A fleet already sails to fetch thee back,
Conducted by old Phoenix, and the sons
Of valiant Theseus.
Come they then to force me?
Or am I to be won by their persuasion?
I know not that; you have what I could learn.
And did the' Atreidae send them?
Sent they are,
And will be with you soon.
But wherefore then
Came not Ulysses? Did his courage fail?
He, ere I left the camp, with Diomede
On some important embassy sailed forth
There was a man- but stay,
Who is thy friend here, tell me, but speak softly.
NEOPTOLEMUS (whispering to him)
The famous Philoctetes.
Ha! begone then!
Ask me no more- away, immediately!
What do these dark mysterious whispers mean?
Concern they me, my son?
I know not what
He means to say, but I would have him speak
Boldly before us all, whate'er it be.
Do not betray me to the Grecian host,
Nor make me speak what I would fain conceal.
I am but poor- they have befriended me.
In me thou seest an enemy confest
To the Atreidae. This is my best friend
Because he hates them too; if thou art mine,
Hide nothing then.
The blame will be on you.
Why, let it be:
But speak, I charge thee.
Since I must then, know,
In solemn league combined, the bold Ulysses
And gallant Diomede have sworn by force
Or by persuasion to bring back thy friend:
The Grecians heard Laertes' son declare
His purpose; far more resolute he seemed
Than Diomede, and surer of success.