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The Choephori   


As of the blessed land that far aloof
Beyond the north wind lies;
Yet doth your double prayer ring loud reproof;
A double scourge of sighs
Awakes the dead; th' avengers rise, though late;
Blood stains the guilty pride
Of the accursed who rule on earth, and Fate
Stands on the children's side.
ELECTRA
That hath sped thro' mine ear, like a shaft from a bow!
Zeus, Zeus! it is thou who dost send from below
A doom on the desperate ere long
On a mother a father shall visit his wrong.
CHORUS
Be it mine to upraise thro' the reek of the pyre
The chant of delight, while the funeral fire
Devoureth the corpse of a man that is slain
And a woman laid low!
For who bids me conceal it! out-rending control,
Blows ever the stern blast of hate thro' my soul,
And before me a vision of wrath and of bane
Flits and waves to and fro.
ORESTES
Zeus, thou alone to us art parent now.
Smite with a rending blow
Upon their heads, and bid the land be well:
Set right where wrong hath stood; and thou give ear,
O Earth, unto my prayer-
Yea, hear O mother Earth, and monarchy of hell
CHORUS
Nay, the law is sternly set-
Blood-drops shed upon the ground
Plead for other bloodshed yet;
Loud the call of death doth sound,
Calling guilt of olden time,
A Fury, crowning crime with crime.
ELECTRA
Where, where are ye, avenging powers,
Puissant Furies of the slain?
Behold the relics of the race
Of Atreus, thrust from pride of place!
O Zeus, what borne henceforth is ours,
What refuge to attain?
CHORUS
Lo, at your wail my heart throbs, wildly stirred;
Now am I lorn with sadness,
Darkened in all my soul, to hear your sorrow's word
Anon to hope, the seat of strength, I rise,-
She, thrusting grief away, lifts up mine eyes
To the new dawn of gladness.
ORESTES
Skills it to tell of aught save wrong on wrong,
Wrought by our mother's deed?
Though now she fawn for pardon, sternly strong
Standeth our wrath, and will nor hear nor heed.
Her children's soul is wolfish, born from hers,
And softens not by prayers.
CHORUS
I dealt upon my breast the blow
That Asian mourning women know;
Wails from-my breast the fun'ral cry,
The Cissian weeping melody;
Stretched rendingly forth, to tatter and tear,
My clenched hands wander, here and there,

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