Sophocles: Thou goest then, and leavest none behind Worthy to rival thee!
Aeschylos: Nay, say not so.
Whose is the hand that now is pressing mine?
A hand I may not ever press again!
What glorious forms hath it brought boldly forth
From Pluto's realm! The blind old Oedipos
Was led on one side by Antigone,
Sophocles propt the other.
Sooth'd not Prometheus chaind upon his rock,
Keeping the vultures and the Gods away;
Sophocles is not greater than the chief
Who conquered Ilion, nor could he revenge
His murder, or stamp everlasting brand
Upon the brow of that adulterous wife.
Aeschylos: Live, and do more.
Thine is the Lemnian ile,
And thou hast placed the arrows in the hand
Of Philoctetes, hast assuaged his wounds
And given his aid without which Greece had fail'd.
Sophocles: I did indeed drive off the pest of flies;
We also have our pest of them which buz
About our honey, darken it, and sting;
We laugh at them, for under hands like ours,
Without the wing that Philoctetes shook,
One single feather crushes the whole swarm.
I must be grave.
Hath Sicily such charms
Above our Athens? Many charms hath she,
But she hath kings. Accursed be the race!
Aeschylos: But where kings honor better men than they
Let kings be honored too.
The laurel crown
Surmounts the golden; wear it, and farewell.