I meant not that; I am not so foolish.
What biddest thou, then, for which my strength avails?
That thou be brave in doing what I enjoin.
Nay, if any good can be done, I will not refuse,
Remember, nothing succeeds without toil.
I know it, and will share thy burden with all my power.
Hear, then, how I am resolved to act. As for the support of
friends, thou thyself must know that we have none; Hades hath taken
our friends away. and we two are left alone. I, so long as I heard
that my brother still lived and prospered, had hopes that he would yet
come to avenge the murder of our sire. But now that he is no more, I
look next to thee, not to flinch from aiding me thy sister to slay our
father's murderer, Aegisthus:- I must have no secret from thee more.
How long art thou to wait inactive? What hope is left standing, to
which thine eyes can turn? Thou hast to complain that thou art
robbed of thy father's heritage; thou hast to mourn that thus far
thy life is fading without nuptial song or wedded love. Nay, and do
not hope that such joys will ever be thine; Aegisthus is not so
ill-advised as ever to permit that children should spring from thee or
me for his own sure destruction. But if thou wilt follow my
counsels, first thou wilt win praise of piety from our dead sire
below, and from our brother too; next, thou shalt be called free
henceforth, as thou wert born, and shalt find worthy bridals; for
noble natures draw the gaze of all.
Then seest thou not what fair fame thou wilt win for thyself and
for me, by hearkening to my word? What citizen or stranger, when he
sees us, will not greet us with praises such as these?- 'Behold
these two sisters, my friends, who saved their father's house; who,
when their foes were firmly planted of yore, took their lives in their
hands and stood forth as avengers of blood! Worthy of love are these
twain, worthy of reverence from all; at festivals, and wherever the
folk are assembled, let these be honoured of all men for their
prowess.' Thus will every one speak of us, so that in life and in
death our glory shall not fail.
Come, dear sister, hearken! Work with thy sire, share the burden
of thy brother, win rest from woes for me and for thyself,- mindful of
this, that an ignoble life brings shame upon the noble.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
In such case as this, forethought is helpful for those who speak
and those who hear.
Yea, and before she spake, my friends, were she blest with a sound
mind, she would have remembered caution, as she doth not remember it.
Now whither canst thou have turned thine eyes, that thou art
arming thyself with such rashness, and calling me to aid thee? Seest
thou not, thou art a woman, not a man, and no match for thine
adversaries in strength? And their fortune prospers day by day,
while ours is ebbing and coming to nought. Who, then, plotting to
vanquish a foe so strong, shall escape without suffering deadly
scathe? See that we change not our evil plight to worse, if any one
hears these words. It brings us no relief or benefit, if, after
winning fair fame, we die an ignominious death; for mere death is
not the bitterest, but rather when one who wants to die cannot
obtain even that boon.
Nay, I beseech thee, before we are utterly destroyed, and leave
our house desolate, restrain thy rage! I will take care that thy words
remain secret and harmless; and learn thou the prudence, at last