Chorus of Troizenian Women -


At high-tide,
the sea — they say —
left a deep pool
below the rock-shelf:
in that clear place
where the women dip
their water-jars,
my friend steeped her veils
and spread the scarlet stuff
across the hot ridge
of sun-baked rocks:
she first brought word
of my mistress:

" She lies sick,
faint on her couch
within the palace;
her thin veils
cast a shadow
across her bright locks
I count three days
since her beautiful lips
touched the fine wheat —
her frail body
disdains nourishment:
she suffers —
some secret hurt
hastens her death.

Surely, O young queen,
you are possessed
by Pan, by Hecate,
by some spirit
of the Corybantic rites,
or by Cybele
from the hill-rocks!
or have you sinned
that you suffer thus
against Artemis?
Have you offered
no sacrificial cakes
to the huntress?
For she walks above earth,
along the sea-coast,
and across the salt trail
of the sea-drift.

Or is it that your lord,
born of Erechtheus,
the king most noble in descent,
neglects you in the palace
and your bride-couch
for another in secret?
Or has some sea-man,
landing at our port,
friendly to ships,
brought sad news from Crete?
For some great hurt
binds you to your couch,
broken in spirit.
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