Iphigenia in Tauris
Within their houses.
THOAS That the stain of blood
They meet not?
IPHIGENIA These things have pollution in them.
THOAS Go thou, and bear the instructions. (An attendant departs.)
IPHIGENIA That none come
THOAS How wisely careful for the city!
IPHIGENIA Warn our friends most.
THOAS This speaks thy care for me.
IPHIGENIA Stay thou before the shrine.
THOAS To what intent?
IPHIGENIA Cleanse it with lustral fires.
THOAS That thy return
May find it pure?
IPHIGENIA But when the strangers come
Forth from the temple,-
THOAS What must I then do?
IPHIGENIA Spread o'er thine eyes a veil.
THOAS That I receive not
IPHIGENIA Tedious if my stay appear,-
THOAS What bounds may be assign'd?
IPHIGENIA Deem it not strange.
THOAS At leisure what the rites require perform.
IPHIGENIA May this lustration as I wish succeed!
THOAS Thy wish is mine. (ORESTES and PYLADES, bound, are led from
the temple in solemn procession by the guards. THOAS and his retinue
veil their heads as it slowly moves past.)
IPHIGENIA (chanting) But from the temple, see,
The strangers come, the sacred ornaments,
The hallow'd lambs-for I with blood must wash
This execrable blood away,-the light
Of torches, and what else my rites require
To purify these strangers to the goddess.
But to the natives of this land my voice
Proclaims, from this pollution far remove,
Art thou attendant at the shrine, who liftest
Pure to the gods thy hands, or nuptial rites
Dost thou prepare, or pregnant matron; hence,
Begone, that this defilement none may touch.
Thou, daughter of Latona and high Jove,
O royal virgin, if I cleanse the stain
Of these, and where I ought with holy rites
Address thee, thou shalt hold thy residence
In a pure mansion; we too shall be bless'd.
More though I speak not, goddess, unexpress'd,
All things to thee and to the gods are known. (IPHIGENIA, carrying
the statue, joins the procession as is goes out. THOAS and his retinue
enter the temple.)
CHORUS (singing, strophe)
Latona's glorious offspring claims the song,
Born the hallow'd shades among,
Where fruitful Delos winds her valleys low;
Bright-hair'd Phoebus, skill'd to inspire
Raptures, as he sweeps the lyre,
And she that glories in the unerring bow.
From the rocky ridges steep,
At whose feet the hush'd waves sleep,
Left their far-famed native shore,
Them the exulting mother bore
To Parnassus, on whose heights
Bacchus shouting holds his rites;
Glittering in the burnish'd shade,