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The Choephori   


Nay, but the deed is well; link not thy lips
To speech ill-starred, nor vent ill-boding words-
Who hast to Argos her full freedom given,
Lopping two serpents' heads with timely blow.
ORESTES
Look, look, alas!
Handmaidens, see-what Gorgon shapes throng up
Dusky their robes and all their hair enwound-
Snakes coiled with snakes-off, off,-I must away!

LEADER
Most loyal of all sons unto thy sire,
What visions thus distract thee? Hold, abide;
Great was thy victory, and shalt thou fear?
ORESTES
These are no dreams, void shapes of haunting ill,
But clear to sight another's hell-hounds come!
LEADER
Nay, the fresh bloodshed still imbrues thine hands,
And thence distraction sinks into thy soul.
ORESTES
O king Apollo-see, they swarm and throng-
Black blood of hatred dripping from their eyes!

LEADER
One remedy thou hast; go, touch the shrine
Of Loxias, and rid thee of these woes.
ORESTES
Ye can behold them not, but I behold them.
Up and away! I dare abide no more.
He rushes out.

LEADER
Farewell then as thou mayst,-the god thy friend
Guard thee and aid with chances favouring.
CHORUS chanting
Behold, the storm of woe divine
That raves and beats on Atreus' line
Its great third blast hath blown.
First was Thyestes' loathly woe
The rueful feast of long ago,
On children's flesh, unknown.
And next the kingly chief's despite,
When he who led the Greeks to fight
Was in the bath hewn down.
And now the offspring of the race
Stands in the third, the saviour's place,
To save-or to consume?
O whither, ere it be fulfilled,
Ere its fierce blast be hushed and stilled,
Shall blow the wind of doom?

THE END

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