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Alas! The fulfilment of the oracles has indeed come swiftly, and it is my son upon whom [740] Zeus has caused their issue to descend. Yet I was confident that, only after long lapse of time, the gods would in some way bring them to accomplishment; nevertheless, when man hastens to his own undoing, the god too participates with him. A fountain of misfortune has now, I think, been discovered for all I love. A son of mine it was who, in his ignorance, brought these things to pass through youthful recklessness; [745] for he conceived the hope that he could by shackles, as if it were a slave, restrain the current of the sacred Hellespont, the Bosporus, a stream divine; he set himself to fashion a roadway of a new type, and, by casting upon it hammer-wrought fetters, made a spacious causeway for his mighty host. Mortal though he was, he thought in his folly that he would gain the mastery of all the gods, [750] yes, even over Poseidon. Must this not have been a disease of the soul that possessed my son? I fear that the plenteous treasure amassed by my toil may become the prey of the spoiler.

This lesson impetuous Xerxes learned through conversation with evil men. For they kept telling him that, whereas you [755] won plentiful treasure for your children by your spear, he, on his part, through lack of manly spirit, played the warrior at home and did not increase his father's wealth. Hearing such taunts many a time from evil counsellors, he planned this expedition and army against Hellas.

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