Iphigenia In Aulis Monologue
|Iphigenia In Aulis Monologue by Euripides|
- IPHIGENIA: Had I, my father, the persuasive voice
- Of Orpheus, and his skill to charm the rocks
- To follow me, and soothe whome'er I please
- With winning words, I would make trial of it;
- But I have nothing to present thee now
- Save tears, my only eloquence; and those
- I can present thee. On thy knees I hang,
- A suppliant wreath, this body, which she bore
- To thee. Ah! kill me not in youth's fresh prime.
- Sweet is the light of heaven; compel me not
- What is beneath to view. I was the first
- To call thee father, me thou first didst call
- Thy child; I was the first that on thy knees
- Fondly caressed thee, and from thee received
- The fond caress; this was thy speech to me:
- "Shall I, my child, e'er see thee in some house
- Of splendour, happy in thy husband, live,
- And flourish, as becomes my dignity?"
- My speech to thee was, leaning 'gainst thy cheek,
- Which with my hand I now caress: "And what
- Shall I then do for thee? Shall I receive
- My father when grown old, and in my house
- Cheer him with each fond office, to repay
- The careful nurture which he gave my youth?"
- These words are on my memory deep impressed;
- Thou hast forgot them, and wilt kill thy child.
- By Pelops I entreat thee, by thy sire
- Atreus, by this my mother, who before
- Suffered for me the pangs of childbirth, now
- These pangs again to suffer, do not kill me.
- If Paris be enamoured of his bride,
- His Helen, what concerns it me? and how
- Comes he to my destruction? Look upon me,
- Give me a smile, give me a kiss, my father,
- That, if my words persuade thee not, in death
- I may have this memorial of thy love.
- My brother, small assistance canst thou give
- Thy friends, yet for thy sister with thy tears
- Implore thy father that she may not die:
- E'en infants have a sense of ills: and see,
- My father, silent though he be, he sues
- To thee: be gentle to me, on my life
- Have pity. Thy two children by this beard
- Entreat thee, thy dear children: one is yet
- An infant, one to riper years arrived.
- I will sum all in this, which shall contain
- More than long speech: To view the light of life
- To mortals is most sweet, but all beneath
- Is nothing: of his senses is he reft
- Who hath a wish to die; for life, though ill,
- Excels whate'er there is of good in death.
Credits: Reprinted from The Plays of Euripides in English, vol. i. Trans. Shelley Dean Milman. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, 1920.