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has returned to Mycenæ as the guide and companion
Or. Say, dames and damsels, have we heard aright,
Ch. And what desire or quest hath brought thee hither?
Or. Which of you all will signify within
Ch. This maiden, if the nearest should report.
Or. Mistress, wilt thou go yonder and make known, That certain Phocians on Ægisthus wait?
El. Oh! can it be that you are come to bring Clear proofs of the sad rumor we have heard?
Or. I know not what ye have heard. Old Strophius Charged me with tidings of Orestes' fate.
El. What, stranger? How this terror steals on me!
Or. Bearing scant remnants of his body dead In this small vase thou seest, we bring him home.
El. O sorrow! thou art here: I see full well That burden of my heart in present view.
Or. If thou have tears for `aught Orestes suffered, Know that he lies within this vessel's room.
El. Ah, sir! by all in Heaven, if yonder urn Hide him, ah! give it once into my hand,
That o'er that dust I may lament and mourn
Or. Bring it and give her, whosoe'er she be.
[The urn is given into Electra's hands,
I am dead, who lived in thee. Our enemies
Ch. Electra, think! Thou hadst a mortal sire,
Or. O me! What shall I speak, or which way turn
Woe's me! Untrimmed for bridal, hapless maid! El. Why this fixed gaze, O stranger! that deep groan?
Or. How all unknowing was I of mine ill!
thine eye sees little of my pain. Or. Can aught be still more hateful to be seen? El. I have my dwelling with the murderers Or. Of whom? What evil would thy words disclose? El. Of him who gave me birth. I am their slave. Or. Whose power compels thee to this sufferance? El. One called my mother, most unmotherly. Or. How? by main force, or by degrading shames? El. By force and shames, and every kind of evil. Or. And is there none to succor or prevent? El. None. Him I had, you give me here in dust. Or. How mine eye pities thee this while, poor
maid! El. Know now, none ever pitied me but you. Or. None ever came whose heart like sorrow wrung. El. Is’t possible we have some kinsman here? Or. I will tell it, if these women here be friendly. El. They are. They may be trusted. Only speak. Or. Let go yon vase, that thou may’st learn the whole. El. Nay, by the Gods! be not so cruel, sir! Or. Obey me and thou shalt not come to harm. El. Ah, never rob me of what most I love! Or. You must not hold it. El.
O me miserable
Or. Speak no rash word. Thou hast no right to mourn,
Such utterance belongs not to thy tongue.
Oh, am I thus dishonored of the dead?
Far from dishonor. But this ne'er was thine. El.
Is't not Orestes' body that I bear?
Or. Nay, but the idle dressing of a tale.
Nought but what is true.
If I have life in me.
Let my signet here,
El. O day of days!
Time hath no happier hour.
Hearken not otherwhere.
Hold me so for aye!
Ch. We see, dear daughter, and the gladsome tear Steals from our eye to greet the bright event.
49 MEDEA MEDITATES THE MURDER OF
'HE Colchian princess Medea, by her magic
the Golden Fleece, and sails with him to Hellas.
i From the Medea. The translation is by Gilbert Murray, and is reprinted through special arrangement with Mr. Murray and with the Ox. ford University Press, American Branch.