Friedrich Solmsen, "Aeschylus: The Eumenides
," Hesiod and Aeschylus
(1949; rpt. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), pp. 178-224 (at 211-212, footnotes omitted):
The song of benediction is one of the old forms of religious poetry which Aeschylus embodied in his tragedy. Like the hymns,
γόοι and θρῆνοι, it is a 'ritual' feature, a reminder to us of the fundamentally religious character of tragedy which to its first great poet was still a vividly felt reality. For the spectators of the original performance the songs and blessings pronounced in such a solemn form and on such a solemn occasion must have carried a strong conviction of fulfillment.
The first stanza promises in general terms 'helpful wavelets of livelihood gushing forth,' a boon which is made specific by the wish that the shining light of the Sun will produce them from the earth. Thus we know to what kind of wealth allusion is made. The next stanza elaborates this source of blessing, announcing absence of anything that may harm the plants, promising prosperity of the flocks and rich gifts from the mines. The Furies also banish from Attic territory sickness and disease that may intercept the youth in their growth to manhood and maturity, and for the maidens in particular they desire that they shall reach their natural goal of marriage. The last stanza alone has a bearing upon the political situation. It promises that civic strife and the slaughter and bloodshed that accompany it will not visit Athens and hopes that the citizens will be united in their loves and hatreds. Evidently it would be utopian, and it would perhaps never occur to Aeschylus, to expect that hatred might altogether be extirpated in the community. Like fear and awe it is a part of the material that the lawgiver or statesman has to fashion, and the best that he can hope to achieve is to give their loves and hatreds identical objects or directions.
D.S. Carne-Ross, "The Beastly House of Atreus,"
3.2 (Spring, 1981) 20-60 (at 54):
Through the words of the
Furies' final song of blessing, all that remains of a greater whole, there
breathes a note of solemn and yet festive joy as of a Bach chorale.
902-909 (tr. Alan H. Sommerstein):
So what blessings do you bid me invoke upon this land?
Such as are appropriate to an honourable victory,
coming moreover both from the earth, and from the waters of the sea,
and from the heavens; and for the gales of wind
to come over the land breathing the air of bright sunshine;
and for the fruitfulness of the citizens' land and livestock to thrive in abundance, and not to fail with the passage of time; and for the preservation of human seed.
τί οὖν μ᾿ ἄνωγας τῇδ᾿ ἐφυμνῆσαι χθονί;
ὁποῖα νίκης μὴ κακῆς ἐπίσκοπα,
καὶ ταῦτα γῆθεν ἔκ τε ποντίας δρόσου
ἐξ οὐρανοῦ τε· κἀνέμων ἀήματα 905
εὐηλίως πνέοντ᾿ ἐπιστείχειν χθόνα·
καρπόν τε γαίας καὶ βοτῶν ἐπίρρυτον
ἀστοῖσιν εὐθενοῦντα μὴ κάμνειν χρόνῳ·
καὶ τῶν βροτείων σπερμάτων σωτηρίαν.
For which city I pray,
and prophesy with kind intent,
that the bright light of the sun
may cause blessings beneficial to her life
to burst forth in profusion from the earth.
ᾇ τ᾿ ἐγὼ κατεύχομαι
ἐπισσύτους βίου τύχας ὀνησίμους
γαίας ἐξαμβρῦσαι 925
φαιδρὸν ἁλίου σέλας.
And may no wind bringing harm to trees —
I declare my own gracious gift —
blow scorching heat that robs plants of their buds:
let that not pass the borders of the land.
Nor let any grievous, crop-destroying
plague come upon them;
may their flocks flourish, and may Pan
rear them to bear twin young
at the appointed time; and may their offspring always
have riches in their soil, and repay
the lucky find granted them by the gods.
δενδροπήμων δὲ μὴ πνέοι βλάβα —
τὰν ἐμὰν χάριν λέγω —
φλογμοὺς ὀμματοστερεῖς φυτῶν, 940
τὸ μὴ περᾶν ὅρον τόπων·
μηδ᾿ ἄκαρπος αἰα-
νὴς ἐφερπέτω νόσος·
μῆλα δ᾿ εὐθενοῦντα Πὰν
ξὺν διπλοῖσιν ἐμβρύοις 945
τρέφοι χρόνῳ τεταγμένῳ· γόνος <δ᾿ ἀεὶ>
δαιμόνων δόσιν τίνοι.
I pray that civil strife,
insatiate of evil,
may never rage in this city;
and may the dust not drink up the dark blood of the
and then, out of lust for revenge,
eagerly welcome the city's ruin
through retaliatory murder;
rather may they give happiness in return for happiness,
resolved to be united in their friendship
and unanimous in their enmity;
for this is a cure for many ills among men.
τὰν δ᾿ ἄπληστον κακῶν
μήποτ᾿ ἐν πόλει στάσιν
τᾷδ᾿ ἐπεύχομαι βρέμειν,
μηδὲ πιοῦσα κόνις μέλαν αἷμα πολιτᾶν 980
δι᾿ ὀργὰν ποινᾶς
χάρματα δ᾿ ἀντιδιδοῖεν
κοινοφιλεῖ διανοίᾳ 985
καὶ στυγεῖν μιᾷ φρενί·
πολλῶν γὰρ τόδ᾿ ἐν βροτοῖς ἄκος.