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ELECTRA by Sophocles, Part 08


LEADER
Hearken; there is no better gain for mortals to win than foresight and a prudent mind.

ELECTRA
Thou hast said nothing unlooked-for; I well knew that thou wouldst reject what I proffered. Well! I must do this deed with mine own hand, and alone; for assuredly I will not leave it void.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Alas! Would thou hadst been so purposed on the day of our father's death! What mightst thou not have wrought?

ELECTRA
My nature was the same then, but my mind less ripe.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Strive to keep such a mind through all thy life.

ELECTRA
These counsels mean that thou wilt not share my deed.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
No; for the venture is likely to bring disaster.

ELECTRA
I admire thy prudence; thy cowardice I hate.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
I will listen not less calmly when thou praise me.

ELECTRA
Never fear to suffer that from me.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Time enough in the future to decide that.

ELECTRA
Begone; there is no power to help in thee.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Not so; but in thee, no mind to learn.

ELECTRA
Go, declare all this to thy mother!

CHRYSOTHEMIS
But, again, I do not hate thee with such a hate.

ELECTRA
Yet know at least to what dishonour thou bringest me.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Dishonour, no! I am only thinking of thy good.

ELECTRA
Am I bound, then, to follow thy rule of right?

CHRYSOTHEMIS
When thou art wise, then thou shalt be our guide.

ELECTRA
Sad, that one who speaks so well should speak amiss!

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Thou hast well described the fault to which thou cleavest.

ELECTRA
How? Dost thou not think that I speak with justice?

CHRYSOTHEMIS
But sometimes justice itself is fraught with harm.

ELECTRA
I care not to live by such a law.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Well, if thou must do this, thou wilt praise me yet.

ELECTRA
And do it I will, no whit dismayed by thee.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Is this so indeed? Wilt thou not change thy counsels?

ELECTRA
No, for nothing is more hateful than bad counsel.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Thou seemest to agree with nothing that I urge.

ELECTRA
My resolve is not new, but long since fixed.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Then I will go; thou canst not be brought to approve my words, nor to commend thy conduct.

ELECTRA
Nay, go within; never will I follow thee, however much thou mayst desire it; it were great folly even to attempt an idle quest.

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Nay, if thou art wise in thine own eyes, be such wisdom thine; by and by, when thou standest in evil plight, thou wilt praise my words.
CHRYSOTHEMIS goes into the palace.

 

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