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[420] Mournful apparitions come to him in dreams, bringing only vain joy; for vainly, whenever in his imagination a man sees delights, [425] straightaway the vision, slipping through his arms, is gone, winging its flight along the paths of sleep.” Such are the sorrows at hearth and home, but here are sorrows surpassing these; and at large, in every house of all who went forth together from the land of Hellas, [430] unbearable grief is seen. Many things pierce the heart. Each knows whom he sent forth. But to the home of each come [435] urns and ashes1, not living men.

1 This passage, in which war is compared to a gold-merchant, is charged with double meanings: ταλαντοῦχος, “balance” and “scales of battle,”πυρωθέν of “purified” gold-dust and of the “burnt” bodies of the slain, βαρύ, “heavy” and “grievous,” ἀντήνορος, “the price of a man,” and “instead of men,” λέβητας, “jars” and “funeral urns.”

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