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The Heracleidae   


LEADER Alcmena, fain I would advise thee somewhat; let this man go,
for 'tis the city's will.
ALCMENA Suppose he die, and yet I obey the city?
LEADER That would be best of all; but how can this be?
ALCMENA I will teach thee easily. I will slay him and then give up
his corpse to those of his friends who come for it, for, as regards
his body, I will not disobey the state; but by his death shall he
pay me the penalty.
EURYSTHEUS Slay me, I do not ask thee for mercy; yet since this city
let me go and shrunk from slaying me, I will reward it with an old
oracle of Loxias, which in time will benefit them more than doth appear.
Bury my body after death in its destined grave in front of the shrine
of the virgin goddess at Pallene. And I will be thy friend and guardian
of thy city for ever, where I lie buried in a foreign soil, but a
bitter foe to these children's descendants, whensoe'er with gathered
host they come against this land, traitors to your kindness now; such
are the strangers ye have championed. Why then came I hither, if I
knew all this, instead of regarding the god's oracle? Because I thought,
that Hera was mightier far than any oracle, and would not betray me.
Waste no drink-offering on my tomb, nor spill the victim's blood;
for I will requite them for my treatment here with a journey they
shall rue; and ye shall have double gain from me, for I will help
you and harm them by my death.
ALCMENA Why, why delay to kill this man, after hearing this, since
this is needed to secure the safety of your city and your children?
Himself points out the safest road. Though the man is now our foe,
yet after death is he our gain. Away with him, ye servants, and cast
him to the dogs when ye have slain him. Think not thou shalt live
to cast me forth from my native land again. (The guards lead out
EURYSTHEUS.)

CHORUS (chanting) I agree. Lead on, servants. Our conduct shall
bring no stain of guilt upon our rulers.
THE END

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