|Agamemnon Monologue by Aeschylus|
- CLYTEMNESTRA: Men of our city, Argive elders here,
- I shame not in your presence to avow
- My wifely temper; bashful Fear in time
- From mortals dieth: not by others taught,
- But from myself, the wretched life I'll tell
- 'Twas mine to lead while this man was at Troy.
- First, for a woman severed from her mate,
- To sit forlorn at home is grievous woe,
- Hearing malignant murmurs manifold.
- One courier comes, another in his train
- Worse tidings brings to echo through the house;
- And as for wounds, had my dear lord received
- As many as report kept pouring in,
- A net methinks had not been more transpierced.
- Or had he died oft as reported then,
- A second triple-bodied Geryon,
- A threefold cloak of earth he must have donned,
- Enduring death in every form he wore.
- Thus harassed by these ever-rife reports,
- Full often from my neck have forceful hands
- Seized and untied the beam-suspended noose.
- And for this cause our son, pledge of our troth,
- Of mine and thine, stands not beside me now,
- As stand he should, Orestes. Marvel not,
- For him thy trusty spear-guest nourisheth;
- Strophius, the Phocian, who hath me forewarned
- Of twofold peril, thine 'neath Ilion's wall,
- And next lest clamour-fostered Anarchy
- Hazard the plot, for 'tis with men inborn
- To trample further him already down.
- This pretext, trust me, carries no deceit.
- But for myself the gushing founts of grief
- Are all dried up, no single tear is left;
- Sore with late watching are my weary eyes,
- Weeping the fiery beacons set for thee
- Neglected ever. Often from my dreams
- Was I awakened by the tiny hum
- Of buzzing gnat, seeing, endured by thee,
- More woes than could have filled mine hour of sleep.
- These sorrows past, now with a heart unwrung
- I hail my husband, watchdog of the fold,
- Sure forestay of the ship; of lofty roof
- Pillar firm based; Sire's sole-begotten child;
- Land beyond hope looming to mariners;
- Day after storm most brilliant to behold;
- To thirsty wayfarer clear gushing spring.
- Sooth, sweet it is to 'scape from harsh constraint;
- With such addresses do I honour him.
- Let Envy stand aloof! for we have borne
- Ere this full many a woe. Now dear my lord
- Come from thy car; but on the ground, O King,
- Plant not the foot that trampled Ilion.
- Maidens, why tarry ye, whose duty 'tis
- With carpets to bespread his stepping-floor?
- Swift, purple-strew his passage to a home
- Unlooked for, e'en as Justice may conduct;
- What further she decreeth with the gods,
- Thought, not by sleep o'ermastered, shall dispose.
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramas of Aeschylus. Trans. Anna Swanwick. London: George Bell and Sons, 1907.