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EUMENDIDES by Aeschylus, Part 11

Athena
Enough is said; I bid the judges now
With pure intent deliver just award.
LEADER
We too have shot our every shaft of speech,
And now abide to hear the doom of law.
Athena (to Apollo and ORESTES )
Say, how ordaining shall I 'scape your blame?
Apollo
I spake, ye heard; enough. O stranger men,
Heed well your oath as ye decide the cause.
Athena
O men of Athens, ye who first do judge
The law of bloodshed, hear me now ordain.
Here to all time for Aegeus' Attic host
Shall stand this council-court of judges sworn,
Here the tribunal, set on Ares' Hill
Where camped of old the tented Amazons,
What time in hate of Theseus they assailed
Athens, and set against her citadel
A counterwork of new sky-pointing towers,
And there to Ares held their sacrifice,
Where now the rock hath name, even Ares' Hill.
And hence shall Reverence and her kinsman Fear
Pass to each free man's heart, by day and night
Enjoining, Thou shalt do no unjust thing,
So long as law stands as it stood of old
Unmarred by civic change. Look you, the spring
Is pure; but foul it once with influx vile
And muddy clay, and none can drink thereof.
Therefore, O citizens, I bid ye bow
In awe to this command, Let no man live,
Uncurbed by law nor curbed by tyranny;
Nor banish ye the monarchy of Awe
Beyond the walls; untouched by fear divine,
No man doth justice in the world of men.
Therefore in purity and holy dread
Stand and revere; so shall ye have and hold
A saving bulwark of the state and land,
Such as no man hath ever elsewhere known,
Nor in far Scythia, nor in Pelops' realm.
Thus I ordain it now, a council-court
Pure and unsullied by the lust of gain,
Sacred and swift to vengeance, wakeful ever
To champion men who sleep, the country's guard.
Thus have I spoken, thus to mine own clan
Commended it for ever. Ye who judge,
Arise, take each his vote, mete out the right,
Your oath revering. Lo, my word is said.

(The twelve judges come forward, one by one, to the urns of
decision; the first votes; as each of the others follows, the
LEADER and Apollo speak alternately.)

LEADER
I rede ye well, beware! nor put to shame,
In aught, this grievous company of hell.
Apollo
I too would warn you, fear mine oracles-
From Zeus they are,-nor make them void of fruit.
LEADER
Presumptuous is thy claim, blood-guilt to judge,
And false henceforth thine oracles shall be.
Apollo
Failed then the counsels of my sire, when turned
Ixion, first of slayers, to his side?
LEADER
These are but words; but I, if justice fail me,
Will haunt this land in grim and deadly deed.
Apollo
Scorn of the younger and the elder gods
Art thou: 'tis I that shall prevail anon.
LEADER
Thus didst thou too of old in Pheres' halls,
O'erreaching Fate to make a mortal deathless.
Apollo
Was it not well, my worshipper to aid,
Then most of all when hardest was the need?
LEADER
I say thou didst annul the lots of life,
Cheating with wine the deities of eld.
Apollo
I say thou shalt anon, thy pleadings foiled,
Spit venom vainly on thine enemies.
LEADER
Since this young god o'errides mine ancient right,
I tarry but to claim your law, not knowing
If wrath of mine shall blast your state or spare.

 

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