στείχουσιν—τί γένωμαι;— τοὶ δ᾿ ἐπ᾿ ἀμφιβόλοισιν ἰάπτουσι πολίταις 300χερμάδ᾿ ὀκριόεσσαν. παντὶ τρόπῳ, Διογενεῖς θεοί, πόλιν καὶ στρατὸν Καδμογενῆ ῥύεσθε.
ἀντ. αποῖον δ᾿ ἀμείψεσθε γαίας πέδον 305τᾶσδ᾿ ἄρειον, ἐχθροῖς ἀφέντες τὰν βαθύχθον᾿ αἶαν ὕδωρ τε Διρκαῖον, εὐ- τραφέστατον πωμάτων 310ὅσων ἵησιν Ποσειδὰν ὁ γαιάοχος Τηθύος τε παῖδες; πρὸς τάδ᾿, ὦ πολιοῦχοι θεοί, τοῖσι μὲν ἔξω πύργων ἀνδρολέτειραν 315κάκαν, ῥίψοπλον ἄταν, ἐμβαλόντες ἄροισθε κῦδος τοῖσδε πολίταις, καὶ πόλεως ῥύτορες ἔστ᾿
- 315κάκαν ῥ- Hermann: καὶ τὰν ῥ- Ms I b k: καταρρ- Μ.
- 318ἔστ᾿ Headlam: om. codd.
what is to become of me?— while others hurl jagged stones at the people of the city, attacked from all sides. In every way, you gods of the family of Zeus, protect the city and people of the family of Cadmus!
What land on earth can you take in exchange that is better than this, if you abandon to the enemy this land of deep soil and the water of Dirce, the best drink for rearing of all the streams sent forth by Poseidon the Earth-Encircler and by the children of Tethys?38 Bearing this in mind, you gods of the city, cast upon those outside the walls the cowardice that destroys men, the panic that makes them throw away their arms, and win glory for these citizens,39 be saviours of the city
- 38Tethys and Oceanus were the parents of all rivers (Hesiod, Theogony 337–45, 367–70).
- 39This paradoxical expression is based on Iliad 16.84 where Achilles, who is not going out to fight, tells Patroclus, who is, to “win glory for me”; similarly here the chorus expect that the gods will do the work and the Thebans will get the credit.