Long, long ago to mortals this was told,
How sweet security and blissful state
Have curses for their children-so men hold-
And for the man of all-too prosperous fate
Springs from a bitter seed some woe insatiate.
Alone, alone, I deem far otherwise;
Not bliss nor wealth it is, but impious deed,
From which that after-growth of ill doth rise!
Woe springs from wrong, the plant is like the seed-
While Right, in honour's house, doth its own likeness breed.
Some past impiety, some grey old crime,
Breeds the young curse, that wantons in our ill,
Early or late, when haps th'appointed time-
And out of light brings power of darkness still,
A master-fiend, a foe, unseen, invincible;
A pride accursed, that broods upon the race
And home in which dark Ate holds her sway-
Sin's child and Woe's, that wears its parents' face;
While Right in smoky cribs shines clear as day,
And decks with weal his life, who walks the righteous way.
From gilded halls, that hands polluted raise,
Right turns away with proud averted eyes,
And of the wealth, men stamp amiss with praise,
Heedless, to poorer, holier temples hies,
And to Fate's goal guides all, in its appointed wise.
AGAMEMNON enters, riding in a chariot and accompanied by a great procession.
CASSANDRA follows in another chariot.
The CHORUS sings its welcome.
Hail to thee, chief of Atreus' race,
Returning proud from Troy subdued!
How shall I greet thy conquering face?
How nor a fulsome praise obtrude,
Nor stint the meed of gratitude?
For mortal men who fall to ill
Take little heed of open truth,
But seek unto its semblance still:
The show of weeping and of ruth
To the forlorn will all men pay,
But, of the grief their eyes display,
Nought to the heart doth pierce its way.
And, with the joyous, they beguile
Their lips unto a feigned smile,
And force a joy, unfelt the while;
But he who as a shepherd wise
Doth know his flock, can ne'er misread
Truth in the falsehood of his eyes,
Who veils beneath a kindly guise
A lukewarm love in deed.
And thou, our LEADER-when of yore
Thou badest Greece go forth to war
For Helen's sake-I dare avow