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The second messenger enters in haste, as Theoklymenos comes out of the palace.

Second Messenger
. . . for you will soon hear new troubles from me.

What is it?

Go to work on the courtship of another [1515] woman; for Helen has left the country.

Carried up on wings, or treading on the earth?

Menelaos has taken her off as plunder, out of the land; he was the one that came with the news of his own death.

O dreadful story! What ship carried her [1520] off from this land? Your story is unbelievable.

The very one that you gave to the stranger; and he has gone with your sailors, so that you may know everything in brief.

How? I am eager to know; for I never expected that a single hand could excel over [1525] so many sailors, with whom you were sent.


When the daughter of Zeus had left this royal house and started for the sea, delicately picking her way, she most cleverly began to mourn her husband, though he was close at hand and not dead. [1530] When we reached the enclosure of your dockyards, we began to launch the Sidonian ship on her first voyage, with her fifty benches and full measure of rowers. Task gave way to task: one set up the mast, another set up the oars [1535] . . . and the rudders were lowered by their cross-bars. And during this labor, men of Hellas who had been fellow-voyagers with Menelaos were watching us, it seems, and they drew near to the beach, clad in the rags of shipwrecked men, [1540] handsome, but rough to look upon. And the son of Atreus, when he saw them approach, spoke to them, craftily introducing the reason for his mourning: “Unhappy sailors, how have you arrived? From the wreckage of what Achaean ship? [1545] Are you here to help bury the dead son of Atreus, whose missing body this lady, daughter of Tyndareus, is honoring with an empty grave?” They wept in a feigned manner, and went to the ship, carrying aboard the offerings to be thrown into the sea for Menelaos. We were suspicious at this, [1550] and said to each other that there would be a crowd of those additional passengers; but still we remained silent, out of respect for your orders; for by bidding the stranger command the vessel, you threw everything into confusion.

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