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Our stranger, I think, is working mischief: [730] for over there I see Orestes' nurse all in tears. Cilissa1! Where are you going? Why as you set foot in the palace gate do you have a grief as an unhired companion?

Nurse
My mistress commands me to summon Aegisthus for the strangers in all haste, so that he may come and learn more clearly, from man to man, these tidings that have just arrived. [735] Indeed, before the servants, behind eyes that feigned grief she hid her laughter over what has occurred fortunately for her. But the news so plainly told by the strangers means utter ruin for this house. [740] I expect that when he hears it he will rejoice in his heart to know the story. Miserable woman that I am! How the old unbearable troubles of every sort that occurred in this house of Atreus [745] have always made my heart ache within my breast! But never yet have I endured a blow like this. For all the other troubles I bore patiently, but my beloved Orestes, on whom I spent my soul, whom I took from his mother at birth and nursed, [750] and the many and troublesome tasks, fruitless for all my enduring them, when his loud and urgent cries broke my rest.... For one must nurse the senseless thing like a dumb beast, of course one must, by following its humor. For while it is still a baby in swaddling clothes, it has no speech at all, [755] whether hunger moves it, or thirst perhaps, or the call of need: children's young insides work their own relief. I would anticipate these needs. Yet many a time, I think, having to wash the child's linen because of my own errors, laundress and nurse had the same function. [760] It was I who, with these two handicrafts, received Orestes for his father. And now, wretch that I am, I hear that he is dead. But I am on my way to fetch the man who wrought destruction on our house, and he will be glad enough to hear this news. [765]

1 Slaves were commonly named from their native country

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.6.1
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