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Works by Sophocles
Pages of Philoctetes

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Have that.
Is there aught else?
Alas! my bow
I had forgot. I must not lose that treasure.

(PHILOCTETES steps into the cave,
and brings out his bow and arrows.)

Are these the famous arrows then?
They are.
And may I be permitted to behold,
To touch, to pay my adoration to them?
In these, my son, in everything that's mine
Thou hast a right,
But if it be a crime,
I would not; otherwise-
Oh! thou art full
Of piety; in thee it is no crime;
In thee, my friend, by whom alone I look
Once more with pleasure on the radiant sun-
By whom I live- who giv'st me to return
To my dear father, to my friends, my country:
Sunk as I was beneath my foes, once more
I rise to triumph o'er them by thy aid:
Behold them, touch them, but return them to me,
And boast that virtue which on thee alone
Bestowed such honour. Virtue made them mine.
I can deny thee nothing: he, whose heart
Is grateful can alone deserve the name
Of friend, to every treasure far superior.
Go in.
Come with me; for my painful wound
Requires thy friendly hand to help me onward.
(They go into the cave.)
CHORUS (singing)

strophe 1

Since proud Ixion, doomed to feel
The tortures of th' eternal wheel,
Bound by the hand of angry Jove,
Received the due rewards of impious love;
Ne'er was distress so deep or woe so great
As on the wretched Philoctetes wait;
Who ever with the just and good,
Guiltless of fraud and rapine, stood,
And the fair paths of virtue still pursued;
Alone on this inhospitable shore,
Where waves for ever beat and tempests roar,
How could he e'er or hope or comfort know,
Or painful life support beneath such weight of woe?

antistrophe 1

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