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If you would penetrate yon deep recess

To seek the cave where Philoctetes lies,

Go forward; but remember to return

When the poor wanderer comes this way, prepared

To aid our purpose here if need require.


O king! we ever meant to fix our eyes

On thee, and wait attentive to thy will;

But, tell us, in what part is he concealed?

'Tis fit we know the place, lest unobserved

He rush upon us. Which way doth it lie?

Seest thou his footsteps leading from the cave,

Or hither bent?


But foolish men cannot be led to learn these truths. Even such are the men who rail against you, and we are helpless to repel these charges without you, O King. Verily, when they have escaped your eye they chatter like flocking birds; but terrified by the mighty vulture, suddenly, if you should perchance appear, they will cower still and dumb.

Was it the Tauric Artemis, child of Zeus, that drove you—O dread rumor, parent of my shame!—against the herds of all our host, in revenge, I suppose, for a victory that had paid no tribute, whether it was that she had been disappointed of glorious spoil, or because a stag had been slain without a thank-offering? Or can it have been the mail-clad Lord of War that was wroth for dishonor to his aiding spear and took vengeance by nightly wiles?

Never of your own heart, son of Telamon, would you have gone so far astray as to fall upon the flocks. Verily, when the gods send madness it must come; but may Zeus and Phoebus avert the evil rumor of the Greeks!

And if the great chiefs charge you falsely in the rumors which they spread, or sons of the wicked line of Sisyphus, forbear, O my king, forbear to win me an evil name by still keeping your face thus hidden in the tent by the sea.

Nay, up from your seat, wheresoever you are brooding in this pause of many days from battle, making the flame of mischief blaze up to heaven! But the insolence of your foes goes abroad without fear in the breezy glens, while all men mock with taunts most grievous; and my sorrow passes not away.


Oedipus Rex


Do I not hear, ye Gods, their dear, loved tones,

Broken with sobs, and Creon, pitying me,

Hath sent the dearest of my children to me?

Is it not so?


It is so. I am he who gives thee this,

Knowing the joy thou hadst in them of old.


Good luck have thou! And may the powers on high

Guard thy path better than they guarded mine! Where are ye, O my children? Come, oh, come

To these your brother’s hands, which but now tore

Your father’s eyes, that once were bright to see,

Who, O my children, blind and knowing naught, Became your father—how, I may not tell.

I weep for you, though sight is mine no more,

Picturing in mind the sad and dreary life

Which waits you in the world in years to come;

Wat hoor ik? Zijn het niet mijn lievelingen

die snikkend naderen? Voert Creon mij mijn teerbeminde kroost uit medelijden toe?

Of vergis ik mij?


Het is zo. Ik gaf u deze vreugde,

van zodra ik uw hartenwens vernam.


Mogen de goden u zegenen voor deze daad, Creon,

en u beter lot bezorgen, dan mij werd beschoren.

Kinderen, waar zijt ge toch, kom hierheen

en aanschouw mijn handen, de handen van uw broeder,

die de oorzaak zijn dat gij nu kijkt

in de eens heldere ogen van uw vader,

die u het levenslicht deed zien,

die, kinderen, zonder het te zien of te weten

uw vader bleek te zijn bij de vrouw,

uit wie hij zelf het licht aanschouwde.

Ook ween ik om u, want u zien vermag ik niet,

wanneer ik denk aan het vervolg van uw bitter bestaan,

dat ge moet verduren vanwege de mensen.


Long, long ago; her thought was of that child

By him begot, the son by whom the sire

Was murdered and the mother left to breed

With her own seed, a monstrous progeny.

Then she bewailed the marriage bed whereon

Poor wretch, she had conceived a double brood,

Husband by husband, children by her child.


They took their stations where the appointed umpires placed them by lot and ranged the cars; then, at the sound of the brazen trump, they started. All shouted to their horses, and shook the reins in their hands; the whole course was filled with the noise of rattling chariots; the dust flew upward; and all, in a confused throng, plied their goads unsparingly, each of them striving to pass the wheels and the snorting steeds of his rivals; for alike at their backs and at their rolling wheels the breath of the horses foamed and smote.

Orestes, driving close to the pillar at either end of the course, almost grazed it with his wheel each time, and, giving rein to the trace-horse on the right, checked the horse on the inner side. Hitherto, all the chariots had escaped overthrow; but presently the Aenian's hard-mouthed colts ran away, and, swerving, as they passed from the sixth into the seventh round, dashed their foreheads against the team of the Barcaean. Other mishaps followed the first, shock on shock and crash on crash, till the whole race-ground of Crisa was strewn with the wreck of the chariots.
Think again, Electra. Don't say anymore. Don't you see what you're doing? You make your own pain. Why keep wounding yourself? With so much evil stored up in that cold dark soul of yours you breed enemies everywhere you touch.

By dread things I am compelled. I know that. I see the trap closing. I know what I am. But while life is in me I will not stop this violence. No. Oh my friends who is there to comfort me? Who understands? Leave me be, let me go, do not soothe me. This is a knot no one can untie. There will be no rest, there is no retrieval. No number exists for griefs like these.

Ga, zwicht voor het lijk

Laat wat vergaan is rusten

Of wil je soms eer halen

Uit het doden van het dode


Ik zie hoe uit oud leed

Nieuwe rampen geboren worden

Zonder dat een vorige generatie

Ooit de volgende verlost.


Yes. Zeus did not announce those laws to me.

And Justice living with the gods below

sent no such laws for men. I did not think

anything which you proclaimed strong enough

to let a mortal override the gods

and their unwritten and unchanging laws.

They’re not just for today or yesterday,

but exist forever, and no one knows

where they first appeared. So I did not mean

to let a fear of any human will

lead to my punishment among the gods.

I know all too well I’m going to die—

how could I not?—it makes no difference

what you decree. And if I have to die

before my time, well, I count that a gain.

When someone has to live the way I do,

surrounded by so many evil things,

how can she fail to find a benefit

in death? And so for me meeting this fate

won’t bring any pain. But if I’d allowed

my own mother’s dead son to just lie there,

an unburied corpse, then I’d feel distress.

What’s going on here does not hurt me at all.

If you think what I’m doing now is stupid,

perhaps I’m being charged with foolishness

by someone who's a fool

Chorus: Just as when a huge wave, bloated with the wild winds of far north Thrace, rushes over the dark abyss and, from its dire deep, agitates violently the black, wind-shaken sands below and then, with counter-sighing and counter-groaning, rolls against the wave-beaten headlands.

Chorus: I could see the suffering of the house of Labdacus for a long time now.

Chorus: Suffering falls upon the suffering of those who have perished and not one generation is able to save another. There’s no escape! Some god or other will strike these generations down for ever.

Chorus : And so, here again we see a light risen above the last root of Oedipus’ house, yet the blood-painted sickle of the gods of the underworld came, mingled with the wild words and the words of frenzy.