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Helen
Then you know everything, it seems, about my marriage.

Menelaos
I do. But if you have escaped his bed—that I do not know.

Helen
[795] Know that I have saved myself untouched for you.

Menelaos
What could persuade me of this? If true, your words are sweet.

Helen
Do you see my wretched sanctuary at this tomb?

Menelaos
I see a miserable bed of straw, but what do you have to do with it?

Helen
Here, as a suppliant, I am asking for an escape from his bed.

Menelaos
[800] For want of an altar, or because it is the barbarians' way?

Helen
This was as good a protection to me as the temples of the gods.

Menelaos
Then it's not possible for me to take you home by ship?

Helen
A sword is waiting for you, rather than my bed.

Menelaos
So I would be the most wretched of mortals.

Helen
[805] Do not feel shame now, but escape from this land.

Menelaos
Leaving you behind? I ravaged Troy for your sake.

Helen
Yes, for that is better than that our union should cause your death.

Menelaos
Oh! these are coward's words, unworthy of those days at Troy.

Helen
You could not kill the tyrant, which perhaps you are eager to do.

Menelaos
[810] Does he then have a body that cannot be wounded by a sword?

Helen
You will hear. But to undertake impossibilities is no mark of wisdom.

Menelaos
And so I am to offer my hands to be bound, in silence?

Helen
You are in a dilemma; we need some contrivance.

Menelaos
Yes, for it is sweeter to die in action than by not acting.

Helen
[815] There is one hope, and only one, for our safety.

Menelaos
Are we to buy it, or dare it, or win it with words?

Helen
If the tyrant were not to learn of your arrival.

Menelaos
Will any one tell him about me? He will certainly not know who I am.

Helen
He has within an ally equal to the gods.

Menelaos
[820] A voice that has settled in the inmost parts of his house?

Helen
No, but his sister; she is called Theonoe.

Menelaos
The name is prophetic; tell me what she does.

Helen
She knows everything, and she will tell her brother that you are here.

Menelaos
We must die; for I cannot escape her notice.

Helen
[825] Perhaps we might persuade her by supplication—

Menelaos
To do what? What hope are you leading me to?

Helen
Not to tell her brother that you are here in this land.

Menelaos
If we persuade her, could we get away from this country?

Helen
Easily, in common with her; but secretly we could not.

Menelaos
[830] The task is yours; it is suitable for women to deal with women.

Helen
Be sure that I will clasp her knees.

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