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My children, you must be prudent. A prudent captain of your voyage was your reliable old father here with whom you came. And now that I have considered with foresight what may befall us here on land, I charge you, record my injunctions on the tablets of your minds and guard them.

[180] I see dust, the voiceless herald of an army; the axle-driven wheels are not silent in their sockets. I behold a throng, armed with shields and holding spears, with steeds and curved chariots. Perhaps they are the princes of the land [185] come to look on us, informed by messengers. But whether a harmless man or one driven by savage wrath rouses this expedition, it is better, damsels, in any case, to seat yourselves at that mound sacred to the assembled gods. 1 [190] Stronger than a castle is an altar—an impenetrable shield. As quick as you can, gather in your left hands your white-wreathed suppliant boughs, sacred emblems of Zeus the merciful. [195] Reply to the strangers, as is fitting for aliens, in piteous and plaintive language of necessity, telling them clearly of your flight, how it was unstained by deed of blood. Above all let no arrogance accompany your speech, and reveal nothing impious in your peaceful eyes, from your respectful face. [200] In your speech neither interrupt, nor hesitate—for this would offend these people. And remember to be submissive: you are an alien, a fugitive, and in need. Bold speech does not suit the weak.

Father, your words are prudent, and they fall on prudent ears. [205] I will take heed of your wise words, and hold them in memory. May Zeus, the author of our race, behold us!

1 ἀγών has here the force of ἀγορά, place of assembly. Cp. l. 222.

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