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The Suppliants   


If so he will, your toils to joy will turn.

LEADER
Lo, on this shrine, the semblance of a bird.

DANAUS
Zeus' bird of dawn it is; invoke the sign.

LEADER
Thus I invoke the saving rays of morn.
DANAUS
Next, bright Apollo, exiled once from heaven.

LEADER
The exiled god will pity our exile.
DANAUS
Yea, may he pity, giving grace and aid.

LEADER
Whom next invoke I, of these other gods?

DANAUS
Lo, here a trident, symbol of a god.
LEADER
Who gave sea-safety; may he bless on land!

DANAUS
This next is Hermes, carved in Grecian wise.

LEADER
Then let him herald help to freedom won.

DANAUS
Lastly, adore this altar consecrate
To many lesser gods in one; then crouch
On holy ground, a flock of doves that flee,
Scared by no alien hawks, a kin not kind,
Hateful, and fain of love more hateful still,
Foul is the bird that rends another bird,
And foul the men who hale unwilling maids,
From sire unwilling, to the bridal bed.
Never on earth, nor in the lower world,
Shall lewdness such as theirs escape the ban:
There too, if men say right, a God there is
Who upon dead men turns their sin to doom,
To final doom. Take heed, draw hitherward,
That from this hap your safety ye may win.
The KING OF ARGOS enters, followed by his attendants and soldiers.

THE KING OF ARGOS
Speak-of what land are ye? No Grecian band
Is this to whom I speak, with Eastern robes
And wrappings richly dight: no Argive maid,
No woman in all Greece such garb doth wear,
This too gives marvel, how unto this land,
Unheralded, unfriended, without guide,
And without fear, ye came? yet wands I see,
True sign of suppliance, by you laid down
On shrines of these our gods of festival.
No land but Greece can rede such signs aright.
Much else there is, conjecture well might guess,
But let words teach the man who stands to hear.

LEADER

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