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Menelaus
[385] O gods, what do I see? What living corpse greets my sight?

Orestes
You are right; I am dead through misery, though I still gaze upon the light.

Menelaus
How savage the look your unkempt hair gives you, poor wretch!

Orestes
It is not my looks, but my deeds that torture me.

Menelaus
Your tearless eyes glare dreadfully!

Orestes
[390] My body is gone, though my name has not deserted me.

Menelaus
Unsightly apparition, so different from what I expected!

Orestes
Here I am, the murderer of my wretched mother.

Menelaus
I have heard, spare your words; evils should be seldom spoken.

Orestes
I will be sparing; but the deity is lavish of woe to me.

Menelaus
[395] What ails you? what is your deadly sickness?

Orestes
My conscience; I know that I am guilty of a dreadful crime.

Menelaus
What do you mean? Wisdom is shown in clarity, not in obscurity.

Orestes
Grief especially has ruined me—

Menelaus
Yes, she is a dreadful goddess, yet are there cures for her.

Orestes
[400] And fits of madness, the vengeance of a mother's blood.

Menelaus
When did your madness begin? Which day was it?

Orestes
On the day I was heaping the mound over my poor mother's grave.

Menelaus
When you were in the house, or watching by the pyre?

Orestes
As I was waiting by night to gather up her bones.

Menelaus
[405] Was any one else there, to help you rise?

Orestes
Pylades who shared with me the bloody deed, my mother's murder.

Menelaus
You are sick from phantom shapes; what sort?

Orestes
I seemed to see three maidens, black as night.

Menelaus
I know whom you mean, but I do not want to name them.

Orestes
[410] Yes, for they are revered; you were well-informed, to avoid naming them.

Menelaus
Are these the ones that drive you to frenzy, with the curse of kindred blood?

Orestes
Oh! the torment I endure from their pursuit!

Menelaus
It is not strange, if those who have done dreadful things should suffer them.

Orestes
But I have a way to recover from these troubles.

Menelaus
[415] Do not speak of death; that is not wise.

Orestes
It is Phoebus, who commanded me to kill my mother.

Menelaus
Showing a strange ignorance of what is fair and right.

Orestes
We are slaves to the gods, whatever those gods are.

Menelaus
And does Loxias not help your affliction?

Orestes
[420] He will in time; this is the nature of gods.

Menelaus
How long is it since your mother breathed her last?

Orestes
This is the sixth day; her funeral pyre is still warm.

Menelaus
How soon the goddesses arrived to avenge your mother's blood!

Orestes
I am not clever, but I am by nature a true friend to my friends.

Menelaus
[425] Does your father give you any help at all, for your avenging him?

Orestes
Not yet; I call delay the equal of inaction.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 2, 2.52
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