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The Suppliants Monologue

The Suppliants Monologue by Aeschylus
Character: Danaos
Gender: Female
Age (range): ?
Style: Classical
Length: 4 minutes

 

DANAOS: Ye to the Argives should with sacrifice,
As to Olympian gods, libations pour,
My daughters! for deliverers they have proved,
Beyond dispute. 'Gainst those assiduous friends,
Your cousins, all that had been done they heard,
Indignant, and forthwith, this body-guard,
As mark of honour they assigned to me,
Lest too, by secret spear-thrust slain, my death
Should curse undying bring upon the land.
Such favours reaping, justice bids us hold
In higher honour still their kindly grace.
These admonitions too ye shall inscribe
With many prudent maxims of your sire,
That Time this stranger company may test.
Each 'gainst the alien bears an evil tongue,
From which the slanderous word full lightly falls.
But, I exhort you, do me no disgrace,
Crowned as ye are with youth's attractive bloom.
Not easy tender ripeness is to guard;
Wild beasts despoil it,--mortals too no less,
And wingèd tribes and treaders on the earth.
Her gushing fruitage Kypris heraldeth,
Nay, the unripe scarce suffers she to stay;
And at the virgin's daintiness of form,
Each passer-by, o'ercome by fond desire,
Sends from his eye a shaft of suasive spell.
Forget we not then wherefore many a toil,
And breadth of sea was furrowed by our keel.--
Shame to ourselves, but triumph to our foes,
Let us not work. A two-fold dwelling here,
(One doth Pelasgos give, the city one,)
Awaits us, free of charge;--easy the terms.
This only,--guard the mandates of your sire.
And honour hold in more respect than life.

Credits: Reprinted from The Dramas of Aeschylus. Trans. Anna Swanwick. London: George Bell and Sons, 1907.