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Never ought words to have outweighed deeds in this world, Agamemnon. No! if a man's deeds were good, so should his words have been; [1190] if, on the other hand, evil, his words should have been unsound, instead of its being possible at times to speak injustice well. There are, it is true, clever persons, who have made a science of this, but their cleverness cannot last for ever; a miserable end awaits them; no one ever yet escaped.

[1195] This part of my prelude belongs to you. Now will I turn to this fellow, and will give you your answer, you who say it was to save Achaea double toil and for Agamemnon's sake that you killed my son. No, villain, in the first place [1200] the barbarian race would never be friends with Hellas, nor could it be. Again, what interest did you have to further by your zeal? was it to form some marriage, or on the score of kinship, or what reason? or was it likely that they would sail here again and destroy [1205] your country's crops? Whom do you expect to persuade into believing that? If you would only speak the truth, it was the gold that slew my son, and your greedy spirit. Now tell me this: why, when Troy was victorious, when her ramparts still stood round her, [1210] when Priam was alive, and Hector's warring prospered, why did you not then, if you were really minded to do Agamemnon a service, slay the child, for you had him in your palace beneath your care, or bring him with you alive to the Argives? But when the enemy took us from the light [1215] and our city made a signal by its smoke, you murdered the guest who had come to your hearth.

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