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Euripides Electra Instant Monologue


ELECTRA
by Euripides

EXT: A HUT ON A DESOLATE MOUNTAIN SIDE; THE RIVER INACHUS IS VISIBLE IN THE DISTANCE.

ELECTRA

Ah me, what have I? What first flood of hate

To loose upon thee? What last curse to sate

My pain, or river of wild words to flow

Bank-high between?… Nothing?… And yet I know

There hath not passed one sun, but through the long

Cold dawns, over and over, like a song,

I have said them-words held back, O, some day yet

To flash into thy face, would but the fret

Of ancient fear fall loose and let me free.

And free I am, now; and can pay to thee

At last the weary debt.

 

Oh, thou didst kill

My soul within. Who wrought thee any ill,

That thou shouldst make me fatherless? Aye, me

And this my brother, loveless, solitary?

'Twas thou, didst bend my mother to her shame:

Thy weak hand murdered him who led to fame

The hosts of Hellas-thou, that never crossed

O'erseas to Troy!… God help thee, wast thou lost

In blindness, long ago, dreaming, some-wise,

She would be true with thee, whose sin and lies

Thyself had tasted in my father's place?

And then, that thou wert happy, when thy days

Were all one pain? Thou knewest ceaselessly

Her kiss a thing unclean, and she knew thee

A lord so little true, so dearly won!

So lost ye both, being in falseness one,

What fortune else had granted; she thy curse,

Who marred thee as she loved thee, and thou hers…

And on thy ways thou heardst men whispering,

"Lo, the Queen's husband yonder"-not "the King."

 

And then the lie of lies that dimmed thy brow,

Vaunting that by thy gold, thy chattels, Thou

Wert Something; which themselves are nothingness.

Shadows, to clasp a moment ere they cease.

The thing thou art, and not the things thou hast,

Abideth, yea, and bindeth to the last

Thy burden on thee: while all else, ill-won

And sin-companioned, like a flower o'erblown,

Flies on the wind away.

 

Or didst them find

In women… Women?… Nay, peace, peace! The blind

Could read thee. Cruel wast thou in thine hour,

Lord of a great king's house, and like a tower

Firm in thy beauty.

 

(Starting back with a look of loathing.)

 

Ah, that girl-like face!

God grant, not that, not that, but some plain grace

Of manhood to the man who brings me love:

A father of straight children, that shall move

Swift on the wings of War.

 

So, get thee gone!

Naught knowing how the great years, rolling on,

Have laid thee bare, and thy long debt full paid.

O vaunt not, if one step be proudly made

In evil, that all Justice is o'ercast:

Vaunt not, ye men of sin, ere at the last

The thin-drawn marge before you glimmereth

Close, and the goal that wheels 'twixt life and death.






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