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Shine inward, and the mind through all her powers
Irradiate; there plant eyes; all mist from thence
Purge and disperse, that I may see and tell
Of things invisible to mortal sight.

John Milton

47

AN IDYLL 1

The place is the Garden of Eden.

NOW

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W came still evening on, and twilight gray

Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied; for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant sung;
Silence was pleased: now glowed the firmament
With living sapphires: Hesperus, that led
The starry host, rode brightest, till the moon,
Rising in clouded majesty, at length
Apparent queen, unveiled her peerless light,
And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw.

Eve addresses Adam.

“With thee conversing I forget all time;
All seasons, and their change, all please alike.
Sweet is the breath of morn, her rising sweet,
With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the sun,
When first on this delightful land he spreads
His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower,
Glistering with dew; fragrant the fertile carth
After soft showers; and sweet the coming on
Of grateful evening mild; then silent night,

1 From the fourth book of Paradise Lost.

With this her solemn bird, and this fair moon,
And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train:
But neither breath of morn, when she ascends
With charm of earliest birds; nor rising sun
On this delightful land; nor herb, fruit, flower,
Glistering with dew; nor fragrance after showers;
Nor grateful evening mild; nor silent night,
With this her solemn bird; nor walk by moon,
Or glittering starlight, without thee is sweet.”

John Milton

II

POETICAL DRAMA

The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to earth, from

earth to heaven; And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet's

pen Turns them to shapes and gives to airy

nothing A local habitation and a name.

-WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

48 THE MEETING OF ELECTRA AND ORESTES1

AGAM

GAMEMNON, on his return from Troy, was

murdered in the palace of Mycenæ by his wife Clytemnestra and her paramour Ægisthus. Orestes, the victim's son and heir, then a child, was saved by. his sister Electra. She gave him to a faithful retainer, who carried him to Phocis. There he grew up in the home of Strophius, King of Crisa near Delphi, the father of his friend Pylades.

Many years have passed since then. Electra has perforce continued to live under the same roof with the murderers. While her sisters, Chrysothemis and Iphianassa, have been taught by prudence to hide their feelings, she has made no concealment of her loyalty to her father's memory, or of her inconsolable grief. Every kind of hardship and of insult is her portion at the hands of her mother and the dastardly Ægisthus; no slave could fare worse than she does in the house that was her father's.

One hope alone has hitherto borne her up-that the brother from whom she parted so long ago would be sent back by the gods as an avenger.

But this, too, has failed her. An old mana messenger, he says, from Phanoteus the Phocian, a great ally of Ægisthushas just arrived at the palace with news of Orestes' death. Men of Phocis, he says, are even now bearing to the fatherland the ashes of the noble youth. Electra, sorrowing but undismayed, boldly resolves, Chrysothemis refusing help, to become, herself alone, the instrument of divine vengeance.

The news, however, is false. The old man is not a messenger from Phanoteus, but the loyal servant to

whose care Electra entrusted her father's child. He 1 From the tragedy of Electra. The translation is by Lewis Campbell, and is reprinted with the permission of the Oxford University Press, exposition of events preceding the scene reprinted is adapted--with the permission of the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press—from the note prefixed by Richard Jebb, in The Tragedies of Sophocles, to his prose version of the play.

The

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