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Herald I am an Argive, for that is what you ask me. But I want to tell you my purpose in coming and who it is that has sent me. Eurystheus, king of Mycenae, has sent me here to fetch these children. I have come here, stranger, with many just pleas both to carry out and to urge. I am an Argive myself, and I seek to take away these Argives who have run away from my own country, persons sentenced by the laws of that country to die. It is proper that we who are the city's inhabitants should pas
manhood, would be but poor fighters, if it is this prospect that raises your spirits, and there is a long stretch of time before then, when they might well be killed. But take my advice: give me nothing but merely allow me to take what is mine and thereby win Mycenae for an ally. Do not make the mistake you Athenians so often make, taking the weak for your friends when you might have chosen the strong.
Who can decide a plea or judge a speech until he has heard plainly from both sides?
Chorus Now is the time to show forethought, before the Argive army approaches our borders. The war-strength of Mycenae is keen, but after these events more keen than ever. For this is the way with all heralds, to build up a tale twice as large as the truth. What grand story do you think he will tell his masters, how he suffered monstrous treatment and barely escaped with his life?
Demophon Your words are well spoken, old sir, and I am confident that the deeds of these children will match them: our favor to you will be remembered. I shall muster the citizens and marshall them so that we may meet the army of Mycenae with a large force: first I shall send scouts to spy on it so that it may not approach without my being aware （for at Argos every man is a swift-footed warrior）, and then I shall gather the prophets and make sacrifice. But leave Zeus's altar and go with the children to the palace. There are men there who will take care of you, even if I am away. Go to the palace, old sir. Iolaus I will not leave the altar. We will stay here as suppliants and pray for the city's good fortune. But when she has escaped with honor from this struggle, then we will go to the palace. The gods we have as allies are not worse than those of the Argives, my lord. For Hera is their champion, Zeus's wife, but Athena is ours. This too is a source of good fortune for us, that
Chorus It is dreadful that a prosperous city like Mycenae, famed for its war-strength, should nurse a hatred against our land. But it is cowardly, o my city, if we are to hand over suppliant strangers at the behest of Argos. Zeus is my ally, I have no fear, Zeus is justly grateful to me: never shall I reveal the gods to be less good than mortals.
Enter the Servant by Eisodos A with Eurystheus under guard. Servant My lady, though you see it yourself, still I will tell you: we have come bringing Eurystheus to you, a sight you had not hoped to see and a stroke of fortune he had not looked to feel. For he never supposed that he would fall into your hands when he set off from Mycenae with his throng of toiling soldiers, thinking thoughts too high for justice, to sack the city of Athena. But the god made the outcome the reverse of his expectations. Hyllus and brave Iolaus were erecting a victory statue in honor of Zeus, God of the Rout. But they instructed me to bring this man to you, intending to give pleasure to your heart. For there is no pleasanter sight than to see one's enemy fallen after prosperity into misfortune. Alcmene Have you come, hateful creature? Has Justice caught you at long last? Come, first turn your head towards me and steel yourself to look your enemies in the face: you are the ruled now, no longer the