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Enter by Eisodos A Peleus, helped by the servant sent by Andromache

Chorus Leader
[545] But look, I see Peleus nearby, hastening his aged steps hither.

Women, I ask you, and I ask him that oversees this sacrifice, what is going on, how has it come about? What is the cause of the house's disease? What are you doing plotting death without trial? [550] Menelaus, stop! Do not hasten an injustice!

to his servant
Lead me on more quickly, for this is not, I think, the task of a leisured moment, but rather it is time now more than ever to recover the strength of my youth. First I shall blow a favoring breeze [555] on this woman's sails: tell me, on what charge do these men bind your hands fast with a noose and lead you and the boy off? For you are being done to death like some ewe with her lamb while I and your master are away.

These men, old sir, are leading me off [560] to die with my son, just as you see. What shall I say to you? I have sent you not one but countless fervent messages. But you doubtless know by report of the strife in the house I have had with this man's daughter and why I am being killed. [565] Now they are taking me away and have dragged me off from the altar of Thetis, who bore you your noble son and whom you hold in reverence. They did not try me on any charge or wait for those who are absent from the house but have acted because they knew [570] my weakness and that of this child here, whom they are about to kill, guiltless though he is, along with his unhappy mother.

But I entreat you, old sir, falling before your knees—for I cannot touch your beloved chin with my hand— [575] save me, in the gods' name. Otherwise I shall die, sir, with disgrace to you and misery for me.

I order you to loosen her bonds, before someone smarts for it, and to release this woman's two hands.

But I forbid it, and I am in other ways not inferior to you [580] and have much more authority over her.

What? Will you come here and manage my household? Is it not enough to control affairs in Sparta?

It was I who took her captive from Troy.

But my grandson received her as his prize of valor.

[585] Are not my goods all his and his all mine?

Yes, to treat well, not ill, not to kill by the sword.

Never, be sure, will you take her from my hand.

But I shall, when I have bloodied your head with this sceptre.

You'll find out if you come closer and touch me.

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