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Polyneices
Then I will speak boldly, for you give me excellent guidance, [1285] first claiming the help of the god himself, from whose altar the king of this land raised me to come to you, with a guarantee to speak and hear, and go my way unharmed. And I wish these pledges, strangers, to be kept with me by you, and by my sisters here, and by my father. [1290] But now I want to tell you, father, why I came. I have been driven as an exile from my fatherland, because, as eldest-born, I thought it right to sit on your sovereign throne. [1295] Therefore Eteocles, though the younger, thrust me from the land, when he had neither defeated me by an argument of law, nor made a trial of might and deed. He brought over the city by persuasion. The cause of this, I claim, is most of all the curse on your house; [1300] I also hear this from soothsayers. For when I came to Dorian Argos, I made Adrastus my father-in-law. And I bound to me by oath all men of the Apian land who are foremost in their renown for war, [1305] so that with their aid I might collect the seven armies of spearmen against Thebes, and die in a just cause, or drive the doers of this wrong from the land. All right then, why have I come to you now? Bearing prayers of supplication, father, in person to you, [1310] my own prayers and those of my allies, who now with seven armies behind their seven spears have set their blockade around the plain of Thebes. One such is swift-speared Amphiaraus, a matchless warrior, and a matchless diviner; [1315] then comes the son of Oeneus, Aetolian Tydeus; Eteoclus is third, of Argive birth; the fourth, Hippomedon, is sent by Talaos, his father; while Capaneus, the fifth, boasts that he will burn Thebes to the ground with fire; and sixth, Arcadian Parthenopaeus rushes to the war. [1320] He is named for that virgin of long ago from whose marriage in later time he was born, the trusty son of Atalanta. Last come I, your son—or if not yours, then the offspring of an evil fate, but yours at least in name— [1325] leading the fearless army of Argos to Thebes. It is we who implore you, father, every one of us, by your daughters here and by your soul, begging you to forgo your fierce anger against me, as I go forth to punish my brother, [1330] who has expelled me and robbed me of my fatherland. For if anything trustworthy comes from oracles, they said that whoever you join with in alliance will have victorious strength. Then, by the streams of water and gods of our race, I ask you to listen and to yield. [1335] I am a beggar and a stranger, as you are yourself; by paying court to others both you and I have a home, obtaining by lot the same fortune. But he is tyrant at home—wretched me!—and in his pride laughs at you and me alike. [1340] But if you join as ally to my purpose, with little trouble or time I will scatter his strength to the winds, so that I will bring you home and set you in your own house, and set me in mine, when I have cast him out by force. If you are with me, then I can make this boast; but without you [1345] I cannot even return alive.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 5
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