Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Greece and Turkey in Europe: Vol. XIX. 1876–79.

Greece: Colonos, the Hill


By Sophocles (c. 496 –406 B.C.)

(From Œdipus Coloneus)
Translated by T. Francklin

WHERE are we now, my dear Antigone?

Know’st thou the place? Will any here afford

Their scanty alms to a poor wanderer,

The banished Œdipus? I ask not much,

Yet less receive; but I am satisfied:

Long time hath made my woes familiar to me,

And I have learned to bear calamity.

But tell me, daughter, if thou seest a place,

Or sacred or profane, where I may rest,

There set me down, from some inhabitant

A chance but we may learn where now we are,

And act, so strangers ought, as he directs us.

O Œdipus! my poor, unhappy father!

Far as my eyes can reach, I see a city

With lofty turrets crowned, and, if I err not,

This place is sacred, by the laurel shade

Olive and vine thick planted, and the songs

Of nightingales sweet-warbling through the grove;

Here set thee down, and rest thy wearied limbs

On this rude stone; ’t is a long way for age

Like thine to travel.

I ’ll tell thee what I know.

This place is sacred all: great Neptune here

Presides, and he who bears the living fire,

Titan Prometheus; where thou tread’st is called

The brazen way, the bulwark of our state:

From this equestrian hill, their safest guard,

The neighboring villagers their general name

Derive, thence called Colonians all.