ODE OF ENTRY




                                               Hail bright sun! 
                                                                        brightest of all that
                                               Ever dawned 
                                                                        on the City of
                                               Seven Gates 
                                                                        City of Thebes! 
                                               Hail gold dawn!
                                                                         on Dirce's river
                                               Speed the flight
                                                                         of white invaders
                                               Home-ward
                                                                         in full retreat

                                               The sun's long blade, unsheathed and
                                    Level from east to west, salutes with glory
                                    Thebes of the Seven Gates!   Bright eye of day
                                    Opening your golden lids above swirling Dirce's stream
                                    You struck the enemy's white shields, and hurled them back
                                               Headlong from morning's blaze!

                                               Polynices gathered his force against us, 
                                    He rallied them with strident, haughty words. 
                                    Like a ravenous bird of prey he swooped around us, 
                                    And his wings were the white shields flashing,
                                    And his plumes were the crested helmets  
                                               Of his host arrayed in thousands.  

                                                Against our seven gates in a ring of blood
                                    The thirsty swords and spears advanced in the night;
                                    But before they could taste our blood, before
                                    The invaders torches devoured us, he was thrown back
                                    And fled with Great Thebes like a dragon roaring behind him and
                                               War's thunder in his ears.

                                               For God in Heaven hates boasting;
                                    And when he saw them swagger in golden armor,
                                    And when he heard, above the clash of the battle ,
                                    These invaders shout out "Victory" over our ramparts,
                                    His frown transformed to thunder and blasted
                                               Their first man from our walls.

                                               We heard his cry of triumph high in the air
                                    Turn to a scream, as he toppled, a flaming arc plunging
                                    With a guttering torch— and the earth struck him.
                                    And others storming forward in no less fury
                                    Were shocked by death in battle's dusty joy
                                               By the god that fought for us.

                                               Seven invaders at seven gates, seven defenders
                                    Surrendered their bronze as a tribute to war's god,
                                    Ares, who shatters the lines of battle; only two,
                                    Blood of the same blood, luckless brothers fought on,
                                    Face to face in a matchless rage,
                                               Mirroring each other's death.

                                               But now in victory's glorious morning,
                                    Let Thebes, the city of chariots, sing for joy!
                                    Now is the time to make our temples echo
                                    With hymns of thanksgiving for warfare's end;
                                    And invoke Dionysus to lead us as we
                                               Shake the ground with night-long dances.
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