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Oedipus at Colonus   


'This she; 'tis not-I cannot tell, alack;
It is no other! Now her bright'ning glance
Greets me with recognition, yes, 'tis she,
Herself, Ismene!
OEDIPUS Ha! what say ye, child?
ANTIGONE That I behold thy daughter and my sister,
And thou wilt know her straightway by her voice. (Enter ISMENE)
ISMENE Father and sister, names to me most sweet,
How hardly have I found you, hardly now
When found at last can see you through my tears!
OEDIPUS Art come, my child?
ISMENE O father, sad thy plight!
OEDIPUS Child, thou art here?
ISMENE Yes, 'twas a weary way.
OEDIPUS Touch me, my child.
ISMENE I give a hand to both.
OEDIPUS O children-sisters!
ISMENE O disastrous plight!
OEDIPUS Her plight and mine?
ISMENE Aye, and my own no less.
OEDIPUS What brought thee, daughter?
ISMENE Father, care for thee.
OEDIPUS A daughter's yearning?
ISMENE Yes, and I had news
I would myself deliver, so I came
With the one thrall who yet is true to me.

OEDIPUS Thy valiant brothers, where are they at need?
ISMENE They are-enough, 'tis now their darkest hour.
OEDIPUS Out on the twain! The thoughts and actions all
Are framed and modeled on Egyptian ways.
For there the men sit at the loom indoors
While the wives slave abroad for daily bread.
So you, my children-those whom I behooved
To bear the burden, stay at home like girls,
While in their stead my daughters moil and drudge,
Lightening their father's misery. The one
Since first she grew from girlish feebleness
To womanhood has been the old man's guide
And shared my weary wandering, roaming oft
Hungry and footsore through wild forest ways,
In drenching rains and under scorching suns,
Careless herself of home and ease, if so
Her sire might have her tender ministry.
And thou, my child, whilom thou wentest forth,
Eluding the Cadmeians' vigilance,
To bring thy father all the oracles
Concerning Oedipus, and didst make thyself
My faithful lieger, when they banished me.
And now what mission summons thee from home,
What news, Ismene, hast thou for thy father?
This much I know, thou com'st not empty-handed,
Without a warning of some new alarm.

ISMENE The toil and trouble, father, that I bore
To find thy lodging-place and how thou faredst,
I spare thee; surely 'twere a double pain
To suffer, first in act and then in telling;
'Tis the misfortune of thine ill-starred sons
I come to tell thee. At the first they willed
To leave the throne to Creon, minded well
Thus to remove the inveterate curse of old,
A canker that infected all thy race.
But now some god and an infatuate soul

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