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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
 

Euripides Bilingual Anthology
TO RECOGNISE OUR FRIENDS IS OF GOD

from Euripides' Helen, * Lines 1-67, 557-560, * Translated by E.P.Coleridge, * Greek Fonts


ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

O! These are the fair virgin streams of Nile, the river that waters Egypt's tilth, fed by pure melting snow instead of rain from heaven. Proteus during his life-time was king of this land, dwelling in the isle of Pharos, and ruling o'er Egypt; and he took to wife one of the daughters of the sea, Psamathe, after she left the embraces of Aeacus. Two children she bare in this his palace, a son Theoclymenus, who hath passed his life in duteous service to the gods, and likewise a noble daughter, her mother's pride, called Eido in her infancy, but when she reached her youthful prime, the age for wedded joys, renamed Theonoe; for well she knew whate'er the gods design, both present and to come, for she had won this guerdon from her grandsire Nereus. Nor is my fatherland unknown to fame, e'en Sparta, or my sire Tyndareus; for a legend tells how Zeus winged his way to my mother Leda's breast, in the semblance of a bird, even a swan, and thus as he fled from an eagle's pursuit, achieved by guile his amorous purpose, if this tale be true.

Θεὸς γὰρ καὶ τὸ γιγνώσκειν φίλους

Νείλου μὲν αἵδε καλλιπάρθενοι ῥοαί͵ ὃς ἀντὶ δίας ψακάδος Αἰγύπτου πέδον λευκῆς τακείσης χιόνος ὑγραίνει γύας. Πρωτεὺς δ΄ ὅτ΄ ἔζη τῆσδε γῆς τύραννος ἦν͵ [Φάρον μὲν οἰκῶν νῆσον͵ Αἰγύπτου δ΄ ἄναξ͵] ὃς τῶν κατ΄ οἶδμα παρθένων μίαν γαμεῖ͵ Ψαμάθην͵ ἐπειδὴ λέκτρ΄ ἀφῆκεν Αἰακοῦ. τίκτει δὲ τέκνα δισσὰ τοῖσδ΄ ἐν δώμασιν͵ Θεοκλύμενον ἄρσεν΄ [ὅτι δὴ θεοὺς σέβων βίον διήνεγκ΄] εὐγενῆ τε παρθένον Εἰδώ͵ τὸ μητρὸς ἀγλάισμ΄͵ ὅτ΄ ἦν βρέφος· ἐπεὶ δ΄ ἐς ἥβην ἦλθεν ὡραίαν γάμων͵ καλοῦσιν αὐτὴν Θεονόην· τὰ θεῖα γὰρ τά τ΄ ὄντα καὶ μέλλοντα πάντ΄ ἠπίστατο͵ προγόνου λαβοῦσα Νηρέως τιμὰς πάρα. ἡμῖν δὲ γῆ μὲν πατρὶς οὐκ ἀνώνυμος Σπάρτη͵ πατὴρ δὲ Τυνδάρεως· ἔστιν δὲ δὴ λόγος τις ὡς Ζεὺς μητέρ΄ ἔπτατ΄ εἰς ἐμὴν Λήδαν κύκνου μορφώματ΄ ὄρνιθος λαβών͵ ὃς δόλιον εὐνὴν ἐξέπραξ΄ ὑπ΄ αἰετοῦ δίωγμα φεύγων͵ εἰ σαφὴς οὗτος λόγος·

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