The House of Atreus
Then, in the counter-gale of will abhorr'd, accursed,
To recklessness his shifting spirit veered--
Alas! that Frenzy, first of ills and worst,
With evil craft men's souls to sin hath ever stirred!
And so he steeled his heart--ah, well-a-day--
Aiding a war for one false woman's sake,
His child to slay,
And with her spilt blood make
An offering, to speed the ships upon their way!
Lusting for war, the bloody arbiters
Closed heart and ears, and would nor hear nor heed
The girl-voice plead,
_Pity me, Father!_ nor her prayers,
Nor tender, virgin years.
So, when the chant of sacrifice was done,
Her father bade the youthful priestly train
Raise her, like some poor kid, above the altar-stone,
From where amid her robes she lay
Sunk all in swoon away--
Bade them, as with the bit that mutely tames the steed,
Her fair lips' speech refrain,
Lest she should speak a curse on Atreus'