Robert Fagles - The Eumenides (Lines 749-791)

Song Rating: 7.54/10

Song lyrics:

Lines 749-791
ATHENA:
My work is here, to render the final judgement.
Orestes,

[Raising her arm, her hand clenched as if holding a ballot-stone.]

I will cast my lot for you.
No mother gave me birth.
I honour the male, in all things but marriage.
Yes, with all my heart I am my Fathers child.
I cannot set more store by the womans d**h โ€“
she k**ed her husband, guardian of their house.
Even if the vote is equal, Orestes wins.

Shake the lots from the urns. Quickly,
you of the jury charged to make the count.

[Judges come forward, empty the urns, and count the ballot-stones.]

ORESTES:
O God of the Light, Apollo, how will the verdict go?

LEADER:
O Night, dark mother, are you watching now?

ORESTES:
Now for the goal - the noose, or the new day!

LEADER:
Now we go down, or forge ahead in power.

APOLLO:
Shake out the lots and count them fairly, friends.
Honour Justice. An error in judgement now
can mean disaster. The cast of a single lot
restores a house to greatness.



[Receiving the judges count, Athena lifts her arm once more.]

ATHENA:
The man goes free,
cleared of the charge of blood. The lots are equal.

ORESTES:
O Pallas Athena - you, you save my house!
I was shorn of the fatherland but you
reclaim it for me. Now any Greek will say,
He lives again, the man of Argos lives
on his fathers great estates. Thanks to Pallas,
Apollo and Zeus, the lord of all fulfilment,
Third, Saving Zeus. He respected fathers d**h,
looked down on mothers advocates โ€“

[Indicating the furies.]

he saved me.
And now I journey home. But first I swear
to you, your land and a**embled host, I swear
by the future years mat bring their growing yield
that no man, no helmsman of Argos wars on Athens,
spears in the vanguard moving out for conquest.
We ourselves, even if we must rise up from the grave,
will deal with those who break the oath I take -
baffle them with disasters, curse their marches,
send them hawks on the left at every crossing -
make their pains recoil upon their heads.
But all who keep our oath, who uphold your rights
and citadel for ever, comrades spear to spear,
we bless with all the kindness of our heart.

Now farewell, you and the people of your city.
Good wrestling - a grip no foe can break.
A saving hope, a spear to bring you triumph!

Date of text publication: 17.01.2021 at 08:54