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Old man
calling through the tent door.
[855] Stranger of the race of Aeacus, stay awhile! Ho there! I mean you, O goddess-born, and you, daughter of Leda.

Achilles
Who is it calling through the half-opened door? What fear his voice betrays!

Old man
A slave; of that I am not proud, for fortune does not permit it.

Achilles
Whose slave are you? not mine; for mine and Agamemnon's goods are separate.

Old man
[860] I belong to this lady who stands before the tent, a gift to her from Tyndareus her father.

Achilles
I am waiting; tell me, if you are desirous, why you have stopped me.

Old man
Are you really all alone here at the door?

Achilles
To us alone will you address yourself; come forth from the king's tent.

Old man
coming out.
O Fortune and my own foresight, preserve whom I desire!

Achilles
[865] That speech will save them in the future; it has a certain pompous air.

Clytemnestra
Delay not for the sake of touching my right hand, if there is anything that you would say to me.

Old man
Well, you know my character and my devotion to you and your children.

Clytemnestra
I know you have grown old in the service of my house.

Old man
Likewise you know it was in your dowry king Agamemnon received me.

Clytemnestra
[870] Yes, you came to Argos with me, and have been mine this long time past.

Old man
True; and I bear all goodwill to you, less to your husband.

Clytemnestra
Come, come, unfold whatever you have to say.

Old man
Her father, he that begot her, is on the point of slaying your daughter with his own hand.

Clytemnestra
How? That for your story, old man! you are mad.

Old man
[875] Severing with a sword the hapless girl's white throat.

Clytemnestra
Ah, alas for me! Does my husband happen to have gone mad?

Old man
No; he is sane, except where you and your daughter are concerned; there he is mad.

Clytemnestra
What is his reason? what vengeful fiend impels him?

Old man
Oracles, at least so Calchas says, in order that the army may start—

Clytemnestra
[880] Where? Alas for me, and for the one her father is going to kill!

Old man
To the halls of Dardanus, that Menelaus may recover Helen.

Clytemnestra
So Helen's return then was fated to affect Iphigenia?

Old man
You know all; her father is about to offer your child to Artemis.

Clytemnestra
But that marriage—what pretext had it for bringing me from home?

Old man
[885] An inducement to you to bring your daughter cheerfully, to wed her to Achilles.

Clytemnestra
On a deadly errand have you come, my daughter, both you, and I, your mother.

Old man
Piteous the lot of both of you, and dreadful Agamemnon's venture.

Clytemnestra
Alas, I am undone; my eyes can no longer hold their tears.

Old man
If the loss of children is painful, shed your tears.

Clytemnestra
[890] From where, old man, do you say you had this news?

Old man
I had started to carry you a letter referring to the former writing.

Clytemnestra
Forbidding or combining to urge my bringing the child to her death?

Old man
No, forbidding it, for your lord was then in his sober senses.

Clytemnestra
How comes it then, if you were really bringing me a letter, that you do not now deliver it into my hands?

Old man
[895] Menelaus snatched it from me, he who caused this trouble.

Clytemnestra
Do you hear that, son of Peleus, the Nereid's child?

Achilles
I have been listening to the tale of your sufferings, and I do not bear my own lightly.

Clytemnestra
They will slay my child; they have tricked her with your marriage.

Achilles
Like you I blame your lord, nor do I view it with mere indifference.

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