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Enter Heracles from the palace.

Heracles
You there, why do you look so grave and care-worn? A servant ought not to scowl at the guest [775] but welcome him with an affable air. But you, though you see an old friend of your master arrive, receive him with an unfriendly face and with your brows knit together, worrying about a grief that does not concern your house.

Come here so that you may be made wiser! [780] Do you know the nature of our mortal life? I think not. How could you? But listen to me. Death is a debt all mortals must pay, and no man knows for certain whether he will still be living on the morrow. [785] The outcome of our fortune is hid from our eyes, and it lies beyond the scope of any teaching or craft. So now that you have learned this from me, cheer your heart, drink, regard this day's life as yours but all else as Fortune's! [790] Honor Aphrodite, too, sweetest of the gods to mortals, for she is a kindly goddess. Forget all else and take my advice, if you think what I say is correct, as I suppose you do. Lay aside your excessive grief [795] and have some wine with me [overcoming these misfortunes, head crowned with garlands]! I am quite sure that when the fit of drinking is upon you, it will bring you round from your clotted and gloomy state of mind. Being mortal we ought to think mortal thoughts. [800] As for those who are solemn and knit their brows together, their life, in my judgement, is no life worthy of the name but merely a disaster.

Serving-man
We understand this. But our present circumstances do not call for carousing and laughter.

Heracles
[805] The woman who died is no relation. Do not grieve so excessively. The lord and lady of this house are living.

Serving-man
How do you mean living? Do you not know of the grief in our house?

Heracles
Yes, unless your master has deceived me.

Serving-man
My master is too, too hospitable!

Heracles
[810] Should I not enjoy myself just because someone not your own has died?

Serving-man
But she was very much our own, too much so.

Heracles
Did he conceal from me some misfortune?

Serving-man
Pay it no heed. The master's troubles are our concern.

Heracles
It is no foreign grief these words prelude.

Serving-man
[815] No, for otherwise I would not have been vexed at seeing you carousing.

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hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 743
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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