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Works by Sophocles
Pages of Antigone

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neighbour alert with torrents of threats, if anyone should be careless
of this task.
So went it, until the sun's bright orb stood in mid heaven, and
the heat began to burn: and then suddenly a whirlwind lifted from
the earth storm of dust, a trouble in the sky the plain, marring all
the leafage of its woods; and the wide air was choked therewith: we
closed our eyes, and bore the plague from the gods.
And when, after a long while, this storm had passed, the maid
was seen; and she cried aloud with the sharp cry of a bird in its
bitterness,-even as when, within the empty nest, it sees the bed
stripped of its nestlings. So she also, when she saw the corpse
bare, lifted up a voice of wailing, and called down curses on the
doers of that deed. And straightway she brought thirsty dust in her
hands; and from a shapely ewer of bronze, held high, with
thrice-poured drink-offering she crowned the dead.
We rushed forward when we saw it, and at once dosed upon our
quarry, who was in no wise dismayed. Then we taxed her with her past
and present doings; and she stood not on denial of aught,-at once to
my joy and to my pain. To have escaped from ills one's self is a great
joy; but 'tis painful to bring friends to ill. Howbeit, all such
things are of less account to me than mine own safety.
Thou-thou whose face is bent to earth-dost thou avow, or
disavow, this deed?
I avow it; I make no denial.
Thou canst betake thee whither thou wilt, free and clear of a
grave charge.
(Exit GUARD)
(To ANTIGONE) Now, tell me thou-not in many words, but
briefly-knewest thou that an edict had forbidden this?
I knew it: could I help it? It was public.
And thou didst indeed dare to transgress that law?
Yes; for it was not Zeus that had published me that edict; not
such are the laws set among men by the justice who dwells with the
gods below; nor deemed I that thy decrees were of such force, that a
mortal could override the unwritten and unfailing statutes of
heaven. For their life is not of to-day or yesterday, but from all
time, and no man knows when they were first put forth.
Not through dread of any human pride could I answer to the gods
for breaking these. Die I must,-I knew that well (how should I
-even without thy edicts. But if I am to die before my time, I
count that a gain: for when any one lives, as I do, compassed about
with evils, can such an one find aught but gain in death?
So for me to meet this doom is trifling grief; but if I had
suffered my mother's son to lie in death an unburied corpse, that
would have grieved me; for this, I am not grieved. And if my present
deeds are foolish in thy sight, it may be that a foolish judge
arraigns my folly.
The maid shows herself passionate child of passionate sire, and
knows not how to bend before troubles.
Yet I would have thee know that o'er-stubborn spirits are most
often humbled; 'tis the stiffest iron, baked to hardness in the
fire, that thou shalt oftenest see snapped and shivered; and I have
known horses that show temper brought to order by a little curb; there
is no room for pride when thou art thy neighbour's slave.-This girl
was already versed in insolence when she transgressed the laws that
had been set forth; and, that done, lo, a second insult,-to vaunt of

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