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Drury-Lane, Egyfthus, an usurper of the government of Argos,
Mr. Palmer. Orestes, son of the late rightful king
Agamemnon, by Clytemnestra, Mr. Smith. Pylades, his friend, prince of Phocis, Mr. Packer. The Governor of Orestes,
Clytemnestra, queen of Argos, late wife of Agamemnon,
Mrs. Hopkins. Electra, Agamemnon's daughter, Mrs. Yates. Chrysothemis, ditto,
Mrs. Baddeley. Attendants of Clytemnestra. Chorus of young ladies of Argos.
SCENE, before the Palace in Mycona,
SCENE, before the Royal Palace in Mycenz,
Governor of Orestes, Orestes and Pylades.
Supreme in power, led our victorious Greeks
To Troy's destruction ;) hence may you survey
The object of your long, your ardent wishes:
Behold your native Argos! here, the grove
Of Inachus's wand'ring frantic daughter :
And here, the fam'd Lycaean Forum ftands,
Erected to the glorious god of day:
This, on the left, is Juno’s awful temple ;
Around the glitt'ring tow’rs of rich Mycenæ,
With the dire house of bloody Pelops rise.
Thence I receiv’d
Snatch'd from the fate in which your father fell ;
I took, preserv'd, and nourish'd you till now,
grow the keen avenger of his blood:
But now, Oreftes, and you, Pylades,
The dearest partner of his cares, betimes
We must determine what our cause requires.
For see, the chearful light begins to dawn;
The warbling birds falute the early fun;
And ev'ry star faints in his fuller glory.
Eker then the busy search of jealous eyes
Prevent, let's fix our counsels ; hasty time
Cuts off all filow. debate, and calls for action.
Orest. Thou truest friend that ever ferv'd his prince, 25
How does thy love to ine fine out conspicuous !
And, as the gen'rous feed when weak with age,
Starts into raġe, and scents the distant battle ;
So you, though press’d with years, work up our souls
Tofame, and follow in the glorious chase.
To thee my purpos'd vengeance I'll disclose,
Do thou with deep attention mark my words ;
And where my youth shall err, with wisdom guide it.
Know, when I went to ask the Pythian god
What me hod I should take in my revenge,
He thus in express rerms poke his high pleasure:
Close be thy vengeance; no loud force
But steal upon thunguzrded murderer.
Therefore do thou, my venerable friend,
As soon as kind occasion will permit,
Enter the palace; dive into their counsels ;
And find out means for this our great attempt :
For rev’rend age has plow'd thy features up,
And bent thee to the earth, that thou shalt pass
45 Successfully unknown, and unsuspected. Then form a tale like this;-that thou art sent From Phocis, from Phanoieus, to relate, (For he's their potent friend, their dear ally) Nor spare an oath to back the licens'd fraud
50 And wir belief, how poor Orestes perish'd; Whirld from his chariot in the Pythian games. This be the sum and subject of thy errand; Mean while, as the great Lycian god injoin’d, We, with oblations and devoted hair,
55 Will please my father's shade, and crown his tomb. That done, here let us meet; and in our hands Bear to th’incestuous court the brazen urn, Which lies conceal'd in yonder verdant thickets; Thus by an artful fraud resembling truth, We may
convince then of the pleasing news That I am dead; that those are the remains Of
my burnt bones, rak'd from the fun’ral pile.
Why should I grieve to be reported dead,
While I rise fairer from that deach suppos’d
To nobler life, to happiness and faine?
Nor can the tale which profits, prore disastrous.
Oft have I heard of men, for wisdom fam’d,
Revive and flourislı from imagin’d tombs,
To fresh renown, and more illuftrious triumphs.
So on my foes from death at once I'll rise,
Glare like a meteor, and with terror blaft thein.
But, Oh, my country, and ye genial gods,
Receive me profp'rous, and allilt my purpose!
And thou, paternal dome, to thee I come,
Sent from the gods to rid thee of pollution.
Oh, drive me not dishonour'd from this land:
But fix me happy in my father's throne,
And make me but the scourge of ufurpation,
I ak no more !---But now, my good old friend, So
Support the task which thou hast undertook :
We, Pylades, will hence, time presses hard;
Time, on whofe friendly call the iflues hang
Of all our mortal actions.
Elect. Oh! iny fortune
(Groaning from qvithin, Gov. Hark! sure I heard the voice of female forrow. 35
Oreji. Think you, 'twas not the poor Ele&tra groan’d? Say, shall we itay and listen to her anguish?
Go). Not for the world :- Begin we from the god ; And his commands fulfil : with due oblations Appeale, invoke the manes of your fire : Froin hence we fall the hop'd erent derive, And draw a blelling on the pious work, [Excunt Orestes and Pylades at one dvor, Governor and
Attendants at another,
S C Ε Ν Ε ΙΙ.
Elect. [Alone. ] Oh, facred light; and, Oh, thou am-
How have ye witness'd to my conítant forrows !
How have ye leea there hands, in rage of grief, 95
Harrow and bruise my fwoin and bleeding bofom!
While each new moro was blasted with my woe:
How have the circling nights heard my despair!
How have my wails and hated bed been curit;
And echo'd to my ftill repeated anguish!
My fighs, my groans for my unhappy lire,
Whom barb'rous climes and cruel battle spar’d;
Who:n battle fpard, but whom my mother ilew!
She and her partner of adult'rous joys,
Accurit Ægysthus, with a murth’ring axe
105 Splitting his temples, cleft the hero down : Relentless, as the woodman does an oak. And none, but I, or pities or complains ; None but Electra mourns for thee, On, father,
Without regard to shame or pity murder'd !
And I, while life remains, will cherish grief;
Each rising morn, and each descending night
Shall hear my inoan: for with inceffant sorrow,
Like the fad nightingale robb'd of her young,
Eefore my father's doors I'll plaintive stand;
loud wrongs proclaim to ev'ry ear.
Ye realms of Pluto, and his gloomy confort!
Infernai Hermes! You, my potent curses !
And awful furies, daughters of the gods,
Behold the great are fallen, unjustly flain!
And vile adult'ry itains the royal couch!
Oh, rise, aflift, revenge a murder'd king.
Send me my brother, my Orestes hither,
To ease my sorrow's, and to bear his part:
For, Oh! I fink beneath the dire oppression.
Electra and Chorus.
Cho. Thou offspring of a most unworthy mother,
Uncomforted Electra ! wherefore itiil
Dost thou with streaming eyes and piercing groans
For ever mourn the fate ci Agamemnon?
Indulge affliction, nor permit the space
Of intervening years to wipe away
The mem’ry of those snares and female arts
That caught his noble life?- -Oh, may the man,
If juítce warrant my devoting prayer,
That wrought his end, fall by the like surprise ! 135
Eleft. Oh, gen’rous maids, and worthy your high Kindly you come to foften my distress; [births ; I know you do, to charm me into confort. But; Oh! I must be deaf to the inchanunent; Nor ever cease to mourn my wretched fatherTherefore I must conjure you by our friendship; By all your tender offices of love; Let me indulge my tears, and be a wretch ; Nor urge me to remio my taik of forrow.
Cho. But yet, norpray’rs nor tcars, canfoften death; 145 Or bribe th' unpitying Hades to unlock Earth's common prison, and send back
father, Yet, fond of woe and unavailing paifion,