Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE II. - Goethe's Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc)
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SCENE II. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe’s Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc) 
Goethe’s Works, illustrated by the best German artists, 5 vols. (Philadelphia: G. Barrie, 1885). Vol. 3.
Part of: Goethe’s Works, 5 vols.
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Whence art thou? Stranger, speak! To me thy bearing
Stamps thee of Grecian, not of Scythian race.
[She unbinds his chains.
The freedom that I give is dangerous;
The gods avert the doom that threatens you!
Delicious music! dearly welcome tones
Of our own language in a foreign land!
With joy my captive eye once more beholds
The azure mountains of my native coast.
Oh, let this joy that I too am a Greek
Convince thee, priestess! How I need thine aid,
A moment I forget, my spirit rapt
In contemplation of so fair a vision.
If fate’s dread mandate doth not seal thy lips,
From which of our illustrious races say,
Dost thou thy godlike origin derive?
The priestess whom the goddess hath, herself
Selected and ordain’d doth speak with thee,
Let that suffice: but tell me, who art thou,
And what unbless’d o’erruling destiny
Hath hither led thee with thy friend?
Whose hateful presence ever dogs our steps,
I can with ease relate. Oh, would that thou
Could’st with like case, divine one, shed on us
One ray of cheering hope! We are from Crete,
Adrastus’ sons, and I, the youngest born,
Nam’d Cephalus; my eldest brother, he,
Laodamas. Between us stood a youth
Savage and wild, who sever’d e’en in sport
The joy and concord of our early youth.
Long as our father led his powers at Troy,
Passive our mother’s mandate we obey’d;
But when, enrich’d with booty, he return’d,
And shortly after died, a contest fierce.
Both for the kingdom and their father’s wealth,
His children parted. I the eldest join’d;
He slew our brother; and the Furies hence
For kindred murder dog his restless steps.
But to this savage shore the Delphian god
Hath sent us, cheer’d by hope. He bade us wait
Within his sister’s consecrated fane
The blessed hand of aid. Captives we are,
And, hither brought, before thee now we stand
Ordain’d for sacrifice. My tale is told.
Fell Troy! Dear man, assure me of its fall.
Prostrate it lies. Oh, unto us insure
Deliverance. The promis’d aid of Heaven
More swiftly bring. Take pity on my brother.
Oh, say to him a kind, a gracious word!
But spare him when thou speakest; earnestly
This I implore: for all too easily
Through joy and sorrow and through memory
Torn and distracted is his inmost being.
A feverish madness oft doth seize on him,
Yielding his spirit, beautiful and free,
A prey to furies.
Great as is thy woe,
Forget it, I conjure thee, for a while,
Till I am satisfied.
The stately town,
Which ten long years withstood the Grecian host,
Now lies in ruins, ne’er to rise again;
Yet many a hero’s grave will oft recall
Our sad remembrance to that barbarous shore.
There lie Achilles and his noble friend.
So are ye godlike forms reduc’d to dust!
Nor Palamede nor Ajax e’er again
The daylight of their native land beheld.
He speaks not of my father, doth not name
Him with the fallen. He may yet survive!
I may behold him! Still hope on, fond heart!
Yet happy are the thousands who receiv’d
Their bitter death-blow from a hostile hand!
For terror wild, and end most tragical,
Some hostile, angry deity prepar’d,
Instead of triumph, for the home-returning.
Do human voices never reach this shore?
Far as their sound extends they bear the fame
Of deeds unparallel’d. And is the woe
Which fills Mycene’s halls with ceaseless sighs
To thee a secret still?—And know’st thou not
That Clytemnestra, with Ægisthus’ aid,
Her royal consort artfully ensnar’d,
And murder’d on the day of his return?—
The monarch’s house thou honorest! I perceive
Thy breast with tidings vainly doth contend
Fraught with such monstrous and unlook’d-for woe.
Art thou the daughter of a friend? art born
Within the circuit of Mycene’s walls?
Conceal it not, nor call me to account
That here the horrid crime I first announce.
Proceed, and tell me how the deed was done.
The day of his return, as from the bath
Arose the monarch, tranquil and refresh’d,
His robe demanding from his consort’s hand;
A tangl’d garment, complicate with folds,
She o’er his shoulders flung and noble head;
And when, as from a net, he vainly strove
To extricate himself, the traitor, base
Ægisthus, smote him, and envelop’d thus
Great Agamemnon sought the shades below.
And what reward receiv’d the base accomplice?
A queen and kingdom he possess’d already.
Base passion prompted then the deed of shame?
And feelings, cherish’d long, of deep revenge.
How had the monarch injur’d Clytemnestra?
By such a dreadful deed, that if on earth
Aught could exculpate murder, it were this.
To Aulis he allur’d her, when the fleet
With unpropitious winds the goddess stay’d;
And there, a victim at Diana’s shrine,
The monarch, for the welfare of the Greeks,
Her eldest daughter doomed, Iphigenia.
And this, so rumor saith, within her heart
Planted such deep abhorrence that forthwith
She to Ægisthus hath resign’d herself,
And round her husband flung the web of death.
(Verling herself.) It is enough! Thou wilt again behold me.
(Alone.) The fortune of this royal house, it seems.
Doth move her deeply. Whosoe’er she be.
She must herself have known the monarch well;
For our good fortune, from a noble house,
She hath been sold to bondage. Peace, my heart!
And let us steer our course with prudent zeal
Toward the star of hope which gleams upon us.