And yet wert bold enough to break the law?
Yea, for these laws were not ordained of Zeus,
And she who sits enthroned with gods below,
Justice, enacted not these human laws.
Nor did I deem that thou, a mortal man,
Could'st by a breath annul and override
The immutable unwritten laws of Heaven.
They were not born today nor yesterday;
They die not; and none knoweth whence they sprang.
I was not like, who feared no mortal's frown,
To disobey these laws and so provoke
The wrath of Heaven. I knew that I must die,
E'en hadst thou not proclaimed it; and if death
Is thereby hastened, I shall count it gain.
For death is gain to him whose life, like mine,
Is full of misery. Thus my lot appears
Not sad, but blissful; for had I endured
To leave my mother's son unburied there,
I should have grieved with reason, but not now.
And if in this thou judgest me a fool,
Methinks the judge of folly's not acquit. (449-470)
The Theban commons with one voice say, No.
What, shall the mob dictate my policy?
'Tis thou, methinks, who speakest like a boy.
Am I to rule for others, or myself?
A State for one man is no State at all.
The State is his who rules it, so 'tis held.
As monarch of a desert thou wouldst shine.
This boy, methinks, maintains the woman's cause.
If thou be'st woman, yes. My thought's for thee.
O reprobate, would'st wrangle with thy sire? (734-742)
The slain man was no villain but a brother.
The patriot perished by the outlaw's brand.
Nathless the realms below these rites require.
Not that the base should fare as do the brave.
Who knows if this world's crimes are virtues there? (515-523)