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Full text of "Elektra : tragedy in one act"

S918E52 

1910 ?mC EiaHTE 



MUSIC 



BERLIN, ADOLPH FtfRSTN ER 



KT K/V 

RICHARO STRAUSS 




Presented to the 

LIBRARY of the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

from 

the estate of 
Robert A. Fenn 



&*** 






ELEKTRA 



ELEKTRA 

TRAGEDY IN ONE ACT By 
HUGO VON HOFMANNSTHAL 

<ENOLISH VERSION By ALFRED KALISCH) 

MUSIC BY 
RICHARD STRAUSS 

OP.LVIII 




PRICE sh I/- NET 

PROPERTY OF THE PUBLISHER FOR ALL COUNTRIES 

ADOLPH FQRSTNER 
BERLIN W. - PARIS 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



COPYRIGHT INCLUDING RIGHT OF PERFORMANCE 1910 
BY ADOLPH FQRSTNER 

A. 5845 F. 



ALL RIGHTS OF PUBLIC PERFORMANCE RESERVED. 

DR. RICHARD STRAUSS. 



DRAMATIS PERSONAE 



Klytemnestra Mezzo soprano 

Elektpa 1 TT ~ f Soprano 

^ 4.1. 4 ?Her Daughters < c * 
Chrysothemis / V Soprano 

Aegistheus Tenor 

Orestes Baritone 

The Guardian of Orestes Bass 

The Confidante Soprano 

The Trainbearer Soprano 

A young Servant Tenor 

An old Servant Bass 

The Overseer Soprano 

f 1. Contralto 
Five Maid Servants J 2. 3. Mezzo soprano 

[ 4. 5. Soprano 
Men Servants and Maid Servants. 



Scene: Mykene. 



The inner courtyard t bounded by the back of the palace, and 
low buildings in which the servants live. Maid servants at the 
draw-well at the front of the stage to the left. The Overseer is 
among them. 



First Maid Servant 

(lifting her pitcher). 

Where stays Elektra? 

Second Maid Servant. 

Is it not the season, 

The season when she for her father howls, 
That all the walls re-echo? 

{Elektra runs out of the house which is already growing dark. 

All turn to look at her. Elektra darts back like an animal to 

its lair, one arm held before her face.) 

First Maid Servant, 
Did you not see what looks she gave us? 

Second Maid Servant. 

Surely poisonous, 
Like a wild cat's. 



Third Maid Servant. 

Yesterday she lay there 
Groaning. 

First Maid Servant. 

Always when the sun is sinking, 
She lies and groans. 

Third Maid Servant. 

And then we went, we two, 
Approaching her too near. 

First Maid Servant. 

It maddens her 
To know we watch her. 

Third Maid Servant. 

Yes, too closely we 

Approached: she spat at us just like a cat 
At a dog. "Hence, foul flies," cried she, "hence!" 

Fourth Maid Servant. 

"Foul horse-flies, hence!" 

Third Maid Servant. 

"Feed not on my sore places!" 
And with wisps of straw she tried to smite us. 

Fourth Maid Servant. 
"Foul flies, away!" 

Third Maid Servant. 

"Buzz not about me, 
Sucking sweetness from my pain. Nor shall my 

writhings 
Make you to smack your lips." 



Fourth Maid Servant. 

"Away", she cried, 
"Back to whence ye came. Eat carrion and eat 

sweetmeats! 

Away to bed; your men await you" cried she, 
And she 

Third Maid Servant. 
I was not slow 

Fourth Maid Servant. 

She gave her answer! 

Third Maid Servant. 

"Surely when hunger calls", thus I made answer 
"You too will eat." Then up she leaped, her eyes 
Flaming with passion, stretching out her fingers, 
Like crooked claws at us, and cried: "A vulture 
Battens on my flesh." 

Second Maid Servant. 

And what said you? 

Third Maid Servant. 

"Therefore you ever crawl", I answered back, 
Where carrion stench is worst, and dig, and seek 
An ancient carcase!" 

Second Maid Servant. 

And what said she then? 

Third Maid Servant. 

She did but howl again and flung herself 
Into her corner. 



10 

First Maid Servant. 

That the Queen should still 
Suffer a demon like to her to roam 
Abroad is passing strange. 

Second Maid Servant. 
'Tis her own child! 

First Maid Servant. 

Were she my child, I'd hold her, I by Heav'n! 
Safe under lock and key! 

Fourth Maid Servant. 

Dost thou not think 

Them hard enough with her? Is not her platter 
Set, full of offal, in the kennel? 



Does not 

The master lay hands on her? 

Fifth Maid Servant 

(quite young, with trembling agitated voice). 

Let me 

Before her do obeisance, and her feet 
Cover with kisses. Is she not a child 
Of Kings, yet suffers shame? To bathe her feet 
Be my office, mine too with my hair to wipe them. 

The Overseer 

(flushes her back). 

Within with theel 

Fifth Maid Servant. 

There is naught in the world, 
More king-like, more divine than she. She lies 
In tatters on the threshold, but yet no one, 
Is there in all the court, but quails before 
Her glance! 



11 - 

Overseer. 

Within! 

Fifth Maid Servant 

(caught in the doorway). 

You are unworthy all, 

To breathe the same air that she breathes! Ah me! 
Could I but see you all in some dark dungeon, 
Hung by the neck and dead, meet punishment 
For all the evil that ye to Elektra 
Have wrought! 



Hear ye that? We to Elektra , 
She who her platter from our table tossed, 
When once they bade her eat with us, and spitting 
On us, miscalled us curs and mongrels. 



First Maid Servant. 

What? 

She said: "No mongrel cur can ye so lower, 
To live for aye, as we, in degradation, 
To wash with water, ever more fresh water 
The everlasting stain of murder from 
This palace." 

Third Maid Servant. 

"And the shame," so went she on, 
"The shame that daily, nightly is renewed, 
Sweep back to darkness" 

First Maid Servant. 

"All our bodies", cries she, 
"Reek with the foulness that enslaveth us." 

(The maids carry the vessels into the house L.) 



12 
The Overseer 

(who has opened the door for them). 

And when she sees us with our babes abroad 
Then cries she: "Nought is so accursed, nought, 
As children thus conceived and thus born, 
Here in the palace where the pavements all 
Are slippery with the taint of bloodshed." Says 

she this 
Or not? 

The other Maids 

(as they go in). 

Yes, yes! 

The Overseer. 

Says she this? Yes or no? 

(She goes in, the door closes!) 

The Four Maids 

(within). 

Yes, yesl 

The Fifth Maid. 
They beat me help! 

Elektra 

(appears from the house). 

Alone! Woe! Quite alone! My father gone 
To dwell affrighted in the tomb's chill darkness! 
Agamemnon! Agamemnon! 

Where art thou, Father? Hast thou not the strength 
To lift thy countenance to me, thy daughter? 
(Softly) 

The hour approacheth, sacred to us twain, 
The very hour, when thou wert foully slaughtered, 
By her, thy queen, and him who now supplants thee, 
And on thy royal couch doth toy with her. 



18 

There in the bath they murdered thee. Thine eyes 
With thy red blood were deluged. From the bath 
The steam of blood arose. Then took he thee, 
The craven, by the shoulders dragging thee, 
Headforemost from the hall, thy feet the while 
Behind thee trailing on the ground, thine eyes 
Distended open, glaring at the house. 

So thou return'st, with slow relentless step 
Unlooked for, stand'st thou there, with vengeful 

eyes, 

Wide-open: on thy royal brow a round 
Of crimson gleams, that groweth aye more dark. 
From the blood thy wound distilleth. 
Agamemnon! Father! 

Let me behold thee, leave me not this day 
Alone! But as thy wont is, like a shadow, 
From the wall's recesses come to greet thy child! 
Father! Agamemnon! Thy day approacheth. As the 

seasons all 

From the stars rain down, so will an hundred throats 
Of victims rain their life-blood on thy tomb. 
And, as from vessels overturned, blood 
Will from the fettered murderers flow 
And in one wild wave, one torrent 
From them will rain their very life's red life-blood, 
And drench the altars. 

(With solemn pathos.) 

And we slay for thee 

The chargers that are housed here We drive them 

All to the tomb together, and they know, 

'Tis death, and neigh in the death-laden breeze, 

And perish. And we slaughter all the hounds 

That once did lick thy sandals, 

That went with thee to hunt, and fawned on thee 

For dainty morsels. Therefore must their blood 

Descend to do thee homage meet; and we, 

Thy son Orestes and thy daughters twain, 

We three, when all these things are done, and steam 



14 

Of blood has veiled the murky air with palls 
Of crimson, which the sun sucks upwards, 
Then dance we, all thy blood, around thy tomb 

(In ecstatic pathos.) 

And o'er the corpses piled, high will I lift, 
High with each step, my limbs; and all the folk 
Who see me dance Yea all who from afar 
My shadow see, will say: "For a great King 
All of his flesh and blood high festival 
And solemn revel hold; and blessed he 
That children hath who round his holy tomb 
Will dance such royal dance of Victory!" 
Agamemnon! Agamemnon! 

Chrysothemis 

(the younger sister, standing at the door of the house, softly). 
Elektra! 

Elektra 

(starts as though waking from a dream and gazes at Chrysothemis). 

Ah, 'tis her face. 

Chrysothemis 

(stands close to the door, softly, quietly). 

Dost thou then hate my face so much? 
Elektra 

(vehemently). 

What wouldst thou? Speak then, quick, pour forth 

thy soul, 
Then go and leave me. 

(Chrysothemis lifts her hands, as if to defend herself.) 

Why dost lift thy hands? 
Thus did our father lift up both his hands- 
Then fell the axe on him and rent his flesh 
In twain. What wouldst thou? Daughter of my mother, 
Daughter of Klytemnestra? 



15 
Chrysothemis 

(whispering). 

They have resolved a dreadful deed to do. 

Elektra. 
That pair of women? 

Chrysothemis. 
Who? 

Elektra. 

First my own mother 
And next that other she, the craven, yea 
Aegistheus, the intrepid warrior, he 
That deeds of valour never does by day. 
What is it they would do? 

Chrysothemis. 

Soon in a tow'r 

Thou wilt be caged, in which no ray of sun 
Or moon will shine on thee. 



'Tis so decreed. 



(Elektra laughs) 

I know that surely 



Elektra. 

How earnest thou 
To hear such tidings? 



Chrysothemis 

{whispers). 

At the door, Elektra. 



16 

Elektra 

(yehtmently). 

Nay, let no doors be opened in this house! 
Hoarse cries, and pantings a pah I and last groans 

of the dying 

Naught else is heard within this dwelling! 
So open thou no doors! Creep not about 
Sit by the gate, as I, and pray that death 
And judgment soon may fall on her and him! 

Chrysothemis. 

I cannot sit here, into darkness peering, 
As thou. Within me burneth a great flame. 
It drives me aye to roam the house distraught; 
In hall nor chamber find I rest; I must 
From one far corner to the other Ah! 
From roof to vault. I seem to hear strange voices, 
And when I seek them, see I bare rooms staring 
At me. I am made mad with fear, beneath me 
My knees quake night and day, ropes feel I tight'ning 
Close round my throat, I cannot even weep. 
Like stone are all things. Sister, o have pity! 

Elektra. 
On whom? 

Chrysothemis. 

Thou only is it, thou, who keep'st me 
Chained here with iron fetters: but for thee 
Long since had we been free. But for thy hate 
Thy sleepless spirit and thy untamed soul, 
That make them tremble, ah! we surely 
Had long since been free, had fled this dungeon, Sister 

(with passion) 

I must away. I will not, ev'ry night 



17 

Sleep here till Death release me. Ere I die 
I crave for life; and children would I bear 
(in great exaltation) 

Ere all my body fades, e'en were't a peasant 

Chosen to wed me; children will I bear him 

Rejoicing; to my bosom will I clasp them 

Lest night-winds chill them, when the hut is shaken 

By winter tempests! 

Hear'st thou me not? Speak to me, sister! 

Elektra. 

Alas! poor weakling! 

Chrysothemis 

(still in wild frenzy). 

Have pity on thyself, and pity me! 
Who profits by such pain? 

Our father, he is dead. The brother comes not home. 
And always stay we twain, e'en as on perches, 
Stand captive birds in cages, turning heads 
This way and that and no one comes. No brother, 
No herald from our brother, nay not even 
A herald's herald. Naught! And on my face 
And thine the passing days do carve their mark 
With knives. The sun each day doth duly rise 
And set; and women whom I knew slim maidens 
Bear blessed burdens; to the fountain toiling 
They scarce can lift their pitchers; in full time 
Lo! of their burdens they are free then seek 
Again the fountain, and to each is clinging 
A tiny life, and mothers to their offspring 
Give nurture and the children thrive and grow 
No, I am 

A woman, and a woman's lot I crave, 
Far better dead, than live a living death. 
(She bursts into passionate -weeping.) 



18 

Elektra. 

What howl'st thou? Hence! Within! There is thy 

place! 
A noise approacheth 

(Mocking her.) 

Set they forth, perchance, 

A wedding feast for thee? I hear them running. 
The whole house is astir. A child is born 
Or they murder. When there is a lack of corpses 
To serve as pillows, surely they must murder. 

Chrysothemis. 

Away to hiding, lest she see thee here. 
Do not thou cross her path this day; she darteth 
Death from each glance for she hath dream'd. 

(The noise of many people hurrying to and fro within draws 
nearer.) 

Away from hence ; they come through ev'ry passage 
They will pass here anon. She dream'd a dream 

She dream'd a dream; 
I know not what her women 
Have told me the tale. 
Orestes in a dream, they say, pursued her; 
And in her sleep she loudly shrieked, 
E'en as one shrieks that dies in pain. 
(Torches and people dimly seen fill the passage to the left of the door.) 

The train draws near: she drives the serving women, 
With torches all before her. Next the victims, 
And priests with axes. Sister, when she trembles, 
Is she most terrible. 

(Urging her.) 
Fear thou to-day 
In this hour only, fear to cross her path. 

Elektra. 

My purpose holds to speak with Klytemnestra, 
My mother, as ne'er before. 



19 

Chpysothemis. 

I will not hear it! 

(Rushes off through the gate of the Courtyard?) 

(A hurried procession rushes and staggers past the luridly lighted 

windows; it is a wrenching, a dragging of cattle, a muffled scolding, 

a quickly choked shouting, the hissing of a whip in the air, a 

struggling of fallen men and beasts, a staggering onwards?) 

(In the broad window appears Kl ytemnestra. Her sallow, 
bloated face appears, in the lurid glare of the torches, still paler 
over her scarlet robe. She is leaning on her trusted Confidante, 
who is draped in dark violet, and on a begemmed ivory staff. A 
jaundiced figure, with black hair combed back, like an Egyptian 
woman, with smooth face , resembling a rearing snake, carries the 
train of her robe. The Queen is covered over and over with gems 
and talismans, her arms are full of armlets, her fingers bristle with 
rings. The lids of her eyes are larger than is natural, and it 
seems to cost her an unspeakable effort to keep them from falling?) 

Klytemnestra. 

What would'st thou? Look you there, look but 

at that! 

How she defies me with her neck outstretched, 
And with tongue darting and that leave I free 
To roam about my palace! 

(Breathing heavily?) 

Could she but with her glances strike me dead! 
Wherefore, ye gods, do you oppress me thus? 
Wherefore decree ye thus my doom? Wherefore 
Must all my strength in me be palsied? 
Wherefore am I, albeit still living, like a desert 
Untilled? Why doth this nettle issue 
From me, and strength have I none to uproot it? 
Ye everlasting gods, why thus afflict me? 

2* 



m 

Elektra 

(calmly). 

The gods! And art thou not thyself a goddess? 
Art as they are! 

Klyteranestra. 

Ha! Have ye heard 
And understand ye what she meaneth? 



The Confidante. 

That thou art 
Of race divine, she saith. - 



The Trainbearer 

(hissing). 

Her words are treason. 

Rlytemnestra 

(as her heavy eyelids droop, gently). 

Of things familiar once, long since forgotten, 
Sweet mem'ries stir my soul. She knoweth me well. 
But none can know her soul's most secret thoughts. 

(The Confidante and the Trainbearer whisper to each other.) 

Elektra 

(comes gradually nearer to Klytemnestrd). 

Thou art thyself no longer. Yonder reptiles 
Cling aye too close to thee. What without cease 
They hiss into thy ear doth all thy thoughts 
Embroil; and ever to and fro art driven 
Amazed, as in a trance. 



21 

Klytemnestra. 

I will descend. 
Room! Room! I fain would speak with her. 

(She leaves the window and appears with her attendants in the 
doorway, and speaks from the threshold, more gently) 

She hath to-day 
No hostile mind. She speaketh like a leech. 



The Confidante 

(whispering?) 

She speaketh 
Not her true thoughts. 



The Trainbearer. 

Her ev'ry word is falsehood. 

Klytemnestra 

(starting up). 

I will hear nothing. What from you proceedeth 
Is but the echo of Aegistheus. 
And when at night I wake you, do you not 
Each one give diffrent counsel? Criest not thou 
Thou know'st my eyelids with disease are swollen 
And all my body tainted? Whin'st not thou, 
In the other ear, thou hast seen visions, 
Foul demon shapes, with greedy maws wide open, 
Sharp beaks that suck my life-blood. Show'st thou not 
The scars they leave, here, on my flesh? And give I 
Not heed, and slaughter, slaughter, slaughter victims, 
More victims? Do ye not with all your prating 
Distract my soul, e'en unto death? No more 
I'll listen. This is truth and that is falsehood. 



22 

(In a hollow voice!) 

What is truly truth, 
We mortals cannot know. If she 
Should chance to tell . . . 

(still breathing heavily, groaning) 

That which to hear will please me, 
Then will I hearken to her words. 
If any telleth aught that bringeth joy 

(^violently) 

And though it were my daughter, were it she there, 
Then will I bare my soul, concealment flinging 
Far from me, and from whencesoe'er they come, 
The evening air's caresses will I woo, 
As sick men do, who in the balmy air 
At nightfall sitting, yonder by the river, 
Their loathsome sores to balmy airs expose 
Always at nightfall, and no thought is theirs 
Save respite from pain. 
Leave me alone with her. 

(She makes an impatient gesture with her staff, bidding the Con- 
fidante and the Trainbearer go into the house. They disappear 
after lingering at the door. The torches, too, disappear, and only 
from within does a feeble ray of light shine on to the courtyard 
and here and there illumine the figures of the two women) 
(Klytemnestra descends softly!) 

I am distraught with nights of horror. Know'st thou 
No simples against dreaming? 

Elektra 

(appreaching). 

Dream'st thou, Mother? 

Klytemnestra. 

Whoso grows old must dream. But yet can dreams 
Be banished. There are rites, 
There must be fitting rites for all things. 
Therefore am I thus 



23 

Laden with jewels, for in each one dwelleth 
Most surely magic power. We but need knowledge 
How we may use it best. Wert thou but kindly, 
Thou couldest give me counsel that would save. 

Elektra. 

I, Mother? I? 

Klytemnestra 

(in a vehement outburst). 

Yea thou! for thou art wise, 
And in thy head all things are strong. 
And thou could'st tell me much that would give help. 
What if a word is but a breath? For what then is 
A breath? And yet, twixt night and day, when I, 
With eyes wide open, sleepless lie, a Something 
Creeps o'er my couch. It is no word, it is 
No pain, it hath no weight, it chokes me not, 
'Tis naught, not e'en a sickness but in truth 
It doth so madden me, the hangman's rope 
Would less appal my soul; and ev'ry limb in me 
Crieth aloud for death. Still I am living, 
And am not even sick. Look thou on me, 
Have I a look of sickness? Can one thus 
Rot, living, like a tainted corpse? Can men decay 
And crumble, without sickness, being awake, 
Like garments that the moths have eaten? Then I sleep 
And dreams come, dreams come, till my very marrow 
Doth seem to freeze. I stagger up again, 
And not one-half the tithe of sand has trickled 
Adown the hour-glass, and what from the hangings 
Grins, is not yet the sallow morning light. 
No, still the torch burns low with ghostly flame, 
Then quivers bright, just like a living thing 
With stealthy eyes that watch me. 
But the end must soon be near. 
Of all these visions. Whencesoe'er they come, 
I know, each demon leaveth us, if but 
The fitting blood is made to flow. 



All demons. 



24 
Elektra. 



Klytemnestra 

(wildly). 

E'en bid me slay each thing that crawls or flies 
In earth or heaven; bid me rise in steam 
Of blood yea, in blood-red mists bid me sleep 
Which curtain far-off Thule I'll obey thee. 
No longer will I dream thus. 

Elektra. 

When beneath 

The axe the appointed victim bleeds, then dreamst 

thou 
No longer. 

Klytemnestra 

(very hastily). 

Then thou know'st what sacrifice 
That's consecrated 

Elektra 

(with a mysterious smile). 

'Tis not consecrated. 

Klytemnestra. 

That fettered lies within? 

Elektra. 

No! it roams free. 

Klytemnestra 

(eagerly). 
What rites are needed? 



25 

Elektra. 

Rites most wondrous 
To be observed most closely. 

Klytemnestra 

(vehemently). 
Tell me, quick! 

Elektra. 
Canst thou not guess my meaning? 

Klytemnestra. 

No, for that I ask 

(as if solemnly adjuring Elektra) 

The victim's name, come, quickly tell! 

Elektra. 
A woman. 

Klytemnestra 

(eagerly). 

Is't perchance one of my servants? 
A child? A pure maid still unwed? A wife? 
A mother, duly wedded? 

Elektra 

(calmly). 

Yes a wife 
E'en so. 

Klytemnestra 

(with growing eagerness). 

And how the killing? And what season? 
And where? 



26 
Elektra 

(calmly). 

At any place, at any season, 
Of day or night. 

Klytemnestra. 

The rites disclose 
How shall't be slain? Must I myself . . . 

Elektra. 

This quarry 
Must other hunters slay with net and axe. 

Klytemnestra. 
Who then? Who deals the blow? 

Elektra. 

A man. 

Klytemnestra. 

Aegistheus? 

Elektra 

(laughing). 

But said I not a man? 

Klytemnestra. 

Who? give me answer. 
A trusty kinsman? Must a stranger come 
To give aid? 

Elektra 

(looking to the ground as if absent}. 

Yea, a stranger, but it chanceth 
He is our kin. 



27 

Klytemnestra. 

A truce to riddles now. 
Elektra, heed my words. It pleaseth me 
That I to-day have found thy mood not stubborn. 

Elektra 

(softly). 

CalPst thou my brother not from exile, mother? 

Klytemnestra. 

I have rorbidden that his name be spoken. 

Elektra. 
Thou art afraid of him? 

Klytemnestra. 

Who saith it? 

Elektra. 

Mother, 
What tremblest thou? 

Klytemnestra. 

What need ot fear 
Of one whose reason tott'reth? 

Elektra. 

How? 

Klytemnestra. 

Tis said 

He stamm'reth, playeth with dogs upon the pavement, 
Not knowing beast from man, and babbleth 

wildly. 



28 

Elektra. 
The child was strong and fair. 

Klytemnestra. 

'Tis said, they gave 
Him noisome lodging, and made 
The cattle all his playmates. 

Elektra. 
Ha! 

Klytemnestra 

(with drooping eyelids}. 

I sent them 

Much gold, and still more gold, and bade them 
Tend him as fits a son of kings. 

Elektra. 

Thou liest! 
Thou gavest gold and bribe, that they might slay him. 

Klytemnestra. 
Who told thee that? 

Elektra. 

Thy drooping eyes betray thee, 
The trembling of thy body telleth me, 
He is alive. Thou thinkest day and night 
Of nought but him, till all thy heart is sick 
With terror, for thou know'st he cometh! 



Klytemnestra. 

They that roam abroad, what can they harm me? 

Here I abide and am the mistress. Servants 

Have I enough, to guard each court and portal, 

And should I wish, then both by night and day 

Before my chamber door three armed men 

With watchful eye shall guard me. 

As for thee 

Devices will I find to make thee speak 

The right word soon. Thou hast betrayed thyself: 

Thou knowest who is the victim meet, what are 

The rites that give me healing. Tell'st thou not 

In freedom now, then soon in chains thou'lt tell me. 

If not when fed, thou say'st it hungry. Dreams 

That afflict us can be banished. Whoso suffereth 

Nor any means discovereth that will heal him, 

Is but a fool. I for myself will learn 

Whence blood must flow, that I may sleep in peace. 

Elektra 

(leaps out of the dark at Klytemnestra, coming nearer to her and 
nearer, more and more threatening). 

Whence blood must flow ! Whence blood ? From 

thine own neck, 

When the huntsman shall have overtaken thee! 
I hear him through the chamber go, I hear him 
Lifting the curtain from thy couch: Who slaughtereth 
His victims while they sleep? He wakens thee, 
Screaming, thou fliest. But he, he pursues thee, 
He drives thee through the house! Turn'st thou to 

right, 

There stands the bed! To left there foams the bath, 
Like blood! The torches' glare encircles thee 
As with black red nets of destruction. Then 

(Klytemnestra, trembling -with speechless terror, turns towards the 

house. Elcktr a, seizing her robe t drags her forward. Klytemnestra 

retreats towards the wall. Her eyes are distended with terror. Her 

staff falls from her trembling hands.) 



30 

Down the long stairway, on through vaulted halls, 
And still more halls, he urgeth the wild chase 
And I! I! I, who sent him to thee, speed 
Like sleuth-hound on thy traces. Seekest thou 
A secret refuge, from this side or that 
I seize thee. Thus thou'rt driven ever on 
Until the walls their barriers raise. And there, 
In deepest darkness, but I see him well - 
A shadow and limbs gleaming, and the glance 
Of eyes that call me on there sits my father: 
Not heeding aught yet must the deed be done. 
And at his feet we fell thee to the ground - 
Cries would'st thou utter, but the unborn word 
Is strangled in thy throat, and in the silence, 
Makes but faint echoes; and like a mad thing 
Thou stretchest out thy neck, f eel'st in the very seat 
Of life the lightning sword-stroke. But the blow 
He holdeth back. The rites are yet to do. 
All is still as death. Thou hearest thine own heart 
Within thee madly beating and thou see'st 
The moments stretch before thee an abyss 
Of centuries. This respite hath been given thee, 
To know the ship-wrecked sailors' torment, 
When their wild cries for help resound in vain 
In storm of tempest and of death. This respite 
Was given thee to make thee envy all 
That languish, in a loathsome dungeon chained, 
That cry from out the bottom of some well 
For death, as for a friend that saves. For thou, 
Thou art in thine own Self so fast imprisoned, 
As in the fiery womb of some great beast 
Of brass whence frenzied shrieks will naught 

There stand I avail thee ' 

By thee, and thou canst read with staring eye 
The message, big with fate, that on my face 
Is writ for all to see. 

Thy soul is strangled in the noose that thou 
Thyself hast woven. Hissing falls the axe 
And I stand there. At last I see thee dying, 



31 

Then dreamest thou no more. For me no more 
Is need of dreaming. All who still do live 
Rejoice, and all in their own lives are glad. 

( They stand eye to eye Elektra in wild intoxication, Klytemnestra 
breathing in horrible spasms of fear. At this moment the interior 
of the palace is lighted up. The Confidante comes running from 
the palace. She whispers something into Klytemnestra' s ear. She 
seems at first not to understand. Gradually she grasps the meaning 
of it all. She commands "Lights". Serving maids come running 
from the palace with torches and range themselves behind Klytemnestra. 
Klytemnestra commands "More lights!" Still more serving maids 
come out and range themselves behind Klytemnestra, so that the 
courtyard is flooded with light and a reddish yellow glare eddies 
round the walls. Now her features gradually change and the 
tension yields to a look of evil triumph. Klytemnestra causes the 
message to be whispered to her again, and does not, the while take 
her eyes off Elektra for an instant. Glutted with wild joy, Kly- 
temnestra raises both her hands, threatening, towards Elektra. 
Then the Confidante lifts her staff" from the ground, and leaning on 
both, Klytemnestra hurries eagerly into the palace, gathering up her 
robe on the stairs. The serving maids rush after her, as if pursued.) 



Elektra. 

What have they said to her! She seemeth glad. 
My head! I have no thoughts. Why doth that woman 
Rejoice 

(Chrysothemis enters running, through the gate of the courtyard, 
howling loudly like a wounded beast) 



Orestes ! 
Orestes is dead ! 



Chrysothemis 

(shrieking). 



Elektra 

(makes a gesture to ward her off, as f demented). 
Be still! 



_ 82 

Chrysothemis. 

Orestes is dead! 

I went abroad already all men know! They all 
Gathered in crowds. All men had heard the tidings, 
Only not we. 

Elektra 

(in a hollow voice). 

No one knows it! 

Chrysothemis. 

All men know it! 
Elektra. 
No one can know it, for it is not true. 

(Chrysothemis flings herself in despair on the ground.) 

Elektra 

(dragging up Chrysothemis). 

It is not true ! It is not true I I tell thee 
It is not true! 

Chrysothemis. 

The strangers stood there by the wall, the 

strangers 

Who came the tidings to deliver: two - 
One older and one younger. All already 
Had heard the news. In crowds men stood all 

round them 
Hearing their words, they know it. All know it. 

(with a supreme effort] 

All had been told. 

Elektra 

(with all her strength}. 

It is not true. 



33 

Chpysothemis. 

Of us thinks no one. Dead! Elektra, dead! 
Orestes amid strangers dead! 
Orestes in a foreign land! Orestes dragged 
To death by his own steeds. 

(She sinks to the ground in wild despair, by Elektra's side 
near the threshold.) 

A Young Slave 

(hurrying from the house, stumbles over them as they lie). 

Room! room! who loiters so before the door! 
Ha! 'tis no wonder. Quick, a horse there, quick! 

An Old Slave 

(of sombre mien, appears at the gate of the courtyard). 

Who needs a horse? 

Young Slave. 

The swiftest horse 

Bring me, as quick as may be, hearest thou? 
A horse, a wild ass, or a mule, or if 
Not that, a cow; but quick! 

Old Slave. 

For whom? 

Young Slave. 

For him that bids thee. Look, he gapes at me! 

For me 

At once for me, trot, trot, I must afield, 
And bring the Master home, for I have tidings, 
To bring him, weighty tidings, tidings 
Weighty enough the best of all your horses 
To lame past healing (going}. 

(The Old Slave too disappears.) 

3 



34 
Elektra 

(to herself softly, but -with determination). 

Now must it here, by us, be done. 
Chpysothemis 

(in astonishment, questioning). 

Elektra 
Elektra 

(in frenzied haste). 

We, 

We twain must do it. 

Chrysothemis. 

What, Elektra? 

Elektra 

(softly). 

'Twere best to-day, 'twere best this night. 

Chrysothemis. 
What, sister? 

Elektra. 

What? The task that to our lot 
Hath fallen now, 

(very sadly) 

since he can ne'er return. 
Chrysothemis 

(in growing fear). 

What is the task? 



35 > 

Elektra. 

Now must we, you and I 

Arise, and seek out her her and her husband 
And slay them. 

Chrysothemis 

(softly-trembling). 

Sister, speak'st thou ot our mother? 
Elektra 

(wildly). 

Ot her, yea, and of him. Quick to the task, 
It brooketh no delay. 
Be still. No need of words, 
No need of counsel only one thing how? 
How shall we do it? 

Chrysothemis. 
I? 



Chrysothemis 

(in horror). 

We? we twain shall go and slay them, 
Alone and empty-handed? 

Elektra. 

Be that 

My care! (mysteriously.) Armed am I! 
The axe ! (more loudly.) The axe, wherewith my father 

3* 



36 

Chrysothemis. 

Thou? 

terrible, thou hast it? 

Elektra. 

For Orestes 

1 kept it hid. Now 'tis for us to wield it 

Chrysothemis. 

Thou? With these arms dost think to slay 

Aegistheus? 

Elektra 

(wildly). 

First her, then him first him, then her; I care not. 

Chrysothemis. 
I am afraid. 

Elektra. 
At night no man lies in the neighbour room. 

Chrysothemis. 
To kill them sleeping! 

Elektra. 

Who sleeps is as a fettered victim. Did they not 
Together sleep, alone I'd do't. But now 
Thou must go with me. 

Chrysothemis. 
Elektra! 

Elektra. 

Thou! thou! 
For thou art strong. 

(standing close to Chrysothemis!) 



37 

How strong thou art! Chaste nights 

Of peaceful virgin sleep have made thee strong. 

All thy frame glows with youthful strength 1 

Sinews hast thou like a doe, 

Slender are thy ankles. 

How slender and lissom 

Thy shape. See how my arms 

Enfold it all about! 

Through ev'ry crevice find'st thou a way, canst wind 

Thee through a casement. Both thy arms let me 

Caress. How cool and strong are they! When thou 

Repell'st me, do I feel their godlike strength. 

What thou draw'st to thee, could'st thou press to death, 

In thy embrace could'st thou me strangle: few 

Are the men that could resist thee. All thy frame 

Gloweth with youthful strength. It streameth from thee, 

As from some rocky cleft 

Cool water, hidden long from sunlight, gushes, 

And dwelling in thy locks, e'en to thy shoulders 

Strength floweth down; and through thy skin's cool 

whiteness 

I feel thy blood's red ardour burn. My cheek 
Can feel how soft the down on thy young body. 
Strong art thou, thou art fair, e'en as a fruit 
That summer suns have brought to fullest ripeness. 

Chrysothemis. 

Leave me! 

Elektra. 

No! I cleave to thee, 

And my sad withered arms I wind about thee, 
Thy body I embrace and struggles! thou, 
But tighter grows the knot. And close as tendrils 
Of vine I'll cling to thee, and pour forth 
My being into thee, till all my lust 
Of blood burns in thee too! 



38 

Chrysothemis. 

Leave me! 

(she retreats a few steps?) 

Elektra 

(hurries wildly after her and seizes her robe). 

I leave thee not! 

Chrysothemis. 

Elektra, hear me. 

Thou art so wise: help us to flee this house. 
Help us to freedom! 
Elektra, help us to our freedom. Elektra, help! 

Elektra. 

From now thy sister will I be in deed, 
Not in name only, as ne'er I was before. 
To do thee service, to thy bower will I betake me, 
And humbly for the bridegroom wait; for him 
Will I anoint thee, in the fragrant bath 
Shalt thou then plunge thee, as a silvery swan, 
And in my bosom will I hide thy blushes, 
Until he comes, eager to lead thee, glowing, 
E'en as a torch, beneath thy veil, to where 
The nuptial couch is spread. 

Chrysothemis 

(closing her eyes). 

Nay, sister, nay. 
Speak no such words in this abode. 

Elektra. 

Not so! Far more than sister will I be 
To thee from this day forth. Like any slave, 
Will I attend thee. When thy child is born, 
Then stand I by thy pillow night and day, 



39 

Warding the flies off, and cool water bring thee. 
And when in due time on thy panting bosom 
A living thing is laid, affrighted almost, 
I lift it high so high, that its dear smile 
From there above thee, e'en into the deepest 
Most secret crannies of thy soul may shine, 
And there the last grim icy horror may 
In sunshine melt, and thou of joyous tears 
May'st weep thy fill. 

Chpysothemis. 

O take me hence, I die 
Here in this house of dread! 

Elektra. 

How beautiful, 

When they in anger open, are thy lips! 
And from those lips, so pure and strong, must well forth, 
A cry of vengeance, dreadful as a cry 
Of rav'ning harpies, when thine enemies 
Lie at thy feet as I do now! 

Chpysothemis. 

What rav'st thou? 
Elektra 

(rising). 

For ere thou from this house 
And me escap'st it must be done! 

Chpysothemis 
(strives to speak). 

Elektra 

(closes her moutA). 

No path 

But this can lead thee forth. I leave thee not, 
Till with lips pressed to lips, an oath thou swearest, 
That thou wilt do it. 



40 

Chrysothemis 
(frees herself}. 

Leave me! 

Elektra. 

Swear thou com'st 

This night, when all is quiet, to the foot 
O' the stairway! 

Chrysothemis. 
Leave me! 

Elektra. 

Woman, struggle not! 

No drop of blood will stain thy body's whiteness: 
Quickly thy bloodstained garment shalt thou doff, 
And, cleansed, don a spotless wedding robe. 

Chrysothemis. 
Leave me! 

Elektra 

(with still greater eagerness). 

Be not a coward! If thou now 
Thy terror wilt but conquer, thy rich guerdon 
Shall be a life of love beyond compare 

Chrysothemis. 
I cannot! 

Elektra. 
Say that thou comest. 

Chrysothemis. 
I cannot! 



41 

Elektra. 

See, 
I kiss thy feet and cast me down before thee! 

Chrysothemis. 

I cannot! 

(rushing through the door of the house?) 

Elektra. 
Be accurst! 

(with wild determination!) 
Well then, alone! 

(She begins to dig by the wall of the house, at the side of the 
threshold, eagerly, without a sound, like an animal. Elektra pauses 
in her digging, looks round, and continues. She looks round again 
and listens. Elektra digs again. Orestes stands by the gate of 
the courtyard, in black relief against the last rays of sun. Elektra 
looks up at him: he turns slowly, so that his eyes rest on her. 
Elektra starts up violently.) 

Elektra. 

What would'st thou, stranger, here? Why roamest 

thou, 

Here in the gloaming to and fro and spiest, 
What others do? 

I have a task to do. What is't to thee? 
Leave me in peace! 

Orestes. 
Here must I tarry. 

Elektra. 
Tarry? 

Orestes. 

But dwellest thou 

Here in the house? A serving maid thou art 
From out the palace? 



42 

Elektra. 

Yea, I serve this royal house. 
But thou hast naught to seek here Go thy ways, 
And prosper 

Orestes. 

I said to thee, here must I tarry, 
Until they call me. 

Elektra. 

Those within there? 

Thou liest. I know the Master is abroad, 
And she, what need hath she of thee? 

Orestes. 

I and another, 

Who is with me, have come with weighty tidings, 
To the Queen. 

Elektra 

(is silent}. 

Orestes. 

We have been sent to her 
Because we can give witness that her son 
Orestes is dead indeed. We saw him perish, 
For he was dragged to death by his own horses. 
I was as old as he and his companion 
By day and night. 

Elektra. 

Must I still 

See thee? Dost drag thy footsteps 
To this, my haunt of desolation? 
Misfortune's herald! Trumpet forth thy tidings, 
Unto others, there where they rejoice! 



43 

Thine eye still stares at me, and his doth moulder. 
Thy mouth moves to and fro, and his, too soon, 
Is filled full of earth. 

Thou liv'st, and he, who better was than thou, 
More noble a thousand times that he should live, 
A thousand times more needful, he is gone. 

Orestes 

(quietly). 

Peace to Orestes. He did too much exult 
In life and pleasure. For the gods on high 
From man not gladly hear too loud a note 
Of joy, and so his death decreed they. 

Elektra. 

But I! But I! To lie here, surely knowing 
That the child will ne'er return, 
Will ne'er return, 

That the child down yonder pineth 
In regions of dim horror To know that those within 
Still live and prosper, 

That yon foul brood lives in its lair obscene, 
And eats and drinks and sleeps 
And I on earth, like any beast, an abject life 
Lead, shunned by all. I here on earth, alone! 

Orestes. 
Who art thou then? 

Elektra, 

What is't to thee 
Who I am? 

Orestes. 

Thou must be kindred blood to those the land 
Is mourning, Agamemnon and Orestes? 



44 

Elektra. 

Kindred? I am that blood! I am the blood so foully 
By vile curs shed of great King Agamemnon! 
Elektra am I! 

Orestes. 

No! 

Elektra. 
He doubteth me and e'en my name denieth me! 

Orestes. 

Elektra! 

Elektra. 
Because I have no father. 

Orestes. 
Elektra! 

Elektra. 
Nor brother, I am the sport of minions! 

Orestes. 

Elektra, Elektra! 

So see I thee? See I her truly? Thou? 
So did they let thee want, untended or 
They even dared to strike thee? 

Elektra. 

Leave my robe. 
Let not thy gaze thus sink in it. 

Orestes. 

What did they make thee suffer in the night time? 
Fierce are thy eyes with menace. 



45 

Elektra. 

Leave me I 

Orestes. 

Withered and worn thy cheek! 

Elektra. 

Hie thee within 

There findest thou my sister, who takes pleasure 
In feasts and merriment. 

Orestes. 

Elektra, hear mel 

Elektra. 

I will not question who thou art 
No man will I see! 

Orestes. 

Hear me, short is my time. 
Give ear: 

(softly) 

Orestes lives! 

Elektra 

(flings herself about). 

Orestes. 
He is betrayed, dost thou but stir. 

Elektra. 
Then he is free? Where is he? 



As I. 



Orestes. 

He is free from harm 



46 

Elektra. 

So save him then, ere they have time 
To slay him. 

Orestes. 

By my father's body, for that came I here! 

Elektra 

(struck by his tone). 

Who art thou then? 

( The old gloomy attendant rushes in silently from the courtyard, 

followed by three other attendants, prostrates himself before Orestes 

and kisses his feet. The others kiss his hands and the hem of his 

garment?) 

Elektra 

{almost beside herself). 

Who art thou then? Fear seizeth me. 
Orestes 

(gently). 

The hounds in the courtyard know me well, 
And mine own sister not? 

Elektra 

(crying out suddenly). 

Orestes! 

(very softly, trembling?) 

Orestes! Orestes! Orestes! 

List! No man stirreth! O let mine eye gaze, 

But on thee, Vision, than which lovelier 

From heav'n ne'er came to gladden mortal eyes! 

Holy, ineffable, thou god-like countenance, 



47 

Abide with me! In air 

Dissolve thee not, O vanish not. 

But haply cam'st thou hither, bidding me 

To follow thee straightway, 

To Elysium? Then die I 

Happier than e'er I lived. Orestes! Orestes! 

(Orestes bends down to Elektra, to embrace her.} 
(vehemently!) 

No, embrace me not, I charge thee! 

Away, I stand ashamed near thee. How canst thou 

Endure to see me? 

A corpse am I, that erstwhile was thy sister, 

Alas! poor child. I know 

(softly] 

thou shrinkest 

At my touch, that boasted once a kingly father! 
Methinks I once was fair: when from my mirror 
Turning, the lamp I darkened, knowledge came 
With thrills of wonder. I felt then 
How the slender rays of moonlight, 
Seeking my body's whiteness out, did rest on it 
And linger, loth to leave it. And my hair, 
Such hair it was as maketh men to tremble, 
This hair, now so unkempt, besmirch'd and matted. 
Dost hear me, brother? All that I had and all 
I was, the gods took from me. Maiden shame 
E'en flung I far from me, the shame, that treasure 
That passeth all, which like the silvery film, 
Of moonlight, unto every woman clinging, 
Doth from her body drive, and from her soul, 
All horror, all uncleanness. Hear'st thou, brother? 
All these thrills of sweetness did my father 
As expiation claim. Think'st thou not 
When in my beauty I rejoiced, his moans 
Resounded oft, his sighs resounded 
In my chamber? 



48 

(Sombrely?) 

In very truth the dead 
Are jealous, and he sent to me from Hell 
Grim hate, hate hollow-eyed, my spouse to be. 
Thus was I made a prophetess always of terror, 
And nothing e'er came forth from me, but curses 
Without end, and fierce despair and frenzy. 
Why are thine eyes thus full of fear? Speak to me! 
Speak then! Lo! ev'ry limb of thee doth quake. 

Orestes. 

Let be! Let these limbs quake. They know 
The path that they must travel. 

Elektra. 
Dost do the deed? Alone? Alas! Poor child! 



Orestes. 

Those at whose bidding 

I have come, 

The gods, will not forsake 

me in my peril. 

I will do it! 

I will do it without delay! 



I will do it! 



I will do it! 



Elektra. 



Thou wilt do it! 
He that may do is blessed ! 



The deed is as a couch, 

On which the soul repo- 

seth, 

As a bed of healing, 
On which the soul can 
take its rest, 
When it is wounded sore, 
a flame, 
An ulcer, a wild fever! 



49 
Elektra 

(with frenzied energy). 

Blessed is he who can his deed accomplish! 
Blessed, whoso longeth for him, 
Blessed, whoso seeeth him. 
Blessed, whoso knoweth him! 
Blessed, whoso feeleth his touch. 
BJessed, whoso digeth the axe from the earth for him 
Blessed, whoso holdeth the torch for him! 
Blessed, blessed, whoso openeth the door! 

(the Tutor of Orestes, a hale old man with fiery eye, stands in 
the doorway?) 

Tutor. 

Are ye quite senseless, that your wagging tongues 
Ye curb not, when a breath, a sound, a nothing 
Us can undo, and mar our work. 

(to Orestes, in headlong haste?) 

Within she waiteth, her attendants seek thee. 
No man is in the house Orestes! 

(Orestes draws himself up, conquering his horror. A light shines 
by the door of the house. A servant appears with a torch and the 
Confidante behind her. Elektra starts back into the shadows. The 
Confidante bows low to the strangers; makes a sign to them to follow. 
Orestes and the Tutor go within. The Servant fastens the torch 
to an iron ring in the doorpost. Orestes closes his eyes a moment, 
as though giddy, the Tutor is close behind him. They exchange 
rapid glances, the door closes behind them. Elektra alone in hor- 
rible excitement, runs to and fro in front of the door, with bowed 
head, like a captive beast in a cage.) 

Elektra 

(suddenly pauses). 

Woe unto me? The axe I could not give him! 
They have departed and he hath not taken 
The axe. It still lies hidden. Alas! There are 
No gods in heaven! 

(again a fearful suspense. From the distance within, resounds a 
shriek of Klytemnestra.) 



50 
Elektra 

(crying aloud like one possessed). 
Strike yet again! 

(a second cry from -within, Chrysothemis and a troop of atten- 
dants rush out of the house to the left.) 

Elektra 

(stands in the doorway with her back to the door). 

Chrysothemis. 
Some dreadful thing has come to pass! 

First Maid Servant. 

She cries 
Thus in her sleep. 

Second Maid. 

Some men are in the palace! 
I heard the step of men press onward. 

Third Maid. 

All 
The doors are closed against us. 

Fourth Maid 

(shrieking). 

There is murder! 
There is murder within! 

First Maid 

(shrieking), 

Oh! 

All. 
What is't? 



61 

First Maid. 
Do ye not see there in the door one standing? 

Chpysothemis. 
That is Elektra! In truth 'tis Elektra! 

First and Second Maids. 

Elektra, Elektra! 
Why speaks she not a word? 

Chpysothemis. 

Elektra! 
Why speakest thou not? 

Fourth Maid. 

I will go seek 
Men to help us! 

(runs out to the left.) 

Chpysothemis. 

Let the door be opened, 
Elektra! 

Several Maids. 
Elektra! Bar not thou the wayl 



Come back! 



Fourth Maid 

(returning). 

All 

(are terrified). 



59 

Fourth Maid. 

Aegistheus! Come back! Each to her chamber! 

Quick 

Aegistheus comes through the court I If he should 

find us, 

If any dreadful thing is done within, 
Surely he kills us! 

Chrysothemis. 
Come back! 

All. 

Come back! Come back! Come back! 

(they disappear into the house to the left?) 
(Aegistheus appears at the door of the court on the right!) 

Aegistheus 

(pausing in the doorway). 

Ho! Lights there, lights there! 
Is no one there to light me? Doth none stir 
Of all these slothful varlets? Can this rabble 
Its manners never mend? 

Elektra 

(takes the torch from the ring. Runs towards him ana bows low 
before him). 

Aegistheus 

(starts back in terror at the sight of the wild figure in the 
flickering light). 

What strange unearthly woman do I see? 
I have forbidden any unknown face 
Should ever come too near me. 

(recognizes her angrily!) 

What? Thou? 
Who bade thee thus await my coming? 



53 

Elektra. 

May I 

Not light thee? 

Aegistheus. 

Well, weightier the news for thee 
Should be than for the rest. Where find I . 
Those that were sent to tell us what befell 
Orestes? 

Elektra. 

Yonder. They have found a hostess 
Friendly and kind; and they make merry there 
With her. 

Aegistheus. 

And do they truly tell that he 
Is dead indeed! And tell it so 
That none may doubt? 

Elektra. 

My lord! They tell it, 

Not with words only, nay, they give assurance 
And certain proof, that none may feel a doubt. 

Aegistheus. 

In truth thy voice sounds strangely. And what 

humour 

Possesseth thee, thus every word I speak 
To echo? Wherefore to and fro dost totter 
Thus with thy light? 

Elektra. 

It is naught else, my Lord 
But that I have learnt wisdom and seek favour 
With those that stronger are than I. The light 
Let me bear still before thee. 



54 . 
Aegistheus 

(hesitates). 

To the door. 
Why dancest thou? Be wary. 

Elektra 

(dancing a mysterious dance round him and suddenly stooping low). 

See thou fall'st not 
Here by the stair. 

Aegistheus 

(at the door of the house], 

The torch, why is't not here? 
Who are those there? 

Elektra. 

Those who came from afar 
To do thee fitting honour, my lord; and I 
Who oft with my unwelcome, shameless presence 
Did vex thee, now at last am learning when 
The proper moment comes to take my leave. 

Aegistheus 

(enters the house. Silence. Then a noise -within. Aegistheus 
appears at a small window, tears back the curtain, crying). 

Help! Murder! Help your master! Murder! 
They murder me! 
Does none hear me? Does 
None hear me? 

(he is dragged away.) 

Elektra 

(starts violently). 

Agamemnon hears thee! 

(the face of Aegistheus appears once more at the window?) 



55 

Aegistheus. 
Woe is me! 

(he is draggea away again.) 

Elektra 

(stands with terribly laboured breathing, facing the house. The 

women come rushing out of the house to the left, among than 

Chrysothemis. As though bereft of their senses they run to the 

gate of the courtyard. There they suddenly halt and (urn). 

Chpysothemis. 

Elektra! Sister! Come with me! Oh, come! 
With us! Our brother standeth there within! 
It is Orestes who hath slain them! 

(noise in the house. Confused -voices, from among which the cries of 
the chorus "Orestes" "Orestes" occasionally emerge more distinctly?) 

Come! 

He standeth in the great hall, all crowd round him 
And struggle to embrace him. 

(the noise of battle, the combat to the death between the slaves 

who are faithful to Orestes and the retinue of Aegistheus has 

gradually retreated towards the inner courts, with which the door 

to the right communicates.) 

All who hated 

Aegistheus in their heart did fling themselves 
Vengefully upon the others, everywhere 
In every court lie corpses piled, and all 
The living are with blood besmeared, and are 
Sore wounded, but yet all exult, yea all 
Embrace each other, drunk with joy, and torches 

(without a growing noise, which however when Elektra begins, 

retreats more and more to the outer courts to the right and to the 

background. The other women have run oitf, leaving Chrysothemis 

alone. The light comes from without.) 

Burn without number. Hear'st thou not? Hear'st thou 
Then not their cries? 



56 
Elektra 

(crouching on the threshold). 

How should I not hear? How should I 
Not hear the music? It cometh from me. 
The thousands all, who torches carry, 
Whose heavy footsteps, whose innumerable 
Myriad footsteps do make solid earth 
With sullen echoes mutter, all await me: 
I know it that they all await me, 
Because 'tis I that lead the dance, and I 
Cannot, the weight of Ocean, measureless yea, 
Of Ocean grown a hundred times more vast, 
Beneath its monstrous, whelming weight each limb 
Holdeth captive! 

Chrysothemis 

(almost shrieking with excitement). 

Hear'st thou then not? They carry him, 
They carry him upon their shoulders! 

Elektra 

(leaps up, to herself without heeding Chrysothemis). 

We, 
We who accomplish, we are with the gods. 

(beside herself.") 

They go on their way like a two-edged sword, 
The gods through man's soul, but their nameless 

majesty 
Is not too great for us. 

Chrysothemis. 

All men's faces with joy are transfigured; all men's 

eyes 

Now are gleaming, and down aged cheeks course 

the tear-drops, 
All are weeping. Hear'st thou not? 



57 



Elektra. 

The seeds of darkness did 

I sow and reap 
Joy upon joy. 

A blackened corpse once 

was I 
Among the living and this 

glad hour 
The flame of life hath 

made me, 
And my fierce flame con- 

sumeth 
The gloom of all the 

world. 
And my face must glow 

tar whiter 
Than the moonlight when 

it glows most white. 
And whoso beholds me 
Must unto death be stri- 
cken 

Or be lost in pain of joy. 
See ye all not my face? 
See ye that light 
That from me doth shine? 

Chpysothemis. 

Now is the brother come, and love 
O'er all like oil and balsam floweth. Love 
Ruleth all things. He will perish whoso loves not! 

Elektra Chrysothemis. 

(wildly). 

Love destroys! but none Elektra! 

can go the appointed way I go to where my brother 
That knows not love! stands! 

(Chrysothemis runs out.) 

(Elektra descends from the threshold. She has flung back her head 

like a Maenad. She flings her knees and arms about. It is a 

nameless dance in which she comes forward?) 



Chpysothemis. 
Good are the immortals, 

Good! 
New life for thee begin- 

neth and me, 
New life for all mankind. 



'Tis they, the gods, the im- 
mortal gods, the ever 

Good that gave us all 
things. 



Who ever loved us? 



Who ever loved us? 



58 
Chrysothemis 

(appears again at the door. Behind her torches, crowds, faces of 
men and women). 

Elektra! 

Elektra 

(stays motionless, gazing at her). 

Say naught and dance on. All must come 
To my side! Here take your place! The burden of joy 
I carry, and I lead the sacred dance. 
Who happy is as we, can do but this: 
Say naught and dance on! 

(Elektra makes a few more steps of uncontrolled triumph and falls 
lifeless.) 

Chrysothemis 

(rushes to her side. Chrysothemis hurries to the door of the house 
and batters it). 

Orestes! Orestes! 

(Silence. Curtain.) 



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ELEKTRA 

TRAGEDY IN ONE ACT 

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Op. 31 

No. 1 
No. 2 



1/3 



Blauer Sommer Summer . . 

Wenn . . . Und waist du mein 

Weib If thou wert my love 1/8 
No. 3. Weifier Jasmin White Jasmin 1/8 
No. 4. Stiller Gang Night fall . . . 113 

The same with accompaniment 

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No. 1. Ein Obdach gegen Sturm und 

Regen A wand'rer by the 

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No. 3. Die sieben Siegel The Seven 

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Op. 47 

No. 1. 



Auf ein Kind On a Child . . 1/3 



No. 2. DesDichtersAbendgang The 

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No. 3. Ruckleben Retrospect . . . 2f- 
No. 4. Einkehr My Hostel . ... 21- 
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No. 1. Freundliche Vision A wel- 
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No. 3. Kling! Thanksgiving. ... 1/8 
. No. 4. Winterweihe A winter De- 
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No. 5. Win terliebe Winter Love . 1/8 

Op. 49 

No. l. Waldseligkeit Alone in the 

Forest 1/8 

No. 2. In goldener Fulle A Vision 

of Glory 21- 

No. 30. 



sh 
Op. 49 (continued) 

No. 3. Wiegenliedchen Cradle Song 1/8 
No. 4. Das Lied des Steinklopfers 

The Stone -breaker 21- 

No. 5. Sie wissen's nicht Maiden 

and Nightingale 1/8 

No. 6. Junggesellenschwur Boy's 

Love 21- 

No. 7. Wer lieben will, mufi leiden 

Love and Sorrow 1/8 

No. 8. Ach, was Kummer, Qual und 

Schmerzen Heigh-ho ! ... 1/8 
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