Ye captive women, ye who tend this home,
Since ye are present to escort with me
These lustral rites, your counsel now I crave.
How, while I pour these off’rings on the tomb,
Speak friendly words? and how invoke my Sire?
Shall I declare that from a loving wife
To her dear lord I bear them? from my mother?
My courage fails, now know I what to speak,
Pouring libations on my father’s tomb.
Or shall I pray, as holy wont enjoins,
That to the senders of these chaplets, he
Requital may accord, ay! meed of ill.
Or, with no mark of honour, silently,
For so my father perished, shall I pour
These offerings, potion to be drunk by earth,
Then, tossing o’er my head the lustral urn,
(As one who loathèd refuse forth has cast,)
With eyes averted, back retrace my steps?
Be ye partakers in my counsel, friends,
For in this house one common hate we share.
Through fear hide not the feelings of your heart;
For what is destined waits alike the free
And him o’ermastered by another’s hand;–
If ye have aught more wise to urge, say on.
The Libation Bearers, Electra