ELECTRA by Euripides, Part 09
Suppose it done; but how doth this help towards slaying thy
She will come, when she hears of my confinement.
What! dost think she cares aught for thee, my child?
Oh yes! she will weep no doubt over my child's low rank.
Perhaps she may; but go back again to the point.
Her death is certain, if she comes.
In that case, let her come right up to the door of the house.
Why then it were a little thing to turn her steps into the road to
Oh! to see this one day, then die!
First of all, old friend, act as my brother's guide.
To the place where AEGISTHUS is now sacrificing to the gods?
Then go, find my mother and give her my message.
Aye, that I will, so that she shall think the very words are
ELECTRA (to ORESTES )
Thy work begins at once; thou hast drawn the first lot in the
I will go, if some one will show me the way.
I will myself conduct thee nothing loth.
O Zeus, god of my fathers, vanquisher of my foes, have pity on us,
for a piteous lot has ours been.
Oh! have pity on thy own descendants.
O Hera, mistress of Mycenae's altars, grant us the victory, if
we are asking what is right.
Yes, grant us vengeance on them for our father's death.
Thou too, my father, sent to the land of shades by wicked hands,
and Earth, the queen of all, to whom I spread my suppliant palms, up
and champion thy dear children. Come with all the dead to aid, all
they who helped thee break the Phrygians' power, and all who hate
ungodly crime. Dost hear me, father, victim of my mother's rage?
Sure am I he heareth all; but 'tis time to part. For this cause
too I bid thee strike AEGISTHUS down, because, if thou fall in the
struggle and perish, I also die; no longer number me amongst the
living; for I will stab myself with a two-edged sword. And now will
I go indoors and make all ready there, for, if there come good news
from thee, my house shall ring with women's cries of joy; but, if thou
art slain, a different scene must then ensue. These are my
instructions to thee.
I know my lesson well.
(ORESTES , PYLADES, the OLD MAN, and ATTENDANTs, depart.)
Then show thyself a man. And you, my friends, signal to me by
cries the certain issue of this fray. Myself will keep the sword ready
in my grasp, for I will never accept defeat, and yield my body to my
enemies to insult.
(ELECTRA goes into the hut.)
Still the story finds a place in time-honoured legends, how on day
Pan, the steward of husbandry, came breathing dulcet music on his
jointed pipe, and brought with him from its tender dam on Argive
hills, a beauteous lamb with fleece of gold; then stood a HeraLD
high upon the rock and cried aloud, "Away to the place of assembly, ye
folk of Mycenae! to behold the strange and awful sight vouchsafed to
our blest rulers." Anon the dancers did obeisance to the family of
The altar-steps of beaten gold were draped; and through that
Argive town the altars blazed with fire; sweetly rose the lute's clear
note, the handmaid of the Muse's song; and ballads fair were written
on the golden lamb, saying that Thyestes had the luck; for he won
the guilty love of the wife of Atreus, and carried off to his house
the strange creature, and then coming before the assembled folk he
declared to them that he had in his house that horned beast with
fleece of gold.
In the self-same hour it was that Zeus changed the radiant courses
of the stars, the light of the sun, and the joyous face of dawn, and
drave his car athwart the western sky with fervent heat from
heaven's fires, while northward fled the rain-clouds, and Ammon's
strand grew parched and faint and void of dew, when it was robbed of
heaven's genial showers.
'Tis said, though I can scarce believe it, the sun turned round
his glowing throne of gold, to vex the sons of men by this change
because of the quarrel amongst them. Still, tales of horror have their
use in making men regard the gods; of whom thou hadst no thought, when
thou slewest thy husband, thou mother of this noble pair.