Iphigenia in Tauris


Euripides. The Plays of Euripides, Translated into English Prose from the Text of Paley. Vol. II. Coleridge, Edward P., translator. London: George Bell and Sons, 1891.

  1. I see the strangers coming out of the temple now, and the ornaments of the goddess and the new-born lambs, because I will wash blood-pollution away with blood, and the flash of torches and all the rest that
  2. I have set out as purification for the strangers and the goddess.
  3. I proclaim to the citizens to keep away from this pollution, if any guard of the temple is purifying his hands for the gods, or if anyone is coming to form a marriage alliance, or is weighted down by childbirth— begone, stand away, so that this defilement does not fall on anyone.
  4. (Aside.) O lady, maiden daughter of of Leto and Zeus, if I cleanse the stain of murder from these men, and make the sacrifice where I ought to make it, you will dwell in a pure home, and we will be fortunate. I do not speak the rest, but I indicate it to those who know more, the gods and you, goddess. Exit Iphigenia.
  1. Lovely is the son of Leto,
  2. whom she, the Delian, once bore in the fruitful valleys, golden-haired, skilled at the lyre; and also the one who glories in her well-aimed arrows.
  3. For the mother, leaving the famous birth-place, brought him from the ridges of the sea to the heights of Parnassus, with its gushing waters, which celebrate the revels for Dionysus. Here the dark-faced serpent
  4. with brightly colored back, his scales of bronze in the leaf-shaded laurel, huge monster of the earth, guarded Earth’s prophetic shrine. You killed him, o Phoebus, while still a baby,
  5. still leaping in the arms of your dear mother, and you entered the holy shrine, and sit on the golden tripod, on your truthful throne
  6. distributing prophecies from the gods to mortals, up from the sanctuary, neighbor of Castalia’s streams, as you dwell in the middle of the earth.
  1. But when he came and sent Themis,
  2. the child of Earth, away from the holy oracle of Pytho, Earth gave birth to dream visions of the night; and they told to the cities of men the present,
  3. and what will happen in the future, through dark beds of sleep on the ground; and so Earth took the office of prophecy away from Phoebus, in envy, because of her daughter. The lord made his swift way to Olympus
  4. and wound his baby hands around the throne of Zeus, to take the wrath of the earth goddess from the Pythian home. Zeus smiled, that the child so quickly came
  5. to ask for worship that pays in gold. He shook his locks of hair, to put an end to the night voices, and took away from mortals the truth that appears in darkness,
  6. and gave the privilege back again to Loxias, and to mortals confidence in the songs of prophecy at the throne visited by many men.
  1. O you that guard the temple and stand by the altar,
  2. where has Thoas, the lord of this land, gone? Open the well-fastened gates, and call forth from this shrine the ruler of the land.
Chorus Leader
  1. What is it, if I may speak when not commanded?
  1. The two young men are gone away,