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Works by Sophocles
Pages of Ajax

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To foster his youth, must live the orphaned ward
Of loveless guardians. Think how great a sorrow
Dying thou wilt bequeath to him and me.
For I have nothing left to look to more
Save thee. By thy spear was my country ravaged;
And by another stroke did fate lay low
My mother and my sire to dwell with Hades.
Without thee then what fatherland were mine?
What wealth? On thee alone rests all my hope.
O take thought for me too. Do we not owe
Remembrance, where we have met with any joy?
For kindness begets kindness evermore
But he who from whose mind fades the memory
Of benefits, noble is he no more.
Ajax, would that thy soul would feel compassion,
As mine does; so wouldst thou approve her words.
Verily my approval shall she win,
If only she find heart to do my bidding.
Dear Ajax, in all things will I obey.
Then bring me here my son, for I would see him.
Nay, but I sent him from me in my fears.
During my late affliction, is that thy meaning?
Lest by ill chance he should meet thee and so perish.
Yes, that would have been worthy of my fate.
That at least I was watchful to avert.
I praise thine act and the foresight thou hast shown.
Since that is so, what shall I do to serve thee?
Let me speak to him and behold his face.
He is close by in the attendants' charge.
Why is his coming then so long delayed?
TECMESSA (calling)
My son, thy father calls thee.-Bring him thither
Whichever of you is guiding the child's steps.
Is the man coming? Has he heard thy call?
See, he is here already with the child.
(An attendant enters, leading the child, EURYSACES.)
Lift him up, lift him hither. He will not shrink
In terror at sight of yonder new-spilt blood,
If he be rightly mine, his father's son.
Early must he be broken to his sire's
Stern rugged code, and grow like-natured with him.
O son, mayst thou prove happier than thy father,
In all else like him, and thou'lt prove not base.
Yet even now might I envy thee herein,
That of these woes thou hast no sense at all.
For the life that is unconscious is most sweet-
Until we learn what joy and sorrow are.

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