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Darius
[800] Few indeed out of many, if it is right to put any faith in the oracles of Heaven, with regard to what has just been brought to pass; for they are fulfilled, not just some, while others fail. And if this is truth, it is through persuasion of vain hopes that he is leaving behind a body of picked troops. [805] They are now lingering where the plain is watered by the stream of Asopus which nourishes Boeotia's fields. Here they will meet their crowning disaster in requital for their presumptuous pride and impious thoughts. For, on reaching the land of Hellas, [810] restrained by no religious awe, they ravaged the images of the gods and set fire to their temples. Altars have been destroyed, statues of the gods have been thrown from their bases in utter ruin and confusion. Therefore, since they wrought such evil, evil they suffer in no less measure; and other evils are still in store: [815] the spring of their woes is not yet quenched, but it still wells forth. For so great will be the mass of clotted gore spilled by the Dorian lance upon Plataean soil that heaps of dead will reveal, even to the third generation, a voiceless record for the eyes of men [820] that mortal man should not vaunt himself excessively. For presumptuous pride, when it has matured, bears as its fruit a crop of calamity, from which it reaps an abundant harvest of tears.

Bear in mind that such are the penalties for deeds like these, and hold Athens and Hellas in your memory. Let no one of you, [825] through disdain of present fortune and lust for more, squander his abundant wealth. Zeus, in truth, is a chastiser of overweening pride and corrects with heavy hand. Therefore, now that my son has been warned to be prudent by the voice of God, [830] instruct him with admonitions of reason to cease from drawing the punishment of Heaven on himself by his vaunting rashness. And as for you, beloved and venerable mother of Xerxes, withdraw to the palace and bring from there clothing which is suitable for him, and prepare to meet your son. For [835] through grief at his misfortunes, the embroidered apparel which he was wearing has been torn into tattered shreds. Soothe him with words of kindness; for it is to your voice alone, I know, that he will listen. As for me, I depart to the darkness beneath the earth. [840] Farewell, Elders, and despite your troubles, rejoice while each day is yours; for wealth does not profit the dead at all.The ghost of Darius descends

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 1670
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