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Oedipus the King   


Woe, lamentation, ruin, death, disgrace,
All ills that can be named, all, all are theirs.
CHORUS But hath he still no respite from his pain?
SECOND MESSENGER He cries, «Unbar the doors and let all Thebes
Behold the slayer of his sire, his mother's-«
That shameful word my lips may not repeat.
He vows to fly self-banished from the land,
Nor stay to bring upon his house the curse
Himself had uttered; but he has no strength
Nor one to guide him, and his torture's more
Than man can suffer, as yourselves will see.
For lo, the palace portals are unbarred,
And soon ye shall behold a sight so sad
That he who must abhorred would pity it. (Enter OEDIPUS blinded.)
CHORUS Woeful sight! more woeful none
These sad eyes have looked upon.
Whence this madness? None can tell
Who did cast on thee his spell, prowling all thy life around,

Leaping with a demon bound.
Hapless wretch! how can I brook
On thy misery to look?
Though to gaze on thee I yearn,
Much to question, much to learn,
Horror-struck away I turn.

OEDIPUS Ah me! ah woe is me!
Ah whither am I borne!
How like a ghost forlorn
My voice flits from me on the air!
On, on the demon goads. The end, ah where?

CHORUS An end too dread to tell, too dark to see.
OEDIPUS (strophe 1)
Dark, dark! The horror of darkness, like a shroud,
Wraps me and bears me on through mist and cloud.
Ah me, ah me! What spasms athwart me shoot,
What pangs of agonizing memory?
CHORUS No marvel if in such a plight thou feel'st
The double weight of past and present woes.
OEDIPUS (antistrophe 1)
Ah friend, still loyal, constant still and kind,
Thou carest for the blind.
I know thee near, and though bereft of eyes,
Thy voice I recognize.
CHORUS O doer of dread deeds, how couldst thou mar
Thy vision thus? What demon goaded thee?
OEDIPUS (strophe 2)
Apollo, friend, Apollo, he it was
That brought these ills to pass;
But the right hand that dealt the blow
Was mine, none other. How,
How, could I longer see when sight
Brought no delight?

CHORUS Alas! 'tis as thou sayest.
OEDIPUS Say, friends, can any look or voice
Or touch of love henceforth my heart rejoice?
Haste, friends, no fond delay,
Take the twice cursed away
Far from all ken,
The man abhorred of gods, accursed of men.

CHORUS O thy despair well suits thy desperate case.

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