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First Servant
[50] As for me, I will explain the matter to you all, children, youths, grown-ups and old men, aye, even to the decrepit dotards. My master is mad, [55] not as you are, but with another sort of madness, quite a new kind. The livelong day he looks open-mouthed towards heaven and never stops addressing Zeus. “Ah! Zeus,” he cries, “what are thy intentions? Lay aside thy besom; do not sweep Greece away!” [60] Ah! Hush, hush! I think I hear his voice!

Trygaeus
From within.
Oh! Zeus, what art thou going to do for our people? Dost thou not see this, that our cities will soon be but empty husks?

First Servant
As I told you, that is his form of madness. [65] There you have a sample of his follies. When his trouble first began to seize him, he said to himself, “By what means could I go straight to Zeus?” Then he made himself very slender little ladders [70] and so clambered up towards heaven; but he soon came hurtling down again and broke his head. Yesterday, to our misfortune, he went out and brought us back this thoroughbred, but from where I know not, this great beetle, whose groom he has forced me to become. [75] He himself caresses it as though it were a horse, saying, “Oh! my little Pegasus, my noble aerial steed, may your wings soon bear me straight to Zeus!” But what is my master doing? I must stoop down to look through this hole. Oh! great gods! Here! neighbors, run here quick! [80] here is my master flying off mounted on his beetle as if on horseback.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 312
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