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translated by Theodore C. Williams
Book II Chapter 6: Sinon tells his tale
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O King! I will confess, whate'er befall, |
the whole unvarnished truth. I will not hide
my Grecian birth. Yea, thus will I begin.
For Fortune has brought wretched Sinon low;
but never shall her cruelty impair
his honor and his truth. Perchance the name
of Palamedes, Belus' glorious son,
has come by rumor to your listening ears;
whom by false witness and conspiracy,
because his counsel was not for this war,
the Greeks condemned, though guiltless, to his death,
and now make much lament for him they slew.
I, his companion, of his kith and kin,
sent hither by my humble sire's [Note 1] command,
followed his arms and fortunes from my youth.
Long as his throne endured, and while he throve
in conclave with his kingly peers, we twain
some name and lustre bore; but afterward,
because that cheat Ulysses envied him
(Ye know the deed), he from this world withdrew,
and I in gloom and tribulation sore
lived miserably on, lamenting loud
my lost friend's blameless fall. A fool was I
that kept not these lips closed; but I had vowed
that if a conqueror home to Greece I came,
I would avenge. Such words moved wrath, and were
the first shock of my ruin; from that hour,
Ulysses whispered slander and alarm;
breathed doubt and malice into all men's ears,
and darkly plotted how to strike his blow.
Nor rest had he, till Calchas, as his tool,-
but why unfold this useless, cruel story?
Why make delay? Ye count all sons of Greece
arrayed as one; and to have heard thus far
suffices you. Take now your ripe revenge!
Ulysses smiles and Atreus' royal sons
with liberal price your deed of blood repay.
Note 1: sire = Aesimus
'Cuncta equidem tibi, rex, fuerit quodcumque, fatebor
uera,' inquit; 'neque me Argolica de gente negabo.
hoc primum; nec, si miserum Fortuna Sinonem
finxit, uanum etiam mendacemque improba finget.
fando aliquod si forte tuas peruenit ad auris
Belidae nomen Palamedis et incluta fama
gloria, quem falsa sub proditione Pelasgi
insontem infando indicio, quia bella uetabat,
demisere neci, nunc cassum lumine lugent:
illi me comitem et consanguinitate propinquum
pauper in arma pater primis huc misit ab annis.
dum stabat regno incolumis regumque uigebat
conciliis, et nos aliquod nomenque decusque
gessimus. inuidia postquam pellacis Vlixi
(haud ignota loquor) superis concessit ab oris,
adflictus uitam in tenebris luctuque trahebam
et casum insontis mecum indignabar amici.
nec tacui demens et me, fors si qua tulisset,
si patrios umquam remeassem uictor ad Argos,
promisi ultorem et uerbis odia aspera moui.
hinc mihi prima mali labes, hinc semper Vlixes
criminibus terrere nouis, hinc spargere uoces
in uulgum ambiguas et quaerere conscius arma.
nec requieuit enim, donec Calchante ministro—
sed quid ego haec autem nequiquam ingrata reuoluo,
quidue moror? si omnis uno ordine habetis Achiuos,
idque audire sat est, iamdudum sumite poenas:
hoc Ithacus uelit et magno mercentur Atridae.'