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. Remember, do not let fear overpower your heart. You, Hermes, my blood brother, born of the same father,
  2. watch over him; true to your name, be his guide,[*](Hermes is the guide of the living on their journeys; as he is also the conductor of the souls of the dead to the nether world.)shepherding this suppliant of mine—truly Zeus respects this right of outlaws—as he is sped on towards mortals with the fortune of a good escort. Exit. Orestes departs escorted by Hermes. The Ghost of Clytaemestra appears.
Ghost of Clytaemestra
  1. Sleep on! Aha! Yet what need is there of sleepers?
  2. It is due to you that I am thus dishonored among the other dead; because of those I killed the dead never cease to reproach me, and I wander in disgrace. I tell you that I am most greatly accused by them.
  3. And yet, although I have suffered cruelly in this way from my nearest kin, no divine power is angry on my behalf, slaughtered as I have been by the hands of a matricide. See these gashes in my heart, and from where they came! For the sleeping mind has clear vision,
  4. but in the daytime the fate of mortals is unforeseeable. Truly, you have lapped up many of my offerings—wineless libations, a sober appeasement; and I have sacrificed banquets in the solemn night upon a hearth of fire at an hour unshared by any god.
  5. I see all this trampled under foot. But he has escaped and is gone, like a fawn; lightly indeed, from the middle of snares, he has rushed away mocking at you. Hear me, since I plead for my life,
  6. awake to consciousness, goddesses of the underworld! For in a dream I, Clytaemestra, now invoke you.
Chorus
  1. (whine) The Chorus begins to move uneasily, uttering a whining sound.
Ghost of Clytaemestra
  1. Whine, if you will! But the man is gone, fled far away. For he has friends that are not like mine!
Chorus
  1. (whine) The Chorus continues to whine.
Ghost of Clytaemestra
  1. You are too drowsy and do not pity my suffering. Orestes, the murderer of me, his mother, is gone!
Chorus
  1. (moan) The Chorus begins to moan
Ghost of Clytaemestra
  1. You moan, you drowse—will you not get up at once? Is it your destiny to do anything other than cause harm?
Chorus
  1. (moan) The Chorus continues to moan.
Ghost of Clytaemestra
  1. Sleep and toil, effective conspirators, have destroyed the force of the dreadful dragoness.
Chorus
  1. Catch him! Catch him! Catch him! Catch him! Look sharp!
Ghost of Clytaemestra
  1. In a dream you are hunting your prey, and are barking like a dog that never leaves off its keenness for the work. What are you doing? Get up; do not let fatigue overpower you, and do not ignore my misery because you have been softened by sleep.
  2. Sting your heart with merited reproaches; for reproach becomes a spur to the right-minded. Send after him a gust of bloody breath, shrivel him with the vapor, the fire from your guts, follow him, wither him with fresh pursuit! The Ghost of Clytaemestra disappears; the Furies, roused by their leader, awake one after the other.
Chorus
  1. Awake! Wake her up, as I wake you.Still asleep? Get up, shake off sleep, let us see if any part of this beginning[*](The utterances of the Furies, as they rouse themselves to action, will be only a prelude to the fuller expression of their wrath. It is uncertain whether the first and second strophic groups were sung by single voices or by semi-choruses.)is in vain.