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Creusa and attendants enter.

Ion
There is nobility in you, and you have an appearance that is a witness to your character, lady, whoever you are. For most men at least, you would know from their appearance if they are well-born. [240] Ah! You amaze me, that you closed your eyes and watered your noble cheeks with tears, when you saw the holy oracle of Loxias. Why are you sorrowful, lady? [245] Does that which pleases all others who see the sanctuary of the god bring tears to your eyes here?

Creusa
O stranger, it is not foolish of you to wonder at my tears. When I saw Apollo's halls, [250] I recalled an ancient memory. I suppose that my mind was at home, though I am present here. O unhappy women! O gods, what deeds are yours! What then? To what may we ascribe justice, if we are destroyed by the injustice of those in power?

Ion
[255] What inexplicable thing grieves you, lady?

Creusa
Nothing; I have shot my arrow; now I am silent, do not concern yourself further.

Ion
Who are you? From what land have you come? What country is your fatherland? By what name should we call you?

Creusa
[260] Creusa is my name, Erechtheus my father, the city of Athens my fatherland.

Ion
O you that dwell in a famous city and were brought up by noble parents, how I marvel at you, lady.

Creusa
I am fortunate so far, stranger, and no further.

Ion
[265] By the gods, truly, as the tale goes among mortals—

Creusa
What are you asking about, stranger, that you want to know?

Ion
Your father's ancestor grew from the earth?

Creusa
Yes, Erichthonius; but my family is no benefit to me.

Ion
And did Athena take him up from the earth?

Creusa
[270] Into her virgin hands; she was not his mother.

Ion
And gave him, as paintings usually show—

Creusa
To the daughters of Kekrops to keep, unseen.

Ion
I have heard that the maidens opened the vessel of the goddess.

Creusa
And so they died, making the promontory of the rock bloody.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 3
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