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Before the royal palace of Thebes. Jocasta enters from the palace alone. Jocasta O Sun-god, you who cut your path in heaven's stars, mounted on a chariot inlaid with gold and whirling out your flame with swift horses, what an unfortunate beam you shed on Thebes, the day that Cadmus left Phoenicia's realm beside the sea and reached this land! He married at that time Harmonia, the daughter of Cypris, and begot Polydorus from whom they say Labdacus was born, and Laius from him. I am known as thThebes, the day that Cadmus left Phoenicia's realm beside the sea and reached this land! He married at that time Harmonia, the daughter of Cypris, and begot Polydorus from whom they say Labdacus was born, and Laius from him. I am known as the daughter of Menoeceus, and Creon is my brother by the same mother. They call me Jocasta, for so my father named me, and I am married to Laius. Now when he was still childless after being married to me a long time in the palace, he went and questioned Phoebus, and asked for us both to have sons for the house. But the god said: “Lord of Thebes famous for horses, do not sow a furrow of children against the will of the gods; for if you beget a son, that child will kill you, and all your house sh
Chorus At last came Oedipus, the man of sorrow, sent from Delphi to this land of Thebes, a joy to us then, but afterwards a cause of grief; for, when he guessed the riddle triumphantly, he formed with his mother an unhallowed union, woe to him! polluting the city; and striking down his sons by his curses, he handed them over to loathsome strife, through blood, the wretched man. We admire him, we admire him, who has gone to his death in his country's cause, leaving tears to Creon, but bringing a crown of victory to our seven fenced towers. May we be mothers in this way, may we have such fair children, dear PalIas, you who with well-aimed stone spilled the serpent's blood, rousing Cadmus to brood upon the task, from which a demon's curse swooped upon this land and ravaged it.
At once, the two sons of the old Oedipus were hiding themselves in bronze armor; and lords of Thebes with friendly care equipped the captain of this land, while Argive chieftains armed the other. There they stood dazzling, nor were they pale, all eagerness to hurl their lances at each other. Then their friends came to their sides first one, then another, with words of encouragement, saying: “Polyneices, it rests with you to set up an image of Zeus as a trophy and crown Argos with fair renown.” Others to Eteocles: “Now you are fighting for your city; now, if victorious, you have the scepter in your power.” So they spoke, cheering them to the battle. The seers were sacrificing sheep and noting the tongues and forks of fire, the damp reek which is a bad omen, and the tapering flame which gives decisions on two points, being both a sign of victory and defeat. But, if you have any power or subtle speech or charmed spell, go, restrain your children from this terrible combat, for great
Eteocles, in kicking aside a stone that rolled beneath his tread, exposed a limb outside his shield, and Polyneices, seeing a chance of dealing him a blow, aimed at it, and the Argive shaft passed through his leg; the Danaid army, one and all, cried out for joy. And the wounded man, seeing Polyneices' shoulder bare in this effort, plunged his spear with all his might into his breast, restoring gladness to the citizens of Thebes, though he broke off the spear-head. And so, at a loss for a weapon, he retreated step by step, till catching up a splintered rock he let it fly and broke the other's spear in the middle; and now the combat was equal, for each had lost his lance. Then clutching their sword-hilts they closed, and round and round, with shields clashing, they fought a wild battle. And Eteocles introduced the crafty Thessalian trick, having some knowledge of it from his association with that country. Disengaging himself from the immediate contest, he drew back his left foot but
Antigone I do not veil my tender cheek shaded with curls, nor do I feel shame, from maiden modesty, at the dark red beneath my eyes, the blush upon my face, as I hurry on, in bacchic revelry for the dead, casting from my hair its mantle and letting my delicate saffron robe fly loose, a tearful escort to the dead. Ah me! Oh, Polyneices! you were rightly named, after all; woe to you, Thebes! Your strife—not strife, but murder on murder— has brought the house of Oedipus to ruin with dire and grim bloodshed. What harmonious or tuneful wailing can I summon, for my tears, my tears, oh, my home! oh, my home! as I bear these three kindred bodies, my mother and her sons, a welcome sight to the Fury? She destroyed the house of Oedipus, root and branch, when his shrewdness solved the Sphinx's unsolvable song and killed that savage singer. Alas for you, father! What other Hellene or barbarian, what mortal from a noble line ever endured the anguish of such visible afflictions? Ah! poor girl
Antigone Go to unhappy exile; stretch forth your dear hand, my old father, taking me to guide you, like a breeze that guides the ships. Oedipus See, I am advancing; be my guide, my poor child. Antigone I am, I am! The saddest maiden of all in Thebes. Oedipus Where am I placing my aged step? Bring my staff, child. Antigone This way, this way, come to me, place your steps here, like a dream in your strength. Oedipus Oh, oh, driving the old man in most wretched flight from the country! Oh, oh! the terrible sorrows I have endured! Antigone Why do you speak of enduring? Justice does not see the wicked, and does not requite follies. Oedipus I am the one who came into high songs of victory, because I guessed the baffling riddle of the girl, half-maiden. Antigone You are bringing up again the reproach of the Sphinx. Talk no more of past success. This misery was in store for you all the while, to become an exile from your country and die anywhere. Leaving to my girlhood friends