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The Choephori   

Stands o'er their strife, to sentinel
The dooming of the sword.
I wot the stranger worketh woe within-
For lo! I see come forth, suffused with tears,
Orestes' nurse.
The NURSE enters from the palace. What ho, Kilissa-thou
Beyond the doors? Where goest thou? Methinks
Some grief unbidden walketh at thy side.
My mistress bids me, with what speed I may,
Call in Aegisthus to the stranger guests,
That he may come, and stinding face to face,
A man with men, way thus more clearly learn
This rumour new. Thus speaking, to her slaves
Laughter for what is wrought-to her desire
Too well; but ill, ill, ill besets the house,
Brought by the tale these guests have told so clear.
And he, God wot, will gladden all his heart
Hearing this rumour. Woe and well-a-day!
The bitter mingled cup of ancient woes,
Hard to be borne, that here in Atreus' house
Befell, was grievous to mine inmost heart,
But never yet did I endure such pain.
All else I bore with set soul patiently;
But now-alack, alack!--Orestes dear,
The day and night-long travail of my soul
Whom from his mother's womb, a new-born child,
I clasped and cherished! Many a time and oft
Toilsome and profitless my service was,
When his shrill outcry called me from my couch!
For the young child, before the sense is born,
Hath but a dumb thing's life, must needs be nursed
As its own nature bids. The swaddled thing
Hath nought of speech, whate'er discomfort come,-
Hunger or thirst or lower weakling need,-
For the babe's stomach works its own relief.
Which knowing well before, yet oft surprised,
'Twas mine to cleanse the swaddling clothes-poor
Was nurse to tend and fuller to make white:
Two works in one, two handicrafts I took,
When in mine arms the father laid the boy.
And now he's dead-alack and well-a-day!
Yet must I go to him whose wrongful power
Pollutes this house-fair tidings these to him!
Say then, with what array she bids him come?

What say'st thou! Speak. more clearly for mine ear.

Bids she bring henchmen, or to come alone?

She bids him bring a spear-armed body-guard.
Nay, tell not that unto our loathed lord,
But speed to him, put on the mien of joy,
Say, Come alone, fear nought, the news is good:
A bearer can tell straight a twisted tale.
Does then thy mind in this new tale find joy?


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