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Let it be so! Next I describe the fifth man who is stationed at the fifth, the Northern gate opposite the tomb of Amphion, Zeus's son. He swears by his spear which, in his confidence, he holds more to be revered than a god [530] and more precious than his eyes, that he will sack the city of the Cadmeans in spite of Zeus. He says this, the beautiful child of a mountain-bred mother—a warrior, half man, half boy, and his beard's first growth is just now advancing on his cheeks, [535] his youth in first bloom, thick, upspringing hair. But now he makes his advance with a savage heart and a terrifying look, not at all like the maidens he's named for.1Nor does he take his stand at the gate unboasting, but wields our city's shame on his bronze-forged [540] shield, his body's circular defence, on which the Sphinx who eats men raw is cleverly fastened with bolts, her body embossed and gleaming. She carries under her a single Cadmean, so that against this man chiefly our missiles will be hurled. [545] He does not seem to have come to do any petty trading in the battle, nor to shame the making of his long journey—he is Parthenopaeus of Arcadia. Such is the man, and aiming to make full payment for the fine support given him in Argos, his adopted land, he now threatens our fortifications—may God not fulfil his threats!

[550] If only they would get from the gods what they wish for, because of those unholy boasts of theirs, then surely they would perish in utter ruin and misery. There is a man for this one, too, whom you name an Arcadian, a man who does not boast, but who knows the thing to do— [555] Actor, brother of him I named before. He will not allow words that lack deeds to overrun his gate and increase fear, nor will he let in a man who carries on his hostile shield the image of the ravenous, detested beast. [560] That beast outside his shield will blame the man who carries her into the gate, when she has taken a heavy beating beneath the city's walls. If the gods are willing, what I speak may prove true!Exit Actor.

1 Parthenopaeus “maiden-faced.” His mother Atalanta dwelt on Mt. Maenalus in Arcadia.

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