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Enter Teiresias, led by a boy, on the spectators' right.

[988] Princes of Thebes, we have come on a shared journey, two scouting the way by the eyes of one. [990] For this is the method of travel for the blind, using a guide.

What is it, old Teiresias? What is your news?

I will tell you. You, obey the seer.

It was not my habit before, at any rate, to stand apart from your will.

Therefore you captained this city on an upright course.

[995] I have felt and can attest your benefits.

Realize that once more now you are poised on fortune's razor-edge.

What do you mean? I shudder to hear you!

You will understand, when you hear the signs revealed by my art. As I took my place on my old seat of augury [1000] where all birds regularly gather for me, I heard an unintelligible voice among them: they were screaming in dire frenzy that made their language foreign to me. I realized that they were ripping each other with their talons, murderously—the rush of their wings did not lack meaning. [1005] Quickly, in fear, I tried burnt-sacrifice on a duly-kindled altar, but from my offerings Hephaestus did not blaze. Instead juice that had sweated from the thigh-flesh trickled out onto the embers and smoked and sputtered; [1010] the gall was scattered high up in the air; and the streaming thighs lay bared of the fat that had been wrapped around them. Such was the failure of the rites that yielded no sign, as I learned from this boy. For he is my guide, as I am guide to others. [1015] And it is your will that is the source of the sickness now afflicting the city. For the altars of our city and our hearths have one and all been tainted by the birds and dogs with the carrion taken from the sadly fallen son of Oedipus. And so the gods no more accept prayer and sacrifice at our hands, [1020] or the burning of thigh-meat, nor does any bird sound out clear signs in its shrill cries, for they have tasted the fatness of a slain man's blood. Think, therefore, on these things, my son. All men are liable to err. [1025] But when an error is made, that man is no longer unwise or unblessed who heals the evil into which he has fallen and does not remain stubborn. Self-will, we know, invites the charge of foolishness. Concede the claim of the dead. Do not kick at the fallen. [1030] What prowess is it to kill the dead all over again? I have considered for your good, and what I advise is good. The sweetest thing is to learn from a good advisor when his advice is to your profit.

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load focus Notes (Sir Richard C. Jebb, 1900)
load focus Greek (Francis Storr, 1912)
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