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Euripides - Iphigenia in Taurië

Bron: perseus.tufts.edu

Vertaald door Robert Potter, Random House, 1938

Betoog

Dit stuk is het vervolg op Iphigenia in Aulis maar speelt, jaren later, na afloop van de Trojaanse Oorlog, in Taurië. Hier is Iphigenia priesteres van Artemis nadat zij door deze godin van het altaar in Aulis is weggerukt en naar toe is gebracht toen haar vader haar wilde offeren voor een goede wind voor de uittocht naar Troje.

Personages

Iphigenia, dochter van Agamemnon en Clytaemnestra
Orestes, zoon van Agamemnon en Clytaemnestra
Pylades, neef van Orestes
Koor, van Griekse krijgsgevangen vrouwen
Koeherder
Thoas, koning van de Tauriërs
Bode
Athena, de godin

Scene

Voor de tempel van Artemis in Taurië (De Krim) komt Iphigenia op, als priesteres.

01. Proloog; regel 1;1-122

Iphigenia
Pelops, son of Tantalus, coming to Pisa with swift horses, married Oenomaus' daughter, and she gave birth to Atreus, whose children are Menelaus and Agamemnon; from him I was born, his child Iphigenia, by the daughter of Tyndareus. Where Euripus rolls about its whirlpools in the frequent winds and twists the darkening waves, my father sacrificed me to Artemis for Helen's sake, or so he thought, in the famous clefts of Aulis. For there lord Agamemnon mustered his expedition of a thousand ships of Hellas, wanting to take the crown of Troy in glorious victory and avenge the outrage to Helen's marriage, doing this favor for Menelaus. But when he met with dreadful winds that would not let him sail, he went to burnt sacrifices, and Calchas had this to say: “"Lord and general of Hellas, Agamemnon, you will not set free your ships from land until Artemis has your daughter Iphigenia as a victim. For you once vowed to sacrifice to the torch-bearing goddess the most beautiful creature brought forth that year; then your wife, Clytemnestra, bore a child in your house—ascribing the prize of beauty to me—whom you must sacrifice.” And by the craft of Odysseus, they took me from my mother, pretending a marriage with Achilles. I came to Aulis; held up high over the altar, I, the unhappy one, was about to die by the sword; but Artemis gave the Achaeans a deer in exchange for me and stole me from them; conducting me through the bright air, she settled me here in the land of the Taurians. A barbarian rules this land of barbarians: Thoas, who runs as quickly as the flight of birds, and so he received his name for his swiftness of foot. Artemis has made me the priestess in this temple. Here I begin the rites, which the goddess delights in, of a banquet noble in name only—I am silent as to the rest, for I fear the goddess— (for I sacrifice, by a custom of the city established earlier, any Hellene who comes to this land.) But others carry out the sacrifices, not to be spoken of, within the temple of the goddess. But the strange visions which the night brought with it, I will tell to the air, if that is any relief. I dreamed that I had left this land to live in Argos, and to sleep in the midst of the maidens' rooms; but the earth's back was shaken by a tossing swell. When I escaped and stood outside, I saw the cornice of the house fall, and the whole roof hurled in ruins on the ground, from the highest pillars. One support of my father's house was left, I thought, and it had yellow locks of hair waving from its capital, and took on human voice. In observance of the art of slaughtering strangers that I practice here, I gave it holy water as if it were about to die, while I wept. This is my interpretation of this dream: Orestes, whom I consecrated by my rites, is dead. For male children are the supports of the house; and those whom I purify with holy water die. I cannot connect this dream to my friends, for Strophius, when I perished, had no son.] Now I wish to give libations to my brother, though he is absent from me—for I would be able to do this—with the attendants given me by the king, Hellene women. But why are they not yet here? I will go inside this temple of the goddess where I live.

She goes into the temple. Orestes and Pylades enter cautiously.

Orestes
Look out, take care that no one is in the path.

Pylades
I am looking, and turning my eyes everywhere, in examination.

Orestes
Pylades, do you think this is the hall of the goddess, for which we set sail from Argos?

Pylades
Yes, Orestes; and you must think so too.

Orestes
And the altar, that drips with the slaughter of Hellenes?

Pylades
Its dedications of hair, at least, are red with blood.

Orestes
Do you see the spoils hanging from the very walls?

Pylades
Trophies of strangers that have been slain. But I must look all around and keep careful watch.

Orestes
O Phoebus, where have you again brought me into the snare, by your oracles, since I avenged my father's blood by the murder of my mother, and was driven by successive Furies, a fugitive, away from the land, and completed many winding courses; and coming to you I asked how I might arrive at an end to whirling madness and my labors, which I have carried out, wandering all over Hellas. . . . And you told me to go to the boundaries of the Tauric land, where Artemis, your sister, has an altar, and to take the statue of the goddess, which is said here to have fallen to this temple from heaven; and, taking it by craft of some stroke of luck, to complete the venture by giving it to the Athenian land—what was to come next was not spoken of—and if I did this, I would have rest from my labors. I have come here, obedient to your words, to an unknown, inhospitable land. I ask you, Pylades, for you are my accomplice in this task, what shall we do? You see that the surrounding walls are high; shall we ascend the steps leading up to the house? But how might we escape notice? Or loosening the bronze bars of the door with levers, of which we know nothing? If we are caught opening the gates and contriving an entrance, we shall die. No, but before we die, let us escape on the ship in which we sailed here.

Pylades
Flight is not to be endured, nor are we accustomed to it, and we must not bring reproach on the god's oracle; let us leave the temple and hide in a cave which the black sea washes with its moisture—far from the ship, so that no one, seeing it, may tell the ruler, and then seize us by force. But when the eye of gloomy night comes on, then we must dare to take the polished statue from the shrine, by any means. See where between the triglyphs there is an empty space to let ourselves down. The brave endure their labors, the cowardly are worth nothing at all.

Orestes
Yes, we did not come on a long sea voyage only to undertake a return home before the end; but you have spoken wel, we must obey. We should go wherever we can hide and escape notice. For it will not be the god's fault if his sacred oracle falls to the ground without effect. We must endure.

They go out. Iphigenia and the Chorus enter from the temple.

02. Opkomst koor; regel 2;123-235

Koor
Keep a holy silence, you who inhabit the double clashing rocks of the Black Sea! O daughter of Leto, Dictynna of the mountains, to your hall, to the golden walls of your temple with beautiful pillars, I, the servant of the holy key-holder, bend my holy virgin steps. For I have left the towers and walls of Hellas, famous for horses, and Europe with its forests, my father's home. I have come. What is the news? What is troubling you? Why have you brought me, brought me to the shrine, you who are the daughter of Atreus' son, master of a thousand ships and ten thousand soldiers, who came to the towers of Troy with a famous fleet?

Iphigenia
Oh! My servants, how I am involved in mournful dirges, in laments unfit for the lyre, of a song that is not melodious, alas! alas! wailing for my family. Ruin has come to me; I am lamenting the life of my brother, such a vision I saw in my dreams, in the night whose darkness is now over. I am lost, lost! My father's house is no more; alas for my vanished family, alas for the sufferings of Argos! O fate, I had one brother only and you carry him off and send him to Hades. For him, I am about to pour over the back of the earth these libations and the bowl of the dead: streams of milk from mountain cows, and offerings of wine from Bacchus, and the labor of the tawny bees; these sacrifices are soothing to the dead. Give me the golden vessel and the libation of Hades. O child of Agamemnon beneath the earth, I send these to you as one dead. Accept them; for I will not bring to your tomb my yellow hair or my tears. I live far indeed from your country and mine, where I am thought to lie, unhappily slaughtered.

Koor
I will sing for you, my mistress, responsive songs and a barbarian cry of Asian hymns; this song, dear to the dead, Hades sings in laments, in chants—not songs of triumph. Alas for the house of the Atreidae; the light of their scepter, alas, of the ancestral house, is lost. Once they ruled as prosperous kings in Argos, but troubles dart out from troubles: Pelops, on his horses swiftly whirling, made his cast; the sun changed from its seat the holy beam of its rays. One pain comes after another, to the house of the golden lamb. . . . from that earlier time when the Tantalids were killed, punishment came to the house, and fate presses what you do not want upon you.

Iphigenia
From the beginning my fate was unhappy, from that first night of my mather's marriage; from the beginning the Fates attendant on my birth directed a hard upbringing for me, wooed by Hellenes, the first-born child in the home, whom the unhappy daughter of Leda, by my father's fault, bore as a victim and a sacrifice not joyful, she brought me up as an offering. In the horse-drawn chariot, they set me as a bride on the sands of Aulis, oh woe, a wretched bride for the son of the Nereid, alas! But now, as a stranger I live in an unfertile home on this sea that is hostile to strangers, without marriage, or children, or city, or friends, not raising hymns to Hera at Argos, nor embroidering with my shuttle, in the singing loom, the likeness of Athenian Pallas and the Titans; but . . . a bloody fate, not to be hymned by the lyre, of strangers who wail a piteous cry and weep piteous tears. And now I must forget these things, and lament my brother, killed in Argos, whom I left at the breast, still a baby, still an infant, still a young child in his mother's arms and at her breast, the holder of the scepter in Argos, Orestes.

03. Eerste akte; regel 3;236-391

Koorleidster
Look, here comes a herdsman, who has left the shores of the sea to bring you some new message.

Een koeherder komt op.

Koeherder
Daughter of Agamemnon, and of Clytemnestra, hear a strange report from me.

Iphigenia
And what is amazing in your news?

Koeherder
Two young men have come to this land, fleeing the dark Symplegades in their ship, an offering and sacrifice pleasing to the goddess Artemis. Be quick to prepare the purifications and the first offerings.

Iphigenia
What country are the strangers from? How are they dressed?

Koeherder
They are Hellenes; I know this one thing, and nothing further.

Iphigenia
Can't you tell me their names? Did you hear them?

Koeherder
One was called Pylades by the other.

Iphigenia
What is the name of his companion?

Koeherder
No one knows; we didn't hear it.

Iphigenia
How did you see them? How did you come upon them and catch them?

Koeherder
At the edge of the breakers of the Black Sea

Iphigenia
And what do herdsmen have to do with the sea?

Koeherder
We came to wash our cattle in the salt water.

Iphigenia
Go back to the earlier question, how did you take them, and in what way, for I want to know this. They have come after a long time; the altar of the goddess has not yet been reddened by streams of Hellene blood.

Koeherder
When we were driving the cattle, that feed in the forest, into the sea that flows through the Symplegades, there was a broken cleft, hollowed by the constant surge of waves, shelter for those who hunt the purple-fish. Here one of the herdsmen saw two youths, and made a retreat on tip-toe. He said: “Don't you see them? These are deities that sit there.” One of us, who revered the gods, lifted up his hands and prayed, as he saw them: “O son of the sea-goddess Leukothea, guardian of ships, lord Palaemon, be propitious to us! Or do you sit on our shores, twin sons of Zeus? Or the darlings of Nereus, father of the chorus of fifty Nereids?” Another, who was foolish and bold in his lawlessness, laughed at the prayers and asserted that ship-wrecked sailors were sitting on the cliff, in fear of our custom, having heard that we sacrifice strangers here. Most of us thought that he spoke well, and that we ought to hunt down the customary offerings to the goddess. At this moment, one of the strangers left the rock, and stood, shaking his head up and down and groaning, with hands trembling, wandering in madness; and like a hunter, he cried aloud: “Pylades, do you see her? Don't you see hell's dragon, how she wants to kill me, fringed with her dreadful vipers against me? and the one who breathes fire and slaughter from her robe and wings her way, my mother in her arms—the rocky mass, how she hurls it at me! Ah, she will kill me! Where can I escape?” We could not see these shapes; but he alternated the sounds of sheep and howling of dogs . . . to send forth the Furies' imitations. Astonished, we cowered together and sat in silence; but he drew his sword and rushed like a lion into the midst of our cattle, striking their flanks with his iron sword and thrusting it into their sides, thinking in this way to ward off the Furies, so that the waves of the sea blossomed red with blood. And all of us, as we saw our herds falling and ravaged, took arms, blew our conch shells, and collected the neighbors; for we thought cowherds would make a poor fight of it against well-grown and young foreigners. After a long time, our numbers were complete. But the stranger fell down, his pulsing beat of madness gone, his chin dripping with foam; when we saw him, so conveniently fallen, each of us went to work, hurling and striking at him. The other stranger wiped off the foam and tended his body, covering him with a finely-woven robe, looking out for the attacking blows, treating his friend kindly with his care. The stranger, now in his senses, started up from his fall and realized the surge of enemies close at hand and the present danger to them both, with a groan; we did not let up our attack with stones, pressing hard from all sides. Then we heard his dreadful exhortation: “Pylades, we shall die, but let us die with glory; draw your sword, and follow me.” But when we saw our enemies brandishing their two swords, we fled and filled up the rocky glens. But while some would flee, others pressed on and attacked them; if they drove those back, the ones who had just given way struck them with stones again. But it was hard to believe; with so many hands, no one succeeded in hitting these offerings to the goddess. We got the better of them with difficulty; not by daring, but by surrounding them in a circle, with stones we took away their swords; they sank on their knees to the ground, in weariness. Then we brought them to the lord of this land. He saw them, and at once sent them to you, for purification and slaughter. You have prayed for such sacrificial victims as these strangers, lady; if you destroy them, Hellas will make atonement for your murder and pay the penalty for the sacrifice in Aulis.

Koorleidster
You have told an amazing story about this madman, whoever he is, who has come from Hellas to the Black Sea.

Iphigenia
Very well. You go and bring the strangers here; the holy rites will be my concern. De koeherder vertrekt. O my unhappy heart, you were gentle to strangers before, and always full of pity, measuring out tears for the sake of our common race, whenever Hellenes came into your hands. But now, after those dreams that have made me savage, thinking that Orestes is no longer alive, whoever comes here will find me harsh to them. This is true after all, my friends, I have realized: the unfortunate, when themselves doing badly, do not have kind thoughts towards those who are more unfortunate. But no breeze from Zeus ever came, or a boat, bringing Helen here, through the rocks of the Symplegedes—Helen who destroyed me, with Menelaus, so that I might avenge myself on them, setting an Aulis here against that one there, where the Danaids overpowered me and were going to sacrifice me like a calf, and my own father was the priest. Ah me!—I cannot forget those past evils—how often did I stroke my father's cheek and, hanging on his knees, told him: “O father, I am brought to a shameful betrothal by you; but while you are killing me, my mother and the Argive women are singing wedding hymns, and the whole house is filled with the music of flutes; but I am being destroyed by you. For Achilles was Hades after all, not the son of Peleus, whom you held out to me as a husband, and you brought me in a chariot to a bloody wedding by treachery.” But I was modestly looking out through a fine veil, and did not take up my brother in my arms—and now he is dead—did not kiss my sister, because I was going to the house of Peleus; I put off many embraces to another time, thinking that I would come back again to Argos. My unhappy Orestes, if you are dead, what glories have you left, what achievements of a father! I blame the goddess' subtleties; whichever mortal has engaged in murder, or has touched a woman in childbirth or a corpse, she drives from her altars, thinking him impure; but she herself delights in human sacrifices. It is not possible that Leto, the wife of Zeus, gave birth to such folly. I judge that the feast prepared by Tantalus for the gods is not to be believed, that they fed on the flesh of his son; and I think that the people here, who are themselves killers of men, ascribe to the goddess their sorry behavior. For I believe that no god is evil. Ze gaat de tempel in.

04. Eerste koorlied; regel 4;392-455

Koor - strofe
Dark straits of the sea, dark, where the gadfly flying from Argos crossed over the inhospitable wave . . . taking the Asian land in exchange for Europe. Whoever are the ones who left the lovely waters of Eurotas, green with reeds, or the holy streams of Dirce, to come here, to come to the unsociable land, where, for the divine maiden, the blood of mortals stains the altars and columned temples?

antistrofe
Did they sail the pine-wood oars with double beat of surge, over the waves of the sea, a chariot of a ship in breezes that move the linen sails, to increase the contest of wealth for their halls? For hope is sweet, and insatiable in mortals, to their hurt, for those who bear away the weight of wealth, wandering over the wave and crossing to barbarian cities, with one expectation. But thought of wealth comes at the wrong time for some, while for others it comes moderately.

strofe
The rocks that rush together, the sleepless shores of Phineus—how did they cross them, running along the salty coast on Amphitrite's surge, where the fifty daughters of Nereus . . . the circular choruses sing, with wind in the sails, the guiding rudder creaking under the stern, with southern breezes or by the blasts of the west wind, to the land of many birds, the white strand, Achilles' lovely race-course, over the Black Sea?

antistrofe
Would that, by my mistress' prayers, Helen, Leda's dear child, might happen to leave Troy and come here, where she might die, crowned over her hair by the bloody water, her throat cut by the hands of my mistress, and so pay her requital. But what a sweet message I should receive, if a sailor came from Hellas, to put an end to my wretched slavery! For may I even in dreams be at home and in my ancestral city, the enjoyment of pleasant sleep, a grace we have in common with prosperity.

05. Tweede akte; regel 5;456-657

Koorleidster
But here come the two youths, with tightly bound hands, the new sacrifice for the goddess; silence, my friends. These first-fruits of Hellas are indeed approaching the temple; the herdman did not deliver a false message. Lady Artemis, if this city carries out the rites in a way pleasing to you, accept the victims, which the custom among us declares to be unholy.

Iphigenia komt uit de tempel. Bewakers brengen de geboeide Orestes en Pylades.

Iphigenia
Enough; first, it will be my care to perform well the rites of the goddess. Unbind the strangers' hands, so that, as holy victims, they may no longer be in chains. Then go into the temple and make ready what is necessary and customary at the present time. Ah! Who was your mother, who gave you birth, and your father? And your sister, if you happen to have one . . . such two youths as she has lost, and will be without a brother! Who knows where such fortunes will arrive? For all the gods' affairs creep on in darkness, and no one knows evil . . . fate leads us on towards what we cannot know. Unhappy strangers, where have you come from? For you have sailed a long time to reach this land, and you will be away from your home a long time, in the world below.

Orestes
Why do you lament these things, and mourn for the evils about to come upon us, lady, whoever you are? I do not think the one who is about to die wise, if he wishes to conquer the fear of death by wailing, nor the one who laments when Hades is near and there is no hope of safety; for so he puts together two ills out of one, incurring a charge of folly and dying all the same; we must let fate alone. Do not grieve for us; for we are acquainted with the sacrifices here and we know them.

Iphigenia
Which of you is called by the name of Pylades? I want to know this first.

Orestes
That one, if you have any pleasure in the knowledge.

Iphigenia
Of what city of Hellas were you born a citizen?

Orestes
What would you gain by learning this, lady?

Iphigenia
Are you brothers, from one mother?

Orestes
By friendship, yes; we are not brothers by birth, lady.

Iphigenia
What name did your father give you?

Orestes
I might rightly be called Unfortunate.

Iphigenia
I do not ask that; ascribe that to fortune.

Orestes
If I die unnamed, I would not be mocked at.

Iphigenia
Why do you begrudge this? Are you so proud?

Orestes
You will sacrifice my body, not my name.

Iphigenia
Can you not say what city you are from?

Orestes
You are seeking nothing profitable, since I am going to die.

Iphigenia
What hinders you from doing me this favor?

Orestes
The famous Argos I claim as my native land.

Iphigenia
By the gods, truly, stranger, were you born there?

Orestes
Yes, from Mycenae, which was once prosperous.

Iphigenia
Have you left your country as an exile, or by what fate?

Orestes
My flight is in some manner willed and unwilled.

Iphigenia
Could you then tell me something that I wish to know?

Orestes
It will be no great addition to my own misfortune.

Iphigenia
Indeed, I am so glad that you have come from Argos!

Orestes
I am not; but if you are, take pleasure in it.

Iphigenia
Perhaps you know Troy, whose fame is everywhere.

Orestes
Would that I did not, even seen in a dream!

Iphigenia
They say it is no more, lost to the spear.

Orestes
It is so; you have heard nothing that has not happened.

Iphigenia
Has Helen come back to Menelaus' home?

Orestes
She has; it was an unfortunate arrival for one dear to me.

Iphigenia
And where is she? She deserves an ill turn from me also.

Orestes
She lives at Sparta with her former bedfellow.

Iphigenia
Creature hated by Hellas, not by me alone!

Orestes
I have also had some benefit from the marriage of that woman!

Iphigenia
Have the Achaeans returned, as reported?

Orestes
How you put everything together and ask me all at once!

Iphigenia
Before you die, I want to profit by your answers.

Orestes
Question me, since you desire this; I will tell you.

Iphigenia
Has a certain Calchas, a prophet, come back from Troy?

Orestes
He is dead, as the story goes in Mycenae.

Iphigenia
O goddess, how good that is! What about Odysseus?

Orestes
He has not yet returned, but is alive, they say.

Iphigenia
May he die and never achieve a return to his country!

Orestes
Do not pray against that man; all is misery for him.

Iphigenia
But is the son of Thetis the Nereid still alive?

Orestes
He is not; his marriage at Aulis was in vain.

Iphigenia
Yes, for it was a cheat, as those who experienced it know.

Orestes
Who are you? How well you ask about Hellas!

Iphigenia
I am from there; while still a child I was lost.

Orestes
Then rightly you desire to know what has happened there, lady.

Iphigenia
What about the general, who is said to be happy?

Orestes
Who? The one I knew was not happy.

Iphigenia
There was said to be a certain lord, Agamemnon, son of Atreus.

Orestes
I do not know; leave this subject, lady.

Iphigenia
No, by the gods, but tell me, stranger, to delight me.

Orestes
The wretched man is dead, and in addition he destroyed another.

Iphigenia
Dead? By what fate? I am unhappy!

Orestes
Why do you mourn for this? It doesn't concern you, does it?

Iphigenia
I grieve for his former prosperity.

Orestes
Yes, for he was dreadfully murdered by a woman.

Iphigenia
O miserable the slayer . . . and the slain!

Orestes
Stop now, and do not ask further.

Iphigenia
Only this much, if the wife of the wretched man is alive.

Orestes
She is not; she was killed by the son that she bore.

Iphigenia
O house thrown into confusion! What was his intent?

Orestes
To avenge on her the death of his father.

Iphigenia
Ah! How well he exacted an evil justice!

Orestes
Though he is just, he does not have good fortune from the gods.

Iphigenia
Did Agamemnon leave any other children in his house?

Orestes
He left one virgin daughter, Electra.

Iphigenia
What else? Is there any report of the daughter who was sacrificed?

Orestes
None, except that she is dead and does not see the light.

Iphigenia
Unhappy girl, and also the father that killed her!

Orestes
As a thankless favor to an evil woman, she died.

Iphigenia
Does the dead father's son live at Argos?

Orestes
He lives, the miserable one, both nowhere and everywhere.

Iphigenia
False dreams, farewell; after all, you were nothing.

Orestes
And those who are called wise divinities are not less false than winged dreams. These is much confusion, both in divine affairs and in human; but only this is a grief to the one who was not foolish, but trusted in the words of prophets and died—as he died to those that know.

Koorleidster
Ah! What about me, and my parents? Are they alive? Are they not? Who can say?

Iphigenia
Listen to me; I have come to a subject which means benefit both to you, strangers, and to me, by your efforts. A good action is especially so, if the same matter is pleasing to all. Would you, if I should save you, go to Argos and take a report of me to my friends there, and bring a tablet, which a captive wrote for me in pity? He did not think my hand murderous, but that the victims of the goddess, who holds these things just, die under the law. For I have had no one to go back to Argos with that message, who, being saved, would send my letter to one of my friends. But you—if, as it seems, you are not hostile to me, and you know Mycenae and those whom I want you to know—be rescued, and have this reward, not a shameful one, safety for the sake of this small letter. But let him, since the city exacts it, be the offering to the goddess, separated from you.

Orestes
Stranger, you have spoken all well but this: to sacrifice him would be a heavy grief to me. I am the pilot of these misfortunes, he sailed with me for the sake of my troubles. For it is not right for me to do you a favor and get out of danger, on condition of his death. But let it happen this way: give him the letter and he will take it to to Argos, for your well-being; let anyone who wishes kill me. It is most shameful for anyone to save himself by hurling his friends' affairs into catastrophe. That man is my friend, and I wish him to live, no less than myself.

Iphigenia
O brave spirit! How you were born from some noble stock, and are rightly a friend to your friends! May that one of my relatives who is left be such as you! For I am not without a brother, strangers, except in so far as I do not see him. Since you wish it, I will send this man with the tablet, and you will die; a great eagerness for this seems to possess you.

Orestes
Who will sacrifice me and dare such a dreadful deed ?

Iphigenia
I will; for I hold the office of this goddess.

Orestes
It is not envied, lady, and not blessed.

Iphigenia
But I am dedicated to necessity, which must be kept.

Orestes
Do you yourself, a woman, sacrifice men with the sword?

Iphigenia
No; but I sprinkle the holy water around your hair.

Orestes
Who is the slayer? If I may ask this.

Iphigenia
That charge belongs to those within this temple.

Orestes
What sort of tomb will receive me, when I die?

Iphigenia
The sacred fire within and the wide hollow of a cave.

Orestes
Ah! Would that my sister's hand might lay out my body!

Iphigenia
You have prayed in vain, unhappy youth, whoever you are; for she lives far from a barbarian land. Yet indeed, since you happen to be an Argive, I too will not leave out any favor that I can do. I will set much ornament on the tomb and quench your body with yellow oil, and throw onto your funeral pyre the gleaming honey, that streams from flowers, of the tawny mountain bee. But I will go and bring the tablet from the temple of the goddess; take care not to bear me ill-will. Guard them, attendants, without chains. Perhaps I will send unexpected news to one of my friends, whom I especially love, in Argos; and the tablet, in telling him that those whom he thought dead are alive, will report a joy that can be believed. Ze gaat de tempel in

In de volgende regels spreken Orestes en Pylades terwijl het koor zingt

Koor
I raise a lament for you; the drops from the holy water, mingled with blood, will soon take you into their care.

Orestes
This is not a case for pity, but farewell, strangers.

Koor
We honor you, young man, for your happy fate, because you will tread on your native land some day.

Pylades
An unenviable fate indeed for a friend, when his friend is to die.

Koor
O cruel mission! Ah, ah! You are destroyed! Alas, alas! Which is better? For still my mind disputes a double argument, shall I mourn for you or rather for you.

06. Derde akte; regel 6;658-1088

Orestes
By the gods, Pylades, do you feel the same thing I do?

Pylades
I do not know; I have no reply to your question.

Orestes
Who is the girl? How like a Hellene she questioned me about the labors in Ilium and the return of the Achaeans, and Calchas, wise in omens, and Achilles' name; and how she pitied the wretched Agamemnon, and asked me about his wife and children! This stranger is an Argive by race, and from that land; or she would not be sending the tablet and examining these things, as if she had some share in Argos' prosperity.

Pylades
You are not much ahead of me: I was about to say the same things you said, except this: all who move about in the world know what happens to kings. But I have arrived at another consideration.

Orestes
What is it? Share it with me so that you may know better.

Pylades
It is shameful for me to live when you are dead; I sailed together with you, and I ought to die together with you. For I will seem a coward and base in Argos and Phocis of the many mountain folds. Most will think—for most people are base—that I betrayed you and saved myself to come home alone, or I plotted your death, in the afflictions of your house, for the sake of your kingdom, since I married your sister and heiress. I fear these things and I am ashamed; and I must breathe my last with you, be slaughtered with you and consumed on the pyre; because I am your friend and I fear reproach.

Orestes
Hush! I must bear my own ills, and when the grief is single, I will not bear it double. What you call vile and infamous, would be mine, if I cause you, who have toiled with me, to die; for it is not a hardship for me, suffering as I do at the hands of the gods, to give up my life. But you are prosperous, and you have a house that is pure, not afflicted, while mine is impious and unfortunate. If you are saved and get sons from my sister, whom I gave to you for wife, my name would remain and the whole house of my father would not be wiped out in childlessness. But go, and live, and dwell in my father's house. And when you come to Hellas and to Argos of the horses, I charge you, by this right hand: heap up a tomb and build a memorial for me, and let my sister give her hair and tears to the tomb. Report that I died at the hand of an Argive woman, at an altar, purified for death. Do not ever betray my sister, when you see how lonely is my father's house that you have joined by marriage. And now farewell; I have found you the dearest of my friends, you who have hunted with me, grown up with me, and borne with me many miseries. Phoebus, though a prophet, has deceived me; creating his plot, he drove me far away from Hellas, ashamed of his earlier prophecies. I gave him my all and trusted in his words, killed my mother, and myself perish in turn.

Pylades
You will have a tomb, and I will never betray your sister's bed, unhappy youth, since I will hold you dearer when dead than when alive. But the prophecy of the god has not destroyed you yet; although you stand near to slaughter. Great misfortune can offer great reversals, when it is fated; it can indeed.

Orestes
Silence; the words of Phoebus are no benefit to me; here comes the woman out of the temple.

Iphigenia komt uit de tempel en heeft een brief bij zich.

Iphigenia
Go away and make the preparations within for those who attend to the sacrifice. De bewakers gaan de tempel in. Here are the many folds of the tablet, strangers. Hear what I want in addition. No man is the same when he is in troubles and when he falls out of fear into courage. I am afraid that when the one who is going to take this tablet to Argos leaves this land, he will put aside my letter as worth nothing.

Orestes
What do you want, then? What are you perplexed about?

Iphigenia
Let him give me an oath that he will convey this letter to Argos, to the friends to whom I wish to send it.

Orestes
And will you give in return the same words to him?

Iphigenia
To do what, or refrain from doing? Tell me.

Orestes
To send him from this barbarous land alive.

Iphigenia
What you say is right; how else could he deliver it?

Orestes
Will the king agree to this?

Iphigenia
Yes. I will persuade the king, and I myself will put this man on the ship.

Orestes
Swear; begin a pious oath.

Iphigenia
You must say: I will give this to your friends.

Pylades
I will give this letter to your friends.

Iphigenia
And I will see you safely outside the dark rocks.

Pylades
What god do you do you swear by, as witness to your oath?

Iphigenia
Artemis, in whose temple I hold office.

Pylades
And I swear by the king of heaven, revered Zeus.

Iphigenia
But if you leave off your oath, and wrong me?

Pylades
May I not return. What about you, if you do not save me?

Iphigenia
May I never set foot in Argos alive.

Pylades
Now listen to a consideration we have passed over.

Iphigenia
But it will be something new, if it is good.

Pylades
Give me this exception: if the ship suffers and the tablet is lost with its cargo in the waves, and I rescue myself only, may this oath not hinder me.

Iphigenia
Do you know what I will do? For many attempts hit many targets. I will tell you what is written in the folds of this tablet for you to report to my friends. For this is secure: if you preserve the writing, itself, though silent, will speak its message; if the writing is lost in the sea, when you save yourself, you will save my words.

Pylades
You have spoken well, on behalf of the gods and me. Make clear to whom I must bring this letter in Argos, and what I must say when I have heard it from you.

Iphigenia
Report to Orestes, the son of Agamemnon: the one slain at Aulis sends you this, Iphigenia, who is alive, though no longer alive to those there—

Orestes
Where is she? Has she come back from the dead??

Iphigenia
The one you are looking at; don't confuse me by your talk. Bring me to Argos, my brother, before I die. Take me away from the barbarian land and the sacrifices of the goddess, where I hold the office of killing foreigners.

Orestes
Pylades, what shall I say? Where have we found ourselves?

Iphigenia
Or I will be a curse to your house.

Pylades
Orestes?

Iphigenia
So that you may know the name, hearing it twice.

Pylades
O gods!

Iphigenia
Why do you invoke the gods in my affairs?

Pylades
No reason; finish your words; my thoughts were elsewhere. Perhaps, if I question you, I will not arrive at things I cannot believe.

Iphigenia
Tell him that Artemis saved me, by giving a deer in exchange for me; my father sacrificed it, thinking that he drove the sword sharply into me; and she settled me in this land. This is my letter, this is the writing in the tablet.

Pylades
You have bound me with an easy oath, and sworn very well. I will not take much time to carry out the oath I swore. See, Orestes, I bring you a tablet from your sister here, and give it to you.

Pylades geeft de brief aan Orestes

Orestes
I do receive it, but first I will pass over the letter's folds to take a joy that is not in words. My dearest sister, with what astonishment and delight I hold you in my unbelieving arms, after learning these marvels!

Koorleidster
Stranger, you are wrongly defiling the attendant of the goddess, by putting your hands on her robe that should not be touched.

Orestes
My own sister, born from my father Agamemnon, do not turn away from me, when you hold your brother and thought you never would!

Iphigenia
You are my brother? Stop this talk! He is well known in Argos and Nauplia.

Orestes
Unhappy girl, your brother is not there.

Iphigenia
But did Tyndareus' daughter, the Spartan, give birth to you?

Orestes
Yes, and my father was Pelops' grandson.

Iphigenia
What are you saying? Do you have some proof of this for me?

Orestes
I do; ask me something about our father's home.

Iphigenia
Well, it is for you to speak, for me to learn.

Orestes
I will say first what I have heard from Electra. Do you know of the strife that was between Atreus and Thyestes?

Iphigenia
I have heard of it; the quarrel concerned a golden ram.

Orestes
Did you not weave these things in a fine-textured web?

Iphigenia
O dearest, you are bending your course near to my heart!

Orestes
And the image of the sun in the middle of the loom?

Iphigenia
I wove that shape also, in fine threads.

Orestes
And you received a ceremonial bath from your mother, for Aulis?

Iphigenia
I know; for no happy marriage has taken that memory from me.

Orestes
What about this? You gave locks of your hair to be brought to your mother?

Iphigenia
As a memorial, in place of my body, in the tomb.

Orestes
What I myself have seen, I will say for proof: an old spear of Pelops, in my father's house, which he brandished in his hand when he won Hippodamia, the maiden of Pisa, and killed Oenomaus; it was hung up in your rooms.

In de volgende scene spreekt Orestes meestal zijn tekst, terwijl Iphigenia die zingt

Iphigenia
O dearest, for you are my dearest, none other, I have you, Orestes, far from our country of Argos, my darling.

Orestes
And I have you, who were thought to be dead. Tears, and laments mixed with joy, fill your eyes and also mine.

Iphigenia
I left you still a baby, young in the arms of your nurse, young in the house. O my soul, you have been more fortunate than words can say. I have come upon things that are beyond wonder, far from speech.

Orestes
For the rest of time, may we be fortunate with each other!

Iphigenia
O my friends, I have found an extraordinary joy; I am afraid that he will fly from my hands into the air. O Cyclopean hearths; o my country, dear Mycenae, I thank you for his life, for his nourishment, because you brought up this light of the house, my brother.

Orestes
We are fortunate in our family, but in our circumstances, my sister, we were born to be unfortunate in life.

Iphigenia
I was unhappy, I know, when my wretched father put the sword to my throat.

Orestes
Alas! Though I was not present, I seem to see you there.

Iphigenia
O brother, when I was brought, not a bride, to the treacherous bed of Achilles; but beside the altar there were tears and wails. Alas for the libations there!

Orestes
I also mourned for the daring act of our father.

Iphigenia
Fatherless was the fate I received, fatherless. One thing comes from another, by divine fortune.

Orestes
Yes, if you had killed your brother, unhappy one!

Iphigenia
O wretched, in my dreadful daring! How dreadful were the things I endured, alas, my brother! By only a little you escaped an unholy death, slain by my hands. But how will these things end? What fortune will assist me? What way will I find to send you from this city, from slaughter, to your native Argos, before the sword draws near to your blood? This is your business, unhappy soul, to find out. On the dry land, not in a ship? But if you go on foot, through trackless paths and barbarian tribes, you will draw near to death. But through the dark rocks of the narrow passage is a long way for flight by ship. I am unhappy, unhappy! Who, either god or mortal or something unexpected, might accomplish a way that is no way, and reveal a release from troubles for the only two children of the house of Atreus?

Koorleidster
It is marvelous and surpasses a fable, this event that I myself have have seen and shall relate, not as hearsay.

Pylades
When friends come into the sight of friends, Orestes, it is reasonable to embrace; but we must leave off wailing and turn to other matters: how we shall get the glorious name of safety and leave the foreign land. For wise men take opportunities, and do not overstep their fate to get other pleasures.

Orestes
Well said; but I think fortune will take care of that with us; when one is eager, divine strength is likely to be greater.

Iphigenia
Let nothing hold me back; nor will it prevent me speaking before I first find out Electra's fate, for you are all dear to me.

Orestes
She lives with this man, and has a happy life.

Iphigenia
What country is he from, and who is his father?

Orestes
Strophius of Phocis is the name of his father.

Iphigenia
He is related to me, by the daughter of Atreus?

Orestes
He is a cousin, and my only true friend.

Iphigenia
He was not born when my father tried to kill me.

Orestes
He was not; for Strophius was childless for some time.

Iphigenia
Welcome, husband of my sister!

Orestes
And also my savior, not only a relation.

Iphigenia
But how did you dare that dreadful deed with our mother?

Orestes
Let us be silent on that; I was avenging my father.

Iphigenia
What reason did she have to kill her husband?

Orestes
Let our mother's affairs be; nor is it good for you to hear.

Iphigenia
I am silent; does Argos now look to you?

Orestes
Menelaus rules there; I am an exile from my country

Iphigenia
Our uncle has surely not maltreated our afflicted house, has he?

Orestes
No, but fear of the Furies drives me out of the land.

Iphigenia
That was the madness that they reported there on the shore?

Orestes
That was not the first time that I was seen to be wretched.

Iphigenia
I know; the goddesses were driving you for the sake of your mother.

Orestes
So as to put a bloody bit in my mouth.

Iphigenia
Why have you made a journey to this land?

Orestes
I have come at the commands of Phoebus' oracles.

Iphigenia
To do what? Can you speak of it, or must you be silent?

Orestes
I will tell you; this is the beginning of my many troubles. When my mother's evil deeds, that I cannot speak of, came into my hands, I was driven to flight by the Furies' pursuit; then Loxias sent me to Athens, to stand trial with the goddesses who may not be named. For there is a holy tribunal there, which Zeus once established for Ares, when his hands were stained with blood-pollution. I came there . . . at first, no host would willingly take me in, as one hated by the gods; then some who felt shame offered me a table apart, as a guest, themselves being under the same roof, and in silence they kept me from speaking, so that I might be apart from them in food and drink, and into each private cup they poured an equal measure of wine and had their delight. And I did not think it right to blame my hosts, but I grieved in silence and seemed not to know, while I sighed deeply, that I was the murderer of my mother. I hear that my misfortunes have become a festival at Athens, and they still hold this custom and the people of Pallas honor the cup that belongs to the Feast of Pitchers. When I came to the hill of Ares to stand my trial, I took one seat, and the eldest of the Furies took the other. I spoke and heard arguments on the murder of my mother, and Phoebus saved me by bearing witness; Pallas counted out equal votes for me; and I went away victorious in my ordeal of blood. Some of the Furies who sat there, persuaded by the judgment, marked out a holy place for themselves beside this very tribunal; but others were not persuaded by the law, and drove me always in vagabond courses until I came to the holy plain of Phoebus in turn. Stretched out before his shrine and fasting, I swore to break off my life and die there, if Phoebus, who had destroyed me, did not save me. And then Phoebus cried out a golden voice from the tripod, and sent me here, to get the image Zeus hurled down, and set it up in Athena's land. But what he marked out for my safety you must help me with; for if we possess the statue of the goddess, I will be released from madness and will put you on my ship of many oars and establish you again in Mycenae. But, my beloved sister, save our father's house and save me; for so I perish and all the race of Pelops, unless we take the heavenly image of the goddess.

Koorleidster
A terrible anger from the gods has boiled up against the race of Tantalus and drives them through torments.

Iphigenia
Before you came here, I was eager to be in Argos and see you, my brother. Your wish is mine: to release you from torment, and restore our father's afflicted house, for I am not angry at the one who killed me; it is my wish. I would set my hand free from your slaughter and save our house. But I worry about concealment from the goddess and the king, when he finds the stone pedestal empty of the statue. How will I escape death? What argument will I have? But if this one thing happens all together, that you take the statue and bear me away on your lovely ship, the venture is a noble one. If I am separated from this, I am lost, but you might settle your affairs well and have a safe return. Indeed, I do not shrink from it, not even if I must die to save you. No, for when a man dies and is gone from the home, he is longed for; but women are powerless.

Orestes
I would not be the murderer of you as well as my mother; her blood is enough; I would rather have an equal share of life or death, in common with you. I will bring you home, if I myself escape from here, or if I die, I will remain here with you. Listen to what I think: if Artemis were hostile to this, how could Loxias have prophesied that I would take the statue of the goddess to Pallas' city . . . and see your face. Putting all these things together, I have hope of our return.

Iphigenia
But how may we live, and take what we want? For our return home suffers from this; but the will is present.

Orestes
Could we murder the king?

Iphigenia
A fearful suggestion, for foreigners to kill their host!

Orestes
But we must dare it, if it brings our safety.

Iphigenia
I could not; yet I approve your eagerness.

Orestes
What if you were to hide me secretly in the shrine?

Iphigenia
So that we might take advantage of the darkness and escape?

Orestes
Yes, for the night belongs to thieves, the light to truth.

Iphigenia
There are secred guards within, who will notice us.

Orestes
Alas, we are ruined! How can we be saved?

Iphigenia
I think I have a new stratagem.

Orestes
What is it? Let me know; share your thought.

Iphigenia
I will use your sorrows as my contrivance.

Orestes
Women are wonderfully good at devising crafty plans!

Iphigenia
I will say that you came from Argos after killing your mother.

Orestes
Make use of my troubles, if you gain by it.

Iphigenia
And that it is not right to sacrifice you to the goddess.

Orestes
With what reason? I have a suspicion.

Iphigenia
Because you are not pure; I will frighten what is sacred.

Orestes
How does this help us to seize the statue of the goddess?

Iphigenia
I shall want to purify you in the waves of the sea—

Orestes
The image that we have sailed for is still in the temple.

Iphigenia
I will say that I have washed that also, since you have touched it.

Orestes
Where? Do you mean the watery inlet of the sea?

Iphigenia
Where your ship is moored by its roped anchor.

Orestes
Will you or some other bear the image in your hands?

Iphigenia
I shall; it is holy for me alone to touch it.

Orestes
But Pylades here—how will he be assigned to our labor?

Iphigenia
His hands, it will be said, are stained like yours with blood-pollution.

Orestes
Will you do all this secretly from the king, or with his knowledge?

Iphigenia
I shall persuade him; I could not hide it from him.

Orestes
Well then, my ship, with its quick stroke of oars, is at hand.

Iphigenia
You must indeed take care of the rest, so that it goes well.

Orestes
We need only one thing more, that these women conceal our plans; you approach them and find persuasive words. A woman has power over pity. The rest, perhaps. May all turn out well!

Iphigenia
My dearest friends, I look to you; I am in your hands, whether I am to succeed, or come to nothing and lose my country, and my dear brother and dearest sister. And first of all, I begin my speech with this: we are women, and have hearts naturally formed to love each other, and keep our common interests most secure. Be silent for us and assist us in our flight. It is good to have trustworthy speech. You see how one fortune holds us three, most dear to each other, either to return to our native land, or to die. If I am saved, I will bring you safe to Hellas, so that you may share my fortune. By your right hand, I entreat you, and you, and you; you by your dear face, by your knees, by all that is dearest to you in your home: father, mother, child, if you have children. What do you reply? Who agrees with us, or is not willing to do this—speak! For if you do not acquiesce in my words, both I and my unhappy brother must die.

Koorleidster
Have courage, dear mistress, only see to your safety; I will be silent on all that you have charged me with—great Zeus be my witness.

Iphigenia
Bless you for your words, may you be happy! Tegen Orestes en Pylades It is your work now, and yours, to enter the temple; for soon the ruler of this land will come, inquiring if the sacrifice of the strangers has been carried out. Lady Artemis, you who saved me from my father's slaughtering hand by the clefts of Aulis, save me now also, and these men; or through you Loxias' prophetic voice will no longer be held true by mortals But leave this barbarian land for Athens with good will; it is not fitting for you to dwell here, when you could have so fortunate a city.

Orestes, Pylades, en Iphigenia gaan de tempel in

07. Tweede koorlied; regel 7;1089-1152

Koor - strofe
Halcyon bird, you that sing your fate as a lament beside the rocky ridges of the sea, a cry easily understood by the wise, that you are always chanting for your husband; I, wingless bird that I am, compare my laments with yours, in my longing for the festivals of Hellas, and for Artemis of childbirth, who dwells beside the Cynthian mountain and the palm with delicate leaves and the well-grown laurel and the holy shoot of gray-green olive, Leto's dear child, and the lake that rolls about its ripples, where the melodious swan serves the Muses.

antistrofe
O streams of tears that fell onto my cheeks, when my city was destroyed and the enemy forced me to sail, by their oars, by their spears! Purchased by gold, I came to a barbarian home, where I serve Agamemnon's daughter, the attendant maid of the deer-killing goddess, and the altars where no sheep are sacrificed; and I envy ruin that is wretched throughout, for when you are brought up in harsh necessity, you do not suffer. Misery changes; life is hard for mortals, when they are treated badly after happiness.

strofe
And you, lady, the Argive penteconter will bear you home; the wax-bound reed of the mountain god Pan, piping, will shout to the oars, and Phoebus the prophet, with the ring of his seven-stringed lyre, singing, will guide you well to the gleaming land of the Athenians. Leaving me here, you will go with splashing oars. In the breeze, the forestays of the ship that carries you swiftly will spread out over the front beyond the prow.

antistrofe
May I come to the bright race-course, where the sun's fire goes; over the chambers of my home, may I cease to flutter the wings on my back. May I take my stand in the dances of glorious marriages, where I stood as a maiden, twirling about in the dancing bands of other girls, away from my dear mother; rushing on to the contest of charms, the luxuriant strife of hair, I covered my cheeks with the multi-colored veil and shadowed them with the locks of my hair.

08. Vierde akte; regel 8;1153-1233

Thoas en zijn gevolg komen op

Thoas
Where is the gate-keeper of this temple, the woman of Hellas? Has she already begun the rites on the strangers? Are they glowing with fire in the holy sanctuary?

Koorleidster
Here she is, to tell you everything clearly, lord.

Iphigenia komt de tempel uit. Ze draagt het heilige beeld van Artemis

Thoas
Oh! Daughter of Agamemnon, why have you lifted up in your arms the statue of the goddess from its pedestal that must not be moved?

Iphigenia
Lord, stand there in the entrance!

Thoas
Iphigenia, what has happened in the temple?

Iphigenia
I spit out the pollution; I say this for Holiness.

Thoas
What is this news in your introduction? Tell it clearly.

Iphigenia
The victims you caught for me are not pure, lord.

Thoas
What taught you this? Or are you only saying what you think?

Iphigenia
The image of the goddess turned back from its place.

Thoas
By itself, or did an earthquake turn it?

Iphigenia
By itself; it closed up its eyes.

Thoas
What was the reason? Was it the uncleanness of the strangers?

Iphigenia
That was the reason, and nothing else; for they have done dreadful things.

Thoas
What, have they killed one of the barbarians on the shore?

Iphigenia
They come with murder done at home.

Thoas
What murder? For I strongly want to know.

Iphigenia
They killed their mother together with their swords.

Thoas
Apollo! No barbarian would have dared this.

Iphigenia
They were driven in pursuit from all of Hellas.

Thoas
Is it for this that you bring the statue outside?

Iphigenia
Yes, to the holy air, to remove it from slaughter.

Thoas
How did you know the blood-pollution of the strangers?

Iphigenia
I questioned them, because the image of the goddess had turned back.

Thoas
Hellas has brought you up to be clever; how well you understood this.

Iphigenia
And yet they dangled a sweet lure for my heart.

Thoas
Reporting to you some charm of news from Argos?

Iphigenia
That Orestes, my only brother, is happy.

Thoas
So that you might save them, for the delight of their messages.

Iphigenia
And that my father is alive and doing well.

Thoas
But you turned to the goddess, with reason.

Iphigenia
Yes, for I hate all Hellas, which has ruined me.

Thoas
Tell me, what shall we do with the strangers?

Iphigenia
We must reverence the law as it stands.

Thoas
But the libations and your sword are not at work?

Iphigenia
First I want to wash them, with holy purification.

Thoas
In fountain waters, or the drops of the sea?

Iphigenia
The sea washes away all men's evils.

Thoas
They would certainly be holier victims for the goddess.

Iphigenia
And in this way my plans would succeed better.

Thoas
Doesn't the wave beat against this very temple?

Iphigenia
This requires solitude; and I shall do more.

Thoas
Then where you wish; I do not want to see what should not be seen.

Iphigenia
I must purify the image of the goddess also.

Thoas
Yes, if a stain from the matricide has fallen on it.

Iphigenia
For I would not have lifted it from its base otherwise.

Thoas
Your piety and forethought are correct.

Iphigenia
Do you know what to do for me now?

Thoas
It is for you to make it known.

Iphigenia
Put chains on the strangers.

Thoas
Where could they escape you?

Iphigenia
Hellas knows no faith.

Thoas
Go to get chains, attendants.Some attendants go out.

Iphigenia
And let them bring the strangers here.

Thoas
It will be so.

Iphigenia
And veil their faces with their robes.

Thoas
Before the light of the sun.

Iphigenia
And send some of your servants with me.

Thoas
These will attend you.

Iphigenia
And send someone to announce to the city—

Thoas
That what has happened?

Iphigenia
That all remain indoors.

Thoas
So that they do not come in contact with murder?

Iphigenia
Yes, for such things are polluted.

Thoas
Go and announce—

Iphigenia
That no one come near the sight.An attendant departs.

Thoas
You are taking good care of the city

Iphigenia
And of the friends to whom I owe the most.

Thoas
You mean this for me.

Iphigenia
. . .

Thoas
The whole city marvels at you, with reason.

Iphigenia
You stay here before the shrine of the goddess.

Thoas
What shall I do?

Iphigenia
Purify the house with fire.

Thoas
So that you may return to find it pure.

Iphigenia
When the strangers come outside—

Thoas
What must I do?

Iphigenia
Hold your robe over your eyes.

Thoas
So that I do not receive the pollution.

Iphigenia
If I seem to delay too long

Thoas
What limit of the delay should I keep in mind?

Iphigenia
Do not wonder at it.

Thoas
Carry out the rites of the goddess well, since you have leisure.

Iphigenia
May this purification fall out as I wish!

Thoas
I pray along with you.

Iphigenia
I see the strangers coming out of the temple now, and the ornaments of the goddess and the new-born lambs, because I will wash blood-pollution away with blood, and the flash of torches and all the rest that I have set out as purification for the strangers and the goddess. I proclaim to the citizens to keep away from this pollution, if any guard of the temple is purifying his hands for the gods, or if anyone is coming to form a marriage alliance, or is weighted down by childbirth— begone, stand away, so that this defilement does not fall on anyone. O lady, maiden daughter of of Leto and Zeus, if I cleanse the stain of murder from these men, and make the sacrifice where I ought to make it, you will dwell in a pure home, and we will be fortunate. I do not speak the rest, but I indicate it to those who know more, the gods and you, goddess.

Iphigenia, die het beeld draagt, voegt zich bij de stoet en vertrekt. Thoas en zijn gevolg naderen de tempel

09. Derde koorlied; regel 9;1234-1283

Koor - strofe
Lovely is the son of Leto, whom she, the Delian, once bore in the fruitful valleys, golden-haired, skilled at the lyre; and also the one who glories in her well-aimed arrows. For the mother, leaving the famous birth-place, brought him from the ridges of the sea to the heights of Parnassus, with its gushing waters, which celebrate the revels for Dionysus. Here the dark-faced serpent with brightly colored back, his scales of bronze in the leaf-shaded laurel, huge monster of the earth, guarded Earth's prophetic shrine. You killed him, o Phoebus, while still a baby, still leaping in the arms of your dear mother, and you entered the holy shrine, and sit on the golden tripod, on your truthful throne distributing prophecies from the gods to mortals, up from the sanctuary, neighbor of Castalia's streams, as you dwell in the middle of the earth.

antistrofe
But when he came and sent Themis, the child of Earth, away from the holy oracle of Pytho, Earth gave birth to dream visions of the night; and they told to the cities of men the present, and what will happen in the future, through dark beds of sleep on the ground; and so Earth took the office of prophecy away from Phoebus, in envy, because of her daughter. The lord made his swift way to Olympus and wound his baby hands around the throne of Zeus, to take the wrath of the earth goddess from the Pythian home. Zeus smiled, that the child so quickly came to ask for worship that pays in gold. He shook his locks of hair, to put an end to the night voices, and took away from mortals the truth that appears in darkness, and gave the privilege back again to Loxias, and to mortals confidence in the songs of prophecy at the throne visited by many men.

10. Vijfde akte; regel 10;1284-1499

Er nadert een bode

Bode
O you that guard the temple and stand by the altar, where has Thoas, the lord of this land, gone? Open the well-fastened gates, and call forth from this shrine the ruler of the land.

Koorleidster
What is it, if I may speak when not commanded?

Bode
The two young men are gone away, through the plots of Agamemnon's daughter; they are escaping from this land, with the holy image deep within a Hellene ship.

Koorleidster
What you say is incredible; but the one you want to see, the lord of the country, has gone in haste from the temple.

Bode
Where? For he should know what has been done.

Koorleidster
We don't know; but go after him, and report these things to him where you find him.

Bode
See, what a faithless race you women are! You also have a share in what has been done.

Koorleidster
You are mad! What do we have to do the the flight of the strangers? Go as quickly as you can to the ruler's door!

Bode
No! Not until this interpreter brings word if the king is inside or not. Schreeuwend Ho there! Unbar the doors—I am speaking to those within— and inform the master that I am at the gate with a burden of bad news.

Thoas en zijn bedienden verschijnen voor de tempel

Thoas
Who is raising this clamor at the temple of the goddess, striking at the gates and sending his noise within?

Bode
Ah! These women told me that you were outside; they would have driven me away from the temple, but you were inside after all.

Thoas
What advantage were they expecting and hunting after?

Bode
I will tell you about them later; hear what is currently at hand. The girl who presided at this altar, Iphigenia, has left the country with the strangers, and takes with her the holy statue of the goddess; the purification was a cheat.

Thoas
What are you saying? What influence in her character brought her to this?

Bode
To save Orestes; here is a marvel for you!

Thoas
To save whom? Clytemnestra's son?

Bode
The one whom the goddess was dedicating to herself at this altar.

Thoas
Marvelous! for what more can it be called?

Bode
Do not think of that, but listen to me; consider it clearly and when you hear, devise a pursuit to hunt down the strangers.

Thoas
Speak; you have said well; for their flight is not so brief a voyage as to escape my spear.

Bode
When we came to the sea-shore, where Orestes' ship was moored in hiding, Agamemnon's daughter motioned to those of us you sent with the strangers' bonds to stand far off, as if her sacrifice of purifying flame, that she had come for, were secret. But she went on alone, holding the strangers' chains in her hands, behind them. Your servants, lord, were suspicious, but we allowed it. After a while, so that we might think that she was accomplishing something, she raised a shout, and chanted strange songs and spells, as if she were washing off the pollution of murder. When we had sat a long time, it occurred to us that the strangers, loosed from their bonds, might kill her and escape by flight. But we were afraid of seeing what we ought not, and sat in silence. But at length we all resolved to go where they were, although we were not allowed. There we saw a Hellene ship, winged with ready blade for the stroke, and at the oar-locks were fifty rowers with their oars; the two youths stood by the stern, freed from their chains. Some were holding the prow in place with poles; others were fastening the anchor from the cat-heads; others were drawing the stern-cables through their hands, and making haste to let down the ladders into the sea for the strangers. Without sparing ourselves, when we saw their treacherous wiles, we seized the priestess and the cables, and tried to draw the ship's rudder-oars out through their holes. Then there was a debate: “What is your reason for carrying the statue and the priestess away from the land by theft? Who is your father, who are you, to smuggle her away?” He said: “Know that I am Orestes, her brother, Agamemnon's son, and I have come to take my sister, whom I lost from her home.” But we held her no less, and were leading her to you by force, for which I received these dreadful blows on my cheeks; they had no swords, nor did we. Both the youths gave rattling blows with their fists, darting their limbs against our sides and breasts, so that as soon as we joined battle, we were worn out. We were fleeing to the cliff, stamped with dreadful marks, some with bloody wounds on their heads, others on their eyes; when we stood on the on the heights, we fought more cautiously and hurled rocks at them. But, standing on the stern, the archers with their arrows kept us off and drove us away. And now an immense swelling wave ran the ship aground, and the maiden was afraid to get her feet wet. Orestes bore his sister on his left arm, going into the sea and quickly up the ladder, and he set her on the ship, along with the statue of Zeus' daughter, fallen from heaven. From the middle of the ship, he cried out: “Sailors of Hellas, seize the ship with the oars and make the waves white with foam; for we possess those things for which we sailed the inhospitable straits, within the clashing rocks.” They gave a cheerful shout, and struck the salt wave. The ship, while it was within the harbor, was headed for the mouth; but when it had crossed, it met with a violent swell aand was hard pressed; and the wind, rising with sudden dreadful gusts, forced it astern. They beat the waves strongly; but the swell was driving the ship back towards the land. Agamemnon's daughter stood up and prayed: “O daughter of Leto, bring me, your priestess, safely to Hellas from this barbaric land, and forgive my thefts. For you, goddess, love your brother; believe that I love mine also.” The sailors shouted the paean in response to her prayer, and applied their naked shoulders to the oars, at the command. But the ship came nearer and nearer to the rocks; some of us rushed into the sea, others grasped the woven ropes. And I set out here to you at once, lord, to tell you what has happened there. But go, take chains and nets with you; for if the swell does not become calm, there is no hope of safety for the strangers. Revered Poseidon, ruler of the sea, watches over Troy and is hostile to the race of Pelops; he will now allow you and your citizens, as is right, to have in your hands the son of Agamemnon and his sister; she stands convicted as betrayer of her unremembered sacrifice to the goddess in Aulis.

Koorleidster
Unhappy Iphigenia, you will die with your brother, if you come again into the hands of the king.

Thoas
All citizens of this barbarian land, hurl the reins on your horses, rush to the coast and seize what the Hellene ship casts forth! With the goddess' help, be eager to hunt down these impious men! Drag the swift ships to the sea! So that by sea and with pursuit on horseback by land, you may take them; and hurl their bodies from the hard rock, or impale them on the stake. As for you women, who knew about these plots, I will punish you later, when I am at leisure. But now in this present urgency, I will not remain still.

Athena verschijnt boven de tempel

Athena
Where, where are you carrying this pursuit, lord Thoas? Listen the words of Athena, who is here. Cease to follow or to send an army pouring forth; for Orestes came here, destined by the oracles of Loxias, to flee from the anger of the Furies, and to bring his sister to Argos and take the holy statue to my land, thus gaining a release from his present miseries. Thoas, I am speaking to you: you expect to take Orestes in the sea-swell and kill him; but Poseidon, for my sake, now lets him sail over the back of the waveless sea. And you, Orestes, attend to my commands, for you hear the goddess' voice even though not present: go away with the statue and your sister; and when you come to Athens, built by the gods, there is a place on the farthest borders of the Attic land, neighbor to the ridge of Carystia, sacred, and my people call it Halae. There build a temple and set up the image in it; it will have its name from the Tauric land and from your labors, which you have endured, wandering through Hellas and goaded by the Furies. And mortals will in future times celebrate Artemis Tauropolos with hymns. And establish this law: whenever the people keep the festival, let a sword be held to a man's throat and draw out blood, in atonement for your sacrifice, so that the goddess may have her honors, and holiness is revered. You, Iphigenia, must be key-holder for this goddess on the hallowed stairs of Brauron, and will die there and be buried; and they will dedicate adornment to you, finely-woven robes which women who have died in childbirth leave in their homes. I charge you to send these Hellene women to their country, for their correct intentions. . . . For I saved you before also, Orestes, on Ares' hill when the votes were equal; and this will be the custom, for the one with equal votes to win. But, son of Agamemnon, take your sister away from this land. And you, Thoas, do not be angry.

Thoas
Lady Athena, whoever hears the words of the gods and does not obey, is not thinking rightly. I am not angry at Orestes, for going off with the goddess' image, or at his sister; for what good is it to contend against the strength of gods? Let them go to your land with the statue of the goddess, and let them establish it there, with good fortune. I will send these women also to fortunate Hellas, as you bid me. And I will stop the army and the ships I raised against the strangers, as you think this right, goddess.

Athena
I commend you; for necessity rules both you and the gods. Go, winds, carry the son of Agamemnon to Athens by sea; I will journey with them, and keep safe the holy image of my sister.

Koor
Go with good fortune, blessed in having your portion of safety. Pallas Athena, holy among immortals and mortals, we will do as you command. For we receive your voice in our ears with great and unexpected pleasure. Greatly revered Victory, may you occupy my life and never cease to crown me!

© 2017 Maarten Hendriksz