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. And from where could you find help for my sufferings, when no cure for them can be imagined?
Chrysothemis
  1. Orestes is with us—know this from my lips—plainly visible, just as you see me now.
Electra
  1. What, are you insane, poor girl?
  2. Do you laugh at my sorrows and your own?
Chrysothemis
  1. No, by our father’s hearth, I do not speak in mockery. I tell you that he truly is with us.
Electra
  1. Ah, miserable girl! And from whom on earth have you heard this tale, which you believe so lightly?
Chrysothemis
  1. I have it on my own knowledge, no one else’s; I have seen clear proofs.
Electra
  1. What have you seen, poor girl, to warrant your belief? What did you see, that you are warmed by this unquenchable fire?
Chrysothemis
  1. Now, for the gods’ love, listen, so that you may know
  2. the rest from me before deciding whether I am sane or foolish.
Electra
  1. Speak on, then, if you find pleasure in speaking.
Chrysothemis
  1. Well, I will tell you all that I have seen. When I came to Father’s ancestral tomb, I saw that streams of milk had recently flowed from the top of the mound
  2. and that his sepulchre was encircled with garlands of all flowers that grow. I was astonished at the sight, and peered about lest somehow someone should approach close to me. But when I perceived that all the place was in stillness,
  3. I crept nearer to the tomb, and on the mound’s edge I saw a lock of hair, freshly severed.And the very moment I see it—ah me!—a familiar image rushes into my mind, and I feel that I am looking at a token of him whom I most love, Orestes.
  4. Then I lift it in my hands and make no sound of bad omen, but the tears of joy straightaway fill my eyes. Even now I know well, just as I knew then, that this fair tribute has come from no one but him. Whom else does that tomb concern, save me and you?
  5. And I did not make those offerings, I know, nor did you. How could you, when you cannot leave this house even to worship the gods without later regretting it? Nor, again, does our mother’s heart incline to do such deeds, nor could she have done so without our knowledge.
  6. No, these offerings are from Orestes! Come, dear sister, have courage! Not always does the same fortune, it is true, attend the same individuals. Ours was once to be despised, but today, perhaps, will seal the promise of much good.
Electra
  1. Oh, what foolishness! How I have been pitying you!
Chrysothemis
  1. What, is my news unpleasing to you?
Electra
  1. You do not know where on earth or into what dreams you wander.