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Enter a band of Elders, guardians of the Persian Empire

Chorus

Chorus
[1] Here we are, the faithful Council of the Persians, who have gone to the land of Hellas, we who serve as warders of the royal abode, rich in bountiful store of gold, [5] we whom Xerxes, our King, Darius' royal son, himself selected, by virtue of our rank and years, to be the guardians of his realm.

Yet as regards the return of our King and of his host, so richly decked out in gold, [10] the soul within my breast is distressed and presages disaster. For the whole populace of the Asian nation has come and murmurs against its youthful King, nor does any courier or horseman [15] arrive at the city of the Persians, who left behind them the walled defence of Susa and Agbatana and Cissa's ancient ramparts, and went forth, some on horseback, some in galleys, others on foot [20] presenting a dense array of war.

Such are Amistres and Artaphrenes and Megabates and Astaspes, marshals of the Persians; kings themselves, yet vassals of the Great King, [25] they press on, commanders of an enormous host, skilled in archery and horsemanship, formidable to look upon and fearful in battle through the valiant resolve of their souls. Artembares, too, who fights from his chariot, [30] and Masistres, and noble Imaeus, skilled with the bow, and Pharandaces, and Sosthanes, who urges on his steeds. Others in addition the mighty, fecund Nile sent forth — Susiscanes, [35] Pegastagon of Egyptian lineage, mighty Arsames, lord of sacred Memphis, Ariomardus, governor of ancient Thebes, and the marsh-dwelling oarsmen, [40] well-skilled and countless in number.

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