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A messenger enters.

Messenger
Ladies, I bring you joyous tidings, and I myself escaped—for I was prisoner in the battle [635] which the seven companies of the dead chieftains fought near Dirce's fountain—to bear the news of Theseus' victory. But I will save you tedious questioning; I was the servant of Capaneus, [640] whom Zeus with scorching bolt burnt to ashes.

Chorus Leader
Dearest friend, fair is your news of your own return, not less the report about Theseus; and if the army of Athens, too, is safe, all your message will be welcome.

Messenger
Safe, and all has happened as I would it had befallen Adrastus [645] and his Argives, whom he led from Inachus, to march against the city of the Cadmeans.

Chorus Leader
How did the son of Aegeus and his fellow-warriors raise their trophy to Zeus? Tell us, for you were there and can gladden us who were not.

Messenger

Messenger
[650] Bright shone the sun, one levelled line of light, upon the world, as by Electra's gate I stood to watch, from a turret with a far outlook. And I saw the companies of three armies: the armor-clad warriors deployed [655] on the high ground by the banks of Ismenus, as I heard, and the king himself, famous son of Aegeus, and those with him, posted on the right wing, and natives of old Cecropia, in equal numbers; chariot-teams and the dwellers by the sea, armed with spears, [660] were by the fountain of Ares; on the outskirts of the army were posted cavalry. The people of Cadmus set themselves before the walls, [665] placing in the rear the bodies for which they fought, in the shelter of Amphion's holy tomb. Cavalry to cavalry, and four-horse chariot to chariot stood ranged. Then the herald of Theseus said to all: “Be still, you folk! hush, you ranks of Cadmus, [670] hearken! we have come for the bodies of the slain, wishing to bury them in observance of the universal law of Hellas; we have no wish to lengthen out the slaughter.”

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    • W. W. How, J. Wells, A Commentary on Herodotus, 9.27
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