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Orestes
Taught by misery, I know many purification rituals, and I know where it is right to speak and equally to be silent; and in this case, I have been ordered to speak by a wise teacher. For the blood is slumbering and fading from my hand, [280] the pollution of matricide is washed away; while it was still fresh, it was driven away at the hearth of the god Phoebus by purifying sacrifices of swine. It would be a long story to tell from the beginning, how many people I have visited, with no harm from association with me. [285] [Time purges all things, aging with them.]

So now with a pure mouth I piously invoke Athena, lady of this land, to come to my aid. Without the spear, she will win me and my land and the Argive people [290] as faithful and true allies for all time. But whether in some region of the Libyan land, near the waters of Triton, her native stream, she is in action or at rest,1 aiding those whom she loves, or whether, like a bold marshal, she is surveying the Phlegraean 2 plain, [295] oh, let her come—as a goddess, she hears even from far away—to be my deliverer from distress!

1 Literally, “she places her foot upright or covered over.” The poet may have in mind statues of the goddess: ὀρθόν referring to upright posture, κατηρεφῆ to her long garment falling over her foot when she was represented as sitting.

2 The scene of the battle of the Gods and Giants, in which Athena slew Enceladus.

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