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Mother, the words that I have spoken [335] to him are fair, and I have declared my opinion of the counsels that tripped him up; yet I also perceive the truth of your warning to me, that it ill suits my character to shun dangers. For by a long and glorious career [340] I have displayed this habit among Hellenes, of ever punishing the wicked. And so I cannot refuse toil. For what will spiteful tongues say of me, when you, my mother, who more than all others fear for my safety, [345] bid me undertake this labor? Yes, I will go about this business and rescue the dead by persuasive words; or, failing that, the spear at once shall decide this issue, nor will the gods grudge me this. But I require the whole city's sanction also, [350] which my wish will ensure; still, by communicating the proposal to them I would find the people better disposed. For I made them supreme, when I set this city free, by giving all an equal vote. So I will take Adrastus as proof of what I have to say [355] and go to their assembly, and when I have won them to these views, I will return here, after collecting a picked band of young Athenians; and then remaining under arms I will send a message to Creon, begging the bodies of the dead. But you, aged ladies, remove from my mother your holy wreaths, [360] so that I may take her by the hand and conduct her to the house of Aegeus; for a wretched son is he who does not serve his parents in return—fairest contribution; for, when he made his gift, he in his turn from his own sons receives all such service as he gave to his parents.Aethra leaves the altar and departs.

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