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Sophocles Index


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ELECTRA by Sophocles, Part 11


ELECTRA
Am I so dishonoured of the dead?

ORESTES
Dishonoured of none:- but this is not thy part.

ELECTRA
Yes, if these are the ashes of Orestes that I hold.

ORESTES
They are not; a fiction dothed them with his name.
He gently takes the urn from her.

ELECTRA
And where is that unhappy one's tomb?

ORESTES
There is none; the living have no tomb.

ELECTRA
What sayest thou, boy?

ORESTES
Nothing that is not true.

ELECTRA
The man is alive?

ORESTES
If there be life in me.

ELECTRA
What? Art thou he?

ORESTES
Look at this signet, once our father's, and judge if I speak truth.

ELECTRA
O blissful day!

ORESTES
Blissful, in very deed!

ELECTRA
Is this thy voice?

ORESTES
Let no other voice reply.

ELECTRA
Do I hold thee in my arms?

ORESTES
As mayest thou hold me always!

ELECTRA
Ah, dear friends and fellow-citizens, behold Orestes here, who was feigned dead, and now, by that feigning hath come safely home!

LEADER
We see him, daughter; and for this happy fortune a tear of joy trickles from our eyes.
The following lines between ORESTES and ELECTRA are chanted responsively.

ELECTRA
strophe

Offspring of him whom I loved best, thou hast come even now, thou hast come, and found and seen her whom thy heart desired!

ORESTES
I am with thee;- but keep silence for a while.

ELECTRA
What meanest thou?

ORESTES
'Tis better to be silent, lest some one within should hear.

ELECTRA
Nay, by ever-virgin Artemis, I will never stoop to fear women, stay-at-homes, vain burdens of the ground!

ORESTES
Yet remember that in women, too, dwells the spirit of battle; thou hast had good proof of that, I ween.

ELECTRA
Alas! ah me! Thou hast reminded me of my sorrow, one which, from its nature, cannot be veiled, cannot be done away with, cannot forget!

ORESTES
I know this also; but when occasion prompts, then will be the moment to recall those deeds.

ELECTRA
antistrophe

Each moment of all time, as it comes, would be meet occasion for these my just complaints; scarcely now have I had my lips set free.

ORESTES
I grant it; therefore guard thy freedom.

ELECTRA
What must I do?

 

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