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Works by Sophocles
Pages of Electra

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My resolve is not new, but long since fixed.
Then I will go; thou canst not be brought to approve my words, nor
to commend thy conduct.
Nay, go within; never will I follow thee, however much thou
mayst desire it; it were great folly even to attempt an idle quest.
Nay, if thou art wise in thine own eyes, be such wisdom thine;
by and by, when thou standest in evil plight, thou wilt praise my
(CHRYSOTHEMIS goes into the palace.)
CHORUS (singing)

strophe 1

When we see the birds of the air, with sure instinct, careful to
nourish those who give them life and nurture, why do not we pay
these debts in like measure? Nay, by the lightning-flash of Zeus, by
Themis throned in heaven, it is not long till sin brings sorrow.
Voice that comest to the dead beneath the earth, send a piteous
cry, I pray thee, to the son of Atreus in that world, a joyless
message of dishonour;

antistrophe 1

tell him that the fortunes of his house are now distempered;
while, among his children, strife of sister with sister hath broken
the harmony of loving days. Electra, forsaken, braves the storm alone;
she bewails alway, hapless one, her father's fate, like the
nightingale unwearied in lament; she recks not of death, but is
ready to leave the sunlight, could she but quell the two Furies of her
house. Who shall match such noble child of noble sire?

strophe 2

No generous soul deigns, by a base life, to cloud a fair repute,
and leave a name inglorious; as thou, too, O my daughter, hast
chosen to mourn all thy days with those that mourn, and hast spurned
dishonour, that thou mightest win at once a twofold praise, as wise,
and as the best of daughters.

antistrophe 2

May I yet see thy life raised in might and wealth above thy
foes, even as now it is humbled beneath their hand! For I have found
thee in no prosperous estate; and yet, for observance of nature's
highest laws, winning the noblest renown, by thy piety towards Zeus.

(ORESTES enters, with PYLADES
and two attendants, one of them carrying a funeral urn.)

Ladies, have we been directed aright, and are we on the right path
to our goal?
And what seekest thou? With what desire hast thou come?
I have been searching for the home of Aegisthus.
Well, thou hast found it; and thy guide is blameless.
Which of you, then, will tell those within that our company,
long desired, hath arrived?

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