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The old man, the former servant of Agamemnon, enters, out of breath. Electra presently appears at the door of the hut.

Old man
Where, where is my young queen and mistress, Agamemnon's child, whom I once brought up? How steep is the approach to her house, [490] for a wrinkled old man to ascend with this foot! Still, for these friends, I must drag along my back bent double and sinking knees.

Oh, daughter—for I see you now before the house—I have come, bringing you from my own sheep [495] this newborn nursling of the flock, having drawn it away from its mother, and garlands, and cheeses I have taken from the press, and this old treasure of Dionysus, furnished with fragrance, small, but sweet to pour a cup of it into a weaker drink. [500] Let some one carry these gifts into the house for the guests. I have moistened my eyes with tears, and wish to wipe them off on this shred of my robe.

Electra
Why are your eyes wet, old man? Have my troubles stirred your memory, after an interval of time? [505] Or are you groaning over the sad exile of Orestes, and over my father, whom you once held in your arms and brought up, in vain for you and for your friends?

Old man
In vain; but still I could not endure this: for I came to his grave, an addition to my journey, [510] and falling on it I wept for its desolation; then I opened the wine-skin which I am bringing to the guests, and poured a libation, and set myrtle-sprigs round the tomb. On the alter itself I saw a black-fleeced ram as an offering, and there was blood, not long poured out, [515] and severed locks of yellow hair. And I wondered, child, who ever dared come to the the tomb; for it was no Argive at least. But perhaps your brother has somehow come secretly and on his return has done honor to his father's wretched grave. [520] Go look to see if the color of the cut lock is the same as yours, putting it to your own hair; it is usual for those who have the same paternal blood to have a close resemblance in many features.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 1310
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