Iphigenia in Tauris
Must have been thine at such a dreadful deed!
IPHIGENIA (chanting) Dreadful my brother, O how dreadful! scarce
Hast thou escaped a foul, unhallow'd death,
Slain by my hands. But how will these things end?
What Fortune will assist me? What safe means
Shall I devise to send thee from this state,
From slaughter, to thy native land, to Argos,
Ere with thy blood the cruel sword be stain'd?
This to devise, O my unhappy soul!
This to devise is thine. Wilt thou by land,
Thy bark deserted, speed thy flight on foot?
Perils await thee mid these barbarous tribes,
Through pathless wilds; and 'twixt the clashing rocks,
Narrow the passage for the flying bark,
And long. Unhappy, ah, unhappy me!
What god, what mortal, what unlook'd-for chance
Will expedite our dangerous way, and show
Two sprung from Atreus a release from ills?
LEADER What having seen and heard I shall relate,
Is marvellous, and passes fabling tales.
PYLADES When after absence long, Orestes, friend
Meets friend, embraces will express their joy.
Behooves us now, bidding farewell to grief,
And heedful to obtain the glorious name
Of safety, from this barbarous land to fly.
The wise, of fortune not regardless, seize
The occasion, and to happiness advance.
ORESTES Well hast thou said; and Fortune here, I ween,
Will aid us; to the firm and strenuous mind
More potent works the influence divine.
IPHIGENIA Nothing shall check, nothing restrain my speech:
First will I question thee what fortune waits
Electra: this to know would yield me joy.
ORESTES With him (pointing to Pylades) she dwells, and happy is
IPHIGENIA Whence then is he? and from what father sprung?
ORESTES From Phocis: Strophius is his father named.
IPHIGENIA By Atreus' daughter to my blood allied?
ORESTES Nearly allied: my only faithful friend.
IPHIGENIA He was not then, me when my father slew.
ORESTES Childless was Strophius for some length of time.
IPHIGENIA O thou, the husband of my sister, hail
ORESTES More than relation, my preserver too.
IPHIGENIA But to thy mother why that dreadful deed?
ORESTES Of that no more: to avenge my father's death.
IPHIGENIA But for what cause did she her husband slay?
ORESTES Of her inquire not: thou wouldst blush to hear.
IPHIGENIA The eyes of Argos now are raised to thee.
ORESTES There Menelaus is lord; I, outcast, fly.
IPHIGENIA Hath he then wrong'd his brother's ruin'd house?
ORESTES Not so: the Furies fright me from the land.
IPHIGENIA The madness this, which seized thee on the shore?
ORESTES I was not first beheld unhappy there.
IPHIGENIA Stern powers! they haunt thee for thy mother's blood.
ORESTES And ruthless make me champ the bloody bit.
IPHIGENIA Why to this region has thou steer'd thy course?
ORESTES Commanded by Apollo's voice, I come.
IPHIGENIA With what intent? if that may be disclosed.
ORESTES I will inform thee, though to length of speech
This leads. When vengeance from my hands o'ertook
My mother's deeds-foul deeds, which let me pass
In silence-by the Furies' fierce assaults
To flight I was impell'd: to Athens then
Apollo sent me, that, my cause there heard,