Cleombrotus, on his part, had naught to say for himself, but sat perplexed and speechless; Chilonis, however, the daughter of Leonidas, who before this had felt herself wronged in the wrongs done to her father, and when Cleombrotus was made king had left him and ministered to her father in his misfortunes,—sharing his suppliant life while he was in the city, and in his exile continually grieving for him and cherishing bitter thoughts of Cleombrotus—at this time changed back again with the changed fortunes of the men, and was seen sitting as a suppliant with her husband, her arms thrown about him, and a little child clinging to her on either side.
All beholders were moved to wonder and tears at the fidelity and devotion of the woman, who, touching her robes and her hair, alike unkempt, said:
‘This garb, my father, and this appearance, are not due to my pity for Cleombrotus; nay, ever since thy sorrows and thine exile grief has been my steadfast mate and companion. Must I, then, now that thou art king in Sparta and victorious over thine enemies, continue to live in this sad state, or put on the splendid attire of royalty, after seeing the husband of my youth slain at thy hands?
That husband, unless he persuades and wins thee over by the tears of his wife and children, will pay a more grievous penalty for his evil designs than thou desirest, for he shall see me, his most beloved one, dead before he is. For with what assurance could I live and face the other women, I, whose prayers awakened no pity in either husband or father? Nay, both as wife and as daughter I was born to share only the misfortune and dishonour of the men nearest and dearest to me.
As for my husband, even if he had some plausible excuse for his course, I robbed him of it at that time by taking thy part and testifying to what he had done; but thou makest his crime an easy one to defend by showing men that royal power is a thing so great and so worth fighting for that for its sake it is right to slay a son-in-law and ignore a child.’