Oedipus the King
Draw near and fear not; I myself must bear
The load of guilt that none but I can share. (Enter CREON.)
CREON Lo, here is Creon, the one man to grant
Thy prayer by action or advice, for he
Is left the State's sole guardian in thy stead.
OEDIPUS Ah me! what words to accost him can I find?
What cause has he to trust me? In the past
I have bee proved his rancorous enemy.
CREON Not in derision, Oedipus, I come
Nor to upbraid thee with thy past misdeeds. (To BYSTANDERS.) But
shame upon you! if ye feel no sense
Of human decencies, at least revere
The Sun whose light beholds and nurtures all.
Leave not thus nakedly for all to gaze at
A horror neither earth nor rain from heaven
Nor light will suffer. Lead him straight within,
For it is seemly that a kinsman's woes Be heard by kin and seen by kin alone.
OEDIPUS O listen, since thy presence comes to me
A shock of glad surprise-so noble thou,
And I so vile-O grant me one small boon.
I ask it not on my behalf, but thine.
CREON And what the favor thou wouldst crave of me?
OEDIPUS Forth from thy borders thrust me with all speed;
Set me within some vasty desert where
No mortal voice shall greet me any more.
CREON This had I done already, but I deemed
It first behooved me to consult the god.
OEDIPUS His will was set forth fully-to destroy
The parricide, the scoundrel; and I am he.
CREON Yea, so he spake, but in our present plight
'Twere better to consult the god anew.
OEDIPUS Dare ye inquire concerning such a wretch?
CREON Yea, for thyself wouldst credit now his word.
OEDIPUS Aye, and on thee in all humility
I lay this charge: let her who lies within
Receive such burial as thou shalt ordain;
Such rites 'tis thine, as brother, to perform.
But for myself, O never let my Thebes,
The city of my sires, be doomed to bear
The burden of my presence while I live.
No, let me be a dweller on the hills,
On yonder mount Cithaeron, famed as mine,
My tomb predestined for me by my sire
And mother, while they lived, that I may die
Slain as they sought to slay me, when alive.
This much I know full surely, nor disease
Shall end my days, nor any common chance;
For I had ne'er been snatched from death, unless
I was predestined to some awful doom.
So be it. I reck not how Fate deals with me
But my unhappy children-for my sons
Be not concerned, O Creon, they are men,
And for themselves, where'er they be, can fend.
But for my daughters twain, poor innocent maids,
Who ever sat beside me at the board
Sharing my viands, drinking of my cup,
For them, I pray thee, care, and, if thou willst,
O might I feel their touch and make my moan.
Hear me, O prince, my noble-hearted prince!
Could I but blindly touch them with my hands
I'd think they still were mine, as when I saw. (ANTIGONE and ISMENE
are led in.) What say I? can it be my pretty ones
Whose sobs I hear? Has Creon pitied me