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The seven against thebes   


Him never shall the wolves with ravening maw
Rend and devour: I do forbid the thought!
I for him, I-albeit a woman weak-
In place of burial-pit, will give him rest
By this protecting handful of light dust
Which, in the lap of this poor linen robe,
I bear to hallow and bestrew his corpse
With the due covering. Let none gainsay!
Courage and craft shall arm me, this to do.
HERALD
I charge thee, not to flout the city's law!

ANTIGONE
I charge thee, use no useless heralding!

HERALD
Stern is a people newly 'scaped from death.

ANTIGONE
Whet thou their sternness! burial he shall have.

HERALD
How? grace of burial, to the city's foe?

ANTIGONE
God hath not judged him separate in guilt.

HERALD
True-till he put this land in jeopardy.

ANTIGONE
His rights usurped, he answered wrong with wrong.

HERALD
Nay-but for one man's sin he smote the State.

ANTIGONE
Contention doth out-talk all other gods!
Prate thou no more-I will to bury him.
HERALD
Will, an thou wilt! but I forbid the deed. The HERALD goes out.

CHORUS singing
Exulting Fates, who waste the line
And whelm the house of Oedipus!
Fiends, who have slain, in wrath condign,
The father and the children thus!
What now befits it that I do,
What meditate, what undergo?
Can I the funeral rite refrain,
Nor weep for Polyneices slain?
But yet, with fear I shrink and thrill,
Presageful of the city's will!
Thou, O Eteocles, shalt have
Full rites, and mourners at thy grave,
But he, thy brother slain, shall he,
With none to weep or cry Alas,
To unbefriended burial pass?
Only one sister o'er his bier,
To raise the cry and pour the tear-
Who can obey such stern decree?
SEMI-CHORUS
Let those who hold our city's sway
Wreak, or forbear to wreak, their will

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