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Silenus
Silence, my sons! Order your attendants to drive the flocks into the rocky cave!

Chorus-Leader
to the attendants
Do as he says.

They go into the cave with the animals.
to Silenus
But what is your concern, father?

Silenus
[85] I see a Greek ship on the beach, and sailors who ply the oar coming to this cave with one who must be their commander. About their necks they carry empty vessels, since it is food they need, and pails for water. O unlucky strangers! [90] Who can they be? They know not what our master Polyphemus is like, nor that this ground they stand on is no friend to guests, and that they have arrived with wretched bad luck at the man-eating jaws of the Cyclops. But hold your peace so that we may learn [95] where they have come from to Sicilian Aetna's crag.

Enter by Eisodos B Odysseus with his men.

Odysseus
Strangers, could you tell me where we might find a stream of water to cure our thirst, and whether anyone is willing to sell provisions to needy sailors?

Why, what is this? We seem to have marched into Dionysus' town. [100] For here's a throng of satyrs near the cave. My first words to the eldest: Greeting!

Silenus
Greeting, stranger! But tell me your name and country.

Odysseus
Odysseus, of Ithaca, lord of Cephallene.

Silenus
I know of the man, the wheedling chatterer, Sisyphus' son.1

Odysseus
[105] The very same. But spare me these aspersions.

Silenus
From what land have you sailed here to Sicily?

Odysseus
From Ilium and from the fighting at Troy.

Silenus
What? Did you not know your way home?

Odysseus
I was driven here by windstorms against my will.

Silenus
[110] O dear! The fate you suffer is the same as mine.

Odysseus
Did you also come here against your will?

Silenus
Yes, chasing the pirates who had carried off Dionysus.

Odysseus
What is this country, and who are its inhabitants?

Silenus
This is Mount Aetna, highest in Sicily.

Odysseus
[115] But where are the walls and city battlements?

Silenus
There are none. No men dwell in these headlands, stranger.

Odysseus
Who then are the land's inhabitants? Wild beasts?

Silenus
Cyclopes, who live in caves, not houses.

Odysseus
Who is their ruler? Or do the people govern?

Silenus
[120] They are solitaries: no one is anyone's subject.

Odysseus
Do they sow Demeter's grain? Or how do they live?

Silenus
On milk and cheese and the flesh of sheep.

Odysseus
Do they possess Dionysus' drink, that flows from the vine?

Silenus
Not at all! Hence the land they dwell in knows no dancing.

Odysseus
[125] Are they hospitable and god-fearing towards strangers?

Silenus
Most delicious, they maintain, is the flesh of strangers.

Odysseus
What? Do they feast on men?

Silenus
Everyone who has come here has been slaughtered.

Odysseus
The Cyclops himself, where is he? In his house?

Silenus
[130] He has gone off hunting wild beasts on Mount Aetna with his dogs.

1 One version of Odysseus' ancestry, alluded to several times in tragedy, makes Anticleia, Odysseus' mother, marry Laertes when she is already pregnant by Sisyphus.

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