CHORUS chanting

Lo, yonder Ismene comes forth, shedding such tears as fond sisters weep; a cloud upon her brow casts its shadow over her darkly-flushing face, and breaks in rain on her fair cheek.

CREON

And thou, who, lurking like a viper in my house, wast secretly draining my life-blood, while I knew not that I was nurturing two pests, to rise against my throne-come, tell me now, wilt thou also confess thy part in this burial, or wilt thou forswear all knowledge of it?

ISMENE

I have done the deed,-if she allows my claim,-and share the burden of the charge.

ANTIGONE

Nay, justice will not suffer thee to do that: thou didst not consent to the deed, nor did I give thee part in it.

ISMENE

But, now that ills beset thee, I am not ashamed to sail the sea of trouble at thy side.

ANTIGONE

Whose was the deed, Hades and the dead are witnesses: a friend in words is not the friend that I love.

ISMENE

Nay, sister, reject me not, but let me die with thee, and duly honour the dead.

ANTIGONE

Share not thou my death, nor claim deeds to which thou hast not put thy hand: my death will suffice.

ISMENE

And what life is dear to me, bereft of thee?

ANTIGONE

Ask Creon; all thy care is for him.

ISMENE

Why vex me thus, when it avails thee nought?

ANTIGONE

Indeed, if I mock, ’tis with pain that I mock thee.

ISMENE

Tell me,-how can I serve thee, even now?

ANTIGONE

Save thyself: I grudge not thy escape.

ISMENE

Ah, woe is me! And shall I have no share in thy fate?

ANTIGONE

Thy choice was to live; mine, to die.

ISMENE

At least thy choice was not made without my protest.

ANTIGONE

One world approved thy wisdom; another, mine.

ISMENE

Howbeit, the offence is the same for both of us.

ANTIGONE

Be of good cheer; thou livest; but my life hath long been given to death, that so I might serve the dead.

CREON

Lo, one of these maidens hath newly shown herself foolish, as the other hath been since her life began.

ISMENE

Yea, O king, such reason as nature may have given abides not with the unfortunate, but goes astray.

CREON

Thine did, when thou chosest vile deeds with the vile.

ISMENE

What life could I endure, without her presence?

Antigone by Sophocles