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I did not choose you to judge my affliction; no! nor if in anything my fortunes prove me wrong, [255] did I come to you to punish or correct them, but to seek your help. But if you will not, I must be content with your decision; for how can I help it? Come, aged women, away! Yet leave behind you here the pale green foliage, by the overturning of the bough [260] calling to witness heaven and earth, Demeter, that fire-bearing goddess, and the sun-god's light, that our prayers to heaven availed us nothing.


. . . who was Pelops' son, and we are of the land of Pelops and share with you the blood of ancestors. [265] What are you doing? Will you betray these suppliant symbols, and banish from your land these aged women without the boon they should obtain? Do not so; even the wild beast fInds a refuge in the rock, the slave in the altars of the gods, and a state when tempest-tossed cowers to its neighbor's shelter; for in this life of man [270] there is nothing that is blessed unto its end.

Rise, hapless one, from the sacred floor of Persephone; rise, clasp him by the knees and implore him, “Recover the bodies of our dead sons, the children that I lost—ah, woe is me!—beneath the walls of Cadmus' town.” [275] [Ah me! Take me by the hand, poor aged sufferer that I am, support and guide and raise me up.] By your beard, kind friend, glory of Hellas, I do beseech you, as I clasp your knees and hands in my misery. [280] O pity me as I entreat for my sons with my tale of wretched woe, like some beggar. Do not, child, let my sons lie there unburied in the land of Cadmus, glad prey for beasts, while you are in your prime, I implore you. See the tear-drop tremble in my eye, [285] as thus I throw myself at your knees to win my children burial.

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