Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Sophocles
Pages of Electra

Previous | Next


in, he sent a shrill cry ringing through the ears of his swift
colts, and gave chase. Team was brought level with team, and so they
raced,-first one man, then the other. showing his head in front of the
Hitherto the ill-fated Orestes had passed safely through every
round, steadfast in his steadfast car; at last, slackening his left
rein while the horse was turning, unawares he struck the edge of the
pillar; he broke the axle-box in twain; he was thrown over the
chariot-rail; he was caught in the shapely reins; and, as he fell on
the ground, his colts were scattered into the middle of the course.
But when the people saw him fallen from the car, a cry of pity
went up for the youth, who had done such deeds and was meeting such
a doom,- now dashed to earth, now tossed feet uppermost to the sky,-
till the charioteers, with difficulty checking the career of his
horses, loosed him, so covered with blood that no friend who saw it
would have known the hapless corpse. Straightway they burned it on a
pyre; and chosen men of Phocis are bringing in a small urn of bronze
the sad dust of that mighty form, to find due burial in his
Such is my story,- grievous to hear, if words can grieve; but
for us, who beheld, the greatest of sorrows that these eyes have seen.
Alas, alas Now, methinks, the stock of our ancient masters hath
utterly perished, root and branch.
O Zeus, what shall I call these tidings,- glad tidings? Or dire,
but gainful? 'Tis a bitter lot, when mine own calamities make the
safety of my life.
Why art thou so downcast, lady, at this news?
There is a strange power in motherhood; a mother may be wronged,
but she never learns to hate her child.
Then it seems that we have come in vain.
Nay, not in vain; how canst thou say 'in vain,' when thou hast
brought an sure proofs of his death?- His, who sprang from mine own
life, yet, forsaking me who had suckled and reared him, became an
exile and an alien; and, after he went out of this land, he saw me
no more; but, charging me with the murder of his sire, he uttered
dread threats against me; so that neither by night nor by day could
sweet sleep cover mine eyes, but from moment to moment I lived in fear
of death. Now, however-since this day I am rid of terror from him, and
from this girl,- that worse plague who shared my home, while still she
drained my very life-blood,-now, methinks, for aught that she can
threaten, I shall pass my days in peace.
Ah, woe is me! Now, indeed, Orestes, thy fortune may be
lamented, when it is thus with thee, and thou art mocked by this thy
mother! Is it not well?
Not with thee; but his state is well.
Hear, Nemesis of him who hath lately died!
She hath heard who should be heard, and hath ordained well.
Insult us, for this is the time of thy triumph.
Then will not Orestes and thou silence me?
We are silenced; much less should we silence thee.

Previous | Next
Site Search