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Adrastus
True; and many a general owes defeat to that. O king of Athens, bravest of the sons of Hellas, I am ashamed [165] to throw myself upon the ground and clasp your knees, I a grey-haired king, blessed in days gone by; yet I must yield to my misfortunes. Please save the dead; have pity on my sorrows and on these, the mothers of the slain, [170] whom gray old age finds bereft of their sons; yet they endured to journey here and tread a foreign soil with aged tottering steps, bearing no embassy to Demeter's mysteries; only seeking burial for their dead, which lot should have been theirs, [175] burial by the hands of sons still in their prime. And it is wise in the rich to see the poor man's poverty, and in the poor man to turn ambitious eyes toward the rich, that so he may himself indulge a longing for possessions; and they, whom fortune does not frown on, should dread misery. . . . [180] likewise, the one who makes songs should take a pleasure in their making; for if it is not so with him, he would not be able if suffering at home, to gladden others; no, it is not even right to expect it. Perhaps you might say: “Why pass the land of Pelops over, [185] and lay this toil on Athens?” This I am bound to declare. Sparta is cruel, her customs variable; the other states are small and weak. Your city alone would be able to undertake this labor; [190] for it turns an eye on misery, and has in you a young and gallant shepherd; for the want of which to lead their hosts, states before now have often perished.

Chorus Leader
I too, Theseus, urge the same plea to you; have pity on my hard fate.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 15
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