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Xuthus and his retinue enter.

First may the god rejoice when he has the first-fruits of my addresses, and then you, lady. You weren't afraid at my long absence, were you?

No; you have come upon my anxiety. But [405] tell me, what oracle do you bring from Trophonius about the begetting of children?

He did not think it right to anticipate the answer of the god; but he said one thing, that neither you nor I would go home from the oracle childless.

[410] O revered lady, mother of Phoebus, may we have come here auspiciously, and may our former engagements with your son fall out better!

It shall be so. But who is the interpreter of the god?

I am, outside; within, it belongs to others [415] seated near the tripod, stranger, the best men of Delphi, chosen by lot.

Good; I have everything I need. I will go inside; for, as I hear, the victim has been sacrificed for foreigners [420] in common before the shrine; I want, on this day—for it is propitious—to receive the answer of the god. But you, lady, take these laurel twigs around the altars and pray to the gods for me to bring from Apollo's temple oracles that give hope of children.Xuthus, after giving the laurel boughs to Creusa, enters the temple.

[425] It shall be so, it shall. If Phoebus is even now willing to redress his earlier wrong, he would not be wholly dear to me, yet I will accept what he foretells for us, as he is a god.Creusa departs to the shrines in the outer precinct of the temple.

Why is the stranger always making abusive riddles, [430] in obscure words, against the god? Is it because she loves the one for whom she is consulting the oracle, or is she being silent about something that she must conceal? But what is the daughter of Erechtheus to me? It is not my concern. I will go [435] and pour water from golden pitchers into the sacred vessels. But I must give Apollo some advice; what is he about? Does he betray virgins by forced rape? Does he secretly breed children and leave them to die? Do not do so; but, since you have power, [440] seek after virtue. For if any mortal is bad, the gods punish him. How then is it just for you to write laws for mortals, and yourselves incur a charge of lawlessness? If—for it is not so, but I will handle the subject— [445] you pay the penalty to mortals for rape, you and Poseidon, and Zeus, who rules heaven, you will empty your temples paying for your crimes. For you do wrong to go eagerly after your pleasures without thinking. No longer is it right [450] to speak badly of men, if we imitate what the gods think good, but rather of the ones who taught us these things.Ion goes out.

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