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Chorus Leader
Helen, your mother's sister, is the cause of many evils to the Hellenes and to your house.

Electra
Catching sight of Orestes and Pylades
[215] Ah! Women, I have broken off my lament; strangers, who had their lair at the altar, are rising from ambush towards the household. Let us escape the villains by flight, you along the path and I to the house.

Orestes
[220] Stay, poor girl; do not fear my hand.

Electra
O Phoebus Apollo! I beseech you to spare my life.

Orestes
May I kill others more hated than you!

Electra
Go away! Do not touch one whom you must not touch.

Orestes
There is no one I have a better right to touch.

Electra
[225] Then why are you in ambush, with drawn sword, near my house?

Orestes
Wait and hear, and you will soon say the same.

Electra
I am still; in any case, I am yours, since you are the stronger.

Orestes
I have come to bring you word from your brother.

Electra
Oh best of friends! Is he alive or dead?

Orestes
[230] Alive; for I want to tell you the good news first.

Electra
May you be happy, as a reward for your most welcome tidings.

Orestes
I give that blessing for us two to have in common.

Electra
Where does the unhappy one live, in his unhappy exile?

Orestes
He goes miserably about, not following the customs of any one city.

Electra
[235] Surely he does not want for a living, day by day?

Orestes
He has that, but an exile is a helpless man at best.

Electra
What is this message you have come bringing from him?

Orestes
If you are alive, and if so, how you are.

Electra
Well then, you see first of all how withered my body is.

Orestes
[240] Yes, so wasted with sorrow that I sigh for it.

Electra
And my head and hair, close shaven as if by a Scythian's razor.

Orestes
Your brother and your dead father perhaps gnaw at your heart.

Electra
Alas! For what is dearer to me than they?

Orestes
Ah! What are you to your brother, do you think?

Electra
[245] He is far away, not here to be my friend.

Orestes
Why are you living here, far from the city?

Electra
I am married, stranger; a deadly match.

Orestes
I pity your brother. Is your husband a Mycenaean?

Electra
Not one to whom my father ever hoped to give me.

Orestes
[250] Tell me so that I may hear and inform your brother.

Electra
I live in his house, at a distance from the city.

Orestes
A ditch-digger or a herdsman is worthy of the house.

Electra
He is a man poor but noble, and respectful to me.

Orestes
What is this respect that your husband has?

Electra
[255] He has never dared to touch me in bed.

Orestes
Does he hold some form of religious chastity, or does he think you unworthy?

Electra
He did not think himself worthy to insult my family.

Orestes
And how was he not delighted to make such a marriage?

Electra
He thinks the person who gave me did not have that right, stranger.

Orestes
[260] I understand; he fears that he may someday be punished by Orestes.

Electra
He does fear that, but he is also a virtuous man.

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