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Athena Where are you going, away from the Trojan ranks, with sorrow gnawing at your hearts, because the god does not grant you two to slay Hector or Paris? Have you not heard that Rhesus has come to aid Troy in no mean fashion? If he survives this night until the dawn, neither Achilles nor Aias's spear can stop him from utterly destroying the Argive fleet, razing its palisades and carrying this the onslaught of his lance far and wide within the gates. Slay him, and all is yours; let Hector's sleep alone, no throat-cutting slaughter; for he shall find death at another hand. Odysseus Queen Athena, it is the well-known accent of your voice I hear; for you are always at my side to help me in my toil. Tell us where that man lies asleep; in what part of the barbarian army is he stationed? Athena Here lies he close at hand, not marshalled with the other troops, but outside the ranks Hector has given him quarters, till night gives place to day. And near him his white horses are tether
Chorus Woe, woe! It was in quest of you, yes, you, great lord of my city, that I went, when I brought news to you that the Argive army was kindling fires about the ships; for by the springs of Simois I vow my eye kept sleepless watch by night, nor did I slumber or sleep. Do not be angry with me, my lord; I am guiltless of all. Yet if hereafter you find that I in word or deed have done amiss, bury me alive beneath the earth; I ask no mercy.
Before the temple of Demeter at Eleusis. On the steps of the great altar is seated Aethra. Around her, in the garb of suppliants, is the Chorus of Argive mothers. Adrastus lies on the ground before the altar, crushed in abject grief. The children of the slain chieftains stand nearby. Around the altar are the attendants of the goddess. Aethra Demeter, guardian of this Eleusinian land, and you servants of the goddess who attend her shrine, grant happiness to me and my son Theseus, to the city of Athens and the country of Pittheus, where my father reared me, Aethra, in a happy home, and gave me in marriage to Aegeus, Pandion's son, according to the oracle of Loxias. This prayer I make, when I behold these aged women, who, leaving their homes in Argos, now throw themselves with suppliant branches at my knees in their terrible trouble; for around the gates of Cadmus they have lost their seven noble sons, whom Adrastus, king of Argos, once led there, eager to secure for exiled Polyneice
Chorus No longer a happy mother, no longer blessed with children, nor do I share their happy lot among Argive women who have sons; nor any more will Artemis of childbirth kindly greet these childless mothers. Most dreary is my life, and like some wandering cloud I drift before the howling blast.
Children Some day, if the god is willing, shall the avenging of my father be my task. Chorus This evil does not yet sleep. Alas for my sorrows! I have enough ill-fortune, enough troubles. Children Asopus' laughing tide shall yet reflect my brazen arms as I lead on my Argive troops, to avenge my fallen father.