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Electra   


possessions, and restore my house!
Enough;- be it now thy care, old man, to go and heed thy task;
and we twain will go forth; for so occasion bids, chief ruler of every
enterprise for men.
ELECTRA (within)
Ah me, ah me!
PAEDAGOGUS
Hark, my son,- from the doors, methought, came the sound of some
handmaid moaning within.
ORESTES
Can it be the hapless Electra? Shall we stay here, and listen to
her laments?
PAEDAGOGUS
No, no: before all else, let us seek to obey the command of
Loxias, and thence make a fair beginning, by pouring libations to
thy sire; that brings victory within our grasp, and gives us the
mastery in all that we do.

(Exeunt PAEDAGOGUS on the spectators' left, ORESTES and PYLADES
the right.- Enter ELECTRA, from the house. She is meanly clad.)


ELECTRA (chanting)

systema

O thou pure sunlight, and thou air, earth's canopy, how often have
ye heard the strains of my lament, the wild blows dealt against this
bleeding breast, when dark night fails! And my wretched couch in
yonder house of woe knows well, ere now, how I keep the watches of the
night,- how often I bewail my hapless sire; to whom deadly Ares gave
not of his gifts in a strange land, but my mother, and her mate
Aegisthus, cleft his head with murderous axe, as woodmen fell an
oak. And for this no plaint bursts from any lip save mine, when
thou, my father, hath died a death so cruel and so piteous!

antisystema

But never will I cease from dirge and sore lament, while I look on
the trembling rays of the bright stars, or on this light of day; but
like the nightingale, slayer of her offspring, I will wail without
ceasing, and cry aloud to all, here, at the doors of my father.
O home of Hades and Persephone! O Hermes of the shades! potent
Curse, and ye, dread daughters of the gods, Erinyes,- Ye who behold
when a life is reft by violence, when a bed is dishonoured by
stealth,- come, help me, avenge the murder of my sire,- and send to me
my brother; for I have no more the strength to bear up alone against
the load of grief that weighs me down.

(As ELECTRA finishes her lament,
the CHORUS OF WOMEN OF MYCENAE enter. The following
lines between ELECTRA and the CHORUS are chanted responsively.)


CHORUS

strophe 1

Ah, Electra, child of a wretched mother, why art thou ever
pining thus in ceaseless lament for Agamemnon, who long ago was
wickedly ensnared by thy false mother's wiles, and betrayed to death
by dastardly hand? Perish the author of that deed, if I may utter such
prayer!
ELECTRA
Ah, noble-hearted maidens, ye have come to soothe my woes. I
know and feel it, it escapes me not; but I cannot leave this task

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