previous next

Theseus
This herald is a clever fellow, a dabbler in the art of talk. But since you have thus entered the contest with me, listen awhile, for it was you that challenged a discussion. Nothing is more hostile to a city than a despot; [430] where he is, there are first no laws common to all, but one man is tyrant, in whose keeping and in his alone the law resides, and in that case equality is at an end. But when the laws are written down, rich and weak alike have equal justice, [435] and it is open to the weaker to use the same language to the prosperous when he is reviled by him, and the weaker prevails over the stronger if he has justice on his side. Freedom's mark is also seen in this: “Who has wholesome counsel to declare unto the state?” [440] And he who chooses to do so gains renown, while he, who has no wish, remains silent. What greater equality can there be in a city?

Again, where the people are absolute rulers of the land, they rejoice in having a reserve of youthful citizens, while a king counts this a hostile element, [445] and strives to slay the leading men, all such as he thinks discreet, fearing for his power. How then could a city remain stable, where one cuts short all enterprise and mows down the young like meadow-flowers in spring-time? [450] What good is it to acquire wealth and livelihood for children, merely to add to the tyrant's substance by one's toil? Why train up daughters virtuously in our homes to gratify a tyrant's whim, whenever he wishes, and cause tears to those who rear them? May my life end [455] if ever my children are to be wedded by violence! This bolt I launch in answer to your words. Now say, why have you come? what do you need of this land? If your city had not sent you, to your cost you would have come with your outrageous utterances; for it is the herald's duty [460] to tell the message he is bidden and go back in haste. Henceforth let Creon send to my city some other messenger less talkative than you.

Chorus Leader
Ah! how insolent the villains are, when Fortune is kind to them, just as if it would be well with them for ever.

load focus Greek (Gilbert Murray, 1913)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (2 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: