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The Suppliants   


For, if a house be sacked, new wealth for old
Not hard it is to win-if Zeus the lord
Of treasure favour-more than quits the loss,
Enough to pile the store of wealth full high;
Or if a tongue shoot forth untimely speech,
Bitter and strong to goad a man to wrath,
Soft words there be to soothe that wrath away:
But what device shall make the war of kin
Bloodless? that woe, the blood of many beasts,
And victims manifold to many gods,
Alone can cure. Right glad I were to shun
This strife, and am more fain of ignorance
Than of the wisdom of a woe endured.
The gods send better than my soul foretells!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Of many cries for mercy, hear the end.
THE KING OF ARGOS
Say on, then, for it shall not 'scape mine ear.

LEADER
Girdles we have, and bands that bind our robes.

THE KING OF ARGOS
Even so; such things beseem a woman's wear.

LEADER
Know, then, with these a fair device there is-

THE KING OF ARGOS
Speak, then: what utterance doth this foretell?

LEADER
Unless to us thou givest pledge secure
THE KING OF ARGOS
What can thy girdles' craft achieve for thee?

LEADER
Strange votive tablets shall these statues deck.

THE KING OF ARGOS
Mysterious thy resolve-avow it clear.
LEADER
Swiftly to hang me on these sculptured gods!

THE KING OF ARGOS
Thy word is as a lash to urge my heart.

LEADER
Thou seest truth, for I have cleared thine eyes.

THE KING OF ARGOS
Yea, and woes manifold, invincible,
A crowd of ills, sweep on me torrent-like.
My bark goes forth upon a sea of troubles
Unfathomed, ill to traverse, harbourless.
For if my deed shall match not your demand,
Dire, beyond shot of speech, shall be the bane
Your death's pollution leaves unto this land.
Yet if against your kin, Aegyptus' race,
Before our gates I front the doom of war,
Will not the city's loss be sore? Shall men
For women's sake incarnadine the ground?
But yet the wrath of Zeus, the suppliants' lord,
I needs must fear: most awful unto man

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