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Odysseus
And now I announce that from this point on I am ready to be Teucer's friend as much as I was once his enemy. And I would like to join in the burying of your dead and share your labors, omitting no service [1380] which mortals should render to their best and bravest warriors.

Teucer
Good Odysseus, I have only praise for your words. You have greatly belied my fears. Of all the Greeks you were his deadliest enemy, and yet you alone have stood by him with helping hand and did not come here and allow yourself in life [1385] to violate the dead Ajax ruthlessly, as did the crazed general who came, since he and his brother wanted to cast out the outraged corpse without burial. Therefore may the Father supreme on Olympus above us, [1390] and the unforgetting Fury and Justice the Fulfiller destroy them for their wickedness with wicked deaths, just as they sought to cast this man out with unmerited, outrageous mistreatment.

But you, progeny of aged Laertes, I hesitate to permit you to touch the corpse in burial, [1395] lest I so offend the dead. In all other tasks do indeed be our partner. And if you wish to bring any soldier of the army with you, he shall be welcome. For the rest, I will make all things ready. But you, Odysseus, know that to us you have been a good and noble friend.

Odysseus
[1400] It was my wish to help, but if it is not pleasing to you that I should assist here, I accept your decision and depart.Exit Odysseus.


Teucer
Enough. Already the interval has been long drawn out. Come, hurry some of you to dig the hollow grave; others erect the [1405] cauldron wrapped in fire on its high stand for prompt preparation of the ritual cleansing. Let another company bring from the tent the finery which he wore in battle beneath his shield. And you, too, child, with such strength as you have [1410] lay a loving hand upon your father and help me to lighten his body; for his channels are still warm and spray upwards the dark force of his spirit.

Come, come everyone who claims to be our friend, start forward and move on, [1415] laboring in service to this man of perfect excellence. To a nobler man such service has never yet been rendered [—nobler than Ajax when he lived, I mean].


Chorus
Many things, I tell you, can be known through mortal eyes; but before he sees it happening, no one can foretell [1420] the future, or what his fate will be.

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  • Commentary references to this page (2):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus Tyrannus, 1-150
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Electra, 1017
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