Electra from The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus 2

Electra from The Libation Bearers by Aeschylus 2

Classical Greek – Women

Electra (ll. 126-154)

Greatest herald of all above or below the earth,
Hermes of the underworld,
summon the spirits under earth, who keep their watch
over my father’s house, to hear my prayer.
And Earth herself, that brings all things to birth,
and having raised them takes again from them
the fruit of their fertility–
here I, that pour to the dead this oil,
call to my father: Father have pity on me.
Kindle dear Orestes to be a light to the house.
For as it is, both of us are exiles,
sold by our mother, who has traded us for her man,
Aegisthus, her partner in our father’s murder.
Myself, I might as well be a slave.
Orestes is banished from his property,
while they grow rich and insolent amidst our troubles.
I pray you that Orestes may come here with luck to back him.
O, my father, hear me.
Grant that I may be more chaste than my mother,
and have a hand more reverent than hers.
So far, my prayers for us; but upon our enemies
I pray, my father, that you come avenging
and bring death with justice on the killers.
I set this prayer for evil, speaking against my enemies,
in the midst of the prayer for good.
But Hermes be the bringer of good to us in the upper world,
with the help of the gods and earth and conquering justice.
(She pours out the libations)
These are my prayers, and there the libation poured.