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THE SUPPLIANTS.

Κρεων ος αδυνατευε τοτε εν Θηβαις, και σαρηκε τους προσηκοσιν ανελος μενους θαψαι ικετευσαντος δε Αδρασε Θησεα, και μαχης Αθηναιων γενομενης προς βοιωτες, Θησιες ως εκρατησε τη μαχη κομισας ες την Ελευσινιαν της νεκρες, ενταύθα εθαψε.

PAUSANIAS,

VOL. 11.

PERSONS OF THE DRAMA.

ÆTHRA.

CHORUS OF ARGIVE MATRONS.

THESEUS.

ADRASTUS.

HERALD

MESSENGER.

EVADNE.

IPHIS.

A BOY, SUPPOSED TO BE MELON THE SON OF ETEOCLOS.

MINERVA.

SCENE THE TEMPLE OF CERES, AT ELEUSINE, IN THE

ATHENIAN TERRITORY.

THE SUPPLIANTS.

ÆTHRA, CHORUS, ADRASTUS.

ÆTHRA.

Thou guardian power of Eleusine's land,
O Ceres, and ye venerable Priests
Of that benignant Goddess, who attend
This temple, blessings for myself I crave,
For my son Theseus, Athens, and the (1) realm
Of Pitheus, who, when his paternal care,
Had reard my childhood in a wealthy house,
Gave me to Ægeus, to Pandion's son,
So Phæbus' oracles decreed. These prayers
I offer'd up when I yon aged Matrons
Beheld, who their abodes at Argos leave,
And with their suppliant branches at my knees
Fall prostrate, having suffer'd dreadful woes:
Now are they childless; for before the gates
Of Thebes were slain their seven illustrious sons
Whom erst Adrastus King of Argos led
To battle, when for exiťd Polynices
His son in law, he strove to gain a share
Of Oedipus' inheritance. The corses
Of those who by the hostile spear were slain
Their Mothers would consign to earth ; but spurning
The laws which righteous Heaven ordain'd, the victors
Will not allow them to remove the dead.
But needing equally with them my succour
Adrastus shedding many a tear, lies stretcht
On earth, bewailing the disastrous fate
Of those brave troops whom he to battle led.
Oft he conjures me to implore my son,
Either by treaty, or his forceful spear,

(1) Træzene.

1

Back from those hostile fields to bring the slain
And lodge them in a tomb : on him alone
And Athens, he this honourable task
Imposes. Hither were the victims borne,
That we a prosperous tillage may obtain,
And for this cause I from

my

house am come Into this temple, where the bearded (2) grain First rising from the fruitful soil appear’d. Holding loose sprays of foliage in my hand, I wait before the unpolluted altars Of Proserpine and Ceres; for these Mothers Grown hoar with age and of their children reft, With pity moy’d, and to the sacred branches Yielding a due respect. I to the city Have sent a herald to call Theseus hither, That from the Theban land he may remove The causes of their sorrow, or the Gods Appeasing by some pious rites, release me From the constraint these suppliant Dames impose. In all emergencies discretion bids Our feeble sex to seek man's needful aid.

CHORUS.

An aged woman prostrate at thy knees,
Thee I implore my children to redeem
Who welter on a foreign plain, unnery'd
By death and to the savage beasts a prey :
Thou see'st the piteous tears which from these eyes
Unbidden start, and torn with desperate hands
My wrinkled flesh. What hope remains for me,
Who neither, at my home, have been allow'd
The corses of my children to stretch forth,
Nor heap'd with earth behold their tombs arise?
Thou, too, illustrious Dame, hast borne a Son

(2) Brodæus has collected testimonies from a Greek glossary to Homer, Phurnutns, Aristides, and Pausanias, to show that Eleusine was the place where corn first made its appearance; upon which the grate. ful inhabitants erected the famous temple of Ceres on the spot whence they first reaped her bounties.

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