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Electra   


OLD MAN Hear me a moment; an idea has just occurred to me.
ORESTES May thy counsel prove good, and my perception keen!
OLD MAN I saw Aegisthus, as I was slowly pacing hither-
ORESTES I welcome thy words. Where was he?
OLD MAN Not far from these fields, at his stables.
ORESTES What was he doing? I see a gleam of hope after our helplessness.
OLD MAN I thought he was preparing a feast for the Nymphs.
ORESTES In return for the bringing up of children or in anticipation
of a birth?
OLD MAN All I know is this, he was preparing to sacrifice oxen.
ORESTES How many were with him? or was he alone with his servants?
OLD MAN There was no Argive there; only a band of his own followers.
ORESTES Is it possible that any of them will recognize me, old man?
OLD MAN They are only servants, and they have never even seen thee.
ORESTES Will they support me, if I prevail?
OLD MAN Yes, that is the way of slaves, luckily for thee.
ORESTES On what pretext can I approach him?
OLD MAN Go to some place where he will see thee as he sacrifices.
ORESTES His estate is close to the road then, I suppose.
OLD MAN Yes, and when he sees thee there, he will invite thee to
the feast.
ORESTES So help me God! He shall rue his invitation.
OLD MAN After that, form thy own plan according to circumstances.
ORESTES Good advice! But my mother, where is she?
OLD MAN At Argos; but she will yet join her husband for the feast.
ORESTES Why did she not come forth with him?
OLD MAN From fear of the citizens' reproach she stayed behind.
ORESTES I understand; she knows that the city suspects her.
OLD MAN Just so; her wickedness makes her hated.
ORESTES How shall I slay her and him together?
ELECTRA Mine be the preparation of my mother's slaying!
ORESTES Well, as for the other, fortune will favour us.
ELECTRA Our old friend here must help us both.
OLD MAN Aye, that will I; but wnat is thy scheme for slaying thy
mother?
ELECTRA Go, old man, and tell Clytemnestra from me that I have given
birth to a son.
OLD MAN Some time ago, or quite recently?
ELECTRA Ten days ago, which are the days of my purification.
OLD MAN Suppose it done; but how doth this help towards slaying thy
mother?
ELECTRA She will come, when she hears of my confinement.
OLD MAN What! dost think she cares aught for thee, my child?
ELECTRA Oh yes! she will weep no doubt over my child's low rank.
OLD MAN Perhaps she may; but go back again to the point.
ELECTRA Her death is certain, if she comes.
OLD MAN In that case, let her come right up to the door of the house.
ELECTRA Why then it were a little thing to turn her steps into the
road to Hades' halls.
OLD MAN Oh! to see this one day, then die!
ELECTRA First of all, old friend, act as my brother's guide.
OLD MAN To the place where Aegisthus is now sacrificing to the gods?
ELECTRA Then go, find my mother and give her my message.
OLD MAN Aye, that I will, so that she shall think the very words
are thine.
ELECTRA (to ORESTES) Thy work begins at once; thou hast drawn the
first lot in the tragedy.
ORESTES I will go, if some one will show me the way.
OLD MAN I will myself conduct thee nothing loth.
ORESTES O Zeus, god of my fathers, vanquisher of my foes, have pity
on us, for a piteous lot has ours been.
ELECTRA Oh! have pity on thy own descendants.
ORESTES O Hera, mistress of Mycenae's altars, grant us the victory,
if we are asking what is right.

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