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The Suppliants   


Lo, with bowed heads beside our city shrines
Ye sit 'neath shade of new-plucked olive-boughs.
Our distant kin's resentment Heaven forefend!
Let not this hap, unhoped and unforeseen,
Bring war on us: for strife we covet not.
CHORUS
antistrophe 1

Justice, the daughter of right-dealing Zeus,
Justice, the queen of suppliants, look down,
That this our plight no ill may loose
Upon your town!
This word, even from the young, let age and wisdom learn:
If thou to suppliants show grace,
Thou shalt not lack Heaven's grace in turn,
So long as virtue's gifts on heavenly shrines have place.

THE KING OF ARGOS
Not at my private hearth ye sit and sue;
And if the city bear a common stain,
Be it the common toil to cleanse the same:
Therefore no pledge, no promise will I give,
Ere counsel with the commonwealth be held.
CHORUS
strophe 2
Nay, but the source of sway, the city's self, art thou,
A power unjudged! thine, only thine,
To rule the right of hearth and shrine!
Before thy throne and sceptre all men bow!
Thou, in all causes lord, beware the curse divine!

THE KING OF ARGOS
May that curse fall upon mine enemies!
I cannot aid you without risk of scathe,
Nor scorn your prayers-unmerciful it were.
Perplexed, distraught I stand, and fear alike
The twofold chance, to do or not to do.
CHORUS
antistrophe 2
Have heed of him who looketh from on high,
The guard of woeful mortals, whosoe'er
Unto their fellows cry,
And find no pity, find no justice there.
Abiding in his wrath, the suppliants' lord
Doth smite, unmoved by cries, unbent by prayerful word.

THE KING OF ARGOS
But if Aegyptus' children grasp you here,
Claiming, their country's right, to hold you theirs
As next of kin, who dares to counter this?
Plead ye your country's laws, if plead ye may,
That upon you they lay no lawful hand.
CHORUS
strophe 3
Let me not fall, O nevermore,
A prey into the young men's hand;
Rather than wed whom I abhor,
By pilot-stars I flee this land;
O king, take justice to thy side,
And with the righteous powers decide!
THE KING OF ARGOS
Hard is the cause-make me not judge thereof.
Already I have vowed it, to do nought
Save after counsel with my people ta'en,

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