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Princes of the land, I am planning to visit the shrines of the gods, with this wreathed branch and these gifts of incense in my hands. For Oedipus excites his soul excessively with all sorts of grief, [915] as he does not judge the new things from the old, like a man of sense, but is under the control of the speaker, if he speaks of frightful things. Since, then, I can do no good by counsel, to you, Lycean Apollo—for you are nearest— [920] I have come as a suppliant with these symbols of prayer, that you may find us some escape from uncleanliness. For now we are all afraid, like those who see fear in the helmsman of their ship.

Enter a messenger.

Can you tell me, strangers, where [925] the house of King Oedipus is? Or better still, tell me where he himself is, if you know.

This is his dwelling, and he himself, stranger, is within. This lady here is the mother of his children.

Then may she be ever happy in a happy home, [930] since she is his blessed queen.

Happiness to you also, stranger! Your fair greeting deserves this. But say what you have come to seek or to tell.

Good tidings, lady, for your house and your husband.

[935] What are they? From whom have you come?

From Corinth, and at the message I will give now you will doubtless rejoice, though you may perhaps grieve too.

What is it? Why has it this double potency?

The people will make him king of the [940] Isthmian land, as it was said there.

How then? Is the aged Polybus no longer in power?

No. For death holds him in the tomb.

What do you mean? Is Polybus dead, old man?

If I do not speak the truth, I am content to die.

[945] Handmaid, away with all speed, and tell this to your master! Oracles of the gods, where do you stand now? It is this man that Oedipus long feared he would slay. And now this man has died in the course of destiny, not by his hand.

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 715
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 1179
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 426
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 1.4.2
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