But I all other things to thy sole care resign.”
So spake he, urging me at once to part; but naught,
Breathing the breath of life, the orderer appoints,
That, to the Olympians’ honor, he to slaughter doom’d:
Suspicious seems it! yet, dismiss I further care;
To the high Gods’ decree be everything referred,
Who evermore fulfil, what they in thought conceive;
It may, in sooth, by men, as evil or as good
Be counted, it by us, poor mortals, must be borne.
Full oft the ponderous axe on high the priest hath raised,
In consecration o’er the earth-bowed victim’s neck.
Nor could achieve the rite, for he was hindered,
Or by approaching foe, or intervening God.
What now will happen, canst thou not guess;
Enter, queen, enter thou in,
Strong of heart!
Evil cometh and good
Unexpected to mortals;
Though foretold, we credit it not.
Troya was burning, have we not seen
Death before us, terrible death!
And are we not here,
Bound to thee, serving with joy,
Seeing the dazzling sunshine of heaven,
And of earth too the fairest,
Kind one—thyself—happy are we!
Come what come may! Whate’er impends, me
To ascend, without delay, into the royal house,
Long missed, oft yearned-for, well-nigh forfeited;
Before mine eyes once more it stands, I know not how.
My feet now bear me not so lightly as of yore,
When up the lofty steps I, as a child, have sprung.
Fling now, O sisters, ye
Captives who mourn your lot,
All your sorrows far from you.
Share ye your mistress’ joy!
Share ye Helena’s joy,
Who to the dear paternal hearth,
Though returning full late in sooth,
Nathless with surer, firmer tread
Joyfully now approaches!
Praise ye the holy ones,
Happy restoring ones,
God’s, the home-leaders, praise ye!
Soars the enfranchised one,
As upon out-spread wings,
Over the roughest fate, while in vain
Pines the captured one, yearning-fraught
Over the prison-battlements
Arms out-stretching, in anguish.
Nathless her a god hath seized,
The exiled one,
And from Ilion’s wreck
Bare her hitherward back once more,
To the ancient, the newly-adorned
Pleasure and anguish,
Earlier youthful time,
Newly quicken’d, to ponder.
PENTHALIS (as leader of the chorus)
Forsake ye now of song the joy-surrounded path,
As toward the portal-wings turn ye forthwith your gaze!
What see I, sisters? Here, returneth not the queen?
With step of eager haste, comes she not back to us?—
What is it, mighty queen, that in the palace-halls,
Instead of friendly hail, could there encounter thee,
And shatter thus thy being? Thou conceal’st it not;
For I abhorrence see, impressed upon thy brow,
And noble anger, that contendeth with surprise.