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It suits not to defile a day auspicious
With ill-announcing speech: distinct each god's due:
And when a messenger with gloomy visage
To a city bears a fall'n host's woes-- God ward off! --
One popular wound that happens to the city,
And many sacrificed from many households --
Men, scourged by that two-thonged whip Ares loves so,
Double spear-headed curse, bloody yoke-couple, --
Of woes like these, doubtless, whoe'er comes weighted,
Him does it suit to sing the Erinues' paian.
But who, of matters saved a glad-news-bringer,
Comes to a city in good estate rejoicing. ...
How shall I mix good things with evil, telling
Of storm against the Achaioi, urged by gods' wrath?
For they swore league, being arch-foes before that,
Fire and the sea: and plighted troth approved they,
Destroying the unhappy Argeian army.
At night began the bad-wave-outbreak evils;
For, ships against each other Threkian breezes
Shattered: and these, butted at in a fury
By storm and typhoon, with surge rain-resounding, --
Off they went, vanished, thro' a bad herd's whirling.
And, when returned the brilliant light of Helios,
We view the Aigaian sea on flower with corpses
Of men Achaian and with naval ravage.
But us indeed, and ship, unhurt i' the hull too,
Either someone outstole us or outprayed us --
Some god -- no man it was the tiller touching.
And Fortune, saviour, willing on our ship sat.
So as it neither had in harbour wave-surge
Nor ran aground against a shore all rocky.
And then, the water-Haides having fled from
In the white day, not trusting to our fortune,
We chewed the cud in thoughts -- this novel sorrow
O' the army labouring and badly pounded.
And now -- if anyone of them is breathing --
They talk of us as having perished: why not?
And we -- that they the same fate have, imagine.
May it be for the best! Meneleos, then,
Foremost and specially to come, expect thou!
If (that is) any ray o' the sun reports him
Living and seeing too--by Zeus' contrivings,
Not yet disposed to quite destroy the lineage --
Some hope is he shall come again to household.
Having heard such things, know, thou truth art hearing!
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