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OEDIPUS AT COLONUS by Sophocles, Part 20


ANTIGONE
To see the earthy bed.

ISMENE
Sayest thou?

ANTIGONE
Where our sire is laid.

ISMENE
Nay, thou can'st not, dost not see--

ANTIGONE
Sister, wherefore wroth with me?

ISMENE
Know'st not--beside--

ANTIGONE
More must I hear?

ISMENE
Tombless he died, none near.

ANTIGONE
Lead me thither; slay me there.

ISMENE
How shall I unhappy fare,
Friendless, helpless, how drag on
A life of misery alone?

CHORUS
antistrophe 2

Fear not, maids--

ANTIGONE
Ah, whither flee?

CHORUS
Refuge hath been found.

ANTIGONE
For me?

CHORUS
Where thou shalt be safe from harm.

ANTIGONE
I know it.

CHORUS
Why then this alarm?

ANTIGONE
How again to get us home
I know not.

CHORUS
Why then this roam?

ANTIGONE
Troubles whelm us--

CHORUS
As of yore.

ANTIGONE
Worse than what was worse before.

CHORUS
Sure ye are driven on the breakers' surge.

ANTIGONE
Alas! we are.

CHORUS
Alas! 'tis so.

ANTIGONE
Ah whither turn, O Zeus? No ray
Of hope to cheer the way
Whereon the Fates our desperate voyage urge.
Enter Theseus

Theseus
Dry your tears; when grace is shed
On the quick and on the dead
By dark Powers beneficent,
Over-grief they would resent.

ANTIGONE
Aegeus' child, to thee we pray.

Theseus
What the boon, my children, say.

ANTIGONE
With our own eyes we fain would see
Our father's tomb.

Theseus
That may not be.

ANTIGONE
What say'st thou, King?

Theseus
My children, he
Charged me straitly that no moral
Should approach the sacred portal,
Or greet with funeral litanies
The hidden tomb wherein he lies;
Saying, "If thou keep'st my hest
Thou shalt hold thy realm at rest."
The God of Oaths this promise heard,
And to Zeus I pledged my word.

ANTIGONE
Well, if he would have it so,
We must yield. Then let us go
Back to Thebes, if yet we may
Heal this mortal feud and stay
The self-wrought doom
That drives our brothers to their tomb.

Theseus
Go in peace; nor will I spare
Ought of toil and zealous care,
But on all your needs attend,
Gladdening in his grave my friend.

CHORUS
Wail no more, let sorrow rest,
All is ordered for the best.


THE END

 

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