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ALFIERI, Vittorio



Clytemnestra --What have I done?

Where am I?...

Aegisthus -- Thou hast slain the tyrant: now

At length thou'rt worthy of me.

Clytemnestra - -See, with blood

The dagger drips;... my hands, my face, my garments,

All, all are blood... Oh, for a deed like this,

What vengeance will be wreaked!... I see already

Already to my breast that very steel

I see hurled back, and by what hand! I freeze,

I faint, I shudder, I dissolve with horror.

My strength, my utterance, fail me. Where am I?

What have I done?... Alas!...

Incensed, tremendous shade, ah, go thy way!

Leave, leave me ! . . . See: before thy feet I kneel . . .

Where can I fly ? . . . — where can I hide myself?

O fierce, vindictive spectre, be appeased . . .

But to my supplications it is deaf;

And does it spurn me ? . . . Burst asunder, earth,

Swallow me up alive . .
But no; on this side a prodigious stream

Of blood restrains my steps. Atrocious sight!

On both its shores in mountains are up-piled

Great heaps of recent corpses: all is death

On this side: thitherward I then will fly


If someone tried to convince me of my guilt

of this shameful crime with shameless lies,

it's only you, Poppea, I'd want to be my judge.

You know what it is like everyday to have a new love,

and you know also what rewards deserve those who

commit such crimes. But I know that I am innocent

even to your judging eyes. Why, if not so, wouldn't

you, who are so proud of your virtue, dare to face me?


What did you say? Respect thy master's future wife,

tremble in fear...


Let her talk; she has chosen wisely

her judge; where would she find anyone more forgiving

than me? And what kinder punishment could I inflict on

her who betrayed the love of my Nero, than losing Nero's love?

Could there be by any chance a lighter, fairer sentence?

As soon as I've proven the existence of your sordid love,

that in vain you try to hide, I will make public your crime;

You, self-righteous lover of the lowly slave Eucero,

I'll make you his rightful, lowly wife...