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1 Cit. Who's that would be heard? we'll hear no man; we can scarce hear one another.

Tir. I charge you, by the gods, to hear me.

2 Cit. Oh, it is Apollo's priest, we must hear him; it is the old blind prophet, that sees all things.

3 Cit. He comes from the gods too, and they are our betters; and, in good manners, we must hear him :-Speak, prophet.

2 Cit. For coming from the gods, that's no great matter, they can all say that: but he is a great scholar; he can make almanacks, an' he were put to it; and therefore I say, hear him. Tir. When angry heaven scatters its plagues among

Is it for nought, ye Thebans? are the gods
Unjust in punishing ? are there no crimes,
Which pull this vengeance down?

1 Cit. Yes, yes; no doubt there are some sins stirring, that are the cause of all.

3 Cit. Yes, there are sins, or we should have no taxes.

2 Cit. For my part, I can speak it with a safe conscience, I never sinned in all


life. 1 Cit. Nor I. 3 Cit. Nor I.

2 Cit. Then we are all justified; the sin lies not at our doors.

Tir. All justified alike, and yet all guilty ! Were every man's false dealing brought to light, His envy, malice, lying, perjuries, His weights and measures, the other man's extor

tions, With what face could you tell offended heaven, You had not sinned ?

2 Cit. Nay, if these be sins, the case is altered; for my part, I never thought any thing but murder had been a sin.


Tir. And yet, as if all these were less than no

thing, You add rebellion to them, impious Thebans ! Have you not sworn before the gods to serve And to obey this Edipus, your king By public voice elected ? answer me, If this be true ! 2 Çit. This is true; but its a hard world, neigh

bours, If a man's oath must be his master.

Cre. Speak, Diocles; all goes wrong.

Dioc. How are you traitors, countrymen of Thebes? This holy sire, who presses you with oaths, Forgets your first; were you not sworn before To Laius and his blood ?

All. We were; we were.

Dioc. While Laius has a lawful successor,
Your first oath still must bind: Eurydice
Is heir to Laius; let her marry Creon.
Offended heaven will never be appeased,
While Edipus pollutes the throne of Laius,
A stranger to his blood.

All. We'll no Edipus, no Edipus.
i Cit. He puts the prophet in a mouse-hole.

2 Cit. I knew it would be so; the last man ever speaks the best reason.

Tir. Can benefits thus die, ungrateful Thebans ! Remember yet, when, after Laius' death, The monster

ister Sphinx laid your rich country waste, Your vineyards spoiled, your labouring oxen slew, Yourselves for fear mewed


within She, taller than your gates, o'er-looked your town; But when she raised her bulk to sail above you, Şhe drove the air around her like a whirlwind, And shaded all beneath; till, stooping down,

your walls;

She clap'd her leathern wing against your towers, And thrust out her long neck, even to your doors *

Dioc. Alc. Pyr. We'll hear no more.

Tir. You durst not meet in temples, To invoke the gods for aid; the proudest he, Who leads you now, then cowered, like a dared flark : This Creon shook for fear, The blood of Laius curdled in his veins, "Till Edipus arrived. Called by his own high courage and the gods, Himself to you a god, ye offered him Your queen and crown; (but what was then

your crown!) And heaven authorized it by his success. Speak then, who is your lawful king?

All. 'Tis (Edipus. Tir. 'Tis (Edipus indeed: Your king more lawful Than yet you dream ; for something still there lies In heaven's dark volume, which I read through

mists: 'Tis great, prodigious ; 'tis a dreadful birth, Of wondrous fate; and now, just now disclosing. I see, I see! how terrible it dawns, And my soul sickens with it!

1 Cit. How the god shakes him! Tir. He comes, he comes ! Victory! conquest !


* The story of the Sphinx is generally known : She was a monster, who delighted in putting a riddle to the Thebąns, and slaying each poor dull Bæotian, who could not interpret it. Edipus guessed the enigma, on which the monster destroyed herself for shame. Thus he attained the throne of Thebes, and the bed of Jocasta.

+ To dare a lark; is to fly a hawk, or present some other object of fear, to engage the bird's attention, and prevent it from taking wing, while the fowler draws his net :

Farewell, nobility; let his grace go forward,
And dare us with his cap, like larks.

Henry VIII. Act III. Scene II.


But oh! guiltless and guilty: murder! parricide!
Incest! discovery! punishment-'tis ended,
And all your sufferings o'er.

. A Trumpet within : enter HÆMON. Hæm. Rouse up, you Thebans ; tune your lo

Pæans !
Your king returns; the Argians are o'ercome;
Their warlike prince in single combat taken,
And led in bands by god-like Edipus.

. (Edipus, dipus, Edipus ! Creon. Fúries confound his fortune!-[Aside.

Haste, all haste,

[To them. And meet with blessings our victorious king; Decree processions; bid new holidays; Crown all the statues of our gods with garlands; And raise a brazen column, thus inscribed, To Edipus, now twice a conqueror; deliverer of his

Thebes. Trust me, I weep for joy to see this day. Tir. Yes, heaven knows why thou weep'st.-Go,

countrymen, And, as you use to supplicate your gods, So meet your king with bays, and olive branches; Bow down, and touch his knees, and beg from him An end of all your woes; for only he Can give it you,

[Exit TIRESIAS, the People following: Enter Edipus in triumph ; ADRASTUS prisoner ;

DYMAS, Train. Cre. All hail, great Edipus ! Thou mighty conqueror, hail; welcome to Thebes; To thy own Thebes; to all that's left of Thebes : For half thy citizens are swept away, And wanting for thy triumphs;

And we, the happy remnant, only live
To welcome thee, and die.

Edip. Thus pleasure never comes sincere to man,
But lent by heaven upon hard usury;
And while Jove holds us out the bowl of joy,
Ere it can reach our lips, 'tis dashed with gall
By some left-handed god. O mournful triumph!
O conquest gained abroad, and lost at home!
O Argos, now, rejoice, for Thebes lies low!
Thy slaughtered sons now smile, and think they

won, When they can count more Theban ghosts than

theirs. Adr. No; Argos mourns with Thebes; you tem

pered so Your courage while you fought, that mercy seemed The manlier virtue, and much more prevailed; While Argos is a people, think your Thebes Can never want for subjects. Every nation Will crowd to serve where (Edipus commands. Cre. [To HÆm.] How mean it shews, to fawn up

on the victor! Hæm. Had you beheld him fight, you had said

otherwise. Come, 'tis brave bearing in him, not to envy Superior virtue.

Edip. This indeed is conquest, To gain a friend like you : Why were we foes ? Adr. 'Cause we were kings, and each disdained

an equal. I fought to have it in my power to do What thou hast done, and so to use my conquest. To shew thee, honour was my only motive, Know this, that were my army at thy gates, And Thebes thus waste, I would not take the gift, Which, like a toy dropt from the hands of fortune, Lay for the next chance-comer.

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