Euripides, Alcestis 38-42
I’m currently reading Euripides’ Alcestis in the excellent edition of LPE Parker. The play opens with Apollo and Death outside the house of Admetus, who has managed to get his wife Alcestis to agree to die in his place. Death has come to keep an eye on these goings-on, and has just expressed his displeasure at finding Apollo hanging around – particularly as the archer-god is carrying his bow and arrows, and also because he had been instrumental in getting this special dispensation for Admetus.
ΑΠΟΛΛΩΝ θάρσει· δίκην τοι καὶ λόγους κέδνοὺς ἔχω.
ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ τί δῆτα τόξων ἔργον, εἰ δίκην ἔχεις;
Απ. σύνηθες αἰεὶ ταῦτα βαστάζειν ἐμοί.
Θα. καὶ τοῖσδέ γ’ οἴκοις ἐκδίκως προσωφελεῖν.
Απ. φίλου γὰρ ἀνδρὸς συμφοραῖς βαρύνομαι.
Apollo: Don’t worry! I have a just reason and honest words.
Death: Why do you need your bow then, if you have a just reason?
Apollo: I always carry it around with me, habitually.
Death: Yes – and you habitually give help unjustly to this house.
Apollo: Yes, because I’m weighed down by the misfortunes of a man dear to me.