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[1620] In this way, clinging close to one another, the father and his daughters sobbed and wept. But when they came to the end of their crying, and the sound of wailing went forth no more, there was a silence; suddenly a voice called aloud to him, so that everyone [1625] felt hair rising from the sudden terror. The god called him again and again: “Oedipus, Oedipus, why do you delay our going? Too long you have been lingering.” And when he perceived that he was called by the god, [1630] he asked that lord Theseus should come to him; and when he did, he said: “Friend, give me the sworn pledge of your right hand for my children; and you, my daughters, for him. Promise never to betray them by your own free will, but always to accomplish whatever you think for their benefit.” [1635] And he, as a man of noble spirit, without lamentation swore to keep that promise to the stranger. When Theseus had done this, straightway Oedipus felt for his children with blind hands, and said: [1640] “Children, you must bear up nobly in your hearts and depart from this place; do not consider it just to look upon what is not right, or to hear such speech as you may not hear. Go in haste; let only Theseus be entitled to remain to learn of those things which will be done.” [1645] So he spoke, and everyone of us listened; with streaming tears and mourning we followed the maidens away. But when we had gone off, very soon we looked back and saw that Oedipus was nowhere any more and our lord was alone, [1650] holding his hand in front of his face to screen his eyes, as if he had seen some terrifying sight, one that no one could endure to behold. And then after a short time, [1655] we saw him adore together the earth and Olympus of the gods in the same prayer. But by what fate Oedipus perished, no man can tell, except Theseus alone. It was no fiery thunderbolt of the god that removed him, [1660] nor any rising of whirlwind from the sea; it was either an escort from the gods, or else the dark world of the dead kindly split open to receive him. The man passed away without lamentation or sickness or suffering, and beyond all mortal men he was wondrous. [1665] And if in anyone's eyes I seem to speak senselessly, I would not try to win his belief when he counts me senseless.

Where are his daughters and the escort of their friends?

Not far away; the sounds of mourning show plainly that they are approaching.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 1223
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 1289
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