This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
If I had the eloquence of Orpheus, my father, to move the rocks by chanted spells to follow me, or to charm by speaking anyone I wished, I would have resorted to it. But as it is, I'll bring my tears—the only art I know;  for that I might attempt. And about your knees, as a suppliant, I twine my limbs—these limbs your wife here bore. Do not destroy me before my time, for it is sweet to look upon the light, and do not force me to visit scenes below.  I was the first to call you father, you the first to call me child; I was the first to sit upon your knee and give and take the fond caress. And this was what you would saythen: “Shall I see you, my child, living a happy prosperous life  in a husband's home one day, in a manner worthy of myself?” And I in my turn would ask, as I hung about your beard, where I now am clinging, “What then will I do for you? Shall I be giving you a glad reception in my halls, father,  in your old age, repaying all your anxious care in rearing me?” I remember all we said, it is you who have forgotten and now would take my life. By Pelops, I entreat you spare me, by your father Atreus and my mother here, who suffers now a second time the pangs  she felt before when bearing me! What have I to do with the marriage of Paris and Helen? Why is his coming to prove my ruin, father? Look upon me; bestow one glance, one kiss, that this at least I may carry to my death  as a memorial of you, though you do not heed my pleading. holding up the baby Orestes. Feeble ally though you are, brother, to your loved ones, yet add your tears to mine and entreat our father for your sister's life; even in babies there is a natural sense of evil.  O father, see this speechless supplication made to you; pity me; have mercy on my tender years! Yes, by your beard we two fond hearts implore your pity, the one a baby, a full-grown maid the other. By summing all my pleas in one, I will prevail in what I say:  to gaze upon the light is man's most cherished gift; that life below is nothingness, and whoever longs for death is mad. Better live a life of woe than die a death of glory! Chorus Leader
Ah, wretched Helen! Great is the struggle that has come sons to the of Atreus and their children, thanks to you and those marriages of yours.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.