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I fall to my knees before you, lord, honoring the custom of my home. [295] At last you have come to your native land. Hail to you! all hail! Lady, come from the house, open wide the gates! Do you hear, you who gave birth to this man? Why do you delay to leave the sheltered hall [300] and hold your son in your embrace?

Jocasta enters from the palace.


Maidens, I hear your Phoenician voice, and my old feet drag their tottering steps. O my son, [305] at last after countless days I see your face; throw your arms about your mother's breast, stretch out to me your cheeks and the dark, curly locks of your hair, overshadowing my neck. [310] Hail to you! all hail! scarcely here in your mother's arms, beyond hope and expectation. What can I say to you? How in every way, by hands, by words, in the mazy delight [315] of the dance, shall I find the pleasure of my former joy? Ah! my son, you left your father's house desolate, when your brother's outrage drove you away in exile. [320] Truly you were missed alike by your friends and Thebes. And so I cut my white hair and let it fall for grief, in tears, not clad in robes of white, my son, [325] but taking instead these dark rags.

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