Aegisthus then, in fear lest she should bear
To a prince a son, avenger of Agamemnon,
Kept her at home, betrothed her unto none.
But, since this too with haunting dread was fraught, 25
Lest she should bear some noble a child of stealth,
He would have slain her; yet, how cruel soe'er,
Her mother saved her from Aegisthus' hand;—
A plea she had for murder of her lord,
But feared to be abhorred for children's blood:— 30
Wherefore Aegisthus found out this device:
On Agamemnon's son, who had fled the land,
He set a price, even gold to whoso slew;
But to me gives Electra, her to have
To wife,—from sires Mycenian sprung indeed 35
Am I, herein I may not be contemned;
Noble my line is, I in this world's goods
Am poor, whereby men's high descent is marred,—
To make his fear naught by this spouse of naught.
For, had she wed a man of high repute, 40
Agamemnon's slumbering blood-feud had he waked;
Then on Aegisthus vengeance might have fallen.
But never I—Kypris my witness is—
Have shamed her couch: a virgin is she yet.
Myself think shame to take a prince's child 45
And outrage—I, in birth unmeet for her!
Yea, and for him I sigh, in name my kin,
Hapless Orestes, if to Argos e'er
He come, and see his sister's wretched marriage.
If any name me fool, that I should take 50
A young maid to mine home, and touch her not,
Let him know that he meteth chastity
By his own soul's base measure—base as he.
- Or, "gainsaid" (Keene).