ORESTES The reason being thy refusal to help me then?
MENELAUS Thou hast me.
ORESTES Thy own cowardice has. (Calling from the roof to ELECTRA)
Ho there! fire the palace from beneath, Electra; and, Pylades, my
trusty friend, kindle the parapet of yonder walls. (The palace is
seen to be ablaze.)
MENELAUS Help, help, ye Danai! gird on your harness and come, ye
dwellers in knightly Argos! for here is a fellow trying to wrest his
life from your whole city, though he has caused pollution by shedding
his mother's blood. (APOLLO appears from above with HELEN.)
APOLLO Menelaus, calm thy excited mood; I am Phoebus, the son of
Latona, who draw nigh to call thee by name, and thou no less, Orestes,
who, sword in hand, art keeping guard on yonder maid, that thou mayst
hear what have come to say. Helen, whom all thy eagerness failed to
destroy, when thou wert seeking to anger Menelaus, is here as ye see
in the enfolding air, rescued from death instead of slain by thee.
'Twas I that saved her and snatched her from beneath thy sword at
the bidding of her father Zeus; for she his child must put on immortality,
and take her place with Castor and Polydeuces in the bosom of the
sky, a saviour to mariners. Choose thee then another bride and take
her to thy home, for the gods by means of Helen's loveliness embroiled
Troy and Hellas, causing death thereby, that they might lighten mother
Earth of the outrage done her by the increase of man's number. Such
is Helen's end.
But as for thee, Orestes, thou must cross the frontier of this land
and dwell for one whole year on Parrhasian soil, which from thy flight
thither shall be called the land of Orestes by Azanians and Arcadians;
and when thou returnest thence to the city of Athens, submit to be
brought to trial by "the Avenging Three" for thy mother's murder,
for the gods will be umpires between you and will pass a most righteous
sentence on thee upon the hill of Ares, where thou art to win thy
case. Likewise, it is ordained, Orestes, that thou shalt wed Hermione,
at whose neck thou art pointing thy sword; Neoptolemus shall never
marry her, though he thinks he will; for his death is fated to o'ertake
him by a Delphian sword, when he claims satisfaction of me for the
death of his father Achilles. Bestow thy sister's hand on Pylades,
to whom thou didst formerly promise her; the life awaiting him henceforth
is one of bliss.
Menelaus, leave Orestes to rule Argos; go thou and reign oer Sparta,
keeping it as the dowry of a wife, who till this day ne'er ceased
exposing thee to toils innumerable. Between Orestes and the citizens,
I, who forced his mother's murder on him, will bring about a reconciliation.
ORESTES Hail to thee, prophetic Loxias, for these thy utterances!
Thou art not a lying prophet after all, but a true seer; and yet there
came a dreadful thought into my heart that it was some fiend I had
listened to, when seemed to hear thy voice; but all is ending well,
and I obey thy word. There! I release Hermione from a violent death
and agree to make her my wife whenever her father gives consent.
MENELAUS All hail, Helen, daughter of Zeus! I wish thee joy of thy
home in heaven's happy courts. To thee, Orestes, I betroth my daughter
according to the word of Phoebus, and good luck attend thee, a noble
wooer nobly wived, and me the parent of thy bride!
APOLLO Repair each one to the place appointed by me; reconcile all
MENELAUS Obedience is a duty.
ORESTES I think thus also, Menelaus; so here I make a truce with
sorrow and with thy oracles, O Loxias.
APOLLO (chanting) Go your ways, and honour Peace, most fair of goddesses;
I, meantime, will escort Helen to the mansions of Zeus, soon as I
reach the star-lit firmament. There, seated side by side with Hera
and Hebe, the bride of Heracles, she shall be honoured by men with
drink-offerings as a goddess for ever, sharing with those Zeus-born
sons of Tyndareus their empire o'er the sea, for the good of mariners.
(APOLLO and HELEN vanish.)