The seven against thebes
Each dying in ill fortitude,
Each truly named, each child of feud?
O dark and all-prevailing ill,
That broods o'er Oedipus and all his line,
Numbing my heart with mortal chill!
Ah me, this song of mine,
Which, Thyad-like, I woke, now falleth still,
Or only tells of doom,
And echoes round a tomb!
Dead are they, dead! in their own blood they lie
Ill-omened the concent that hails our victory!
The curse a father on his children spake
Hath faltered not, nor failed!
Nought, Laius! thy stubborn choice availed-
First to beget, then, in the after day
And for the city's sake,
The child to slay!
For nought can blunt nor mar
The speech oracular!
Children of teen! by disbelief ye erred-
Yet in wild weeping came fulfilment of the word!
ANTIGONE and ISMENE approach, with a train of mourners. bearing the bodies of
ETEOCLES and POLYNEICES.
Look up, look forth! the doom is plain,
Nor spake the messenger in vain!
A twofold sorrow, twofold strife-
Each brave against a brother's life!
In double doom hath sorrow come
How shall I speak it?-on the home!
Alas, my sisters! be your sighs the gale,
The smiting of your brows the plash of oars,
Wafting the boat, to Acheron's dim shores
That passeth ever, with its darkened sail,
On its uncharted voyage and sunless way,
Far from thy beams, Apollo, god of day-
The melancholy bark
Bound for the common bourn, the harbour of the dark!
Look up, look yonder! from the home
Antigone, Ismene come,
On the last, saddest errand bound,
To chant a dirge of doleful sound,
With agony of equal pain
Above their brethren slain!
Their sister-bosoms surely swell,
Heart with rent heart according well
In grief for those who fought and fell!
Yet-ere they utter forth their woe
We must awake the rueful strain
To vengeful powers, in realms below,
And mourn hell's triumph o'er the slain!
Alas! of all, the breast who bind,-
Yea, all the race of womankind-
O maidens, ye are most bereaved!
For you, for you the tear-drops start-
Deem that in truth, and undeceived,
Ye hear the sorrows of my heart!
To the dead Children of bitterness, and sternly brave-
One, proud of heart against persuasion's voice,
One, against exile proof! ye win your choice-
Each in your fatherland, a separate grave!
Alack, on house and heritage
They brought a baneful doom, and death for wage!