AGAMEMNON in «Die Orestie: Agamemnon»

    Act II  

    Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. 

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    AGAMEMNON: (speaking from the chariot)
    First Argos and her tutelary gods,
    Who with me wrought to compass my return,
    And visit Priam's town with vengeance due,
    Justly I hail. For in this cause the gods,
    Swayed by no hearsay, in the bloody urn
    Without dissentient voice the pebbles cast,
    Sealing the doom of Ilion and her sons.
    But to the rival urn, by no hand filled,
    Hope only came. Smoke still uprising marks
    The captured city; Atè's incense-fires
    Are living still, but, dying as they die,
    The ash sends upward costly fumes of wealth.
    Wherefore 'tis meet to render to the gods
    Memorial thanks; since round them we have cast
    Our vengeful toils, and in a woman's cause
    The Argive monster, offspring of the horse,
    Host shield-accoutred, made its deadly leap,
    And Priam's city levelled to the dust,
    What time the Pleiades in ocean waned;
    So, bounding o'er the towers, of princely blood
    The raw-devouring lion lapped his fill.
    This lengthened prelude to the gods! and now
    Weighing the judgment ye erewhile expressed,
    I say the same, and am with you agreed.
    To few is it congenial, envy-free,
    To venerate the friend whom Fortune crowns.
    The jealous poison, lodged within the heart,
    Tortures with twofold pang whom it infects;
    By his own griefs oppressed, the envious man
    Groans also to behold another's joy. ⁠
    Out of my proof I speak, for, well I wot,
    Who friendship most pretended, only were
    Its mirrored image, shadow of a shade.
    None but Odysseus, who unwilling sailed,
    Once harnessed, was my trusty yoke-fellow;
    This I affirm, be he alive or dead.
    But for the rest, what to the state pertains,
    And to the gods, a full assembly called,
    We'll weigh in free debate. Counsel we need.
    That where the state is sound, we keep it so; ⁠
    But where disease the healer's art requires,
    By kind excision, or by cautery,
    We shall attempt to remedy the harm.
    Now to my palace and my household hearth
    Returning, first will I the gods salute,
    Who forward sped me, and who lead me home;
    Since victory so far hath followed me,
    Here may she henceforth stedfastly abide!

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