"For my fate, let it pass! My children, Creon!
My sons - nay, they the bitter wants of life
May master - they are MEN? - my girls - my darlings -
Why, never sat I at my household board
Without their blessed looks - our very bread
We brake together; thou'lt be kind to them
For my sake, Creon - and (oh, latest prayer!)
Let me but touch them - feel them with these hands,
And pour such sorrow as may speak farewell
O'er ills that must be theirs! By thy pure line -
For thin is pure - do this, sweet prince. Methinks
I should not miss these eyes, could I but touch them.
What shall I say to move thee?
Sobs! And do I,
Oh do I hear my sweet ones? Hast thou sent,
In mercy sent, my children to my arms?
Speak - speak - I do not dream!
Creon. They are thy children;
I would not shut thee from the dear delight
In the old time they gave thee.
Oedipus. Blessings on thee
For this one mercy mayst thou find above
A kinder God than I have. Ye - where are ye?
My children - come! - nearer and nearer yet," etc.
The pathos of this scene is continued to the end; and the very last words Oedipus utters as his children cling to him, implore that they at least may not be torn away.
It is in this concluding scene that the art of the play is consummated; the horrors of the catastrophe, which, if a last impression, would have left behind a too painful and gloomy feeling, are softened down by this beautiful resort to the tenderest and holiest sources of emotion. And the pathos is rendered doubly effective, not only from the immediate contrast of the terror that preceded it, but from the masterly skill with which all display of the softer features in the character of Oedipus is reserved to the close. In the breaking up of the strong mind and the daring spirit, when empire, honour, name, are all annihilated, the heart is seen, as it were, surviving the wrecks around it, and clinging for support to the affections.
VII. In the "Oedipus at Coloneus," the blind king is presented to us, after the lapse of years, a wanderer over the earth, unconsciously taking his refuge in the grove of the furies  - "the awful goddesses, daughters of Earth and Darkness." His young daughter, Antigone, one of the most lovely creations of poetry, is his companion and guide; he is afterward joined by his other daughter, Ismene, whose weak and selfish character is drawn in strong contrast to the heroism and devotion of Antigone. The ancient prophecies that foretold his woes had foretold also his release. His last shelter and resting- place were to be obtained from the dread deities, and a sign of thunder, or earthquake, or lightning was to announce his parting hour. Learning the spot to which his steps had been guided, Oedipus solemnly feels that his doom approaches: thus, at the very opening of the poem, he stands before us on the verge of a mysterious grave.
The sufferings which have bowed the parricide to a premature old age  have not crushed his spirit; the softness and self-humiliation which were the first results of his awful affliction are passed away. He is grown once more vehement and passionate, from the sense of wrong; remorse still visits him, but is alternated with the yet more human feeling of resentment at the unjust severity of his doom . His sons, who, "by a word," might have saved him from the expulsion, penury, and wanderings he has undergone, had deserted his cause - had looked with indifferent eyes on his awful woes - had joined with Creon to expel him from the Theban land. They are the Goneril and Regan of the classic Lear, as Antigone is the Cordelia on whom he leans - a Cordelia he has never thrust from him. "When," says Oedipus, in stern bitterness of soul,