Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Sophocles, Oedipus Plays, tr Paul Roche

Sophocles, The Oedipus Plays of Sophocles, tr. Paul Roche, Plume 2004

Oedipus the King

Tiresias: Poor fool! These very gibes you mouth at me
will soon be hurled by every mouth at you.
Oedipus: You can’t hurt me, you night-hatched thing!
Me or any man who lives in light. (22)

Creon: but passion spent, compunction follows. (38)

Oedipus: Ah! The fox: he sends along a mouthing seer
And keeps his own lips lily pure. (40)

Antistrophe I: Pride engenders power, pride,
Banqueting on vanities, (47)

Official: He frees the noose and lays the wretched woman down,
then—Oh hideous sequel!—rips from off her dress
the golden brooches she was wearing,
Holds them up and rams the pins right through his eyes.
“Wicked, wicked eyes!” he gasps,
“You shall not see me nor my crime,
not see my present shame.
Go dark for all time blind
to what you never should have seen, and blind
to the love this heart has cried to see.” (70)

Oedipus: Friends, it was Apollo, spirits of Apollo.
He made this evil fructify.
Oh yes, I pierced my eyes, my useless eyes, why not?
When all that’s sweet had parted from my vision. (73)

 Oedipus: What? Eyes to lift and gaze at these?
No, no, there’s none!
Rather plug my ears and choke that stream of sound,
Stuff the senses of my carcass dumb—
Glad to stifle voices with my vision,
And sweet to lift the soul away from hurt. (75)

Creon: It’s not to scoff or scorn for past behavior, Oedipus,
That I am here…
[Turns to attendants]
You there, show some reverence for the dignity of man,
and blush at least before Apollo’s royal sun
which feeds the world with fire,
to so display unveiled putrescence
in its very picture of decay—
Assaulting earth, the heaven’s rain, the light of day.
Quickly take him home. A family’s ears, a family’s eyes,
alone should know a family’s miseries. (76)

Chorus: Citizens of our ancestral Thebes,
Look on this Oedipus, the mighty and once masterful:
Elucidator of the riddle,
Envied on his pedestal of fame.
You saw him fall. You saw him swept away.
So, being mortal, look on that last day.
And count no man blessed in his life until
He’s crossed life’s bounds unstruck by ruin still. (81)

Oedipus at Colonus

Antistrophe I: But you trespass, you trespass;
Step no further
Into the still
Of the grassy dell
Where chaliced water from the spring, blended with honey,
Is poured in a stream of the purest offering. (95)

Chorus: Poor harassed stranger on strange soil!
Learn to loathe what we find loathing.

Learn respect for what we reverence. (97)


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