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But he, hunting the child round and round the column, in dreadful circles, and coming face to face with him shot him to the heart; and he fell upon his back, [980] sprinkling the stone pillars with blood as he gasped out his life. Then Heracles shouted in triumph and boasted loud: “Here lies one of Eurystheus' brood dead at my feet, atoning for his father's hatred.” Then he aimed his bow against a second, who had crouched [985] at the altar's foot thinking to escape unseen. But before he fired, the poor child threw himself at his father's knees, and, flinging his hand to reach his beard or neck, cried: “Oh! hear me, dearest father, do not kill me! I am your child, your own; it is no son of Eurystheus you will slay.”

[990] But that other, with savage Gorgon-scowl, as the child now stood in range of his baleful archery, smote him on the head, as a smith strikes his molten iron, bringing down his club upon the fair-haired boy, and crushed the bones. The second caught, [995] away he goes to add a third victim to the other two. But before he could, the poor mother caught up her child and carried him within the house and shut the doors. But he, as though he really were at the Cyclopean walls, prized open the doors with levers, and, hurling down their posts, [1000] with one shaft laid low his wife and child. Then in wild gallop he starts to slay his aged father; but there came a phantom, as it seemed to us on-lookers, of Pallas, with plumed helm, brandishing a spear; and she hurled a rock against the breast of Heracles, [1005] which held him from his frenzied thirst for blood and plunged him into sleep; to the ground he fell, striking his back against a column that had fallen on the floor shattered in two when the roof fell in. [1010] Then we rallied from our flight, and with the old man's aid bound him fast with knotted cords to the pillar, so that on his awakening he might do no further evil. So there he sleeps, poor wretch! a sleep that is not blessed, having murdered wife and children; no, for my part [1015] I do not know any mortal more miserable than he.The messenger withdraws.

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