Oedipus at Colonus
ANTIGONE Nay, hear me plead.
POLYNEICES It may not be; forbear.
ANTIGONE Then woe is me, If I must lose thee.
POLYNEICES Nay, that rests with fate,
Whether I live or die; but for you both
I pray to heaven ye may escape all ill;
For ye are blameless in the eyes of all. (Exit POLYNEICES)
CHORUS (strophe 1)
Ills on ills! no pause or rest!
Come they from our sightless guest?
Or haply now we see fulfilled
What fate long time hath willed?
For ne'er have I proved vain
Aught that the heavenly powers ordain.
Time with never sleeping eye
Watches what is writ on high,
Overthrowing now the great,
Raising now from low estate.
Hark! How the thunder rumbles! Zeus defend us!
OEDIPUS Children, my children! will no messenger
Go summon hither Theseus my best friend?
ANTIGONE And wherefore, father, dost thou summon him?
OEDIPUS This winged thunder of the god must bear me
Anon to Hades. Send and tarry not.
CHORUS (antistrophe 1)
Hark! with louder, nearer roar
The bolt of Zeus descends once more.
My spirit quails and cowers: my hair
Bristles for fear. Again that flare!
What doth the lightning-flash portend?
Ever it points to issues grave.
Dread powers of air! Save, Zeus, O save!
OEDIPUS Daughters, upon me the predestined end
Has come; no turning from it any more.
ANTIGONE How knowest thou? What sign convinces thee?
OEDIPUS I know full well. Let some one with all speed
Go summon hither the Athenian prince.
CHORUS (strophe 2)
Ha! once more the deafening sound
Peals yet louder all around
If thou darkenest our land,
Lightly, lightly lay thy hand;
Grace, not anger, let me win,
If upon a man of sin
I have looked with pitying eye,
Zeus, our king, to thee I cry!
OEDIPUS Is the prince coming? Will he when he comes
Find me yet living and my senses clear!
ANTIGONE What solemn charge would'st thou impress on him?
OEDIPUS For all his benefits I would perform
The promise made when I received them first.
CHORUS (antistrophe 2)
Hither haste, my son, arise,
Altar leave and sacrifice,
If haply to Poseidon now
In the far glade thou pay'st thy vow.
For our guest to thee would bring
And thy folk and offering,
Thy due guerdon. Haste, O King! (Enter THESEUS)