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Euripides - Orestes

Bron: perseus.tufts.edu

Vertaald door E.P. Coleridge, New York, Random House. 1938

Betoog

Dit stuk van Euripides sluit aan op ‘Electra’ en handelt over de nasleep van de moedermoord. Anders dan bij Aeschylus is Orestes niet het land uit gevlucht, maar ligt hij, door het volk belegerd, thuis ziek op bed, geplaagd door aanvallen van waanzin en verpleegd door Electra. Na de dubbele moord zijn vijf dagen verstreken. De volksvergadering van Argos zal bijeenkomen om het vonnis uit te spreken

Personages

Electra, zus van Orestes
Helena, vrouw van Menelaüs; tante van Orestes
Koor, van vrouwen uit Argos
Orestes, zoon van Agamemnon en Clytaemnestra
Menelaüs, broer van Agamemnon; oom van Orestes
Tyndareus, vader van Clytaemnestra ; grootvader van Orestes
Pylades, neef van Orestes
Boodschapper
Hermione, dochter van Helena
Phrygiër, slaaf van Helena
Apollo, orakelgod

Scene

Voor het koninklijk paleis in Argos. Het is vijf dagen na de moord op Clytaemnestra en Aegisthus. Orestes ligt in bed voor het paleis en waakt Electra bij hem.

01. Proloog; regel 1;1-70

Electra
There is nothing so terrible to describe, or suffering, or heaven-sent affliction, that human nature may not have to bear the burden of it. The blessed Tantalus—and I am not now taunting him with his misfortunes— Tantalus, the reputed son of Zeus, flies in the air, quailing at the rock which looms above his head; paying this penalty, they say, for the shameful weakness he displayed in failing to keep a bridle on his lips, when admitted by gods, though he was a man, to share the honors of their feasts like one of them. He begot Pelops, the father of Atreus, for whom the goddess, when she had carded her wool, spun a web of strife—to make war with his own brother Thyestes. But why need I retrace that hideous tale? Well, Atreus slew Thyestes' children and feasted him on them. Atreus, now; I pass over intermediate events; from Atreus and Aerope of Crete were born the famous Agamemnon, if he really was famous, and Menelaus. Now Menelaus married Helena, the gods' abhorrence; while lord Agamemnon married Clytemnestra, notorious in Hellas; and we three daughters were born: Chrysothemis, Iphigenia, and myself, Electra; also a son Orestes; all from that one accursed mother, who slew her husband, after snaring him in an inextricable robe. Her reason a maiden's lips may not declare, and so I leave it unclear for the world to guess at. What need for me to charge Phoebus with wrong-doing? Though he persuaded Orestes to slay his own mother, a deed that few approved. Still it was his obedience to the god that made him kill her; I had a share in the murder, in so far as a woman could, and Pylades, who helped us to bring it about. After this my poor Orestes, wasting away in a cruel disease, lies fallen on his couch, and it is his mother's blood that drives him round and round in frenzied fits; I am ashamed to name the goddesses, whose terrors are chasing him—the Eumenides. It is now the sixth day since the body of his murdered mother was committed to the cleansing fire; since then no food has gone down his throat, nor has he washed his skin; but wrapped in his cloak he weeps in his lucid moments, whenever the fever leaves him; at other times he bounds headlong from his couch, as a colt when it is loosed from the yoke. This city of Argos has decreed that no man give us shelter in home or hearth, or speak to matricides like us; and this is the fateful day on which the Argives will take a vote, whether we are both to die by stoning. Or to whet the steel and plunge it in our necks. There is, it is true, one hope of escape from death: Menelaus has landed from Troy; his fleet now crowds the haven of Nauplia where he has come to anchor on the shore, returned at last from Troy after ceaseless wanderings; but Helena, that so-called lady of sorrows, he has sent on to our palace, waiting for the night, lest any of those parents whose sons died at Troy might see her if she went by day, and set to stoning her. Within she sits, weeping for her sister and the calamities of her family, and yet she has still some solace in her woe; for Hermione, the child she left at home when she sailed for Troy, the maid whom Menelaus brought from Sparta and entrusted to my mother's keeping, is still a cause of joy to her and a reason to forget her sorrows. I am watching each approach, until I see Menelaus arriving; for unless we find some safety from him, we have only a feeble anchor to ride on otherwise. A helpless thing, an unlucky house!

02. Eerste akte; regel 2;71-315

Helena komt op vanuit het paleis

Helena
Daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon, unhappy Electra, a maiden for so long, how is it with you and your brother, this ill-starred Orestes who slew his mother? For referring the sin as I do to Phoebus, I incur no pollution by addressing you; and yet I am truly sorry for the death of my sister Clytemnestra, whom I never saw after I was driven by heaven-sent frenzy to sail as I did to Ilium; but now that I am parted from her, I bewail our misfortunes.

Electra
Helena, why should I speak of that which your own eyes can see? Agamemnon's house in misfortune. Beside his wretched corpse I sit, sleepless—for corpse he is, so faint his breath— not that I reproach him with his sufferings; but you are highly blessed and your husband too. You have come upon us in the hour of adversity.

Helena
How long has he lain in this way on the couch?

Electra
Ever since he spilt his mother's blood.

Helena
Unhappy wretch! unhappy mother! what a death she died.

Electra
Unhappy enough to succumb to his misery.

Helena
By the gods, would you hear me a moment, maiden?

Electra
Yes, with such leisure as this watching over a brother leaves.

Helena
Will you go for me to my sister's tomb?

Electra
Would you have me seek my mother's tomb? Why?

Helena
To carry an offering of hair and a libation from me.

Electra
Isn't it right for you to go to the tomb of one you love?

Helena
No, for I am ashamed to show myself in Argos.

Electra
A late repentance surely for one who left her home so shamefully then.

Helena
You have told the truth, but your telling is not kind to me.

Electra
What is this supposed shame before the eyes of Mycenae that possesses you?

Helena
I am afraid of the fathers of those who lie dead at Ilium.

Electra
Good cause for fear; your name is on every tongue in Argos.

Helena
Then free me of my fear and grant me this favor.

Electra
I could not bear to look upon my mother's grave.

Helena
And yet it would be shame indeed for servants to bear these offerings.

Electra
Then why not send your daughter Hermione?

Helena
It is not good for maidens to go into a crowd.

Electra
And yet she would be repaying her dead foster-mother's care.

Helena
You have told the truth and have convinced me, maiden. Yes, I will send my daughter for you are right. Hermione, my child, come out, before the palace. Hermione and attendants come out of the palace. Take these libations and these tresses of mine in your hands, and go pour round Clytemnestra's tomb a mingled cup of honey, milk, and frothing wine; then stand upon the heaped-up grave, and say this: “Helena, your sister, sends you these libations as her gift, fearing herself to approach your tomb from terror of the Argive mob” and bid her harbor kindly thoughts towards me and you and my husband; towards these two wretched sufferers, too, whom the gods have destroyed. And promise that I will pay in full whatever funeral gifts are due from me to a sister. Now go, my child, and hurry; and soon as you have made the libations at the tomb, think of your return.

Helena gaat het paleis in als Hermione en haar dienaressen vertrekken met de offergaves.

Electra
O human nature, how great an evil you are in men! and what salvation, too, to those who have a goodly heritage there. Did you see how she cut off her hair only at the ends, to preserve its beauty? She is the same woman as of old. May the gods hate you! for you have proved the ruin of me and my brother and all Hellas. Alas! here are my friends once more, coming to unite their plaintive dirge with mine; they will soon put an end to my brother's peaceful sleep, and cause my tears to flow when I see him in frenzy. Dearest friends, step softly; not a sound; not a whisper! For though this kindness of yours is well-meant, rouse him and I shall rue it.

Het koor van meisjes uit Argos komt stilletjes op. De navolgende regels tussen Electra en het koor worden beurtelings gezongen

Koor
Hush, hush! let your footsteps fall lightly! not a sound!

Electra
Go further from his couch, further, I beseech you!

Koor
There, I obey.

Electra
Ah, ah! Speak like the breath of a slender reed-pipe, my dear, I pray.

Koor
See, how soft and low I drop my voice.

Electra
Yes, do so; approach now, softly, softly! Give me an account of why you have come here. For at last he has lain down, and sleeps.

Koor
How is he? You give us an account, my dear; what has happened, what misfortune?

Electra
He is still breathing, but his moans grow feeble.

Koor
What are you saying? Unhappy Orestes!

Electra
You will kill him, if you disturb him from the sweet sleep he now enjoys.

Koor
Poor sufferer, for his hateful deeds, inspired by a god!

Electra
Ah, misery! Injustice it was, after all, from an unjust mouth, when Loxias on the tripod of Themis decreed my mother's most unnatural murder.

Koor
Do you see? He stirs beneath his robe!

Electra
Alas! Your noisy words have roused him from his sleep.

Koor
No, I think he is asleep.

Electra
Leave us, go away from the house! circle back again! cease this noise!

Koor
He is asleep.

Electra
You are right. O Lady Night, giver of sleep to hard-working mortals, come from Erebus, come, wing your way to the palace of Agamemnon. For with misery and woe we are lost, we are gone. There! that noise again! Be still, be still, and keep the sound of your voice away from his couch; let him enjoy his sleep in peace, my dear!

Koor
Tell me, what end of troubles awaits him.

Electra
Death, death; what else? For he has no desire for food.

Koor
Then his destiny is already clear.

Electra
Phoebus offered us up for sacrifice, when he ordered the pitiable, unnatural murder of our mother, who killed our father.

Koor
It was just.

Electra
But it was not well done. You killed and were killed, my mother! and you have slain a father and your own children; for we are dead or as good as dead. You are in your grave, and the greater part of my life is spent in weeping and wailing, and tears at night; unmarried, childless, I drag out forever a joyless existence.

Koorleidster
Electra, you are nearby; see whether your brother has not died without your knowing it; for I do not like his utter prostration.

Orestes
Verfrist wakker wordendSweet charm of sleep, savior in sickness, how sweetly you came to me, how needed! Revered forgetfulness of troubles, how wise a goddess you are, and invoked by every suffering soul! Where have I come from? How am I here? For I have lost all previous recollection and remember nothing.

Electra
My dearest, how glad I was to see you fall asleep! Do you want me take you in my arms and lift your body?

Orestes
Take, oh! take me in your arms, and from this sufferer's mouth and eyes wipe off the flakes of foam.

Electra
There! The service is sweet, and I do not refuse to tend a brother's limbs with a sister's hand.

Orestes
Prop me up, your side to mine; brush the matted hair from my face, for I see dimly.

Electra
Ah, poor head, how dirty your hair! How savage you look, remaining so long unwashed!

Orestes
Put me once more upon the couch; whenever the madness leaves me, I am unnerved and weak.

Electra
There! His couch is welcome to the sick man, a painful possession, but a necessary one.

Orestes
Set me upright once again, turn my body round; it is their helplessness that makes the sick so hard to please.

Electra
Will you set your feet upon the ground and take a step at last? Change is always pleasant.

Orestes
Oh, yes; for that has a semblance of health; and the semblance is preferable, though it is far from the truth.

Electra
Hear me now, my brother, while the Furies permit you to use your senses.

Orestes
You have news to tell; if it is good, you do me a kindness; but if it tends to my hurt, I have suffered enough.

Electra
Menelaus, your father's brother, has come; his ships are moored in Nauplia.

Orestes
What did you say? Has he come to be a light in our troubles, a man of our own family, who owes gratitude to our father?

Electra
He has come, and is bringing Helena from the walls of Troy—accept this as proof of what I say.

Orestes
If he had returned alone in safety, he would be more enviable; but if he is bringing his wife, he has come with great evil.

Electra
Tyndareus begot a race of daughters notorious for blame, infamous throughout Hellas.

Orestes
Then you be different from that evil brood, for you can be; and not only in words, but also in heart.

Electra
Ah! brother, your eye is growing wild, and in a moment you are turning mad again, when you were just now sane.

Orestes
starting up wildly Mother, I implore you! Do not shake at me those maidens with their bloodshot eyes and snaky hair. Here they are, close by, to leap on me!

Electra
Lie still, poor sufferer, on your couch; your eye sees nothing, you only imagine that you recognize them.

Orestes
O Phoebus! they will kill me, the hounds of hell, death's priestesses with glaring eyes, the dreadful goddesses.

Electra
I will not let you go; but with arms twined round you, I will prevent your piteous leaping.

Orestes
Let me go! you are one of my Furies, and are gripping me by the waist to hurl me into Tartarus!

Electra
Alas for me! What aid can I find, when we have Heaven's forces set against us?

Orestes
Give me my horn-tipped bow, Apollo's gift, with which he told me to ward off the goddesses, if ever they sought to scare me with wild transports of madness. A mortal hand will wound one of them, unless she departs from my sight. Don't you hear me? Don't you see the feathered arrows springing out from my far-shooting bow? What! Do you linger still? Mount the sky on your wings, and blame those oracles of Phoebus. Ah! why am I raving, gasping? Where, oh! where have I leapt, from my couch? Once more the storm is past, I see a calm. Sister, why do you weep, your head wrapped in your robe? I am ashamed that I should make you a partner in my sufferings and distress a maiden like you through my sickness. Do not waste away over my troubles; for though you consented to it, yet I was the one that spilled our mother's blood. I blame Loxias, for urging me on to do a deed most unholy, encouraging me with words but not in deed. I believe that, if I had asked my father to his face whether I must slay my mother, he would have strongly entreated me, by this beard, never to plunge a sword into her throat, since he would not regain his life, and I, poor wretch, would accomplish such evil! And now, my sister, unveil your face and cease to weep, despite our misery. Whenever you see me give way to despair, it is for you to calm and soothe the terrors and distorted fancies of my brain. Whenever sorrow comes to you, I must be at your side and give you comforting advice; for to help our friends like this is noble. Go in the house now, my poor sister; lie down and close your sleepless eyes; take food and bathe your body. For if you leave me or fall sick from nursing me, I am lost. You are my only ally; I am deserted by all the rest, as you see.

Electra
I will not leave you; with you I will choose to live and die; for it is the same: if you die, what shall I, a woman, do? How shall I escape alone, with no brother, or father, or friends? Still, if you think it right, I must do your bidding. But lie down upon your couch, and do not pay too great heed to the terrors and alarm that scare you from your rest; lie still upon your pallet. For even if you are not sick, but only think you are, this brings weariness and perplexity to mortals.

Electra gaat het paleis in, terwijl Orestes weer in zijn bed gaat liggen

03. Eerste koorlied; regel 3;316-355

Koor - strofe
Ah! ah! you goddesses swiftly careering on your wings, whose lot it is to hold a revel, not with Bacchic rites, in tears and groans; you black-skinned avenging spirits, that dart along the spacious air, exacting a penalty for blood, a penalty for murder, I beg you, I beg you! Allow the son of Agamemnon to forget his wild whirling frenzy. Alas for the toils which you, poor wretch, strove after to your ruin, when you heard the voice from the tripod, proclaimed by Phoebus, at his sanctuary, where the hollows are called the navel of the earth.

antistrofe
O Zeus! What pity, what deadly struggle is here, hurrying you on, the wretch on whom some avenging fiend is heaping tears upon tears, bringing to the house your mother's blood, which drives you raving mad? Great prosperity is not secure among mortals. I lament, I lament! But some divine power, shaking it to and fro like the sail of a swift ship, plunges it deep in the waves of grievous affliction, violent and deadly as the waves of the sea. For what other family must I still revere, rather than the one from a divine marriage, from Tantalus. And see, a king draws near, lord Menelaus; from his magnificence it is plain to see that he belongs to the blood of the Tantalids. All hail! you that set out with a thousand ships to Asia's land; good fortune is your friend, for you have accomplished, with divine aid, all that you prayed for.

04. Tweede akte; regel 4;356-806

Menelaus en zijn gevolg komen op.

Menelaus
O my home, some joy I feel to see you again on my return from Troy, but I also grieve at the sight; for never have I seen another house more closely encircled by dire affliction. For I learned Agamemnon's fate and the death he died at his wife's hands, as I was trying to put in at Malea; when the sailors' prophet, the truthful god Glaucus, Nereus' seer, brought the news to me from the waves; he stationed himself in full view and told me this: “Menelaus, your brother lies dead, plunged in a fatal bath, the last his wife will ever give him.” My sailors and I wept greatly at his words. When I arrived at Nauplia, my wife already on the point of starting here, I was expecting to give a fond embrace to Orestes, Agamemnon's son, and his mother, thinking that they were doing well, when I heard from a sailor the unholy murder of Tyndareus' child. And now tell me, young ladies, where to find the son of Agamemnon, who dared such evil. For he was a baby in Clytemnestra's arms when I left my home to go to Troy, so that I would not recognize him if I saw him.

Orestes
staggering towards him from the couch. Menelaus, I am Orestes, whom you are asking about. I will of my own accord inform you of my sufferings. But as my first portion, I clasp your knees as a suppliant, giving you prayers from the mouth of one without the suppliant's bough; save me, for you have come at the crisis of my troubles.

Menelaus
O gods, what do I see? What living corpse greets my sight?

Orestes
You are right; I am dead through misery, though I still gaze upon the light.

Menelaus
How savage the look your unkempt hair gives you, poor wretch!

Orestes
It is not my looks, but my deeds that torture me.

Menelaus
Your tearless eyes glare dreadfully!

Orestes
My body is gone, though my name has not deserted me.

Menelaus
Unsightly apparition, so different from what I expected!

Orestes
Here I am, the murderer of my wretched mother.

Menelaus
I have heard, spare your words; evils should be seldom spoken.

Orestes
I will be sparing; but the deity is lavish of woe to me.

Menelaus
What ails you? what is your deadly sickness?

Orestes
My conscience; I know that I am guilty of a dreadful crime.

Menelaus
What do you mean? Wisdom is shown in clarity, not in obscurity.

Orestes
Grief especially has ruined me—

Menelaus
Yes, she is a dreadful goddess, yet are there cures for her.

Orestes
And fits of madness, the vengeance of a mother's blood.

Menelaus
When did your madness begin? Which day was it?

Orestes
On the day I was heaping the mound over my poor mother's grave.

Menelaus
When you were in the house, or watching by the pyre?

Orestes
As I was waiting by night to gather up her bones.

Menelaus
Was any one else there, to help you rise?

Orestes
Pylades who shared with me the bloody deed, my mother's murder.

Menelaus
You are sick from phantom shapes; what sort?

Orestes
I seemed to see three maidens, black as night.

Menelaus
I know whom you mean, but I do not want to name them.

Orestes
Yes, for they are revered; you were well-informed, to avoid naming them.

Menelaus
Are these the ones that drive you to frenzy, with the curse of kindred blood?

Orestes
Oh! the torment I endure from their pursuit!

Menelaus
It is not strange, if those who have done dreadful things should suffer them.

Orestes
But I have a way to recover from these troubles.

Menelaus
Do not speak of death; that is not wise.

Orestes
It is Phoebus, who commanded me to kill my mother.

Menelaus
Showing a strange ignorance of what is fair and right.

Orestes
We are slaves to the gods, whatever those gods are.

Menelaus
And does Loxias not help your affliction?

Orestes
He will in time; this is the nature of gods.

Menelaus
How long is it since your mother breathed her last?

Orestes
This is the sixth day; her funeral pyre is still warm.

Menelaus
How soon the goddesses arrived to avenge your mother's blood!

Orestes
I am not clever, but I am by nature a true friend to my friends.

Menelaus
Does your father give you any help at all, for your avenging him?

Orestes
Not yet; I call delay the equal of inaction.

Menelaus
How do you stand in the city after that deed of yours?

Orestes
I am so hated that no one will speak to me.

Menelaus
Have your hands not even been cleaned of blood, according to custom?

Orestes
No, for wherever I go, the door is shut against me.

Menelaus
Which citizens are driving you from the land?

Orestes
Oeax, who refers to my father his reason for hating Troy.

Menelaus
I understand; he is avenging on you the blood of Palamedes.

Orestes
That was nothing to do with me; yet I am destroyed for three reasons.

Menelaus
Who else? Some of the friends of Aegisthus, I suppose?

Orestes
They insult me, and the city listens to them now.

Menelaus
Will the city allow you to keep the scepter of Agamemnon?

Orestes
How, seeing that they will not allow me to remain alive?

Menelaus
What is their method? Can you tell me plainly?

Orestes
A vote will be taken against us today.

Menelaus
To leave the city? Or to die, or not to die?

Orestes
Death by stoning at the hands of the citizens.

Menelaus
Then why not cross the border and try to escape?

Orestes
Because we are encircled by men fully armed.

Menelaus
Private foes or Argive troops?

Orestes
All the citizens, so that I may die; it is shortly told.

Menelaus
Poor wretch! you have arrived at the extremity of woe.

Orestes
In you I have hopes of escape from my troubles. But since you have come with good fortune, share with your friends, who are wretched, your prosperity; do not hold aside that goodness for yourself alone; but partake of troubles in your turn, and so pay back my father's kindness to those who have a claim on you. For such friends as desert us in adversity are friends in name but not in deed.

Koorleidster
And here is Tyndareus, the Spartan, struggling with aged step, clad in black robes, with his hair cut short in mourning for his daughter.

Orestes
Menelaus, I am ruined. See, Tyndareus approaches us, the man of all others I most shrink from facing, because of the deed I have done. For he nursed me when I was small, and lavished on me many a fond caress, carrying me about in his arms as the son of Agamemnon; and so did Leda; for they both honored me no less than the Dioscuri. Ah me! my wretched heart and soul, it was a sorry return I made them! What darkness can I find for my face? What cloud can I spread before me in my efforts to escape the old man's eye?

Tyndareus en zijn bedienden komen op.

Tyndareus
Where, where may I see Menelaus, my daughter's husband? For as I was pouring libations on Clytemnestra's grave I heard that he had come to Nauplia with his wife, safe home again after many years. Lead me to him; for I want to approach him and clasp his hand, as a friend whom at last I see again.

Menelaus
Hail, old man, rival of Zeus for a bride!

Tyndareus
All hail to you, Menelaus, my kinsman! Ah! What an evil it is to be ignorant of the future! There is that matricide before the house, a viper darting venomous flashes from his eyes, whom I loathe. Menelaus, are you speaking to that godless wretch?

Menelaus
And why not? He is the son of one whom I loved.

Tyndareus
This is his son, this creature here?

Menelaus
Yes, his son; if he is in misfortune, he ought to be honored.

Tyndareus
You have been so long among barbarians that you have become one of them.

Menelaus
Always to honor one's kin is a custom in Hellas.

Tyndareus
And another custom is to yield a willing deference to the laws.

Menelaus
The wise hold that everything which depends on necessity is a slave.

Tyndareus
Keep that wisdom for yourself; I will not have it.

Menelaus
Yes, for you are angry, and also old age is not wise.

Tyndareus
What does a dispute about foolishness have to do with him? If right and wrong are clear to all, who was ever more senseless than this man, because he never weighed the justice of the case, nor appealed to the universal law of Hellas? For when Agamemnon breathed his last struck, on his head by my daughter, a most foul deed, which I will never defend, he should have brought a charge against his mother and inflicted a holy penalty for bloodshed, banishing her from his house; thus he would have gained moderation instead of calamity, keeping strictly to the law and showing his piety as well. As it is, he has come into the same fate as his mother. for though he had just cause for thinking her a wicked woman, he has become more wicked by murdering her. I will ask you, Menelaus, just one question. If a man's wedded wife should kill him, and his son in turn will kill his mother in revenge; next the avenger's son to expiate this murder will commit another: where will the chain of horrors end? Our forefathers settled these matters the right way. They forbade any one with blood upon his hands to appear in their sight or cross their path; but they purified him by exile, they did not kill him in revenge. Otherwise someone, by taking the pollution last upon his hands, is always going to be liable to have his own blood shed. Now I hate wicked women, especially my daughter who killed her husband; Helena, too, your own wife, I will never commend, nor would I even speak to her; and I do not envy you a voyage to Troy for a worthless woman. But the law I will defend with all my might, to put an end to this brutal spirit of murder, which is always the ruin of countries and cities alike. Turning to Orestes Wretch! Had you no heart when your mother was baring her breast in her appeal to you? I, who did not see that awful deed, weep unhappy tears from my old eyes. One thing at least agrees with what I say: you are hated by the gods, and you pay atonement for your mother by your fits of madness and terror. Why do I need to hear from other witnesses what I can see for myself? Therefore, Menelaus, take heed; do not oppose the gods in your wish to help this man; but leave him to be stoned to death by the citizens, or do not set foot on Spartan land. My daughter is dead, and rightly; but it should not have been his hand that slew her. In all except my daughters I have been a happy man; there I am not blessed.

Koorleidster
He is enviable, who is fortunate in his children, and does not bring hazardous notoriety on himself.

Orestes
Old man, I am afraid to speak before you, in a matter where I am sure to grieve you to the heart. I am unholy because I killed my mother, I know it, yet holy on another count, because I avenged my father. Only let your years, which frighten me from speaking, set no barrier in the path of my words, and I will go forward; but now I fear your gray hairs. What ought I to have done? Set one thing against another. My father begot me; your daughter gave me birth, being the field that received the seed from another; for without a father no child would ever be born. So I reasoned that I ought to stand by the author of my being rather than the woman who undertook to rear me. Now your daughter—I am ashamed to call her mother—came to a man's bed in a private and unchaste wedding; I speak against myself when I speak badly of her, yet I will speak. Aegisthus was her secret husband in the home; I killed him, and I sacrificed my mother, an unholy crime, no doubt, but done to avenge my father. Now, as regards the reasons for which I deserve to be stoned as you threatened, hear the service I am conferring on all Hellas. For if women become so bold as to murder their husbands, taking refuge in their children, hunting down pity with the breast, they would think nothing of destroying their husbands on any charge whatsoever. But I, by a horrible crime, as you boast it to be, have put an end to this custom. I hated my mother and killed her justly. She was false to her husband when he was gone from his home to fight for all Hellas at the head of its armies, and she did not keep his bed undefiled; and when her sin had found her out, she did not impose punishment on herself, but, to avoid paying the penalty to her husband, punished my father by death. By the gods! it is not a good time for me to mention the gods, when defending the charge of murder; but if I consented by my silence to my mother's conduct, what would the murdered man have done to me? Would he not now in hatred be tormenting me with the Furies? Or does my mother have goddesses as allies, but he does not, in his deeper wrong? You, yes! you, old man, have been my ruin by begetting a wicked daughter; for it was owing to her audacious deed that I lost my father and became my mother's murderer. You see, Telemachus did not kill the wife of Odysseus, because she did not marry husband upon husband, but the marriage-bed remained untainted in her home. And you see Apollo, who makes the navel of the earth his home, dispensing to mortals unerring prophecies, whom we obey in all he says; I killed my mother in obedience to him. Find him guilty of the crime, slay him; his was the sin, not mine. What ought I to have done? or is the god not competent to expiate the pollution when I refer it to him? Where then should anyone flee, if he will not rescue me from death after giving his commands? Do not say that the deed was done badly, but unfortunately for the ones who did it. A blessed life those mortals lead who make wise marriages; but those for whom it does not fall out well are unfortunate both in and out of doors.

Koorleidster
Women by nature always meddle in the doings of men, with unfortunate results.

Tyndareus
Since you are so bold and suppress nothing, but answer me back in such a way as to vex my heart, you will lead me to go to greater lengths in procuring your execution; and I shall regard this as a fine addition to my labors in coming here to adorn my daughter's grave. Yes, I will go to the chosen band of Argives and set the city, willing or not, on you and your sister, to pay the penalty of stoning. She deserves to die even more than you, for it was she who embittered you against your mother, always carrying tales to your ear to increase your hate the more, announcing dreams from Agamemnon, and Aegisthus' bed, may the gods in Hades loathe it! for even here on earth it was bitter; till she set the house ablaze with fires never kindled by Hephaestus. Menelaus, I tell you this, and I will do it, too: if you then consider my hatred or our marriage connection of any account, do not ward off this man's doom in defiance of the gods, but leave him to be stoned to death by the citizens, or do not set foot on Spartan land. Remember you have been told all this, and do not choose the ungodly as friends, pushing aside the more righteous. Servants, lead me from this house.

Tyndareus en zijn bedienden vertrekken.

Orestes
Go, so that the remainder of my speech may come to this man without interruption, free from your old age. Menelaus, why are you pacing round and round in thought, going back and forth, in a dilemma?

Menelaus
Let me alone! When I think it over, I am perplexed to know where to turn in these events.

Orestes
Do not come to a final decision now, but after first hearing what I have to say, then make up your mind.

Menelaus
Good advice! Speak. There are times when silence would be better than speech, and the reverse also.

Orestes
I will speak now. A long statement has advantages over a short one and is more intelligible to hear. Give me nothing of your own, Menelaus, but repay what you received from my father. I am not speaking of possessions; if you save my life, you will save my dearest possession. I have done wrong; I ought to have a little wrong-doing from you to requite that evil, for my father Agamemnon also did wrong in gathering the Hellenes and going to Ilium, not that he had sinned himself, but he was trying to find a cure for the sin and wrong-doing of your wife. So this is one thing you are bound to pay me back. For he really gave his life, as friends should, toiling hard in battle with you, so that you might have your wife again. Pay back to me the same thing you got there. For one day exert yourself, on my behalf standing up in my defense, not ten full years. As for what Aulis took, the sacrifice of my sister, I let you have that; do not kill Hermione. For in my present plight, you must have an advantage over me and I must pardon it. But give to my miserable father my life and the life of my sister, a maiden so long; for by my death I shall leave my father's house without an heir. You will say it is impossible. That's the point; friends are bound to help friends in trouble. But when fortune gives of its best, what need of friends? For the god's help is enough of itself when he is willing to give it. All Hellas believes that you love your wife, and I am not saying this to flatter or wheedle you; by her I implore you. Ah me, my misery! to what have I come! Well? I must suffer, for I am making this appeal on behalf of my whole family. O my uncle, my father's own brother! Imagine that the dead man in his grave is listening, that his spirit is hovering over you and saying what I say, this much for tears and groans and misfortunes. I have spoken and I have begged for my safety, hunting what all seek, not myself alone.

Koorleidster
I, too, though I am only a woman, beseech you to help those who need it; for you have the power.

Menelaus
Orestes, you are a man for whom I have a deep regard, and I want to take part in your troubles; it is a duty, too, to help relatives bear their ills, by dying or killing enemies, if god gives the power to do so. I wish I had that power granted me by the gods. For I have come destitute of allies, after my long weary wanderings, with the small strength of my surviving friends. We should never get the better of Pelasgian Argos by fighting; if we should prevail by soothing speeches, we will come to some hope there. For how can you win a great cause by small efforts? It is foolish even to wish it. For when the people fall into a vigorous fury, they are as hard to quench as a raging fire; but if you gently slacken your hold and yield a little to their tension, cautiously watching your opportunity, they may possibly calm down; if their gusts abate, you may obtain whatever you want from them easily. They have pity, and a hot temper too, an invaluable quality if you watch it closely. So for you I will go and try to persuade Tyndareus and the city to moderation. A ship also dips if its sheet is hauled too taut, but rights itself again if it is let go. The god hates excessive eagerness, and the citizens do also; I must save you, I don't deny it, by cleverness, not by violence against those who are stronger. I could not do it by strength, as you perhaps imagine; for it is not easy to triumph single-handed over the troubles that beset you. I would never have tried to bring the Argive land over to softness; but it is necessary. For the wise to be slaves to fortune.

Menelaus en zijn gevolg vertrekken

Orestes
O you that have no use, except to lead an army in a woman's cause! O worst of men in your friends' defense, do you turn your back on me and flee, the deeds of Agamemnon lost and gone? After all, father, you had no friends in adversity. Alas! I am betrayed; no longer do I have any hope of finding a refuge where I may escape the death-sentence of Argos; for this man was my haven of safety. But I see Pylades, the best of friends, coming at a run from Phocis—a pleasant sight! A man who can be trusted in troubles is a better sight than a calm to sailors.

Pylades komt alleen op

Pylades
I have come through the city quickly, as I should, having heard and myself clearly seen the citizens assembling, against you and your sister, to kill you at once. What is happening? How is it with you? How are you doing, my best of comrades, friends and kin? For you are all these to me.

Orestes
I am ruined, to make plain to you my troubles in brief.

Pylades
You must destroy me also; for friends have all in common.

Orestes
Menelaus is the worst of men to me and my sister.

Pylades
It is natural for the husband of an evil woman to become evil.

Orestes
He no more repaid me by coming here, than if he had never come.

Pylades
Oh, has he really arrived in this land?

Orestes
He took a long time, but he was very soon detected as evil to his friends.

Pylades
And did he bring his wife, the worst of women, with him on his ship?

Orestes
It was not he who brought her here, but she who brought him.

Pylades
Where is she, the one woman who proved the ruin of so many Achaeans?

Orestes
In my house; if, that is, I ought to call it mine.

Pylades
And what did you say to your father's brother?

Orestes
Not to see me and my sister killed by the citizens.

Pylades
By the gods! What did he say to that? I would like know this.

Orestes
He was cautious, the usual policy of ignoble friends.

Pylades
What excuse did he advance? When I have learned that, I know everything.

Orestes
There was a new arrival, the father who begot those noble daughters.

Pylades
You mean Tyndareus; he was angry with you, perhaps, for his daughter's sake?

Orestes
You understand. And Menelaus preferred the family relationship with him to that with my father.

Pylades
He did not have the courage to share your troubles, when he was here?

Orestes
No, for he was not born a warrior, though strong among women!

Pylades
Your case is desperate, it seems, and you must die.

Orestes
The citizens must give their vote about us on the murder.

Pylades
And what is that to decide? Tell me, for I am alarmed.

Orestes
Our life or death; a brief speech on a large subject.

Pylades
Leave the palace with your sister now and try to escape.

Orestes
Don't you see? We are being watched by guards on every side.

Pylades
I saw that the streets of the city were secured with armed men.

Orestes
We are as closely beleaguered as a city by its foes.

Pylades
Ask me now of my state; for I too am ruined.

Orestes
By whom? This would be a further trouble to add to mine.

Pylades
Strophius, my father, in a fit of anger, has banished me from his house.

Orestes
Bringing against you a private charge, or one in which the citizens share?

Pylades
He says it is an unholy crime to have helped you slay your mother.

Orestes
Alas! It seems my troubles will cause you grief as well.

Pylades
I am not like Menelaus in character; this must be endured.

Orestes
Are you not afraid that Argos will desire your death as well as mine?

Pylades
I am not theirs to punish; I belong to Phocis.

Orestes
A terrible thing is the mob, whenever it has villains to lead it.

Pylades
But with honest leaders its counsels are always honest.

Orestes
Very well; we must consult together.

Pylades
About what necessity?

Orestes
Suppose I go and tell the citizens—

Pylades
That your action was just?

Orestes
In avenging my father?

Pylades
I am afraid they would be glad to catch you.

Orestes
Well, am I to crouch in fear and die without a word?

Pylades
That is cowardly.

Orestes
How then should I act?

Pylades
Suppose you stay here, what means of safety do you have?

Orestes
I have none.

Pylades
And if you go, is there any hope of escaping your troubles?

Orestes
There might be, possibly.

Pylades
Then that is better than staying.

Orestes
Then I will go.

Pylades
At least you die in this way, you will die more honorably.

Orestes
You are right; in this way I escape cowardice.

Pylades
Better than by staying.

Orestes
After all, my action was just.

Pylades
Pray that this may be the only view they take.

Orestes
Some one or two might pity me—

Pylades
Yes, your noble birth is a great point.

Orestes
Resenting my father's death.

Pylades
That is all quite clear.

Orestes
I must go, for to die ignobly is a coward's part.

Pylades
Well said.

Orestes
Shall we tell my sister?

Pylades
God forbid!

Orestes
True, there might be tears.

Pylades
That would be a grave omen.

Orestes
Yes, silence is clearly better.

Pylades
And you will gain time.

Orestes
There is only one obstacle in my way.

Pylades
What fresh objection now?

Orestes
I am afraid the goddesses will prevent me by madness.

Pylades
But I will take care of you.

Orestes
It is annoying to have to touch a sick man.

Pylades
Not to me, when it is you.

Orestes
Beware of becoming a partner in my madness.

Pylades
Let that pass.

Orestes
You will not hesitate?

Pylades
No, for hesitation is a grave ill among friends.

Orestes
On then, pilot of my course!

Pylades
A service I am glad to render.

Orestes
And guide me to my father's tomb.

Pylades
For what purpose?

Orestes
That I may appeal to him to save me.

Pylades
Yes, that is the proper way.

Orestes
May I not see my mother's grave!

Pylades
No; she was an enemy. But hasten, so that the vote of Argos may not catch you first, supporting those limbs, slow from sickness, on mine; for I will carry you through the town, thinking little of the mob and unashamed. For how shall I prove my friendship, if not by helping you in sore distress?

Orestes
Ah! the old saying again, “get friends, not relations only.” For a man who fuses into your ways, though he is an outsider, is better for a man to possess as a friend than a whole host of relations.

Orestes en Pylades vertrekken

05. Tweede koorlied; regel 5;807-843

Koor - strofe
The great prosperity and the prowess, proudly boasted throughout Hellas and by the streams of Simois, went back again from good fortune for the Atreidae long ago, from an old misfortune to their house, when strife came to the sons of Tantalus over a golden ram, to end in most pitiable banqueting and the slaughter of high-born children; and this is why murder exchanges for murder, through blood, and does not leave the two Atreidae.

antistrofe
What seemed good was not good, to cut a mother's flesh with ruthless hand and show the sword stained black with blood to the sun's bright beams; “to commit a noble crime” is an impious, subtle, malignant madness! The wretched daughter of Tyndareus in terror of death screamed to him: “My son, this is unholy, your bold attempt upon your mother's life; do not, while honoring your father, fasten on yourself an eternity of shame.”

nazang
What affliction on earth surpasses this? What calls for keener grief or pity, than to shed with your hand a mother's blood? Oh! what a dreadful crime he committed, and now is raving mad, a prey to the Furies, whirling blood with racing eyes, the son of Agamemnon! O the wretch! when he saw a mother's bosom over her robe of golden weave, and yet he made her his victim, in recompense for his father's sufferings.

06. Derde akte; regel 6;844-1352

Electra komt het paleis uit.

Electra
Women, has my poor Orestes left the house, mastered by the heaven-sent madness?

Koorleidster
Not at all; he has gone to the Argive people to stand the appointed trial for his life, in which he and you must live or die.

Electra
Oh! Why did he do it? Who persuaded him?

Koorleidster
Pylades; but this messenger will no doubt soon tell us what happened to your brother there. A messenger, formerly a servant of Agamemnon, enters.

Boodschapper
Wretched, unhappy daughter of the general Agamemnon, my lady Electra, hear the sad tidings I bring you.

Electra
Alas! we are ruined; your words show it; you have clearly come with tidings of woe.

Boodschapper
The Pelasgians have decided by vote that you, poor lady, and your brother are to die this day.

Electra
Alas! my expectation has come to pass; I have long feared this, and have been wasting away in mourning for what was sure to happen. But what was the trial, what was said by the Argives, to condemn us and ratify our death? Tell me, old friend; must I die by stoning or the sword? For I share my brother's misfortunes.

Boodschapper
I had just come from the country and was entering the gates, needing to learn what was decided about you and Orestes, for I was always well disposed to your father when he was alive, and it was your house that reared me, poor indeed, yet loyal in the service of friends. I saw a crowd going and taking their seats on the height, where they say Danaus first gathered his people for a meeting, making amends to Aegyptus. So, when I saw the throng, I asked a citizen: “What news in Argos? Tidings of the enemy haven't ruffled the city of Danaus, have they?” But he said: “Don't you see Orestes there, on his way to he tried for his life?” I saw an unexpected sight, which I wish I had not seen, Pylades and your brother approaching together, the one with his head down, weakened by sickness; the other sharing his friend's sorrow like a brother, tending his illness with constant care. Now when the Argives were fully gathered, a herald rose and said: “Who wishes to give his opinion whether Orestes should be slain or not for the murder of his mother?” Then up stood Talthybius, who helped your father sack the Phrygians. He spoke out of both sides of his mouth, a mere tool of those in power as he always is, expressing high admiration for your father, but not praising your brother, urging his crooked sentiments in specious words, that it would establish laws as to parents that are not good; and all the while he was darting lively glances at the friends of Aegisthus. Such is that tribe; heralds always trip across to the lucky side; the one who has power in the city or a post in the government is their friend.

After him lord Diomedes made a speech; he said they should not kill you and your brother, but keep clear of guilt by punishing you with exile. Some roared out that his words were good, but others disapproved. Next stood up a fellow, who cannot close his lips; one whose impudence is his strength; an Argive, but not of Argos, forced on us; confident in bluster and ignorant free speech, and plausible enough to involve them in some mischief sooner or later; for whenever a man with a pleasing trick of speech, but of unsound principles, persuades the mob, it is a serious evil to the state; but those who give sound and sensible advice on all occasions, if not immediately useful to the state, yet prove so afterwards. And this is the way in which to regard a party leader; for the position is much the same in the case of an orator and a man in office. He was for stoning you and Orestes to death, but it was Tyndareus who kept suggesting arguments of this kind to him as he urged the death of both of you. Another then stood up and said the opposite; he was not handsome in appearance, but a brave man, rarely coming in contact with the town or the circle in the market-place; a farmer—and they are the only ones who preserve our land—but clever, and eager to grapple with the arguments, his character without a blemish, his walk in life beyond reproach. He said that they should crown Orestes, the son of Agamemnon, for showing his willingness to avenge a father by the murder of a wicked and godless woman who would prevent men from taking up arms and going on foreign service, if those who remain behind destroy households by corrupting men's wives. To the better sort, at least, his word carried conviction.

No one spoke after him. Then your brother came forward and said: “You dwellers in the land of Inachus! Pelasgians in ancient times, and later Danaids. I helped you no less than my father when I slew my mother; for if the murder of men by women is to be sanctioned, then the sooner you die, the better, or you must become the slaves of women; and that will be doing the very reverse of what you should. As it is, she who betrayed my father's bed has died, but if you take my life, the law becomes relaxed, and the sooner each one of you dies, the better; for it will never be daring at any rate that they will lack.” Yet, for all he seemed to speak well, he did not persuade the assembly; but that villain who spoke in favor of slaying you and your brother gained his point by appealing to the mob. Poor Orestes scarcely persuaded them not to kill him by stoning, promising to die by his own hand, with you, on this day. Pylades, in tears, is now bringing him from the conclave; and his friends bear him company, with wailing and lamentation; so he comes, a bitter sight and piteous vision. Make ready the sword or prepare the noose for your neck, for you must leave the light; your noble birth availed you nothing, nor did Phoebus from his seat on the tripod at Delphi; he was your undoing.

De boodschapper trekt zich terug

Koorleidster
Ah, hapless maiden! How silent you are, your face covered and bent to the ground, as if about to dash upon a course of lamentation and wailing.]

Electra
O Pelasgia, I take up the dirge, doing bloody outrage on my cheeks with white nail, and beating on my head; these are the portion of Persephone, fair young goddess of the nether world. Let the Cyclopian land break forth into wailing for the sorrows of our house, laying the steel upon the head to crop it close. This is the piteous, piteous strain that goes up for those who are about to die, once the battle-leaders of Hellas. It has gone, it has gone, and is lost, all the race of Pelops, and the glory that crowned their happy home once; the envy of heaven seized them and that cruel murdering vote among the citizens. Oh, oh! you tribes of short-lived men, full of tears, full of suffering, see how fate runs counter to your hopes! All receive in turn their different troubles in length of time; and the whole of mortal life is uncertain. Oh! to reach that rock which hangs suspended midway between earth and heaven, that fragment from Olympus, which swings on chains of gold, so that I may utter my lament to Tantalus, my forefather, who begot the ancestors of my house. They saw infatuate ruin, the chase of winged steeds, when Pelops in four-horse chariot drove over the sea, hurling the body of murdered Myrtilus into the ocean swell, after his race near Geraestus' strand, foam-flecked from the tossing sea. From this came a woeful curse upon my house, brought to birth among the sheep by the son of Maia, when there appeared a baleful, baleful portent of a lamb with golden fleece, for Atreus, breeder of horses; from which Strife changed the course of the sun's winged chariot, fitting the westward path of the sky towards the single horse of Dawn; and Zeus diverted the career of the seven Pleiads into a new track and exchanged . . . death for death: both the banquet to which Thyestes gave his name, and the treacherous love of Cretan Aerope, in her treacherous marriage; but the crowning woe has come on me and on my father by the bitter constraints of our house.

Koorleidster
Look, here comes your brother, condemned to die, and with him Pylades, most loyal of friends, true as a brother, guiding his feeble steps, his yoke-fellow, pacing carefully.

Orestes en Pylades komen op

Electra
Alas! I weep to see you stand before the tomb, my brother, face to face with the funeral pyre. Alas, again! as I take my last look at you, my senses leave me.

Orestes
Be silent! an end to womanish lamenting! resign yourself to your fate. It is piteous, but nevertheless you must bear the present fate.

Electra
How can I be silent, when we poor sufferers are no longer to gaze upon the sun-god's light?

Orestes
Oh! spare me that death! Enough that this unhappy wretch is already slain by Argives; let our present sufferings be.

Electra
Alas for your unhappy youth, Orestes, and for your fated untimely death! When you should have lived, you are going to die.

Orestes
By the gods, do not unman me, bringing me to tears by the recollection of my sorrows.

Electra
We are about to die; it is not possible for me not to grieve over our troubles; it is a piteous thing for all men to lose life, that is so sweet.

Orestes
This is the day appointed for us; we must fit the dangling noose about our necks or whet the sword for use.

Electra
You be the one to kill me, brother, so that no Argive may insult Agamemnon's son by my death.

Orestes
Enough that I have a mother's blood upon me; I will not kill you, but die by your own hand, however you wish.

Electra
Agreed; I will not be behind you in using the sword; only I long to throw my arms about your neck.

Orestes
Enjoy that empty satisfaction, if embraces have any joy for those who have come so near to death.

Electra
My dearest, you who have a name that sounds most loved and sweet to your sister, partner in one soul with her!

Orestes
Oh, you will melt my heart! I want to give you back a fond embrace. And why should such a wretch as I still feel any shame? Embracing Electra Heart to heart, my sister! how sweet to me this close embrace! In place of children and the marriage bed this greeting is all that is possible to us both in our misery.

Electra
Ah! If only the same sword, if it is right, could kill us both, and one coffin of cedar-wood receive us!

Orestes
That would be very sweet; but surely you see we are too destitute of friends to be allowed to share a tomb.

Electra
Did that coward Menelaus, that traitor to my father, not even speak for you, or make an effort to save your life?

Orestes
He did not even show himself, but, with his hopes centered on the throne, he was careful not to attempt the rescue of his friends. But let us see how we may die a noble death, one most worthy of Agamemnon. I, for my part, will let the city see my noble spirit when I plunge the sword to my heart, and you in turn must imitate my daring. Pylades, be the arbitrator of our slaughter and, when we both are dead, lay out our bodies decently; carry them to our father's grave and bury us there with him. Farewell, now; I am leaving for the deed, as you see.

Pylades
Stop! there is first one point I have to blame you for, if you thought I would care to live when you are dead.

Orestes
But why are you called on to die with me?

Pylades
Do you ask? What is life to me without your companionship?

Orestes
You did not kill your mother, as I did to my sorrow.

Pylades
At least I helped you; and so I ought to suffer the same penalty.

Orestes
Surrender to your father, do not die with me. You still have a city, while I no longer have, and your father's home, and a great refuge of wealth. You have failed to marry my poor sister, whom I betrothed to you from a deep regard for your companionship; but find another bride and rear a family; for the marriage-tie which bound us is no more. Farewell, be happy, my beloved friend; we cannot, but you may; for we, the dead, are robbed of happiness.

Pylades
How far you are from grasping what I mean! May the fruitful earth, the radiant sky refuse to hold my blood, if ever I turn traitor and desert you when I have freed myself. For I shared in the murder, which I will not deny, and also schemed the whole plot, for which you are now paying the penalty; and so I ought to die together with you and her. For I consider her, whom you betrothed to me, as my wife. Whatever shall I say, when I reach Delphi, the citadel of Phocis, if I was your friend before your misfortunes, but ceased to be your friend, when you were unfortunate? That must not be; no, this concerns me, too. But since we are to die, let us take counsel together that Menelaus may share our misfortune.

Orestes
Best of friends! if only I could see this before I die.

Pylades
Listen to me, and delay the stroke of the sword.

Orestes
I will, if I may take vengeance on my enemy.

Pylades
Hush now! I have small confidence in women.

Orestes
Have no fear of these; for they are our friends who are here.

Pylades
Let us kill Helena, a bitter grief to Menelaus.

Orestes
How? I am ready, if there is any chance of success.

Pylades
With our swords; she is hiding in your house.

Orestes
Indeed she is; and already she is putting her seal on everything.

Pylades
No longer, after she is married to Hades.

Orestes
But how? She has her barbarian attendants.

Pylades
Barbarians indeed! I am not the man to fear any Phrygian.

Orestes
They are only fit to look after mirrors and perfumes!

Pylades
Has she brought Trojan luxury with her here?

Orestes
So much so, that Hellas is too small for her to live in.

Pylades
The race of slaves is nothing to those who are free.

Orestes
Well, if I can do this deed, I do not shrink from dying twice over.

Pylades
No, nor I either, if it is you I am avenging.

Orestes
Explain the matter, and continue describing your plan.

Pylades
We will enter the house on the pretence of going to our death.

Orestes
So far I follow you, but not beyond.

Pylades
We will lament our sufferings to her.

Orestes
So that she will shed tears, although her heart is glad.

Pylades
And our condition will be like hers.

Orestes
How shall we proceed next in our contest?

Pylades
We shall have swords concealed in our cloaks.

Orestes
Will we dispose of her attendants first?

Pylades
We will shut them up in different parts of the house.

Orestes
And whoever refuses to be quiet, we must kill.

Pylades
And then the deed itself shows us where we must exert ourselves.

Orestes
To kill Helena; I understand that watchword.

Pylades
You have it; now hear how sound my scheme is. If we drew the sword upon a woman of greater chastity, the murder would be infamous; but, as it is, she will be punished for the sake of all Hellas, whose fathers she slew, whose children she destroyed, and made widows out of brides. There will be shouts of joy, and they will kindle the altars of the gods, invoking on our heads many blessings, because we shed a wicked woman's blood. After killing her, you will not be called “the matricide,” but, resigning that title, you will succeed to a better, and be called the slayer of Helena the murderess. It can never, never be right that Menelaus should prosper, and your father, your sister and you should die, and your mother—but I pass that by, for it is not seemly to mention it—and for him to possess your home, though it was by Agamemnon's prowess that he got his bride. May I die, if we do not draw our swords upon her! But if we do not accomplish Helena's death, we will set fire to the house and die. For we will not fail to achieve one distinction, an honorable death or an honorable escape.

Koorleidster
The daughter of Tyndareus, who has brought shame on her sex, has justly earned the hatred of every woman.

Orestes
Ah! there is nothing better than a trusty friend, neither wealth nor monarchy; a crowd of people is of no account in exchange for a noble friend. You were the one who devised the vengeance against Aegisthus, and stood by me in danger, and now again you are offering me a means to punish my foes and do not stand aside—but I will cease praising you, for there is something wearisome even in being praised to excess. Now since in any case I must breathe my last, I want to do something to my enemies before my death, so that I may requite with ruin those who betrayed me, and so that those who made me suffer may grieve. Yes! I am the son of Agamemnon, who was considered worthy to rule Hellas, no tyrant but yet god-like in power; I will not disgrace him by submitting to die like a slave; my last breath shall be free and I will take vengeance on Menelaus. For if we could secure one object, we would be lucky, if a means of safety should unexpectedly come our way from somewhere, and we should be the slayers, not the slain; this is what I pray for. This wish of mine is a pleasant dream to cheer the heart, without cost, by means of the mouth's winged words.

Electra
I think I have it, brother, a means of safety for you, and for him and thirdly for myself.

Orestes
You mean divine providence. But why do I say that? Since I know the natural shrewdness of your heart.

Electra
Listen to me now; and you pay attention also.

Orestes
Speak; the prospect of good news holds a certain pleasure.

Electra
You know Helena's daughter? Of course you do.

Orestes
I know her, Hermione, whom my mother reared.

Electra
She has gone to Clytemnestra's tomb.

Orestes
To do what? What hope are you hinting at?

Electra
She was going to pour a libation over the tomb of our mother.

Orestes
Well, how does what you have said lead to our safety?

Electra
Seize her as a hostage on her way back.

Orestes
What good can your suggested remedy do us three friends?

Electra
If, after Helena's slaughter, Menelaus tries to do anything to you or to Pylades and me—for this bond of friendship is wholly one—say that you will kill Hermione; you must draw your sword and hold it to the maiden's throat. If Menelaus, when he sees Helena fallen in her blood, tries to save you to insure the girl's life, allow him to take his daughter to his arms; but if he makes no effort to curb the angry outburst and leaves you to die, then cut the maiden's throat. And I think if he puts in a mighty appearance at first, he will calm down in time; for he is not bold or brave by nature. That is my line of defense for our safety. My speech is over.

Orestes
O you that have the spirit of a man, though your body shows you to be a woman, how far more worthy you are to live than to die! Pylades, you will lose such a woman to your sorrow, or if you live, you will have a blessed marriage.

Pylades
Then may it be so, and may she come to the city of Phocis with all the honors of a happy wedding.

Orestes
How soon will Hermione return to the palace? All the rest was very well said, if we succeed in catching this impious father's cub.

Electra
Well, I expect she is near the house already, for the length of time agrees exactly.

Orestes
Good; you, Electra, my sister, stay before the palace and await the maiden's approach; keep watch in case any one, whether an ally or my father's brother, forestalls us by his entry before the murder is complete; and then make a signal to the house, either by beating on a panel of the door or calling to us within. Let us enter now and arm ourselves with swords for the final struggle, Pylades, for you share the labor with me. O father, in your home of gloomy night, your son Orestes calls you to come to the rescue of the destitute. It is on your account I am wrongfully suffering, and it is by your brother that I have been betrayed for doing right; it is his wife I wish to take and kill; you be our accomplice for this deed.

Electra
Oh father, come! if within the ground you hear the cry of your children, who are dying for your sake.

Pylades
O kinsman of my father, Agamemnon, hear my prayers also; save your children.

Orestes
I killed my mother—

Electra
I held the sword—

Pylades
I . . . set them free from fear—

Orestes
To aid you, father.

Electra
Nor did I betray you.

Pylades
Will you not hear these reproaches and rescue your children?

Orestes
With tears I pour you a libation.

Electra
And I with laments.

Pylades
Cease, and let us set about our business. If prayers really do pierce the ground, he hears. O Zeus, god of my fathers, and holy Justice, give success to him and me and her; for there is one struggle for three friends, and one penalty, for all to live or—pay death's account.

Orestes en Pylades gaan het paleis in

Electra
My dear friends of Mycenae, of foremost rank in Argos, the home of the Pelasgians.

Koor
What are you saying to us, mistress? For this honored name is still left for you in the Danaid town.

Electra
Station yourselves, some here along the high road, others there on some other path, to watch the house.

Koor
But why do you call me to this service? Tell me, my dear.

Electra
I am afraid that some one, who is stationed at the house for slaughter, may find trouble upon trouble.

Eerste helft van het koor
Let us make haste and go on; I will keep careful watch upon this road towards the east.

Tweede helft van het koor
And I on this one, that leads westward.

Electra
Throw a glance sideways.

Koor
Here and there, then we are looking back again, as you tell us.

Electra
Cast your eyes around, let them see everything, through your tresses.

Eerste helft van het koor
Who is that on the road? Who is this country-man wandering round your house?

Electra
Ah! friends, we are ruined; he will at once reveal to our enemies the armed ambush.

Tweede helft van het koor
Calm your fears; the road is not occupied, as you think, my dear.

Electra
Well? Is your side still secure? Give me a good report, if the space before the court-yard is deserted.

Eerste helft van het koor
All goes well here; look to your own watch, for no Danaid is approaching us.

Tweede helft van het koor
Your report agrees with mine; there is no noise here either.

Electra
Well then, I will listen in the gateway.

Koor
You within the house, why are you delaying to spill your victim's blood, now that all is quiet?

Electra
GesprokenThey do not hear; alas for my troubles! Can it be that her beauty has blunted their swords? Gezongen Soon some Argive in full armor, hurrying to her rescue, will attack the palace. Gesproken Keep a better look-out; it is not a contest of sitting still; turn about, some here, some there.

Koor
Gezongen I am looking everywhere in turn along the road.

Helena
Van binnen. Oh, Pelasgian Argos! I am being foully murdered.

Koor
Did you hear? The men have put their hand to the slaughter. It is Helena screaming, at a guess.

Electra
Gezongen O eternal might of Zeus, of Zeus, only come to help my friends!

Helena
Van binnen. Menelaus, I am dying, but you do not help me, though you are near.

Electra
Gezongen Slay her, kill her, destroy her! Stab with your twin double-edged swords the woman who left her father, left her husband, and killed so many of the men of Hellas, slain beside the river-bank, where tears rained down, by the iron darts all round the eddies of Scamander.

Koorleidster
Hush! hush! I caught the sound of a foot-fall on the road near the house.

Electra
My dearest friends, it is Hermione advancing into the middle of the bloodshed; let our clamor cease. For she comes headlong into the meshes of the net. The prey will be good, if it is caught. Take up your places again with looks composed and faces not betraying what has happened; I too will have a gloomy look, as if I knew nothing of what has been done. Hermione komt op. Ah! maiden, have you come from wreathing Clytemnestra's grave and pouring libations to the dead?

Hermione
Yes, I have returned after securing her favor; but I was filled with some alarm about a cry I heard from the palace as I was still at a distance.

Electra
But why? Our present lot gives cause for groans.

Hermione
Oh, don't say so! What is your news?

Electra
Argos has sentenced Orestes and me to death.

Hermione
Oh no! not my own relatives!

Electra
It is decreed; we have put on the yoke of necessity.

Hermione
Was this the reason of the cry within?

Electra
Yes, a suppliant cried out as he fell at Helena's knees—

Hermione
Who is he? I know nothing more, if you do not tell me.

Electra
Unhappy Orestes, entreating mercy for himself and me.

Hermione
The house then has good reason to shout.

Electra
What else would make someone entreat more earnestly? But come and throw yourself before your mother in her prosperity, join your friends' supplication that Menelaus may not see us die. O you that were nursed in my mother's arms, have pity on us and relieve our pain. Come here to the struggle, and I myself will be your guide; for you alone have power over our safety.

Hermione
See, I am hastening to the house; as far it as rests with me, regard yourselves as safe.Hermione enters the palace.

Electra
Now, friends in the house with swords, seize the prey!

Hermione
Van binnen. Oh no! Who are these I see?

Orestes
Silence! You are here for our safety, not yours.

Electra
Hold her, hold her! Point a sword at her throat, then wait in silence, that Menelaus may learn that he has found men, not Phrygian cowards, and he has been treated as cowards deserve.She enters the palace.

07. Derde koorlied; regel 7;1353-1365

Koor
Oh, oh, friends! raise a din, a din and shouting before the house, that the murder when done may not inspire the Argives with wild alarm, to make them bring aid to the palace, before I see for certain that Helena's corpse lies bloody in the house, or hear the news from one of her attendants; for I know a part of the tragedy, of the rest I am not sure. In justice, retribution from the gods has come to Helena; for she filled all Hellas with tears, through that accursed, accursed Paris of Ida, who drew Hellas to Troy.

08. Vierde akte; regel 8;1366-1536

Koorleidster
But the bolts of the palace-doors rattle; be silent; for one of the Phrygians is coming out, from whom we will inquire how it is within.

De Phrygische eunuch komt het paleis uit, met een van angst vertrokken gezicht. Hij zingt zijn antwoorden op de gesproken vragen van het koor

Phrygiër
I have escaped from death by Argive sword, in my Asian slippers, by clambering over the cedar-beams that roof the porch and the Doric triglyphs, away, away! O Earth, Earth! in barbaric flight! Alas! You foreign women, where can I escape, flying through the clear sky or over the sea, which bull-headed Ocean rolls about as he circles the world in his embrace?

Koorleidster
What is it, Helena's slave, creature from Ida?

Phrygiër
Ilium, Ilium, oh me! city of Phrygia, and Ida's holy hill with fruitful soil, how I mourn for your destruction with barbarian cry; destroyed through her beauty, born from a bird, swan-feathered, Leda's cub, hellish Helena! to be a curse to Apollo's tower of polished stone. Ah! Alas! woe to Dardania, its wailing, wailing, for the horsemanship of Ganymede, bedfellow of Zeus.

Koorleidster
Tell us clearly each event within the house. For till now I have been guessing at what I do not clearly understand.

Phrygiër
Ah, for Linus! Ah, for Linus! That is what barbarians say, alas, in their eastern tongue as a prelude to death, whenever royal blood is spilled upon the ground by deadly iron blades. To tell you everything in turn, they came into the house, two twin lions of Hellas; one was called the general's son; the other was the son of Strophius, a crafty plotter, like Odysseus, treacherous in silence, but true to his friends, bold for the fight, clever in war and a deadly serpent. Curse him for his quiet plotting, the villain! In they came to the throne of the wife of Paris the archer, faces wet with tears, and took their seats in all humility, one on this side, one on that, each with weapons. They threw, they threw their suppliant arms round the knees of Helena. Her Phrygian servants sprang up frantic, frantic; they called to each other in terror that there was treachery. To some there seemed no cause, but others thought that the viper who killed his mother was entangling the daughter of Tyndareus in the snare of his plot.

Koorleidster
And where were you? fled long before in terror?

Phrygiër
It happened that I, in Phrygian style, Phrygian, was wafting the breeze, the breeze by the curls of Helena, Helena, with a round feathered fan, before her face, in barbarian style; and she was twisting flax on her distaff with her fingers, and letting her yarn fall on the floor, for she wanted to sew with her flax purple cloth as adornment for the tomb from the Trojan spoils, a gift to Clytemnestra. Orestes said to the Spartan girl: “Daughter of Zeus, get up from your chair and come here to the old hearth of Pelops, our ancestor, to hear something I have to say.” He led her, led her, and she followed, no prophet of the future. But his accomplice, the Phocian villain, was off on other business: “Out of my way! Well, Phrygians always were cowards.” So he shut them up in different parts of the house, some in the stables, others in the halls, one here, one there, disposing of them severally at a distance from their mistress.

Koorleidster
What happened next?

Phrygiër
Mother of Ida, great, great mother! Oh! the murderous scenes and lawless wickedness that I saw, I saw, in the palace! They drew forth swords from hiding under their purple-bordered cloaks, each darting his eye a different way, lest anyone should be near. Like boar of the hills, they stood opposite the woman and said: “You will die, you will die; your cowardly husband is killing you, because he betrayed his brother's son to death in Argos.” She screamed, oh, oh! she screamed, and brought down her white arm upon her breast and beat her poor head; then turned her golden-sandalled steps in flight, in flight; but Orestes got before her in his Mycenean boots and clutched his fingers in her hair, and, bending back her neck on to her left shoulder, was on the point of driving the black sword into her throat.

Koorleidster
Where were you Phrygians in the house to help her?

Phrygiër
With a loud cry from the house we battered down with bars the doors and doorposts where we had been, and ran to her assistance from every direction, one with stones, another with javelins, a third with a drawn sword; but Pylades came to meet us, undaunted, like Hector of Troy or Ajax triple-plumed, as I saw him, saw him, in Priam's gateway; and we met at sword's point. But then it was very clear how the Phrygians were, how much less we were in battle strength to the Hellene might. There was one man gone in flight, another slain, another wounded, yet another pleading to stave off death; but we escaped under cover of the darkness; while some were falling, some were about to fall, and others were lying dead. And just as her unhappy mother sank to the ground to die, the luckless Hermione came in. Those two, like Bacchantes when they drop the thyrsus for a mountain cub, rushed and seized her; then turned again to the daughter of Zeus to slay her; but she had vanished from the room, passing right through the house, o Zeus and Earth and light and night! whether by magic spells or wizards' arts or heavenly theft. What happened afterwards I do not know; for I stole out of the palace, a runaway. So Menelaus endured his painful, painful suffering to recover his wife Helena from Troy to no purpose.

Orestes komt het paleis uit

Koorleidster
And look, here is a strange sight succeeding others; for I see Orestes sword in hand before the palace, advancing with excited steps.

Orestes
Where is the one who fled from the palace to escape my sword?

Phrygiër
Aan de voeten van Orestes vallend Before you I prostrate myself, lord, and supplicate you in my foreign way.

Orestes
We are not in Ilium, but the land of Argos.

Phrygiër
Everywhere, the wise find life sweeter than death.

Orestes
I suppose that shouting of yours was not for Menelaus to come to the rescue?

Phrygiër
Oh no! it was to help you I called out, for you are more deserving.

Orestes
Did the daughter of Tyndareus die justly, then?

Phrygiër
Most justly, even if she had three throats to die with.

Orestes
Your cowardice makes you glib; this is not what you really think.

Phrygiër
Why, surely she deserved it, the one who destroyed Hellas and the Phrygians too?

Orestes
Swear you are not saying this to humor me, or I will kill you.

Phrygiër
I swear by my life, an oath I would keep!

Orestes
Did every Phrygian in Troy show the same terror of steel as you do?

Phrygiër
Take your sword away! Held so near it flashes a dreadful gleam of blood.

Orestes
Are you afraid of being turned to a stone, as if you had seen a Gorgon?

Phrygiër
To a stone, no! but to a corpse; I don't know this Gorgon's head.

Orestes
A slave, and yet you fear death, which will release you from trouble?

Phrygiër
Slave or free, every one is glad to gaze upon the light.

Orestes
Well said! Your shrewdness saves you; go inside.

Phrygiër
You will not kill me after all?

Orestes
You are spared.

Phrygiër
How well you said that!

Orestes
Now it's time to change my plans.

Phrygiër
You didn't say that well!

Orestes
You fool! Do you think I could endure to make your throat bloody? You weren't born a woman, nor do you belong among men. The reason I left the palace was to stop your shouting; for Argos is quickly roused, once it hears a cry to the rescue. As for Menelaus, I am not afraid of measuring swords with him; let him come, proud of the golden ringlets on his shoulders; for if, to avenge the slaying of Helena, he gathers the Argives and leads them against the palace, refusing to attempt the rescue of me, my sister, and Pylades, my fellow conspirator, he will have two corpses to behold, his daughter's as well as his wife's.

De Phrygiër vertrekt terwijl Orestes het paleis weer ingaat.

09. Vierde koorlied; regel 9;1537-1548

Koor
Ah, fortune! Again and yet again the house comes to a fearful contest, for the race of Atreus. What are we to do? Carry tidings to the town? Or hold our peace? It is safer, friends. Look, look at that sudden rush of smoke to the sky in front of the palace, telling its tale! They are kindling torches to fire the halls of Tantalus; nor do they hold back from murder. A god determines the end where he wishes, for mortals. Great is the power; by avenging fiends, this house has fallen, fallen, through blood, by hurling Myrtilus from the chariot.

10. Vijfde akte; regel 10;1549-1693

Koorleidster
But look! I see Menelaus approaching the palace in haste; no doubt he has heard what is happening here. Descendants of Atreus within, make haste and secure the doors with bars. A man in luck is a dangerous adversary for luckless wretches like you, Orestes.

Orestes en Pylades verschijnen op het dak, terwijl ze Hermione vasthouden. Menelaus en zijn bedienden komen op

Menelaus
I have come at the report of strange and violent deeds done by a pair of lions, men I do not call them. What I heard was that my wife was not dead, but had vanished out of sight, an idle rumor which someone fooled by his own fear brought me. But that is a plot of the matricide's—ridiculous! Open the doors! I tell my servants to force the gates, so that I may rescue my child at any rate from the hands of those blood-stained men and recover my poor wretched wife, while the ones who destroyed her must die at my hands.

Orestes
from the roof. You there! Keep your hands off those bolts; I mean you, Menelaus, towering in your audacity! Or I will tear off the ancient parapet, the work of masons, and shatter your skull with this coping-stone. The doors are bolted and barred, which will prevent your eagerness to bring aid and keep you from entering.

Menelaus
Oh! What is this? I see a blaze of torches and men standing at bay on the top of the house, with a sword guarding my daughter's throat.

Orestes
Would you question me or hear me speak?

Menelaus
Neither; but I suppose I must hear you.

Orestes
I intend to kill your daughter, if you want to know.

Menelaus
After slaying Helena, you will add murder to murder?

Orestes
Would I had accomplished that, instead of being duped by the gods!

Menelaus
Do you deny having slain her, and say this out of wanton insult?

Orestes
Yes, I do deny it, to my sorrow. If only I had—

Menelaus
Done what? You frighten me!

Orestes
Hurled the pollution of Hellas to Hades!

Menelaus
Give back my wife's dead body, so that I may bury her.

Orestes
Ask the gods for her; but I will kill your daughter.

Menelaus
This matricide is adding murder to murder.

Orestes
This champion of his father, betrayed by you to death.

Menelaus
Are you not content with the present stain of your mother's blood?

Orestes
I would not grow tired if I had these wicked women to slay for ever.

Menelaus
Are you too, Pylades, a partner in this bloody work?

Orestes
His silence says he is; let it suffice for me to say it.

Menelaus
You'll say it to your cost, unless you fly away!

Orestes
We will not try to escape; we will set fire to the palace.

Menelaus
What! will you destroy the home of your ancestors?

Orestes
Yes, so that you don't have it, and I will offer this girl in sacrifice on the fire.

Menelaus
Kill her; and if you do, I will punish you for it.

Orestes
All right, then.

Menelaus
No, no! Don't do it!

Orestes
Silence! Your sufferings are just; endure them.

Menelaus
Well, is it just that you should live?

Orestes
And rule a kingdom, yes.

Menelaus
A kingdom, where?

Orestes
Here in Pelasgian Argos.

Menelaus
You are so well qualified to handle holy water!

Orestes
And why not?

Menelaus
And to slay victims before battle!

Orestes
Well, are you?

Menelaus
Yes, my hands are clean.

Orestes
But not your heart.

Menelaus
Who would speak to you?

Orestes
The one who loves his father.

Menelaus
And the one who honors his mother?

Orestes
He was born fortunate.

Menelaus
Not like you!

Orestes
No, for I do not delight in these wicked women.

Menelaus
Remove that sword from my daughter!

Orestes
You are a liar.

Menelaus
Will you kill my daughter?

Orestes
Now you are not a liar!

Menelaus
Ah me! what shall I do?

Orestes
Go to the Argives and persuade them—

Menelaus
Persuade them what?

Orestes
Not to kill us; entreat the city.

Menelaus
Or you will slay my child?

Orestes
That is correct.

Menelaus
O wretched Helena—

Orestes
Am I not wretched?

Menelaus
I brought you back from Troy to be a victim—

Orestes
If only she had been!

Menelaus
After innumerable troubles.

Orestes
Except where I was concerned.

Menelaus
I have suffered dreadfully!

Orestes
Yes, for you would not help me then.

Menelaus
You have me.

Orestes
Your own cowardice has you. Calling from the roof to Electra Fire the palace from beneath, Electra; and, Pylades, my most trusty friend, kindle the parapet of these walls.The palace is seen to be ablaze.

Menelaus
O Danaid earth! Dwellers in Argos, city of horses, put on your armor and come to help! For this fellow is forcing his life from your whole city, though he has caused pollution by shedding his mother's blood.

Apollo verschijnt uit de hoogte met Helena

Apollo
Menelaus, calm your anger that has been whetted; I am Phoebus, the son of Leto, drawing near to call you by name. And you also, Orestes, who are keeping guard on the girl, sword in hand, so that you may hear what I have come to say. Helena, whom all your eagerness failed to destroy, when you were seeking to anger Menelaus, is here as you see in the enfolding air, rescued from death and not slain by you. I saved her and snatched her from beneath your sword at the bidding of father Zeus, for she, his child, must be immortal, and take her seat with Castor and Polydeuces in the enfolding air, a savior to mariners. Choose another bride and take her to your home; for the gods by that one's loveliness joined Troy and Hellas in battle, causing death so that they might draw off from the earth the outrage of unstinting numbers of mortals. So much for Helena; as for you, Orestes, you must cross the broders of this land and dwell for one whole year on Parrhasian soil, which from your flight shall be called the land of Orestes by Azanians and Arcadians. And when you return from there to the city of Athens, undergo your trial by the Avenging Three for your mother's murder; the gods will be arbitrators of your trial, and will take a most righteous vote on you at the hill of Ares, where you are to win your case. And it is destined, Orestes, that you will marry Hermione, at whose neck you are holding your sword; Neoptolemus shall never marry her, though he thinks he will; for he is fated to die by a Delphian sword, when he claims satisfaction of me for the death of his father Achilles. Give your sister in marriage to Pylades, to whom you formerly promised her; the life awaiting him is one of happiness. Menelaus, leave Orestes to rule Argos; go and reign over the Spartan land, keeping it as the dowry of a wife who till this day never ceased causing you innumerable troubles. I will set matters straight between Orestes and the citizens, for I forced him to murder his mother.

Orestes
Hail, prophetic Loxias, for your oracles! You were not a lying prophet after all, but a true seer; and yet I was afraid that it was some fiend I had listened to, when I seemed to hear your voice; but all is ending well, and I obey your word. There! I release Hermione from slaughter and agree to make her my wife whenever her father gives her.

Menelaus
All hail, Helena, daughter of Zeus! I wish you joy of your home in heaven's happy courts. To you, Orestes, I betroth my daughter, as Phoebus said; being noble yourself, may you have benefit from a noble wife, and may I also, in giving her to you.

Apollo
Go now each one to the place appointed by me; reconcile your quarrels.

Menelaus
I must obey.

Orestes
And so must I; I make a truce with my fate, Menelaus, and with your oracles, Loxias.

Apollo
Go your ways, and honor Peace, fairest of goddesses; I will bring Helena to the halls of Zeus, when I have come to the sky, bright with stars. There, enthroned beside Hera and Hebe, the bride of Heracles, she will be honored by men with libations as a goddess for ever; along with those Zeus-born sons of Tyndareus, she will be a guardian of the sea, for the good of sailors.Apollo and Helena vanish.

Koor
Greatly revered Victory, may you occupy my life, and never cease to crown me!

© 2017 Maarten Hendriksz