Oedipus the King
Witness, thou Sun, such thought was never mine,
Unblest, unfriended may I perish,
If ever I such wish did cherish!
But O my heart is desolate
Musing on our striken State,
Doubly fall'n should discord grow
Twixt you twain, to crown our woe.
OEDIPUS Well, let him go, no matter what it cost me,
Or certain death or shameful banishment,
For your sake I relent, not his; and him,
Where'er he be, my heart shall still abhor.
CREON Thou art as sullen in thy yielding mood
As in thine anger thou wast truculent.
Such tempers justly plague themselves the most.
OEDIPUS Leave me in peace and get thee gone.
CREON I go,
By thee misjudged, but justified by these. (Exeunt CREON.)
CHORUS (antistrophe 1)
Lady, lead indoors thy consort; wherefore longer here delay?
JOCASTA Tell me first how rose the fray.
CHORUS Rumors bred unjust suspicious and injustice rankles sore.
JOCASTA Were both at fault?
JOCASTA What was the tale?
CHORUS Ask me no more. The land is sore distressed; 'Twere better
sleeping ills to leave at rest.
OEDIPUS Strange counsel, friend! I know thou mean'st me well,
And yet would'st mitigate and blunt my zeal.
CHORUS (antistrophe 2)
King, I say it once again,
Witless were I proved, insane,
If I lightly put away
Thee my country's prop and stay,
Pilot who, in danger sought,
To a quiet haven brought
Our distracted State; and now
Who can guide us right but thou?
JOCASTA Let me too, I adjure thee, know, O king,
What cause has stirred this unrelenting wrath.
OEDIPUS I will, for thou art more to me than these.
Lady, the cause is Creon and his plots.
JOCASTA But what provoked the quarrel? make this clear.
OEDIPUS He points me out as Laius' murderer.
JOCASTA Of his own knowledge or upon report?
OEDIPUS He is too cunning to commit himself,
And makes a mouthpiece of a knavish seer.
JOCASTA Then thou mayest ease thy conscience on that score.
Listen and I'll convince thee that no man
Hath scot or lot in the prophetic art.
Here is the proof in brief. An oracle
Once came to Laius (I will not say
'Twas from the Delphic god himself, but from
His ministers) declaring he was doomed
To perish by the hand of his own son,
A child that should be born to him by me.
Now Laius-so at least report affirmed-
Was murdered on a day by highwaymen,
No natives, at a spot where three roads meet.
As for the child, it was but three days old,
When Laius, its ankles pierced and pinned
Together, gave it to be cast away