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The Choephori   


And-whatsoe'er his kinsfolk shall resolve.
Whether to bear his dust unto his home,
Or lay him here, in death as erst in life
Exiled for aye, a child of banishment-
Bring me their hest, upon thy backward road;
For now in brazen compass of an urn
His ashes lie, their dues of weeping paid."
So much I heard, and so much tell to thee,
Not knowing if I speak unto his kin
Who rule his home; but well, I deem, it were,
Such news should earliest reach a parent's ear.

CLYTEMNESTRA
Ah woe is me! thy word our ruin tells;
From roof-tree unto base are we despoiled.-
O thou whom nevermore we wrestle down,
Thou Fury of this home, how oft and oft
Thou dost descry what far aloof is laid,
Yea, from afar dost bend th' unerring bow
And rendest from my wretchedness its friends;
As now Orestes-who, a brief while since,
Safe from the mire of death stood warily,-
Was the home's hope to cure th' exulting wrong;
Now thou ordainest, Let the ill abide.
ORESTES
To host and hostess thus with fortune blest,
Lief had I come with better news to bear
Unto your greeting and acquaintanceship;
For what goodwill lies deeper than the bond
Of guest and host? and wrong abhorred it were,
As well I deem, if I, who pledged my faith
To one, and greetings from the other had,
Bore not aright the tidings 'twixt the twain.
CLYTEMNESTRA
Whate'er thy news, thou shalt not welcome lack,
Meet and deserved, nor scant our grace shall be.
Hadst thou thyself not come, such tale to tell,
Another, sure, had borne it to our ears.
But lo! the hour is here when travelling guests,
Fresh from the daylong labour of the road,
Should win their rightful due.
To the slave Take him within
To the man-chamber's hospitable rest-
Him and these fellow-farers at his side;
Give them such guest-right as beseems our halls;
I bid thee do as thou shalt answer for it,
And I unto the prince who rules our home
Will tell the tale, and, since we lack not friends,
With them will counsel how this hap to bear.
CLYTEMNESTRA goes back into the palace. ORESTES and PYLADES are
conducted to the guest quarters.


CHORUS singing
So be it done-
Sister-servants, when draws nigh
Time for us aloud to cry
Orestes and his victory?
O holy earth and holy tomb
Over the grave-pit heaped on high,
Where low doth Agamemnon lie,
The king of ships, the army's lord!
Now is the hour-give ear and come,
For now doth Craft her aid afford,
And Hermes, guard of shades in hell,

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