WatchmanI beg the gods to give me release from this misery—from my long year of watch-keeping, during which I’ve spent my nights on the Atreidae’s roof, resting on my elbows like a dog,1and come to know thoroughly the throng of stars of the night, and also those bright potentates, conspicuous in the sky, which bring winter and summer to mortals,2them as some set and others rise. And now I’m looking out for the agreed beacon-signal, the gleam of fire bringing from Troy the word and news of its capture; for such is the ruling of a woman’s hopeful heart, which plans like a man. But while I keep this night-walker’s bed, wet with dew, this bed of mine not watched over by dreams3—for it is Fear instead of Sleep that stands beside me, preventing me from closing my eyes firmly in sleep—but when I decide to sing or hum, applying4this remedy to charm away sleep, then I weep, grieving over the fortunes of this house, which is not now admirably managed as it used to be. But now may there be a happy release from misery, by the appearance in the darkness of the fire that brings good news. He suddenly leaps up in joy.O welcome, beacon, bringing to us by night a message of light bright as day, a message that will be the cause of many choral dances in Argos in response to this good fortune! Ahoy, ahoy! I proclaim plainly to the wife of Agamemnon that she should raise herself from her bed, as quickly as may be, and on behalf of the house raise a shrill, auspicious cry of triumph5over this beacon, if indeed the city of Ilium has been taken as the fire-signal vividly declares. And I will dance a prelude myself [skipping about in delight]: I shall take advantage of6the dice that have fallen well for my masters—this beacon-watch has thrown me a triple six! Well, anyway, may it come to pass that the master of the house comes home and that I clasp his well-loved hand in this hand of mine. About other matters I say nothing; a great ox has stepped upon my tongue. The house itself, were it to find voice, might speak very plainly; as far as I am concerned, I am deliberately speaking to those who know—and for those who do not, I am deliberately forgetting.7 He descends into the house, and out of sight. A woman’s cry of triumph is heard within.8A servant comes out of the palace, kindles incense on the altar in front of its door, and departs towards the city centre.9Then enter, from the same side, the chorus of Argive elders.