Oedipus at Colonus
Earth, the great Ocean-king
Whom Rhea bore.
Fight they or now prepare
To fight? a vision rare
Tells me that soon again
I shall behold the twain
Maidens so ill bestead,
By their kin buffeted.
Today, today Zeus worketh some great thing
This day shall victory bring.
O for the wings, the wings of a dove,
To be borne with the speed of the gale,
Up and still upwards to sail
And gaze on the fray from the clouds above.
All-seeing Zeus, O lord of heaven,
To our guardian host be given
Might triumphant to surprise
Flying foes and win their prize.
Hear us, Zeus, and hear us, child
Of Zeus, Athene undefiled,
Hear, Apollo, hunter, hear,
Huntress, sister of Apollo,
Who the dappled swift-foot deer
O'er the wooded glade dost follow;
Help with your two-fold power
Athens in danger's hour!
O wayfarer, thou wilt not have to tax
The friends who watch for thee with false presage,
For lo, an escort with the maids draws near. (Enter ANTIGONE and
ISMENE with THESEUS)
OEDIPUS Where, where? what sayest thou?
ANTIGONE O father, father,
Would that some god might grant thee eyes to see
This best of men who brings us back again.
OEDIPUS My child! and are ye back indeed!
ANTIGONE Yes, saved By Theseus and his gallant followers.
OEDIPUS Come to your father's arms, O let me feel
A child's embrace I never hoped for more.
ANTIGONE Thou askest what is doubly sweet to give.
OEDIPUS Where are ye then?
ANTIGONE We come together both.
OEDIPUS My precious nurslings!
ANTIGONE Fathers aye were fond.
OEDIPUS Props of my age!
ANTIGONE So sorrow sorrow props.
OEDIPUS I have my darlings, and if death should come,
Death were not wholly bitter with you near.
Cling to me, press me close on either side,
There rest ye from your dreary wayfaring.
Now tell me of your ventures, but in brief;
Brief speech suffices for young maids like you.
ANTIGONE Here is our savior; thou should'st hear the tale
From his own lips; so shall my part be brief.
OEDIPUS I pray thee do not wonder if the sight
Of children, given o'er for lost, has made
My converse somewhat long and tedious.
Full well I know the joy I have of them
Is due to thee, to thee and no man else;
Thou wast their sole deliverer, none else.