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Ah! you land of Cadmus—for to you too will I turn, distributing my words of reproach—is this your defense of Heracles and his children? [220] the man who faced alone all the Minyans in battle and allowed Thebes to see the light with free eyes. I cannot praise Hellas, nor will I ever keep silence, finding her so craven as regards my son; she should have come with fire and sword and warrior's arms [225] to help these tender chicks, to requite him for all his labors in purging land and sea. Such help, my children, neither Hellas nor the city of Thebes affords you; to me a feeble friend you look, and I am empty sound and nothing more. [230] For the vigor which once I had, has gone from me; my limbs are palsied with age, and my strength is decayed. If I were young and still powerful in body, I would have seized my spear and dabbled those flaxen locks of his with blood, so that the coward would now [235] be flying from my spear beyond the bounds of Atlas.

Chorus Leader
Have not the brave among mankind a fair occasion for speech, although slow to begin?

Say what you will of me in your exalted phrase, but I by deeds will make you rue those words. [240] Calling to his servants Go, some to Helicon, others to the glens of Parnassus, and bid woodmen to cut me logs of oak, and when they are brought to the town, pile up a stack of wood all round the altar on either side, and set fire to it and burn them [245] all alive, that they may learn that the dead no longer rules this land, but that for the present I am king. angrily to the Chorus As for you, old men, since you thwart my views, not for the children of Heracles alone shall you lament, but likewise for your own [250] misfortunes, and you shall never forget you are slaves and I your prince.

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