Page:Sophocles - Seven Plays, 1900.djvu/50

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16
[431–467
ANTIGONE

Poured three libations, honouring the dead.
We, when we saw, ran in, and straightway seized
Our quarry, nought dismayed, and charged her with
The former crime and this. And she denied
Nothing;—to my delight, and to my grief.
One’s self to escape disaster is great joy;
Yet to have drawn a friend into distress
Is painful. But mine own security
To me is of more value than aught else.
 Cr. Thou, with thine eyes down-fastened to the
 earth!
Dost thou confess to have done this, or deny it?
 Ant. I deny nothing. I avow the deed.
 Cr. (to Watchman). Thou may’st betake thyself
 whither thou wilt,
Acquitted of the grievous charge, and free.
(To Antigone) And thou,—no prating talk, but briefly
 tell,
Knew'st thou our edict that forbade this thing?
 Ant. I could not fail to know. You made it plain.
 Cr. How durst thou then transgress the published
 law?
 Ant. I heard it not from Heaven. nor came it forth
From Justice, where she reigns with Gods below.
They too have published to mankind a law.
Nor thought I thy commandment of such might
That one who is mortal thus could overbear
The infallible, unwritten laws of Heaven.
Not now or yesterday they have their being,
But everlastingly, and none can tell
The hour that saw their birth. I would not, I,
For any terror of a man’s resolve,
Incur the God-inflicted penalty
Of doing them wrong. That death would come, I knew
Without thine edict;—if before the time,
I count it gain. Who does not gain by death,
That lives, as I do, amid boundless woe?
Slight is the sorrow of such doom to me.
But had I suffered my own mother’s child,
Fallen in blood, to be without a grave,