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Though now as a casual spectator you are compliant, [520] beware lest later, when filled with his disease by its constant company, you prove no longer constant to these sentiments.

That will not happen. You will never have just cause to rebuke me for that!

Well, then, it would shame me if the stranger were to find [525] me less ready than you are to toil for his good. Come, if it pleases you, let us sail. Let the man set out at once; our ship, for her part, will carry him, and will not refuse. Only may the gods give us safe passage from this land, and from here to whatever destination we choose!

[530] O day of joy unsurpassed! Most delightful man, and you good sailors! If only I could show you in deeds what a true friend you have made in me! Let us be going, my son, when we two have made a solemn farewell to my homeless home inside, so that you may also learn [535] by what means I sustained my life, and how stout of heart I was born. For I believe that the mere sight would have deterred any other man but me from enduring these sufferings. But I have been slowly schooled by necessity to endure misery.Neoptolemus is about to follow Philoctetes into the cave.

Wait, let us listen to the two men who are coming! [540] One is a crewman of your ship, the other a stranger. Go in after you hear their report.

Enter the Merchant, on the spectators' left, accompanied by a Sailor.

Son of Achilles, I asked my companion here, when he was guarding your ship with two others, to tell me where you might be found, [545] since I have chanced upon you unexpectedly by the good fortune of coming to anchor off this very coast. With no great company I am homeward bound on my trader's voyage from Ilium to Peparethus with its cluster-laden vines, but when I heard that the sailors [550] were all of your crew, I resolved not to continue my voyage in silence, without first giving you my news and getting the due reward. You know nothing, I suspect, of your own affairs: the new designs the Greeks [555] have regarding you, and not only designs, but deeds in progress and no longer postponed.

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