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Works by Sophocles
Pages of Ajax

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May night and Hades keep it there below.
For from that hour my hand accepted it,
The gift of Hector, deadliest of my foes,
Nought from the Greeks towards me hath sped well.
So now I find that ancient proverb true,
Foes' gifts are no gifts: profit bring they none.
Therefore henceforth I study to obey
The Gods, and reverence the sons of Atreus.
Our rulers are they: we must yield. How else?
For to authority yield all things most dread
And mighty. Thus must Winter's snowy feet
Give place to Summer with her wealth of fruits;
And from her weary round doth Night withdraw,
That Day's white steeds may kindle heaven with light.
After fierce tempest calm will ever lull
The moaning sea; and Sleep, that masters all,
Binds life awhile, yet loosens soon the bond.
And who am I that I should not learn wisdom?
Of all men I, whom proof hath taught of late
How so far only should we hate our foes
As though we soon might love them, and so far
Do a friend service, as to one most like
Some day to prove our foe; since oftenest men
In friendship but a faithless haven find.
Thus well am I resolved. (To TECMESSA) Thou, woman, pass
Within, and pray the gods that all things so
May be accomplished as my heart desires.
And you, friends, heed my wishes as she doth;
And when he comes, bid Teucer he must guard
My rights at need, and withal stand your friend.
For now I go whither I needs must pass.
Do as I bid. Soon haply you shall hear,
With me, for all this misery, 'tis most well.
(AJAX departs. TECMESSA goes into the tent.)
CHORUS (singing)


I thrill with rapture, flutter on wings of ecstasy.
Io, Io, Pan, Pan!
O Pan, Pan! from the stony ridge,
Snow-bestrewn of Cyllene's height
Appear roving across the waters,
O dance-ordering king of gods,
That thou mayst join me in flinging free
Fancy measures of Nysa and of Cnossus.
Yea for the dance I now am eager.
And over the far Icarian billows come, O king Apollo,
From Delos in haste, come thou,
Thy kindly power here in our midst revealing.


Ares hath lifted horror and anguish from our eyes.
Io, Io! Now again,
Now, O Zeus, can the bright and blithe
Glory of happier days return
To our swift-voyaging ships, for now
Hath Ajax wholly forgot his grief,
And all rites due to the gods he now
Fain would meetly perform with loyal worship.
Mighty is time to dwindle all things.
Nought would I call too strange for belief, when Ajax thus beyond

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