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.
I charge thee, not to flout the city's law!
I charge thee, use no useless heralding!
Stern is a people newly 'scaped from death.
Whet thou their sternness! burial he shall have.
How? grace of burial, to the city's foe?
God hath not judged him separate in guilt.
True-till he put this land in jeopardy.
His rights usurped, he answered wrong with wrong.
Nay-but for one man's sin he smote the State.
Contention doth out-talk all other gods!
Prate thou no more-I will to bury him.
Will, an thou wilt! but I forbid the deed. The HERALD goes out.
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?
Let those who hold our city's sway
Wreak, or forbear to wreak, their will