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- Specimens of Greek Tragedy - 40/44 -


ORESTES.

What can be worse than what I now behold?

ELECTRA.

What can be worse? Life with the murderers.

ORESTES.

Murderers of whom? Thy tale of crime unfold.

ELECTRA.

My father's murderers, and their slave am I.

ORESTES.

What tyrant has imposed on thee this yoke?

ELECTRA.

My mother, little worthy of that name.

ORESTES.

And how? By persecution or by force?

ELECTRA.

By persecution, force, and all that's vile.

ORESTES.

And hast thou none to save thee from her hands?

ELECTRA.

One such I had, and thou hast brought his dust.

ORESTES.

Unhappy maid, my soul does pity thee.

ELECTRA.

Only in thee have I such pity found.

ORESTES.

I also am a partner of thy woe.

ELECTRA.

Art thou some kinsman come I know not whence?

ORESTES.

That thou shalt hear, provided these are friends.

ELECTRA.

And friends they are, thou mayest confide in them.

ORESTES.

Give back that urn, and I will tell thee all.

ELECTRA.

Nay, I conjure thee; let me keep it still.

ORESTES.

Do as I say and thou wilt not repent.

ELECTRA.

O grant my prayer, and rob not this poor heart.

ORESTES.

I must not leave it with thee.

ELECTRA.

Woe is me, Orestes, if I may not tend thy dust.

ORESTES.

Peace, maiden, peace! thou hast no cause to mourn.

ELECTRA.

No cause to mourn, who have a brother lost?

ORESTES.

To speak of brothers lost is not for thee.

ELECTRA. Have I not then the mourner's privilege?

ORESTES.

Naught hast thou lost, and hast no part in this.

ELECTRA.

I have, if this contains my brother's dust.

ORESTES.

It does not, save in name and in pretence.

ELECTRA.

Where, then, does my ill-starred Orestes lie?

ORESTES.

Nowhere; for he who lives can have no grave.

ELECTRA.

What dost thou say, young man?

ORESTES.

I tell thee truth.

ELECTRA.

How! does he live?

ORESTES.

Sure as I live he lives.

ELECTRA.

And art thou he?

ORESTES.

Look on this signet ring, Our father's once, and tell me if I lie.

ELECTRA.

Light of my life, most dear.

ORESTES.

Most dear indeed.

ELECTRA.

Is it that voice I hear?

ORESTES.

It is that voice.

ELECTRA.

And do these arms enfold thee?

ORESTES.

Ay, forever.

ELECTRA.

(_To the_ CHORUS.)

My countrywomen and companions dear, Behold Orestes that erewhile was dead. Dead by device now by device alive.

CHORUS.

Maiden, we do behold him; at the sight, The tears of joy are gathering in our eyes.

THE TRACHINIAE.

Deianira, the wife of Hercules, fears that she has lost her husband's love, and that it has been transferred to the beautiful captive Iole, whom he has brought back with him on his return in triumph from the storming of Oechalia. She bethinks her of a love-charm which she has long had among her treasures. It is the blood of Nessus, the Centaur, who, having offered her violence, and received his death-wound from Hercules in her defence, had perfidiously persuaded her that his blood


Specimens of Greek Tragedy - 40/44

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