Scene: the island of Lemnos, in front of Philoctetes' cave.
Enter Odysseus and Neoptolemus followed by the sailor who will return later as Odysseus' Spy.

This is the shore of the sea-encircled isle
of Lemnos, uninhabited and forlorn.
Here long ago, great Neoptolemus,
son of Achilles, noblest of the Greeks,
5under strict orders from my two commanders
I left the Malian archer Philoctetes.
His swollen foot groaned with a festering ulcer,
and we could not so much as sacrifice
in peace of mind, when all our camp was filled
10with savage, sacrilegious screams of pain,
moaning and wailing. But, why speak of that?
Now is no time for lengthy words, for he
may learn that I am here, and I may ruin
the scheme by which I hope to snare the man.
15Listen: in what remains you must assist me.
Go forth and seek a twin-mouthed rock: a cave
such that in winter each of the entrance-ways
faces the sun, but in the summertime
a gentle breeze sends sleep through both the chambers.
20Down to the left a little you will find,
I think, a stream - unless its source has failed.
Approach it silently, and signal me
whether he still lives there, or someplace else.
Then you must listen to the plan which I
25will tell you, and we'll carry out together.

load focus Notes (Sir Richard C. Jebb, 1932)
load focus English (Sir Richard Jebb, 1898)
load focus Greek (Francis Storr, 1913)
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