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The seven against thebes   


Unto their parents at the far-off home,
Chaplets they hung upon Adrastus' car,
With eyes tear-dropping, but no word of moan.
For their steeled spirit glowed with high resolve,
As lions pant, with battle in their eyes.
For them, no weak alarm delays the clear
Issues of death or life! I parted thence
Even as they cast the lots, how each should lead,
Against which gate, his serried company.
Rank then thy bravest, with what speed thou may'st,
Hard by the gates, to dash on them, for now,
Full-armed, the onward ranks of Argos come!
The dust whirls up, and from their panting steeds
White foamy flakes like snow bedew the plain.
Thou therefore, chieftain! like a steersman skilled,
Enshield the city's bulwarks, ere the blast
Of war comes darting on them! hark, the roar
Of the great landstorm with its waves of men
Take Fortune by the forelock! for the rest,
By yonder dawn-light will I scan the field
Clear and aright, and surety of my word
Shall keep thee scatheless of the coming storm.

ETEOCLES
O Zeus and Earth and city-guarding gods,
And thou, my father's Curse, of baneful might,
Spare ye at least this town, nor root it up,
By violence of the foemen, stock and stem!
For here, from home and hearth, rings Hellas' tongue.
Forbid that e'er the yoke of slavery
Should bow this land of freedom, Cadmus' hold!
Be ye her help! your cause I plead with mine-
A city saved doth honour to her gods!
ETEOCLES, his attendants and most of the crowd go out.

The CHORUS OF THEBAN WOMEN enters. They appear terror-stricken.

CHORUS singing
I wail in the stress of my terror, and shrill is my cry of despair.
The foemen roll forth from their camp as a billow, and onward they
bear!
Their horsemen are swift in the forefront, the dust rises up to the
sky,
A signal, though speechless, of doom, a herald more clear than a
cry!
Hoof-trampled, the land of my love bears onward the din to mine
ears.
As a torrent descending a mountain, it thunders and echoes and
nears!
The doom is unloosened and cometh! O kings and O queens of high
Heaven,
Prevail that it fall not upon us! the sign for their onset is
given-
They stream to the walls from without, white-shielded and keen for
the fray.
The rush of their feet? to what shrine shall I bow me in terror and
pray?
They rush to pray to the gods. O gods high-throned in bliss, we
must crouch at the shrines in your home!
Not here must we tarry and wail: shield clashes on shield as they
come
And now, even now is the hour for the robes and the chaplets of
prayer!
Mine eyes feel the flash of the sword, the clang is instinct with

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