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Electra

Electra
Memorial of him whom I loved best on earth, sole remnant of Orestes' vitality! How contrary to the hopes with which I sent you away do I receive you back! Now I raise your nothingness in my hands; [1130] but then, my child, you were radiant, when I sent you away from home! Would that I had first abandoned life, before, stealing you away with these hands, I sent you to a strange land and rescued you from death, in order that you might have lain dead on that same day [1135] and had your share in the tomb of our father!

But now, an exile from home and fatherland, you have perished miserably, far from your sister. Ah, me, these loving hands have not washed or decked your corpse, nor taken up [1140] their sad burden from the all-consuming pyre, as was proper. No! At the hands of strangers, poor Orestes, you have been tended, and so have come to us, a small bulk in a small urn.

Ah, I grieve at the uselessness of my nursing long ago, the service that I often bestowed [1145] on you in sweet labor! For you were never your mother's darling so much as mine, nor was any in the house your nurse but I, and by you I was ever called “sister.” But now all this has vanished in a day [1150] with your death. Like a whirlwind you have swept everything away with you. Our father is gone; I am dead because of you; you yourself are dead and gone; our enemies laugh at us; and our mother, who is no mother, raves with joy. Unknown to her, you often [1155] sent me messages about her, saying that you yourself would appear for vengeance. But our evil fortune, yours and mine, has torn all that away, and has sent you back to me in this state, ash and a useless shade in place of your beloved form.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 53
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 1301
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Selections from the Attic Orators, 23
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Selections from the Attic Orators, 23
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