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Helen and the chorus go into the palace. After the doors have closed upon them, Menelaos enters. He is alone and clad in rags.
O Pelops, who once held that chariot-race contest with Oinomaos over Pisa, if only, when you were persuaded to make a banquet for the gods, you had left your life then, inside the gods,  before you ever begot my father, Atreus, to whom were born, from his marriage with Airope, Agamemnon and myself, Menelaos, a famous pair; for I believe that I carried a mighty army—and I say this not in boast—in ships to Troy,  no tyrant commanding any troops by force, but leading the young men of Hellas by voluntary consent. And some of these can be counted no longer alive, others as having a joyful escape from the sea, bringing home again names thought to be of the dead.  But I wander miserably over the swelling waves of the gray ocean, ever since I sacked the towers of Ilion; and although I long to come home, I am not thought worthy by the gods to achieve this. I have sailed to Libya's deserts and all its inhospitable landing-places;  and whenever I draw near my native land, the blast drives me back again, and no favoring wind has ever entered my sails to let me come home. And now I am cast up on this shore, a miserable shipwrecked sailor who has lost his friends; and my ship is  broken into many pieces against the rocks. But out of its cleverly-wrought fastenings the keel was left, on which I made my difficult escape by an unexpected chance, and also Helen with me, whom I dragged away from Troy. But I do not know the name of this country  and its people; for I was embarrassed to burst into a crowd and make inquiries, and so I concealed these shabby clothes, in shame over my misfortune. For whenever a man of high degree is badly off, he falls into an unaccustomed state which is worse than that of one who has long been unfortunate.  But poverty is wearing me away; for I have neither food, nor clothes around my body; one can compare what I am wearing to rags cast out of the ship. The sea snatched away all the robes I once wore, splendid clothes and ornaments. Deep in a cave  I hid the woman who caused all my troubles, and have come here, after compelling those of my friends who survived to guard my wife. I have come alone, seeking help for those friends there, if I may find it somehow after careful search.  When I saw this home, surrounded by walls, and the majestic gateways of some prosperous man, I came near; sailors can hope to get something from wealthy homes; but from those who have no livelihood—they could not help us, even if they wanted to.  Hello! Is there some gatekeeper who might come from the house and announce my troubles within?