EUMENIDES – Monologue (Athena)

A monologue from the play by Aeschylus

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Dramas of Aeschylus. Trans. Anna Swanwick. London: George Bell and Sons, 1907.


Not slighted are ye, powers august! through rage
Curse not with hopeless blight the abode of man.
I too on Zeus rely; why speak of that?
And sole among the gods I know the key
That opes the halls where sealèd thunder sleeps.
But such we need not. Be appeased by me,
Nor scatter o’er the land, from froward tongue,
The harmful seed that turneth all to bane.
Of bitter rage lull ye the murky wave;
Be venerated here and dwell with me.
Sharing the first fruits of this ample realm,
For children offered, and for nuptial rite,
This word of mine thou wilt for ever praise.
I’ll bear thine anger, for mine elder thou,
And wiser art, in that regard, than I.
Yet me, with wisdom, Zeus not meanly dowers.
But if now ye seek some alien soil,
Will of this land enamour’d be; of this
You I forewarn; for onward-flowing time
Shall these my lieges raise to loftier fame;
And thou, in venerable seat enshrined
Hard by Erectheus’ temple, shalt receive
Honours from men and trains of women, such
As thou from other mortals ne’er may’st win.
But cast ye not abroad on these my realms,
To waste their building strength, whetstones of blood,
Evoking frantic rage not born of wine;
Nor, as out-plucking hearts of fighting c*cks,
Plant ye among my townsmen civil strife,
Reckless of kindred blood; let foreign war
Rage without stint, affording ample scope
For him who burns with glory’s mighty rage.
No war of home-bred c*cks, I ween, is that!
Such terms I proffer, thine it is to choose;
Blessing and blest, with blessèd rites revered,
To share this country dear unto the gods.

Read the play here

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