Waster of rich men, keeper
Of warm lights and all-night vigil
In the soft face of a girl:
Even the pure Immortals
cannot escape you,
And mortal man,
in his one day’s dusk,
Trembles before your glory.
Surely you swerve upon ruin
The just man’s consenting heart,
As here you have made bright anger
Strike between father and son––
And none has conquered but Love!
A girl’s glance working
the will of heaven:
Pleasure to her alone who mock us,
O tomb, vaulted bride-bed
in eternal rock,
Soon I shall be with my own again
Where Persephone welcome
the thin ghost underground:
And I shall see my father again,
and you, mother,
And dearest Polyneices––
To me, since it was my hand
That washed him clean and poured the ritual wine:
And my reward is death before my time!
And yet, as men’s hearts know,
I have done no wrong,
I have not sinned before God.
Or if I have,
I shall know the truth in death.
But if the guilt
Lies upon Creon
who judged me,
then, I pray,
May his punishment
equal my own.
THE LAST VERSES
Then do not pray any more: the sky is deal
Lead me away. I have been rash and foolish.
I have killed my son and my wife.
I look for comfort; my comfort lies here dead.
Whatever my hands have touched has come to nothing.
Fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust.
[As CREON is being led into the house, the CHORAGOS advances and
speaks directly to the audience.]
There is no happiness where there is no wisdom;
No wisdom but in submission to the gods. 1040
Big words are always punished,
And proud men in old age learn to be wise.