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Alcestis   


home?
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
The son of Pheres is in his home, O Heracles. But, tell us, what
brings you to the land of Thessaly and to the city of Pherae?
HERACLES
I have a task I must achieve for Eurystheus of Tiryns.
LEADER
Where do you go? To what quest are you yoked?
HERACLES
The quest of the four-horsed chariot of Diomedes, the Thracian.
LEADER
But how will you achieve it? Do you know this stranger?
HERACLES
No, I have never been to the land of the Bistones.
LEADER
You cannot obtain the horses without a struggle.
HERACLES
I cannot renounce my labours.
LEADER
You must kill to return, or you will remain there dead.
HERACLES
It will not be the first contest I have risked.
LEADER
And if you conquer the King will you gain anything?
HERACLES
I shall bring back his foals to the lord of Tiryns.
LEADER
It is not easy to thrust the bit into their jaws.
HERACLES
Only if they breathe fire from their nostrils!
LEADER
But they tear men with their swift jaws.
HERACLES
You speak of the food of wild mountain beasts, not of horses.
LEADER
You may see their mangers foul with blood.
HERACLES
Of what father does the breeder boast himself the son?
LEADER
Of Ares, the lord of the gold-rich shield of Thrace!
HERACLES
In this task once more you remind me of my fate, which is ever
upon harsh steep ways, since I must join battle with the sons of
Ares-first with Lycaon, then with Cycnus, and now in this third
contest I am come to match myself with these steeds and their master!
LEADER
But see, the lord of this land, Admetus himself, comes from the
house!

(The central doors of the Palace have opened, and ADMETUS comes
slowly on the Stage, preceded and followed by guards and attendants.
The King has put off all symbols of royalty, and is dressed in
black. His tong hair is clipped close to his head. ADMETUS
dissembles his grief throughout this scene, in obedience to the laws
of hospitality, which were particularly reverenced in Thessaly.)


ADMETUS
Hail Son of Zeus and of the blood of Perseus!
HERACLES
And hail to you, Admetus, lord of the Thessalians
ADMETUS
May it be so! I know your friendship well.
HERACLES
What means this shorn hair, this mourning robe?

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