Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ANTIGONE: WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS A MAN; CHORUS, by SOPHOCLES



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ANTIGONE: WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS A MAN; CHORUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Wonders are many, but there is no wonder
Last Line: Share hearth, nor heart, of mine!


WONDERS are many, but there is no wonder
Wilder than Man --
Man who makes the winds of winter bear him,
Through the trough of waves that tower about him,
Across grey wastes of sea;
Man who wearies the Untiring, the Immortal --
Earth, eldest of the Gods, as year by year,
His plough-teams come and go.
The care-free bands of birds,
Beasts of the wild, tribes of the sea,
In netted toils he takes,
The Subtle One.
Creatures that haunt the hills, the desert-dwellers,
His cunning snares; he lays his mastering yoke
On the horse's shaggy mane,
On the tireless mountain-bull.
Speech, too, and wind-swift thought
And the soul of the ruler of cities
He hath learned, untaught of any.
To shun the bitter arrows of the roofless frost,
The bitter shafts of rain,
He knows, the all-deviser; for without device
No morrow finds him. Only against Death
He shall call for help in vain,
Yet many a mortal sickness he hath mastered.

Thus with his wisdom,
Subtle past foretelling,
Man wins to joy, or sorrow.
Does he keep his native laws
And the justice sworn by heaven? --
High stands his city. But all citiless
Wanders the wretch that dares make sin his fellow.
May never such transgressor
Share hearth, nor heart, of mine!





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