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Agamemnon   


CHORUS chanting
Why biddest thou some hend, I know not whom,
Shriek o'er the house? Thine is no cheering word.
Back to my heart in frozen fear I feel
My wanning life-blood run-- The blood that round the wounding steel
Ebbs slow, as sinks life's parting sun--
Swift, swift and sure, some woe comes pressing on.

CASSANDRA chanting
Away, away--keep him away--
The monarch of the herd, the pasture's pride,
Far from his mate! In treach'rous wrath,
Muffling his swarthy horns, with secret scathe
She gores his fenceless side! Hark ! in the brimming bath,
The heavy plash--the dying cry--
Hark--in the laver--hark, he falls by treachery!

CHORUS chanting
I read amiss dark sayings such as thine,
Yet something warns me that they tell of ill,
O dark prophetic speech, Ill tidings dost thou teach
Ever, to mortals here below! Ever some tale of awe and woe
Thro' all thy windings manifold Do we unriddle and unfold!

CASSANDRA chanting
Ah well-a-day! the cup of agony,
Whereof I chant, foams with a draught for me
Ah lord, ah LEADER, thou hast led me here--
Was't but to die with thee whose doom is near?
CHORUS chanting
Distraught thou art, divinely stirred,
And wailest for thyself a tuneless lay,
As piteous as the ceaseless tale
Wherewith the brown melodious bird
Doth ever Itys! Itys! wail,
Deep-bowered in sorrow, all its little life-time's day!

CASSANDRA chanting
Ah for thy fate, O shrill-voiced nightingale!
Some solace for thy woes did Heaven afford,
Clothed thee with soft brown plumes, and life apart from wail--
But for my death is edged the double-biting sword!

CHORUS chanting
What pangs are these, what fruitless pain,
Sent on thee from on high?
Thou chantest terror's frantic strain,
Yet in shrill measured melody.
How thus unerring canst thou sweep along
The prophet's path of boding song?
CASSANDRA chanting
Woe, Paris, woe on thee! thy bridal joy
Was death and fire upon thy race and Troy!
And woe for thee, Scamander's flood!
Beside thy banks, O river fair,
I grew in tender nursing care
From childhood unto maidenhood!
Now not by thine, but by Cocytus' stream
And Acheron's banks shall ring my boding scream.

CHORUS chanting
Too plain is all, too plain!
A child might read aright thy fateful strain.
Deep in my heart their piercing fang

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