Euripide: Hippolyte, 856 sq. (trad. Marie Delcourt)

THESEE: Mais voyez cette tablette attachée
à sa main chérie.

ἔα ἔα:
τί δή ποθ’ ἥδε δέλτος ἐκ φίλης χερὸς

Qu’est-ce? Veut-elle m’annoncer quelque nouveau malheur?
c’est plutôt son message d’épouse et de mère
où elle inscrivit son dernier souhait.

θέλει τι σημη̂ναι νέον;
ἀλλ’ ἠ̂ λέχους μοι καὶ τέκνων ἐπιστολὰς
ἔγραψεν ἡ δύστηνος, ἐξαιτουμένη;
Mais je vois un cachet, celui de l’anneau d’or
que portait celle qui n’est plus, caresse pour mes yeux.
Il me faut dérouler le cordon du cachet,
savoir ce que veut ce message.

ἴδω τί λέξαι δέλτος ἥδε μοι θέλει.
LE CORYPHEE: Qu’arrive-t-il? Dis-le moi, si tu veux bien m’en faire part.

τί χρη̂μα; λέξον, εἴ τί μοι λόγου μέτα.

THESEE: Elle crie, cette lettre, elle crie des forfaits.

βοᾳ̂ βοᾳ̂ δέλτος ἄλαστα.

Où fuit
le malheur qui m’écrase? Je suis perdu, anéanti,
tel est le chant de perdition que fait entendre ce message.

οἱ̂ον οἱ̂ον εἰ̂δον γραφαι̂ς μέλος
φθεγγόμενον τλάμων.

LE C.: Hélas, tu as dit là un funeste prélude.

T.: Je ne puis plus fermer la porte de ma bouche

τόδε μὲν οὐκέτι στόματος ἐν πύλαις

sur ce crime mortel que j’ai peine à nommer.
Ecoute, ô mon pays.

cf. aussi, plus loin (trad. Loeb) :

[925] Ah, but there ought to be for mortals some reliable test for friends, some way to know their minds, which of them is a true friend and which is not, and each man ought to have two voices, the one a voice of justice, the other whatever he chanced to have, [930] so that the voice that thinks unjust thoughts would be convicted of falsehood by the just voice. And in this way we should never be deceived.
Oh, the heart of mortals, how far will it go? What limit can be set to hardihood and brazenness? If it grows great in the course of a man’s life, and the man who comes after shall overtop his predecessor [940] in knavery, the gods will have to add another earth to our world to hold the criminal and the vile!

Look at this man! He was born from my loins, and yet he disgraced my bed and is clearly convicted [945] of utter baseness by the dead woman here.
Come, show your face to your father, eye to eye, since in any case I have already involved myself in pollution. Are you, then, the companion of the gods, as a man beyond the common? Are you the chaste one, untouched by evil? [950] I will never be persuaded by your vauntings, never be so unintelligent as to impute folly to the gods. Continue then your confident boasting, take up a diet of greens and play the showman with your food, make Orpheus your lord and engage in mystic rites, holding the vaporings of many books in honor. [955] For you have been found out. To all I give the warning: avoid men like this. For they make you their prey with their high-holy-sounding words while they contrive deeds of shame.
She is dead. Do you think this will save you? This is the fact that most serves to convict you, villainous man. [960] For what oaths, what arguments, could be more powerful than she is, to win you acquittal on the charge?
And so now–but why do I wage this contest against your speech when this corpse, witness most reliable, lies near?

I have said all else, one more point remains. If I had a witness to what manner of man I am and if I were pleading my case while she was still alive, your careful investigation would have discovered in very truth who the guilty party is. [1025] As things stand, I swear by Zeus, god of oaths, and by the earth beneath me that I never put my hand to your wife, never wished to, never had the thought. May I perish with no name or reputation [citiless, homeless, wandering the earth an exile] [1030] and may neither sea nor earth receive my body when I am dead if I am guilty! What the fear was that made her take her life I do not know, for I am not at liberty to speak further. Virtue she showed, though she did not possess it,]while I who had it did not use it well.

Chorus Leader
You have made a sufficient rebuttal of the charge against you by giving your oath in the name of the gods, which is no slight assurance.

Is this man not a chanter of spells and a charlatan? He is confident that by his calm temper [1040] he will overmaster my soul though he has dishonored the father who begat him.
[1055] Will you not examine my oath and sworn testimony or the words of seers? Will you banish me without a trial?

There’s no divinatory chanciness about this tablet, and its accusation against you deserves my trust.
The messenger
I am, I know, a slave of your house, my lord,[1250] but I shall never have the strength to believe that your son was guilty, not even if the whole female sex should hang themselves and fill with writing (grammatôn) all the pine-wood that grows upon Mount Ida. For I know that he was good..


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