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Herald
[930] But that I may know and tell a plainer tale —for it is fitting that a herald make exact report on each detail—what message am I to deliver? Who is it, am I to tell on my return, that has despoiled me of this band of women, their own cousins? It is not, I suppose, by voice of witnesses that the god of battle judges cases like this; [935] nor is it by the gift of silver that he settles dispute; no! If that be the case, many a one shall fall and shuffle off his life.

[King]
My name? Why should I tell you? In due course of time you will learn it, you and your companions. [940] As for these maids, if, convinced by god-fearing argument, they consent of their own free will and heartily, you may take them. But to this purpose a decree has been passed by the unanimous resolve of the people of the State, never, under compulsion, to surrender this association of women. Through their resolve [945] the rivet has been driven home, to remain fixed and fast. Not on tablets is this inscribed, nor has it been sealed in folds of books: you hear the truth from free-spoken lips. Now get out of my sight immediately!

[Herald]
[950] I think we are about to involve ourselves in a new war. But may victory and authority rest with the men!

[King]
It is men, I believe, you will find in the dwellers of this land; and they are no drinkers of diluted wine.Exit Herald. But [955] take courage, all of you, and together with your handmaidens, proceed to our well-fenced town, encircled by sturdy devices of towers. As for places inside to lodge, there are plenty of the public sort. For on no modest scale do I myself live, where, [960] in company with many others, you may occupy abodes suitably prepared; or, if it is more pleasing to you, it is free for you also to make your home in dwellings of separate sort. Of these select what is best and most to your desires. A protector you have in me and in all the inhabitants, whose resolve this is that now takes effect. [965] Why wait for others of higher authority?

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 638
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