Iphigenia in Tauris
This goblet I prepare;
And on the bosom of the earth shall flow
Streams from the heifer mountain-bred,
The grape's rich juice, and, mix'd with these,
The labour of the yellow bees,
Libations soothing to the dead.
Give me the oblation: let me hold
The foaming goblet's hallow'd gold.
O thou, the earth beneath,
Who didst from Agamemnon spring;
To thee, deprived of vital breath,
I these libations bring.
Accept them: to thy honour'd tomb,
Never, ah! never shall I come;
Never these golden tresses bear,
To place them there, there shed the tear;
For from my country far, a hind
There deem'd as slain, my wild abode I find.
CHORUS (singing) To thee thy faithful train
The Asiatic hymn will raise,
A doleful, a barbaric strain,
Responsive to thy lays,
And steep in tears the mournful song,-
Notes, which to the dead belong;
Dismal notes, attuned to woe
By Pluto in the realms below:
No sprightly air shall we employ
To cheer the soul, and wake the sense of joy.
IPHIGENIA (singing) The Atreidae are no more;
Extinct their sceptre's golden light;
My father's house from its proud height
Is fallen: its ruins I deplore.
Who of her kings at Argos holds his reign,
Her kings once bless'd? But Sorrow's train
Rolls on impetuous for the rapid steeds
Which o'er the strand with Pelops fly.
From what atrocious deeds
Starts the sun back, his sacred eye
Of brightness, loathing, turn'd aside?
And fatal to their house arose,
From the rich ram, Thessalia's golden pride,
Slaughter on slaughter, woes on woes:
Thence, from the dead ages past,
Vengeance came rushing on its prey,
And swept the race of Tantalus away.
Fatal to thee its ruthless haste;
To me too fatal, from the hour
My mother wedded, from the night
She gave me to life's opening light,
Nursed by affliction's cruel power.
Early to me, the Fates unkind,
To know what sorrow is assign'd:
Me Leda's daughter, hapless dame,
First blooming offspring of her bed
(A father's conduct here I blame,)
A joyless victim bred;
When o'er the strand of Aulis, in the pride
Of beauty kindling flames of love,
High on my splendid car I move,
Betrothed to Thetis' son a bride:
Ah, hapless bride, to all the train
Of Grecian fair preferr'd in vain!
But now, a stranger on this strand,
'Gainst which the wild waves beat,