Celestial pair, who from the realms above
By night and day shed down the beauteous light
To cheer mankind, but who may not illume
Departed spirits, save a mortal pair!
A brother’s and a sister’s anguish pity!
For thou, Diana, lov’st thy gentle brother
Beyond what earth and heaven can offer thee;
And dost, with quiet yearning, ever turn
Thy virgin face to his eternal light.
[Illustration: MEETING OF ORESTES AND PYLADES]
Let not my only brother, found so late,
Rave in the darkness of insanity!
And is thy will, when ’thou didst here conceal me,
At length fulfill’d,—wouldst thou to me through him
To him through me, thy gracious aid extend,—
Oh, free him from the fetters of this curse,
Lest vainly pass the precious hours of safety.
Dost thou not know us, and this sacred grove,
And this blest light, which shines not on the dead?
Dost thou not feel thy sister and thy friend,
Who hold thee living in their firm embrace?
Us firmly grasp; we are not empty shades.
Mark well my words! Collect thy scatter’d thoughts!
Attend! Each moment is of priceless worth,
And our return hangs on a slender thread,
Which, as it seems, some gracious fate doth spin.
ORESTES (to IPHIGENIA)
My sister, let me for the first time taste,
With open hearts pure joy within thine arms!
Ye gods, who charge the heavy clouds with dread,
And sternly gracious send the long-sought rain
With thunder and the rush of mighty winds,
A horrid deluge on the trembling earth;
Yet dissipate at length man’s dread suspense,
Exchanging timid wonder’s anxious gaze
For grateful looks and joyous songs of praise,
When in each sparkling drop which gems the leaves,
Apollo, thousand-fold, reflects his beam,
And Iris colors with a magic hand
The dusty texture of the parting clouds;
Oh, let me also in my sister’s arms,
And on the bosom of my friend, enjoy
With grateful thanks the bliss ye now bestow;
My heart assures me that your curses cease.
The dread Eumenides at length retire,
The brazen gates of Tartarus I hear
Behind them closing with a thunderous clang.
A quick’ning odor from the earth ascends,
Inviting me to chase, upon its plains,
The joys of life and deeds of high emprize.
Lose not the moments which are limited!
The favoring gale, which swells our parting sail,
Must to Olympus waft our perfect joy.
Quick counsel and resolve the time demands.