And muddy clay, and none can drink thereof.
Therefore, O citizens, I bid ye bow
In awe to this command, Let no man live,
Uncurbed by law nor curbed by tyranny;
Nor banish ye the monarchy of Awe
Beyond the walls; untouched by fear divine,
No man doth justice in the world of men.
Therefore in purity and holy dread
Stand and revere; so shall ye have and hold
A saving bulwark of the state and land,
Such as no man hath ever elsewhere known,
Nor in far Scythia, nor in Pelops' realm.
Thus I ordain it now, a council-court
Pure and unsullied by the lust of gain,
Sacred and swift to vengeance, wakeful ever
To champion men who sleep, the country's guard.
Thus have I spoken, thus to mine own clan
Commended it for ever. Ye who judge,
Arise, take each his vote, mete out the right,
Your oath revering. Lo, my word is said.
The twelve judges come forward, one by one, to the urns of
decision; the first votes; as each of the others follows, the
LEADER and APOLLO speak alternately.
I rede ye well, beware! nor put to shame,
In aught, this grievous company of hell.
I too would warn you, fear mine oracles-
From Zeus they are,-nor make them void of fruit.
Presumptuous is thy claim, blood-guilt to judge,
And false henceforth thine oracles shall be.
Failed then the counsels of my sire, when turned
Ixion, first of slayers, to his side?
These are but words; but I, if justice fail me,
Will haunt this land in grim and deadly deed.
Scorn of the younger and the elder gods
Art thou: 'tis I that shall prevail anon.
Thus didst thou too of old in Pheres' halls,
O'erreaching Fate to make a mortal deathless.
Was it not well, my worshipper to aid,
Then most of all when hardest was the need?
I say thou didst annul the lots of life,
Cheating with wine the deities of eld.
I say thou shalt anon, thy pleadings foiled,
Spit venom vainly on thine enemies.
Since this young god o'errides mine ancient right,
I tarry but to claim your law, not knowing
If wrath of mine shall blast your state or spare.
Mine is the right to add the final vote,
And I award it to Orestes' cause.
For me no mother bore within her womb,