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Horrors to tell, horrors for my eyes to see, have sent me back from the house of Loxias, [35] so that I have no strength and I cannot walk upright. I am running on hands and knees, with no quickness in my limbs; for an old woman, overcome with fright, is nothing, or rather she is like a child.

I was on my way to the inner shrine, decked with wreaths; I saw on the center-stone1a man defiled in the eyes of the gods, [40] occupying the seat of suppliants. His hands were dripping blood; he held a sword just drawn and an olive-branch, from the top of the tree, decorously crowned with a large tuft of wool, a shining fleece; for as to this I can speak clearly. [45]

Before this man an extraordinary band of women slept, seated on thrones. No! Not women, but rather Gorgons I call them; and yet I cannot compare them to forms of Gorgons either. Once before I saw some creatures in a painting,2 [50] carrying off the feast of Phineus; but these are wingless in appearance, black, altogether disgusting; they snore with repulsive breaths, they drip from their eyes hateful drops; their attire is not fit to bring either before the statues of the gods or into the homes of men. [55] I have never seen the tribe that produced this company, nor the land that boasts of rearing this brood with impunity and does not grieve for its labor afterwards.

Let what is to come now be the concern of the master of this house, [60] powerful Loxias himself. He is a prophet of healing, a reader of portents, and for others a purifier of homes.Exit

1 ὀμφαλός“navel” was the name given by the Delphians to a white stone (in Aeschylus' time placed in the inmost sanctuary of Apollo), which they regarded as marking the exact center of the earth. Near the great altar of Apollo the French excavators of Delphi discovered a navel-stone. ὀμφαλόςis sometimes used of Delphi itself.

2 The Harpies.

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