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Chorus
For the sake of him who has sent this man, Oedipus, speak what seems good to you, before you send him away.

Oedipus
Guardians of this land, if it were not Theseus who had sent him here to me, thinking it just that he should hear my response, [1350] then never would he have heard my voice of prophecy. But now he will be graced with it, before he goes, and hear from me such words as never will gladden his life. [1355] Worst of men, when you had the scepter and the throne, which now your brother has in Thebes, you drove me, your own father, into exile; and by making me an exile you caused me to wear this clothing at whose sight you weep, now that you have come to the same state of misery as I. [1360] The time for tears is past. I must bear this burden as long as I live, and keep you before my mind as a murderer. For it is you that have made me subject to this anguish; it is you that have thrust me out, and because of you I wander, begging my daily bread from strangers. [1365] And had these daughters not been born to me to be my comfort, in truth I would be dead, for lack of help from you. But now these girls preserve me; they are my nurses; they are men, not women, in sharing my toil. But you are from another and are no sons of mine. [1370] Therefore the divinity looks upon you—not yet as he soon will look, if indeed those armies of yours are moving against Thebes. There is no way in which you can ever overthrow that city. Before that you will fall, polluted by bloodshed, and so too your brother. [1375] Such curses as my heart before now sent up against you both, I now invoke to fight for me, in order that you may think it fit to revere your parents and not to dishonor your father utterly, because he who begot such sons is blind. For my daughters here did not act in this way. [1380] This supplication of yours, and this throne of yours, will lie in the power of my curses, if indeed Justice, revealed long ago, sits beside Zeus, to share his throne through sanction of primordial laws. But off to damnation with you, abhorred by me and disowned! [1385] Take these curses which I call down on you, most evil of evil men: may you never defeat your native land, and may you never return to the valley of Argos; I pray that you die by a related hand, and slay him by whom you have been driven out. This is my prayer. [1390] And I call on the hateful darkness of Tartarus that your father shares, to take you into another home; and I call on the divinities of this place, and I call on the god of war, who has set dreadful hatred in you both. Go with these words in your ear; [1395] go and announce to all the Cadmeans, and to your own faithful allies, that Oedipus has distributed such portions to his sons.

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 977
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