CHOEPHORI or THE LIBATION BEARERS

A monologue from the play by Aeschylus


  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Dramas of Aeschylus. Trans. Anna Swanwick. London: George Bell and Sons, 1907.
  • ELECTRA: Ye captive women, ye who tend this home,
    Since ye are present to escort with me
    These lustral rites, your counsel now I crave.
    How, while I pour these off'rings on the tomb,
    Speak friendly words? and how invoke my Sire?
    Shall I declare that from a loving wife
    To her dear lord I bear them? from my mother?
    My courage fails, now know I what to speak,
    Pouring libations on my father's tomb.
    Or shall I pray, as holy wont enjoins,
    That to the senders of these chaplets, he
    Requital may accord, ay! meed of ill.
    Or, with no mark of honour, silently,
    For so my father perished, shall I pour
    These offerings, potion to be drunk by earth,
    Then, tossing o'er my head the lustral urn,
    (As one who loath├Ęd refuse forth has cast,)
    With eyes averted, back retrace my steps?
    Be ye partakers in my counsel, friends,
    For in this house one common hate we share.
    Through fear hide not the feelings of your heart;
    For what is destined waits alike the free
    And him o'ermastered by another's hand;--
    If ye have aught more wise to urge, say on.

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