To foster Thebè's greatness, and therewith
In brotherly accord is my decree
Touching. the sons of Oedipus. The man—
Etcocles I mean—who died for Thebes
Fighting with eminent prowess on her side,
Shall be entombed with every sacred rite
That follows to the grave the lordliest dead.
But for his brother, who, a banished man,
Returned to devastate and burn with tire
The land of his nativity, the shrines
Of his ancestral gods, to feed him fat
With Theban carnage, and make captive all
That should escape the sword—for Polynices,
This law hath been proclaimed concerning him:
He shall have no lament, no funeral,
But lie unburied, for the carrion fowl
And dogs to eat his corse, a sight of shame.
Such are the motions of this mind and will.
Never from me shall villains reap renown
Before the just. But whoso loves the State,
I will exalt him both in life and death.
Ch. Son of Menoeceus, we have heard thy mind
Toward him who loves, and him who hates our city.
And sure, 'tis thine to enforce what law thou wilt
Both on the dead and all of us who live.
Cr. Then be ye watchful to maintain my word.
Ch. Young strength for such a burden were more
Cr. Already there be watchers of the dead.
Ch. What charge then wouldst thou further lay on
Cr. Not to give place to those that disobey.
Ch. Who is so fond, to be in love with death?
Cr. Such, truly, is the meed. But hope of gain
Full oft ere now hath been the ruin of men.
Watchman. (entering). My lord, I am out of breath,
but not with speed.
I will not say my foot was fleet. My thoughts
Cried halt unto me ever as I came
Following such courses 'tis my steadfast will