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The Suppliants   


Strive then to aid a kindred Argive band.
THE KING OF ARGOS
Yea of a truth, in backward scope of time,
Of Argive race ye seem: but say what chance
Fell on you, goading you from home and land?
LEADER
Lord of Pelasgian men, calamity
Is manifold and diverse; as of birds
Feather from feather differs, so of men
The woes are sundry. Who had dared foretell
That this our sudden flight, this hate and fear
Of loathly wedlock, would on Argos' shore
Set forth a race of kindred lineage?
THE KING OF ARGOS
What crave ye of these gods of festival,
Holding up newly-plucked white-tufted boughs?
LEADER
Ne'er to be slaves unto Aegyptus' race.

THE KING OF ARGOS
Doth your own hate, or doth the law forbid?

LEADER
Not as our lords, but as unloved, we chide them.

THE KING OF ARGOS
'Tis from such wedlock that advancement comes,

LEADER
How easy is it, from the weak to turn!
THE KING OF ARGOS
How then toward you can I be conscience-clear?

LEADER
Deny us, though Aegyptus' race demand.
THE KING OF ARGOS
A heavy task thou namest, a rash war.
LEADER
But Justice champions them who strike for her.

THE KING OF ARGOS
Yea, if their side was from the outset hers.

LEADER
Revere the gods thus crowned, who steer the State.

THE KING OF ARGOS
Awe thrills me, seeing these shrines with leafage crowned. The
whole CHORUS now sings its responses to the KING.

CHORUS
strophe 1

Yea, stern the wrath of Zeus, the suppliants' lord.
Child of Palaichthon, royal chief
Of thy Pelasgians, hear!
Bow down thine heart to my relief-
A fugitive, a suppliant, swift with fear,
A creature whom the wild wolves chase
O'er toppling crags; in piteous case
Aloud, afar she lows,
Calling the herdsman's trusty arm to save her from her foes!

THE KING OF ARGOS

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