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There is a city, Canobus, on the extremity of the land at the very mouth and silt-bar of the Nile. There at last Zeus restores you to your senses by the mere stroke and touch of his unterrifying hand. [850] And you shall bring forth dark Epaphus,1thus named from the manner of Zeus' engendering; and he shall gather the fruit of all the land watered by the broad-flowing Nile. Fifth in descent from him, fifty maidens shall return to Argos, not of their own [855] free choice, but fleeing marriage with their cousin kin; while these, their hearts ablaze with passion, like falcons eagerly pursuing doves, shall come in pursuit of wedlock unlawful to pursue; but God shall grudge them enjoyment of their brides. [860] Pelasgian soil shall offer the maids a home, when, in the watches of the night, their husbands have been slain by a deed of daring wrought by the women's murderous blows. For each bride shall take the life of her lord, dyeing a two-edged sword in his blood—in such ways may Love come upon my enemies! [865] However, love's desire shall charm one of the maidens not to slay her mate; rather, her resolve will lose its edge; for she will make her choice between two evil names to be called coward rather than murderess. She it is who shall give birth in Argos to a royal line— [870] a long story is necessary to explain this clearly; of her seed, however, shall be born a man of daring, renowned with the bow, who shall deliver me from these toils.2Such is the oracle recounted to me by my mother, Titan Themis, born long ago. [875] The manner and the means—these need lengthy speech to tell, and to learn them all would not be of any benefit.

1 Epaphus, “Touch-born,” named from the touch (ἔφαξις) of the hand of Zeus. Cp. Aesch. Supp. 45, 48.

2 Heracles. Accidently wounded by the poisoned arrow of this descendant of Io, the centaur Chiron offered himself as a substitute for Prometheus, thus fulfilling the prophecy contained in ll. 1026 ff. In a fragment of the Prometheus Unbound Heracles is represented as aiming his arrow against the eagle that feasted on the body of Prometheus (l. 1022).

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    • Aeschylus, Suppliant Maidens, 48
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