Electra

Sophocles

Sophocles, creator; Sophocles the plays and fragments with critical notes, commentary, and translation in English prose Part 6 The Electra; Jebb, Richard Claverhouse, Sir, 1841-1905, editor, translator. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1894.

  1. Well, you have found it, and your guide is blameless.
Orestes
  1. Which of you, then, would tell those inside of the long-desired presence of us travelers?
Chorus
  1. She will, if the nearest in kin should announce it.
Orestes
  1. Go, lady, enter and make it known that certain men of Phocis seek Aegisthus.
Electra
  1. Ah, miserable me! Surely you do not bring proof positive of that rumor which we heard?
Orestes
  1. I know nothing of your rumor; but the aged Strophius ordered me to give report of Orestes.
Electra
  1. What is it, sir? Ah, how fear creeps over me!
Orestes
  1. We come bearing his scanty remains in a small urn, as you see.
Electra
  1. Oh, the misery! Here, at last, my eyes look for certain, it seems, upon that grievous burden in your hand.
Orestes
  1. If your tears are for any of Orestes’ tribulations, know that this vessel is his body’s home.
Electra
  1. Ah, sir, if this urn indeed contains him, then allow me,
  2. by the gods, to take it in my hands, so that I may weep and wail, not for these ashes alone, but for myself and for all our house with them!
Orestes
  1. Take it and give it to her, whoever she may be. For she asks this for herself not as if with hostile intent,
  2. but like one who is his friend, or a kinswoman by blood.The urn is placed in Electra’s hands.
Electra
  1. Memorial of him whom I loved best on earth, sole remnant of Orestes’ vitality! How contrary to the hopes with which I sent you away do I receive you back! Now I raise your nothingness in my hands;
  2. but then, my child, you were radiant, when I sent you away from home! Would that I had first abandoned life, before, stealing you away with these hands, I sent you to a strange land and rescued you from death, in order that you might have lain dead on that same day
  3. and had your share in the tomb of our father!But now, an exile from home and fatherland, you have perished miserably, far from your sister. Ah, me, these loving hands have not washed or decked your corpse, nor taken up
  4. their sad burden from the all-consuming pyre, as was proper. No! At the hands of strangers, poor Orestes, you have been tended, and so have come to us, a small bulk in a small urn.Ah, I grieve at the uselessness of my nursing long ago, the service that I often bestowed
  5. on you in sweet labor! For you were never your mother’s darling so much as mine, nor was any in the house your nurse but I, and by you I was ever called sister. But now all this has vanished in a day
  6. with your death. Like a whirlwind you have swept everything away with you. Our father is gone; I am dead because of you; you yourself are dead and gone; our enemies laugh at us; and our mother, who is no mother, raves with joy. Unknown to her, you often