Danger again doth hover o’er our heads!
Alas! Why hast thou failed to shroud thyself
Within the veil of sacerdotal rites?
I never have employ’d them as a veil.
Pure soul! thy scruples will destroy alike
Thyself and us. Why did I not forsee
Such an emergency, and tutor thee
This counsel also wisely to elude?
Chide only me, for mine alone the blame.
Yet other answer could I not return
To him, who strongly and with reason urged
What my own heart acknowledg’d to be right.
The danger thickens; but let us be firm.
Nor with incautious haste betray ourselves;
Calmly await the messenger’s return,
And then stand fast, whatever his reply:
For the appointment of such sacred rites
Doth to the priestess, not the king, belong.
Should he demand the stranger to behold,
Who is by madness heavily oppress’d,
Evasively pretend, that in the fane,
Well guarded, thou retainest him and me.
Thus you secure us time to fly with speed,
Bearing the sacred treasure from this race,
Unworthy its possession. Phoebus sends
Auspicious omens, and fulfils his word,
Ere we the first conditions have perform’d.
Free is Orestes, from the curse absolv’d!
Oh, with the freed one, to the rocky isle
Where dwells the god, waft us, propitious gales.
Thence to Mycene, that she may revive;
That from the ashes of the extinguish’d hearth,
The household gods may joyously arise,
And beauteous fire illumine their abode!
Thy hand from golden censers first shall strew
The fragrant incense. O’er that threshold thou
Shalt life and blessing once again dispense,
The curse atone, and all thy kindred grace
With the fresh bloom of renovated life.
As doth the flower revolve to meet the sun,
Once more my spirit to sweet comfort turns,
Struck by thy words’ invigorating ray.
How dear the counsel of a present friend,
Lacking whose godlike power, the lonely one
In silence droops! for, lock’d within his breast,
Slowly are ripen’d purpose and resolve,
Which friendship’s genial warmth had soon matur’d.
Farewell! I haste to re-assure our friends,
Who anxiously await us: then with speed
I will return, and, hid within the brake,
Attend thy signal.—Wherefore, all at once,
Doth anxious thought o’ercloud thy brow serene?