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Chorus
You are worthy of compassion, Oedipus, both you and these maidens. And since to this plea you append your power to save our land, I wish to advise you for your advantage.

Oedipus
[465] Dearest friends, be my patrons, and I will bring everything to completion.

Chorus
Then make atonement to these divinities, to whom you have come first, and on whose ground you have trespassed.

Oedipus
With what rites? Instruct me, strangers.

Chorus
First, from an ever-flowing [470] spring bring sacred drink-offerings, borne in ritually pure hands.

Oedipus
And when I have gotten this unmixed draught?

Chorus
There are bowls, the work of a skilled craftsman; crown their edges and the handles at either side.

Oedipus
With olive branches, or woollen cloths, or in what way?

Chorus
[475] Take the freshly-shorn wool of a ewe-lamb.

Oedipus
Good; and then to what last rite shall I proceed?

Chorus
Pour the drink-offerings, with your face to the dawn.

Oedipus
Shall I pour them with these vessels of which you speak?

Chorus
Yes, in three streams; but the last vessel—

Oedipus
[480] With what shall I fill this, before I set it down? Teach me this also.

Chorus
With water and honey; but add no wine.

Oedipus
And when the ground under the dark shade has drunk these?

Chorus
Three times lay on it nine branches of olive with both your hands, and meanwhile make this prayer.

Oedipus
[485] I wish to hear this prayer; it is the most important part.

Chorus
We call them Eumenides, so that with well-wishing power they may receive the suppliant as his saviors. Let this be your prayer, or of whoever prays for you. Speak inaudibly, and do not lift up your voice; then depart, without looking behind. [490] If you should do this, I would be bold enough to come to your aid; but otherwise, stranger, I would fear for you.

Oedipus
Daughters, do you hear these strangers who dwell nearby?

Antigone
We have listened. Tell us what to do.

Oedipus
[495] I cannot make the trip; for I am disabled by lack of strength and lack of sight, twin evils. But let one of you two go and do these things. For I think that one soul suffices to pay this debt for ten thousand, if it comes with good will. [500] Act, then, with speed. But do not abandon me, for my body would not have the strength to move, without help or a guiding hand.

Ismene
Then I will go to perform the rite; but where I am to find the place—this I wish to learn.

Chorus
[505] On the further side of this grove, stranger. And if you have need of anything, there is a guardian of the place. He will direct you.

Ismene
Off to my task. But you, Antigone, watch our father here. In the case of parents, if we toil, we must not keep a memory of it.Ismene exits.

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hide References (7 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Antigone, 155
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Philoctetes, 699
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Trachiniae, 1217
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (4):
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