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Iphigenia in Tauris   


On you mine eyes are turn'd, on you depends
My fate; with prosperous fortune to be bless'd,
Or to be nothing, to my country lost,
Of a dear kinsman and a much-loved brother
Deprived. This plea I first would urge, that we
Are women, and have hearts by nature form'd
To love each other, of our mutual trusts
Most firm preservers. Touching our design,
Be silent, and assist our flight: naught claims
More honour than the faithful tongue. You see
How the same fortune links us three, most dear
Each to the other, to revisit safe
Our country, or to die. If I am saved,
That thou mayst share my fortune, I to Greece
Will bring thee safe: but thee by this right hand,
Thee I conjure, and thee; by this loved cheek
Thee, by thy knees, by all that in your house
Is dearest to you, father, mother, child,
If you have children. What do you reply?
Which of you speaks assent? Or which dissents?
But be you all assenting: for my plea
If you approve not, ruin falls on me,
And my unhappy brother too must die.
LEADER Be confident, loved lady and consult
Only thy safety: all thou givest in charge,
Be witness, mighty Jove, I will conceal.
IPHIGENIA O, for this generous promise be you bless'd. (To ORESTES
and PYLADES)
To enter now the temple be thy part,
And thine: for soon the monarch of the land
Will come, inquiring if the strangers yet
Have bow'd their necks as victims at the shrine.
Goddess revered, who in the dreadful bay
Of Aulis from my father's slaughtering hand
Didst save me; save me now, and these: through thee,
Else will the voice of Phoebus be no more
Held true by mortals. From this barbarous land
To Athens go propitious: here to dwell
Beseems thee not; thine be a polish'd state! (ORESTES, PYLADES, and
IPHIGENIA enter the temple.)

CHORUS (singing, strophe 1)
O bird, that round each craggy height
Projecting o'er the sea below,
Wheelest thy melancholy flight,
Thy song attuned to notes of woe;
The wise thy tender sorrows own,
Which thy lost lord unceasing moan;
Like thine, sad halcyon, be my strain,
A bird, that have no wings to fly:
With fond desire for Greece I sigh,
And for my much-loved social train;
Sigh for Diana, pitying maid,
Who joys to rove o'er Cynthus' heights.
Or in the branching laurel's shade,
Or in the soft-hair'd palm delights,
Or the hoar olive's sacred boughs,
Lenient of sad Latona's woes;
Or in the lake, that rolls its wave
Where swans their plumage love to lave;
Then, to the Muses soaring high,
The homage pay of melody.
(antistrophe 1)
Ye tears, what frequent-falling showers
Roll'd down these cheeks in streams of woe,
When in the dust my country's towers

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