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Sophocles Index


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ANTIGONE by Sophocles, Part 05


ANTIGONE
It was his brother, not his slave, that perished.

CREON
Wasting this land; while he fell as its champion.

ANTIGONE
Nevertheless, Hades desires these rites.

CREON
But the good desires not a like portion with the evil.

ANTIGONE
Who knows but this seems blameless in the world below?

CREON
A foe is never a friend-not even in death.

ANTIGONE
Tis not my nature to join in hating, but in loving.

CREON
Pass, then, to the world of the dead, and, it thou must needs love, love them. While I live, no woman shall rule me.
Enter ISMENE from the house, led in by two attendants.

CHORUS chanting
Lo, yonder Ismene comes forth, shedding such tears as fond sisters weep; a cloud upon her brow casts its shadow over her darkly-flushing face, and breaks in rain on her fair cheek.

CREON
And thou, who, lurking like a viper in my house, wast secretly draining my life-blood, while I knew not that I was nurturing two pests, to rise against my throne-come, tell me now, wilt thou also confess thy part in this burial, or wilt thou forswear all knowledge of it?

ISMENE
I have done the deed,-if she allows my claim,-and share the burden of the charge.

ANTIGONE
Nay, justice will not suffer thee to do that: thou didst not consent to the deed, nor did I give thee part in it.

ISMENE
But, now that ills beset thee, I am not ashamed to sail the sea of trouble at thy side.

ANTIGONE
Whose was the deed, Hades and the dead are witnesses: a friend in words is not the friend that I love.

ISMENE
Nay, sister, reject me not, but let me die with thee, and duly honour the dead.

ANTIGONE
Share not thou my death, nor claim deeds to which thou hast not put thy hand: my death will suffice.

ISMENE
And what life is dear to me, bereft of thee?

ANTIGONE
Ask Creon; all thy care is for him.

ISMENE
Why vex me thus, when it avails thee nought?

ANTIGONE
Indeed, if I mock, 'tis with pain that I mock thee.

ISMENE
Tell me,-how can I serve thee, even now?

ANTIGONE
Save thyself: I grudge not thy escape.

ISMENE
Ah, woe is me! And shall I have no share in thy fate?

ANTIGONE
Thy choice was to live; mine, to die.

ISMENE
At least thy choice was not made without my protest.

ANTIGONE
One world approved thy wisdom; another, mine.

ISMENE
Howbeit, the offence is the same for both of us.

ANTIGONE
Be of good cheer; thou livest; but my life hath long been given to death, that so I might serve the dead.

CREON
Lo, one of these maidens hath newly shown herself foolish, as the other hath been since her life began.

ISMENE
Yea, O king, such reason as nature may have given abides not with the unfortunate, but goes astray.

CREON
Thine did, when thou chosest vile deeds with the vile.

ISMENE
What life could I endure, without her presence?

CREON
Nay, speak not of her 'presence'; she lives no more.

 

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