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I delight at your praise of my father, [1315] and of myself. But hear what I desire to gain from you. It is true that men are compelled to bear the fortunes given by the gods; but when they cling to self-inflicted miseries, as you do, [1320] no one can justly excuse or pity them. You have become savage: you welcome no counsellor, and if someone admonishes you, even if he speaks in all good will, you detest him and consider him an enemy who wishes you ill. All the same I will speak to you, calling Zeus who guards oaths to witness. [1325] And you remember these words and write them in your heart: you suffer this plague's affliction in accordance with god-sent fate, because you came near to Chryse's guardian, the serpent who secretly watches over her home and guards her roofless sanctuary. Know also that you will never gain relief from this grave sickness, [1330] as long as the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west, until of your own free will you come to the plains of Troy, find there the sons of Asclepius, our comrades, be relieved of this infection, and, with this bow's [1335] aid and mine, be hailed as the sacker of Troy's towers. How I know these things are so ordained, I will tell you. We have a Trojan prisoner, Helenus, foremost among seers, who says plainly that all this must come to pass, and further, [1340] that this very summer must see the complete capture of Troy. Otherwise he willingly gives himself over for execution, if these prophecies of his prove false. Therefore, now that you understand everything, give way graciously. It is a glorious addition to your gain to be singled out [1345] as best of the Greeks—first, for coming into healing hands, and then for taking Troy rich in tears, and so winning a matchless renown.

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  • Commentary references to this page (3):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 256
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 337
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 183
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