How precious, above all wealth, is good counsel.
As folly, I think, is the worst mischief.
Yet thou art tainted with that distemper.
I would not answer the seer with a taunt.
But thou dost, in saying that I prophesy falsely.
Well, the prophet-tribe was ever fond of money.
And the race bred of tyrants loves base gain.
Knowest thou that thy speech is spoken of thy king?
I know it; for through me thou hast saved Thebes.
Thou art a wise seer; but thou lovest evil deeds.
Thou wilt rouse me to utter the dread secret in my soul.
Out with it!-Only speak it not for gain.
Indeed, methinks, I shall not,-as touching thee.
Know that thou shalt not trade on my resolve.
Then know thou-aye, know it well-that thou shalt not live
through many more courses of the sun's swift chariot, ere one begotten
of thine own loins shall have been given by thee, a corpse for
corpses; because thou hast thrust children of the sunlight to the
shades, and ruthlessly lodged a living soul in the grave; but
keepest in this world one who belongs to the gods infernal, a corpse
unburied, unhonoured, all unhallowed. In such thou hast no part, nor
have the gods above, but this is a violence done to them by thee.
Therefore the avenging destroyers lie in wait for thee, the Furies
of Hades and of the gods, that thou mayest be taken in these same
And mark well if I speak these things as a hireling. A time not
long to be delayed shall awaken the wailing of men and of women in thy
house. And a tumult of hatred against thee stirs all the cities
whose mangled sons had the burial-rite from dogs, or from wild beasts,
or from some winged bird that bore a polluting breath to each city
that contains the hearths of the dead.
Such arrows for thy heart-since thou provokest me-have I
launched at thee, archer-like, in my anger,-sure arrows, of which thou
shalt not escape the smart.-Boy, lead me home, that he may spend his
rage on younger men, and learn to keep a tongue more temperate, and to
bear within his breast a better mind than now he bears.
(The Boy leads TEIRESIAS Out.)
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
The man hath gone, O King, with dread prophecies. And, since the
hair on this head, once dark, hath been white, I know that he hath
never been a false prophet to our city.
I, too, know it well, and am troubled in soul. 'Tis dire to yield;
but, by resistance, to smite my pride with ruin-this, too, is a dire
Son of Menoeceus, it behoves thee to take wise counsel.
What should I do then? Speak and I will obey.