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Messenger

Messenger
Victims to purify the house were stationed before the altar of Zeus, for Heracles had slain and cast from his halls the king of the land. [925] There stood his group of lovely children, with his father and Megara; and already the basket was being passed round the altar, and we were keeping holy silence. But just as Alcmena's son was bringing the torch in his right hand to dip it in the holy water, [930] he stopped without a word. And as their father lingered, his children looked at him; he was no longer himself; his eyes were rolling; he was distraught; his eyeballs were bloodshot, and foam was oozing down his bearded cheek. [935] He spoke with a madman's laugh: “Father, why should I offer the purifying flame before I have slain Eurystheus, and have the toil twice over? It is the work of my unaided arm to settle these things well; as soon as I have brought the head of Eurystheus here, [940] I will cleanse my hands for those already slain. Spill the water, cast the baskets from your hands. Ho! give me now my bow and club! To Mycenae will I go; I must take crow-bars and pick-axes, for I will shatter again [945] with iron levers those city-walls which the Cyclopes squared with red plumb-line and mason's tools.” Then he set out, and though he had no chariot there, he thought he had, and was for mounting to its seat, and using a goad as though his fingers really held one.

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