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[490] We consider it worth much to have gained a champion who is compassionate. Yet send escorts and guides of the country's people with me so we may find where the gods who protect your city have their altars at the temple porches and their . . . seats, [495] and that we may go safely through the town. My shape is unlike yours, for Nile and Inachus rear a different race. Beware lest boldness give birth to fear; for through ignorance men have slain those they love.

[500] Come, men, the stranger speaks well. Be his guides to the altars of the city and to the sanctuaries of the gods. Do not speak at length with whomever you meet on the way while you are bringing this seafarer to be a suppliant at the hearths of the gods.Exit Danaus with attendants

You told him, and let him go as directed. [505] But what of me? What am I to do? Where do you assign security to me?

Leave your boughs here, tokens of your distress.

Behold, I leave them at your signal and command.

Go now along this level space about the sanctuary.1

But it is not holy ground. How can it keep me safe?

[510] Be assured, we will not surrender you to winged creatures' ravishment.

But what about those whom we dread worse than evil serpents?

Speak with good omen, as I have spoken auspiciously to you.

No wonder I am fretful through alarm of mind.

Excessive fear is always uncontrolled.

[515] Cheer my heart by deeds as well as words.

Your father will not leave you here alone for long. I am going now to call together the people of the land, that I may make the masses friendly; and I will instruct your father in what things he should say. [520] Now stay here and beseech the gods of the land with prayers to grant what you desire, while I go to advance your cause. May persuasion and efficacious fortune attend me!Exit with attendants

1 With the mound, crowded with the images of the gods and their common altar (l. 222), the maidens here contrast a level space, adjacent to the sanctuary yet accessible to all. Some ἄλση were open to the public (βέβηλα), while others formed part of the sacred precinct proper. The poets, according to Strabo 9.412, used the word ἄλσος to denote all sanctuaries, even if they were not planted with trees.

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