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Works by Sophocles
Pages of Philoctetes

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Most precious, by the worst of men, I left
The hateful place, and seek my native soil.
Nor do I blame so much the proud Ulysses
As his base masters- army, city, all
Depend on those who rule. When men grow vile
The guilt is theirs who taught them to be wicked.
I've told thee all, and him who hates the Atreidae
I hold a friend to me and to the gods.
CHORUS (singing)
O Earth! thou mother of great Jove,
Embracing all with universal love,
Author benign of every good,
Through whom Pactolus rolls his golden flood!
To thee, whom in thy rapid car
Fierce lions draw, I rose and made my prayer-
To thee I made my sorrows known,
When from Achilles' injured son
Th' Atreidae gave the prize, that fatal day
When proud Ulysses bore his arms away.
I wonder not, my friend, to see you here,
And I believe the tale; for well I know
The man who wronged you, know the base Ulysses
Falsehood and fraud dwell on his lips, and nought
That's just or good can be expected from him.
But strange it is to me that, Ajax present,
He dare attempt it.
Ajax is no more;
Had he been living, I had ne'er been spoiled
Thus of my right.
Is he then dead?
He is.
Alas! the son of Tydeus, and that slave,
Sold by his father Sisyphus, they live,
Unworthy as they are.
Alas! they do,
And flourish still.
My old and worthy friend
The Pylian sage, how is he? He could see
Their arts, and would have given them better counsels.
Weighed down with grief he lives, but most unhappy,
Weeps his lost son, his dear Antilochus.
O double woe! whom I could most have wished
To live and to be happy, those to perish!
Ulysses to survive! It should not be.
Oh! 'tis a subtle foe; but deepest plans
May sometimes fail.
Where was Patroclus then,
Thy father's dearest friend?
He too was dead.
In war, alas- so fate ordains it ever-
The coward 'scapes, the brave and virtuous fall.

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