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Helen and the chorus go into the palace. After the doors have closed upon them, Menelaos enters. He is alone and clad in rags.

O Pelops, who once held that chariot-race contest with Oinomaos over Pisa, if only, when you were persuaded to make a banquet for the gods, you had left your life then, inside the gods, [390] before you ever begot my father, Atreus, to whom were born, from his marriage with Airope, Agamemnon and myself, Menelaos, a famous pair; for I believe that I carried a mighty army—and I say this not in boast—in ships to Troy, [395] no tyrant commanding any troops by force, but leading the young men of Hellas by voluntary consent. And some of these can be counted no longer alive, others as having a joyful escape from the sea, bringing home again names thought to be of the dead. [400] But I wander miserably over the swelling waves of the gray ocean, ever since I sacked the towers of Ilion; and although I long to come home, I am not thought worthy by the gods to achieve this. I have sailed to Libya's deserts and all its inhospitable landing-places; [405] and whenever I draw near my native land, the blast drives me back again, and no favoring wind has ever entered my sails to let me come home.

And now I am cast up on this shore, a miserable shipwrecked sailor who has lost his friends; and my ship is [410] broken into many pieces against the rocks. But out of its cleverly-wrought fastenings the keel was left, on which I made my difficult escape by an unexpected chance, and also Helen with me, whom I dragged away from Troy. But I do not know the name of this country [415] and its people; for I was embarrassed to burst into a crowd and make inquiries, and so I concealed these shabby clothes, in shame over my misfortune. For whenever a man of high degree is badly off, he falls into an unaccustomed state which is worse than that of one who has long been unfortunate. [420] But poverty is wearing me away; for I have neither food, nor clothes around my body; one can compare what I am wearing to rags cast out of the ship. The sea snatched away all the robes I once wore, splendid clothes and ornaments. Deep in a cave [425] I hid the woman who caused all my troubles, and have come here, after compelling those of my friends who survived to guard my wife. I have come alone, seeking help for those friends there, if I may find it somehow after careful search. [430] When I saw this home, surrounded by walls, and the majestic gateways of some prosperous man, I came near; sailors can hope to get something from wealthy homes; but from those who have no livelihood—they could not help us, even if they wanted to. [435]

Hello! Is there some gatekeeper who might come from the house and announce my troubles within?

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