Νείλου μὲν αἵδε καλλιπάρθενοι ῥοαί, ὃς ἀντὶ δίας ψακάδος Αἰγύπτου γύας λευκῆς τακείσης χιόνος ὑγραίνει δρόσῳ. Πρωτεὺς δ᾿ ὅτ᾿ ἔζη τῆσδε γῆς τύραννος ἦν, 5[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 10βίον 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, 15προγόνου λαβοῦσα Νηρέως τιμὰς πάρα.
- 2–3γύας . . . δρόσῳ Heiland: πέδον . . . γύας L
- 5del. Dingelstad
- 7Αἰακοῦ Musgrave: αἰόλου L
- 8τοῖσδ᾿ ἐν Lenting: τοῖσδε L
- 9b-10adel. Nauck
- 11Εἰδώ Matthiae: εἶδος L
- 12ὡραίαν Reiske: -ων L
Before the skene, representing the palace of the Egyptian king Theoclymenus, is the tomb of his father Proteus. When the action begins, helen is sitting at the tomb as a suppliant.
Here flows the Nile with its fair nymphs! Fed by the melting of pale snow it drenches Egypt’s fields with moisture in place of rain sent from Zeus. Proteus, while he lived, was king of this land [dwelling in the island of Pharos but lord of Egypt]. He married Psamathe, one of the maids of the water, when she had left the bed of Aeacus. In this house she bore two children, a boy named Theoclymenus [because he honored the gods throughout his life] and a fine maiden called Eido. When she was a babe she was her mother’s glory, but when she came to womanhood and was old enough to marry they called her Theonoe: for she knew all that divination can tell, both present and future, receiving this office from her ancestor Nereus. 1