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The Choephori   


Eager for fight,
The child of Zeus, whom men below
Call justice, naming her aright.
And on her foes her breath
Is as the blast of death;

strophe 2

For her the god who dwells in deep recess
Beneath Parnassus' brow,
Summons with loud acclaim
To rise, though late and lame,
And come with craft that worketh righteousness.
For even o'er Powers divine this law is strong-
Thou shalt not serve the wrong.

refrain 2

To that which ruleth heaven beseems it that we bow
Lo, freedom's light hath come!
Lo, now is rent away
The grim and curbing bit that held us dumb.
Up to the light, ye halls I this many a day
Too low on earth ye lay.

antistrophe 2

And Time, the great Accomplisher,
Shall cross the threshold, whensoe'er
He choose with purging hand to cleanse
The palace, driving all pollution thence.
And fair the cast of Fortune's die
Before our state's new lords shall lie,
Not as of old, but bringing fairer doom.
Lo, freedom's light hath come!
The central doors of the palace open, disclosing ORESTES standing
over the corpses of AEGISTHUS and CLYTEMNESTRA; in one hand he
holds his sword, in the other the robe in which AGAMEMNON was
entangled and slain.


ORESTES
There lies our country's twofold tyranny,
My father's slayers, spoilers of my home.
Erst were they royal, sitting on the throne,
And loving are they yet,-their common fate
Tells the tale truly, shows their trothplight firm.
They swore to work mine ill-starred father's death,
They swore to die together; 'tis fulfilled.
O ye who stand, this great doom's witnesses,
Behold this too, the dark device which bound
My sire unhappy to his death,-behold
The mesh which trapped his hands, enwound his feet
Stand round, unfold it-'tis the trammel-net
That wrapped a chieftain; hold it that he see,
The father-not my sire, but he whose eye
Is judge of all things, the all-seeing Sun!
Let him behold my mother's damned deed,
Then let him stand, when need shall be to me,
Witness that justly I have sought and slain
My mother; blameless was Aegisthus' doom-
He died the death law bids adulterers die.
But she who plotted this accursed thing
To slay her lord, by whom she bare beneath
Her girdle once the burden of her babes,

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