Sits Confidence, to spurn
Such fears, like dreams we know not to discern.
Old, old and grey long since the time has grown,
Which saw the linked cables moor
The fleet, when erst it came to Ilion's sandy shore;
And now mine eyes and not another's see
Their safe return.
Yet none the less in me
The inner spirit sings a boding song,
Self-prompted, sings the Furies' strain-
And seeks, and seeks in vain,
To hope and to be strong!
Ah! to some end of Fate, unseen, unguessed,
Are these wild throbbings of my heart and breast-
Yea, of some doom they tell-
Each pulse, a knell.
Lief, lief I were, that all
To unfulfilment's hidden realm might fall.
Too far, too far our mortal spirits strive,
Grasping at utter weal, unsatisfied-
Till the fell curse, that dwelleth hard beside,
Thrust down the sundering wall. Too fair they blow,
The gales that waft our bark on Fortune's tide!
Swiftly we sail, the sooner an to drive
Upon the hidden rock, the reef of woe.
Then if the hand of caution warily
Sling forth into the sea
Part of the freight, lest all should sink below,
From the deep death it saves the bark: even so,
Doom-laden though it be, once more may rise
His household, who is timely wise.
How oft the famine-stricken field
Is saved by God's large gift, the new year's yield!
But blood of man once spilled,
Once at his feet shed forth, and darkening the plain,-
Nor chant nor charm can call it back again.
So Zeus hath willed:
Else had he spared the leech Asclepius, skilled
To bring man from the dead: the hand divine
Did smite himself with death-a warning and a sign-
Ah me! if Fate, ordained of old,
Held not the will of gods constrained, controlled,
Helpless to us-ward, and apart-
Swifter than speech my heart
Had poured its presage out!
Now, fretting, chafing in the dark of doubt,
'Tis hopeless to unfold
Truth, from fear's tangled skein; and, yearning to proclaim
Its thought, my soul is prophecy and flame.
CLYTEMNESTRA comes out of the palace and addresses CASSANDRA, who
has remained motionless in her chariot.
Get thee within thou too, Cassandra, go!
For Zeus to thee in gracious mercy grants