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The seven against thebes   


Temper the blast that bloweth wild and rude
And frenzied, in this hour!
ETEOCLES
Ay, kindled by the curse of Oedipus-
All too prophetic, out of dreamland came
The vision, meting out our sire's estate!
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Heed women's voices, though thou love them not!

ETEOCLES
Say aught that may avail, but stint thy words.

LEADER
Go not thou forth to guard the seventh gate!

ETEOCLES
Words shall not blunt the edge of my resolve.

LEADER
Yet the god loves to let the weak prevail.

ETEOCLES
That to a swordsman, is no welcome word!

LEADER
Shall thine own brother's blood be victory's palm?

ETEOCLES
Ill which the gods have sent thou canst no-shun!

ETEOCLES goes out.

CHORUS singing
strophe 1

I shudder in dread of the power, abhorred by the gods of high
heaven,
The ruinous curse of the home till roof-tree and rafter be riven!
Too true are the visions of ill, too true the fulfilment they bring
To the curse that was spoken of old by the frenzy and wrath of the
king!
Her will is the doom of the children, and Discord is kindled amain,

antistrophe 1

And strange is the Lord of Division, who cleaveth the birthright in
twain,-
The edged thing, born of the north, the steel that is ruthless and
keen,
Dividing in bitter division the lot of the children of teen!
Not the wide lowland around, the realm of their sire, shall they
have,
Yet enough for the dead to inherit, the pitiful space of a grave!

strophe 2

Ah, but when kin meets kin, when sire and child,
Unknowing, are defiled
By shedding common blood, and when the pit
Of death devoureth it,
Drinking the clotted stain, the gory dye-
Who, who can purify?
Who cleanse pollution, where the ancient bane
Rises and reeks again?

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