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[295] Astonished, we cowered together and sat in silence; but he drew his sword and rushed like a lion into the midst of our cattle, striking their flanks with his iron sword and thrusting it into their sides, thinking in this way to ward off the Furies, [300] so that the waves of the sea blossomed red with blood. And all of us, as we saw our herds falling and ravaged, took arms, blew our conch shells, and collected the neighbors; for we thought cowherds would make a poor fight of it [305] against well-grown and young foreigners. After a long time, our numbers were complete. But the stranger fell down, his pulsing beat of madness gone, his chin dripping with foam; when we saw him, so conveniently fallen, each of us went to work, [310] hurling and striking at him. The other stranger wiped off the foam and tended his body, covering him with a finely-woven robe, looking out for the attacking blows, treating his friend kindly with his care. [315] The stranger, now in his senses, started up from his fall and realized the surge of enemies close at hand and the present danger to them both, with a groan; we did not let up our attack with stones, pressing hard from all sides. [320] Then we heard his dreadful exhortation: “Pylades, we shall die, but let us die with glory; draw your sword, and follow me.”

But when we saw our enemies brandishing their two swords, we fled and filled up the rocky glens. [325] But while some would flee, others pressed on and attacked them; if they drove those back, the ones who had just given way struck them with stones again. But it was hard to believe; with so many hands, no one succeeded in hitting these offerings to the goddess. [330] We got the better of them with difficulty; not by daring, but by surrounding them in a circle, with stones we took away their swords; they sank on their knees to the ground, in weariness. Then we brought them to the lord of this land. He saw them, and at once [335] sent them to you, for purification and slaughter. You have prayed for such sacrificial victims as these strangers, lady; if you destroy them, Hellas will make atonement for your murder and pay the penalty for the sacrifice in Aulis.

Chorus Leader
[340] You have told an amazing story about this madman, whoever he is, who has come from Hellas to the Black Sea.

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