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Chorus Leader
But I see Lycus, the ruler of this land, drawing near the house.

Lycus and his attendants enter.

Lycus
[140] One question, if I may, to this father of Heracles and his wife; and certainly as your lord and master I have a right to put what questions I choose. How long do you seek to prolong your lives? What hope, what aid do you see to save you from death? [145] Do you trust that these children's father, who lies dead in the halls of Hades, will return? How unworthily you show your sorrow at having to die, you after your idle boasts, scattered broadcast through Hellas, that Zeus was partner in your marriage-bed and was your partner in children; [150] and you, after calling yourself the wife of so peerless a lord.

After all, what was the fine exploit your husband achieved, if he did kill a hydra in a marsh or that monster of Nemea? which he caught in a snare, for all he says he strangled it to death in his arms. [155] Are these your weapons for the hard struggle? Is it for this then that Heracles' children should be spared? A man who has won a reputation for valor in his contests with beasts, in all else a weakling; [160] who never buckled shield to arm nor faced the spear, but with a bow, that coward's weapon, was ever ready to run away. Archery is no test of manly bravery; no! he is a man who keeps his post in the ranks and steadily faces the swift wound the spear may plough. [165] My policy, again, old man, shows no reckless cruelty, but caution; for I am well aware I slew Creon, the father of this woman, and am in possession of his throne. So I have no wish that these children should grow up and be left to take vengeance on me in requital for what I have done.

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