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I am an Argive, for that is what you ask me. [135] 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 [140] 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 pass binding sentences against our own number. We have come to the hearths of many others [145] and have taken our stand on these same principles, and no one has had the hardihood to increase his own troubles. But they have come here either because they espy some folly in you or because out of desperation they are risking their all to see whether <you> will or will not prove to be < [150] such a mad and brainless fool>. For they surely do not expect that while you are in your right mind, you alone of all the Greeks they have approached will take foolish pity on their misfortunes.

Come, make the comparison: what is your profit if you let these men into your country, and what if you let us take them away? [155] From us you stand to gain things such as this: winning for your city an army as powerful as that of Argos and the whole might of Eurystheus. But if you give ear to the pleas and the lamentations of these and grow soft, then the matter becomes one [160] for spears to settle: for you must not suppose that we will let the contest go with no play of cold steel. What then will you say? Of what lands will you allege you have been robbed, of what booty despoiled, that you go to war with Argos? In defense of what allies, on whose behalf [165] will you bury the fallen? Your citizens will have nothing good to say of you if for an old man's sake, a a nullity as good as dead, and for these children you put your foot in the mire: [170] if you let go of your true advantage, you will find only hope, and that is a thing that falls far short of cash in hand. Against the Argives in their panoply these boys, when grown to 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: [175] 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 [180] until he has heard plainly from both sides?

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