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Hail, herald from the army of Achaians!

I hail: -- to die, will gainsay gods no longer!

Love of this fatherland did exercise thee?

So that I weep, at least, with joy, my eyes full.

What, of this gracious sickness were ye gainers?

How now? instructed, I this speech shall master.

For those who loved you back, with longing stricken.

This land yearned for the yearning army, say'st thou?

So as to set me oft, from dark mind, groaning.

Whence came this ill mind -- hatred to the army?

Of old, I use, for mischiefs physic, silence.

And how, the chiefs away, did you fear any?

So that now, -- late thy word, -- much joy were -- dying!

For well have things been worked out: these, -- in much time,
Some of them, one might say, had luck in falling,
While some were faulty: since who, gods excepted,
Goes, through the whole time of his life, ungrieving?
For labours should I tell of, and bad lodgments,
Narrow deckways ill-strewn, too, -- what the day's woe
We did not groan at getting for our portion?
As for land-things, again, on went more hatred!
Since beds were ours hard by the foemen's ramparts,
And, out of heaven and from the earth, the meadow
Dews kept a-sprinkle, an abiding damage
Of vestures, making hair a wild-beast matting.
Winter, too, if one told of it -- bird-slaying --
Such as, unbearable, Idaian snow brought --
Or heat, when waveless, on its noontide couches
Without a wind, the sea would slumber falling
-- Why must one mourn these? O'er and gone is labour:
O'er and gone is it, even to those dead ones,
So that no more again they mind uprising.
Why must we tell in numbers those deprived ones,
And the live man be vexed with fate's fresh outbreak?
Rather, I bid full farewell to misfortunes!
For us, the left from out the Argeian army,
The gain beats, nor does sorrow counterbalance.
So that 't is fitly boasted of, this sunlight,
By us, o'er sea and land the aery flyers,
"Troia at last taking, the band of Argives
Hang up such trophies to the gods of Hellas
Within their domes -- new glory to grow ancient!"
Such things men having heard must praise the city
And army-leaders: and the grace which wrought them --
Of Zeus, shall honoured be. Thou hast my whole word.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 492
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