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Come forth, O Clytemnestra, daughter of Tyndareus, from the tent, to hear my news.

I heard your voice and have come [1535] in sad dismay and fearful dread, not sure but what you have arrived with tidings of some fresh trouble for me besides the present woe.

No, rather I want to unfold to you a strange and marvellous story about your child.

Do not delay, then, but speak at once.


[1540] Dear mistress, you shall learn all clearly; from the outset will I tell it, unless my memory fails me somewhat and confuses my tongue in its account. As soon as we reached the grove of Artemis, the child of Zeus, and the flowery meadows, [1545] where the Achaean troops were gathered, bringing your daughter with us, at once the Argive army began assembling; but when king Agamemnon saw the maiden on her way to the grove to be sacrificed, he gave one groan, and, turning away his face, let the tears burst [1550] from his eyes, as he held his robe before them. But the maid, standing close by her father, spoke thus: “O my father, here I am; willingly I offer my body for my country and all Hellas, [1555] that you may lead me to the altar of the goddess and sacrifice me, since this is Heaven's ordinance. May good luck be yours for any help that I afford! and may you obtain the victor's gift and come again to the land of your fathers. So then let none of the Argives lay hands on me, [1560] for I will bravely yield my neck without a word.”

She spoke; and each man marvelled, as he heard the maiden's brave speech. But in the midst Talthybius stood up, for this was his duty, and bade the army refrain from word or deed; [1565] and Calchas, the seer, drawing a sharp sword from its scabbard laid it in a basket of beaten gold, and crowned the maiden's head. Then the son of Peleus, taking the basket and with it lustral water in his hand, ran round the altar of the goddess [1570] uttering these words: “O Artemis, you child of Zeus, slayer of wild beasts, that wheel your dazzling light amid the gloom, accept this sacrifice which we, the army of the Achaeans and Agamemnon with us, offer to you, pure blood from a beautiful maiden's neck; [1575] and grant us safe sailing for our ships and the sack of Troy's towers by our spears.” Meanwhile the sons of Atreus and all the army stood looking on the ground.

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