Such is the darkling rumour that spreads in secret. For me, my
father, no treasure is so precious as thy welfare. What, indeed, is
a nobler ornament for children than a prospering sire's fair fame,
or for sire than son's? Wear not, then, one mood only in thyself;
think not that thy word, and thine alone, must be right. For if any
man thinks that he alone is wise,-that in speech, or in mind, he
hath no peer,-such a soul, when laid open, is ever found empty.
No, though a man be wise, 'tis no shame for him to learn many
things, and to bend in season. Seest thou, beside the wintry torrent's
course, how the trees that yield to it save every twig, while the
stiff-necked perish root and branch? And even thus he who keeps the
sheet of his sail taut, and never slackens it, upsets his boat, and
finishes his voyage with keel uppermost.
Nay, forego thy wrath; permit thyself to change. For if I, a
younger man, may offer my thought, it were far best, I ween, that
men should be all-wise by nature; but, otherwise-and oft the scale
inclines not so-'tis good also to learn from those who speak aright.
Sire, 'tis meet that thou shouldest profit by his words, if he
speaks aught in season, and thou, Haemon, by thy father's; for on both
parts there hath been wise speech.
Men of my age are we indeed to be schooled, then, by men of his?
In nothing that is not right; but if I am young, thou shouldest
look to my merits, not to my years.
Is it a merit to honour the unruly?
I could wish no one to show respect for evil-doers.
Then is not she tainted with that malady?
Our Theban folk, with one voice, denies it.
Shall Thebes prescribe to me how I must rule?
See, there thou hast spoken like a youth indeed.
Am I to rule this land by other judgment than mine own?
That is no city which belongs to one man.
Is not the city held to be the ruler's?
Thou wouldst make a good monarch of a desert.
This boy, it seems, is the woman's champion.
If thou art a woman; indeed, my care is for thee.
Shameless, at open feud with thy father!
Nay, I see thee offending against justice.
Do I offend, when I respect mine own prerogatives?
Thou dost not respect them, when thou tramplest on the gods'
O dastard nature, yielding place to woman!
Thou wilt never find me yield to baseness.