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Menelaus
Orestes, you are a man for whom I have a deep regard, and I want to take part in your troubles; it is a duty, too, to help relatives bear their ills, [685] by dying or killing enemies, if god gives the power to do so. I wish I had that power granted me by the gods. For I have come destitute of allies, after my long weary wanderings, [690] with the small strength of my surviving friends. We should never get the better of Pelasgian Argos by fighting; if we should prevail by soothing speeches, we will come to some hope there. For how can you win a great cause by small [695] [:efforts? It is foolish even to wish it.]

For when the people fall into a vigorous fury, they are as hard to quench as a raging fire; but if you gently slacken your hold and yield a little to their tension, cautiously watching your opportunity, [700] they may possibly calm down; if their gusts abate, you may obtain whatever you want from them easily. They have pity, and a hot temper too, an invaluable quality if you watch it closely. So for you I will go and try to persuade Tyndareus [705] and the city to moderation. A ship also dips if its sheet is hauled too taut, but rights itself again if it is let go. The god hates excessive eagerness, and the citizens do also; I must save you, I don't deny it, [710] by cleverness, not by violence against those who are stronger. I could not do it by strength, as you perhaps imagine; for it is not easy to triumph single-handed over the troubles that beset you. I would never have tried to bring the Argive land over to softness; [715] but it is necessary. [for the wise to be slaves to fortune.]Menelaus and his retinue depart.

Orestes
O you that have no use, except to lead an army in a woman's cause! O worst of men in your friends' defense, [720] do you turn your back on me and flee, the deeds of Agamemnon lost and gone? After all, father, you had no friends in adversity. Alas! I am betrayed; no longer do I have any hope of finding a refuge where I may escape the death-sentence of Argos; for this man was my haven of safety.

[725] But I see Pylades, the best of friends, coming at a run from Phocis—a pleasant sight! A man who can be trusted in troubles is a better sight than a calm to sailors.

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  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.5.2
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.6.1
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