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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Euripides' ELECTRA Complete

Translated by E. Coleridge.

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Electra: O sable night, nurse of the golden stars! beneath thy pall
I go to fetch water from the brook with my pitcher poised upon my
head, not indeed because I am forced to this necessity, but that to
the gods I may display the affronts Aegisthus puts upon me, and to
the wide firmament pour out my lamentation for my sire. For my own
mother, the baleful daughter of Tyndareus, hath cast me forth from
her house to gratify her lord; for since she hath borne other children
to Aegisthus she puts me and Orestes on one side at home.

Peasant: Oh! why, poor maiden, dost thou toil so hard on my behalf,
thou that aforetime wert reared so daintily? why canst thou not forego
thy labour, as I bid thee?

Electra: As a god's I count thy kindness to me, for in my distress
thou hast never made a mock at me. 'Tis rare fortune when mortals
find such healing balm for their cruel wounds as 'tis my lot to find
in thee. Wherefore I ought, though thou forbid me, to lighten thy
labours, as far as my strength allows, and share all burdens with
thee to ease thy load. Thou hast enough to do abroad; 'tis only right
that I should keep thy house in order. For when the toiler cometh
to his home from the field, it is pleasant to find all comfortable
in the house.

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