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A word of caution from the Ancients…

January 23, 2015

A word of caution from the Ancients – to Syria, Nigeria, Ukraine, Colombia, the inner city, and all the other places dark shadows fall…

“When these self-slaughterers lie

in mutual murder pierced,

and the dry dust of earth

with parched, inhuman thirst

drinks up the criminal blood

where it leaks, black and clotted,

who would perform the rites

that purify, would wash

the hacked and ruined limbs?

New miseries for this house

mixed with the furious evils

anciently allotted.

I speak of an old breach

of law, long since begotten,

but bitterly swift to bring

retributive disaster…

Like a plunging and storm-agitated sea,

            disaster drives the wave;

first one wave falls, a second rises up,

a third, three-crested, crashes at the stern

            of the city in angry foam…

I fear shipwreck, I fear unspeakable things,

the city’s destruction, the foul death of kings.”

Seven Against Thebes, Aeschylus, 525-456 BCE. (lines 927-974)

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