Beam of the sun, fairest light that ever dawned on Thebe of the
seven gates, thou hast shone forth at last, eye of golden day,
arisen above Dirce's streams! The warrior of the white shield, who
came from Argos in his panoply, hath been stirred by thee to
headlong flight, in swifter career;
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
who set forth against our land by reason of the vexed claims of
Polyneices; and, like shrill-screaming eagle, he flew over into our
land, in snow-white pinion sheathed, with an armed throng, and with
plumage of helms.
He paused above our dwellings; he ravened around our sevenfold
portals with spears athirst for blood; but he went hence, or ever
his jaws were glutted with our gore, or the Fire-god's pine-fed
flame had seized our crown of towers. So fierce was the noise of
battle raised behind him, a thing too hard for him to conquer, as he
wrestled with his dragon foe.
For Zeus utterly abhors the boasts of a proud tongue; and when
he beheld them coming on in a great stream, in the haughty pride of
clanging gold, he smote with brandished fire one who was now hasting
to shout victory at his goal upon our ramparts.
Swung down, he fell on the earth with a crash, torch in hand, he
who so lately, in the frenzy of the mad onset, was raging against us
with the blasts of his tempestuous hate. But those threats fared not
as he hoped; and to other foes the mighty War-god dispensed their
several dooms, dealing havoc around, a mighty helper at our need.
For seven captains at seven gates, matched against seven, left the
tribute of their panoplies to Zeus who turns the battle; save those
two of cruel fate, who, born of one sire and one mother, set against
each other their twain conquering spears, and are sharers in a
But since Victory of glorious name hath come to us, with joy
responsive to the joy of Thebe whose chariots are many, let us enjoy
forgetfulness after the late wars, and visit all the temples of the
gods with night-long dance and song; and may Bacchus be our leader,
whose dancing shakes the land of Thebe.
But lo, the king of the land comes yonder, Creon, son of