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Eumenides   


Is suppliant of mine by sacred right,
Guest of my holy hearth and cleansed by me
Of blood-guilt: then, to set me at his side
And in his cause bear part, as part I bore
Erst in his deed, whereby his mother fell.
Let whoso knoweth now announce the cause.
ATHENA to the CHORUS
'Tis I announce the cause-first speech be yours;
For rightfully shall they whose plaint is tried
Tell the tale first and set the matter clear.
LEADER
Though we be many, brief shall be our tale.

To ORESTES

Answer thou,
setting word to match with word;
And first avow-hast thou thy mother slain?
ORESTES
I slew her. I deny no word hereof.
LEADER
Three falls decide the wrestle-this is one.

ORESTES
Thou vauntest thee-but o'er no final fall.

LEADER
Yet must thou tell the manner of thy deed.

ORESTES
Drawn sword in hand, I gashed her neck. 'Tis told.

LEADER
But by whose word, whose craft, wert thou impelled?

ORESTES
By oracles of him who here attests me.
LEADER
The prophet-god bade thee thy mother slay?

ORESTES
Yea, and thro' him less ill I fared, till now.

LEADER
If the vote grip thee, thou shalt change that word.

ORESTES
Strong is my hope; my buried sire shall aid.

LEADER
Go to now, trust the dead, a matricide!

ORESTES
Yea, for in her combined two stains of sin.

LEADER
How? speak this clearly to the judges' mind.

ORESTES
Slaying her husband, she did slay my sire.

LEADER
Therefore thou livest; death assoils her deed.

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