For thee, divine protectress! unto whom
I would in freedom dedicate my life.
In thee, Diana, I have always hoped,
And still I hope in thee, who didst infold
Within the holy shelter of thine arm
The outcast daughter of the mighty king.
Daughter of Jove! hast thou from ruin’d Troy
Led back in triumph to his native land
The mighty man, whom thou didst sore afflict,
His daughter’s life in sacrifice demanding,—
Hast thou for him, the godlike Agamemnon,
Who to thine altar led his darling child,
Preserv’d his wife, Electra, and his son,
His dearest treasures?—then at length restore
Thy suppliant also to her friends and home,
And save her, as thou once from death didst save,
So now, from living here, a second death.
[Illustration: IPHIGENIA Anselm Feuerbach]
The king hath sent me hither, bade me greet
With hail, and fair salute, Diana’s priestess.
For new and wondrous conquest, this the day,
When to her goddess Tauris renders thanks.
I hasten on before the king and host,
Himself to herald, and its near approach.
We are prepar’d to give them worthy greeting;
Our goddess doth behold with gracious eye
The welcome sacrifice from Thoas’ hand.
Would that I also found the priestess’ eye,
Much honor’d, much revered one, found thine eye,
O consecrated maid, more calm, more bright,
To all a happy omen! Still doth grief,
With gloom mysterious, shroud thy inner mind;
Vainly, through many a tedious year we wait
For one confiding utterance from thy breast.
Long as I’ve known thee in this holy place,
That look of thine hath ever made me shudder;
And, as with iron bands, thy soul remains
Lock’d in the deep recesses of thy breast.
As doth become the exile and the orphan.
Dost thou then here seem exil’d and an orphan?
Can foreign scenes our fatherland replace?
Thy fatherland is foreign now to thee.
Hence is it that my bleeding heart ne’er heals.
In early youth, when first my soul, in love,
Held father, mother, brethren fondly twin’d,
A group of tender germs, in union sweet,
We sprang in beauty from the parent stem,
And heavenward grew; alas, a foreign curse
Then seized and sever’d me from those I loved,
And wrench’d with iron grasp the beauteous bands
It vanish’d then, the fairest charm of youth,
The simple gladness of life’s early dawn;
Though sav’d I was a shadow of myself,
And life’s fresh joyance blooms in me no more.