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Theseus
I feel no amazement, if you have had a lengthy conversation [1140] from joy in these children, or if your first concern has been for their words rather than for me. Indeed, there is nothing to vex me in that. Not with words so much as with deeds would I add luster to my life. You have this proof: [1145] I have cheated you in none of my sworn promises, old man. Here am I, with the maidens living, uninjured by those threats. As to how the struggle was won, what need have I vainly to boast of what you will learn from these two when you are together? [1150] But there is a matter that has just presented itself to me, as I came here. Give me your counsel regarding it; for, though it is small, it is food for wonder. And mortal man must consider nothing beneath his concern.

Oedipus
[1155] What is it, son of Aegeus? Tell me; I myself know nothing of what you inquire.

Theseus
They say a man—not from your city, yet of your race—has somehow thrown himself down, as a suppliant, at our altar of Poseidon, where I was sacrificing when I first set out here.

Oedipus
[1160] What land does he come form? What does he desire by his supplication?

Theseus
I know one thing only: they tell me he asks to speak briefly with you, a thing of no great burden.

Oedipus
On what topic? That suppliant state is of no small account.

Theseus
He asks, they say, no more than that he may confer with you, [1165] and return unharmed from his journey here.

Oedipus
Who can he be that implores the god in this way?

Theseus
Consider whether there is anyone in your race at Argos, who might desire this favor from you.

Oedipus
Dearest friend, say no more!

Theseus
What is wrong?

Oedipus
[1170] Do not ask me for—

Theseus
For what? Speak!

Oedipus
From hearing these things I know who the suppliant is.

Theseus
And who can he be, that I should have an objection to him?

Oedipus
My son, lord, a hated son whose words would vex my ear like the words of no man besides.

Theseus
[1175] What? Can you not listen, without doing what you do not wish to do? Why does it pain you to hear him?

Oedipus
Lord, that voice has become most hateful to his father. Do not constrain me to yield in this.

Theseus
But consider whether his suppliant state constrains you; [1180] what if you have a duty of respect for the god?

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hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 471
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