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I meant to question you when you were venting your lamentations to the army, but I will let it pass; yet, though I dropped the matter then [840] and left it alone, I now ask you, Adrastus. Of what lineage sprang those youths, to shine so bright in courage? Tell it to our younger citizens, from your fuller wisdom; for you are skilled to know. I myself beheld their daring deeds, too high for words to tell, [845] by which they thought to capture Thebes. One question I will spare you, lest I provoke your laughter; the foe that each of them encountered in the fray, the spear from which each received his death-wound. These are idle tales alike for those who hear [850] or him who speaks, that any man amid the fray, when clouds of darts are hurtling before his eyes, should declare for certain who each champion is. I could not ask such questions, nor yet believe those who dare assert it; [855] for when a man is face to face with the foe, he could hardly see even that which it is his duty to observe.


Listen then. For in giving this task to me you find a willing eulogist of friends, whose praise I would declare in all truth and sincerity. [860] Do you see that handsome man, transfixed by Zeus's bolt? That is Capaneus; though he had ample wealth, yet he was the last to boast of his prosperity; nor would he ever vaunt himself above a poorer neighbor, but shunned the man whose sumptuous board had puffed him up too high [865] and made him scorn mere competence, for he held that virtue lies not in greedy gluttony, but that moderate means suffice. He was a true friend to his friends, present or absent; of such the number is not great. His was a guileless character, courteous in his speech, [870] that left no promise unperformed either towards his own household or his fellow-citizens. The next I name is Eteoclus, a master of other kinds of excellence; young, lacking in means to live, yet high in honor in the Argive land. [875] And though his friends often offered gifts of gold, he would not have it in his house, to make his character its slave by taking wealth's yoke upon him. Not his city, but those that sinned against her did he hate, for a city is not to be blamed [880] if it should get an evil name by reason of an evil governor.

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