Oedipus the King
And sent me my two darlings? Can this be?
CREON 'Tis true; 'twas I procured thee this delight,
Knowing the joy they were to thee of old.
OEDIPUS God speed thee! and as meed for bringing them
May Providence deal with thee kindlier
Than it has dealt with me! O children mine,
Where are ye? Let me clasp you with these hands,
A brother's hands, a father's; hands that made
Lack-luster sockets of his once bright eyes;
Hands of a man who blindly, recklessly,
Became your sire by her from whom he sprang.
Though I cannot behold you, I must weep
In thinking of the evil days to come,
The slights and wrongs that men will put upon you.
Where'er ye go to feast or festival,
No merrymaking will it prove for you,
But oft abashed in tears ye will return.
And when ye come to marriageable years,
Where's the bold wooers who will jeopardize
To take unto himself such disrepute
As to my children's children still must cling,
For what of infamy is lacking here?
«Their father slew his father, sowed the seed
Where he himself was gendered, and begat
These maidens at the source wherefrom he sprang.»
Such are the gibes that men will cast at you.
Who then will wed you? None, I ween, but ye
Must pine, poor maids, in single barrenness.
O Prince, Menoeceus' son, to thee, I turn,
With the it rests to father them, for we
Their natural parents, both of us, are lost.
O leave them not to wander poor, unwed,
Thy kin, nor let them share my low estate.
O pity them so young, and but for thee
All destitute. Thy hand upon it, Prince. To you, my children
I had much to say, Were ye but ripe to hear. Let this suffice:
Pray ye may find some home and live content,
And may your lot prove happier than your sire's.
CREON Thou hast had enough of weeping; pass within.
OEDIPUS I must obey,
Though 'tis grievous.
CREON Weep not, everything must have its day.
OEDIPUS Well I go, but on conditions.
CREON What thy terms for going, say.
OEDIPUS Send me from the land an exile.
CREON Ask this of the gods, not me.
OEDIPUS But I am the gods' abhorrence.
CREON Then they soon will grant thy plea.
OEDIPUS Lead me hence, then, I am willing.
CREON Come, but let thy children go.
OEDIPUS Rob me not of these my children!
CREON Crave not mastery in all,
For the mastery that raised thee was thy bane and wrought thy fall.
CHORUS Look ye, countrymen and Thebans, this is Oedipus the great,
He who knew the Sphinx's riddle and was mightiest in our state.
Who of all our townsmen gazed not on his fame with envious eyes?
Now, in what a sea of troubles sunk and overwhelmed he lies!
Therefore wait to see life's ending ere thou count one mortal blest;
Wait till free from pain and sorrow he has gained his final rest.