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Orestes and Pylades appear on the roof, holding Hermione. Menelaus and his attendants enter.

Menelaus
I have come at the report of strange and violent deeds done [1555] by a pair of lions, men I do not call them. What I heard was that my wife was not dead, but had vanished out of sight, an idle rumor which someone fooled by his own fear brought me. But that is a plot [1560] of the matricide's—ridiculous! Open the doors! I tell my servants to force the gates, so that I may rescue my child at any rate from the hands of those blood-stained men and recover my poor wretched wife, [1565] while the ones who destroyed her must die at my hands.

Orestes
from the roof.
You there! Keep your hands off those bolts; I mean you, Menelaus, towering in your audacity! Or I will tear off the ancient parapet, the work of masons, [1570] and shatter your skull with this coping-stone. The doors are bolted and barred, which will prevent your eagerness to bring aid and keep you from entering.

Menelaus
Oh! What is this? I see a blaze of torches and men standing at bay on the top of the house, [1575] with a sword guarding my daughter's throat.

Orestes
Would you question me or hear me speak?

Menelaus
Neither; but I suppose I must hear you.

Orestes
I intend to kill your daughter, if you want to know.

Menelaus
After slaying Helen, you will add murder to murder?

Orestes
[1580] Would I had accomplished that, instead of being duped by the gods!

Menelaus
Do you deny having slain her, and say this out of wanton insult?

Orestes
Yes, I do deny it, to my sorrow. If only I had—

Menelaus
Done what? You frighten me!

Orestes
Hurled the pollution of Hellas to Hades!

Menelaus
[1585] Give back my wife's dead body, so that I may bury her.

Orestes
Ask the gods for her; but I will kill your daughter.

Menelaus
This matricide is adding murder to murder.

Orestes
This champion of his father, betrayed by you to death.

Menelaus
Are you not content with the present stain of your mother's blood?

Orestes
[1590] I would not grow tired if I had these wicked women to slay for ever.

Menelaus
Are you too, Pylades, a partner in this bloody work?

Orestes
His silence says he is; let it suffice for me to say it.

Menelaus
You'll say it to your cost, unless you fly away!

Orestes
We will not try to escape; we will set fire to the palace.

Menelaus
[1595] What! will you destroy the home of your ancestors?

Orestes
Yes, so that you don't have it, and I will offer this girl in sacrifice on the fire.

Menelaus
Kill her; and if you do, I will punish you for it.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Basil L. Gildersleeve, Syntax of Classical Greek, The Article
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