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Seeing this, the clever charioteer from Athens drew aside and paused, allowing the equestrian flood to pass in mid-crest. Orestes was driving last, keeping his horses [735] behind, as his trust was in the race's end. But when he sees that the Athenian is alone left in, he sends a shrill cry ringing through the ears of his swift colts, and gives chase. Bringing yoke level with yoke the two of them raced, first one man, then the other, [740] showing his head in front of the other's chariot. Up to now the ill-fated Orestes had driven upright safely through every circuit, upright in his upright car. But then he slackened his left rein while the horse was turning and unwittingly struck the edge of the pillar, [745] breaking the axle-box in two. He spilled forward over the chariot-rail and was caught in the trim reins, and as he fell to the ground, his colts were scattered into the middle of the course.

But when the crowd saw that he had fallen [750] from the chariot, a cry of pity went up for the young man who had done such deeds and was allotted such bad fortune—now dashed against the earth, now tossed with his feet to the sky until the charioteers with difficulty reigned in the gallop of his horses and [755] freed him, so covered with blood that no friend who saw it would have known the pitiful corpse. Immediately they burned him on a pyre, and chosen men of Phocis now bring the sad dust of that mighty form in a small urn of bronze, [760] so that he may find due burial in his fatherland.

Such is my story—it is grievous even to hear, but for us witnesses who looked on, it was the greatest of sorrows that these eyes have seen.

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load focus Notes (Sir Richard C. Jebb, 1894)
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