Enough! I with my spouse, ship-borne, have hither
And to his city now by him before am sent.
But what the thought he harbors, that I cannot guess.
Come I as consort hither? Come I as a queen?
Come I as victim for the prince’s bitter pangs,
And for the evils dire, long suffered by the Greeks?
Conquered I am; but whether captive, know I not:
For the Immortal Powers fortune and fame for me
Have doomed ambiguous; direful ministers that wait
On beauty’s form, who even on this threshold here,
With dark and threat’ning mien, stand bodeful at my side!
Already, ere we left the hollow ship, my spouse
Looked seldom on me, spake no comfortable word;
As though he mischief brooded, facing me he sat.
But now, when to Eurotas’ deeply curving shores
Steering our course, scarce had our foremost vessel’s beak
The land saluted, spake he, as by God inspired:
“Here let my men of war, in ordered ranks, disbark;
I marshal them, drawn up upon the ocean strand;
But thou, pursue thy way, not swerving from the banks,
Laden with fruit, that bound Eurotas’ sacred stream,
Thy coursers guiding o’er the moist enamelled meads,
Until thou may’st arrive at that delightful plain,
Where Lacedaemon, once a broad fruit-bearing field,
By mountains stern surrounded lifteth now its walls.
Set thou thy foot within the tower-crown’d princely house,
Assemble thou the maids, whom I at parting left,
And with them summon too the wise old stewardess.
Bid her display to thee the treasures’ ample store,
As by thy sire bequeathed, and which, in peace and war,
Increasing evermore, I have myself up-piled.
All standing shalt thou find in ancient order; for,
This is the prince’s privilege, that to his home,
When he returns at last, safe everything he finds,
Each in its proper place, as he hath left it there.
For nothing of himself the slave hath power to change.”
Oh gladden now, with glorious wealth,
Ever increasing, thine eye and heart!
For beautiful chains, the adornment of crowns,
Are priding themselves, in haughty repose;
But step thou in, and challenge them all,
They arm themselves straight;
I joy to see beauty contend for the prize,
With gold, and with pearls, and with jewels of price.
Forthwith hath followed next this mandate of my lord:
“Now when in order thou all things hast duly seen,
As many tripods take, as needful thou may’st deem,
And vessels manifold, which he at hand requires,
Who duly would perform the sacrificial rite,
The caldrons, and the bowls, and shallow altar-plates;
Let purest water, too, from sacred fount be there,
In lofty pitchers; further, store of season’d wood,
Quick to accept the flame, hold thou in readiness;