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Electra   


a Thessalian cleaver, that we by sacrificial feast may learn the will
of heaven; let me cleave the breast-bone." And he took the axe and
cut it through. Now Aegisthus was examining the entrails, separating
them in his hands, and as he was bending down, thy brother rose on
tiptoe and smote him on the spine, severing the bones of his back;
and his body gave one convulsive shudder from head to foot and writhed
in the death-agony. No sooner did his servants see it, than they rushed
to arms, a host to fight with two; yet did Pylades and Orestes of
their valiancy meet them with brandished spears. Then cried Orestes,
"I am no foe that come against this city and my own servants, but
I have avenged me on the murderer of my sire, I, ill-starred Orestes.
Slay me not, my father's former thralls!" They, when they heard him
speak, restrained their spears, and an old man, who had been in the
family many a long year, recognized him. Forthwith they crown thy
brother with a wreath, and utter shouts of joy. And lo! he is coming
to show thee the head, not the Gorgon's, but the head of thy hated
foe Aegisthus; his death today has paid in blood a bitter debt of
blood.
CHORUS (singing) Dear mistress, now with step as light as fawn join
in the dance; lift high the nimble foot and be glad. Victory crowns
thy brother; he hath won a fairer wreath than ever victor gained beside
the streams of Alpheus; so raise a fair hymn to victory, the while
I dance.
ELECTRA O light of day! O bright careering sun! O earth! and night
erewhile my only day; now may I open my eyes in freedom, for Aegisthus
is dead, my father's murderer. Come friends, let me bring out whate'er
my house contains to deck his head and wreath with crowns my conquering
brother's brow.
CHORUS (singing) Bring forth thy garlands for his head, and we will
lead the dance the Muses love. Now shall the royal line, dear to us
in days gone by, resume its sway o'er the realm, having laid low the
usurper as he deserves. So let the shout go up, whose notes are those
of joy. (ORESTES and PYLADES enter, followed by attendants who are
bearing the body of Aegisthus.)

ELECTRA Hail! glorious victor, Orestes, son of a sire who won the
day 'neath Ilium's walls, accept this wreath to bind about the tresses
of thy hair. Not in vain hast thou run thy course unto the goal and
reached thy home again; no! but thou hast slain thy foe, Aegisthus,
the murderer of our father. Thou too, O Pylades, trusty squire, whose
training shows thy father's sterling worth, receive a garland from
my hand, for thou no less than he hast a share in this emprise; and
so I pray, good luck be thine for ever!
ORESTES First recognize the gods, Electra, as being the authors of
our fortune, and then praise me their minister and fate's. Yea, I
come from having slain Aegisthus in very deed, no mere pretence; and
to make thee the more certain of this, I am bringing thee his corpse,
which, if thou wilt, expose for beasts to rend, or set it upon a stake
for birds, the children of the air, to prey upon; for now is he thy
slave, once called thy lord and master.
ELECTRA I am ashamed to utter my wishes.
ORESTES What is it? speak out, for thou art through the gates of
fear.
ELECTRA I am ashamed to flout the dead, for fear some spite assail
me.
ORESTES No one would blame thee for this.
ELECTRA Our folk are hard to please, and love to blame.
ORESTES Speak all thy mind, sister; for we entered on this feud with
him on terms admitting not of truce.
ELECTRA Enough! (Turning to the corpse of Aegisthus) With which
of thy iniquities shall I begin my recital? With which shall I end
it? To which allot a middle place? And yet I never ceased, as each
day dawned, to rehearse the story I would tell thee to thy face, if
ever I were freed from my old terrors; and now I am; so I will pay
thee back with the abuse I fain had uttered to thee when alive. Thou

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