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And so the Hellenes, brandishing their spears and donning their harness, came here to the narrow straits of Aulis with armaments of ships and troops, with many horses and chariots, and they chose me to captain them all for the sake of Menelaus, since I was his brother. Would that some other had gained that distinction instead of me! But after the army was gathered and come together, we still remained at Aulis weatherbound. In our perplexity, we asked Calchas, the seer, and he answered that Aulis weatherbound. In our perplexity, we asked Calchas, the seer, and he answered that we should sacrifice my own child Iphigenia to Artemis, whose home is in this land, and we would sail and sack the Phrygians' capital [if we sacrificed her, but if we did not, these things would not happen]. When I heard this, I commanded Talthybius with loud proclamation to disband the whole army, as I could never bear to slay my daughter. Whereupon my brother, bringing every argument to bear, persuaded me at last to face the crime; so I wrote in a folded scroll and sent to my wife, bidding h
Agamemnon “Daughter of Leda, in addition to my first letter, I am sending you word —.” Old man Say on and make it plain, that what my tongue utters may accord with what you have written. Agamemnon “Not to despatch your daughter to Euboea's deep-gulfed wing, to the waveless bay of Aulis, for after all we will celebrate our child's wedding at another time.” Old man And how will Achilles, cheated of his bride, curb the fury of his indignation against you and your wife? Here also is a danger. Make clear what you are saying. Agamemnon It is his name, not himself that Achilles is lending, knowing nothing of the marriage or of my scheming or my professed readiness to betroth my daughter to him for a husband's embrace. Old man A dreadful venture yours, king Agamemnon, you that, by promise of your daughter's hand to the son of the goddess, were bringing the maid here to be sacrificed for the Danaids. Agamemnon Ah me! I am utterly distraught; alas! bewilderment comes over me. Aw
Chorus To the sandy beach of sea-coast Aulis I have come after a voyage through the tides of narrow Euripus, leaving Chalcis, my city which feeds the waters of far-famed Arethusa near the sea, so that I might behold the army of the Achaeans and the ships rowed by those godlike heroes; for our husbands tell us that fair-haired Menelaus and high-born Agamemnon are leading them to Troy on a thousand ships in quest of Helen, whom Paris the herdsman carried off from the banks of reedy Eurotas, his gift from Aphrodite, when that queen of Cyprus entered beauty's contest with Hera and Pallas at the gushing fountain.
This was the first cause I had to reprove you, for it was here I first discovered your villainy; but afterwards, when you came to Aulis with all the gathered hosts of Hellas, you were of no account; no! the want of a favorable breeze filled you with consternation at the chance dealt out by the gods. Then the Danaids began demanding that you should send the fleet away instead of vainly toiling on at Aulis; what dismay and confusion was then depicted in your looks, to think that you, with a thoAulis; what dismay and confusion was then depicted in your looks, to think that you, with a thousand ships at your command, had not occupied the plains of Priam with your armies! And you would ask my counsel, “What am I to do? What scheme can I devise, where find one?”—to save yourself being stripped of your command and losing your fair fame. Next when Calchas bade you offer your daughter in sacrifice to Artemis, declaring that the Danaids should then sail, you were overjoyed, and gladly undertook to offer the girl, and of your own accord—never allege compulsion—you are sending word
O mother, mother! he that begot me to this life of sorrow has gone and left me all alone. Ah! woe is me! a bitter, bitter sight for me was Helen, evil Helen! to me now doomed to bleed and die, slaughtered by an impious father! I wish this Aulis had never received in its havens here the stems of their bronze-beaked ships, the fleet which was speeding them to Troy; and would that Zeus had never breathed on the Euripus a wind to stop the expedition, tempering, as he does, a different breeze to different men, so that some have joy in setting sail, and sorrow some, and others hard constraint, to make some start and others prepare and others delay! Full of trouble then, it seems, is the race of mortals, full of trouble indeed; and it is Fate's decree that man should find distress. Woe! woe to you, you child of Tyndareus, for the suffering and anguish sore, which you are causing the Danaids!
Iphigenia Lead me away, the destroyer of Ilium's town and the Phrygians; give me wreaths to cast about me; bring them here; here are my tresses to crown; bring lustral water too. Dance to Artemis, queen Artemis the blest, around her shrine and altar; for by the blood of my sacrifice I will blot out the oracle, if it must be. O mother, lady revered! I will, not give you my tears; for at the holy rites it is not fitting. Sing with me, maidens, sing the praises of Artemis, whose temple faces Chalcis, where angry spearmen madly chafe, here in the narrow havens of Aulis, because of me. O Pelasgia, land of my birth, and Mycenae, my home!