Oedipus at Colonus
The gods deal with thee after my desire,
With thee and with this land! for fear of heaven
I found above all peoples most with you,
And righteousness and lips that cannot lie.
I speak in gratitude of what I know,
For all I have I owe to thee alone.
Give me thy hand, O Prince, that I may touch it,
And if thou wilt permit me, kiss thy cheek.
What say I? Can I wish that thou should'st touch
One fallen like me to utter wretchedness,
Corrupt and tainted with a thousand ills?
Oh no, I would not let thee if thou would'st.
They only who have known calamity
Can share it. Let me greet thee where thou art,
And still befriend me as thou hast till now.
THESEUS I marvel not if thou hast dallied long
In converse with thy children and preferred
Their speech to mine; I feel no jealousy,
I would be famous more by deeds than words.
Of this, old friend, thou hast had proof; my oath
I have fulfilled and brought thee back the maids
Alive and nothing harmed for all those threats.
And how the fight was won, 'twere waste of words
To boast-thy daughters here will tell thee all.
But of a matter that has lately chanced
On my way hitherward, I fain would have
Thy counsel-slight 'twould seem, yet worthy thought.
A wise man heeds all matters great or small.
OEDIPUS What is it, son of Aegeus? Let me hear.
Of what thou askest I myself know naught.
THESEUS 'Tis said a man, no countryman of thine,
But of thy kin, hath taken sanctuary
Beside the altar of Poseidon, where
I was at sacrifice when called away.
OEDIPUS What is his country? what the suitor's prayer?
THESEUS I know but one thing; he implores, I am told,
A word with thee-he will not trouble thee.
OEDIPUS What seeks he? If a suppliant, something grave.
THESEUS He only waits, they say, to speak with thee,
And then unharmed to go upon his way.
OEDIPUS I marvel who is this petitioner.
THESEUS Think if there be not any of thy kin
At Argos who might claim this boon of thee.
OEDIPUS Dear friend, forbear, I pray.
THESEUS What ails thee now?
OEDIPUS Ask it not of me.
THESEUS Ask not what? explain.
OEDIPUS Thy words have told me who the suppliant is.
THESEUS Who can he be that I should frown on him?
OEDIPUS My son, O king, my hateful son, whose words
Of all men's most would jar upon my ears.
THESEUS Thou sure mightest listen. If his suit offend,
No need to grant it. Why so loth to hear him?
OEDIPUS That voice, O king, grates on a father's ears;
I have come to loathe it. Force me not to yield.
THESEUS But he hath found asylum. O beware,
And fail not in due reverence to the god.
ANTIGONE O heed me, father, though I am young in years.
Let the prince have his will and pay withal
What in his eyes is service to the god;
For our sake also let our brother come.
If what he urges tend not to thy good