CHOEPHORI Or THE LIBATION BEARERS Monologue
|CHOEPHORI Or THE LIBATION BEARERS Monologue by Aeschylus|
- NURSE: My mistress bade me summon with all speed
- AE gisthos to the strangers, that he may
- More clearly learn, as man from man, this tale
- Newly announced. Before the menial train,
- She, at the tidings by these strangers brought,
- 'Neath mournful eyes a lurking smile hath veiled,
- Exulting in events joyous for her,
- But to this house with direst issue fraught;--
- But he no doubt will in his soul rejoice,
- Hearing the tale. Alas! unhappy me!
- How did the ancient troubles, hard to bear,
- Whose blended horror darkened Atreus' house,
- With anguish pierce my heart! But ne'er before,
- Have I a sorrow like to this endured.
- All other ills I patiently have borne,
- But dear Orestes, darling of my soul,
- Whom from his mother's womb I fondly reared,
- Whose piercing summons waked me up at night,
- And for whose sake full many a fruitless toil
- I bore ungrudging;--for like lamb unweaned,
- The witless infant we perforce must rear
- According to its mood;--how otherwise!
- For while in swathing-clothes no voice it hath,
- When pressed by hunger, thirst, or nature's call,
- But wilful is each tender organ's play.
- Such wants presaging, ay, and oft deceived,
- As cleanser of his swaddling bands, I ween,
- Fuller and nurse had common duty there.
- I thus installed in double handicraft,
- The young Orestes for his father reared.
- Oh wretched me to hear that he is dead;
- But now I go, the spoiler of this house
- To seek;--right gladly will he learn the tale.
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramas of Aeschylus. Trans. Anna Swanwick. London: George Bell and Sons, 1907.