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Electra   


evil doom be thine, and may the gods infernal give thee no riddance
from thy present laments.'
Thus she insults; save when any one brings her word that Orestes
is coming: then, infuriated, she comes up to me, and cries;- 'Hast not
thou brought this upon me? Is not this deed thine, who didst steal
Orestes from my hands, and privily convey him forth? Yet be sure
that thou shalt have thy due reward.' So she shrieks; and, aiding her,
the renowned spouse at her side is vehement in the same strain,-
that abject dastard, that utter pest, who fights his battles with
the help of women. But I, looking ever for Orestes to come and end
these woes, languish in my misery. Always intending to strike a
blow, he has worn out every hope that I could conceive. In such a
case, then, friends, there is no room for moderation or for reverence;
in sooth, the stress of ills leaves no choice but to follow evil ways.
LEADER
Say, is Aegisthus near while thou speakest thus, or absent from
home?
ELECTRA
Absent, certainly; do not think that I should have come to the
doors, if he had been near; but just now he is afield.
LEADER
Might I converse with thee more freely, if this is so?
ELECTRA
He is not here, so put thy question; what wouldst thou?
LEADER
I ask thee, then, what sayest thou of thy brother? Will he come
soon, or is he delaying? I fain would know.
ELECTRA
He promises to come; but he never fulfils the promise.
LEADER
Yea, a man will pause on the verge of a great work.
ELECTRA
And yet I saved him without pausing.
LEADER
Courage; he is too noble to fail his friends.
ELECTRA
I believe it; or I should not have lived so long.
LEADER
Say no more now; for I see thy sister coming from the house,
Chrysothemis, daughter of the same sire and mother, with sepulchral
gifts in her hands, such as are given to those in the world below.

(CHRYSOTHEMIS enters from the palace. She is richly dressed.)

CHRYSOTHEMIS
Why, sister, hast thou come forth once more to declaim thus at the
public doors? Why wilt thou not learn with any lapse of time to desist
from vain indulgence of idle wrath? Yet this I know,- that I myself
am- grieved at our plight; indeed, could I find the strength, I would
show what love I bear them. But now, in these troubled waters, 'tis
best, methinks, to shorten sail; I care not to seem active, without
the power to hurt. And would that thine own conduct were the same!
Nevertheless, right is on the side of thy choice, not of that which
I advise; but if I am to live in freedom, our rulers must be obeyed in
all things.
ELECTRA
Strange indeed, that thou, the daughter of such a sire as thine,
shouldst forget him, and think only of thy mother! All thy admonitions
to me have been taught by her; no word is thine own. Then take thy
choice,- to be imprudent; or prudent, but forgetful of thy friends:
thou, who hast just said that, couldst thou find the strength, thou
wouldst show thy hatred of them; yet, when I am doing my utmost to
avenge my sire, thou givest no aid, but seekest to turn thy sister
from her deed.

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