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Agamemnon While loving my own children, I yet understand what should move my pity and what should not; I would be a madman otherwise. It is terrible for me to bring myself to this, nor is it less terrible to refuse, daughter; for I must do this. You see the vastness of that naval army, and the numbers of bronze-clad warriors from Hellas, who can neither make their way to Ilium's towers nor raze the far-famed citadel of Troy, unless I offer you according to the word of Calchas the seer. Some mad desire possesses the army of Hellas to sail at once to the land of the barbarians, and put a stop to the rape of wives from Hellas, and they will slay my daughter in Argos as well as you and me, if I disregard the goddess's commands. It is not Menelaus who has enslaved me to him, child, nor have I followed his wish; no, it is Hellas, for whom I must sacrifice you whether I will or not; to this necessity I bow my head; for her freedom must be preserved, as far as any help of yours daughter,
O mother, mother! he that begot me to this life of sorrow has gone and left me all alone. Ah! woe is me! a bitter, bitter sight for me was Helen, evil Helen! to me now doomed to bleed and die, slaughtered by an impious father! I wish this Aulis had never received in its havens here the stems of their bronze-beaked ships, the fleet which was speeding them to Troy; and would that Zeus had never breathed on the Euripus a wind to stop the expedition, tempering, as he does, a different breeze to different men, so that some have joy in setting sail, and sorrow some, and others hard constraint, to make some start and others prepare and others delay! Full of trouble then, it seems, is the race of mortals, full of trouble indeed; and it is Fate's decree that man should find distress. Woe! woe to you, you child of Tyndareus, for the suffering and anguish sore, which you are causing the Danaids!
Agamemnon Lady, we may be counted happy, as far as concerns our daughter; for in truth she has fellowship with gods. But you must take this tender child and start for home, for the army is looking now to sail. Fare you well! it is long before I shall greet you on my return from Troy.; may it be well with you!
Chorus To the sandy beach of sea-coast Aulis I have come after a voyage through the tides of narrow Euripus, leaving Chalcis, my city which feeds the waters of far-famed Arethusa near the sea, so that I might behold the army of the Achaeans and the ships rowed by those godlike heroes; for our husbands tell us that fair-haired Menelaus and high-born Agamemnon are leading them to Troy on a thousand ships in quest of Helen, whom Paris the herdsman carried off from the banks of reedy Eurotas, his gift from Aphrodite, when that queen of Cyprus entered beauty's contest with Hera and Pallas at the gushing fountain.
Chorus You came, O Paris, to the place where you were reared to herd the cows among the white heifers of Ida, piping in foreign strain and breathing on your reeds an echo of the Phrygian airs Olympus played. Full-uddered cows were browsing at the spot where that verdict between goddesses was awaiting you—the cause of your going to Hellas to stand before the ivory palace, kindling love in Helen's entranced eyes and feeling its flutter in your own breast; from which the fiend of strife brought Hellas with her spear and ships to the towers of Troy