Aeschylus, Persians (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Pers.].
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Enter a band of Elders, guardians of the Persian Empire

Chorus 1Here we are, the faithful Council of the Persians, who have gone to the land of Hellas, we who serve as warders of the royal abode, rich in bountiful store of gold, 5we whom Xerxes, our King, Darius' royal son, himself selected, by virtue of our rank and years, to be the guardians of his realm.

Yet as regards the return of our King and of his host, so richly decked out in gold, 10the soul within my breast is distressed and presages disaster. For the whole populace of the Asian nation has come and murmurs against its youthful King, nor does any courier or horseman 15arrive at the city of the Persians, who left behind them the walled defence of Susa and Agbatana and Cissa's ancient ramparts, and went forth, some on horseback, some in galleys, others on foot 20presenting a dense array of war.

Such are Amistres and Artaphrenes and Megabates and Astaspes, marshals of the Persians; kings themselves, yet vassals of the Great King, 25they press on, commanders of an enormous host, skilled in archery and horsemanship, formidable to look upon and fearful in battle through the valiant resolve of their souls. Artembares, too, who fights from his chariot, 30and Masistres, and noble Imaeus, skilled with the bow, and Pharandaces, and Sosthanes, who urges on his steeds. Others in addition the mighty, fecund Nile sent forth — Susiscanes, 35Pegastagon of Egyptian lineage, mighty Arsames, lord of sacred Memphis, Ariomardus, governor of ancient Thebes, and the marsh-dwelling oarsmen, 40well-skilled and countless in number.

Behind them follows a throng of luxurious Lydians and those [Note]who hold in subjection all the people of the mainland, whom Metrogathes and brave Arcteus, their regal commanders, 45and Sardis rich in gold sent forth, riding in many a chariot, in ranks with three and four steeds abreast, a spectacle terrible to behold. They too who live by sacred Tmolus pledge themselves 50to cast the yoke of slavery upon Hellas—Mardon, Tharybis, anvils of the lance, and the Mysians, hurlers of the javelin. Babylon, also, teeming with gold, sends a mixed host arrayed in a long line, both mariners borne in galleys 55and those who rely on their skill in archery. The nation too which wears the sabre follows from every part of Asia in the fearful procession of the King.

Such are the warriors, the flower of the Persian land, 60who have departed, and in fierce longing for them the whole land of Asia, their foster-nurse, laments, while parents and wives, as they count the days, shudder at the lengthening delay.

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Aeschylus, Persians (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Pers.].
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