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After this my poor Orestes, wasting away in a cruel disease, [35] lies fallen on his couch, and it is his mother's blood that drives him round and round in frenzied fits; I am ashamed to name the goddesses, whose terrors are chasing him—the Eumenides. It is now the sixth day [40] since the body of his murdered mother was committed to the cleansing fire; since then no food has gone down his throat, nor has he washed his skin; but wrapped in his cloak he weeps in his lucid moments, whenever the fever leaves him; [45] at other times he bounds headlong from his couch, as a colt when it is loosed from the yoke. This city of Argos has decreed that no man give us shelter in home or hearth, or speak to matricides like us; and this is the fateful day on which the Argives will take a vote, [50] whether we are both to die by stoning. [or to whet the steel and plunge it in our necks.]

There is, it is true, one hope of escape from death: Menelaus has landed from Troy; his fleet now crowds the haven of Nauplia where he has come to anchor on the shore, returned at last from Troy [55] after ceaseless wanderings; but Helen, that so-called lady of sorrows, he has sent on to our palace, waiting for the night, lest any of those parents whose sons died at Troy might see her if she went by day, and set to stoning her. [60] Within she sits, weeping for her sister and the calamities of her family, and yet she has still some solace in her woe; for Hermione, the child she left at home when she sailed for Troy, the maid whom Menelaus brought from Sparta [65] and entrusted to my mother's keeping, is still a cause of joy to her and a reason to forget her sorrows. I am watching each approach, until I see Menelaus arriving; for unless we find some safety from him, we have only a feeble anchor to ride on otherwise. [70] A helpless thing, an unlucky house!

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