But our father, I know, pardons me for this.
It is for cowards to find peace in such maxims.
So thou wilt not hearken, and take my counsel?
No, verily; long may be it before I am so foolish.
Then I will go forth upon mine errand.
And whither goest thou? To whom bearest thou these offerings?
Our mother sends me with funeral libations for our sire.
How sayest thou? For her deadliest foe?
Slain by her own hand- so thou wouldest say.
What friend hath persuaded her? Whose wish was this?
The cause, I think, was some dread vision of the night.
Gods of our house! be ye with me- now at last!
Dost thou find any encouragement in this terror?
If thou wouldst tell me the vision, then I could answer.
Nay, I can tell but little of the story.
Tell what thou canst; a little word hath often marred, or made,
'Tis said that she beheld our sire, restored to the sunlight, at
her side once more; then he took the sceptre,- Once his own, but now
borne by Aegisthus,- and planted it at the hearth; and thence a
fruitful bough sprang upward, wherewith the whole land of Mycenae
was overshadowed. Such was the tale that I heard told by one who was
present when she declared her dream to the Sun-god. More than this I
know not,- save that she sent me by reason of that fear. So by the-
gods of our house I beseech thee, hearken to me, and be not ruined
by folly! For if thou repel me now, thou wilt come back to seek me
in thy trouble.
Nay, dear sister, let none of these things in thy hands touch
the tomb; for neither custom nor piety allows thee to dedicate gifts
or bring libations to our sire from a hateful wife. No- to the winds
with them or bury them deep in the earth, where none of them shall
ever come near his place of rest; but, when she dies, let her find
these treasures laid up for her below.
And were she not the most hardened of all women, she would never
have sought to pour these offerings of enmity on the grave of him whom
she slew. Think now if it is likely that the dead in the tomb should
take these honours kindly at her hand, who ruthlessly slew him, like a
foeman, and mangled him, and, for ablution, wiped off the blood-stains
on his head? Canst thou believe that these things which thou
bringest will absolve her of the murder?
It is not possible. No, cast these things aside; give him rather a
lock cut from thine own tresses, and on my part, hapless that I
am,-scant gifts these, but my best,- this hair, not glossy with
unguents, and this girdle, decked with no rich ornament. Then fall
down and pray that he himself may come in kindness from the world
below, to aid us against our foes; and that the young Orestes may live
to set his foot upon his foes in victorious might, that henceforth