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They rush at the two Athenians.

Euelpides
This is the fatal moment. Where shall I fly to, unfortunate wretch that I am?

Pisthetaerus
Wait! Stay here!

Euelpides
[355] That they may tear me to pieces?

Pisthetaerus
And how do you think to escape them?

Euelpides
I don't know at all.

Pisthetaerus
Come, I will tell you. We must stop and fight them. Let us arm ourselves with these stew-pots.

Euelpides
Why with the stew-pots?

Pisthetaerus
The owl will not attack us then.

Euelpides
But do you see all those hooked claws?

Pisthetaerus
Take the spit [360] and pierce the foe on your side.

Euelpides
And how about my eyes?

Pisthetaerus
Protect them with this dish or this vinegar-pot.

Euelpides
Oh! what cleverness! what inventive genius! You are a great general, even greater than Nicias, where stratagem is concerned.

Leader of the Chorus
Forward, forward, charge with your beaks! Come, no delay. [365] Tear, pluck, strike, flay them, and first of all smash the stew-pot.

Epops
Stepping in front of the Chorus.
Oh, most cruel of all animals, why tear these two men to pieces, why kill them? What have they done to you? They belong to the same tribe, to the same family as my wife.

Leader of the Chorus
Are wolves to be spared? Are they not our most mortal foes? [370] So let us punish them.

Epops
If they are your foes by nature, they are your friends in heart, and they come here to give you useful advice.

Leader of the Chorus
Advice or a useful word from their lips, from them, the enemies of my forebears?

Epops
[375] The wise can often profit by the lessons of a foe, for caution is the mother of safety. It is just such a thing as one will not learn from a friend and which an enemy compels you to know. To begin with, it's the foe and not the friend that taught cities to build high walls, to equip long vessels of war; [380] and it's this knowledge that protects our children, our slaves and our wealth.

Leader of the Chorus
Well then, I agree, let us first hear them, for that is best; one can even learn something in an enemy's school.

Pisthetaerus
To Euelpides.
Their wrath seems to cool. Draw back a little.

Epops
It's only justice, and you will thank me later.

Leader of the Chorus
[385] Never have we opposed your advice up to now.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 1115
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