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Chorus
In reverence for your father's tomb, as if it were an altar, I will speak my thoughts from the heart, since you command me.

Electra
Speak, even as you revere my father's grave.

Chorus
While you pour, utter benedictions for loyal hearts.

Electra
And to whom of those dear to me should I address them? [110]

Chorus
First to yourself, then to whoever hates Aegisthus.

Electra
Then for myself and for you also shall I make this prayer?

Chorus
That is for you, using your judgment, to consider now for yourself.

Electra
Then whom else should I add to our company?

Chorus
Remember Orestes, though he is still away from home. [115]

Electra
Well said! You have indeed admonished me thoughtfully.

Chorus
For the guilty murderers now, mindful of—

Electra
What should I say? Instruct my inexperience, prescribe the form.

Chorus
Pray that some divinity or some mortal may come to them—

Electra
As judge or as avenger, do you mean? [120]

Chorus
Say in plain speech, “One who will take life for life.”

Electra
And is it right for me to ask this of the gods?

Chorus
How could it not be right to repay an enemy with ills?

Electra
Supreme herald of the realm above and the realm below, O Hermes of the nether world, come to my aid, summon to me the spirits beneath the earth to hear my prayers, [125] spirits that watch over my father's house, and Earth herself, who gives birth to all things, and having nurtured them receives their increase in turn. And meanwhile, as I pour these lustral offerings to the dead, I invoke my father: “Have pity both on me and on dear Orestes! [130] How shall we rule our own house? For now we are bartered away like vagrants by her who bore us, by her who in exchange got as her mate Aegisthus, who was her accomplice in your murder. As for me, I am no better than a slave, [135] Orestes is an outcast from his inheritance, while they in their insolence revel openly in the winnings of your toil. But that Orestes may come home with good fortune I pray to you, father: Oh, hearken to me! And as for myself, grant that I may prove far more circumspect than my mother and more reverent in deed. [140]

I utter these prayers on our behalf, but I ask that your avenger appear to our foes, father, and that your killers may be killed in just retribution. So I interrupt my prayer for good [145] to offer them this prayer for evil. But be a bearer of blessings for us to the upper world, with the help of the gods and Earth and Justice crowned with victory.”She pours out the libations

Such are my prayers, and over them I pour out these libations. It is right for you to crown them with lamentations, [150] raising your voices in a chant for the dead.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 646
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