approaching. Trees are cut down, ships are built; and the sea-green waves bear up your well-appointed fleet. When about to depart, you melted into tears; this at least you need not be ashamed to own; the present love is far more guilty than the past. You wept, and witnessed my melting grief; the mingled tears spoke our

mutual sadness. You clasped your arms round my neck, more closely than the curling vines embrace the towering elm. How did your companions smile, when you complained of the unfriendly winds! They favored; but love detained you. How often at parting did you repeat the ardent kisses; while your tongue was scarcely able to utter a last farewell!  Continue Reading  Latin Text

Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2023

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