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220Who are you, and what country are you from,
who sail to this ill-harbored, homeless land?
What city do you come from? How may I
address you? The appearance of your clothing
is Greek - and oh, how sweet it seems to me! -
225but let me hear your voices; and do not
recoil in terror at my wild appearance,
but pity me, a wretched man, alone,
deserted on this island, friendless, wronged:
speak to me! . . . if, indeed, you come as friends.
230Oh, answer! It would not be right if you
refused to hear my words and speak to me.
Stranger, be certain, first of all, that we,
as you most wish to learn, are Greeks indeed.
Oh, sweet, sweet voice! How strange it seems, to be
235greeted by such a man after so long!
What purpose made you come, my child, and led you
so far? What impulse was it? what fair wind?
Answer me all - and tell who you are.
My country is the sea-encircled isle
240of Skyros; I am sailing home; my name,
Neoptolemus, son of Achilles. That is all.
O son of a dear father! O sweet island!
Foster-child of the aged Lycomedes,
why did you sail to this land - and from where?
245 In truth, I am sailing on my way from Troy.
What arc you saying? You were not one of those
who came with us when we set out for Troy.
Then did you, too, share in this enterprise?
My child, can you be ignorant who I am?
250 How should I know a man I never saw?
Have you not heard my name, or learned the story
of all the suffering that has been my ruin?
Be certain I know nothing that you ask me.
Oh, how I suffer - how the gods must hate me!