Lest she should speak a curse on Atreus' home and seed,
So, trailing on the earth her robe of saffron dye,
With one last piteous dart from her beseeching eye.
Those that should smite she smote
Fair, silent, as a pictur'd form, but fain
To plead, Is all forgot?
How oft those halls of old,
Wherein my sire high feast did hold,
Rang to the virginal soft strain,
When I, a stainless child,
Sang from pure lips and undefiled,
Sang of my sire, and all
His honoured life, and how on him should fall
Heaven's highest gift and gain!
And then-but I beheld not, nor can tell,
What further fate befell:
But this is sure, that Calchas' boding strain
Can ne'er be void or vain.
This wage from justice' hand do sufferers earn,
The future to discern:
And yet-farewell, O secret of To-morrow!
Fore-knowledge is fore-sorrow.
Clear with the clear beams of the morrow's sun,
The future presseth on.
Now, let the house's tale, how dark soe'er,
Find yet an issue fair!-
So prays the loyal, solitary band
That guards the Apian land.
They turn to CLYTEMNESTRA, who leaves the altars and comes forward.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
O queen, I come in reverence of thy sway-
For, while the ruler's kingly seat is void,
The loyal heart before his consort bends.
Now-be it sure and certain news of good,
Or the fair tidings of a flatt'ring hope,
That bids thee spread the light from shrine to shrine,
I, fain to hear, yet grudge not if thou hide.
As saith the adage, From the womb of Night
Spring forth, with promise fair, the young child Light.
Ay-fairer even than all hope my news-
By Grecian hands is Priam's city ta'en!
What say'st thou? doubtful heart makes treach'rous ear.
Hear then again, and plainly-Troy is ours!
Thrills thro' heart such joy as wakens tears.
Ay, thro' those tears thine eye looks loyalty.
But hast thou proof, to make assurance sure?
Go to; I have-unless the god has lied.