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Chorus Leader The arguments here proposed are worthy of pity, and so are you. But I am anxious to hear what Menelaos will say to save his life. Menelaos I could not endure to fall at your knees, or wet my eyes with tears; for if I were cowardly, I would greatly dishonor Troy. And yet they say that it is fitting for a noble man to let tears fall from his eyes in misfortune. But I will not choose this honorable course, if it is honorable, in preference to bravery. But, if you think it right to save a stranger seeking justly to regain his wife, then restore her and save us in addition; if not, I would be wretched, not now for the first time but as often before, and you will seem to be an evil woman. What I consider honest and worthy of me, and what will touch your heart most closely, these things I will say at the tomb of your father, with regret for his loss. Old man, dwelling in this tomb of stone, give her back, I demand of you my wife, whom Zeus sent here for you to keep for me
Chorus Leader My views about seers agree exactly with this old man's; whoever has the gods as friends would have the best prophecy at home. Helen All right; so far all is well. But how you were saved, my poor husband, from Troy, there is no gain in knowing, yet friends have a desire to learn what their friends have suffered. Menelaos Truly you have asked a great deal all at once. Why should I tell you about our losses in the Aegean, and Nauplios' beacons on Euboia, and my visits to Crete a
n I experienced them; and so my grief would be doubled.
Your answer is better than my question. Leave out the rest, and tell me only this: how long were you a weary wanderer over the surface of the sea?
Besides those ten years in Troy, I went through seven cycles of years on board ship.
Alas, poor man, you have spoken of a long time; and, saved from there, you have come here to the slaughter.
What do you mean? What will you say? Ah, my wife, you have ruined me.
Chorus Leader If indeed you should find happiness in the future, it would be a match for the past. Messenger Menelaos, give me as well a share of that joy which I understand, but not clearly. Menelaos Come and take part in our talk, old man, you too. Messenger This woman is not the arbitrator of all the trouble in Troy? Menelaos She is not; I was tricked by the gods and had in my arms the baneful image of a cloud. Messenger What are you saying? We suffered in vain for the sake of a cloud? Menelaos It was the work of Hera, and the rivalry of the three goddesses. Messenger And the one who is truly your wife is this woman here? Menelaos This is she; trust my word for that. Messenger O daughter, how intricate and hard to trace out is the nature of the god! In some way that is good, he twists everything about, now up, now down; one man suffers, and one who has not suffered comes afterwards to a bad end, having no security in his current fortune. You and your husband have had
Helen and the chorus enter from the palace. They do not notice Menelaos. Chorus I have heard the prophetic maiden, who gave a clear answer within the palace: Menelaos is not yet dead and buried, gone to the land of shadows where darkness takes the place of light; but he is still wearing out his life on the ocean swell and has not yet reached the haven of his country, wretched in his wandering life, bereft of every friend, approaching every land in his sea-going ship from the land of Troy.
Old woman Before the Achaeans went to Troy, stranger. But get away from the house; for something is happening within, by which the palace is thrown into confusion. You have not come at the right time; and if my master catches you, death will be yo
r troubles, this present event that I hear of is an unhappy one, if I have come here, bringing my wife who was taken from Troy, and she is kept safe in the cave, but some other woman who has the same name as my wife lives in this house. She said the ith its lovely reeds? The name of Tyndareus is the name of one alone. Is there any land of the same name as Lakedaimon or Troy? I do not know what to say; for there are probably many things in the wide world that have the same names, both cities and way from a servant's fears; for no man is so barbaric at heart as to refuse me food when he has heard my name. The fire of Troy is famous, and I, Menelaos, who lighted it, am well known in every land. I will wait for the master of the house; he give