Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ANTIGONE, SELECTION, by SOPHOCLES

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ANTIGONE, SELECTION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Eros invincible
Last Line: Homeless among the living and the dead!
Subject(s): Love - Loss Of

Eros invincible,
Eros, that ravishest the spoils of men,
That keepest watch upon the maiden's cheek,
Roaming the seas and among pastoral folk!
Thee none of the immortals can escape,
And none of mortals living but a day,
And he that finds thee presently goes mad.

Thou turnest just men's thoughts to thoughts of wrong,
And kinsman against kinsman dost set up;
The clear light of a lovely woman's eyes
Rules, and outmasters the eternal laws;
Unconquerable Aphrodite laughs at all.
And I too am now hurried beyond the bounds,
Nor can I stay the sources of my tears,
Seeing towards the bride-bed that gives rest to all
Advance Antigone.

See me, O citizens of my fatherland,
Set forth on my last way, and look my last
Upon the sunlight I shall see no more.
For Hades, that gives rest to all, now leads
Me living to the shores of Acheron,
Unwedded; nor shall any sing for me
The bride-song, being bride to Acheron.

Illustrious thou, and with praise,
Goest toward the secret places of the dead,
Not wasted with a sickness, finding not
The wages of the sword, but willingly,
Sole among mortals, unto Hades living.

Yet I have heard, of old,
Of that sad ending of the Phrygian guest,
Tantalus' daughter, upon Sipyle;
How the stone sprouted to envelop her
Like tightening ivy; and the rains, men say,
Cease not about her, wasting, nor the snows
Cease ever, but her weeping eyelids bathe
Her neck in tears. Me too, most like to her,
A God shall put to sleep.

She was a goddess and the child of gods,
And we are mortals and the seed of mortals;
Yet is it glorious, dying, to have endured
A fate so godlike, living and in death.

Ah me, they mock me! By my fathers' gods,
Why do ye taunt me ere I be yet gone
Out of your sight? O city, and ye her sons
Mighty in wealth, and thou, O fount of Dirce,
And grove of many-charioted Thebes,
Ye, ye at least, be witnesses for me,
How, all unwept of friends, and by what laws,
I go to find a stony prison indeed
In this unparalleled tomb. Ah, hapless one,
Homeless among the living and the dead!

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