Iphigenia At Aulis
their lineage! how high their pinnacle of fortune! These mighty ones,
whom wealth attends, are very gods in the eyes of less favoured folk.
Halt we here, maidens of Chalcis, and lift the queen from her chariot
to the ground without stumbling, supporting her gently in our arms,
with kind intent, that the renowned daughter of Agamemnon but just
arrived may feel no fear; strangers ourselves, avoid we aught that
may disturb or frighten the strangers from Argos. (Enter CLYTAEMNESTRA
CLYTAEMNESTRA I take this as a lucky omen, thy kindness and auspicious
greeting, and have good hope that it is to a happy marriage I conduct
the bride. (To Attendants) Take from the chariot the dowry I am
bringing for my daughter and convey it within with careful heed.
My daughter, leave the horse-drawn car, planting thy faltering footstep
delicately. (To the CHORUS) Maidens, take her in your arms and lift
her from the chariot, and let one of you give me the support of her
hand, that I may quit my seat in the carriage with fitting grace.
Some or you stand at the horses' heads; for the horse has a timid
eye, easily frightened; here take this child Orestes, son of Agamemnon,
babe as he still is.
What! sleeping, little one, tired out by thy ride in the chariot?
Awake to bless thy sister's wedding; for thou, my gallant boy, shalt
get by this marriage a kinsman gallant as thyself, the Nereid's godlike
offspring. Come hither to thy mother, my daughter, Iphigenia, and
seat thyself beside me, and stationed near show my happiness to these
strangers; yes, come hither and welcome the sire thou lovest so dearly.
Hail! my honoured lord, king Agamemnon! we have obeyed thy commands
and are come. (Enter AGAMEMNON.)
IPHIGENIA (Throwing herself into AGAMEMNON'S arms) Be not wroth
with me, mother, if I run from thy side and throw myself on my father's
O my father! I long to outrun others and embrace thee after this long
while; for I yearn to see thy face; be not wroth with me.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Thou mayst do so, daughter; for of all the children
I have born, thou hast ever loved thy father best.
IPHIGENIA I see thee, father, joyfully after a long season.
AGAMEMNON And I thy father thee; thy words do equal duty for both
IPHIGENIA All hail, father! thou didst well in bringing me hither
AGAMEMNON I know not how I am to say yes or no to that, my child.
IPHIGENIA Ha! how wildly thou art looking, spite of thy joy at seeing
AGAMEMNON A man has many cares when he is king and general too.
IPHIGENIA Be mine, all mine to-day; turn not unto moody thoughts.
AGAMEMNON Why so I am, all thine to-day; I have no other thought.
IPHIGENIA Then smooth thy knitted brow, unbend and smile.
AGAMEMNON Lo! my child, my joy at seeing thee is even as it is.
IPHIGENIA And hast thou then the tear-drop streaming from thy eyes?
AGAMEMNON Ave, for long is the absence from each other, that awalts
IPHIGENIA I know not, dear father mine, I know not of what thou art
AGAMEMNON Thou art moving my pity all the more by speaking so sensibly.
IPHIGENIA My words shall turn to senselessness, if that will cheer
AGAMEMNON (Aside) Ah, woe is me! this silence is too much. (To
IPHIGENIA) Thou hast my thanks.
IPHIGENIA Stay with thy children at home, father.
AGAMEMNON My own wish! but to my sorrow I may not humour it.
IPHIGENIA Ruin seize their warring and the woes of Menelaus!
AGAMEMNON First will that, which has been my life-long ruin, bring
ruin unto others.
IPHIGENIA How long thou wert absent in the bays of Aulis!
AGAMEMNON Aye, and there is still a hindrance to my sending the army