Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Sept.].
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568

Scout The sixth man I will name is of the highest moderation and a seer brave in combat, mighty Amphiaraus. 570Stationed at the Homoloid gate, he repeatedly rebukes mighty Tydeus with evil names “Murderer, maker of unrest in the city, principal teacher of evils to the Argives, summoner of vengeance's Curse, servant of Slaughter, 575counselor to Adrastus in these evil plans.” And next, with eyes looking upward, he addressed your own brother, mighty Polynices who shares your blood, and called him by name, dwelling twice upon its latter part. [Note] These were his words: 580“Will such a deed as this be pleasing to the gods, fine to hear of and to relate to those in the future—that you sacked the city of your ancestors and your native gods and launched a foreign army against them? What justice is it to drain dry the font of your existence? [Note] 585And how shall your fatherland, captured by the spear for the sake of your ambition, be won over to your cause? As for me, I will enrich this earth, a seer interred beneath enemy soil. Let us fight! I anticipate no dishonorable death.” 590So the seer spoke as untroubled he held his all-bronze shield. No symbol was fixed to his shield's circle. For he does not wish to appear the bravest, but to be the bravest, as he harvests the fruit of his mind's deep furrow, where his careful resolutions grow. 595I advise you to send wise and brave opponents against him. He who reveres the gods is to be feared.

Eteocles Ah, the pity of fate's omen when it makes a just man associate with the irreverent! In all things, nothing is more evil 600than evil partnership. Its fruit should not be gathered in: the field of recklessness yields a harvest of death. For it may be that a pious man, embarked shipboard with sailors hot for some crime, perishes along with the sort of men hated by the gods; 605or, a man, though upright himself, when among fellow-citizens who hate all strangers and neglect the gods, may fall undeserving into the same trap as they, and be subdued, struck by the scourge of God that strikes all alike.

Just so the seer, Oecles' son, 610although a moderate, just, noble, reverent man and a great prophet, mixes with impious, rash-talking men against his own judgment, men stretching out in a procession that is long to retrace, [Note] and, if it is Zeus's will, he will be be dragged down in ruin along with them.

615So then, I expect that he will not even charge the gates: not because he lacks courage or is weak-willed, but because he knows that he must meet his end in battle, if the prophecies of Loxias are to come to fruition—the god usually either holds silent or speaks to the point. 620Just the same, I will station a man against him, mighty Lasthenes, a gate-keeper who hates foreigners. He has the wisdom of an old man, but his body is at its prime: his eyes are quick, and he does not let his hand delay for his spear to seize what is left exposed by the shield. 625Still it is God's gift when mortals succeed.Exit Lasthenes.



Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes (English) (XML Header) [genre: poetry; drama; tragedy] [word count] [Aesch. Sept.].
<<Aesch. Sept. 563 Aesch. Sept. 568 (Greek) >>Aesch. Sept. 626

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