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How cleverly, ladies, I banished my father's fears by crafty words to gain my end; for he is trying to get me away, depriving the city of its chance and surrendering me to cowardice. Though an old man may be pardoned, [995] yet in my case there is no pardon for betraying the country that gave me birth. Know this, I will go and save the city, and give my life up for this land. For it is shameful: those whom no oracles bind [1000] and who have not come under divine necessity, stand there, shoulder to shoulder, with no fear of death, and fight for their country before her towers; while I leave the land like a coward, a traitor to my father and brother and city; [1005] wherever I live, I shall seem base.

No, by Zeus and all his stars, by Ares, god of blood, who established the Sown-men that sprung one day from earth as lords of this land! I will go, and standing on the topmost battlements, [1010] will sacrifice myself over the dragon's deep, dark den, the spot the seer described, and will set my country free. I have spoken. Now I go to make the city a present of my life, no mean offering, to rid this kingdom of its affliction. [1015] For if each were to take and expend all the good within his power, contributing it to the common good of his country, our states would experience fewer troubles and would prosper for the future. Menoeceus goes out.

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