Monogamy (Ode from “Andromache”) by Euripides

Two rival consorts ne’er can I approve,
Or sons, the source of strife, their birth who owe
To different mothers; hence connubial love
Is banished, and the mansion teems with woe.
One blooming nymph let cautious husbands wed,
And share with her alone an unpolluted bed.

No prudent city, no well-governed state,
More than a single potentate will own;
Their subjects droop beneath the grievous weight
When two bear rule, and discord shakes the throne;
And if two bards awake their sounding lyres
E’en the harmonious Muse a cruel strife inspires,

To aid the bark, when prosperous gales arise,
Two jarring pilots shall misguide the helm;
Weak is a multitude when all are wise,
One simpler monarch could have saved the realm,
Let a sole chief the house or empire sway,
And all who hope for bliss their lord’s behests obey.

From: Euripides, The Plays of Euripides in English in 2 Volumes, Volume 1, 1906, J. M. Dent & Sons: London & Toronto, p. 260.

Date: 5th century BCE (original in Greek); 1782 (translation in English)

By: Euripides (c480-c406 BCE)

Translated by: Michael Wodhull (1740-1816)


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