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(Leader Of The Chorus)
We shall soon know about this passing on of flaming lights [490] and beacon signals and fires, whether they perhaps are true or whether, dream-like, this light's glad coming has beguiled our senses. Look! I see approaching from the shore a herald crowned with boughs of olive. [495] The thirsty dust, consorting sister of the mud1, assures me that neither by pantomime nor by kindling a flame of mountain wood will he signal with smoke of fire. Either in plain words he will bid us to rejoice the more, or—but I have little love for the report opposite to this! [500] May still further good be added to the good that has appeared!

Whoever makes this prayer with other intent toward the state, let him reap himself the fruit of his misguided purpose!

Enter a Herald

All hail, soil of Argos, land of my fathers! On this happy day in the tenth year I have come to you. [505] Many hopes have shattered, one only have I seen fulfilled; for I never dared to dream that here in this land of Argos I should die and have due portion of burial most dear to me. Now blessings on the land, blessings on the light of the sun, and blessed be Zeus, the land's Most High, and the Pythian lord; [510] and may he launch no more his shafts against us. Enough of your hostility did you display by Scamander's banks; but now, in other mood, be our preserver and our healer, O lord Apollo. And the gods gathered here, I greet them all; him, too, my own patron, [515] Hermes, beloved herald, of heralds all revered; and the heroes2who sped us forth, I pray that they may receive back in kindliness the remnant of the host which has escaped the spear.

Hail, halls of our kings, beloved roofs, and you august seats, and you divinities that face the sun3, [520] if ever you did in days gone by, now after long lapse of years, with gladness in your eyes receive your king. For bearing light in darkness to you and to all assembled here alike, he has returned—Agamemnon, our king. Oh greet him well, as is right, [525] since he has uprooted Troy with the mattock of Zeus the Avenger, with which her soil has been uptorn. Demolished are the altars and the shrines of her gods; and the seed of her whole land has been wasted utterly. Upon the neck of Troy he has cast such a yoke. [530] Now he has come home, our king, Atreus' elder son, a man of happy fate, worthy of honor beyond all living men. For neither Paris nor his partner city can boast that the deed was greater than the suffering. Convicted for robbery and for theft as well, [535] he has lost the plunder and has razed in utter destruction his father's house and even the land. The sons of Priam have paid a twofold penalty for their sins.

1 His attire bears evidence of dust and mud. Cp. the description of Sir Walter Blunt, “Stained with the variation of each soil Betwixt that Holmedon and this seat of ours” (Henry IV.).

2 The heroes are the deified spirits of the ancient kings and other illustrious men. In Aesch. Supp. 25 they are included under the nether powers (χθόνιοι).

3 Statues of the gods, in front of the palace, placed to front the east.

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    • Aeschylus, Suppliant Maidens, 25
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