undone, or cease from mourning for my hapless sire. Ah, friends
whose love responds to mine in every mood, leave me to rave thus,-
Oh leave me, I entreat you!
But never by laments or prayers shalt thou recall thy sire from
that lake of Hades to which all must pass. Nay, thine is a fatal
course of grief, passing ever from due bounds into a cureless
sorrow; wherein there is no deliverance from evils. Say, wherefore art
thou enamoured of misery?
Foolish is the child who forgets a parent's piteous death. No,
dearer to my soul is the mourner that laments for Itys, Itys,
evermore, that bird distraught with grief, the messenger of Zeus.
Ah, queen of sorrow, Niobe, thee I deem divine,- thee, who evermore
weepest in thy rocky tomb!
Not to thee alone of mortals, my daughter, hath come any sorrow
which thou bearest less calmly than those within, thy kinswomen and
sisters, Chrysothemis and Iphianassa,I who still live,- as he, too,
lives, sorrowing in a secluded youth, yet happy in that this famous
realm of Mycenae shall one day welcome him to his heritage, when the
kindly guidance of Zeus shall have brought him to this land, Orestes.
Yes, I wait for him with unwearied longing, as I move on my sad
path from day to day, unwed and childless, bathed in tears, bearing
that endless doom of woe; but he forgets all that he has suffered
and heard. What message comes to me, that is not belied? He is ever
yearning to be with us, but, though he yearns, he never resolves.
Courage, my daughter, courage; great still in heaven is Zeus,
who sees and governs all: leave thy bitter quarrel to him; forget
not thy foes, but refrain from excess of wrath against them; for
Time is god who makes rough ways smooth. Not heedless is the son of
Agamemnon, who dwells by Crisa's pastoral shore; not heedless is the
god who reigns by Acheron.
Nay, the best part of life hath passed away from me in
hopelessness, and I have no strength left; I, who am pining away
without children,- whom no loving champion shields,- but, like some
despised alien, I serve in the halls of my father, clad in this mean
garb, and standing at a meagre board.
Piteous was the voice heard at his return, and piteous, as thy
sire lay on the festal couch, when the straight, swift blow was
dealt him with the blade of bronze. Guile was the plotter, Lust the
slayer, dread parents of a dreadful shape; whether it was mortal
that wrought therein, or god.
O that bitter day, bitter beyond all that have come to me; O
that night, O the horrors of that unutterable feast, the ruthless
deathstrokes that my father saw from the hands of twain, who took my
life captive by treachery, who doomed me to woe! May the great god