The seven against thebes
Shall guide him as a victor to his home!
For had but justice, maiden-child of Zeus,
Stood by his act and thought, it might have been!
Yet never, from the day he reached the light
Out of the darkness of his mother's womb,
Never in childhood, nor in youthful prime,
Nor when his chin was gathering its beard,
Hath justice hailed or claimed him as her own.
Therefore I deem not that she standeth now
To aid him in this outrage on his home!
Misnamed, in truth, were justice, utterly,
If to impiety she lent her hand.
Sure in this faith, I will myself go forth
And match me with him; who hath fairer claim?
Ruler, against one fain to snatch the rule,
Brother with brother matched, and foe with foe,
Will I confront the issue. To the wall!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
O thou true heart, O child of Oedipus,
Be not, in wrath, too like the man whose name
Murmurs an evil omen! 'Tis enough
That Cadmus' clan should strive with Arges' host,
For blood there is that can atone that stain!
But-brother upon brother dealing death-
Not time itself can expiate the sin!
If man find hurt, yet clasp his honour still,
'Tis well; the dead have honour, nought beside.
Hurt, with dishonour, wins no word of praise!
Ah, what is thy desire?
Let not the lust and ravin of the sword
Bear thee adown the tide accursed, abhorred!
Fling off thy passion's rage, thy spirit's prompting dire!
Nay-since the god is urgent for our doom,
Let Laius' house, by Phoebus loathed and scorned,
Follow the gale of destiny, and win
Its great inheritance, the gulf of hell!
Ruthless thy craving is-
Craving for kindred and forbidden blood
To be outpoured-a sacrifice imbrued
With sin, a bitter fruit of murderous enmities!
Yea, my own father's fateful Curse proclaims-
A ghastly presence, and her eyes are dry-
Strike! honour is the prize, not life prolonged!
Ah, be not urged of her! for none shall dare
To call thee coward, in thy throned estate!
Will not the Fury in her sable pal
Pass outward from these halls, what time the gods
Welcome a votive offering from our hands?
The gods! long since they hold us in contempt,
Scornful of gifts thus offered by the lost!
Why should we fawn and flinch away from doom?
Now, when it stands beside thee! for its power
May, with a changing gust of milder mood,