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[740] My dearest! my own sweet child and priceless treasure! your death the foe demands, and you must leave your wretched mother. That which saves the lives of others, proves your destruction—your father's nobility; to you your father's valiancy has proved no gift. [745] O my unlucky bed and marriage, that brought me once to Hector's home, hoping to be the mother of a son that should rule over Asia's fruitful fields instead of serving as a victim to the Danaids! Do you weep, my child? do you know your hapless fate? [750] Why clutch me with your hands and to my garment cling, nestling like a tender chick beneath my wing? Hector will not rise from the earth and come gripping his famous spear to bring you salvation; no kinsman of your father appears, nor might of Phrygian hosts; [755] one dreadful headlong leap from the dizzy height and you will dash out your life with none to pity you! Oh to clasp your tender limbs, a mother's fondest joy! Oh to breathe your fragrant breath! In vain it seems these breasts did suckle you, wrapped in your swaddling-clothes; [760] all for nothing I used to toil and wear myself away! Kiss your mother now for the last time, nestle to her that bore you, twine your arms about my neck and join your lips to mine! O you Hellenes, cunning to devise new forms of cruelty, [765] why slay this child who never wronged any? You daughter of Tyndareus, you are no child of Zeus, but I say you were born of many a father, first of some evil demon, next of Envy, then of Murder and of Death, and every horror that the earth breeds. [770] That Zeus was never father of yours I boldly do assert, bane as you have been to many a Hellene and barbarian too. Destruction catch you! Those fair eyes of yours have brought a shameful ruin on the fields of glorious Troy. Take the child and bear him hence, hurl him down if you wish, [775] then feast upon his flesh! It is the gods' will we perish, and I cannot ward the deadly stroke from my child. Hide me and my misery; cast me into the ship's hold; for it is to a fair wedding I am going, now that I have lost my child!

Chorus Leader
[780] Unhappy Troy! you have lost countless men for the sake of one woman and her hateful bed.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 1-150
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