Go thou, and free the maiden from her rocky chamber, and make a
tomb for the unburied dead.
And this is thy counsel? Thou wouldst have me yield?
Yea, King, and with all speed; for swift harms from the gods cut
short the folly of men.
Ah me, 'tis hard, but I resign my cherished resolve,-I obey. We
must not wage a vain war with destiny.
Go, thou, and do these things; leave them not to others.
Even as I am I'll go:-on, on, my servants, each and all of
you,-take axes in your hands, and hasten to the ground that ye see
yonder! Since our judgment hath taken this turn, I will be present
to unloose her, as myself bound her. My heart misgives me, 'tis best
to keep the established laws, even to life's end.
(CREON and his servants hasten out on the spectators' left.)
O thou of many names, glory of the Cadmeian bride, offspring of
loud-thundering Zeus! thou who watchest over famed Italia, and
reignest, where all guests are welcomed, in the sheltered plain of
Eleusinian Deo! O Bacchus, dweller in Thebe, mother-city of Bacchants,
by the softly-gliding stream of Ismenus, on the soil where the
fierce dragon's teeth were sown!
Thou hast been seen where torch-flames glare through smoke,
above the crests of the twin peaks, where move the Corycian nymphs,
thy votaries, hard by Castalia's stream.
Thou comest from the ivy-mantled slopes of Nysa's hills, and
from the shore green with many-clustered vines, while thy name is
lifted up on strains of more than mortal power, as thou visitest the
ways of Thebe:
Thebe, of all cities, thou holdest first in honour, thou and thy
mother whom the lightning smote; and now, when all our people is
captive to a violent plague, come thou with healing feet over the
Parnassian height, or over the moaning strait!
O thou with whom the stars rejoice as they move, the stars whose
breath is fire; O master of the voices of the night; son begotten of
Zeus; appear, O king, with thine attendant Thyiads, who in
night-long frenzy dance before thee, the giver of good gifts, Iacchus!
(Enter MESSENGER, on the spectators' left.)
Dwellers by the house of Cadmus and of Amphion, there is no estate
of mortal life that I would ever praise or blame as settled. Fortune
raises and Fortune humbles the lucky or unlucky from day to day, and
no one can prophesy to men concerning those things which are
CREON was blest once, as I count bliss; he had saved this land of
Cadmus from its foes; he was clothed with sole dominion in the land;
he reigned, the glorious sire of princely children. And now all hath