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Dionysis -- Biomechanics
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Method for Directors?
ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
I do not know which translation I will be using or even how much the text will stay. The events must be visualized (even if the spoken discriptions are still there)...
It should be re-enacted and well as the story of this childhood.
Even the chronology is not right. The daughters are young, he could be under thirty!
and Jocasta could be around fourty?
... the themes must be established first.
Blindness (Justice too?). Fate -- must be expressed as they, the Greeks, did it.
DIPUS; WHY sit ye here, my children, brood last reared
Of Cadmus famed of old, in solemn state, Uplifting in your hands the suppliants boughs? And all the city reeks with incense smoke, 4 And all re-echoes with your wailing hymns; And I, my children, counting it unmeet To hear report from others, I have come Myself, whom all name dipus the Great. 8 Do thou, then, agèd Sire, since thine the right To speak for these, tell clearly why ye stand Awe-stricken, or adoring; speak to me As willing helper. Dull and cold this heart 12 To see you prostrate thus, and feel no ruth. PRIEST Yes, dipus, thou ruler of my land, Thou seest us how we sit, as suppliants, bowed Around thine altars; some as yet unfledged 16 To wing their flight, and some weighed down with age. Priest, I, of Zeus, and these the chosen youth: And in the open spaces of the town The people sit and wail, with wreath in hand, 20 By the twin shrine of Pallas, or the grove Oracular that bears Ismenus name. For this our city, as thine eyes may see, Is sorely tempest-tossed, nor lifts its head 24 From out the surging sea of blood-flecked waves, All smitten in the fruitful blooms of earth, All smitten in the herds that graze the fields, Yea, and in timeless births of womans fruit; 28 And still the God sends forth his darts of fire, And lays us low. The plague, abhorred and feared, Makes desolate the home where Cadmus dwelt, And Hades dark grows rich in sighs and groans. 32 It is not that we count thee as a God, Equalled with them in power, that we sit here, These little ones and I, as suppliants prone; But, judging thee, in all lifes shifting scenes, 36 Chiefest of men, yea, and of chiefest skill, To soothe the powers of Heaven. For thou it was That freedst this city, named of Cadmus old, From the sad tribute which of yore we paid 40 To that stern songstress, all untaught of us, And all unprompted; but at Gods behest, Men think and say, thou guidest all our life. And now, O dipus, most honoured lord, 44 We pray thee, we, thy suppliants, find for us Some succour, whether floating voice of God, Or speech of man brings knowledge to thy soul; For still I see, with those whom life has trained 48 To long-tried skill, the issues of their thoughts Live and are mighty. Come, then, noblest one, Come, save our city; look on us, and fear. As yet this land, for all thy former zeal, 52 Calls thee its saviour: do not give us cause So to remember this thy reign, as men Who, having risen, then fall low again; But save us, save our city. Omens good 56 Were then with thee; thou didst thy work, and now Be equal to thyself! If thou wilt rule, As thou dost rule, this land wherein we dwell, Twere better far to reign oer living men 60 Than oer a realm dispeopled. Naught avails, Or tower or ship, when crew and guards are gone. DIP. O children, wailing loud, ye tell me not Of woes unknown; too well I know them all, 64 Your sorrows and your wants. For one and all Are stricken, yet no sorrow like to mine Weighs on you. Each his own sad burden bears, His own and not anothers. But my heart 68 Mourns for the peoples sorrow and mine own; And, lo! ye have not come to break my sleep, But found me weeping, weeping bitter tears, And treading weary paths in wandering thought; 72 And that one way of healing which I found, That have I acted on. Menkeus son, Creon, my kinsman, have I sent to seek The Pythian home of Phbus, there to learn 76 The words or deeds wherewith to save the state; And even now I measure oer the time And wonder how he fares, for, lo! he stays, I know not why, beyond the appointed day; 80 But when he comes I should be base indeed, Failing to do whateer the God declares. PRIEST Well hast thou spoken! Tidings come een now Of Creon seen approaching. 84 DIP. Grant, O King Apollo, that he come with omen good, Bright with the cheer of one that bringeth life. PRIEST If one may guess, tis well. He had not come 88 His head all wreathed with boughs of laurel else. DIP. Soon we shall know. Our voice can reach him now. Say, prince, our well-beloved, Menkeus son, What sacred answer bringst thou from the God? 92 Enter CREON
CREON. A right good answer! That our evil plight,
If all goes well, may end in highest good. DIP. What means this speech? Nor full of eager hope, Nor trembling panic, list I to thy words. 96 CREON. I for my part am ready, these being by, to tell thee all, or go within the gates. DIP. Speak out to all. I sorrow more for them Than for the woe which touches me alone. 100 CREON. Well, then, I speak the things the God declared. Phbus, our king, he bids us chase away (The words were plain) the infection of our land, Nor cherish guilt which still remains unhealed. 104 DIP. But with what rites? And what the deed itself? CREON. Drive into exile, blood for blood repay. That guilt of blood is blasting all the state. DIP. But whose fate is it that thou hintest at? 108 CREON. Once, O my king, ere thou didst raise our state, Our sovereign Laius ruled oer all the land. DIP. This know I well, though him I never saw. CREON. Well, then, the God commands us, he being dead, 112 To take revenge on those who shed his blood. DIP. Yes; but where are they? How to track the course Of guilt all shrouded in the doubtful past? CREON. In this our land, so said he, those who seek 116 Shall find; unsought, we lose it utterly. DIP. Was it at home, or in the field, or else In some strange land that Laius met his doom? CREON. He went, so spake he, pilgrim-wise afar, 120 And nevermore came back as forth he went. DIP. Was there no courier, none who shared his road, From whom, inquiring, one might learn the truth? CREON. Dead are they all, save one who fled for fear, 124 And he had naught to tell but this: DIP. [interrupting] And what was that? One fact might teach us much, Had we but one small starting-point of hope. CREON. He used to tell that robbers fell on him, 128 Not man for man, but with outnumbering force. DIP. Yet sure no robber would have dared this deed, Unless some bribe had tempted him from hence. CREON. So men might think; but Laius at his death 132 Found none to help, or venge him in his woe. DIP. What hindered you, when thus your sovereignty Had fallen low, from searching out the truth? CREON. The Sphinx, with her dark riddle, bade us look 136 At nearer facts, and leave the dim obscure. DIP. Well, be it mine to track them to their source. Right well hath Phbus, and right well hast thou, Shown for the dead your care, and ye shall find, 140 As is most meet, in me a helper true, Aiding at once my country and the God. Not for the sake of friends, or near or far, But for mine own, will I dispel this curse; 144 For he that slew him, whosoeer he be, Will wish, perchance, with such a blow to smite Me also. Helping him, I help myself. And now, my children, rise with utmost speed 148 From off these steps, and raise your suppliant boughs; And let another call my people here, The race of Cadmus, and make known that I Will do my taskwork to the uttermost: 152 So, as God wills, we prosper, or we fail. PRIEST Rise, then, my children, twas for this we came, For these good tidings which those lips have brought, And Phbus, he who sent these oracles, 156 Pray that he come to heal, and save from woe. [Exeunt CREON and Priest. STROPH. I
CHORUS O voice of Zeus sweet-toned, with what intent
Camst thou from Pytho, where the red gold shines, To Thebes, of high estate? 160 Fainting for fear, I quiver in suspense (Hear us, O healer! God of Delos, hear!), In brooding dread, what doom, of present growth, Or as the months roll on, thy hand will work; 164 Tell me, O Voice divine, thou child of golden hope! ANTISTROPH. I
Thee first, Zeus-born Athene, thee I call;
And next thy sister, Goddess of our land, Our Artemis, who in the market sits 168 In queenly pride, upon her orbed throne; And Phbus, the fair darter! O ye Three, Shine on us, and deliver us from ill! If eer before, when waves or storms of woe 172 Rushed on our state, ye drove away The fiery tide of ill, Come also now! STROPH. II
Yea, come, ye Gods, for sorrows numberless
176 Press on my soul; And all the host is smitten, and our thoughts Lack weapons to resist. For increase fails of all the fruits of earth, 180 And women faint in childbirths wailing pangs, And one by one, as flit the swift-winged birds, So, flitting to the shore of Hades dark, Fleeter than lightnings flash, 184 Thou seest them passing on. ANTISTROPH. II
Yea, numberless are they who perish thus,
And on the soil, plague-breeding, lie Infants unpitied, cast out ruthlessly; 188 And wives and mothers, gray with hoary age, Some here, some there, by every altar mourn, With woe and sorrow crushed, And chant their wailing plaint. 192 Clear thrills the sense their solemn litany, And the low anthem sung in unison. Hear, then, thou golden daughter of great Zeus, And send us help, bright-faced as is the morn. 196 STROPH. III
And Ares the destroyer drive away!
Who now, though hushed the din of brazen shield, With battle-cry wars on me fierce and hot. Bid him go back in flight, 200 Retreat from this our land, Or to the ocean bed, Where Amphitrite sleeps, Or to the homeless sea 204 Which sweeps the Thracian shore. If waning night spares aught That doth the day assail: Do thou, then, Sire almighty, 208 Wielding the lightnings strength, Blast him with thy hot thunder. ANTISTROPH. III
And thou, Lyceian king, the wolfs dread foe,
Fain would I see thy darts 212 From out thy golden bow Go forth invincible, Helping and bringing aid; And with them, winged with fire, 216 The rays of Artemis, With which, on Lycian hills, She moveth on her course. And last I call on thee, 220 Thou of the golden crown, Guardian of this our land, Bacchus, all purple-flushed, With clamour loud and long, 224 Wandering with Maenads wild; I call on thee to come, Flashing with blazing torch, Against the God whom all the Gods disown. 228 DIP. Thou prayest, and for thy prayers, if thou wilt hear My words, and treat the dire disease with skill, Thou shalt find help and respite from thy pain, My words, which I, a stranger to report, 232 A stranger to the deed, will now declare: For I myself should fail to track it far, Unless some footprints guided me aright. But now, since here I stand, the latest come, 236 A citizen to citizens, I speak To all the sons of Cadmus. Lives there one Who knows of Laitus, son of Labdacus, The hand that slew him; him I bid to tell 240 His tale to me; and should it chance he shrinks, Fearing the charge against himself to bring, Still let him speak; no heavier doom is his Than to depart uninjured from the land; 244 Or, if there be that knows an alien arm As guilty, let him hold his peace no more; I will secure his gain and thanks beside. But if ye hold your peace, if one through fear 248 Shall stifle words his bosom friend may drop, What then I purpose let him hear from me: That man I banish, whosoeer he be, From out the land whose power and throne are mine; 252 And none may give him shelter, none speak to him, Nor join with him in prayer and sacrifice, Nor pour for him the stream that cleanses guilt; But all shall thrust him from their homes, abhorred, 256 Our curse and our pollution, as the word Prophetic of the Pythian God has shown: Such as I am, I stand before you here, A helper to the God and to the dead. 260 And for the man who did the guilty deed, Whether alone he lurks, or leagued with more, I pray that he may waste his life away, For vile deeds vilely dying; and for me, 264 If in my house, I knowing it, he dwells, May every curse I speak on my head fall. And this I charge you do, for mine own sake, And for the Gods, and for the land that pines, 268 Barren and god-deserted. Wrong twould be, Een if no voice from heaven had urged us on, That ye should leave the stain of guilt uncleansed, Your noblest chief, your king himself, being slain. 272 Yea, rather, seek and find. And since I reign, Wielding the might his hand did wield before, Filling his couch, and calling his wife mine, Yea, and our children too, but for the fate 276 That fell on his, had grown up owned by both; But so it is. On his head fell the doom; And therefore will I strive my best for him, As for my father, and will go all lengths 280 To seek and find the murderer, him who slew The son of Labdacus, and Polydore, And earlier Cadmus, and Agenor old; And for all those who hearken not, I pray 284 The Gods to give then neither fruit of earth, Nor seed of woman, but consume their lives With this dire plague, or evil worse than this. And you, the rest, the men from Cadmus sprung, 288 To whom these words approve themselves as good, May righteousness befriend you, and the Gods, In full accord, dwell with you evermore. CHORUS Since thou hast bound me by a curse, O king, 292 I needs must speak. I neither slew the man, Nor know who slew. To say who did the deed Belongs to him who sent this oracle. DIP. Right well thou speakst, but mans best strength must fail 296 To force the Gods to do the things they will not. CHORUS And may I speak a second time my thoughts? DIP. If twere a third, shrink not from speaking out. CHORUS One man I know, a prince, whose insight deep 300 Sees clear as princely Phbus, and from him, Teiresias, one might learn, O king, the truth. DIP. That, too, is done. No loiterer I in this, For I have sent, on Creons hint, two bands 304 To summon him, and wonder that he comes not. CHORUS Old rumours are there also, dark and dumb. DIP. And what are they? I weigh the slightest word. CHORUS Twas said he died by some chance travellers hand. 308 DIP. I, too, heard that. But none knows who was by. CHORUS If yet his soul is capable of awe, Hearing thy curses, he will shrink from them. DIP. Words fright not him who, doing, knows no fear. 312 CHORUS Well, here is one wholl put him to the proof. For, lo! they bring the seer inspired of God; Chosen of all men, vessel of the truth. Enter TEIRESIAS, blind, and guided by a boy
DIP. Teiresias! thou whose mind embraceth all,
316 Told or untold, the things of heaven or earth; Thou knowest, although thou seest not, what a pest Dwells on us, and we find in thee, O prince, Our one deliverer, yea, our only help. 320 For Phbus (if, perchance, thou hast not heard) Sent back this word to us, who sent to ask, That this one way was open to escape From the fell plague; if those who Laius slew, 324 We in our turn, discovering, should slay, Or drive them forth as exiles from the land. Thou, therefore, grudge not either sign from birds, Or any other path of prophecy; 328 But save the city, save thyself, save me; Lift off the guilt that death has left behind; On thee we hang. To use our means, our power, In doing good, is noblest service owned. 332 TEIR. Ah me! ah me! how sad is wisdoms gift, When no good issue waiteth on the wise! Right well I knew this, but in evil hour Forgot, alas! or else I had not come. 336 DIP. What means this? How despondingly thou comst! TEIR. Let me go home; for thus thy fate shalt thou, And I mine own, bear easiest, if thou yield. DIP. No loyal words thou speakst, nor true to Thebes 340 Who reared thee, holding back this oracle. TEIR. It is because I see thy lips speak words Ill-timed, ill-omened, that I guard my speech. DIP. Now, by the Gods, unless thy reason fails, 344 Refuse us not, who all implore thy help. TEIR. Yes. Reason fails you all; but neer will I So speak my sorrows as to unveil thine. DIP. What meanst thou, then? Thou knowst and wilt not tell, 348 But givst to ruin both the state and us? TEIR. I will not pain myself nor thee. Why, then, All vainly urge it? Thou shalt never know. DIP. Oh, basest of the base! (for thou wouldst stir 352 A heart of stone;) and wilt thou never tell, But still abide relentless and unmoved? TEIR. My mood thou blamest, but thou dost not know That which dwells with thee while thou chidest me. 356 DIP. And who would not feel anger, as he hears The words which bring dishonour to the state? TEIR. Well! come they will, though I should hold my peace. DIP. If come they must, thy duty is to speak. 360 TEIR. I speak no more. So, if thou wilt, rage on, With every mood of wrath most desperate. DIP. Yes; I will not refrain, so fierce my wrath, From speaking all my thought. I think that thou 364 Didst plot the deed, and do it, though the blow Thy hands, it may be, dealt not. Hadst thou seen, I would have said it was thy deed alone TEIR. And it has come to this? I charge thee, hold 368 To thy late edict, and from this day forth Speak not to me, nor yet to these, for thou, Thou art the accursèd plague-spot of the land. DIP. Art thou so shameless as to vent such words, 372 And thinkest to escape thy righteous doom? TEIR. I have escaped. The strength of truth is mine. DIP. Who prompted thee? This comes not from thine art. TEIR. Thou art the man. Twas thou who madst me speak. 376 DIP. What sayst thou? Tell it yet again, that I May know more clearly. TEIR. When I spoke before, Didst thou not know? Or dost thou challenge me? 380 DIP. I could not say I knew it. Speak again. TEIR. I say that thou standst there a murderer. DIP. Thou shalt not twice revile, and go unharmed. TEIR. And shall I tell thee more to stir thy rage? 384 DIP. Say what thou pleasest. All in vain tis said. TEIR. I say that thou, in vilest intercourse With those thou lovest best, dost blindly live, Nor seest the evil thou hast made thine own. 388 DIP. And dost thou think to say these things and live? TEIR. Of that I doubt not, if truth holds her own. DIP. Truth is for all but thee, but thou hast none, Blind in thine ears, thy reason, and thine eyes. 392 TEIR. How wretched thou, thus hurling this reproach! Such, all too soon, the world will hurl at thee. DIP. Thou livest wrapt in one continual night, And canst not hurt or me, or any man 396 Who sees the light. TEIR. Fates firm decree stands fixed: Thou diest not by me. Apollos might Suffices. His the task to bring thee low. 400 DIP. Are these devices Creons or thine own? TEIR. It is not Creon harms thee, but thyself. DIP. O wealth, and sovereignty, and noblest skill Surpassing skill in life that men admire, 404 How great the envy dogging all your steps! If for the sake of kingship, which the state Hath given, unasked for, freely in mine hands, Creon the faithful, found mine earliest friend, 408 Now seeks with masked attack to drive me forth, And hires this wizard, plotter of foul schemes, A vagrant mountebank, whose sight is clear For pay alone, but in his art stone-blind. 412 Is it not so? When wast thou known a seer? Why, when the monster with her song was here, Didst thou not give our countrymen thy help? And yet the riddle lay above the ken 416 Of common men, and called for prophets skill. And this thou showdst thou hadst not, nor by bird, Nor any God made known; but then I came, I, dipus, who nothing knew, and slew her, 420 With mine own counsel winning, all untaught By flight of birds. And now thou wouldst expel me, And thinkst to take thy stand by Creons throne. But, as I think, both thou and he that plans 424 With thee, will to your cost attack my fame; And but that thou standst there all old and weak, Thou shouldst be taught what kind of plans are thine. CHORUS Far as we dare to measure, both his words 428 And thine, O dipus, in wrath are said. Not such as these we need, but this to see, How best to do the bidding of the God. TEIR. King though thou be, I claim an equal right 432 To make reply. Here I call no man lord: For I am not thy slave, but Loxias. Nor shall I stand on Creons patronage; And this I say, since thou hast dared revile 436 My blindness, that thou seest, yet dost not see Thy evil plight, nor where thou livst, nor yet With whom thou dwellest, Knowst thou even this, Whence thou art sprung? All ignorant thou sinnst 440 Against thine own, the living and the dead. And soon a curse from mother and from sire With fearful foot shall chase thee forth from us, Now seeing all things clear, then all things dark. 444 And will not then each shore repeat thy wail, And will not old Kithæron echoing ring When thou discernst the marriage, fatal port, To which thy prosprous voyage brought thy bark? 448 And other ills, in countless multitude, Thou seest not yet, on thee and on thy seed Shall fall alike. Vent forth thy wrath then loud, On Creon and on me. There lives not man 452 Who wastes his life more wretchedly than thou. DIP. This can be borne no longer! Out with thee! A curse light on thee! Wilt thou not depart? Wilt thou not turn and wend thy backward way? 456 TEIR. I had not come hadst thou not called me here. DIP. I knew not thou wouldst speak so foolishly; Else I had hardly fetched thee to my house. TEIR. We then, for thee (so deemest thou), are fools, 460 But, for thy parents, who begot thee, wise. [Turns to go. DIP. [starting forward] What? Stay thy foot. What mortal gave me birth? TEIR. This day shall give thy birth, and work thy doom. 464 DIP. What riddles dark and dim thou lovst to speak. TEIR. Yes. But thy skill excels in solving such. DIP. Scoff as thou wilt, in this thoult find me strong. TEIR. And yet success in this has worked thy fall. 468 DIP. I little care, if I have saved the state. TEIR. Well, then, I go. Do thou, boy, lead me on! DIP. Let him lead on. So hateful art thou near, Thou canst not pain me more when thou art gone. 472 TEIR. I go, then, having said the things I came To say. No fear of thee compels me. Thine Is not the power to hurt me. And I say, This man whom thou art seeking out with threats, 476 As murderer of Laius, he is here, In show an alien sojourner, but in truth A home-born Theban. No delight to him Will that discovery bring. Blind, having seen, 480 Poor, having rolled in wealth,he, with a staff Feeling his way, to other lands shall go! And by his sons shall he be known at once Father and brother, and of her who bore him 484 Husband and son, sharing his fathers bed, His fathers murdrer. Go thou, then, within, And brood oer this, and, if thou findst me fail, Say that my skill in prophecy is gone. [Exeunt DIPUS and TEIRESIAS. 488 STROPH. I
CHORUS Who was it that the rock oracular
Of Delphi spake of, working With bloody hand his nameless deed of shame? Time is it now for him, 492 Swifter than fastest steed, To bend his course in flight. For, in full armour clad, Upon him darts, with fire 496 And lightning flash, the radiant Son of Zeus. And with him come in train the dreaded ones, The Destinies that may not be appeased.
For from Parnassus heights, enwreathed with snow,
500 Gleaming, but now there shone The oracle that bade us, one and all, Track the unnamed, unknown one. For, lo! he wanders through the forest wild, 504 In caves and over rocks, As strays the mountain bull, In dreary loneliness with dreary tread, Seeking in vain to shun 508 The words prophetic of the central shrine; Yet they around him hover, full of life. STROPH. II
Dread things, yea, dread, the augur skilled has stirred
That leave the question open, aye or no! 512 And which to say I know not, But hover still in hopes, and fail to scan Things present or to come. For neither now nor in the former years 516 Learnt I what cause of strife Set the Labdacid race At variance with the house of Polybus. Nor can I test the tale, 520 And take my stand against the well-earned fame Of dipus, my lord, As champion of the house of Labdacus, For deaths that none may trace! 524 ANTISTROPH. II
For Zeus and King Apollo, they are wise,
And know the hearts of men: But that a prophet passeth me in skill, This is no judgment true; 528 And one man may anothers wisdom pass, By wisdom higher still. I, for my part, before the word is clear, Will neer assent to those that speak in blame. 532 Tis clear, the Maiden-monster with her wings Came on him, and he proved by sharpest test That he was wise, by all the land beloved, And, from my heart at least, 536 The charge of baseness comes not. Enter CREON
CREON. I come, my friends, as having learnt but now
Our ruler, dipus, accuses me With dreadful words I cannot bear to hear. 540 For if, in these calamities of ours, He thinks he suffers wrongly at my hands, In word or deed, aught tending to his hurt, I set no value on a life prolonged, 544 If this reproach hangs on me; for its harm Affects not slightly, but is direst shame, If through the land my name as villain rings, By thee and by thy friends a villain called. 548 CHORUS But this reproach, it may be, came from wrath All hasty, rather than from judgment calm. CREON. And who informed him that the seer, seduced By my false counsel, spoke his lying words? 552 CHORUS The words were said, but on what grounds I know not. CREON. And was it with calm eyes and judgment clear, The charge was brought against my name and fame? CHORUS I cannot say. To what our rulers do 556 I close my eyes. But here he comes himself. Enter DIPUS
DIP. Ho, there! ist thou? And does thy boldness soar
So shameless as to come beneath my roof, When thou, tis clear, hast done the deed of blood, 560 And now wilt rob me of my sovereignty? Is it, by all the Gods, that thou hast seen Or cowardice or folly in my soul, That thou hast laid thy plans? Or thoughtest thou 564 That I should neither see thy sinuous wiles, Nor, knowing, ward them off? This scheme of thine, Is it not wild, backed nor by force nor friends, To seek the power which calls for force or wealth? 568 CREON. Do as thou pleasest. But for words of scorn Hear like words back, and as thou hearest, judge. DIP. Cunning of speech art thou! But I am slow To learn of thee, whom I have found my foe. 572 CREON. Hear this, then, first, that thus I have to speak . DIP. But this, then, say not, that thou art not vile. CREON. If that thou thinkest self-willed pride avails, Apart from judgment, know thou art not wise. 576 DIP. If that thou thinkest, injuring thy friend, To do it unchastised, thou art not wise. CREON. In this, I grant, thou speakest right; but tell, What form of suffering hast thou to endure? 580 DIP. Didst thou, or didst thou not, thy counsel give Some one to send to fetch this reverend seer? CREON. And even now by that advice I hold! DIP. How long a time has passed since Laius 584 chanced [Pauses. CREON. Chanced to do what? I understand not yet. DIP. Since he was smitten with the deadly blow? CREON. The years would measure out a long, long tale. 588 DIP. And was this seer then practising his art? CREON. Full wise as now, and equal in repute. DIP. Did he at that time say a word of me? CREON. No word, while I, at any rate, was by. 592 DIP. And yet ye held your quest upon the dead? CREON. Of course we held it, but we nothing heard. DIP. How was it he, the wise one, spoke not then? CREON. I know not, and, not knowing, hold my peace. 596 DIP. One thing thou knowst, and, meaning well, wouldst speak! CREON. And what is that? for if I know, Ill speak. DIP. Why, unless thou wert in the secret, then He spake not of me as the murderer. 600 CREON. If he says this, thou knowst it. I of thee Desire to learn, as thou hast learnt of me. DIP. Learn then; no guilt of blood shall rest on me. CREON. Well, then,my sister? dost thou own her wife? 604 DIP. I will not meet this question with denial. CREON. And sharest thou an equal rule with her? DIP. Her every wish by me is brought to act. CREON. And am not I co-equal with you twain? 608 DIP. Yes; and just here thou showst thyself false friend. CREON. Not so, if thou wouldst reason with thyself, As I must reason. First reflect on this: Supposest thou that one would rather choose 612 To reign with fears than sleeping calmest sleep, His power being equal? I, for one, prize less The name of king than deeds of kingly power; And so would all who learn in wisdoms school. 616 Now without fear I have what I desire, At thy hand given. Did I rule, myself, I might do much unwillingly. Why, then, Should sovereignty exert a softer charm 620 Than power and might unchequered by a care? I am not yet so cheated by myself As to desire aught else but honest gain. Now all goes well, now every one salutes, 624 Now they who seek thy favour court my smiles, For on this hinge does all their fortune turn. Why, then, should I leave this to hunt for that? My mind, retaining reason, neer could act 628 The villains part. I was not born to love Such thoughts myself, nor bear with those that do. And as a proof of this, go thou thyself, And ask at Pytho whether I brought back, 632 In very deed, the oracles I heard. And if thou find me plotting with the seer, In common concert, not by one decree, But two, thine own and mine, proclaim my death. 636 But charge me not with crime on shadowy proof; For neither is it just, in random thought, The bad to count as good, nor good as bad; For to thrust out a friend of noble heart, 640 Is like the parting with the life we love. And this in time thoult know, for time alone Makes manifest the righteous. Of the vile Thou mayst detect the vileness in a day. 644 CHORUS To one who fears to fall, he speaketh well; O king, swift counsels are not always safe. DIP. But when a man is swift in wily schemes, Swift must I be to baffle plot with plot; 648 And if I stand and wait, he wins the day, And all my life is found one great mistake. CREON. What seekst thou, then? to drive me from the land? DIP. Not so. I seek not banishment, but death. 652 CREON. When thou showst first what grudge I bear to thee? DIP. And sayst thou this defying, yielding not? CREON. I see thy judgment fails. DIP. I hold mine own. 656 CREON. Mine has an equal claim. DIP. Thou villain born! CREON. And if thy mind is darkened ? DIP. Still obey! 660 CREON. Not to a tyrant ruler. DIP. O my country! CREON. I, too, can claim that country. Tis not thine! CHORUS Cease, O my princes! In good time I see 664 Jocasta coming hither from the house; And it were well with her to hush this strife. Enter JOCASTA
JOC. Why, O ye wretched ones, this strife of tongues
Raise ye in your unwisdom, nor are shamed, 668 Our country suffering, private griefs to stir? Come thou within. And thou, O Creon, go, Nor bring a trifling sore to mischief great! CREON. My sister! dipus, thy husband, claims 672 The right to wrong me, giving choice of ills, Or to be exiled from my home, or die. DIP. Tis even so, for I have found him, wife, Against my life his evil wiles devising. 676 CREON. May I neer prosper, but accursed die, If I have done the things he says I did! JOC. Oh, by the Gods, believe him, dipus! Respect his oath, which calls the Gods to hear; 680 And reverence me, and these who stand by thee. CHORUS Hearken, my king! be calmer, I implore! DIP. What! wilt thou that I yield? CHORUS Respect is due 684 To one not weak before, who now is strong In this his oath. DIP. And knowst thou what thou askst? CHORUS I know right well. 688 DIP. Say on, then, what thou wilt. CHORUS Hurl not to shame, on grounds of mere mistrust, The friend on whom his own curse still must hang. DIP. Know, then, that, seeking this, thou seekst, in truth, 692 To work my death, or else my banishment. CHORUS Nay, by the sun, chief God of all the Gods! May I, too, die, of God and man accursed, If I wish aught like this! But on my soul, 696 Our wasting land dwells heavily; ills on ills Still coming, and your strife embittering all. DIP. Let him depart, then, even though I die, Or from my country wander forth in shame: 700 Thy face, not his, I view with pitying eye; For him, whereer he be, is naught but hate. CREON. Thourt loath to yield, twould seem, and wilt be vexed When this thy wrath is over: moods like thine 704 Are fitly to themselves most hard to bear. DIP. Wilt thou not go, and leave me? CREON. I will go, By thee misjudged, but known as just by these. [Exit. 708 CHORUS Why, lady, art thou slow to lead him in? JOC. I fain would learn how this sad chance arose. CHORUS Blind hasty speech there was, and wrong will sting. JOC. From both of them? 712 CHORUS Yea, both. JOC. And what said each? CHORUS Enough for me, our land laid low in grief, It seems, to leave the quarrel where it stopped. 716 DIP. Seest thou, with all thy purposes of good, Thy shifting and thy soothing, what thou dost? CHORUS My chief, not once alone I spoke, And wild and erring should I be, 720 Were I to turn from thee aside, Who, when my country rocked in storm, Righted her course, and, if thou couldst, Wouldst send her speeding now. 724 JOC. Tell me, my king, what cause of fell debate Has bred this discord, and provoked thy soul. DIP. Thee will I tell, for thee I honour more Than these. The cause was Creon and his plots. 728 JOC. Say, then, if clearly thou canst tell the strife. DIP. He says that I am Laius murderer. JOC. Of his own knowledge, or by some one taught? DIP. Yon scoundrel seer suborning. For himself, 732 He takes good care to free his lips from blame. JOC. Leave now thyself, and all thy thoughts of this, And list to me, and learn how little skill In arts prophetic mortal man may claim; 736 And of this truth Ill give thee proof full clear. There came to Laius once an oracle (I say not that it came from Phbus self, But from his servants) that his fate was fixed 740 By his sons hand to fallhis own and mine: And him, so rumour runs, a robber band Of aliens slew, where meet the three great roads. Nor did three days succeed the infants birth, 744 Before, by other hands, he cast him forth, Maiming his ankles, on a lonely hill. Here, then, Apollo failed to make the boy His fathers murderer; nor did Laius die 748 By his sons hand. So fared the oracles; Therefore regard them not. Whateer the God Desires to search he will himself declare. DIP. [trembling] O what a fearful boding! thoughts disturbed 752 Thrill through my soul, my queen, at this thy tale. JOC. What means this shuddering, this averted glance? DIP. I thought I heard thee say that Laius died, Slain in a skirmish where the three roads meet? 756 JOC. So was it said, and still the rumours hold. DIP. Where was the spot in which this matter passed? JOC. They call the country Phocis, and the roads From Delphi and from Daulia there converge. 760 DIP. And time? what interval has passed since then? JOC. But just before thou camest to possess And rule this land the tidings were proclaimed. DIP. Great Zeus! what fate hast thou decreed for me? 764 JOC. What thought is this, my dipus, of thine? DIP. Ask me not yet, but tell of Laius frame, His build, his features, and his years of life. JOC. Tall was he, and the white hairs snowed his head, 768 And in his face not much unlike to thee. DIP. Woe, woe is me! so seems it I have plunged All blindly into curses terrible. JOC. What sayest thou? I shudder as I see thee. 772 DIP. Desponding fear comes oer me, lest the seer Has seen indeed. But one thing more Ill ask. JOC. I fear to speak, yet what thou askst Ill tell. DIP. Went he in humble guise, or with a troop 776 Of spearmen, as becomes a man that rules? JOC. Five were they altogether, and of them One was a herald, and one chariot had he. DIP. Woe! woe! tis all too clear. And who was he 780 That told these tidings to thee, O my queen? JOC. A servant who alone escaped with life. DIP. And does he chance to dwell among us now? JOC. Not so; for from the time when he returned, 784 And found thee bearing sway, and Laius dead, He, at my hand, a suppliant, implored This boon, to send him to the distant fields To feed his flocks, where never glance of his 788 Might Thebes behold. And so I sent him forth; For though a slave he might have claimed yet more. DIP. And could we fetch him quickly back again? JOC. That may well be. But why dost thou wish this? 792 DIP. I fear, O queen, that words best left unsaid Have passed these lips, and therefore wish to see him. JOC. Well, he shall come. But some small claim have I, O king, to learn what touches thee with woe. 796 DIP. Thou shalt not fail to learn it, now that I Have such forebodings reached. To whom should I More than to thee tell all the passing chance? I had a father, Polybus of Corinth, 800 And Merope of Doris was my mother, And I was held in honour by the rest Who dwelt there, till this accident befel, Worthy of wonder, of the heat unworthy 804 It roused within me. Thus it chanced: A man At supper, in his cups, with wine oertaken, Reviles me as a spurious changeling boy; And I, sore vexed, hardly for that day 808 Restrained myself. And when the morrow came I went and charged my father and my mother With what I thus had heard. They heaped reproach On him who stirred the matter, and I soothed 812 My soul with what they told me; yet it teased, Still vexing more and more; and so I went, Unknown to them, to Pytho, and the God Sent me forth shamed, unanswered in my quest; 816 And more he added, dread and dire and dark, How that the doom of incest lay on me, Most foul, unnatural; and that I should be Father of children men would loathe to look on, 820 And murderer of the father that begot me. And, hearing this, I cast my wistful looks To where the stars hang over Corinths towers, And fled where nevermore mine eyes might see 824 The shame of those dire oracles fulfilled; And as I went I reached the spot where he, The king, thou tellst me, met the fatal blow. And now, O lady, I will tell thee all. 828 Wending my steps that way where three roads meet, There met me first a herald, and a man Like him thou toldst of, riding on his car, Drawn by young colts. With rough and hasty words 832 They drove me from the road,the driver first, And that old man himself; and then in rage I struck the driver, who had turned me back. And when the old man saw it, watching me 836 As by the chariot side I stood, he struck My forehead with a double-pointed goad. But we were more than quits, for in a trice With this right hand I struck him with my staff, 840 And he rolled backward from his chariots seat. And then I slew them all. And if it chance That Laius and this stranger are akin, What man more wretched than this man who speaks, 844 What man more harassed by the vexing Gods? He whom none now, or alien, or of Thebes, May welcome to their house, or speak to him, But thrust him forth an exile. And twas I, 848 None other, who against myself proclaimed These curses. And the bed of him that died I with my hands, by which he fell, defile. Am I not vile by nature, all unclean? 852 If I must flee, yet still in flight my doom Is nevermore to see the friends I love, Nor tread my countrys soil; or else to bear The guilt of incest, and my father slay, 856 Yea, Polybus, who reared me from the womb. Would not a man say right who said that here Some cruel God was pressing hard on me? Not that, not that, at least, thou Presence, pure 860 And awful, of the Gods. May I neer look On such a day as that, but far away Depart unseen from all the haunts of men Before such great pollution comes on me. 864 CHORUS Us, too, O king, these things perplex, yet still, Till thou hast asked the man who then was by, Have hope. DIP. And this indeed is all my hope, 868 Waiting until that shepherd-slave appear. JOC. And when he comes, what meanest thou to ask? DIP. Ill tell thee. Should he now repeat the tale Thou toldst to me, it frees me from this guilt. 872 JOC. What special word was that thou heardst from me? DIP. Thou saidst he told that robbers slew his lord, And should he give their number as the same Now as before, it was not I who slew him, 876 For one man could not be the same as many. But if he speak of one man, all alone, Then, all too plain, the deed cleaves fast to me. JOC. But know, the thing was said, and clearly said, 880 And now he cannot from his word draw back. Not I alone, but the whole city, heard it; And should he now retract his former tale, Not then, my husband, will he rightly show 884 The death of Laius, who, as Loxias told, By my sons hand should die; and yet, poor boy, He killed him not, but perished long ago. So I for one, both now and evermore, 888 Will count all oracles as things of naught. DIP. Thou reasonest well. Yet send a messenger To fetch that peasant. Be not slack in this. JOC. I will make haste to send. But go thou in; 892 I would do nothing that displeaseth thee. [Exeunt. STROPH. I
CHORUS O that my fate were fixed
To live in holy purity of speech, Pure in all deeds whose laws stand firm and high, 896 In heavens clear æther born, Of whom Olympus only is the sire, Whom mans frail flesh begat not, Nor ever shall forgetfulness oerwhelm; 900 In them our God is great and grows not old. ANTISTROPH. I
But pride begets the mood of tyrant power;
Pride filled with many thoughts, yet filled in vain, Untimely, ill-advised, 904 Scaling the topmost height, Falls down the steep abyss, Down to the pit, where step that profiteth It seeks in vain to take. 908 I cannot ask the Gods to stop midway The conflict sore that works our countrys good; I cannot cease to call on God for aid. STROPH. II
But if there be who walketh haughtily,
912 In action or in speech, Whom righteousness herself has ceased to awe, Who counts the temples of the Gods profane, An evil fate be his, 916 Fit meed for all his boastfulness of heart; Unless in time to come he gain his gains All justly, and draws back from godless deeds, Nor lays rash hand upon the holy things, 920 By man inviolable. If such deeds prosper who will henceforth pray To guard his soul from passions fiery darts? If such as these are held in high repute, 924 What profit is there of my choral strain? ANTISTROPH. II
No longer will I go in pilgrim guise,
To yon all holy place, Earths central shrine, Nor unto Abaes temple, 928 Nor to far-famed Olympia, Unless these pointings of a hand divine In sight of all men stand out clear and true. But, O thou sovereign ruler! if that name, 932 O Zeus, belongs to thee, who reignst oer all, Let not this trespass hide itself from thee, Or thine undying sway; For now they set at naught 936 The oracles, half dead, That Laius heard of old, And king Apollos wonted worship flags, And all to wreck is gone 940 The homage due to God. Enter JOCASTA, followed by an Attendant
JOC. Princes of this our land, across my soul
There comes the thought to go from shrine to shrine Of all the Gods, these garlands in my hand, 944 And waving incense; for our dipus Vexes his soul too wildly with his woes, And speaks not as a man should speak who scans The present by the experience of the past, 948 But hangs on every breath that tells of fear. And since I find that my advice avails not, To thee, Lyceian King, Apollo, first I come,for thou art nearest,suppliant 952 With these devotions, trusting thou wilt work Some way of healing for us, free from guilt; For now we shudder, all of us, seeing him, The good ships pilot, panic-struck and lost. 956 Enter MESSENGER
MESS. May I inquire of you, O strangers, where
To find the house of dipus the king, And, above all, where he is, if ye know? CHORUS This is the house, and he, good sir, within, 960 And this his wife, and mother of his children. MESS. Good fortune be with her and all her kin, Being, as she is, his true and honoured wife. JOC. Like fortune be with thee, my friend. Thy speech, 964 So kind, deserves no less. But tell me why Thou comest, what thou hast to ask or tell. MESS. Good news to thee, and to thy husband, lady. JOC. What is it, then? and who has sent thee here? 968 MESS. I come from Corinth, and the news Ill tell May give thee joy. Why not? Yet thou mayst grieve. JOC. What is the news that has this twofold power? MESS. The citizens that on these Isthmus dwell 972 Will make him sovereign. So the rumour ran. JOC. What then? Is aged Polybus no more? MESS. Een so. Death holds him in the stately tomb. JOC. What sayst thou? Polybus, thy king, is dead? 976 MESS. If I speak false, I have no wish to live! JOC. Go, maiden, at thy topmost speed, and tell Thy master this. Now, oracles of Gods, Where are ye now? Long since my dipus 980 Fled, fearing lest his hand should slay the man; And now he dies by fate, and not by him. Enter DIPUS
DIP. Mine own Jocasta, why, O dearest one,
Why hast thou sent to fetch me from the house? 984 JOC. List this mans tale, and when thou hearest, see The woeful plight of those dread oracles. DIP. Who, then, is this, and what has he to tell? JOC. He comes from Corinth, and he brings thee word 988 That Polybus, thy father, lives no more. DIP. What sayst thou, friend? Tell me thy tale thyself. MESS. If I must needs report the story clear, Know well that he has gone the way of death. 992 DIP. Was it by plot, or chance of natural death? MESS. An old mans frame a little stroke lays low! DIP. He suffered, then, it seems, from some disease? MESS. Een so, and many a weary month he passed. 996 DIP. Ha! ha! Why now, my queen, should we regard The Pythian hearth oracular, or birds In mid-air crying? By their auguries,
I was to slay my father. And he dies, 1000 And the grave hides him; and I find myself Handling no sword; unless for love of me He pined away, and so I caused his death. So Polybus is gone, and with him lie, 1004 In Hades whelmed, those worthless oracles. JOC. Did I not tell thee this long time ago? DIP. Thou didst, but I was led away by fears. JOC. Dismiss them, then, for ever from thy thoughts! 1008 DIP. And yet that incest; must I not fear that? JOC. Why should we fear, when chance rules everything, And foresight of the future there is none; Tis best to live at random, as one can. 1012 But thou, fear not that marriage with thy mother: Such things men oft have dreams of; but who cares The least about them lives the happiest. DIP. Right well thou speakest all things, save that she 1016 Still lives that bore me, and I can but fear, Seeing that she lives, although thou speakest well. JOC. And yet thy fathers graves a spot of light. DIP. Tis so: yet while she liveth there is fear. 1020 MESS. Who is this woman about whom ye fear? DIP. Tis Merope, old sir, who lived with Polybus. MESS. And what leads you to think of her with fear? DIP. A fearful oracle, my friend, from God. 1024 MESS. Canst tell it; or must others ask in vain? DIP. Most readily; for Loxias said of old The doom of incest lay on me, and I With mine own hands should spill my fathers blood. 1028 And therefore Corinth long ago I left, And journeyed far, right prosperously I own; And yet tis sweet to see a parents face. MESS. And did this fear thy steps to exile lead? 1032 DIP. I did not wish to take my fathers life. MESS. Why, the, O king, did I who came with good Not free thee from this fear that haunts thy soul? DIP. For this, I own, I owe thee worthy thanks. 1036 MESS. For this, I own, I chiefly came to thee; That I on thy return may prosper well. DIP. But I return not while a parent lives. MESS. Tis clear, my son, thou knowst not what thou dost. 1040 DIP. What ist? By all the Gods, old man, speak out. MESS. If tis for them thou fearest to return DIP. I fear lest Phbus prove himself too true. MESS. Is it lest thou shouldst stain thy soul through them? 1044 DIP. This selfsame fear, old man, for ever haunts me. MESS. And knowst thou not there is no cause for fear? DIP. Is there no cause if I was born their son? MESS. None is there. Polybus is naught to thee. 1048 DIP. What sayst thou? Did not Polybus beget me? MESS. No more than he thou speakst to; just as much. DIP. How could a fathers claim become as naught? MESS. Well, neither he begat thee nor did I. 1052 DIP. Why, then, did he acknowledge me as his? MESS. He at my hands received thee as a gift. DIP. And could he love anothers child so much? MESS. Yes; for this former childlessness wrought on him. 1056 DIP. And gavst thou me as buying or as finding? MESS. I found thee in Kithærons shrub-grown hollow. DIP. And for what cause didst travel thitherwards? MESS. I had the charge to tend the mountain flocks. 1060 DIP. Was thou a shepherd born, or seeking hire? MESS. At any rate, my son, I saved thee then. DIP. What evil, plight, then, didst thou find me in? MESS. The sinews of thy feet would tell that tale. 1064 DIP. Ah, me! why speakst thou of that ancient wrong? MESS. I freed thee when thy insteps both were pierced. DIP. A foul disgrace I had in swaddling clothes. MESS. Thus from his chance there came the name thou bearest. 1068 DIP. [starting] Who gave the name, my father or my mother; In heavens name tell me? MESS. This I do not know; Who gave thee to me better knows than I. 1072 DIP. Didst thou, then, take me from anothers hand, Not finding me thyself? MESS. Not I, indeed; Another shepherd made a gift of thee. 1076 DIP. Who was he? knowst thou where to find him out? MESS. They called him one of those that Laius owned. DIP. Means thou the former sovereign of this land? MESS. Een so. He fed the flocks of him thou namst. 1080 DIP. And is he living still that I might see him? MESS. You, his own countrymen, should know that best. DIP. Is there of you who stand and listen here One who has known the shepherd that he tells of, 1084 Or seeing him upon the hills or here? If so, declare it; tis full time to speak! CHORUS I think that this is he whom from the hills But now thou soughtest. But Jocasta here 1088 Could tell thee this with surer word than I. DIP. Knowest thou, my queen, the man whom late we sent To fetch; and him of whom this stranger speaks? JOC. [with forced calmness] Whom did he speak of? Care not thou for it, 1092 But wish his words may be but idle tales. DIP. I cannot fail, once getting on the scent, To track at last the secret of my birth. JOC. Ah, by the Gods, if that thou valuest life 1096 Inquire no further. Let my woe suffice. DIP. Take heart; though I should turn out thrice a slave, Born of a thrice vile mother, thou art still Free from all stain. 1000 JOC. Yet, I implore thee, pause! Yield to my counsels, do not do this deed. DIP. I may not yield, and fail to search it out. JOC. And yet good counsels give I, for thy good. 1104 DIP. This for my good has been my lifes long plague. JOC. Who thou art, hapless, mayst thou never know! DIP. Will some one bring that shepherd to me here? Leave her to glory in her high descent. 1108 JOC. Woe! woe! ill-fated one! my last word this, This only, and no more for evermore. [Rushes out. CHORUS Why has thy queen, O dipus, gone forth In her wild sorrow rushing. Much I fear 1112 Lest from such silence evil deeds burst out. DIP. Burst out what will, I seek to know my birth, Low though it be, and she perhaps is shamed (For, like a woman, she is proud of heart) 1116 At thoughts of my low birth; but I, who count Myself the child of Fortune, fear no shame. My mother she, and she has prospered me. And so the months that span my life have made me 1120 Both high and low; but whatsoeer I be, Such as I am I am, and needs must on To fathom all the secret of my birth. STROPH
CHORUS If the seers gift be mine,
1124 Or skill in counsel wise, Thou, O Kithæron, when the morrow comes, Our full-moon festival, Shalt fail not to resound 1128 The voice that greets thee, fellow-citizen, Parent and nurse of dipus; And we will on thee weave our choral dance, As bringing to our princes glad good news. 1132 Hail, hail! O Phbus, smile on this our prayer. ANTISTROPH
Who was it, child, that bore thee?
Blest daughter of the ever-living Ones, Or meeting in the ties of love with Pan, 1136 Who wanders oer the hills, Or with thee, Loxias, for to thee are dear All the high lawns where roam the pasturing flocks; Or was it he who rules Kyllenes height; 1140 Or did the Bacchic God, Upon the mountains peak, Receive thee as the gift of some fair nymph Of Helicons fair band, 1144 With whom he sports and wantons evermore? DIP. If I must needs conjecture, who as yet Neer met the man, I think I see the shepherd, Whom this long while we sought for. With the years 1148 His age fits well. And now I see, besides, My servants bring him. Thou perchance canst say From former knowledge yet more certainly. CHORUS I know him well, O king! For this man stood, 1152 If any, known as Laius faithful slave. Enter Shepherd
DIP. Thee first I ask, Corinthian stranger, say,
Is this the man? MESS. The very man thou seekst. 1156 DIP. Ho, there, old man. Come hither, look on me, And tell me all. Did Laius own thee once? SHEP Not as a slave from market, but home-reared. DIP. What was thy work, or what thy mode of life? 1160 SHEP Near all my life I followed with the flock. DIP. And in what regions didst thou chiefly dwell? SHEP Now twas Kithæron, now on neighbouring fields. DIP. Knowst thou this man? Didst ever see him there? 1164 SHEP What did he do? Of what man speakest thou? DIP. This man now present. Did ye ever meet? SHEP My memory fails when taxed thus suddenly. MESS. No wonder that, my lord. But Ill remind him 1168 Right well of things forgotten. Well I know Hell call to mind when on Kithærons fields, He with a double flock, and I with one, I was his neighbour during three half years, 1172 From springtide on to autumn; and in winter I drove my flocks to mine own fold, and he To those of Laius. [To SHEPHERD] Is this false or true? SHEP Thou tellst the truth, although long years have passed. 1176 MESS. Come, then, say, on. Rememberest thou a boy Thou gavst me once, that I might rear him up As mine own child? SHEP Why askest thou of this? 1180 MESS. Here stands he, fellow! that same tiny boy! SHEP A curse befall thee! Wilt not hold thy tongue? DIP. Rebuke him not, old man; thy words need more The language of reproaches than do his. 1184 SHEP Say, good my lord, what fault have I committed? DIP. This, that thou tellst not of the child he asks for. SHEP Yes, for he speaks in blindness, wasting breath. DIP. Thou wilt not speak for favour, but a blow [Strikes him. 1188 SHEP By all the Gods, hurt not my feeble age. DIP. Will no one bind his hands behind his back? SHEP O man most wretched! what, then, wilt thou learn? DIP. Gavst thou this man the boy of whom he asks? 1192 SHEP I gave him. Would that day had been my last! DIP. That doom will soon be thine if thou speakst wrong. SHEP Nay, much more shall I perish if I speak. DIP. This fellow, as it seems, would tire us out. 1196 SHEP Not so. I said long since I gave it him. DIP. Whence came it? Was the child thine own or not? SHEP Mine own twas not, but some one gave it me, DIP. Which of our people, or beneath what roof? 1200 SHEP Oh, by the Gods, my master, ask no more! DIP. Thou diest if I question this again. SHEP Some one it was in Laius household born. DIP. Was it a slave, or some one born to him? 1204 SHEP Ah, me! I stand upon the very brink Where most I dread to speak. DIP. And I to hear: And yet I needs must hear it, come what may. 1208 SHEP The boy was said to be his son; but she, Thy queen within, could tell thee best the truth. DIP. What! was it she who gave it? SHEP Yea, O king! 1212 DIP. And to what end? SHEP To make away with it. DIP. And dared a mother ? SHEP Evil doom she feared. 1216 DIP. What doom? SHEP Twas said that he his sire should kill. DIP. Why, then, didst thou to this old man resign him? SHEP I pitied him, O master, and I thought 1220 That he would bear him to another land, Whence he himself had come. But him he saved For direst evil. For if thou be he Whom this man speaks of, thou art born to ill. 1224 DIP. Woe! woe! woe! woe! all cometh clear at last. O light, may I neer look on thee again, Who now am seen owing my birth to those To whom I ought not, and with whom I ought not 1228 In wedlock living, whom I ought not slaying. [Exit. STROPH. I
CHORUS Ah, race of mortal men,
How as a thing of naught I count ye, though ye live; 1232 For who is there of men That more of blessing knows Than just a little while In a vain show to stand, 1236 And, having stood, to fall? With thee before mine eyes, Thy destiny, een thine, Ill-fated dipus, 1240 I can count no man blest. ANTISTROPH. I
For thou, with wondrous skill,
Taking thine aim, didst hit Success, in all things prosperous; 1244 And didst, O Zeus! destroy The Virgin with her talons bent, And sayings wild and dark; And against many deaths 1248 A tower and strong defence Didst for my country rise; And therefore dost thou bear the name of king, With highest glory crowned, 1252 Ruling in mighty Thebes. STROPH. II
And now, who lives than thou more miserable?
Who equals thee in wild woes manifold, In shifting turns of life? 1256 Ah, noble one, our dipus! For whom the selfsame port Sufficed for sire and son, In wedlocks haven met: 1260 Ah how, ah how, thou wretched one, so long Could that incestuous bed Receive thee, and be dumb? ANTISTROPH. II
Time, who sees all things, he hath found thee out,
1264 Against thy will, and long ago condemned The wedlock none may wed, Begetter and begotten In strange confusion joined. 1268 Ah, child of Laius! ah! Would that I neer had looked upon thy face! For I mourn sore exceedingly, From lips with wailing full. 1272 In simplest truth, by thee I rose from death, By thee I close mine eyes in deadly sleep. Enter Second Messenger
SEC. MESS. Ye chieftains, honoured most in this our land,
For all the deeds ye hear of, all ye see, 1276 How great a wailing will ye raise, if still Ye truly love the house of Labdacus; For sure I think that neither Isters stream Nor Phasis floods could purify this house, 1280 Such horrors does it hold. But all too soon, Will we or will we not, theyll come to light. Self-chosen sorrows ever pain men most. CHORUS The ills we knew before lacked nothing meet 1284 For plaint and moaning. Now, what addst thou more? SEC. MESS. Quickest for me to speak, and thee to learn; Our godlike queen Jocastashe is dead. CHORUS Ah, crushed with many sorrows! How and why? 1288 SEC. MESS. Herself she slew. The worst of all that passed I must pass oer, for none were there to see. Yet, far as memory suffers me to speak, That sorrow-stricken womans end Ill tell; 1292 How, yielding to her passion, on she passed Within the porch, made straightway for the couch, Her bridal bed, with both hands tore her hair, And as she entered, dashing through the doors, 1296 Calls on her Laius, dead long years ago, Remembering all that birth of long ago, Which brought him death, and left to her who bore, With his own son a hateful motherhood. 1300 And oer her bed she wailed, where she had borne Spouse to her spouse, and children to her child; And how she perished after this I know not; For dipus struck in with woeful cry, 1304 And we no longer looked upon her fate, But gazed on him as to and fro he rushed, For so he comes, and asks us for a sword, Wherewith to smite the wife that wife was none, 1308 The bosom stained by those accursed births, Himself, his childrenso, as thus he raves, Some spirit shows her to him (none of us Who stood hard by had done so): with a shout 1312 Most terrible, as some one led him on, Through the two gates he leapt, and from the hasp He slid the hollow bolt, and falls within; And there we saw his wife had hung herself, 1316 By twisted cords suspended. When her form He saw, poor wretch! with one wild, fearful cry, The twisted rope he loosens, and she fell, Ill-starred one, on the ground. Then came a sight 1320 Most fearful. Tearing from her robe the clasps, All chased with gold, with which she decked herself, He with them struck the pupils of his eyes, Such words as these exclaiming: They should see 1324 No more the ills he suffered or had done; But in the dark should look, in time to come, On those they ought not, not know whom they would. With such like wails, not once or twice alone, 1328 Raising the lids, he tore his eyes, and they, All bleeding, stained his cheek, nor ceased to pour Thick clots of gore, but still the purple shower Fell fast and full, a very rain of blood. 1332 Such were the ills that fell on both of them, Not on one only, wife and husband both. His former fortune, which he held of old, Was rightly honoured; but for this days doom 1336 Wailing and woe, and death and shame, all forms That man can name of evil, none have failed. CHORUS And hath the wretched man a pause of ill? SEC. MESS. He calls to us to ope the gates, and show 1340 To all in Thebes his fathers murderer, His mothers Foul and fearful were the words He spoke. I dare not speak them. Then he said That he would cast himself adrift, nor stay 1344 At home accursèd, as himself had cursed. Some stay he surely needs, or guiding hand, For greater is the ill than he can bear, And this he soon will show thee, for the bolts 1348 Of the two gates are opening, and thoult see A sight to touch een hatreds self with pity. The doors of the Palace are thrown open, and DIPUS is seen within.
CHORUS Oh, fearful, piteous sight!
Most fearful of all woes 1352 I hitherto have known! What madness strange Has come on thee, thou wretched one? What power with one fell swoop, Ills heaping upon ills, 1356 Each greater than the last, Has marked thee for its prey? Woe! woe! thou doomed one, wishing much to ask, And much to learn, and much to gaze into, 1360 I cannot look on thee, So horrible the sight! DIP. Ah, woe! ah, woe! ah, woe! Woe for my misery! 1364 Where am I wandring in my utter woe? Where floats my voice in air? Dread power, where leadest thou? CHORUS To doom of dread nor sight nor speech may bear. 1368 DIP. O cloud of darkest guilt That onwards sweeps with dread ineffable, Resistless, borne along by evil blast, Woe, woe, and woe again! 1372 How through my soul there darts the sting of pain, The memory of my crimes. CHORUS And who can wonder that in such dire woes Thou mournest doubly, bearing twofold ills? 1376 DIP. Ah, friend, Thou only keepest by me, faithful found, Nor dost the blind one slight. Woe, woe, 1380 For thou escapst me not, I know thee well; Though all is dark, I still can hear thy voice. CHORUS O man of fearful deeds, how couldst thou bear Thine eyes to outrage? What power stirred thee to it? 1384 DIP. Apollo! oh, my friends, the God, Apollo! Who worketh all my woesyes, all my woes. No human hand but mine has done this deed. What need for me to see, 1388 When nothings left thats sweet to look upon? CHORUS Too truly dost thou speak the thing that is. DIP. Yea, what remains to see, Or what to love, or hear, 1392 With any touch of joy? Lead me away, my friends, with utmost speed, Lead me away, the foul polluted one, Of all men most accursed, 1396 Most hateful to the Gods. CHORUS Ah, wretched one, alike in soul and doom, Would that my eyes had never known thy face! DIP. Ill fate be his who loosed the fetters sharp, 1400 That ate into my flesh, And freed me from the doom of death, And saved methankless boon! Ah! had I died but then, 1404 Nor to my friends nor me had been such woe. CHORUS That I, too, vainly wish! DIP. Yes; then I had not been My fathers murderer: 1408 Nor had men pointed to me as the man Wedded with her who bore him. But now all god-deserted, born in sins, In incest joined with her who gave me birth; 1412 Yea, if there be an evil worse than all, It falls on dipus! CHORUS I may not call thy acts or counsels good, For better wert thou dead than living blind. 1416 DIP. Persuade me not, nor counsel give to show That what I did was not the best to do. I know not how, on entering Hades dark, To look for my own father or my mother, 1420 Crimes worse than deadly done against them both. And though my childrens face was sweet to see With their growth growing, yet these eyes no more That sight shall see, nor citadel, nor tower, 1424 Nor sacred shrines of Gods whence I, who stood Most honoured one in Thebes, myself have banished, Commanding all to thrust the godless forth, Him whom the Gods do show accursed, the stock 1428 Of Laius old. And could I dare to look, Such dire pollution fixing on myself, And meet them face to face? Not so, not so. Yea, if I could but stop the stream of sound, 1432 And dam mine ears against it, I would do it, Closing each wretched sense that I might live Both blind, and hearing nothing, Sweet twould be To keep the soul beyond the reach of ills. 1436 Why, O Kithæron, didst thou shelter me, Nor kill me out of hand? I had not shown, In that case, all men whence I drew my birth. O Polybus, and Corinth, and the home 1440 I thought was mine, how strange a growth ye reared, All fair outside, all rotten at the core; For vile I stand, descended from the vile. Ye threefold roads and thickets half concealed, 1444 The hedge, the narrow pass where three ways meet, Which at my hands did drink my fathers blood, Remember ye what deeds I did in you; What, hither come, I did?the marriage rites 1448 That gave me birth, and then, commingling all, In horrible confusion, showed in one A father, brother, son, all kindreds mixed, Mother, and wife, and daughter, hateful names, 1452 All foulest deeds that men have ever done. But, since, where deeds are evil, speech is wrong, With utmost speed, by all the Gods, or hide, Or take my life, or cast me in the sea, 1456 Where nevermore your eyes may look on me. Come, scorn ye not to touch my misery, But hearken; fear ye not; no soul but I Can bear the burden of my countless ills. 1460 CHORUS The man for what thou needst is come in time, Creon, to counsel and to act, for now He in thy place is left our only guide. DIP. Ah, me! what language shall I hold to him, 1464 What trust at his hands claim? In all the past I showed myself to him most vile and base. Enter CREON
CREON. I have not come, O dipus, to scorn,
Nor to reproach thee for thy former crimes; 1468 But ye, if ye have lost your sense of shame For mortal men, yet reverence the light Of him, our King, the Sun-God, source of life, Nor sight so foul expose unveiled to view, 1472 Which neither earth, nor shower from heaven nor light, Can see and welcome. But with utmost speed Convey him in; for nearest kin alone Can meetly see and hear their kindreds ills. 1476 DIP. Oh, by the Gods! since thou, beyond my hopes, Dost come all noble unto me all base, In one thing hearken. For thy good I ask. CREON. And what request seekst thou so wistfully? 1480 DIP. Cast me with all thy speed from out this land, Where nevermore a man may look on me! CREON. Be sure I would have done so, but I wished To learn what now the God will bid us do. 1484 DIP. The oracle was surely clear enough That I, the parricide, the pest, should die. CREON. So ran the words. But in our present need Tis better to learn surely what to do. 1488 DIP. And will ye ask for one so vile as I? CREON. Yea, now thou, too, wouldst trust the voice of God. DIP. And this I charge thee, yea, and supplicate, For her within, provide what tomb thou wilt, 1492 For for thine own most meetly thou wilt care; But never let this city of my fathers Be sentenced to receive me as its guest; But suffer me on yon lone hills to dwell, 1496 Where stands Kithæron, chosen as my tomb While still I lived, by mother and by sire, That I may die by those who sought to kill. And yet this much I know, that no disease, 1500 Nor aught else could have killed me; neer from death Had I been saved but for this destined doom. But for our fate, whatever comes may come: And for my boys, O Creon, lay no charge 1504 Of them upon me. They are grown, nor need, Whereer they be, feel lack of means to live. But for my two poor girls, all desolate, To whom their table never brought a meal 1508 Without my presence, but whateer I touched They still partook of with me; these I care for. Yea, let me touch them with my hands, and weep To them my sorrows. Grant it, O my prince, 1512 O born of noble nature! Could I but touch them with my hands, I feel Still I should have them mine, as when I saw. Enter ANTIGONE and ISMENE
What say I? What is this?
1516 Do I not hear, ye Gods, their dear, loved tones, Broken with sobs, and Creon, pitying me, Hath sent the dearest of my children to me? Is it not so? 1520 CREON. It is so. I am he who gives thee this, Knowing the joy thou hadst in them of old. DIP. Good luck have thou! And may the powers on high Guard thy path better than they guarded mine! 1524 Where are ye, O my children? Come, oh, come To these your brothers hands, which but now tore Your fathers eyes, that once were bright to see, Who, O my children, blind and knowing naught, 1528 Became your fatherhow, I may not tell. I weep for you, though sight is mine no more, Picturing in mind the sad and dreary life Which waits you in the world in years to come; 1532 For to what friendly gatherings will ye go, Or festive joys, from whence, for stately show Once yours, ye shall not home return in tears? And when ye come to marriageable age, 1536 Who is there, O my children, rash enough To make his own the shame that then will fall On those who bore me, and on you as well? What evil fails us here? Your father killed 1540 His father, and was wed in incest foul With her who bore him, and ye owe your birth To her who gave him his. Such shame as this Will men lay on you, and who then will dare 1544 To make you his in marriage? None, not one, My children! but ye needs must waste away, Unwedded, childless, Thou, Menkeus son, Since thou alone art left a father to them 1548 (For we, their parents, perish utterly), Suffer them not to wander husbandless, Nor let thy kindred beg their daily bread; But look on them with pity, seeing them 1552 At their age, but for thee, deprived of all. O noble soul, I pray thee, touch my hand In token of consent. And ye, my girls, Had ye the minds to hearken I would fain 1556 Give ye much counsel. As it is, pray for me To live whereer is meet; and for yourselves A brighter life than his ye call your sire. CREON. Enough of tears and words. Go thou within. 1560 DIP. I needs must yield, however, hard it be. CREON. In their right season all things prospect best. DIP. Knowst thou my wish? CREON. Speak and I then shall hear. 1564 DIP. That thou shouldst send me far away from home. CREON. Thou askest what the Gods alone can give. DIP. And yet I go most hated of the Gods. CREON. And therefore it may chance thou gainst thy wish. 1568 DIP. And dost thou promise, then, to grant it me? CREON. I am not wont to utter idle words. DIP. Lead me, then, hence. CREON. Go thou, but leave the girls. 1572 DIP. Ah, take them not from me! CREON. Thou must not think To have thy way in all things all thy life. Thou hadst it once, yet went it ill with thee. 1576 CHORUS Ye men of Thebes, behold this dipus, Who knew the famous riddle and was noblest, Who envied no ones fortune and success. And, lo,! in what a sea of direst woe 1580 He now is plunged. From hence the lesson draw, To reckon no man happy till ye see The closing day; until he pass the bourn Which severs life from death, unscathed by woe. 1584
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