'Oedipus at Colonus' Turn Away

Endure what life God gives and ask no longer span;
Cease to remember the delights of youth, travel-wearied aged man;
Delight becomes death-longing if all longing else be vain.
Even from that delight memory treasures so,
Death, despair, division of families, all entanglements of mankind grow,
As that old wandering beggar and these God-hated children know.
In the long echoing street the laughing dancers throng,
The bride is carried to the bridegroom's chamber through torchlight and tumultuous song;
I celebrate the silent kiss that ends short life or long.
Never to have lived is best, ancient writers say;
Never to have drawn the breath of life, never to have looked into the eye of day;
The second best's a gay goodnight and quickly turn away.

William Butler Yeats

____________________________"Something is still bothering us: the story of Oedipus. Oedipus is almost
unique in the Greek world. The whole first part is imperial, despotic, paranoid,
interpretive, divinatory.

 But the whole second part is Oedipus's wandering,
his line of flight, the double turning away of his own face and that of

Rather than very precise limits to be crossed in order, or which one
does not have the right to cross (hybris), there is a concealed limit toward
which Oedipus is swept. Rather than interpretive signifying irradiation,
there is a subjective linear proceeding permitting Oedipus to keep a secret,
but only as a residue capable of starting a new linear proceeding.


his name is atheos: he invents something worse than death or exile, he wanders
and survives on a strangely positive line of separation or

 Holderlin and Heidegger see this as the birth of the
double turning away, the change of face, and also the birth of modern
tragedy, for which they bizarrely credit the Greeks: the outcome is no
longer murder or sudden death but survival under reprieve, unlimited

 Nietzsche suggests that Oedipus, as opposed to
Prometheus, was the Semitic myth of the Greeks, the glorification of
Passion or passivity.'   Oedipus: Greek Cain. 

___________      c i t a t i o n s f r o m       ______________                                          

 Deleuze and Guattari A Thousand Plateaus 586-7 Eng. trans.

the poem translation  is 

 From W. B. Yeat's A Man Young and Old.

The text of Yeats is well-known and I have quoted it from 

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