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Chorus
To us, unless our years have stolen our wit, you seem to say what you say wisely.

Haemon
Father, the gods implant reason in men, the highest of all things that we call our own. [685] For my part, to state how you are wrong to say those things is beyond my power and my desire, although another man, too, might have a useful thought. In any case, it is my natural duty to watch on your behalf all that men say, or do, or find to blame. [690] For dread of your glance forbids the ordinary citizen to speak such words as would offend your ear. But I can hear these murmurs in the dark, how the city moans for this girl, saying: “No woman ever merited death less— [695] none ever died so shamefully for deeds so glorious as hers, who, when her own brother had fallen in bloody battle, would not leave him unburied to be devoured by savage dogs, or by any bird. Does she not deserve to receive golden honor?” [700] Such is the rumor shrouded in darkness that silently spreads. For me, father, no treasure is more precious than your prosperity. What, indeed, is a nobler ornament for children than the fair fame of a thriving father, or for a father than that of his children? [705] Do not, then, bear one mood only in yourself: do not think that your word and no other, must be right. For if any man thinks that he alone is wise—that in speech or in mind he has no peer—such a soul, when laid open, is always found empty. [710] No, even when a man is wise, it brings him no shame to learn many things, and not to be too rigid. You see how the trees that stand beside the torrential streams created by a winter storm yield to it and save their branches, while the stiff and rigid perish root and all? [715] And in the same way the pilot who keeps the sheet of his sail taut and never slackens it, upsets his boat, and voyages thereafter with his decking underwater. Father, give way and allow a change from your rage. For if even from me, a younger man, a worthy thought may be supplied, [720] by far the best thing, I believe, would be for men to be all-wise by nature. Otherwise—since most often it does not turn out that way—it is good to learn in addition from those who advise you well.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 358
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