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Theseus
Enough! To you I call who are huddled there in your misery, [1215] show to your friends your face; for no darkness is black enough to hide your sad mischance. Why do you wave your hand at me, signifying murder? is it that I may not be polluted by speaking with you? [1220] If I share your misfortune, what is that to me? For once I had good fortune with you. I must refer to the time when you brought me safe from the dead to the light of life. I hate a friend whose gratitude grows old; one who is ready to enjoy his friends' prosperity [1225] but unwilling to sail in the same ship with them when they are unfortunate. Arise, unveil your head, poor wretch! and look on me. The gallant soul endures such blows as heaven deals and does not refuse them.

Heracles
O Theseus, did you see this struggle with my children?

Theseus
[1230] I heard of it, and now I see the horrors you mean.

Heracles
Why then have you unveiled my head to the sun?

Theseus
Why have I? you, a mortal, can not pollute what is of the gods.

Heracles
Try to escape, luckless wretch, from my unholy taint.

Theseus
The avenging fiend does not go forth from friend to friend.

Heracles
[1235] For this I thank you; I do not regret the service I did you.

Theseus
While I, for kindness then received, now show my pity for you.

Heracles
Ah yes! I am piteous, a murderer of my sons.

Theseus
I weep for you in your changed fortunes.

Heracles
Did you ever find another more afflicted?

Theseus
[1240] Your misfortunes reach from earth to heaven.

Heracles
Therefore I am resolved on death.

Theseus
Do you suppose the gods attend to your threats?

Heracles
The god has been remorseless to me; so I will be the same to the gods.

Theseus
Hush! lest your presumption add to your sufferings.

Heracles
[1245] My ship is freighted full with sorrow; there is no room to stow anything further.

Theseus
What will you do? Where is your fury drifting you?

Heracles
I will die and return to that world below from which I have just come.

Theseus
Such language is fit for any common fellow.

Heracles
Ah! yours is the advice of one outside sorrow.

Theseus
[1250] Are these indeed the words of Heracles, the much-enduring?

Heracles
Though never so much as this. Endurance must have a limit.

Theseus
Is this the benefactor and great friend to mortals?

Heracles
Mortals bring no help to me; no! Hera has her way.

Theseus
Never would Hellas allow you to die through sheer perversity.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 513-862
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