What's done was well done. Thou canst never shake My firm belief. A truce to argument. For, had I sight, I know not with what eyes I could have met my father in the shades, Or my poor mother, since against the twain I sinned, a sin no gallows could atone. Aye, but, ye say, the sight of children joys A parent's eyes. What, born as mine were born? No, such a sight could never bring me joy; Nor this fair city with its battlements, Its temples and the statues of its gods, Sights from which I, now wretchedst of all, Once ranked the foremost Theban in all Thebes, By my own sentence am cut off, condemned By my own proclamation 'gainst the wretch, The miscreant by heaven itself declared Unclean--and of the race of Laius. Thus branded as a felon by myself, How had I dared to look you in the face? Nay, had I known a way to choke the springs Of hearing, I had never shrunk to make A dungeon of this miserable frame, Cut off from sight and hearing; for 'tis bliss to bide in regions sorrow cannot reach. Why didst thou harbor me, Cithaeron, why Didst thou not take and slay me? Then I never Had shown to men the secret of my birth. O Polybus, O Corinth, O my home, Home of my ancestors (so wast thou called) How fair a nursling then I seemed, how foul The canker that lay festering in the bud! Now is the blight revealed of root and fruit. Ye triple high-roads, and thou hidden glen, Coppice, and pass where meet the three-branched ways, Ye drank my blood, the life-blood these hands spilt, My father's; do ye call to mind perchance Those deeds of mine ye witnessed and the work I wrought thereafter when I came to Thebes? O fatal wedlock, thou didst give me birth, And, having borne me, sowed again my seed, Mingling the blood of fathers, brothers, children, Brides, wives and mothers, an incestuous brood, All horrors that are wrought beneath the sun, Horrors so foul to name them were unmeet. O, I adjure you, hide me anywhere Far from this land, or slay me straight, or cast me Down to the depths of ocean out of sight. Come hither, deign to touch an abject wretch; Draw near and fear not; I myself must bear The load of guilt that none but I can share.
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