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But the strange visions which the night brought with it, I will tell to the air, if that is any relief. I dreamed that I had left this land to live in Argos, and to sleep in the midst of the maidens' rooms; but the earth's back was shaken by a tossing swell. When I escaped and stood outside, I saw the cornice of the house fall, and the whole roof hurled in ruins on the ground, from the highest pillars. One support of my father's house was left, I thought, and it had yellow locks of hair waving from its capital, and took on human voice. In observance of the art of slaughtering strangers that I practice here, I gave it holy water as if it were about to die, while I wept. This is my interpretation of this dream: Orestes, whom I consecrated by my rites, is dead. For male children are the supports of the house; and those whom I purify with holy water die. [I cannot connect this dream to my friends, for Strophius, when I perished, had no son.] Now I wish to give libations to my brother
Orestes Look out, take care that no one is in the path. Pylades I am looking, and turning my eyes everywhere, in examination. Orestes Pylades, do you think this is the hall of the goddess, for which we set sail from Argos? Pylades Yes, Orestes; and you must think so too. Orestes And the altar, that drips with the slaughter of Hellenes? Pylades Its dedications of hair, at least, are red with blood. Orestes Do you see the spoils hanging from the very walls? Pylades Trophies of strangers that have been slain. But I must look all around and keep careful watch. Orestes O Phoebus, where have you again brought me into the snare, by your oracles, since I avenged my father's blood by the murder of my mother, and was driven by successive Furies, a fugitive, away from the land, and completed many winding courses; and coming to you I asked how I might arrive at an end to whirling madness and my labors, which I have carried out, wandering all over Hellas. . . . And you told me to go
Iphigenia Oh! My servants, how I am involved in mournful dirges, in laments unfit for the lyre, of a song that is not melodious, alas! alas! wailing for my family. Ruin has come to me; I am lamenting the life of my brother, such a vision I saw in my dreams, in the night whose darkness is now over. I am lost, lost! My father's house is no more; alas for my vanished family, alas for the sufferings of Argos! O fate, I had one brother only and you carry him off and send him to Hades. For him, I am about to pour over the back of the earth these libations and the bowl of the dead: streams of milk from mountain cows, and offerings of wine from Bacchus, and the labor of the tawny bees; these sacrifices are soothing to the dead. Give me the golden vessel and the libation of Hades. O child of Agamemnon beneath the earth, I send these to you as one dead. Accept them; for I will not bring to your tomb my yellow hair or my tears. I live far indeed from your country and mine, where I am th
Chorus I will sing for you, my mistress, responsive songs and a barbarian cry of Asian hymns; this song, dear to the dead, Hades sings in laments, in chants—not songs of triumph. Alas for the house of the Atreidae; the light of their scepter, alas, of the ancestral house, is lost. Once they ruled as prosperous kings in Argos, but troubles dart out from troubles: Pelops, on his horses swiftly whirling, made his cast; the sun changed from its seat the holy beam of its rays. One pain comes after another, to the house of the golden lamb. . . . from that earlier time when the Tantalids were killed, punishment came to the house, and fate presses what you do not want upon yo
Chorus Dark straits of the sea, dark, where the gadfly flying from Argos crossed over the inhospitable wave . . . taking the Asian land in exchange for Europe. Whoever are the ones who left the lovely waters of Eurotas, green with reeds, or the holy streams of Dirce, to come here, to come to the unsociable land, where, for the divine maiden, the blood of mortals stains the altars and columned temples?