previous next

Cast from your heads these chaplets of death, look up to the light, for instead of the darkness below your eyes behold the welcome sun. [565] I, meanwhile, since here is work for my hand, will first go raze this upstart tyrant's halls, and when I have beheaded the villain, I will throw him to dogs to tear; and every Theban who I find has played the traitor after my kindness, [570] will I destroy with this victorious club; the rest will I tear apart with my feathered shafts and fill Ismenus full of bloody corpses, and Dirce's clear stream shall run red with gore. For whom ought I to help rather than wife [575] and children and aged father? Farewell my labors! for it was in vain I accomplished them rather than helping these. And yet I ought to die in their defence, since they for their father were doomed; or what shall we find so noble in having fought a hydra and a lion [580] at the commands of Eurystheus, if I make no effort to save my own children from death? No longer then, as before, shall I be called Heracles the victor.

Chorus Leader
It is only right that parents should help their children, their aged fathers, and the partners of their marriage.

[585] My son, it is like you to show your love for your dear ones and your hate for your enemies; only curb excessive hastiness.

How, father, am I now showing more than fitting haste?

The king has a host of allies, needy villains though pretending to be rich, [590] who sowed dissension and overthrew the state with a view to plundering their neighbors; for the wealth they had in their houses was all spent, dissipated by their sloth. You were seen entering the city; and, that being so, beware that you do not bring your enemies together and be slain unawares.

[595] Little I care if the whole city saw me; but chancing to see a bird perched in an ill-omened spot, from it I learned that some trouble had befallen my house; so on purpose I made my entry to the land by stealth.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (2 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 1045
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: