Eumenides

Aeschylus

Aeschylus, creator; Aeschylus with an English translation Vol II. Smyth, Herbert Weir, 1857- 1937, editor, translator. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann, Ltd.: 1926.

  1. Oh, oh! Alas! We have suffered, friends. Indeed I have suffered much and all in vain.
  2. We have suffered very painfully, oh! an unbearable evil. The beast has escaped from our nets and is gone. Overcome by sleep, I have lost my prey.
Chorus
  1. Oh! Child of Zeus, you have become a thief—
  2. you, a youth, have ridden down old divinities—by showing respect to your suppliant, a godless man and cruel to a parent; although you are a god, you have stolen away a man that killed his mother. What is there here that anyone shall call just?
Chorus
  1. Reproach, coming to me in a dream, struck me like a charioteer with goad held tight, under my heart, under my vitals.
  2. I can feel the cruel, the very cruel chill of the executioner’s destroying scourge.
Chorus
  1. They do such things, the younger gods, who rule, wholly beyond justice, a throne dripping blood,
  2. about its foot, about its head. I can see the center-stone of the earth defiled with a terrible pollution of blood.
Chorus
  1. Although he is a prophet, he has stained his sanctuary
  2. with pollution at its hearth, at his own urging, at his own bidding; against the law of the gods, he has honored mortal things and caused the ancient allotments to decay.
Chorus
  1. And he brings distress to me too, but he shall not win his release;
  2. even if he escapes beneath the earth, he is never set free. A suppliant, he will acquire another avenger from his family.[*](As Agamemnon was slain by Clytaemestra and Clytaemestra by Orestes, so Orestes shall be slain by one of his own race. μιάστωρis properly polluter.)
Enters from the inner sanctuary.
Apollo
  1. Out, I order you! Go away from this house at once,
  2. leave my prophetic sanctuary, so that you may not be struck by a winged glistening snake[*](The arrow sped from Apollo’s gold-wrought string is called a winged glistening snake because it stings like a serpent’s bite. There is also a latent word-play: ὄφις snake suggests ἰός snake’s poison which also means arrow.) shot forth from a golden bow-string, and painfully release black foam, vomiting the clots of blood you have drained from mortals.
  3. It is not right for you to approach this house; no, your place is where the punishments are beheading, gouging out of eyes, cutting of throats, and where young men’s virility is ruined by destruction of seed; where there is mutilation and stoning, and where those who are impaled beneath their spine moan long and piteously.
  4. Do you hear what sort of feast is your delight? You are detested by the gods for it. The whole fashion of your form sets it forth. Creatures like you should live in the den of a blood-drinking lion, and not inflict pollution
  5. on all near you in this oracular shrine. Be gone, you goats without a herdsman! No god loves such a flock.
Chorus
  1. Lord Apollo, hear our reply in turn. You yourself are not partially guilty of this deed;
  2. you alone have done it all, and are wholly guilty.
Apollo
  1. What do you mean? Draw out the length of your speech this much.