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Oedipus the King
By Sophocles
Translated by F. Storr

!ramatis Personae
"#!IP$S
T%# P&I#ST "F '#$S
C&#"(
C%"&$S "F T%#)A( #*!#&S
T#I&#SIAS
+"CASTA
,#SS#(-#&
%#&! "F *AI$S

Thebes. )efore the Palace of "edipus. Suppliants of all ages are seated
round the altar at the palace doors. at their head a P&I#ST "F '#$S.
To them enter "#!IP$S.

"#!IP$S ,y children. latest born to Cadmus old.
/hy sit ye here as suppliants. in your hands
)ranches of olive filleted 0ith 0ool1
/hat means this ree2 of incense every0here.
And every0here laments and litanies1
Children. it 0ere not meet that I should learn
From others. and am hither come. myself.
I "edipus. your 0orldreno0ned 2ing.
%o3 aged sire. 0hose venerable loc2s
Proclaim thee spo2esman of this company.
#4plain your mood and purport. Is it dread
"f ill that moves you or a boon ye crave1
,y 5eal in your behalf ye cannot doubt6
&uthless indeed 0ere I and obdurate
If such petitioners as you I spurned.
P&I#ST 7ea. "edipus. my sovereign lord and 2ing.
Thou seest ho0 both e4tremes of age besiege
Thy palace altarsfledglings hardly 0inged.
And greybeards bo0ed 0ith years. priests. as am I
"f 'eus. and these the flo0er of our youth.
,ean0hile. the common fol2. 0ith 0reathed boughs
Cro0d our t0o mar2etplaces. or before
)oth shrines of Pallas congregate. or 0here
Ismenus gives his oracles by fire.
For. as thou seest thyself. our ship of State.
Sore buffeted. can no more lift her head.
Foundered beneath a 0eltering surge of blood.
A blight is on our harvest in the ear.
A blight upon the gra5ing floc2s and herds.
A blight on 0ives in travail6 and 0ithal
Armed 0ith his bla5ing torch the -od of Plague
%ath s0ooped upon our city emptying
The house of Cadmus. and the mur2y realm
"f Pluto is full fed 0ith groans and tears.
Therefore. " 8ing. here at thy hearth 0e sit.
I and these children6 not as deeming thee
A ne0 divinity. but the first of men6
First in the common accidents of life.
And first in visitations of the -ods.
Art thou not he 0ho coming to the to0n
"f Cadmus freed us from the ta4 0e paid
To the fell songstress1 (or hadst thou received
Prompting from us or been by others schooled6
(o. by a god inspired 9so all men deem.
And testify: didst thou rene0 our life.
And no0. " "edipus. our peerless 2ing.
All 0e thy votaries beseech thee. find
Some succor. 0hether by a voice from heaven
/hispered. or haply 2no0n by human 0it.
Tried counselors. methin2s. are aptest found
To furnish for the future pregnant rede.
$praise. " chief of men. upraise our State3
*oo2 to thy laurels3 for thy 5eal of yore
"ur country;s savior thou art <ustly hailed:
" never may 0e thus record thy reign:
=%e raised us up only to cast us do0n.=
$plift us. build our city on a roc2.
Thy happy star ascendant brought us luc2.
" let it not decline3 If thou 0ouldst rule
This land. as no0 thou reignest. better sure
To rule a peopled than a desert realm.
(or battlements nor galleys aught avail.
If men to man and guards to guard them tail.
"#!IP$S Ah3 my poor children. 2no0n. ah. 2no0n too 0ell.
The >uest that brings you hither and your need.
7e sic2en all. 0ell 0ot I. yet my pain.
%o0 great soever yours. outtops it all.
7our sorro0 touches each man severally.
%im and none other. but I grieve at once
)oth for the general and myself and you.
Therefore ye rouse no sluggard from daydreams.
,any. my children. are the tears I;ve 0ept.
And threaded many a ma5e of 0eary thought.
Thus pondering one clue of hope I caught.
And trac2ed it up6 I have sent ,enoeceus; son.
Creon. my consort;s brother. to in>uire
"f Pythian Phoebus at his !elphic shrine.
%o0 I might save the State by act or 0ord.
And no0 I rec2on up the tale of days
Since he set forth. and marvel ho0 he fares.
;Tis strange. this endless tarrying. passing strange.
)ut 0hen he comes. then I 0ere base indeed.
If I perform not all the god declares.
P&I#ST Thy 0ords are 0ell timed6 even as thou spea2est
That shouting tells me Creon is at hand.
"#!IP$S " 8ing Apollo3 may his <oyous loo2s
)e presage of the <oyous ne0s he brings3
P&I#ST As I surmise. ;tis 0elcome6 else his head
%ad scarce been cro0ned 0ith berryladen bays.
"#!IP$S /e soon shall 2no06 he;s no0 in earshot range. 9#nter C&#"(.:
,y royal cousin. say. ,enoeceus; child.
/hat message hast thou brought us from the god1
C&#"( -ood ne0s. for e;en intolerable ills.
Finding right issue. tend to naught but good.
"#!IP$S %o0 runs the oracle1 thus far thy 0ords
-ive me no ground for confidence or fear.
C&#"( If thou 0ouldst hear my message publicly.
I;ll tell thee straight. or 0ith thee pass 0ithin.
"#!IP$S Spea2 before all6 the burden that I bear
Is more for these my sub<ects than myself.
C&#"( *et me report then all the god declared.
8ing Phoebus bids us straitly e4tirpate
A fell pollution that infests the land.
And no more harbor an inveterate sore.
"#!IP$S /hat e4piation means he1 /hat;s amiss1
C&#"( )anishment. or the shedding blood for blood.
This stain of blood ma2es ship0rec2 of our state.
"#!IP$S /hom can he mean. the miscreant thus denounced1
C&#"( )efore thou didst assume the helm of State.
The sovereign of this land 0as *aius.
"#!IP$S I heard as much. but never sa0 the man.
C&#"( %e fell6 and no0 the god;s command is plain:
Punish his ta2ersoff. 0hoe;er they be.
"#!IP$S /here are they1 /here in the 0ide 0orld to find
The far. faint traces of a bygone crime1
C&#"( In this land. said the god6 =0ho see2s shall find6
/ho sits 0ith folded hands or sleeps is blind.=
"#!IP$S /as he 0ithin his palace. or afield.
"r traveling. 0hen *aius met his fate1
C&#"( Abroad6 he started. so he told us. bound
For !elphi. but he never thence returned.
"#!IP$S Came there no ne0s. no fello0traveler
To give some clue that might be follo0ed up1
C&#"( )ut one escape. 0ho flying for dear life.
Could tell of all he sa0 but one thing sure.
"#!IP$S And 0hat 0as that1 "ne clue might lead us far.
/ith but a spar2 of hope to guide our >uest.
C&#"( &obbers. he told us. not one bandit but
A troop of 2naves. attac2ed and murdered him.
"#!IP$S !id any bandit dare so bold a stro2e.
$nless indeed he 0ere suborned from Thebes1
C&#"( So ;t0as surmised. but none 0as found to avenge
%is murder mid the trouble that ensued.
"#!IP$S /hat trouble can have hindered a full >uest.
/hen royalty had fallen thus miserably1
C&#"( The riddling Sphin4 compelled us to let slide
The dim past and attend to instant needs.
"#!IP$S /ell. I 0ill start afresh and once again
,a2e dar2 things clear. &ight 0orthy the concern
"f Phoebus. 0orthy thine too. for the dead6
I also. as is meet. 0ill lend my aid
To avenge this 0rong to Thebes and to the god.
(ot for some faroff 2insman. but myself.
Shall I e4pel this poison in the blood6
For 0hoso sle0 that 2ing might have a mind
To stri2e me too 0ith his assassin hand.
Therefore in righting him I serve myself.
$p. children. haste ye. >uit these altar stairs.
Ta2e hence your suppliant 0ands. go summon hither
The Theban commons. /ith the god;s good help
Success is sure6 ;tis ruin if 0e fail. 9#4eunt "#!IP$S and C&#"(.:
P&I#ST Come. children. let us hence6 these gracious 0ords
Forestall the very purpose of our suit.
And may the god 0ho sent this oracle
Save us 0ithal and rid us of this pest. 9#4eunt P&I#ST and S$PP*IA(TS.:
C%"&$S 9strophe ?:
S0eetvoiced daughter of 'eus from thy goldpaved Pythian shrine
/afted to Thebes divine.
/hat dost thou bring me1 ,y soul is rac2ed and shivers 0ith fear.
%ealer of !elos. hear3
%ast thou some pain un2no0n before.
"r 0ith the circling years rene0est a penance of yore1
"ffspring of golden %ope. thou voice immortal. " tell me.
9antistrophe ?:
First on Athene I call6 " 'eusborn goddess. defend3
-oddess and sister. befriend.
Artemis. *ady of Thebes. highthroned in the midst of our mart3
*ord of the death0inged dart3
7our threefold aid I crave
From death and ruin our city to save.
If in the days of old 0hen 0e nigh had perished. ye drave
From our land the fiery plague. be near us no0 and defend us3
9strophe @:
Ah me. 0hat countless 0oes are mine3
All our host is in decline6
/eaponless my spirit lies.
#arth her gracious fruits denies6
/omen 0ail in barren throes6
*ife on life do0nstri2en goes.
S0ifter than the 0ind bird;s flight.
S0ifter than the Fire-od;s might.
To the 0estering shores of (ight.
9antistrophe @:
/asted thus by death on death
All our city perisheth.
Corpses spread infection round6
(one to tend or mourn is found.
/ailing on the altar stair
/ives and grandams rend the air
*ongdra0n moans and piercing cries
)lent 0ith prayers and litanies.
-olden child of 'eus. " hear
*et thine angel face appear3
9strophe A:
And grant that Ares 0hose hot breath I feel.
Though 0ithout targe or steel
%e stal2s. 0hose voice is as the battle shout.
,ay turn in sudden rout.
To the unharbored Thracian 0aters sped.
"r Amphitrite;s bed.
For 0hat night leaves undone.
Smit by the morro0;s sun
Perisheth. Father 'eus. 0hose hand
!oth 0ield the lightning brand.
Slay him beneath thy levin bold. 0e pray.
Slay him. " slay3
9antistrophe A:
" that thine arro0s too. *ycean 8ing.
From that taut bo0;s gold string.
,ight fly abroad. the champions of our rights6
7ea. and the flashing lights
"f Artemis. 0here0ith the huntress s0eeps
Across the *ycian steeps.
Thee too I call 0ith goldensnooded hair.
/hose name our land doth bear.
)acchus to 0hom thy ,aenads #voe shout6
Come 0ith thy bright torch. rout.
)lithe god 0hom 0e adore.
The god 0hom gods abhor. 9#nter "#!IP$S.:
"#!IP$S 7e pray6 ;tis 0ell. but 0ould ye hear my 0ords
And heed them and apply the remedy.
7e might perchance find comfort and relief.
,ind you. I spea2 as one 0ho comes a stranger
To this report. no less than to the crime6
For ho0 unaided could I trac2 it far
/ithout a clue1 /hich lac2ing 9for too late
/as I enrolled a citi5en of Thebes:
This proclamation I address to all:
Thebans. if any 2no0s the man by 0hom
*aius. son of *abdacus. 0as slain.
I summon him to ma2e clean shrift to me.
And if he shrin2s. let him reflect that thus
Confessing he shall ;scape the capital charge6
For the 0orst penalty that shall befall him
Is banishmentunscathed he shall depart.
)ut if an alien from a foreign land
)e 2no0n to any as the murderer.
*et him 0ho 2no0s spea2 out. and he shall have
!ue recompense from me and than2s to boot.
)ut if ye still 2eep silence. if through fear
For self or friends ye disregard my hest.
%ear 0hat I then resolve6 I lay my ban
"n the assassin 0hosoe;er he be.
*et no man in this land. 0hereof I hold
The sovereign rule. harbor or spea2 to him6
-ive him no part in prayer or sacrifice
"r lustral rites. but hound him from your homes.
For this is our defilement. so the god
%ath lately sho0n to me by oracles.
Thus as their champion I maintain the cause
)oth of the god and of the murdered 8ing.
And on the murderer this curse I lay
9"n him and all the partners in his guilt::
/retch. may he pine in utter 0retchedness3
And for myself. if 0ith my privity
%e gain admittance to my hearth. I pray
The curse I laid on others fall on me.
See that ye give effect to all my hest.
For my sa2e and the god;s and for our land.
A desert blasted by the 0rath of heaven.
For. let alone the god;s e4press command.
It 0ere a scandal ye should leave unpurged
The murder of a great man and your 2ing.
(or trac2 it home. And no0 that I am lord.
Successor to his throne. his bed. his 0ife.
9And had he not been frustrate in the hope
"f issue. common children of one 0omb
%ad forced a closer bond t0i4t him and me.
)ut Fate s0ooped do0n upon him:. therefore I
%is bloodavenger 0ill maintain his cause
As though he 0ere my sire. and leave no stone
$nturned to trac2 the assassin or avenge
The son of *abdacus. of Polydore.
"f Cadmus. and Agenor first of the race.
And for the disobedient thus I pray:
,ay the gods send them neither timely fruits
"f earth. nor teeming increase of the 0omb.
)ut may they 0aste and pine. as no0 they 0aste.
Aye and 0orse stric2en6 but to all of you.
,y loyal sub<ects 0ho approve my acts.
,ay +ustice. our ally. and all the gods
)e gracious and attend you evermore.
C%"&$S The oath thou profferest. sire. I ta2e and s0ear.
I sle0 him not myself. nor can I name
The slayer. For the >uest. ;t0ere 0ell. methin2s
That Phoebus. 0ho proposed the riddle. himself
Should give the ans0er0ho the murderer 0as.
"#!IP$S /ell argued6 but no living man can hope
To force the gods to spea2 against their 0ill.
C%"&$S ,ay I then say 0hat seems ne4t best to me1
"#!IP$S Aye. if there be a third best. tell it too.
C%"&$S ,y liege. if any man sees eye to eye
/ith our lord Phoebus. ;tis our prophet. lord
Teiresias6 he of all men best might guide
A searcher of this matter to the light.
"#!IP$S %ere too my 5eal has nothing lagged. for t0ice
At Creon;s instance have I sent to fetch him.
And long I marvel 0hy he is not here.
C%"&$S I mind me too of rumors long ago
,ere gossip.
"#!IP$S Tell them. I 0ould fain 2no0 all.
C%"&$S ;T0as said he fell by travelers.
"#!IP$S So I heard.
)ut none has seen the man 0ho sa0 him fall.
C%"&$S /ell. if he 2no0s 0hat fear is. he 0ill >uail
And flee before the terror of thy curse.
"#!IP$S /ords scare not him 0ho blenches not at deeds.
C%"&$S )ut here is one to arraign him. *o. at length
They bring the godinspired seer in 0hom
Above all other men is truth inborn. 9#nter T#I&#SIAS. led by a boy.:
"#!IP$S Teiresias. seer 0ho comprehendest all.
*ore of the 0ise and hidden mysteries.
%igh things of heaven and lo0 things of the earth.
Thou 2no0est. though thy blinded eyes see naught.
/hat plague infects our city6 and 0e turn
To thee. " seer. our one defense and shield.
The purport of the ans0er that the -od
&eturned to us 0ho sought his oracle.
The messengers have doubtless told theeho0
"ne course alone could rid us of the pest.
To find the murderers of *aius.
And slay them or e4pel them from the land.
Therefore begrudging neither augury
(or other divination that is thine.
" save thyself. thy country. and thy 2ing.
Save all from this defilement of blood shed.
"n thee 0e rest. This is man;s highest end.
To others; service all his po0ers to lend.
T#I&#SIAS Alas. alas. 0hat misery to be 0ise
/hen 0isdom profits nothing3 This old lore
I had forgotten6 else I 0ere not here.
"#!IP$S /hat ails thee1 /hy this melancholy mood1
T#I&#SIAS *et me go home6 prevent me not6 ;t0ere best
That thou shouldst bear thy burden and I mine.
"#!IP$S For shame3 no trueborn Theban patriot
/ould thus 0ithhold the 0ord of prophecy.
T#I&#SIAS Thy 0ords. " 2ing. are 0ide of the mar2. and I
For fear lest I too trip li2e thee...
"#!IP$S "h spea2.
/ithhold not. I ad<ure thee. if thou 2no0;st.
Thy 2no0ledge. /e are all thy suppliants.
T#I&#SIAS Aye. for ye all are 0itless. but my voice
/ill ne;er reveal my miseriesor thine.
"#!IP$S /hat then. thou 2no0est. and yet 0illst not spea23
/ouldst thou betray us and destroy the State1
T#I&#SIAS I 0ill not ve4 myself nor thee. /hy as2
Thus idly 0hat from me thou shalt not learn1
"#!IP$S ,onster3 thy silence 0ould incense a flint.
/ill nothing loose thy tongue1 Can nothing melt thee.
"r sha2e thy dogged taciturnity1
T#I&#SIAS Thou blam;st my mood and seest not thine o0n
/here0ith thou art mated6 no. thou ta4est me.
"#!IP$S And 0ho could stay his choler 0hen he heard
%o0 insolently thou dost flout the State1
T#I&#SIAS /ell. it 0ill come 0hat 0ill. though I be mute.
"#!IP$S Since come it must. thy duty is to tell me.
T#I&#SIAS I have no more to say6 storm as thou 0illst.
And give the rein to all thy pentup rage.
"#!IP$S 7ea. I am 0roth. and 0ill not stint my 0ords.
)ut spea2 my 0hole mind. Thou methin2s thou art he.
/ho planned the crime. aye. and performed it too.
All save the assassination6 and if thou
%adst not been blind. I had been s0orn to boot
That thou alone didst do the bloody deed.
T#I&#SIAS Is it so1 Then I charge thee to abide
)y thine o0n proclamation6 from this day
Spea2 not to these or me. Thou art the man.
Thou the accursed polluter of this land.
"#!IP$S Bile slanderer. thou blurtest forth these taunts.
And thin2;st forsooth as seer to go scot free.
T#I&#SIAS 7ea. I am free. strong in the strength of truth.
"#!IP$S /ho 0as thy teacher1 not methin2s thy art.
T#I&#SIAS Thou. goading me against my 0ill to spea2.
"#!IP$S /hat speech1 repeat it and resolve my doubt.
T#I&#SIAS !idst miss my sense 0ouldst thou goad me on1
"#!IP$S I but half caught thy meaning6 say it again.
TEIRESIAS I say thou art the murderer of the man
Whose murderer thou pursuest.
"#!IP$S Thou shalt rue it
T0ice to repeat so gross a calumny.
T#I&#SIAS ,ust I say more to aggravate thy rage1
"#!IP$S Say all thou 0ilt6 it 0ill be but 0aste of breath.
T#I&#SIAS I say thou livest 0ith thy nearest 2in
In infamy. un0itting in thy shame.
"#!IP$S Thin2;st thou for aye unscathed to 0ag thy tongue1
T#I&#SIAS 7ea. if the might of truth can aught prevail.
"#!IP$S /ith other men. but not 0ith thee. for thou
In ear. 0it. eye. in everything art blind.
T#I&#SIAS Poor fool to utter gibes at me 0hich all
%ere present 0ill cast bac2 on thee ere long.
"#!IP$S "ffspring of endless (ight. thou hast no po0er
";er me or any man 0ho sees the sun.
T#I&#SIAS (o. for thy 0eird is not to fall by me.
I leave to Apollo 0hat concerns the god.
"#!IP$S Is this a plot of Creon. or thine o0n1
T#I&#SIAS (ot Creon. thou thyself art thine o0n bane.
"#!IP$S " 0ealth and empiry and s2ill by s2ill
"ut0itted in the battlefield of life.
/hat spite and envy follo0 in your train3
See. for this cro0n the State conferred on me.
A gift. a thing I sought not. for this cro0n
The trusty Creon. my familiar friend.
%ath lain in 0ait to oust me and suborned
This mounteban2. this <uggling charlatan.
This tric2sy beggarpriest. for gain alone
8eeneyed. but in his proper art stoneblind.
Say. sirrah. hast thou ever proved thyself
A prophet1 /hen the riddling Sphin4 0as here
/hy hadst thou no deliverance for this fol21
And yet the riddle 0as not to be solved
)y guess0or2 but re>uired the prophet;s art6
/herein thou 0ast found lac2ing6 neither birds
(or sign from heaven helped thee. but I came.
The simple "edipus6 I stopped her mouth
)y mother 0it. untaught of auguries.
This is the man 0hom thou 0ouldst undermine.
In hope to reign 0ith Creon in my stead.
,ethin2s that thou and thine abettor soon
/ill rue your plot to drive the scapegoat out.
Than2 thy grey hairs that thou hast still to learn
/hat chastisement such arrogance deserves.
C%"&$S To us it seems that both the seer and thou.
" "edipus. have spo2en angry 0ords.
This is no time to 0rangle but consult
%o0 best 0e may fulfill the oracle.
T#I&#SIAS 8ing as thou art. free speech at least is mine
To ma2e reply6 in this I am thy peer.
I o0n no lord but *o4ias6 him I serve
And ne;er can stand enrolled as Creon;s man.
Thus then I ans0er: since thou hast not spared
To t0it me 0ith my blindnessthou hast eyes.
7et see;st not in 0hat misery thou art fallen.
(or 0here thou d0ellest nor 0ith 0hom for mate.
!ost 2no0 thy lineage1 (ay. thou 2no0;st it not.
And all un0itting art a double foe
To thine o0n 2in. the living and the dead6
Aye and the dogging curse of mother and sire
"ne day shall drive thee. li2e a t0oedged s0ord.
)eyond our borders. and the eyes that no0
See clear shall hencefor0ard endless night.
Ah 0hither shall thy bitter cry not reach.
/hat crag in all Cithaeron but shall then
&everberate thy 0ail. 0hen thou hast found
/ith 0hat a hymeneal thou 0ast borne
%ome. but to no fair haven. on the gale3
Aye. and a flood of ills thou guessest not
Shall set thyself and children in one line.
Flout then both Creon and my 0ords. for none
"f mortals shall be stri2en 0orse than thou.
"#!IP$S ,ust I endure this fello0;s insolence1
A murrain on thee3 -et thee hence3 )egone
Avaunt3 and never cross my threshold more.
T#I&#SIAS I ne;er had come hadst thou not bidden me.
"#!IP$S I 2no0 not thou 0ouldst utter folly. else
*ong hadst thou 0aited to be summoned here.
T#I&#SIAS Such am Ias it seems to thee a fool.
)ut to the parents 0ho begat thee. 0ise.
"#!IP$S /hat sayest thou=parents=1 /ho begat me. spea21
T#I&#SIAS This day shall be thy birthday. and thy grave.
"#!IP$S Thou lov;st to spea2 in riddles and dar2 0ords.
T#I&#SIAS In reading riddles 0ho so s2illed as thou1
"#!IP$S T0it me 0ith that 0herein my greatness lies.
T#I&#SIAS And yet this very greatness proved thy bane.
"#!IP$S (o matter if I saved the common0ealth.
T#I&#SIAS ;Tis time I left thee. Come. boy. ta2e me home.
"#!IP$S Aye. ta2e him >uic2ly. for his presence ir2s
And lets me6 gone. thou canst not plague me more.
T#I&#SIAS I go. but first 0ill tell thee 0hy I came.
Thy fro0n I dread not. for thou canst not harm me.
%ear then: this man 0hom thou hast sought to arrest
/ith threats and 0arrants this long 0hile. the 0retch
/ho murdered *aiusthat man is here.
%e passes for an alien in the land
)ut soon shall prove a Theban. native born.
And yet his fortune brings him little <oy6
For blind of seeing. clad in beggar;s 0eeds.
For purple robes. and leaning on his staff.
To a strange land he soon shall grope his 0ay.
And of the children. inmates of his home.
%e shall be proved the brother and the sire.
Of her who are him son and husand oth!
Copartner. and assassin of his sire.
-o in and ponder this. and if thou find
That I have missed the mar2. henceforth declare
I have no 0it nor s2ill in prophecy. 9#4eunt T#I&#SIAS and "#!IP$S.:
C%"&$S 9strophe ?:
/ho is he by voice immortal named from Pythia;s roc2y cell.
!oer of foul deeds of bloodshed. horrors that no tongue can tell1
A foot for flight he needs
Fleeter than storms0ift steeds.
For on his heels doth follo0.
Armed 0ith the lightnings of his Sire. Apollo.
*i2e sleuthhounds too
The Fates pursue.
9antistrophe ?:
7ea. but no0 flashed forth the summons from Parnassus; sno0y pea2.
=(ear and far the undiscovered doer of this murder see23=
(o0 li2e a sullen bull he roves
Through forest bra2es and upland groves.
And vainly see2s to fly
The doom that ever nigh
Flits o;er his head.
Still by the avenging Phoebus sped.
The voice divine.
From #arth;s mid shrine.
9strophe @:
Sore perple4ed am I by the 0ords of the master seer.
Are they true. are they false1 I 2no0 not and bridle my tongue for
fear.
Fluttered 0ith vague surmise6 nor present nor future is clear.
Cuarrel of ancient date or in days still near 2no0 I none
T0i4t the *abdacidan house and our ruler. Polybus; son.
Proof is there none: ho0 then can I challenge our 8ing;s good name.
%o0 in a bloodfeud <oin for an untrac2ed deed of shame1
9antistrophe @:
All 0ise are 'eus and Apollo. and nothing is hid from their 2en6
They are gods6 and in 0its a man may surpass his fello0 men6
)ut that a mortal seer 2no0s more than I 2no00here
%ath this been proven1 "r ho0 0ithout sign assured. can I blame
%im 0ho saved our State 0hen the 0inged songstress came.
Tested and tried in the light of us all. li2e gold assayed1
%o0 can I no0 assent 0hen a crime is on "edipus laid1
C&#"( Friends. countrymen. I learn 8ing "edipus
%ath laid against me a most grievous charge.
And come to you protesting. If he deems
That I have harmed or in<ured him in aught
)y 0ord or deed in this our present trouble.
I care not to prolong the span of life.
Thus illreputed6 for the calumny
%its not a single blot. but blasts my name.
If by the general voice I am denounced
False to the State and false by you my friends.
C%"&$S This taunt. it 0ell may be. 0as blurted out
In petulance. not spo2en advisedly.
C&#"( !id any dare pretend that it 0as I
Prompted the seer to utter a forged charge1
C%"&$S Such things 0ere said6 0ith 0hat intent I 2no0 not.
C&#"( /ere not his 0its and vision all astray
/hen upon me he fi4ed this monstrous charge1
C%"&$S I 2no0 not6 to my sovereign;s acts I am blind.
)ut lo. he comes to ans0er for himself. 9#nter "#!IP$S.:
"#!IP$S Sirrah. 0hat ma2;st thou here1 !ost thou presume
To approach my doors. thou bra5enfaced rogue.
,y murderer and the filcher of my cro0n1
Come. ans0er this. didst thou detect in me
Some touch of co0ardice or 0itlessness.
That made thee underta2e this enterprise1
I seemed forsooth too simple to perceive
The serpent stealing on me in the dar2.
"r else too 0ea2 to scotch it 0hen I sa0.
This thou art 0itless see2ing to possess
/ithout a follo0ing or friends the cro0n.
A pri5e that follo0ers and 0ealth must 0in.
C&#"( Attend me. Thou hast spo2en. ;tis my turn
To ma2e reply. Then having heard me. <udge.
"#!IP$S Thou art glib of tongue. but I am slo0 to learn
"f thee6 I 2no0 too 0ell thy venomous hate.
C&#"( First I 0ould argue out this very point.
"#!IP$S " argue not that thou art not a rogue.
C&#"( If thou dost count a virtue stubbornness.
$nschooled by reason. thou art much astray.
"#!IP$S If thou dost hold a 2insman may be 0ronged.
And no pains follo0. thou art much to see2.
C&#"( Therein thou <udgest rightly. but this 0rong
That thou allegesttell me 0hat it is.
"#!IP$S !idst thou or didst thou not advise that I
Should call the priest1
C&#"( 7es. and I stand to it.
"#!IP$S Tell me ho0 long is it since *aius...
C&#"( Since *aius...1 I follo0 not thy drift.
"#!IP$S )y violent hands 0as spirited a0ay.
C&#"( In the dim past. a many years agone.
"#!IP$S !id the same prophet then pursue his craft1
C&#"( 7es. s2illed as no0 and in no less repute.
"#!IP$S !id he at that time ever glance at me1
C&#"( (ot to my 2no0ledge. not 0hen I 0as by.
"#!IP$S )ut 0as no search and in>uisition made1
C&#"( Surely full >uest 0as made. but nothing learnt.
"#!IP$S /hy failed the seer to tell his story then1
C&#"( I 2no0 not. and not 2no0ing hold my tongue.
"#!IP$S This much thou 2no0est and canst surely tell.
C&#"( /hat;s mean;st thou1 All I 2no0 I 0ill declare.
"#!IP$S )ut for thy prompting never had the seer
Ascribed to me the death of *aius.
C&#"( If so he thou 2no0est best6 but I
/ould put thee to the >uestion in my turn.
"#!IP$S Cuestion and prove me murderer if thou canst.
C&#"( Then let me as2 thee. didst thou 0ed my sister1
"#!IP$S A fact so plain I cannot 0ell deny.
C&#"( And as thy consort >ueen she shares the throne1
"#!IP$S I grant her freely all her heart desires.
C&#"( And 0ith you t0ain I share the triple rule1
"#!IP$S 7ea. and it is that proves thee a false friend.
"REO# #ot so! if thou wouldst reason with thyself!
As I 0ith myself. First. I bid thee thin2.
/ould any mortal choose a troubled reign
"f terrors rather than secure repose.
If the same po0er 0ere given him1 As for me.
I have no natural craving for the name
"f 2ing. preferring to do 2ingly deeds.
And so thin2s every soberminded man.
(o0 all my needs are satisfied through thee.
And I have naught to fear6 but 0ere I 2ing.
,y acts 0ould oft run counter to my 0ill.
%o0 could a title then have charms for me
Above the s0eets of boundless influence1
I am not so infatuate as to grasp
The shado0 0hen I hold the substance fast.
(o0 all men cry me -odspeed3 0ish me 0ell.
And every suitor see2s to gain my ear.
If he 0ould hope to 0in a grace from thee.
/hy should I leave the better. choose the 0orse1
That 0ere sheer madness. and I am not mad.
(o such ambition ever tempted me.
(or 0ould I have a share in such intrigue.
And if thou doubt me. first to !elphi go.
There ascertain if my report 0as true
"f the god;s ans0er6 ne4t investigate
If 0ith the seer I plotted or conspired.
And if it prove so. sentence me to death.
(ot by thy voice alone. but mine and thine.
)ut " condemn me not. 0ithout appeal.
"n bare suspicion. ;Tis not right to ad<udge
)ad men at random good. or good men bad.
I 0ould as lief a man should cast a0ay
The thing he counts most precious. his o0n life.
As spurn a true friend. Thou 0ilt learn in time
The truth. for time alone reveals the <ust6
A villain is detected in a day.
C%"&$S To one 0ho 0al2eth 0arily his 0ords
Commend themselves6 s0ift counsels are not sure.
"#!IP$S /hen 0ith s0ift strides the stealthy plotter stal2s
I must be >uic2 too 0ith my counterplot.
To 0ait his onset passively. for him
Is sure success. for me assured defeat.
C&#"( /hat then;s thy 0ill1 To banish me the land1
"#!IP$S I 0ould not have thee banished. no. but dead.
That men may mar2 the 0ages envy reaps.
C&#"( I see thou 0ilt not yield. nor credit me.
"#!IP$S (one but a fool 0ould credit such as thou.
C&#"( Thou art not 0ise.
"#!IP$S /ise for myself at least.
C&#"( /hy not for me too1
"#!IP$S /hy for such a 2nave1
C&#"( Suppose thou lac2est sense.
"#!IP$S 7et 2ings must rule.
C&#"( (ot if they rule ill.
"#!IP$S "h my Thebans. hear him3
C&#"( Thy Thebans1 am not I a Theban too1
C%"&$S Cease. princes6 lo there comes. and none too soon.
+ocasta from the palace. /ho so fit
As peacema2er to reconcile your feud1 9#nter +"CASTA.:
+"CASTA ,isguided princes. 0hy have ye upraised
This 0ordy 0rangle1 Are ye not ashamed.
/hile the 0hole land lies stri2en. thus to voice
7our private in<uries1 -o in. my lord6
-o home. my brother. and forebear to ma2e
A public scandal of a petty grief.
C&#"( ,y royal sister. "edipus. thy lord.
%ath bid me choose 9" dread alternative3:
An outla0;s e4ile or a felon;s death.
"#!IP$S 7es. lady6 I have caught him practicing
Against my royal person his vile arts.
C&#"( ,ay I ne;er speed but die accursed. if I
In any 0ay am guilty of this charge.
+"CASTA )elieve him. I ad<ure thee. "edipus.
First for his solemn oath;s sa2e. then for mine.
And for thine elders; sa2e 0ho 0ait on thee.
C%"&$S 9strophe ?:
%ear2en. 8ing. reflect. 0e pray thee. but not stubborn but relent.
"#!IP$S Say to 0hat should I consent1
C%"&$S &espect a man 0hose probity and troth
Are 2no0n to all and no0 confirmed by oath.
"#!IP$S !ost 2no0 0hat grace thou cravest1
C%"&$S 7ea. I 2no0.
"#!IP$S !eclare it then and ma2e thy meaning plain.
C%"&$S )rand not a friend 0hom babbling tongues assail6
*et not suspicion ;gainst his oath prevail.
"#!IP$S )ethin2 you that in see2ing this ye see2
In very sooth my death or banishment1
C%"&$S (o. by the leader of the host divine3
9strophe @:
/itness. thou Sun. such thought 0as never mine.
$nblest. unfriended may I perish.
If ever I such 0ish did cherish3
)ut " my heart is desolate
,using on our stri2en State.
!oubly fall;n should discord gro0
T0i4t you t0ain. to cro0n our 0oe.
"#!IP$S /ell. let him go. no matter 0hat it cost me.
"r certain death or shameful banishment.
For your sa2e I relent. not his6 and him.
/here;er he be. my heart shall still abhor.
C&#"( Thou art as sullen in thy yielding mood
As in thine anger thou 0ast truculent.
Such tempers <ustly plague themselves the most.
"#!IP$S *eave me in peace and get thee gone.
C&#"( I go.
)y thee mis<udged. but <ustified by these. 9#4eunt C&#"(.:
C%"&$S 9antistrophe ?:
*ady. lead indoors thy consort6 0herefore longer here delay1
+"CASTA Tell me first ho0 rose the fray.
C%"&$S &umors bred un<ust suspicious and in<ustice ran2les sore.
+"CASTA /ere both at fault1
C%"&$S )oth.
+"CASTA /hat 0as the tale1
C%"&$S As2 me no more. The land is sore distressed6 ;T0ere better
sleeping ills to leave at rest.
"#!IP$S Strange counsel. friend3 I 2no0 thou mean;st me 0ell.
And yet 0ould;st mitigate and blunt my 5eal.
C%"&$S 9antistrophe @:
8ing. I say it once again.
/itless 0ere I proved. insane.
If I lightly put a0ay
Thee my country;s prop and stay.
Pilot 0ho. in danger sought.
To a >uiet haven brought
"ur distracted State6 and no0
/ho can guide us right but thou1
+"CASTA *et me too. I ad<ure thee. 2no0. " 2ing.
/hat cause has stirred this unrelenting 0rath.
"#!IP$S I 0ill. for thou art more to me than these.
*ady. the cause is Creon and his plots.
+"CASTA )ut 0hat provo2ed the >uarrel1 ma2e this clear.
"#!IP$S %e points me out as *aius; murderer.
+"CASTA "f his o0n 2no0ledge or upon report1
"#!IP$S %e is too cunning to commit himself.
And ma2es a mouthpiece of a 2navish seer.
+"CASTA Then thou mayest ease thy conscience on that score.
*isten and I;ll convince thee that no man
%ath scot or lot in the prophetic art.
%ere is the proof in brief. An oracle
"nce came to *aius 9I 0ill not say
;T0as from the !elphic god himself. but from
%is ministers: declaring he 0as doomed
To perish by the hand of his o0n son.
A child that should be born to him by me.
#ow $aius%%so at least report affirmed%%
Was murdered on a day y highwaymen!
(o natives. at a spot 0here three roads meet.
As for the child. it 0as but three days old.
When $aius! its an&les pierced and pinned
Together. gave it to be cast a0ay
)y others on the trac2less mountain side.
So then Apollo brought it not to pass
The child should be his father;s murderer.
"r the dread terror find accomplishment.
And *aius be slain by his o0n son.
Such 0as the prophet;s horoscope. " 2ing.
&egard it not. /hate;er the god deems fit
To search. himself unaided 0ill reveal.
"#!IP$S /hat memories. 0hat 0ild tumult of the soul
Came o;er me. lady. as I heard thee spea23
+"CASTA /hat mean;st thou1 /hat has shoc2ed and startled thee1
"#!IP$S ,ethought I heard thee say that *aius
/as murdered at the meeting of three roads.
+"CASTA So ran the story that is current still.
"#!IP$S /here did this happen1 !ost thou 2no0 the place1
+"CASTA Phocis the land is called6 the spot is 0here
)ranch roads from !elphi and from !aulis meet.
"#!IP$S And ho0 long is it since these things befell1
+"CASTA ;T0as but a brief 0hile 0ere thou 0ast proclaimed
"ur country;s ruler that the ne0s 0as brought.
"#!IP$S " 'eus. 0hat hast thou 0illed to do 0ith me3
+"CASTA /hat is it. "edipus. that moves thee so1
"#!IP$S As2 me not yet6 tell me the build and height
"f *aius1 /as he still in manhood;s prime1
+"CASTA Tall 0as he. and his hair 0as lightly stre0n
/ith silver6 and not unli2e thee in form.
"#!IP$S " 0oe is me3 ,ehtin2s un0ittingly
I laid but no0 a dread curse on myself.
+"CASTA /hat say;st thou1 /hen I loo2 upon thee. my 2ing.
I tremble.
"#!IP$S ;Tis a dread presentiment
That in the end the seer 0ill prove not blind.
"ne further >uestion to resolve my doubt.
+"CASTA I >uail6 but as2. and I 0ill ans0er all.
"#!IP$S %ad he but fe0 attendants or a train
"f armed retainers 0ith him. li2e a prince1
+"CASTA They 0ere but five in all. and one of them
A herald6 *aius in a mulecar rode.
"#!IP$S Alas3 ;tis clear as noonday no0. )ut say.
*ady. 0ho carried this report to Thebes1
+"CASTA A serf. the sole survivor 0ho returned.
"#!IP$S %aply he is at hand or in the house1
+"CASTA (o. for as soon as he returned and found
Thee reigning in the stead of *aius slain.
%e clasped my hand and supplicated me
To send him to the alps and pastures. 0here
%e might be farthest from the sight of Thebes.
And so I sent him. ;T0as an honest slave
And 0ell deserved some better recompense.
"#!IP$S Fetch him at once. I fain 0ould see the man.
+"CASTA %e shall be brought6 but 0herefore summon him1
"#!IP$S *ady. I fear my tongue has overrun
!iscretion6 therefore I 0ould >uestion him.
+"CASTA /ell. he shall come. but may not I too claim
To share the burden of thy heart. my 2ing1
"#!IP$S And thou shalt not be frustrate of thy 0ish.
(o0 my imaginings have gone so far.
/ho has a higher claim that thou to hear
,y tale of dire adventures1 *isten then.
,y sire 0as Polybus of Corinth. and
,y mother ,erope. a !orian6
And I 0as held the foremost citi5en.
Till a strange thing befell me. strange indeed.
7et scarce deserving all the heat it stirred.
A roisterer at some ban>uet. flo0n 0ith 0ine.
Shouted =Thou art not true son of thy sire.=
It ir2ed me. but I stomached for the nonce
The insult6 on the morro0 I sought out
,y mother and my sire and >uestioned them.
They 0ere indignant at the random slur
Cast on my parentage and did their best
To comfort me. but still the venomed barb
&an2led. for still the scandal spread and gre0.
So privily 0ithout their leave I 0ent
To !elphi. and Apollo sent me bac2
)aul2ed of the 2no0ledge that I came to see2.
)ut other grievous things he prophesied.
/oes. lamentations. mourning. portents dire6
To 0it I should defile my mother;s bed
And raise up seed too loathsome to behold.
And slay the father from 0hose loins I sprang.
Then. lady.thou shalt hear the very truth
As I dre0 near the triplebranching roads.
A herald met me and a man 0ho sat
In a car dra0n by coltsas in thy tale
The man in front and the old man himself
Threatened to thrust me rudely from the path.
Then <ostled by the charioteer in 0rath
I struc2 him. and the old man. seeing this.
/atched till I passed and from his car brought do0n
Full on my head the doublepointed goad.
7et 0as I >uits 0ith him and more6 one stro2e
"f my good staff sufficed to fling him clean
"ut of the chariot seat and laid him prone.
And so I sle0 them every one. )ut if
)et0i4t this stranger there 0as aught in common
/ith *aius. 0ho more miserable than I.
/hat mortal could you find more godabhorred1
/retch 0hom no so<ourner. no citi5en
,ay harbor or address. 0hom all are bound
To harry from their homes. And this same curse
/as laid on me. and laid by none but me.
7ea 0ith these hands all gory I pollute
The bed of him I sle0. Say. am I vile1
Am I not utterly unclean. a 0retch
!oomed to be banished. and in banishment
Forgo the sight of all my dearest ones.
And never tread again my native earth6
"r else to 0ed my mother and slay my sire.
Polybus. 0ho begat me and upreared1
If one should say. this is the handi0or2
"f some inhuman po0er. 0ho could blame
%is <udgment1 )ut. ye pure and a0ful gods.
Forbid. forbid that I should see that day3
,ay I be blotted out from living men
#re such a plague spot set on me its brand3
C%"&$S /e too. " 2ing. are troubled6 but till thou
%ast >uestioned the survivor. still hope on.
"#!IP$S ,y hope is faint. but still enough survives
To bid me bide the coming of this herd.
+"CASTA Suppose him here. 0hat 0ouldst thou learn of him1
"#!IP$S I;ll tell thee. lady6 if his tale agrees
/ith thine. I shall have ;scaped calamity.
+"CASTA And 0hat of special import did I say1
"#!IP$S In thy report of 0hat the herdsman said
*aius 0as slain by robbers6 no0 if he
Still spea2s of robbers. not a robber. I
Sle0 him not6 =one= 0ith =many= cannot s>uare.
)ut if he says one lonely 0ayfarer.
The last lin2 0anting to my guilt is forged.
+"CASTA /ell. rest assured. his tale ran thus at first.
(or can he no0 retract 0hat then he said6
(ot I alone but all our to0nsfol2 heard it.
#;en should he vary some0hat in his story.
%e cannot ma2e the death of *aius
In any 0ise <ump 0ith the oracle.
For *o4ias said e4pressly he 0as doomed
To die by my child;s hand. but he. poor babe.
%e shed no blood. but perished first himself.
So much for divination. %enceforth I
/ill loo2 for signs neither to right nor left.
"#!IP$S Thou reasonest 0ell. Still I 0ould have thee send
And fetch the bondsman hither. See to it.
+"CASTA That 0ill I straight0ay. Come. let us 0ithin.
I 0ould do nothing that my lord misli2es. 9#4eunt "#!IP$S and +"CASTA.:
C%"&$S 9strophe ?:
,y lot be still to lead
The life of innocence and fly
Irreverence in 0ord or deed.
To follo0 still those la0s ordained on high
/hose birthplace is the bright ethereal s2y
(o mortal birth they o0n.
"lympus their progenitor alone:
(e;er shall they slumber in oblivion cold.
The god in them is strong and gro0s not old.
9antistrophe ?:
"f insolence is bred
The tyrant6 insolence full blo0n.
/ith empty riches surfeited.
Scales the precipitous height and grasps the throne.
Then topples o;er and lies in ruin prone6
(o foothold on that di55y steep.
)ut " may %eaven the true patriot 2eep
/ho burns 0ith emulous 5eal to serve the State.
-od is my help and hope. on him I 0ait.
9strophe @:
)ut the proud sinner. or in 0ord or deed.
That 0ill not +ustice heed.
(or reverence the shrine
"f images divine.
Perdition sei5e his vain imaginings.
If. urged by greed profane.
%e grasps at illgot gain.
And lays an impious hand on holiest things.
/ho 0hen such deeds are done
Can hope heaven;s bolts to shun1
If sin li2e this to honor can aspire.
/hy dance I still and lead the sacred choir1
9antistrophe @:
(o more I;ll see2 earth;s central oracle.
"r Abae;s hallo0ed cell.
(or to "lympia bring
,y votive offering.
If before all -od;s truth be not bade plain.
" 'eus. reveal thy might.
8ing. if thou;rt named aright
"mnipotent. allseeing. as of old6
For *aius is forgot6
%is 0eird. men heed it not6
Apollo is forsoo2 and faith gro0s cold. 9#nter +"CASTA.:
+"CASTA ,y lords. ye loo2 ama5ed to see your >ueen
/ith 0reaths and gifts of incense in her hands.
I had a mind to visit the high shrines.
For "edipus is over0rought. alarmed
/ith terrors manifold. %e 0ill not use
%is past e4perience. li2e a man of sense.
To <udge the present need. but lends an ear
To any croa2er if he augurs ill.
Since then my counsels naught avail. I turn
To thee. our present help in time of trouble.
Apollo. *ord *ycean. and to thee
,y prayers and supplications here I bring.
*ighten us. lord. and cleanse us from this curse3
For no0 0e all are co0ed li2e mariners
/ho see their helmsman dumbstruc2 in the storm. 9#nter Corinthian
,#SS#(-#&.:
,#SS#(-#& ,y masters. tell me 0here the palace is
"f "edipus6 or better. 0here;s the 2ing.
C%"&$S %ere is the palace and he bides 0ithin6
This is his >ueen the mother of his children.
,#SS#(-#& All happiness attend her and the house.
)lessed is her husband and her marriagebed.
+"CASTA ,y greetings to thee. stranger6 thy fair 0ords
!eserve a li2e response. )ut tell me 0hy
Thou comest0hat thy need or 0hat thy ne0s.
,#SS#(-#& -ood for thy consort and the royal house.
+"CASTA /hat may it be1 /hose messenger art thou1
,#SS#(-#& The Isthmian commons have resolved to ma2e
Thy husband 2ingso ;t0as reported there.
+"CASTA /hat3 is not aged Polybus still 2ing1
,#SS#(-#& (o. verily6 he;s dead and in his grave.
+"CASTA /hat3 is he dead. the sire of "edipus1
,#SS#(-#& If I spea2 falsely. may I die myself.
+"CASTA Cuic2. maiden. bear these tidings to my lord.
7e godsent oracles. 0here stand ye no03
This is the man 0hom "edipus long shunned.
In dread to prove his murderer6 and no0
%e dies in nature;s course. not by his hand. 9#nter "#!IP$S.:
"#!IP$S ,y 0ife. my >ueen. +ocasta. 0hy hast thou
Summoned me from my palace1
+"CASTA %ear this man.
And as thou hearest <udge 0hat has become
"f all those a0einspiring oracles.
"#!IP$S /ho is this man. and 0hat his ne0s for me1
+"CASTA %e comes from Corinth and his message this:
Thy father Polybus hath passed a0ay.
"#!IP$S /hat1 let me have it. stranger. from thy mouth.
,#SS#(-#& If I must first ma2e plain beyond a doubt
,y message. 2no0 that Polybus is dead.
"#!IP$S )y treachery. or by sic2ness visited1
,#SS#(-#& "ne touch 0ill send an old man to his rest.
"#!IP$S So of some malady he died. poor man.
,#SS#(-#& 7es. having measured the full span of years.
"#!IP$S "ut on it. lady3 0hy should one regard
The Pythian hearth or birds that scream i; the air1
!id they not point at me as doomed to slay
,y father1 but he;s dead and in his grave
And here am I 0ho ne;er unsheathed a s0ord6
$nless the longing for his absent son
8illed him and so I sle0 him in a sense.
)ut. as they stand. the oracles are dead
!ust. ashes. nothing. dead as Polybus.
+"CASTA Say. did not I foretell this long ago1
"#!IP$S Thou didst: but I 0as misled by my fear.
+"CASTA Then let I no more 0eigh upon thy soul.
"#!IP$S ,ust I not fear my mother;s marriage bed.
+"CASTA /hy should a mortal man. the sport of chance.
/ith no assured fore2no0ledge. be afraid1
)est live a careless life from hand to mouth.
This 0edloc2 0ith thy mother fear not thou.
%o0 oft it chances that in dreams a man
%as 0ed his mother3 %e 0ho least regards
Such brainsic2 phantasies lives most at ease.
"#!IP$S I should have shared in full thy confidence.
/ere not my mother living6 since she lives
Though half convinced I still must live in dread.
+"CASTA And yet thy sire;s death lights out dar2ness much.
"#!IP$S ,uch. but my fear is touching her 0ho lives.
,#SS#(-#& /ho may this 0oman be 0hom thus you fear1
"#!IP$S ,erope. stranger. 0ife of Polybus.
,#SS#(-#& And 0hat of her can cause you any fear1
"#!IP$S A heavensent oracle of dread import.
,#SS#(-#& A mystery. or may a stranger hear it1
"#!IP$S Aye. ;tis no secret. *o4ias once foretold
That I should mate 0ith mine o0n mother. and shed
/ith my o0n hands the blood of my o0n sire.
%ence Corinth 0as for many a year to me
A home distant6 and I trove abroad.
)ut missed the s0eetest sight. my parents; face.
,#SS#(-#& /as this the fear that e4iled thee from home1
"#!IP$S 7ea. and the dread of slaying my o0n sire.
,#SS#(-#& /hy. since I came to give thee pleasure. 8ing.
%ave I not rid thee of this second fear1
"#!IP$S /ell. thou shalt have due guerdon for thy pains.
,#SS#(-#& /ell. I confess 0hat chiefly made me come
/as hope to profit by thy coming home.
"#!IP$S (ay. I 0ill ne;er go near my parents more.
,#SS#(-#& ,y son. ;tis plain. thou 2no0;st not 0hat thou doest.
"#!IP$S %o0 so. old man1 For heaven;s sa2e tell me all.
,#SS#(-#& If this is 0hy thou dreadest to return.
"#!IP$S 7ea. lest the god;s 0ord be fulfilled in me.
,#SS#(-#& *est through thy parents thou shouldst be accursed1
"#!IP$S This and none other is my constant dread.
,#SS#(-#& !ost thou not 2no0 thy fears are baseless all1
"#!IP$S %o0 baseless. if I am their very son1
,#SS#(-#& Since Polybus 0as naught to thee in blood.
"#!IP$S /hat say;st thou1 0as not Polybus my sire1
'ESSE#(ER As much thy
sire as I am! and no more.
"#!IP$S ,y sire no more to me than one 0ho is naught1
,#SS#(-#& Since I begat thee not. no more did he.
"#!IP$S /hat reason had he then to call me son1
,#SS#(-#& 8no0 that he too2 thee from my hands. a gift.
"#!IP$S 7et. if no child of his. he loved me 0ell.
,#SS#(-#& A childless man till then. he 0armed to thee.
"#!IP$S A foundling or a purchased slave. this child1
,#SS#(-#& I found thee in Cithaeron;s 0ooded glens.
"#!IP$S /hat led thee to e4plore those upland glades1
,#SS#(-#& ,y business 0as to tend the mountain floc2s.
"#!IP$S A vagrant shepherd <ourneying for hire1
,#SS#(-#& True. but thy savior in that hour. my son.
"#!IP$S ,y savior1 from 0hat harm1 0hat ailed me then1
,#SS#(-#& Those an2le <oints are evidence eno0.
"#!IP$S Ah. 0hy remind me of that ancient sore1
,#SS#(-#& I loosed the pin that riveted thy feet.
"#!IP$S 7es. from my cradle that dread brand I bore.
,#SS#(-#& /hence thou deriv;st the name that still is thine.
"#!IP$S /ho did it1 I ad<ure thee. tell me 0ho
Say. 0as it father. mother1
,#SS#(-#& I 2no0 not.
The man from 0hom I had thee may 2no0 more.
"#!IP$S /hat. did another find me. not thyself1
,#SS#(-#& (ot I6 another shepherd gave thee me.
"#!IP$S /ho 0as he1 /ould;st thou 2no0 again the man1
,#SS#(-#& %e passed indeed for one of *aius; house.
"#!IP$S The 2ing 0ho ruled the country long ago1
,#SS#(-#& The same: he 0as a herdsman of the 2ing.
"#!IP$S And is he living still for me to see him1
,#SS#(-#& %is fello0countrymen should best 2no0 that.
"#!IP$S !oth any bystander among you 2no0
The herd he spea2s of. or by seeing him
Afield or in the city1 ans0er straight3
The hour hath come to clear this business up.
C%"&$S ,ethin2s he means none other than the hind
/hom thou anon 0ert fain to see6 but that
"ur >ueen +ocasta best of all could tell.
"#!IP$S ,adam. dost 2no0 the man 0e sent to fetch1
Is the same of 0hom the stranger spea2s1
+"CASTA /ho is the man1 /hat matter1 *et it be.
;T0ere 0aste of thought to 0eigh such idle 0ords.
"#!IP$S (o. 0ith such guiding clues I cannot fail
To bring to light the secret of my birth.
+"CASTA "h. as thou carest for thy life. give o;er
This >uest. #nough the anguish I endure.
"#!IP$S )e of good cheer6 though I be proved the son
"f a bond0oman. aye. through three descents
Triply a slave. thy honor is unsmirched.
+"CASTA 7et humor me. I pray thee6 do not this.
"#!IP$S I cannot6 I must probe this matter home.
+"CASTA ;Tis for thy sa2e I advise thee for the best.
"#!IP$S I gro0 impatient of this best advice.
+"CASTA Ah mayst thou ne;er discover 0ho thou art3
"#!IP$S -o. fetch me here the herd. and leave yon 0oman
To glory in her pride of ancestry.
+"CASTA " 0oe is thee. poor 0retch3 /ith that last 0ord
I leave thee. henceforth silent evermore. 9#4it +"CASTA.:
C%"&$S /hy. "edipus. 0hy stung 0ith passionate grief
%ath the >ueen thus departed1 ,uch I fear
From this dead calm 0ill burst a storm of 0oes.
"#!IP$S *et the storm burst. my fi4ed resolve still holds.
To learn my lineage. be it ne;er so lo0.
It may be she 0ith all a 0oman;s pride
Thin2s scorn of my base parentage. )ut I
/ho ran2 myself as Fortune;s favorite child.
The giver of good gifts. shall not be shamed.
She is my mother and the changing moons
,y brethren. and 0ith them I 0a4 and 0ane.
Thus sprung 0hy should I fear to trace my birth1
(othing can ma2e me other than I am.
C%"&$S 9strophe:
If my soul prophetic err not. if my 0isdom aught avail.
Thee. Cithaeron. I shall hail.
As the nurse and fostermother of our "edipus shall greet
#re tomorro0;s full moon rises. and e4alt thee as is meet.
!ance and song shall hymn thy praises. lover of our royal race.
Phoebus. may my 0ords find grace3
9antistrophe:
Child. 0ho bare thee. nymph or goddess1 sure thy sure 0as more than
man.
%aply the hillroamer Pan.
"f did *o4ias beget thee. for he haunts the upland 0old6
"r Cyllene;s lord. or )acchus. d0eller on the hilltops cold1
!id some %eliconian "read give him thee. a ne0born <oy1
(ymphs 0ith 0hom he love to toy1
"#!IP$S #lders. if I. 0ho never yet before
%ave met the man. may ma2e a guess. methin2s
I see the herdsman 0ho 0e long have sought6
%is time0orn aspect matches 0ith the years
"f yonder aged messenger6 besides
I seem to recogni5e the men 0ho bring him
As servants of my o0n. )ut you. perchance.
%aving in past days 2no0n or seen the herd.
,ay better by sure 2no0ledge my surmise.
C%"&$S I recogni5e him6 one of *aius; house6
A simple hind. but true as any man. 9#nter %#&!S,A(.:
"#!IP$S Corinthian. stranger. I address thee first.
Is this the man thou meanest3
,#SS#(-#& This is he.
"#!IP$S And no0 old man. loo2 up and ans0er all
I as2 thee. /ast thou once of *aius; house1
%#&!S,A( I 0as. a thrall. not purchased but homebred.
"#!IP$S /hat 0as thy business1 ho0 0ast thou employed1
%#&!S,A( The best part of my life I tended sheep.
"#!IP$S /hat 0ere the pastures thou didst most fre>uent1
%#&!S,A( Cithaeron and the neighboring alps.
"#!IP$S Then there
Thou must have 2no0n yon man. at least by fame1
%#&!S,A( 7on man1 in 0hat 0ay1 0hat man dost thou mean1
"#!IP$S The man here. having met him in past times...
%#&!S,A( "ffhand I cannot call him 0ell to mind.
,#SS#(-#& (o 0onder. master. )ut I 0ill revive
%is blunted memories. Sure he can recall
/hat time together both 0e drove our floc2s.
%e t0o. I one. on the Cithaeron range.
For three long summers6 I his mate from spring
Till rose Arcturus6 then in 0inter time
I led mine home. he his to *aius; folds.
!id these things happen as I say. or no1
%#&!S,A( ;Tis long ago. but all thou say;st is true.
,#SS#(-#& /ell. thou mast then remember giving me
A child to rear as my o0n fosterson1
%#&!S,A( /hy dost thou as2 this >uestion1 /hat of that1
,#SS#(-#& Friend. he that stands before thee 0as that child.
%#&!S,A( A plague upon thee3 %old thy 0anton tongue3
"#!IP$S Softly. old man. rebu2e him not6 thy 0ords
Are more deserving chastisement than his.
%#&!S,A( " best of masters. 0hat is my offense1
"#!IP$S (ot ans0ering 0hat he as2s about the child.
%#&!S,A( %e spea2s at random. babbles li2e a fool.
"#!IP$S If thou lac2;st grace to spea2. I;ll loose thy tongue.
%#&!S,A( For mercy;s sa2e abuse not an old man.
"#!IP$S Arrest the villain. sei5e and pinion him3
%#&!S,A( Alac2. alac23
/hat have I done1 0hat 0ouldst thou further learn1
"#!IP$S !idst give this man the child of 0hom he as2s1
%#&!S,A( I did6 and 0ould that I had died that day3
"#!IP$S And die thou shalt unless thou tell the truth.
%#&!S,A( )ut. if I tell it. I am doubly lost.
"#!IP$S The 2nave methin2s 0ill still prevaricate.
%#&!S,A( (ay. I confessed I gave it long ago.
"#!IP$S /hence came it1 0as it thine. or given to thee1
%#&!S,A( I had it from another. ;t0as not mine.
"#!IP$S From 0hom of these our to0nsmen. and 0hat house1
%#&!S,A( Forbear for -od;s sa2e. master. as2 no more.
"#!IP$S If I must >uestion thee again. thou;rt lost.
%#&!S,A( /ell thenit 0as a child of *aius; house.
"#!IP$S Slaveborn or one of *aius; o0n race1
%#&!S,A( Ah me3
I stand upon the perilous edge of speech.
"#!IP$S And I of hearing. but I still must hear.
%#&!S,A( 8no0 then the child 0as by repute his o0n.
)ut she 0ithin. thy consort best could tell.
"#!IP$S /hat3 she. she gave it thee1
%#&!S,A( ;Tis so. my 2ing.
"#!IP$S /ith 0hat intent1
%#&!S,A( To ma2e a0ay 0ith it.
"#!IP$S /hat. she its mother.
%#&!S,A( Fearing a dread 0eird.
"#!IP$S /hat 0eird1
%#&!S,A( ;T0as told that he should slay his sire.
"#!IP$S /hat didst thou give it then to this old man1
%#&!S,A( Through pity. master. for the babe. I thought
%e;d ta2e it to the country 0hence he came6
)ut he preserved it for the 0orst of 0oes.
For if thou art in sooth 0hat this man saith.
-od pity thee3 thou 0ast to misery born.
OE)I*+S Ah me, ah me, all rought to pass! all true,
O light! may I ehold thee ne-ermore,
I stand a wretch! in irth! in wedloc& cursed!
A parricide! incestuously! triply cursed, .E/it
OE)I*+S.0
C%"&$S 9strophe ?:
&aces of mortal man
/hose life is but a span.
I count ye but the shado0 of a shade3
For he 0ho most doth 2no0
"f bliss. hath but the sho06
A moment. and the visions pale and fade.
Thy fall. " "edipus. thy piteous fall
/arns me none born of 0omen blest to call.
9antistrophe ?:
For he of mar2smen best.
" 'eus. outshot the rest.
And 0on the pri5e supreme of 0ealth and po0er.
)y him the vulture maid
/as >uelled. her 0itchery laid6
%e rose our savior and the land;s strong to0er.
/e hailed thee 2ing and from that day adored
"f mighty Thebes the universal lord.
9strophe @:
" heavy hand of fate3
/ho no0 more desolate.
/hose tale more sad than thine. 0hose lot more dire1
" "edipus. discro0ned head.
Thy cradle 0as thy marriage bed6
"ne harborage sufficed for son and sire.
%o0 could the soil thy father eared so long
#ndure to bear in silence such a 0rong1
9antistrophe @:
Allseeing Time hath caught
-uilt. and to <ustice brought
The son and sire commingled in one bed.
" child of *aius; illstarred race
/ould I had ne;er beheld thy face6
I raise for thee a dirge as o;er the dead.
7et. sooth to say. through thee I dre0 ne0 breath.
And no0 through thee I feel a second death. 9#nter S#C"(! ,#SS#(-#&.:
S#C"(! ,#SS#(-#& ,ost grave and reverend senators of Thebes.
/hat !eeds ye soon must hear. 0hat sights behold
%o0 0ill ye mourn. if. trueborn patriots.
7e reverence still the race of *abdacus3
(ot Ister nor all Phasis; flood. I 0een.
Could 0ash a0ay the bloodstains from this house.
The ills it shrouds or soon 0ill bring to light.
Ills 0rought of malice. not un0ittingly.
The 0orst to bear are selfinflicted 0ounds.
C%"&$S -rievous enough for all our tears and groans
"ur past calamities6 0hat canst thou add1
SE"O#) 'ESSE#(ER 'y tale is 1uic&ly told and 1uic&ly
heard.
Our so-ereign lady 1ueen 2ocasta3s dead.
C%"&$S Alas. poor >ueen3 ho0 came she by her death1
S#C"(! ,#SS#(-#& )y her o0n hand. And all the horror of it.
(ot having seen. yet cannot comprehend.
(athless. as far as my poor memory serves.
I 0ill relate the unhappy lady;s 0oe.
/hen in her fren5y she had passed inside
The vestibule. she hurried straight to 0in
The bridalchamber. clutching at her hair
/ith both her hands. and. once 0ithin the room.
She shut the doors behind her 0ith a crash.
=*aius.= she cried. and called her husband dead
*ong. long ago6 her thought 0as of that child
)y him begot. the son by 0hom the sire
/as murdered and the mother left to breed
/ith her o0n seed. a monstrous progeny.
Then she be0ailed the marriage bed 0hereon
Poor 0retch. she had conceived a double brood.
%usband by husband. children by her child.
/hat happened after that I cannot tell.
(or ho0 the end befell. for 0ith a shrie2
)urst on us "edipus6 all eyes 0ere fi4ed
"n "edipus. as up and do0n he strode.
(or could 0e mar2 her agony to the end.
For stal2ing to and fro =A s0ord3= he cried.
=/here is the 0ife. no 0ife. the teeming 0omb
That bore a double harvest. me and mine1=
And in his fren5y some supernal po0er
9(o mortal. surely. none of us 0ho 0atched him:
-uided his footsteps6 0ith a terrible shrie2.
As though one bec2oned him. he crashed against
The folding doors. and from their staples forced
The 0renched bolts and hurled himself 0ithin.
Then 0e beheld the 0oman hanging there.
A running noose ent0ined about her nec2.
)ut 0hen he sa0 her. 0ith a maddened roar
%e loosed the cord6 and 0hen her 0retched corpse
*ay stretched on earth. 0hat follo0ed" ;t0as dread3
%e tore the golden brooches that upheld
%er >ueenly robes. upraised them high and smote
Full on his eyeballs. uttering 0ords li2e these:
=(o more shall ye behold such sights of 0oe.
!eeds I have suffered and myself have 0rought6
%encefor0ard >uenched in dar2ness shall ye see
Those ye should ne;er have seen6 no0 blind to those
/hom. 0hen I sa0. I vainly yearned to 2no0.=
Such 0as the burden of his moan. 0hereto.
(ot once but oft. he struc2 0ith his hand uplift
%is eyes. and at each stro2e the ensanguined orbs
)ede0ed his beard. not oo5ing drop by drop.
)ut one blac2 gory do0npour. thic2 as hail.
Such evils. issuing from the double source.
%ave 0helmed them both. confounding man and 0ife.
Till no0 the storied fortune of this house
/as fortunate indeed6 but from this day
/oe. lamentation. ruin. death. disgrace.
All ills that can be named. all. all are theirs.
C%"&$S )ut hath he still no respite from his pain1
S#C"(! ,#SS#(-#& %e cries. =$nbar the doors and let all Thebes
)ehold the slayer of his sire. his mother;s=
That shameful 0ord my lips may not repeat.
%e vo0s to fly selfbanished from the land.
(or stay to bring upon his house the curse
%imself had uttered6 but he has no strength
(or one to guide him. and his torture;s more
Than man can suffer. as yourselves 0ill see.
For lo. the palace portals are unbarred.
And soon ye shall behold a sight so sad
That he 0ho must abhorred 0ould pity it. 9#nter "#!IP$S blinded.:
C%"&$S /oeful sight3 more 0oeful none
These sad eyes have loo2ed upon.
/hence this madness1 (one can tell
/ho did cast on thee his spell. pro0ling all thy life around.
*eaping 0ith a demon bound.
%apless 0retch3 ho0 can I broo2
"n thy misery to loo21
Though to ga5e on thee I yearn.
,uch to >uestion. much to learn.
%orrorstruc2 a0ay I turn.
"#!IP$S Ah me3 ah 0oe is me3
Ah 0hither am I borne3
%o0 li2e a ghost forlorn
,y voice flits from me on the air3
"n. on the demon goads. The end. ah 0here1
C%"&$S An end too dread to tell. too dar2 to see.
"#!IP$S 9strophe ?:
!ar2. dar23 The horror of dar2ness. li2e a shroud.
/raps me and bears me on through mist and cloud.
Ah me. ah me3 /hat spasms ath0art me shoot.
/hat pangs of agoni5ing memory1
C%"&$S (o marvel if in such a plight thou feel;st
The double 0eight of past and present 0oes.
"#!IP$S 9antistrophe ?:
Ah friend. still loyal. constant still and 2ind.
Thou carest for the blind.
I 2no0 thee near. and though bereft of eyes.
Thy voice I recogni5e.
C%"&$S " doer of dread deeds. ho0 couldst thou mar
Thy vision thus1 /hat demon goaded thee1
"#!IP$S 9strophe @:
Apollo. friend. Apollo. he it 0as
That brought these ills to pass6
)ut the right hand that dealt the blo0
/as mine. none other. %o0.
%o0. could I longer see 0hen sight
)rought no delight1
C%"&$S Alas3 ;tis as thou sayest.
"#!IP$S Say. friends. can any loo2 or voice
"r touch of love henceforth my heart re<oice1
%aste. friends. no fond delay.
Ta2e the t0ice cursed a0ay
Far from all 2en.
The man abhorred of gods. accursed of men.
C%"&$S " thy despair 0ell suits thy desperate case.
/ould I had never loo2ed upon thy face3
"#!IP$S 9antistrophe @:
,y curse on him 0hoe;er unrived
The 0aif;s fell fetters and my life revived3
%e meant me 0ell. yet had he left me there.
%e had saved my friends and me a 0orld of care.
C%"&$S I too had 0ished it so.
"#!IP$S Then had I never come to shed
,y father;s blood nor climbed my mother;s bed6
The monstrous offspring of a 0omb defiled.
Comate of him 0ho gendered me. and child.
/as ever man before afflicted thus.
*i2e "edipus.
C%"&$S I cannot say that thou hast counseled 0ell.
For thou 0ert better dead than living blind.
"#!IP$S /hat;s done 0as 0ell done. Thou canst never sha2e
,y firm belief. A truce to argument.
For. had I sight. I 2no0 not 0ith 0hat eyes
I could have met my father in the shades.
"r my poor mother. since against the t0ain
I sinned. a sin no gallo0s could atone.
Aye. but. ye say. the sight of children <oys
A parent;s eyes. /hat. born as mine 0ere born1
(o. such a sight could never bring me <oy6
(or this fair city 0ith its battlements.
Its temples and the statues of its gods.
Sights from 0hich I. no0 0retchedst of all.
"nce ran2ed the foremost Theban in all Thebes.
)y my o0n sentence am cut off. condemned
)y my o0n proclamation ;gainst the 0retch.
The miscreant by heaven itself declared
$ncleanand of the race of *aius.
Thus branded as a felon by myself.
%o0 had I dared to loo2 you in the face1
(ay. had I 2no0n a 0ay to cho2e the springs
"f hearing. I had never shrun2 to ma2e
A dungeon of this miserable frame.
Cut off from sight and hearing6 for ;tis bliss to bide in regions
sorro0 cannot reach.
/hy didst thou harbor me. Cithaeron. 0hy
!idst thou not ta2e and slay me1 Then I never
%ad sho0n to men the secret of my birth.
" Polybus. " Corinth. " my home.
%ome of my ancestors 9so 0ast thou called:
%o0 fair a nursling then I seemed. ho0 foul
The can2er that lay festering in the bud3
(o0 is the blight revealed of root and fruit.
7e triple highroads. and thou hidden glen.
Coppice. and pass 0here meet the threebranched 0ays.
7e dran2 my blood. the lifeblood these hands spilt.
,y father;s6 do ye call to mind perchance
Those deeds of mine ye 0itnessed and the 0or2
I 0rought thereafter 0hen I came to Thebes1
" fatal 0edloc2. thou didst give me birth.
And. having borne me. so0ed again my seed.
,ingling the blood of fathers. brothers. children.
)rides. 0ives and mothers. an incestuous brood.
All horrors that are 0rought beneath the sun.
%orrors so foul to name them 0ere unmeet.
". I ad<ure you. hide me any0here
Far from this land. or slay me straight. or cast me
!o0n to the depths of ocean out of sight.
Come hither. deign to touch an ab<ect 0retch6
!ra0 near and fear not6 I myself must bear
The load of guilt that none but I can share. 9#nter C&#"(.:
C&#"( *o. here is Creon. the one man to grant
Thy prayer by action or advice. for he
Is left the State;s sole guardian in thy stead.
"#!IP$S Ah me3 0hat 0ords to accost him can I find1
/hat cause has he to trust me1 In the past
I have bee proved his rancorous enemy.
C&#"( (ot in derision. "edipus. I come
(or to upbraid thee 0ith thy past misdeeds. 9To )7STA(!#&S.: )ut
shame upon you3 if ye feel no sense
"f human decencies. at least revere
The Sun 0hose light beholds and nurtures all.
*eave not thus na2edly for all to ga5e at
A horror neither earth nor rain from heaven
(or light 0ill suffer. *ead him straight 0ithin.
For it is seemly that a 2insman;s 0oes
)e heard by 2in and seen by 2in alone.
"#!IP$S " listen. since thy presence comes to me
A shoc2 of glad surpriseso noble thou.
And I so vile" grant me one small boon.
I as2 it not on my behalf. but thine.
C&#"( And 0hat the favor thou 0ouldst crave of me1
"#!IP$S Forth from thy borders thrust me 0ith all speed6
Set me 0ithin some vasty desert 0here
(o mortal voice shall greet me any more.
C&#"( This had I done already. but I deemed
It first behooved me to consult the god.
"#!IP$S %is 0ill 0as set forth fullyto destroy
The parricide. the scoundrel6 and I am he.
C&#"( 7ea. so he spa2e. but in our present plight
;T0ere better to consult the god ane0.
"#!IP$S !are ye in>uire concerning such a 0retch1
C&#"( 7ea. for thyself 0ouldst credit no0 his 0ord.
"#!IP$S Aye. and on thee in all humility
I lay this charge: let her 0ho lies 0ithin
&eceive such burial as thou shalt ordain6
Such rites ;tis thine. as brother. to perform.
)ut for myself. " never let my Thebes.
The city of my sires. be doomed to bear
The burden of my presence 0hile I live.
(o. let me be a d0eller on the hills.
"n yonder mount Cithaeron. famed as mine.
,y tomb predestined for me by my sire
And mother. 0hile they lived. that I may die
Slain as they sought to slay me. 0hen alive.
This much I 2no0 full surely. nor disease
Shall end my days. nor any common chance6
For I had ne;er been snatched from death. unless
I 0as predestined to some a0ful doom.
So be it. I rec2 not ho0 Fate deals 0ith me
)ut my unhappy childrenfor my sons
)e not concerned. " Creon. they are men.
And for themselves. 0here;er they be. can fend.
)ut for my daughters t0ain. poor innocent maids.
/ho ever sat beside me at the board
Sharing my viands. drin2ing of my cup.
For them. I pray thee. care. and. if thou 0illst.
" might I feel their touch and ma2e my moan.
%ear me. " prince. my noblehearted prince3
Could I but blindly touch them 0ith my hands
I;d thin2 they still 0ere mine. as 0hen I sa0. 9A(TI-"(# and IS,#(#
are led in.: /hat say I1 can it be my pretty ones
/hose sobs I hear1 %as Creon pitied me
And sent me my two darlings4 "an this e4
C&#"( ;Tis true6 ;t0as I procured thee this delight.
8no0ing the <oy they 0ere to thee of old.
"#!IP$S -od speed thee3 and as meed for bringing them
,ay Providence deal 0ith thee 2indlier
Than it has dealt 0ith me3 " children mine.
/here are ye1 *et me clasp you 0ith these hands.
A brother;s hands. a father;s6 hands that made
*ac2luster soc2ets of his once bright eyes6
%ands of a man 0ho blindly. rec2lessly.
)ecame your sire by her from 0hom he sprang.
Though I cannot behold you. I must 0eep
In thin2ing of the evil days to come.
The slights and 0rongs that men 0ill put upon you.
/here;er ye go to feast or festival.
(o merryma2ing 0ill it prove for you.
)ut oft abashed in tears ye 0ill return.
And 0hen ye come to marriageable years.
/here;s the bold 0ooers 0ho 0ill <eopardi5e
To ta2e unto himself such disrepute
As to my children;s children still must cling.
For 0hat of infamy is lac2ing here1
=Their father sle0 his father. so0ed the seed
/here he himself 0as gendered. and begat
These maidens at the source 0herefrom he sprang.=
Such are the gibes that men 0ill cast at you.
/ho then 0ill 0ed you1 (one. I 0een. but ye
,ust pine. poor maids. in single barrenness.
" Prince. ,enoeceus; son. to thee. I turn.
/ith the it rests to father them. for 0e
Their natural parents. both of us. are lost.
" leave them not to 0ander poor. un0ed.
Thy 2in. nor let them share my lo0 estate.
" pity them so young. and but for thee
All destitute. Thy hand upon it. Prince.
To you. my children I had much to say.
/ere ye but ripe to hear. *et this suffice:
Pray ye may find some home and live content.
And may your lot prove happier than your sire;s.
C&#"( Thou hast had enough of 0eeping6 pass 0ithin.
"#!IP$S I must obey.
Though ;tis grievous.
C&#"( /eep not. everything must have its day.
"#!IP$S /ell I go. but on conditions.
C&#"( /hat thy terms for going. say.
"#!IP$S Send me from the land an e4ile.
C&#"( As2 this of the gods. not me.
"#!IP$S )ut I am the gods; abhorrence.
C&#"( Then they soon 0ill grant thy plea.
"#!IP$S *ead me hence. then. I am 0illing.
C&#"( Come. but let thy children go.
"#!IP$S &ob me not of these my children3
C&#"( Crave not mastery in all.
For the mastery that raised thee 0as thy bane and 0rought thy fall.
C%"&$S *oo2 ye. countrymen and Thebans. this is "edipus the great.
%e 0ho 2ne0 the Sphin4;s riddle and 0as mightiest in our state.
/ho of all our to0nsmen ga5ed not on his fame 0ith envious eyes1
(o0. in 0hat a sea of troubles sun2 and over0helmed he lies3
Therefore 0ait to see life;s ending ere thou count one mortal blest6
/ait till free from pain and sorro0 he has gained his final rest.
T5E E#)

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C. Stevenson. /eb Atomics.
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Translation of =The !eeds of the !ivine Augustus= by Augustus is
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