Make not, my son, a shipwreck of thy wit
For a woman. Thine own heart may teach thee this:—
There's but cold comfort in a wicked wife
Yoked to the home inseparably. What wound
Can be more deadly than a harmful friend?
Then spurn her like an enemy, and send her
To wed some shadow in the world below!
For since of all the city I have found
Her only recusant, caught in the act,
I will not break my word before the State.
I will take her life. At this let her invoke
The god of kindred blood! For if at home
I foster rebels, how much more abroad?
Whose is just in ruling his own house, I
Lives rightly in the commonwealth no less:
But he that wantonly defies the law,
Or thinks to dictate to authority,
Shall have no praise from me. What power soe'er
The city hath ordained, must be obeyed
In little things and great things, right or wrong.
The man who so obeys, I have good hope
Wi1l govern and be governed as he ought,
And in the storm of battle at my side I
Will stand a faithful and a trusty comrade.
But what more fatal than the lapse of rule?
This ruins cities, this lays houses waste,
This joins with the assault of war to break
Full-numbered armies into hopeless rout;
And in the unbroken host 'tis nought but rule
That keeps those many bodies from defeat.
I must be zealous to defend the law,
And not go down before a woman's will.
Else, if I fall, 'twere best a man should strike me;
Lest one should say, 'a woman worsted him.'
Ch. Unless our sense is weakened by long time,
Thou speakest not unwisely.
Haem. O my sire,
Sound wisdom is a God-implanted seed,
Of all possessions highest in regard.
I cannot, and I would not learn to say.