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[170] She went to all the altars in Admetus' house and garlanded them, breaking off a spray of myrtle for each, and prayed. There was no tear in her eye or groan in her voice, nor was the lovely color of her skin changed by her looming misfortune. [175] Then she entered the bedchamber. Here at last she wept and said, ‘O marriage-bed, where I yielded up my virginity to my husband, the man for whose sake I am now dying, farewell! I do not hate you, although it is you alone that cause my death: [180] it is because I shrank from abandoning you and my husband that I now die. Some other woman will possess you, luckier, perhaps, than I but not more virtuous.’

She fell on the bed and kissed it and moistened all the bedclothes with a flood of tears. [185] When she had had enough of weeping, she tore herself from the bed and went bent with weakness, and again and again, after going out of the chamber, she turned back and threw herself upon the bed once more. Now the children were hanging onto their mother's gown [190] and weeping, and she, taking them into her arms, gave them each her last kiss. All of the servants in the house were weeping and bewailing their mistress. She reached out her hand to each of them, and none was so lowly [195] that she did not address him and receive his blessing in return. Such are the troubles in Admetus' house. And if he had died he would be gone, but since he has escaped death, he lives with such grief as he shall never forget.

Chorus-Leader
Admetus, I suppose, is groaning at this misfortune, [200] that he must lose so noble a wife?

Serving-woman
Yes, he weeps, holding his beloved wife in his arms, and he begs her not to abandon him, asking for the impossible. For she is waning and wasting with her malady. And now slack of limb, a wretched burden in his arms, <she lies unable to raise herself up>.1 [205] Still, although she has scarcely any breath within her, she wishes once more to look on the light of the sun since it is now for the last time and never again that she does so. [she will look upon the ray and orb of the sun]. But I will go and announce your arrival: [210] for by no means does everyone wish their rulers well and stand by to show their goodwill in their misfortune. But you are a friend of long standing to my masters.Exit Serving-woman into the palace.

1 My suppletion.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 1111
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