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Polyneices, in your past travels I take no joy. Now go back with speed.

Alas, for my journey and my failed attempt! Alas, for my companions! [1400] Such is the end of the road on which we set out from Argos—wretched me!—such an end, that I cannot even mention it to any of my companions or turn them back, but must go in silence to meet this fate. [1405] But you, daughters of this man and my sisters, since you hear these hard curses of a father, do not—if this father's curses be fulfilled and you find some way of return to Thebes—do not, I beg you by the gods, leave me dishonored, [1410] but give me burial and due funeral rites. So the praise which you now win from this man here for your labors will be increased by another praise no less, through your care for me.

Polyneices, I beseech you, hear me in one thing!

[1415] What is it, dearest Antigone? Speak!

Turn your force back to Argos as quickly as may be, and do not destroy both yourself and your city.

No, it is not possible. For how could I lead the same force again, when once I had shrunk back?

[1420] But why, my brother, must your anger rise again? What profit will come to you from destroying your native land?

It is shameful to be in exile, and to be mocked in this way by my brother, when I am eldest-born.

Do you see to what sure fulfillment the prophecies of this man are leading, [1425] who declares mutual death for you two?

Yes, for he wishes it. But I must not yield.

Ah, wretched me! But who will dare follow you, when he hears what prophecies this man has uttered?

[1430] I will not report ill-tidings; a good leader should tell the better news, and not the worse.

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  • Commentary references to this page (4):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 513-862
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 762
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 350
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 1321
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