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Teiresias enters, led by a boy.

[300] Teiresias, whose soul grasps all things, both that which may be told and that which is unspeakable, the Olympian secrets and the affairs of the earth, you feel, though you cannot see, what a huge plague haunts our state. From which, great prophet, we find you to be our protector and only savior. [305] Now, Phoebus—if indeed you have not already heard the news—sent answer to our question that the only way to rid ourselves of this pest that afflicts us is to discover the slayers of Laius, and then to slay them or banish them from our land. [310] So do not begrudge us the voice of the birds or any other path of prophecy, but save yourself and your state, save me, save all that is defiled by the dead. We are in your hands, and man's noblest task is to help others [315] to the best of his means and powers.

Alas, how terrible it is to have wisdom when it does not benefit those who have it. I knew this well, but let it slip from my mind: otherwise I would not have come here.

What now? How disheartened you have come!

[320] Let me go home. For you will bear your own burden to the end, and I will bear mine, if you consent.

Your words are strange and unkind to the state which nurtured you, since you withhold this response.

I see that you, for your part, speak inappropriately. [325] Therefore do not speak, so I will not suffer the same.

For the love of the gods, do not turn away, if you have knowledge: all we suppliants implore you on our knees.

For all of you are without knowledge. But never will I reveal my troubles—not to call them yours.

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load focus Notes (Sir Richard C. Jebb)
load focus Greek (Francis Storr, 1912)
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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 1000
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