THE CHOEPHORI by Aeschylus, Part 07
Where, where are ye, avenging powers,
Puissant Furies of the slain?
Behold the relics of the race
Of Atreus, thrust from pride of place!
O Zeus, what borne henceforth is ours,
What refuge to attain?
Lo, at your wail my heart throbs, wildly stirred;
Now am I lorn with sadness,
Darkened in all my soul, to hear your sorrow's word
Anon to hope, the seat of strength, I rise,-
She, thrusting grief away, lifts up mine eyes
To the new dawn of gladness.
Skills it to tell of aught save wrong on wrong,
Wrought by our mother's deed?
Though now she fawn for pardon, sternly strong
Standeth our wrath, and will nor hear nor heed.
Her children's soul is wolfish, born from hers,
And softens not by prayers.
I dealt upon my breast the blow
That Asian mourning women know;
Wails from-my breast the fun'ral cry,
The Cissian weeping melody;
Stretched rendingly forth, to tatter and tear,
My clenched hands wander, here and there,
From head to breast; distraught with blows
Throb dizzily my brows.
Aweless in hate, O mother, sternly brave!
As in a foeman's grave
Thou laid'st in earth a king, but to the bier
No citizen drew nears-
Thy husband, thine, yet for his obsequies,
Thou bad'st no wail arise!
Alas, the shameful burial thou dost speak!
Yet I the vengeance of his shame will wreak-
That do the gods command!
That shall achieve mine hand!
Grant me to thrust her life away, and
Will dare to die!
List thou the deed! Hewn down and foully torn,
He to the tomb was borne;
Yea, by her hand, the deed who wrought,
With like dishonour to the grave was brought,
And by her hand she strove, with strong desire,
Thy life to crush, O child, by murder of thy sire:
Bethink thee, hearing, of the shame, the pain
Wherewith that sire was slain!
Yea, such was the doom of my sire; well-a-day,
I was thrust from his side,-
As a dog from the chamber they thrust me away,
And in place of my laughter rose sobbing and tears,
As in darkness I lay.
O father, if this word can pass to thine ears,
To thy soul let it reach and abide!
Let it pass, let it pierce, through the sense of thine ear,
To thy soul, where in silence it waiteth the hour!
The past is accomplished; but rouse thee to hear
What the future prepareth; awake and appear,
Our champion, in wrath and in power!
O father, to thy loved ones come in aid.
With tears I call on thee.
Listen and rise to light!
Be thou with us, be thou against the foe!
Swiftly this cry arises-even so
Pray we, the loyal band, as we have prayed!
Let their might meet with mine, and their right with my right.
O ye Gods, it is yours to decree.
Ye call unto the dead; I quake to hear.
Fate is ordained of old, and shall fulfil your prayer.
Alas, the inborn curse that haunts our home,
Of Ate's bloodstained scourge the tuneless sound!
Alas, the deep insufferable doom,
The stanchless wound!
It shall be stanched, the task is ours,-
Not by a stranger's, but by kindred hand,
Shall be chased forth the blood-fiend of our land.
Be this our spoken spell, to call Earth's nether powers!
Lords of a dark eternity,
To you has come the children's cry,
Send up from hell, fulfil your aid
To them who prayed.
(The chant is concluded.)