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Orestes and Athena.
Athena queen! matter of grave import
First will I from thy closing words remove.
Not blood-polluted am I, nor doth stain
Cleave to thine image from thy suppliant's hand.
Sure proof of this will I adduce;—'tis law
That voiceless lives the man defiled by blood,
Till purifier's hand hath him besprent
With victim's blood, slain in life's budding prime.
Long since in other homes have been performed,
With victims and with streams, these lustral rites.
Thus then this care, as cancelled, I dismiss.
My lineage, what it is, thou soon shalt hear.
Argive am I, my sire thou knowest well,
Marshal of naval heroes, Agamemnon,
In league with whom thou madest Ilion,
Troia's proud city, and uncited waste.
Returning home, he without honour perished;
For him, my mother, black of soul, hath slain,
Wrapt in her subtle toils, which witness bare
To the foul murder in the laver wrought.
Myself, long time an exile, coming home,
Slew her who bare me,—I deny it not,—
Avenging my dear father, blood for blood,—
And sharer in the blame is Loxias,
Who goads of anguish to my heart announced,
Unless the guilty found from me their due.
My deed, or just, or unjust, do thou judge;—
Whate'er thy verdict, I shall be content.