Will he permit our peaceable return?
Thy gleaming sword forbids me to reply.
ORESTES (sheathing his sword)
Then speak! thou seest I listen to thy words.
ORESTES, IPHIGENIA, THOAS
Enter PYLADES, soon after him ARKAS both with drawn swords.
Do not delay! our friends are putting forth
Their final strength, and, yielding step by step,
Are slowly driven backward to the sea.—
A conference of princes find I here?
Is this the sacred person of the king?
Calmly, as doth become thee, thou dost stand,
O king, surrounded by thine enemies.
Soon their temerity shall be chastiz’d;
Their yielding followers fly,—their ship is ours,
Speak but the word and it is wrapt in flames.
Go, and command my people to forbear!
Let none annoy the foe while we confer.
I willingly consent. Go, Pylades!
Collect the remnant of our friends, and wait
The appointed issue of our enterprize.
IPHIGENIA, THOAS, ORESTES
Relieve my cares ere ye begin to speak.
I fear contention, if thou wilt not hear
The voice of equity, O king,—if thou
Wilt not, my brother, curb thy headstrong youth.
I, as becomes the elder, check my rage.
Now answer me: how dost thou prove thyself
The priestess’ brother, Agamemnon’s son?
Behold the sword with which the hero slew
The valiant Trojans. From his murderer
I took the weapon, and implor’d the Gods
To grant me Agamemnon’s mighty arm,
Success, and valor, with a death more noble.
Select one of the leaders of thy host,
And place the best as my opponent here.
Where’er on earth the sons of heroes dwell,
This boon is to the stranger ne’er refus’d.
This privilege hath ancient custom here
To strangers ne’er accorded.
Then from us
Commence the novel custom! A whole race
In imitation soon will consecrate
Its monarch’s noble action into law.
Nor let me only for our liberty,—
Let me, a stranger, for all strangers fight.
If I should fall, my doom be also theirs;
But if kind fortune crown me with success,
Let none e’er tread this shore, and fail to meet
The beaming eye of sympathy and love,
Or unconsoled depart!