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The Choephori   


Which save the flax-mesh, in the depth submerged.
Listen, this wail of ours doth rise for thee,
And as thou heedest it thyself art saved.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
In sooth, a blameless prayer ye spake at length-
The tomb's requital for its dirge denied:
Now, for the rest, as thou art fixed to do,
Take fortune by the hand and work thy will.
ORESTES
The doom is set; and yet I fain would ask-
Not swerving from the course of my resolve,-
Wherefore she sent these offerings, and why
She softens all too late her cureless deed?
An idle boon it was, to send them here
Unto the dead who recks not of such gifts.
I cannot guess her thought, but well I ween
Such gifts are skilless to atone such crime.
Be blood once spilled, an idle strife he strives
Who seeks with other wealth or wine outpoured
To atone the deed. So stands the word, nor fails.
Yet would I know her thought; speak, if thou knowest.

LEADER
I know it, son; for at her side I stood.
'Twas the night-wandering terror of a dream
That flung her shivering from her couch, and bade her-
Her, the accursed of God-these offerings send.
ORESTES
Heard ye the dream, to tell it forth aright?

LEADER
Yea, from herself; her womb a serpent bare.

ORESTES
What then the sum and issue of the tale?

LEADER
Even as a swaddled child, she lull'd the thing.

ORESTES
What suckling craved the creature, born full-fanged?

LEADER
Yet in her dreams she proffered it the breast.

ORESTES
How? did the hateful thing not bite her teat?

LEADER
Yea, and sucked forth a blood-gout in the milk.

ORESTES
Not vain this dream-it bodes a man's revenge.
LEADER
Then out of sleep she started with a cry,
And thro' the palace for their mistress' aid
Full many lamps, that erst lay blind with night,
Flared into light; then, even as mourners use,
She sends these offerings, in hope to win
A cure to cleave and sunder sin from doom.
ORESTES
Earth and my father's grave, to you I call-
Give this her dream fulfilment, and thro' me.
I read it in each part coincident

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