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I will ask you, Menelaus, just one question. If a man's wedded wife should kill him, and his son in turn will kill his mother in revenge; [510] next the avenger's son to expiate this murder will commit another: where will the chain of horrors end? Our forefathers settled these matters the right way. They forbade any one with blood upon his hands to appear in their sight or cross their path; [515] but they purified him by exile, they did not kill him in revenge. Otherwise someone, by taking the pollution last upon his hands, is always going to be liable to have his own blood shed. Now I hate wicked women, especially my daughter who killed her husband; [520] Helen, too, your own wife, I will never commend, nor would I even speak to her; and I do not envy you a voyage to Troy for a worthless woman. But the law I will defend with all my might, to put an end to this brutal spirit of murder, [525] which is always the ruin of countries and cities alike.

Turning to Orestes Wretch! Had you no heart when your mother was baring her breast in her appeal to you? I, who did not see that awful deed, weep unhappy tears from my old eyes. [530] One thing at least agrees with what I say: you are hated by the gods, and you pay atonement for your mother by your fits of madness and terror. Why do I need to hear from other witnesses what I can see for myself? Therefore, Menelaus, take heed; [535] do not oppose the gods in your wish to help this man; but leave him to be stoned to death by the citizens, or do not set foot on Spartan land. My daughter is dead, and rightly; but it should not have been his hand that slew her. [540] In all except my daughters I have been a happy man; there I am not blessed.

Chorus Leader
He is enviable, who is fortunate in his children, and does not bring hazardous notoriety on himself.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.2.4
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