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Electra   


her, for this she seems to care no longer.
CLYTEMNESTRA (to the CHORUS)
And what manner of care do I need to use against her, who hath
thus insulted a mother, and this at her ripe age? Thinkest thou not
that she would go forward to any deed, without shame?
ELECTRA
Now be assured that I do feel shame for this, though thou
believe it not; I know that my behaviour is unseemly, and becomes me
ill. But then the enmity on thy part, and thy treatment, compel me
in mine own despite to do thus; for base deeds are taught by base.
CLYTEMNESTRA
Thou brazen one! Truly I and my sayings and my deeds give thee too
much matter for words.
ELECTRA
The words are thine, not mine; for thine is the action; and the
acts find the utterance.
CLYTEMNESTRA
Now by our lady Artemis, thou shalt not fail to pay for this
boldness, so soon as Aegisthus returns.
ELECTRA
Lo, thou art transported by anger, after granting me free
speech, aid hast no patience to listen.
CLYTEMNESTRA
Now wilt thou not hush thy clamour, or even suffer me to
sacrifice, when I have permitted thee to speak unchecked?
ELECTRA
I hinder not,- begin thy rites, I pray thee; and blame not my
voice, for I shall say no more.
CLYTEMNESTRA
Raise then, my handmaid, the offerings of many fruits, that I
may uplift my prayers to this our king, for deliverance from my
present fears. Lend now a gracious ear, O Phoebus our defender, to
my words, though they be dark; for I speak not among friends, nor is
it meet to unfold my whole thought to the light, while she stands near
me, lest with her malice and her garrulous cry she spread some rash
rumour throughout the town: but hear me thus, since on this wise I
must speak.
That vision which I saw last night in doubtful dreams- if it
hath come for my good, grant, Lycean king, that it be fulfilled; but
if for harm, then let it recoil upon my foes. And if any are
plotting to hurl me by treachery from the high estate which now is
mine, permit them not; rather vouch. safe that, still living thus
unscathed, I may bear sway over the house of the Atreidae and this
realm, sharing prosperous days with the friends who share them now,
and with those of my children from whom no enmity or bitterness
pursues me.
O Lycean Apollo, graciously hear these prayers, and grant them
to us all, even as we ask! For the rest, though I be silent, I deem
that thou, a god, must know it; all things, surely, are seen by the
sons of Zeus.
(The PAEDAGOGUS enters.)
PAEDAGOGUS
Ladies, might a stranger crave to know if this be the palace of
the king Aegisthus?
LEADER
It is, sir; thou thyself hast guessed aright.
PAEDAGOGUS
And am I right in surmising that this lady is his consort? She
is of queenly aspect.
LEADER
Assuredly; thou art in the presence of the queen.
PAEDAGOGUS
Hail, royal lady! I bring glad tidings to thee and to Aegisthus,
from friend.

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