Page:Sophocles - Seven Plays, 1900.djvu/45

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Having come near, or pulled at the dead body.
Then rose high words among us sentinels
With bickering noise accusing each his mate,
And it seemed like to come to blows, with none
To hinder. For the hand that thus had wrought
Was any of ours, and none; the guilty man
Escaped all knowledge. And we were prepared
To lift hot iron with our bare palms; to walk
Through fire, and swear by all the Gods at once
That we were guiltless, ay, and ignorant
Of who had plotted or performed this thing.
When further search seemed bootless, at the last
One spake, whose words bowed all our heads to the earth
With fear. We knew not what to answer him,
Nor how to do it and prosper. He advised
So grave a matter must not be concealed,
But instantly reported to the King.
Well, this prevailed, and the lot fell on me,
Unlucky man! to be the ministrant
Of this fair service. So I am present here,
Against my will and yours, I am sure of that.
None love the bringer of unwelcome news.
Ch. My lord, a thought keeps whispering in my
Some Power divine hath interposed in this.
Cr. Cease, ere thou quite enrage me, and appear
Foolish as thou art old. Talk not to me
Of Gods who have taken thought for this dead man!
Say, was it for his benefits to them
They hid his corse, and honoured him so highly,
Who came to set on fire their pillared shrines,
With all the riches of their offerings,
And to make nothing of their land and laws?
Or, hast thou seen them honouring villany?
That cannot be. Long time the cause of this
Hath come to me in secret murmurings
From maleontents of Thebes, who under yoke
Turned restive, and would not accept my sway.
Well know I, these have bribed the watchmen here
To do this for some fee. For nought hath grown