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EUMENDIDES by Aeschylus, Part 09

antistrophe 3

Yea, whatsoe'er befall, hold thou this word of mine:
Bow down at Justice' shrine,
Turn thou thine eyes away from earthly lure,
Nor witk a godless foot that altar spurn.
For as thou dost shall Fate do in return,
And the great doom is sure.
Therefore let each adore a parent's trust,
And each with loyalty revere the guest
That in his halls doth rest.

strophe 4

For whoso uncompelled doth follow what is just,
He ne'er shall be unblest;
Yea, never to the gulf of doom
That man shall come.

But he whose will is set against the gods,
Who treads beyond the law with foot impure,
Till o'er the wreck of Right confusion broods,-
Know that for him, though now he sail secure,
The day of storm shall be; then shall he strive and fail
Down from the shivered yard to furl the sail,

antistrophe 4

And call on Powers, that heed him nought, to save,
And vainly wrestle with the whirling wave.
Hot was his heart with pride-
I shall not fall, he cried.
But him with watching scorn
The god beholds, forlorn,
Tangled in toils of Fate beyond escape,
Hopeless of haven safe beyond the cape-
Till all his wealth and bliss of bygone day
Upon the reef of Rightful Doom is hurled,
And he is rapt away
Unwept, for ever, to the dead forgotten world.

(ATHENA enters, with TWELVE ATHENIAN CITIZENS. A large
crowd follows.)

Athena
O HeraLD, make proclaim, bid all men come.
Then let the shrill blast of the Tyrrhene trump,
Fulfilled with mortal breath, thro' the wide air
Peal a loud summons, bidding all men heed.
For, till my judges fill this judgment-seat,
Silence behoves,-that this whole city learn,
What for all time mine ordinance commands,
And these men, that the cause be judged aright.
(APOLLO enters.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
O king Apollo, rule what is thine own,
But in this thing what share pertains to thee?
Apollo
First, as a witness come I, for this man
Is suppliant of mine by sacred right,
Guest of my holy hearth and cleansed by me
Of blood-guilt: then, to set me at his side
And in his cause bear part, as part I bore
Erst in his deed, whereby his mother fell.
Let whoso knoweth now announce the cause.
Athena (to the CHORUS)
'Tis I announce the cause-first speech be yours;
For rightfully shall they whose plaint is tried
Tell the tale first and set the matter clear.
LEADER
Though we be many, brief shall be our tale.
(To ORESTES )
Answer thou, setting word to match with word;
And first avow-hast thou thy mother slain?
ORESTES
I slew her. I deny no word hereof.
LEADER
Three falls decide the wrestle-this is one.
ORESTES
Thou vauntest thee-but o'er no final fall.
LEADER
Yet must thou tell the manner of thy deed.
ORESTES
Drawn sword in hand, I gashed her neck. 'Tis told.
LEADER
But by whose word, whose craft, wert thou impelled?
ORESTES
By oracles of him who here attests me.
LEADER
The prophet-god bade thee thy mother slay?
ORESTES
Yea, and thro' him less ill I fared, till now.

 

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