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Mnesilochus
I have contracted quite a squint by looking round for him, and yet Euripides does not come. Who is keeping him? No doubt he is ashamed of his cold Palamedes. What will attract him? Let us see! By which of his pieces does he set most store? [850] Ah! I'll imitate his Helen, his last-born. I just happen to have a complete woman's outfit.

Third Woman
What are you ruminating about now? Why are you rolling up your eyes? You'll have no reason to be proud of your Helen, if you don't keep quiet until one of the Magistrates arrives.

Mnesilochus
As Helen
[855] “These shores are those of the Nile with the beautiful nymphs, these waters take the place of heaven's rain and fertilize the white earth, that produces the black syrmea.”

Third Woman
By bright Hecate, you're a cunning varlet.

Mnesilochus
“Glorious Sparta is my country [860] and Tyndareus is my father.”

Third Woman
He your father, you rascal! Why, it's Phrynondas.

Mnesilochus
“I was given the name of Helen.”

Third Woman
What! you are again becoming a woman, before we have punished you for having pretended it the first time!

Mnesilochus
“A thousand warriors [865] have died on my account on the banks of the Scamander.”

Third Woman
Would that you had done the same!

Mnesilochus
“And here I am upon these shores; Menelaus, my unhappy husband, does not yet come. Ah! Why do I still live?”

Third Woman
Because of the criminal negligence of the crows!

Mnesilochus
“But what sweet hope is this that sets my heart a-throb? [870] Oh, Zeus! grant it may not prove a lying one!”

Euripides
Euripides enters as Menelaus
“To what master does this splendid palace belong? Will he welcome strangers who have been tried on the billows of the sea by storm and shipwreck?”

Mnesilochus
“This is the palace of Proteus.”

Euripides
Of what Proteus?

Third Woman
[875] You thrice cursed rascal! how he lies! By the goddesses, it's ten years since Proteas died.

Euripides
“What is this shore whither the wind has driven our boat?”

Mnesilochus
“ 'Tis Egypt.”

Euripides
“Alas! how far we are from own country!”

Third Woman
Don't believe that cursed fool. [880] This is Demeter's Temple.

Euripides
“Is Proteus in these parts?”

Third Woman
Ah, now, stranger, it must be sea-sickness that makes you so distraught! You have been told that Proteas is dead, and yet you ask if he is in these parts.

Euripides
[885] “He is no more! Oh! woe! where lie his ashes?”

Mnesilochus
“ 'Tis on his tomb you see me sitting.”

Third Woman
You call an altar a tomb! Beware of the rope!

Euripides
“And why remain sitting on this tomb, [890] wrapped in this long veil, oh, stranger lady?”

Mnesilochus
“They want to force me to marry a son of Proteus.”

Third Woman
Ah! wretch, why tell such shameful lies? Stranger, this is a rascal who has slipped in amongst us women to rob us of our trinkets.

Mnesilochus
to Third Woman
[895] “Shout! load me with your insults, for little care I.”

Euripides
“Who is the old woman who reviles you, stranger lady?”

Mnesilochus
“ 'Tis Theonoe, the daughter of Proteus.”

Third Woman
I! Why, my name's Critylle, the daughter of Antitheus, of the deme of Gargettus; as for you, you are a rogue.

Mnesilochus
“Your entreaties are vain. [900] Never shall I wed your brother; never shall I betray the faith I owe my husband, Menelaus, who is fighting before Troy.”

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 940
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