Aeschylus, Agamemnon (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Ag.].
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538

Chorus Joy to you, Herald from the Achaean host!

Herald I do rejoice. I will no longer refuse to die, if that pleases the gods.

Chorus 540Was it yearning for this your fatherland that wore you out?

Herald Yes, so that my eyes are filled with tears for joy.

Chorus It was then a pleasing malady from which you suffered.

Herald How so? Teach me, and I shall master what you say.

Chorus You were smitten with desire for those who returned your love.

Herald 545Do you mean that our land longed for the longing host?

Chorus Longed so, that often from a darkly brooding spirit I have sighed.

Herald Where did this gloom of melancholy upon your spirit come from?

Chorus Long since have I found silence an antidote to harm.

Herald How so? Did you fear anyone when our princes were gone?

Chorus 550In such fear that now, in your own words, even death would be great joy.

Herald Yes, all's well, well ended. Yet, of what occurred in the long years, one might well say that part fell out happily, and part in turn amiss. But who, unless he is a god, is free from suffering all his days? 555For were I to recount our hardships and our wretched quarters, the scanty space and the sorry berths——what did we not have to complain of . . . [Note]Then again, ashore, there was still worse to loathe; for we had to lie down close to the enemy's walls, 560and the drizzling from the sky and the dews from the meadows distilled upon us, working constant destruction to our clothes and filling our hair with vermin.

And if one were to tell of the wintry cold, past all enduring, when Ida's snow slew the birds; 565or of the heat, when upon his waveless noonday couch, windless the sea sank to sleep—but why should we bewail all this? Our labor's past; past for the dead so that they will never care even to wake to life again. 570Why should we count the number of the slain, or why should the living feel pain at their past harsh fortunes? Our misfortunes should, in my opinion, bid us a long farewell. For us, the remnant of the Argive host, the gain has the advantage and the loss does not bear down the scale; 575so that, as we speed over land and sea, it is fitting that we on this bright day make this boast: [Note]“The Argive army, having taken Troy at last, has nailed up these spoils to be a glory for the gods throughout Hellas in their shrines from days of old.” 580Whoever hears the story of these deeds must extol the city and the leaders of her host; and the grace of Zeus that brought them to accomplishment shall receive its due measure of gratitude. There, you have heard all that I have to say.



Aeschylus, Agamemnon (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Ag.].
<<Aesch. Ag. 488 Aesch. Ag. 538 (Greek English(2)) >>Aesch. Ag. 583

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