Enter a company of maidens, who have fled from Egypt and just landed on the shores of Argos; with them is their father

May Zeus who guards suppliants look graciously upon our company, which boarded a ship and put to sea from the outlets of the fine sand of the Nile. For we have fled Zeus' land1 [5] whose pastures border Syria, and are fugitives, not because of some public decree pronounced against blood crime, but because of our own act to escape the suit of man, since we abhor as impious all marriage with the sons of Aegyptus. [10] It was Danaus, our father, adviser and leader, who, considering well our course, decided, as the best of all possible evils, that we flee with all speed over the waves of the sea [15] and find a haven on Argos' shore. For from there descends our race , sprung from the caress and breath of Zeus on the gnat-tormented heifer.

To what kinder land than this [20] could we come with these wool-wreathed branches in our hands, sole weapons of the suppliant? O realm, O land, and clear water; gods on high and earth-bound powers, grievous in your vengeance, [25] which inhabit the tomb; and you, Zeus the Savior, invoked third2, the guardian of the habitations of righteous men: receive as suppliants this band of women with the compassionate spirit of the land. But [30] the thronging swarm of violent men born of Aegyptus, should they set foot upon this marshy land, drive them seaward—and with them their swift ship—and there may they encounter a cruel sea with thunder, lightning, and rain-charged winds, [35] and perish by the tempest's buffeting blasts, if they ever lay their hands on us, their cousins, and mount unwilling beds from which Right holds them aloof.

1 Or “the land divine” (δῖαν with M). But see l. 558.

2 With reference to the order of invocation in libations: 1. Olympian Zeus; 2. the Heroes, cp. l. 25; 3. Zeus the Saviour. Cp. Frag. 55.

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