Iphigenia in Tauris
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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IPHIGENIA. No, no! such bloody proofs are not requir'd. Unhand thy weapon, king! my lot consider; Rash combat oft immortalizes man; If he should fall, he is renown'd in song; But after ages reckon not the tears Which ceaseless the forsaken woman sheds; And poets tell not of the thousand nights Consum'd in weeping, and the dreary days, Wherein her anguish't soul, a prey to grief, Doth vainly yearn to call her lov'd one back. Fear warn'd me to beware lest robber's wiles Might lure me from this sanctuary, and then Betray me into bondage. Anxiously I question'd them, each circumstance explor'd, Demanded signs, and now my heart's assur'd. See here, the mark as of three stars impress'd On his right hand, which on his natal day Were by the priest declar'd to indicate Some dreadful deed by him to be perform'd. And then this scar, which doth his eyebrow cleave, Redoubles my conviction. When a child, Electra, rash and inconsiderate, Such was her nature, loos'd him from her arms. He fell against a tripos. Oh, 'tis he!— Shall I adduce the likeness to his sire, Or the deep rapture of my inmost heart, In further token of assurance, king?

THOAS. E'en though thy words had banish'd every doubt, And I had curb'd the anger in my breast, Still must our arms decide. I see no peace. Their purpose, as thou didst thyself confess, Was to deprive me of Diana's image. And think ye that I'll look contented on? The Greeks are wont to cast a longing eye Upon the treasures of barbarians, A golden fleece, good steeds, or daughters fair; But force and guile not always have avail'd To lead them, with their booty, safely home.

ORESTES. The image shall not be a cause of strife! We now perceive the error which the God, Our journey here commanding, like a veil, Threw o'er our minds. His counsel I implor'd, To free me from the Furies' grisly band. He answer'd, "Back to Greece the sister bring, Who in the sanctuary on Tauris' shore Unwillingly abides; so ends the curse!" To Phoebus' sister we applied the words, And he referr'd to thee! The bonds severe, Which held thee from us, holy one, are rent, And thou art ours once more. At thy blest touch, I felt myself restor'd. Within thine arms, Madness once more around me coil'd its folds, Crushing the marrow in my frame, and then For ever, like a serpent, fled to hell. Through thee, the daylight gladdens me anew. The counsel of the Goddess now shines forth In all its beauty and beneficence. Like to a sacred image, unto which An oracle immutably hath bound A city's welfare, thee Diana took, Protectress of our house, and guarded here Within this holy stillness, to become A blessing to thy brother and thy race. Now when each passage to escape seems clos'd, And safety hopeless, thou dost give us all. O king, incline thine heart to thoughts of peace! Let her fulfil her mission, and complete The consecration of our father's house. Me to their purified abode restore, And place upon my brow the ancient crown! Requite the blessing which her presence brought thee, And let me now my nearer right enjoy! Cunning and force, the proudest boast of man, Fade in the lustre of her perfect truth; Nor unrequited will a noble mind Leave confidence, so childlike and so pure.

IPHIGENIA. Think on thy promise; let thy heart be mov'd By what a true and honest tongue hath spoken! Look on us, king! an opportunity For such a noble deed not oft occurs. Refuse thou canst not,—give thy quick consent.

THOAS. Then go!

IPHIGENIA. Not so, my king! I cannot part Without thy blessing, or in anger from thee. Banish us not! the sacred right of guests Still let us claim: so not eternally Shall we be sever'd. Honour'd and belov'd As mine own father was, art thou by me: And this impression in my soul remains. Should e'en the meanest peasant of thy land Bring to my ear the tones I heard from thee Or should I on the humblest see thy garb, I will with joy receive him as a god, Prepare his couch myself, beside our hearth Invite him to a seat, and only ask Touching thy fate and thee. Oh, may the gods To thee the merited reward impart Of all thy kindness and benignity! Farewell! Oh, do not turn away, but give One kindly word of parting in return! So shall the wind more gently swell our sails, And from our eyes with soften'd anguish flow The tears of separation. Fare thee well! And graciously extend to me thy hand, In pledge of ancient friendship.

THOAS, extending his hand. Fare thee well!

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Caesar's Gallic War. The 7 Books. Demosthenes On the Crown. Cicero's Defence of Roscius. Demosthenes' Olynthiacs and Cicero On Old Age and Friendship. Philippics. Cicero On Oratory. Euripides' Alcestis, and Electra. Cicero On the Nature of the Gods. Euripides' Iphigenia In Aulis, In Cicero's Orations. The Four vs. Tauris. Catiline; and others. Euripides' Medea. Cicero's Select Letters. Herodotus, Books VI and VII. Cornelius Nepos, complete. Homer's Iliad, the 1st Six Horace, complete. Books. Juvenal's Satires, complete. Homer's Odyssey, 1st 12 Books. Livy, Books I and II. Lysias' Orations. Livy, Books XXI and XXII. Plato's Apology, Crito and Ovid's Metamorphoses, Books I-VII. Phaedo. Ovid's Metamorphoses, Books VIII-XV. Plato's Gorgias. Plautus' Captivi, and Mostellaria. Sophocles' OEdipus Tyrannus, Plautus' Trinummus and Menaechmi. Electra, and Antigone. Pliny's Select Letters, complete in Thucydides, Books I-IV. 2 volumes. Thucydides, Books V-VIII. Quintilian, Books X and XII. Xenophon's Anabasis, 1st 4 Sallust's Catiline, and The Books. Jugurthine War. Xenophon's Hellenica and Tacitus' Annals, 1st Six Books. Symposium (The Banquet). Tacitus' Germany and Agricola. Xenophon's Memorabilia, Terence: Andria, Adelphi, and complete. Phormio. Goethe's Egmont. Virgil's AEneid, the 1st Six Books. Goethe's Faust. Virgil's Eclogues and Georgics. Goethe's Iphigenia In Tauris. AEschylus' Prometheus Bound, and Goethe's Hermann and Dorothea. Seven Against Thebes. Lessing's Minna von Barnhelm. Aristophanes' Clouds. Lessing's Nathan the Wise. Aristophanes' Birds, and Frogs. Schiller's Maid of Orleans. Schiller's Maria Stuart. Schiller's William Tell. Feuillet's Romance of a Poor Young Man.


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