The Tragedies of Euripides Part 19

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MEN. O land of the Danai, and inhabitants of warlike Argos, will ye not, ho there! come in arms to my succor? For this man here, having perpetrated the shocking murder of his mother, brings destruction on your whole city, that he may live.


Menelaus, cease from thy irritated state of mind; I Phbus the son of Latona, in thy presence, am addressing thee. Thou too, Orestes, who standest over that damsel with thy sword drawn, that thou mayest know what commands I bring with me. Helen indeed, whom thou minded to destroy, working Menelaus to anger, didst fail of thy purpose, she is here, whom ye see wrapt in the bosom of the sky, preserved, and not slain by thy hands.

Her I preserved, and snatched from thy sword, commanded by my father Jove.

For being the daughter of Jove, it is right that she should live immortal.

And she shall have her seat by Castor and Pollux in the bosom of the sky, the guardian of mariners. But take to thyself another bride, and lead her home, since for the beauty of this woman the Gods brought together the Greeks and Trojans, and caused deaths, that they might draw from off the earth the pride of mortals, who had become an infinite multitude. Thus is it with regard to Helen; but thee, on the other hand, Orestes, it behooveth, having passed beyond the boundaries of this land, to inhabit the Parrhasian plain during the revolution of a year, and it shall be called by a name after thy flight, so that the Azanes and Arcadians shall call it Oresteum: and thence having departed to the city of the Athenians, undergo the charge of shedding thy mother's blood laid by the three Furies. But the Gods the arbiters of the cause shall pass on thee most sacredly their decree on the hill of Mars, in which it behooveth thee to be victorious.

But Hermione, to whose neck thou art holding the sword, it is destined for thee, Orestes, to wed, but Neoptolemus, who thinks to marry her, shall never marry her. For it is fated to him to die by the Delphic sword, as he is demanding of me satisfaction for his father Achilles. But to Pylades give thy sister's hand, as thou didst formerly agree, but a happy life now coming on awaits him. But, O Menelaus, suffer Orestes to reign over Argos.

But depart and rule over the Spartan land, having it as thy wife's dowry, who exposing thee to numberless evils always was bringing thee to this. But what regards the city I will make all right for him, I, who compelled him to slay his mother.

ORES. O Loxian prophet, thou wert not then a false prophet in thine oracles, but a true one. And yet a fear comes upon me, that having heard one of the Furies, I might think that I have been hearing thy voice. But it is well fulfilled, and I will obey thy words. Behold I let go Hermione from slaughter, and approve her alliance, whenever her father shall give her.

MEN. O Helen, daughter of Jove, hail! but I bless thee inhabiting the happy mansions of the Gods. But to thee, Orestes, do I betroth my daughter at Phbus's commands, but illustrious thyself marrying from an illustrious family, be happy, both thou and I who give her.

APOL. Now depart each of you whither we have appointed, and dissolve your quarrels.

MEN. It is our duty to obey.

ORES. I too entertain the same sentiments, and I receive with friendship thee in thy sufferings, O Menelaus, and thy oracles, O Apollo.

APOL. Go now, each his own way, honoring the most excellent goddess Peace; but I will convey Helen to the mansions of Jove, passing through the pole of the shining stars, where sitting by Juno, and Hercules's Hebe, a goddess, she shall ever be honored by mortals with libations, in conjunction with the Tyndaridae, the sons of Jove, presiding over the sea to the benefit of mariners.

CHOR. O greatly glorious Victory, mayest thou uphold my life, and cease not from crowning me!


[1] steata, e??a, _Schol._ "eo quod colum cingant seu coronant," Scapula explains it.

[2] "_Then_" is not to be considered as signifying point of time, but it is meant to express ???, _continuativam_. See Hoogeveen de Particula ???, Sect. ii. -- 6.

[3] The original Greek phrase was e?p?d?? ?ept??, which Euripides has changed to as?e???? ?????, though the other had equally suited the metre.

But Euripides is fond of slight alterations in proverbs. PORSON.

[4] d???--d??ata? de ?a? ap?d???. SCHOL.

[5] Perhaps this interpretation of ??????? is better than "slow," for the considerate Electra would hardly go to remind her brother of his infirmities.

[6] ??t??ade?. The Furies have this epithet from Potnia, a town in Botia, where Glaucus's horses, having eaten of a certain herb and becoming mad, tore their own master in pieces. SCHOL.

[6a] Note [D].

[6b] Dindorf would omit this verse.

[7] ?a??t?p??, ?a??e??, ??? ta?? ??pa?? t?pt??s? t?? ?a?assa?. SCHOL.

[8] af?????. Alluding to the branch, which the ancients used to hold in token of supplication.

[9] "?ata t?? ???ta pep???a t???? t?? a?a??es??, ?a? t?? a?a????? t??

?ste??, t??test??, ???a ? t?? afe??ta? ta?ta." PARAPH. Heath translates it, _watchfully observing, till her bones were collected._

[10] The old reading was apa?de?ta. The meaning of the present reading seems to be, "Yes, they are awful 'tis true, but still however you need not be so very scrupulous about naming them."

[11] a?af??a was a legal term, and signified the line of defense adopted by the accused, when he transferred the charge brought against himself to some other person.--See Demosthenes in Timocr.

[12] ax was Palamede's brother.

[13] And therefore we are not to impeach the _man_. Some would have d?????

to bear the sense of d????p????, enslaves, and therefore can not be avoided.

[14] e?? for e????? e??.

[15] ????, t? a?a????. e?ta??a de a?t? t?? epa???. SCHOL.

[16] Conf. Ter. Eun. Act. v. Sc. 2.

Non dedignum, Chaerea, Fecisti; nam si ego digna hac contumelia Sum maxume, at tu indignus, qui faceres, tamen.

[16a] Note [E].

[17] Of this passage the Scholiast gives two interpretations; either it may mean eta da????? ?a? ???? e?p??: or, e?p?? ta?ta e?? da???a ?a? ?????, ?a?

??f??a?, ????? ???a ? t???, t??t??: te???a? de, e? pet?????a? e eas???.

[18] _"Beyond any woman,"_ ???? ?a, this is a mode of expression frequently met with in the Attic writers, especially in Xenophon.

[19] ep? t?? f????, t??test? d?a t?? f????, ??? e???asae?a. PARAPH.

[20] Thyestes and Atreus, having a dispute about their father Pelops's kingdom, agreed, that whichever should discover the first prodigy should have possession of the throne. There appeared in Atreus's flock a golden lamb, which, however, aerope his wife secretly had conveyed to Thyestes to show before the judges. Atreus afterward invited Thyestes to a feast, and served up before him Aglaiis, Orchomenus, and Caleus, three sons he had by his intrigues with aerope.

[21] Alluding to the murder of Agamemnon by Clytaemnestra. This is the interpretation and explanation of the Scholiast; but it is perhaps better translated, "_but on the other hand to play the coward is great impiety, and the error of cowardly-minded men_;" the chorus meaning, that this might have been said of Orestes, had he not avenged his father.

[22] That is, _blamed him_. So St. Paul, 1 Cor. xi. 21, epa??es? ??a? e?

t??t??; ??? epa???. Ter. And. Act. II. Sc. 6. "Et, quod dicendum hic siet, Tu quoque perparce nimium, non laudo."

[23] An Argive as far as he was born there, and therefore ??a??ase???; not an Argive, inasmuch as his parents were not of that state. This is supposed to allude to Cleophon. SCHOL. See Dindorf.

[24] This is the interpretation of one Scholiast; another explains it ???e?a?? ?e?s?? e??a??e???. Grotius translates it _agricola_.

[25] The same construction occurs in the Supplicants, 870. f????? d' a?????

?? f????, pa???s? te ?a? ? pa???s??: ??? (of which sort of men) a????? ??

p????. PORSON.

[25a] See Note [F].

[26] Which, ?t?p?? namely: ????a and ?t?p?? are each governed by t??e?sa; but it is not easy to find a single verb in English that should be transitive to both these substantives.

The Tragedies of Euripides Part 19

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