Iphigenia At Aulis
of Tyndareus is causing wars and bloodshed by her beauty; then be
not slain thyself, sir stranger, nor seek to slay another on my account;
but let me, if I can, save Hellas.
ACHILLES Heroic spirit! I can say no more to this, since thou art
so minded; for thine is a noble resolve; why should not one avow the
truth? Yet will I speak, for thou wilt haply change thy mind; that
thou mayst know then what my offer is, I will go and place these arms
of mine near the altar, resolved not to permit thy death but to prevent
it; for brave as thou art, at sight of the knife held at thy throat,
thou wilt soon avail thyself of what I said. So I will not let thee
perish through any thoughtlessness of thine, but will go to the temple
of the goddess with these arms and await thy arrival there. (Exit
IPHIGENIA Mother, why so silent, thine eyes wet with tears?
CLYTAEMNESTRA I have reason, woe is me! to be sad at heart.
IPHIGENIA Forbear; make me not a coward; here in one thing obey me.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Say what it is, my child, for at my hands thou shalt
ne'er suffer injury.
IPHIGENIA Cut not off the tresses of thy hair for me, nor clothe
thyself in sable garb.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Why, my child, What is it thou hast said? Shall I,
when I lose thee-
IPHIGENIA "Lose" me, thou dost not; I am saved and thou renowned,
as far as I can make thee.
CLYTAEMNESTRA How so? Must I not mourn thy death?
IPHIGENIA By no means, for I shall have no tomb heaped o'er me.
CLYTAEMNESTRA What, is not the act of dying held to imply burial?
IPHIGENIA The altar of the goddess, Zeus's daughter, will be my tomb.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Well, my child, I will let thee persuade me, for thou
IPHIGENIA Aye, as one who prospereth and doeth Hellas service.
CLYTAEMNESTRA What message shall I carry to thy sisters?
IPHIGENIA Put not mourning raiment on them either.
CLYTAEMNESTRA But is there no fond message I can give the maidens
IPHIGENIA Yes, my farewell words; and promise me to rear this babe
Orestes to manhood.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Press him to thy bosom; 'tis thy last look.
IPHIGENIA O thou that art most dear to me! thou hast helped thy friends
as thou hadst means.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Is there anything I can do to pleasure thee in Argos?
IPHIGENIA Yes, hate not my father, thy own husband.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Fearful are the trials through which he has to go because
IPHIGENIA It was against his will he ruined me for the sake of Hellas.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Ah! but be employed base treachery, unworthy of Atreus.
IPHIGENIA Who will escort me hence, before my hair is torn?
CLYTAEMNESTRA I will go with thee.
IPHIGENIA No, not thou; thou say'st not well.
CLYTAEMNESTRA I will, clinging to thy robes.
IPHIGENIA Be persuaded by me, mother, stay here; for this is the
better way alike for me and thee; but let one of these attendants
of my father conduct me to the meadow of Artemis, where I shall be
CLYTAEMNESTRA Art gone from me, my child?
IPHIGENIA Aye, and with no chance of ever returning.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Leaving thy mother?
IPHIGENIA Yes, as thou seest, undeservedly.
CLYTAEMNESTRA Hold! leave me not!
IPHIGENIA I cannot let thee shed a tear. (Exit CLYTAEMNESTRA. To
the CHORUS) Be it yours, maidens, to hymn in joyous strains Artemis,
the child of Zeus, for my hard lot; and let the order for a solemn
hush go forth to the Danai. Begin the sacrifice with the baskets,
let the fire blaze for the purifying meal of sprinkling, and my father