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Clytaemestra

Clytaemestra
[855] Citizens of Argos, you Elders present here, I shall not be ashamed to confess in your presence my fondness for my husband—with time diffidence dies away in humans.

Untaught by others, I can tell of my own weary life [860] all the long while my husband was beneath Ilium's walls. First and foremost, it is a terrible evil for a wife to sit forlorn at home, severed from her husband, always hearing many malignant rumors, and for one messenger after another [865] to come bearing tidings of disaster, each worse than the last, and cry them to the household. And as for wounds, had my husband received so many as rumor kept pouring into the house, no net would have been pierced so full of holes as he. Or if he had died as often as reports claimed, [870] then truly he might have had three bodies, a second Geryon,1and have boasted of having taken on him a triple cloak of earth [ample that above, of that below I speak not], one death for each different shape. Because of such malignant tales as these, [875] many times others have had to loose the high-hung halter from my neck, held in its strong grip. It is for this reason, in fact, that our boy, Orestes, does not stand here beside me, as he should—he in whom rest the pledges of my love and yours. Nor should you think this strange. [880] For he is in the protecting care of our well-intentioned ally, Strophius of Phocis, who warned me of trouble on two scores—your own peril beneath Ilium's walls, and then the chance that the people in clamorous revolt might overturn the Council, as it is natural [885] for men to trample all the more upon the fallen. Truly such an excuse supports no guile.

1 Geryon, a monster (here called “three-bodied,” but ordinarily “three-headed”) whose oxen were driven away from Spain by Heracles.

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load focus English (Robert Browning, 1889)
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  • Cross-references in notes to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 15
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