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The Oresteia Trilogy



Oh, the torment bred in the race,

the grinding scream of death

and the stroke that hits the vein,

the hemorrhage none can staunch, the grief,

the curse no man can bear.

But there is a cure in the house, and not outside it, no,

not from others but from them,

their bloody strife. We sing to you,

dark gods beneath the earth.

Now hear, you blissful powers underground --

answer the call, send help.

Bless the children, give them triumph now.


The truth has to be melted out of our stubborn lives by suffering. Nothing speaks the truth, nothing tells us how things really are, nothing forces us to know what we do not want to know except pain. And this is how the gods declare their love.


And now it goes as it goes

and where it ends is Fate.

And neither by singeing flesh

nor tipping cups of wine

nor shedding burning tears can you

enchant away the rigid Fury.

The Eumenides


The man who boldly transgresses, amassing a great heap unjustly--by force, in time, he will strike his sail, when trouble seizes him as the yardarm is splintered. He calls on those who hear nothing and he struggles in the midst of the whirling waters. The god laughs at the hot-headed man, seeing him, who boasted that this would never happen, exhausted by distress without remedy and unable to surmount the cresting wave. He wrecks the happiness of his earlier life on the reef of Justice, and he perishes unwept, unseen.