Euripides. The Plays of Euripides, Translated into English Prose from the Text of Paley. Vol. II. Coleridge, Edward P., translator. London: George Bell and Sons, 1891.
and I am not saying this to flatter or wheedle you; by her I implore you.
As Menelaus turns away.Ah me, my misery! to what have I come! Well? (preparing to make a final appeal) I must suffer, for I am making this appeal on behalf of my whole family. O my uncle, my father’s own brother! Imagine that the dead man in his grave
is listening, that his spirit is hovering over you and saying what I say, this much for tears and groans and misfortunes. I have spoken and I have begged for my safety, hunting what all seek, not myself alone.
I, too, though I am only a woman, beseech you to help those who need it; for you have the power.
Orestes, you are a man for whom I have a deep regard, and I want to take part in your troubles; it is a duty, too, to help relatives bear their ills,
by dying or killing enemies, if god gives the power to do so. I wish I had that power granted me by the gods. For I have come quite destitute of allies, after my long weary wanderings,
with the small strength of my surviving friends. We should never get the better of Pelasgian Argos by fighting; if we should prevail by soothing speeches, we will come to some hope there. For how can you win a great cause by small
efforts? It is foolish even to wish it.
For when the people fall into a vigorous fury, they are as hard to quench as a raging fire; but if you gently slacken your hold and yield a little to their tension, cautiously watching your opportunity,
they may possibly calm down; if their gusts abate, you may obtain whatever you want from them easily. They have pity, and a hot temper too, an invaluable quality if you watch it closely. So for you I will go and try to persuade Tyndareus
and the city to moderation. A ship also dips if its sheet is hauled too taut, but rights itself again if it is let go.
The god hates excessive eagerness, and the citizens do also; I must save you, I don’t deny it,
by cleverness, not by violence against those who are stronger. I could not do it by strength, as you perhaps imagine; for it is not easy to triumph single-handed over the troubles that beset you. I would never have tried to bring the Argive land over to softness;
but it is necessary. for the wise to be slaves to fortune.Exit Menelaus.
O you that have no use, except to lead an army in a woman’s cause! O worst of men in your friends’ defense,
do you turn your back on me and flee, the deeds of Agamemnon lost and gone?
After all, father, you had no friends in adversity. Alas! I am betrayed; no longer do I have any hope of finding a refuge where I may escape the death-sentence of Argos; for this man was my haven of safety.
But I see Pylades, the best of friends, coming at a run from Phocis—a pleasant sight! A man who can be trusted in troubles is a better sight than a calm to sailors.
I have come through the city quickly, as I should,
having heard and myself clearly seen the citizens assembling, against you and your sister, to kill you at once. What is happening? How is it with you? How are you doing, my best of comrades, friends and kin? For you are all these to me.