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So they were afraid [70] that the gods might fulfil his prayers if they dwell together; and they made an agreement, that Polyneices, the younger, should first leave the land in voluntary exile, while Eteocles should stay and hold the scepter, and then change places yearly. But as soon as Eteocles was seated on the bench of power, [75] he did not leave the throne, but drove Polyneices into exile from this land. So Polyneices went to Argos and married into the family of Adrastus, and having collected a numerous force of Argives is leading them here; and he has come against these very walls of seven gates, [80] demanding the scepter of his father and his share of the land. Now I, to end their strife, have persuaded one son to meet the other under truce, before seizing arms; and the messenger I sent tells me that he will come. O Zeus, dwelling in the bright folds of heaven, [85] save us, and reconcile my sons! For you, if you are really wise, must not allow the same mortal to be forever wretched.Jocasta re-enters the palace, as the old servant appears on the roof.

Old servant
Antigone, famous child in your father's house, although your mother allowed you at your entreaty to leave your maiden chamber [90] for the topmost story of the house, to see the Argive army, wait, so that I may first investigate the path, whether there be any of the citizens visible on the road, and reproach, a slight matter to a slave like me, should come [95] to you, my royal mistress; and when I have examined everything, I will tell you what I saw and heard from the Argives, when I carried the terms of the truce from here to Polyneices and back from him again.

No, there is no citizen near the house, [100] so mount the ancient cedar steps, and view the plains; beside Ismenus' streams and the fountain of Dirce see the great army of the enemy.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 375
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