The Death of Clytemnestra


Electra . Pass on, my brother! she awaits the wretch,
Dishonorer, despoiler, murderer . . . .
None other name shall name him . . . . she awaits
As would a lover . .
Heavenly Gods! what poison
O'erflows my lips!
Adultress! husband-slayer!
Strike her, the tigress!
Think upon our father . .
Give the sword scope . . think what a man was he,
How fond of her! how kind to all about,
That he might gladden and teach us . . how proud
Of thee, Orestes! tossing thee above
His joyous head and calling thee his crown.
Ah! boys remember not what melts our hearts
And marks them evermore!
Bite not thy lip,
Nor tramp as an unsteddy colt the ground,
Nor stare against the wall, but think again
How better than all fathers was our father.
Go . .
Orestes . Loose me, then! for this white hand, Electra,
Hath fastened upon mine with fiercer grasp
Than mine can grasp the sword.
Electra . Go, sweet Orestes!
I knew not I was holding thee . . Avenge him!
( Alone. ) How he sprang from me!
. . Sure, he now has reacht
The room before the bath . .
The bath-door creeks!
. . It hath creakt thus since he . . since thou, O father!
Ever since thou didst loosen its strong valves,
Either with all thy dying weight, or strength
Agonized with her stabs . .
What plunge was that?
Ah me!
. . What groans are those?
Orestes ( returning ). They sound through hell
Rejoicing the Eumenides.
She slew
Our father; she made thee the scorn of slaves;
Me (son of him who ruled this land and more)
She made an outcast . . .
Would I had been so
For ever! ere such vengeance . . . .
Electra . O that Zeus
Had let thy arm fall sooner at thy side
Without those drops! list! they are audible . .
For they are many . . from the sword's point falling,
And down from the mid blade!
Too rash Orestes!
Couldst thou not then have spared our wretched mother?
Orestes . The Gods could not.
Electra . She was not theirs, Orestes!
Orestes . And didst not thou . . .
Electra . 'Twas I, 'twas I, who did it;
Of our unhappiest house the most unhappy!
Under this roof, by every God accurst,
There is no grief, there is no guilt, but mine.
Orestes . Electra! no!
'Tis now my time to suffer. .
Mine be, with all its pangs, the righteous deed.
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