Instant Monologues
Aeschylus Agamemnon Instant Monologue


AGAMEMNON
by Aeschylus

EXT: THE PALACE OF AGAMEMNON IN ARGOS, NEAR THE ALTAR OF ZEUS

AGAMEMNON

To Argos and the gods of Argolis

All hail, who share with me the glory of this

Home-coming and the vengeance I did wreak

On Priam's City! Yea, though none should speak,

The great gods heard our cause, and in one mood

Uprising, in the urn of bitter blood,

That men should shriek and die and towers should burn,

Cast their great vote; while over Mercy's urn

Hope waved her empty hands and nothing fell.

 

Even now in smoke that City tells her tale;

The wrack-wind liveth, and where Ilion died

The reek of the old fatness of her pride

From hot and writhing ashes rolls afar.

 

For which let thanks, wide as our glories are,

Be uplifted; seeing the Beast of Argos hath

Round Ilion's towers piled high his fence of wrath

And, for one woman ravished, wrecked by force

A City. Lo, the leap of the wild Horse

in darkness when the Pleiades were dead;

A mailed multitude, a Lion unfed,

Which leapt the tower and lapt the blood of Kings!

 

Lo, to the Gods I make these thanksgivings.

But for thy words: I marked them, and I mind

Their meaning, and my voice shall be behind

Thine. For not many men, the proverb saith,

Can love a friend whom fortune prospereth

Unenvying; and about the envious brain

Cold poison clings, and doubles all the pain

Life brings him. His own woundings he must nurse,

And feels another's gladness like a curse.

 

Well can I speak. I know the mirrored glass

Called friendship, and the shadow shapes that pass

And feign them a King's friends. I have known but one-

Odysseus, him we trapped against his own

Will!-who once harnessed bore his yoke right well…

Be he alive or dead of whom I tell

The tale. And for the rest, touching our state

And gods, we will assemble in debate

A concourse of all Argos, taking sure

Counsel, that what is well now may endure

Well, and if aught needs healing medicine, still

By cutting and by fire, with all good will,

I will essay to avert the after-wrack

Such sickness breeds.

 

Aye, Heaven hath led me back;

And on this hearth where still my fire doth burn

I will go pay to heaven my due return,

Which guides me here, which saved me far away.

 

O Victory, now mine own, be mine alway!






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