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Alcestis   


ADMETUS
No, you shall not go to another man's hearth. (To a servant) Guide
him, and open for him the guest-rooms apart from the house.
(HERACLES enters the Palace by the guests' door; when he has gone
in, ADMETUS turns to the other servants)
Close the inner door of the
courtyard; it is unseemly that guests rejoicing at table should hear
lamentations, and be saddened.
(The attendants go into the Palace.)
LEADER
What are you about? When such a calamity has fallen upon you,
Admetus, have you the heart to entertain a guest? Are you mad?
ADMETUS
And if I had driven away a guest who came to my house and city,
would you have praised me more? No, indeed! My misfortune would have
been no less, and I inhospitable. One more ill would have been added
to those I have if my house were called inhospitable. I myself find
him the best of hosts when I enter the thirsty land of Argos.
LEADER
But why did you hide from him the fate that has befallen, if the
man came as a friend, as you say?
ADMETUS
Never would he have entered my house if he had guessed my
misfortune.
To some, I know, I shall appear senseless in doing this, and
they will blame me; but my roof knows not to reject or insult a guest.

(He goes into the Palace, as the CHORUS begins its song.)

CHORUS (singing)

strophe 1

O house of a bountiful lord,
Ever open to many guests,
The God of Pytho,
Apollo of the beautiful lyre,
Deigned to dwell in you
And to live a shepherd in your lands!
On the slope of the hillsides
He played melodies of mating
On the Pipes of Pan to his herds.

antistrophe 1

And the dappled lynxes fed with them
In joy at your singing;
From the wooded vale of Orthrys
Came a yellow troop of lions;
To the sound of your lyre, O Phoebus,
Danced the dappled fawn
Moving on light feet
Beyond the high-crested pines,
Charmed by your sweet singing.

strophe 2

He dwells in a home most rich in flocks
By the lovely moving Boebian lake.
At the dark stabling-place of the Sun
He takes the sky of the Molossians
As a bourne to his ploughing of fields,
To the soils of his plains;
He bears sway
As far as the harbourless

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