Ill-Fated Oedipus Poem by Sophocles

Ill-Fated Oedipus

Ah, race of mortal men,
How as a thing of nought
I count ye, though ye live;
For who is there of men
That more of blessing knows,
Than just a little while
To seem to prosper well,
And, having seemed, to fall?
With thee as pattern given,
Thy destiny, e'en thine,
Ill-fated Oedipus,
I count nought human blest.

For he, with wondrous skill,
Taking his aim, did hit
Success, in all things blest;
And did, O Zeus! destroy
The Virgin with claws bent,
And sayings wild and dark;
And against many deaths
A tower and strong defense
Did for my country rise:
And so thou king art named,
With highest glory crowned,
Ruling in mighty Thebes.

And now, who lives than thou more miserable?
Who equals thee in wild woes manifold,
In shifting turns of life?
Ah, noble one, our Oedipus!
For whom the same wide harbour
Sufficed for sire and son,
In marriage rites to enter:
Ah how, ah, wretched one,
How could thy father's bed
Receive thee, and so long,
Even till now, be dumb?

Time, who sees all things, he hath found thee out,
Against thy will, and long ago condemned
The wedlock none may wed,
Begetter and begotten.
Ah, child of Laios! would
I ne'er had seen thy face!
I mourn with wailing lips,
Mourn sore exceedingly.
'Tis simplest truth to say,
By thee from death I rose,
By thee in death I sleep.

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