IPHIGENIA AT AULIS
A monologue from the play by Euripides
TRANSLATED BY F.M. STAWELL
|NOTE: This translation of Iphigenia at Aulis was originally published in 1929 by Oxford University Press.
- IPHIGENIA: Had I the voice of Orpheus, O my father,
- If I could sing so that the rocks would move,
- If I had words to win the hearts of all,
- I would have used them. I have only tears.
- See, I have brought them! They are all my power.
- I clasp your knees, I am your suppliant now,
- I, your own child; my mother bore me to you.
- O, kill me not untimely! The sun is sweet!
- Why will you send me into the dark grave?
- I was the first to call you father, first to give
- Dear gifts and take them. And you used to say,
- "My darling, shall I see you safely wed,
- In some good husband's home, a happy wife,
- As I would have you?" Then I'd answer you,
- Stroking your beard, the beard that I touch now,
- "What shall I do for you, O father mine?
- Welcome you, a loved guest, in my own house,
- Pay you for all your nursing-care of me?
- Oh, I remember every word we said,
- But you forget them, and you wish my death.
- Have pity, for your father Atreus' sake
- And for my mother's; she has suffered once
- When I was born, and she must suffer now.
- What can I have to do with Helen's love?
- How is it she has come to ruin me?
- My father, look at me, and kiss me once,
- That I may take this memory at least
- Unto the grave with me, if I must die.
- [She turns to the child ORESTES.]
- O, brother, you are young to help your friends,
- Yet come and cry with me, kneel down and pray
- For your poor sister's life. O father, see!
- Even children understand when sorrow comes!
- He asks for mercy though he cannot speak;
- Yes, we two children touch your beard and pray,
- We, your grown daughter and your little son.
- Now will I gather all prayers into one,
- And that must conquer. Life is sweet, is sweet!
- The dead have nothing. Those who wish to die
- Are out of reason. Life, the worst of lives,
- Is better than the proudest death can be!