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Project Gutenberg's Iphigenia in Tauris, by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Title: Iphigenia in Tauris
Author: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Translator: Anna Swanwick
Release Date: May 18, 2005 [EBook #15850]
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK IPHIGENIA IN TAURIS ***
Produced by David Starner, Peter Barozzi and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team.
Handy Literal Translations
Iphigenia In Tauris
_Translated by_ ANNA SWANWICK
ARTHUR HINDS & CO.
4 COOPER INSTITUTE, NEW YORK CITY
IPHIGENIA IN TAURIS.
PERSONS OF THE DRAMA.
IPHIGENIA. THOAS, _King of the Taurians_.
ORESTES. PYLADES. ARKAS.
ACT THE FIRST.
_A Grove before the Temple of Diana_.
Beneath your leafy gloom, ye waving boughs
Of this old, shady, consecrated grove,
As in the goddess' silent sanctuary,
With the same shudd'ring feeling forth I step,
As when I trod it first, nor ever here
Doth my unquiet spirit feel at home.
Long as the mighty will, to which I bow,
Hath kept me here conceal'd, still, as at first,
I feel myself a stranger. For the sea
Doth sever me, alas! from those I love,
And day by day upon the shore I stand,
My soul still seeking for the land of Greece.
But to my sighs, the hollow-sounding waves
Bring, save their own hoarse murmurs, no reply.
Alas for him! who friendless and alone,
Remote from parents and from brethren dwells;
From him grief snatches every coming joy
Ere it doth reach his lip. His restless thoughts
Revert for ever to his father's halls,
Where first to him the radiant sun unclos'd
The gates of heav'n; where closer, day by day,
Brothers and sisters, leagu'd in pastime sweet,
Around each other twin'd the bonds of love.
I will not judge the counsel of the gods;
Yet, truly, woman's lot doth merit pity.
Man rules alike at home and in the field,
Nor is in foreign climes without resource;
Possession gladdens him, him conquest crowns,
And him an honourable death awaits.
How circumscrib'd is woman's destiny!
Obedience to a harsh, imperious lord,
Her duty, and her comfort; sad her fate,
Whom hostile fortune drives to lands remote:
Thus I, by noble Thoas, am detain'd,
Bound with a heavy, though a sacred chain.
Oh! with what shame, Diana, I confess
That with repugnance I perform these rites
For thee, divine protectress! unto whom
I would in freedom dedicate my life.
In thee, Diana, I have always hop'd,
And still I hope in thee, who didst infold
Within the holy shelter of thine arm
The outcast daughter of the mighty king.
Daughter of Jove! hast thou from ruin'd Troy
Led back in triumph to his native land
The mighty man, whom thou didst sore afflict,
His daughter's life in sacrifice demanding,--
Hast thou for him, the godlike Agamemnon,
Who to thine altar led his darling child,
Preserv'd his wife, Electra, and his son.
His dearest treasures?--then at length restore
Thy suppliant also to her friends and home,
And save her, as thou once from death didst save,
So now, from living here, a second death.