Not thine, O Woman who dared to slay him,
Thou durst not weep to him now, nor pray him,
Nor pay to his soul the deep unworth
Of gift or prayer to forget thy blow.
—Oh, who with heart sincere
Shall bring praise or grief
To lay on the sepulchre
Of the great chief?
His burial is not thine to array.
By me he fell, by me he died,
I watch him to the grave, not cried
By mourners of his housefolk; nay,
His own child for a day like this
Waits, as is seemly, and shall run
By the white waves of Acheron
To fold him in her arms and kiss!
Lo, she who was erst reviled
Revileth; and who shall say?
Spoil taken from them that spoiled,
Life-blood from them that slay!
Surely while God ensueth
His laws, while Time doth run
’Tis written: On him that doeth
It shall be done.
This is God’s law and grace,
Who then shall hunt the race
Of curses from out this hall?
The House is sealed withal
Aye, thou hast found the Law, and stept
In Truth’s way.—Yet even now I call
The Living Wrath which haunts this hall
To truce and compact. I accept
All the affliction he doth heap
Upon me, and I charge him go
Far off with his self-murdering woe
To strange men’s houses. I will keep
Some little dower, and leave behind
All else, contented utterly.
I have swept the madness from the sky
Wherein these brethren slew their kind.
[As she ceases, exhausted and with the fire gone out of her, AIGISTHOS, with Attendants, bursts triumphantly in.
O shining day, O dawn of righteousness
Fulfilled! Now, now indeed will I confess
That divine watchers o’er man’s death and birth
Look down on all the anguish of the earth,
Now that I see him lying, as I love
To see him, in this net the Furies wove,
To atone the old craft of his father’s hand.
For Atreus, this man’s father, in this land
Reigning, and by Thyestes in his throne
Challenged—he was his brother and mine own
Father From home and city cast him out;
And he, after long exile, turned about
And threw him suppliant on the hearth, and won
Promise of so much mercy, that his own
Life-blood should reek not in his father’s hall.
Then did that godless brother, Atreus, call,
To greet my sire—More eagerness, O God,
Was there than love!—a feast of brotherhood.
And, feigning joyous banquet, laid as meat
Before him his dead children. The white feet
And finger-fringed hands apart he set,
Veiled from all seeing, and made separate