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The Phoenissae   


side!
CREON (to his servants) Ho! seize and bear her within the palace.
ANTIGONE Never! for I will not loose my hold upon this corpse.
CREON Heaven's decrees, girl, fit not thy fancies.
ANTIGONE Decrees! here is another, "No insult to the dead."
CREON Be sure that none shall sprinkle over the corpse the moistened
dust.
ANTIGONE O Creon, by my mother's corpse, by Jocasta, I implore thee!
CREON 'Tis but lost labour; thou wilt not gain thy prayer.
ANTIGONE Let me but bathe the dead body-
CREON Nay, that would be part of what the city is forbidden.
ANTIGONE At least let me bandage the gaping wounds.
CREON No; thou shalt never pay honour to this corpse.
ANTIGONE O my darling! one kiss at least will I print upon thy lips.
CREON Do not let this mourning bring disaster on thy marriage.
ANTIGONE Marriage! dost think I will live to wed thy son?
CREON Most certainly thou must; how wilt thou escape his bed?
ANTIGONE Then if I must, our wedding-night will find another Danaid
bride in me.
CREON (turning to OEDIPUS) Dost witness how boldly she reproached
me?
ANTIGONE Witness this steel, the sword by which I swear!
CREON Why art so bent on being released from this marriage?
ANTIGONE I mean to share my hapless father's exile.
CREON A noble spirit thine but somewhat touched with folly.
ANTIGONE Likewise will I share his death, I tell thee further.
CREON Go, leave the land; thou shalt not murder son of mine. (CREON
goes out, followed by his attendants who carry with them the body
Of MENOECEUS.)

OEDIPUS Daughter, for this loyal spirit I thank thee.
ANTIGONE Were I to wed, then thou, my father, wouldst be alone in
thy exile.
OEDIPUS Abide here and be happy; I will bear my own load of sorrow.
ANTIGONE And who shall tend thee in thy blindness, father?
OEDIPUS Where fate appoints, there will I lay me down upon the ground.
ANTIGONE Where is now the famous Oedipus, where that famous riddle?
OEDIPUS Lost for ever! one day made, and one day marred my fortune.
ANTIGONE May not I too share thy sorrows?
OEDIPUS To wander with her blinded sire were shame unto his child.
ANTIGONE Not so, father, but glory rather, if she be a maid discreet.
OEDIPUS Lead me nigh that I may touch thy mother's corpse.
ANTIGONE So! embrace the aged form so dear to thee.
OEDIPUS Woe is thee, thy motherhood, thy marriage most unblest!
ANTIGONE A piteous corpse, a prey to every ill at once!
OEDIPUS Where lies the corpse of Eteocles, and of Polyneices, where?
ANTIGONE Both lie stretched before thee, side by side.
OEDIPUS Lay the blind man's hand upon his poor sons' brows.
ANTIGONE There then! touch the dead, thy children.
OEDIPUS Woe for you! dear fallen sons, sad offspring of a sire as
sad!
ANTIGONE O my brother Polyneices, name most dear to me!
OEDIPUS Now is the oracle of Loxias being fulfilled, my child.
ANTIGONE What oracle was that? canst thou have further woes to tell?
OEDIPUS That I should die in glorious Athens after a life of wandering.
ANTIGONE Where? what fenced town in Attica will take thee in?
OEDIPUS Hallowed Colonus, home of the god of steeds. Come then, attend
on thy blind father, since thou art minded to share his exile. (OEDIPUS
and ANTIGONE chant their remaining lines as they slowly depart.)

ANTIGONE To wretched exile go thy way; stretch forth thy hand, my
aged sire, taking me to guide thee, like a breeze that speedeth barques.
OEDIPUS See, daughter, I am advancing; be thou my guide, poor child.
ANTIGONE Ah, poor indeed! the saddest maid of all in Thebes.
OEDIPUS Where am I planting my aged step? Bring my staff, child.
ANTIGONE This way, this way, father mine! plant thy footsteps here,

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