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The Choephori   


And rushing whirlwinds, of whose blasting breath
Man's tongue can tell.

antistrophe 1

But who can tell aright the fiercer thing,
The aweless soul, within man's breast inhabiting?
Who tell how, passion-fraught and love-distraught,
The woman's eager, craving thought
Doth wed mankind to woe and ruin fell?
Yea, how the loveless love that doth posses
The woman, even as the lioness,
Doth rend and wrest apart, with eager strife,
The link of wedded life?

strophe 2

Let him be the witness, whose thought is not borne on light wings
thro' the air,
But abideth with knowledge, what thing was wrought by Althea's
despair;
For she marr'd the life-grace of her son, with ill counsel
rekindled the flame
That was quenched as it glowed on the brand, what time from his
mother he came,
With the cry of a new-born child; and the brand from the burning
she won,
For the Fates had foretold it coeval, in life and in death, with
her son.

antistrophe 2

Yea, and man's hate tells of another, even Scylla of murderous
guile,
Who slew for an enemy's sake her father, won o'er by the wile
And the gifts of Cretan Minos, the gauds of the high-wrought gold;
For she clipped from her father's head the lock that should never
wax old,
As he breathed in the silence of sleep, and knew not her craft and
her crime-
But Hermes, the guard of the dead, doth grasp her, in fulness of
time.

strophe 3

And since of the crimes of the cruel I tell, let my singing record
The bitter wedlock and loveless, the curse on these halls
outpoured,
The crafty device of a woman, whereby did a chieftain fall,
A warrior stern in his wrath, the fear of his enemies all,-
A song of dishonour, untimely! and cold is the hearth that was
warm,
And ruled by the cowardly spear, the woman's unwomanly arm.

antistrophe 3

But the summit and crown of all crimes is that which in Lemnos
befell;
A woe and a mourning it is, a shame and a spitting to tell;
And he that in after time doth speak of his deadliest thought,
Doth say, It is like to the deed that of old time in Lemnos was
wrought;
And loathed of men were the doers, and perished, they and their
seed,

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