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Suppliant Maidens and Other Plays

The Persians
ARGUMENT
Xerxes, son of Darius and of his wife Atossa, daughter of Cyrus, went forth against
Hellas, to take vengeance upon those who had defeated his father at Marathon. But ill
fortune befell the king and his army both by land and sea; neither did it avail him that he
cast a bridge over the Hellespont and made a canal across the promontory of Mount
Athos, and brought myriads of men, by land and sea, to subdue the Greeks. For in the
strait between Athens and the island of Salamis the Persian ships were shattered and sunk
or put to flight by those of Athens and Lacedaemon and Aegina and Corinth, and Xerxes
went homewards on the way by which he had come, leaving his general Mardonius with
three hundred thousand men to strive with the Greeks by land: but in the next year they
were destroyed near Plataea in Boeotia, by the Lacedaemonians and Athenians and
Tegeans. Such was the end of the army which Xerxes left behind him. But the king
himself had reached the bridge over the Hellespont, and late and hardly and in sorry
plight and with few companions came home unto the Palace of Susa.
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
CHORUS OF PERSIAN ELDERS.
ATOSSA, WIDOW OF DARIUS AND MOTHER OF XERXES.
A MESSENGER.
THE GHOST OF DARIUS.
XERXES.
The Scene is laid at the Palace of Susa.
CHORUS
Away unto the Grecian land
Hath passed the Persian armament:
We, by the monarch's high command,
We are the warders true who stand,
Chosen, for honour and descent,
To watch the wealth of him who went--
Guards of the gold, and faithful styled
By Xerxes, great Darius' child!
But the king went nor comes again--
And for that host, we saw depart
Arrayed in gold, my boding heart
 
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