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I cannot agree that you have counseled well: you would have been better dead than living and blind.

Do not tell me that things have not been best done in this way: [1370] give me counsel no more. If I had sight, I know not with what eyes I could even have looked on my father, when I came to the house of Hades, or on my miserable mother, since against both I have sinned such sins as hanging myself could not punish. [1375] But do you think that the sight of children, born as mine were, was lovely for me to look upon? No, no, never lovely to my eyes! No, neither was this town with its towering walls, nor the sacred statues of the gods, since I, thrice wretched that I am— [1380] I, noblest of the sons of Thebes—have doomed myself to know them no more by commanding that all should reject the impious one, the one whom the gods have revealed as unholy, a member of Laius' own race! After bearing such a stain upon myself, [1385] was I to look with steady eyes on this folk? No indeed: were there a way to choke the source of hearing, I would not have hesitated to make a fast prison of this wretched frame, so that I should have known neither sight nor sound. [1390] It is sweet for our thought to dwell beyond the sphere of grief. Alas, Cithaeron, why did you provide a shelter for me? When I was given to you, why did you not slay me straightway, that I might never reveal my origin to men. Ah, Polybus, ah, Corinth, and you that were called the ancient house of my father, [1395] how fair-seeming was I, your nurseling, and what evils were festering underneath! Now I am found to be evil and of evil birth. Oh you three roads, and you secret glen, you, thicket, and narrow way where three paths met— [1400] you who drank my father's blood from my own hands—do you remember, perhaps, what deeds I have performed in your sight, and then what fresh deeds I went on to do when I came here? Oh marriage rites, you gave me birth, and when you had brought me forth, [1405] you again bore children to your child, you created an incestuous kinship of fathers, brothers, sons, brides, wives, and mothers—all the foulest deeds that are wrought among men! But it is improper to mention what it is improper to do— [1410] hurry, for the love of the gods, hide me somewhere beyond the land, or slay me, or cast me into the sea, where you will never behold me any longer! Approach—deign to lay your hands on a wretched man—listen and fear not: my plague can rest [1415] on no other mortal.

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    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Ajax, 428
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