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Enter PTOLEMOCRATIA, the Priestess, from the Temple of Venus.
Who are these, that in their prayers are soliciting aid from my Patroness? For the voice of suppliants has brought me hither out of doors. They pay suit to a kind and compliant Goddess and a Patroness that makes no difficulties, and one who is very benevolent. PALAESTRA
Mother, we bid you hail. PTOLEMOCRATIA
Maidens, hail to you. But, prithee, whence am I to say that you are hither come with your wet garments, thus wofully arrayed? PALAESTRA
Just now, we came from a place there pointing towards the shore , not a great way from this spot; but it is a great way off from here, whence we have been brought hither. PTOLEMOCRATIA
Have you been borne, do you mean, by a ship, the wooden steed1, over the azure paths? PALAESTRA
Even so. PTOLEMOCRATIA
Then it were more fitting that you should have come arrayed in white and provided with victims; it isn't the practice for people to come to this Temple in that fashion. Pointing at their dresses. PALAESTRA
Prithee, whence would you have us, who have been both cast away at sea, to be bringing victims hither? Now, in want of assistance, do we embrace your knees, we who are of hopes undefined in places unknown, that you may receive us under your roof and shelter us, and that you will pity the miseries of us both, who have neither any place of refuge nor hope at hand, nor have anything whatever of our own beyond that which you see. PTOLEMOCRATIA
Give me your hands, arise, both of you, from off your knees; no one among women is more compassionate than I. They arise from the ground. But, maidens, my circumstances are poor and limited; with difficulty I support my own existence; Venus I serve for my maintenance. AMPELISCA
Prithee, is this a Temple of Venus? PTOLEMOCRATIA
I will admit it; I am styled the Priestess of this Temple. But whatever it is, it shall be done by me with a hearty welcome, so far as my means shall suffice. Come with me this way. PALAESTRA
Kindly and attentively, mother, do you show your attentions to us. PTOLEMOCRATIA
So I ought to do. They go into the Temple.
1 The wooden steed: Homer calls ships "horses of the sea."
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