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Jocasta
Well then, first I ask you what I long to have answered. What is it, to be deprived of one's country? Is it a great evil?

Polyneices
The greatest; harder to bear than tell.

Jocasta
[390] What is it like? What annoys the exile?

Polyneices
One thing most of all; he cannot speak his mind.

Jocasta
This is a slave's lot you speak of, not to say what one thinks.

Polyneices
The follies of the rulers must be borne.

Jocasta
That too is painful, to join in the folly of fools.

Polyneices
[395] Yet to gain our ends we must serve against our nature.

Jocasta
Hope, they say, is the exile's food.

Polyneices
Yes, hope that looks so fair; but always in the future.

Jocasta
But doesn't time expose its emptiness?

Polyneices
It has a certain winsome charm in misfortune.

Jocasta
[400] Where did you get your living, before your marriage found it for you?

Polyneices
Sometimes I would have enough for the day, and sometimes not.

Jocasta
Didn't your father's friends and guests assist you?

Polyneices
Seek to be prosperous; friends are nothing in misfortune.

Jocasta
Didn't your noble breeding lead you to the heights?

Polyneices
[405] Poverty is a curse; breeding did not find me food.

Jocasta
Man's dearest treasure, it seems, is his country.

Polyneices
You could not name how dear it is!

Jocasta
How did you come to Argos? What was your scheme?

Polyneices
Loxias gave Adrastus an oracle.

Jocasta
[410] What was it? What are you saying? I cannot guess.

Polyneices
That he should marry his daughters to a boar and a lion.

Jocasta
What did you, my son, have to do with the name of beasts?

Polyneices
I don't know; the deity summoned me there to my destiny.

Jocasta
Yes, for the god is wise; but how did you win your wife?

Polyneices
[415] It was night when I reached the porch of Adrastus.

Jocasta
In search of a resting-place, because you were in exile?

Polyneices
Yes; and then another exile came there.

Jocasta
Who was he? He too was in trouble, surely.

Polyneices
Tydeus; they say that Oineus is his father.

Jocasta
[420] But why did Adrastus compare you to wild beasts?

Polyneices
Because we came to blows about our bed.

Jocasta
Was it then that the son of Talaus understood the oracle?

Polyneices
Yes, and he gave the two of us his two daughters.

Jocasta
Are you blessed or cursed in your marriage?

Polyneices
[425] As yet I have no fault to find with it.

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Argos (Greece) (1)

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