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The Phoenissae   

is come on us."
Towards two evils, my son, art thou hasting,-loss of influence there
and ruin in the midst of thy efforts here. Oh! my children, lay aside
your violence; two men's follies, once they meet, result in very deadly
LEADER O heaven, avert these troubles and reconcile the sons of Oedipus
in some way!
ETEOCLES Mother, the season for parley is past; the time we still
delay is idle waste; thy good wishes are of no avail, for we shall
never be reconciled except upon the terms already named, namely, that
I should keep the sceptre and be king of this land: wherefore cease
these tedious warnings and let me be. (Turning to POLYNEICES) And
as for thee, outside the walls, or die!
POLYNEICES Who will slay me? who is so invulnerable as to plunge
his sword in my body without reaping the self-same fate?
ETEOCLES Thou art near him, aye, very near; dost see my arm?
POLYNEICES I see it; but wealth is cowardly, a craven too fond of
ETEOCLES Was it then to meet a dastard thou camest with all that
host to war?
POLYNEICES In a general caution is better than foolhardiness.
ETEOCLES Relying on the truce, which saves thy life, thou turnest
POLYNEICES Once more I ask thee to restore my sceptre and share in
the kingdom.
ETEOCLES I have naught to restore; 'tis my own house, and I will
dwell therein.
POLYNEICES What! and keep more than thy share?
ETEOCLES Yes, I will. Begone!
POLYNEICES O altars of my fathers' gods!-
ETEOCLES Which thou art here to raze.
ETEOCLES Who would hear thee after thou hast marched against thy
POLYNEICES O temples of those gods that ride on snow-white steeds!
ETEOCLES They hate thee.
POLYNEICES I am being driven from my country.
ETEOCLES Because thou camest to drive others thence.
POLYNEICES Unjustly, O ye gods!
ETEOCLES Call on the gods at Mycenae, not here.
POLYNEICES Thou hast outraged right-
ETEOCLES But I have not like thee become my country's foe.
POLYNEICES By driving me forth without my portion.
ETEOCLES And further I will slay thee.
POLYNEICES O father, dost thou hear what I am suffering?
ETEOCLES Yea, and he hears what thou art doing.
POLYNEICES Thou too, mother mine?
ETEOCLES Thou hast no right to mention thy mother.
ETEOCLES Get thee to Argos, and invoke the waters of Lerna.
POLYNEICES I will; trouble not thyself; all thanks to thee though,
mother mine-
ETEOCLES Forth from the land!
POLYNEICES I go, yet grant me to behold my father.
ETEOCLES Thou shalt not have thy wish.
POLYNEICES At least then my tender sisters.
ETEOCLES No! them too thou shalt never see.
POLYNEICES Ah, sisters mine!
ETEOCLES Why dost thou, their bitterest foe, call on them?
POLYNEICES Mother dear, to thee at least farewell!
JOCASTA A joyous faring mine in sooth, my son!
POLYNEICES Thy son no more!
JOCASTA Born to sorrow, endless sorrow, I!
POLYNEICES 'Tis because my brother treats me despitefully.

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