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The chief European dramatists: Twenty-one plays from the drama of Greece ... online

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yourself before me?
Monster, whom Heaven's bolts have spared

too long!
Survivor of that robber crew whereof
I cleansed the earth. After your brutal lust
Scom'd even to respect my marriage bed,
You venture — you, my hated foe — to

Into my presence, here, whoe all is full
Of yoiur foul infamy, instead of seeking
Some unknown hind that never heard my

Fly, traitor, fly! Stay not to tempt the

That I can scarce restram, nor brave my

Disgrace enough have I incurred forever
In being father of so vile a son,
Without your death staining inddibly
The ^orious record of my noble deeds.
Fly, and unless you wish quick punishment
To add you to Uie criminals cut ofif
By me, take heed this sun that lights us

Ne'tf see you more set foot upon this soil.
I tell you once again, — fly, haste, return

Rid all my realms of your atrodoos pres-
To thee, to thee, great Neptune, I appeal;
If erst I dear'd thy shores oi foul aaaaiimM,
Recall thy promise to reward those efforts,
Crown'd with success, by granting my first

Confined for long in dose captivity,
I have not yet call'd on thy pow'rful aid.
Sparing to use the valued privilege
Till at mine utmost need. The time it

lasktheenow. Avenge a wretched father!
I leave this traitor to thy wrath; in blood
Quench his outrageous fires, and by thy

Theseus will estimate thy favor toVrds him.
Hippolttub. Phsedra accuses me ctf law-
less passion!
This crowning honror all my soul con-
Such unexpected blows, falling at cmoe,
O'erwhelm me, choke my utterance, stdto
me dumb.

Digitized by




Thbsbub. Traitor, you reokon'd that in
timid silenoe
Phedia would bury your brutality.
Too should not have abandoned in your

Hie sword that in her hands helps to con-
demn you
Or rather, to complete your perQdy,
Tou should have robb'd her both of speech
and life.
HiFPOLTTDB. Justly indignant at a lie so
I mi|^t be paidon'd if I told the truth;
But it concerns your honor to conceal it.
Approve the reverence that shuts my

And, without wishing to increase your woes,
Examine closely what my life has been.
Great crimes are never single, they are

To former faults. He who has once trans-
May violate at last all that men hold
Most sacred; vice, like virtue, has degrees
Of progress; innocence was never seen
To sink at once into the lowest depths
OfguOt. No virtuous man can in a day
Turn traitor, murderer, an incestuous

The nursling of a chaste, heroic mother,
I have not im>ved unworthy of my birth. •
Pitthnis, whose wisdom is by all esteem'd,
Deign'd to instruct me when I left her

It is no wish of mine to vaunt my merits.
But, if I may bty clahn to any virtue,
I think beyond all else I have displayed
Ahhorrenoe of those sins with whidi I'm

For this Hippolytus is known in Greece,
80 continent that he is deem'd austere.
All know my abstinence inflexible:
The da^ight is not purer than my heart.
How, then, could I, burning with fire pro-
fane —
Tbisbub. Tea, dastard, 't is that very
pride condemns you.
I see ihiB odious reason of your coldness:
Phadra alone bewitched your shameless

Your soul, to others' charms indifferent,
Disdam'd the blameless fires of lawful love.

HiPFOLTTUB. No, father, I have hidden
it too long.
This heart has not disdain'd a saered

Here at your feet I own my real offense:
I love, and love in truth where you forbid

Bound to Aricia by my heart's devotion.
The child of Pallas has subdued your son.
A rebel to your laws, her I adore,
And breathe forth ardent si^ for her
Thbbbub. You love her? Heavens!
But no, I see the trick.
Tou feign a crime to justify yourself.
HippOLTTUS. Sir, I have ^unn'd her for
sn months, and still
Love her. To you 3rourBelf I came to tell it,
Trembling the while. Can nothing clear

Of your mistake? What oath can reassure

By heav'n and earth and all the pow'rs of
nature —
Thbsbub. The wicked never shrink foom
Cease, cease, and spare me brksome protes*

If your false virtue has no other aid.
HippoLTTus. Tho' it to you seem false
and insincere,
I%»dra has secret cause to know it true.
Thbsbub. Ah, how 3rour shamelessness

excites my wrath t
H1PPOLTTU8. What is my term and place

of banishment?
Thbsbub. Were you beyond the PiUan
of Alddes,
Tour perjured presence were too near me
HippoLTTUs. What friends will pity me,
when you forsake
And think me guilty of a crime so vile?
Thbsbub. Go, look you out for friends
who hold in honor
Adultery and clap their hands at incest.
Low, lawless traitors, steep'd in infamy,
The fit protectors of a knave like you.
HiFPOLTTUS. Are incest and adultery
the words
You cast at me? I hold my tongue. Yet

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What mother Fhsdn had; too weD yoa

Her blood, not mine, is tainted with those

Theseus. What! Does your rage before

my eyes lose all
Restraint? For the last time — out of my

sight I
Henoe, traitor! Wait not till a father's

Force thee away 'mid general execration.


Thbsbub [dlofid. Wretch! Thou must
meet inevitable ruin.
Neptune has sworn by Qtyx — to gods

A dreadful oath — and he will execute
His promise. Thou canst not escape his

I loved thee; and, in spite of thine offense,
My heart is troubled by anticipation
For thee. But thou hast eam'd thy doom

too weD.
Had father ever greater cause for rage?
Just gods, who see the grief that over-
whelms me.
Why was I cursed with such a wicked son?

[Enter Pha>ra.1

Phjcdra. My lord, I come to you, fill'd

with just dread.
Your voice raised high in anger reach'd

mine ears,
And much I fear that deeds have foUow'd

Oh, if there yet is time, spare your own

Respect your race and blood, I do beseech

Let me not hear that blood cry from the

Save me the horror and perpetual pain
Of having caused his father's hand to shed

Theseus. No, madam, from that stain

my hand is free.
But, for all that, the wretch has not es-
caped me.
The hand of an Immortal now is charged
With his destruction. 'Tis a debt that

Owes me, and you shall be avenged.


Owed you? Prajr'rs made in anger —
Thbsbub. Never fear

That they will faU. Rather join yours to

In all their blackness paint for me his

And fan my tardy passion to white heat.

But yet you know not all his infamy;

His rage against you overfl o ws in slan-

Your mouth, he oiys, is full of all deoeifcy

He says Arida has his heart and soul.

That her akme he kyves.
Pbuboba. Aricia?
Theseus. Aye,

He said it to my face: an idle pretext!

A trick that gulls me not! Let us hope

Will do him speedy justice. To his altan

I go, to urge performance of his oaths.

Phjcdra [dUme], Ah, he is gone! What
tidings struck mine ears?

What fire, half smother'd, in my heart re-

What fatal stroke falls like a thunder-

Stung by remorse that would not let me

I tore mysdf out of CEnone's arms,

And flew to help Hippdytus with all

My soul and strength. Who knows if that

Mig^t not have moved me to accuse my-

And, if my voice had not been choked with

Periiaps I had confess'd the frightful truth.

Hippolsrtus can feel, but not for me!

Aricia has his heart, his plighted troth.

Ye gods, when, deaf to all my sighs and

He arm'd his eye with scorn, his brow with

I deem'd his heart, impregnable to love.

Was fortified 'gainst aU my sex alike.

And yet another has prevail'd to tame

His pride, another has secured his faviv.

Perhaps he has a heart easily melted;

I am the only one he cannot bear!

And shall I charge myself with his defeosbl

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[BtUer (Enonb.]

TsMon^ Know yon, dear ntunse, what I

have kam'd just now?
(Enonb. No; but I come in truth with
trembling limbs.

I dreaded with what purpose you went

Tlie fear of fatal madness made me pale.
Pbjbdba. Who would have thought it,

narse? I had a rival.
CBnonb. ArivalT

Pbjbdba. Yes, he loves. I cannot doubt

This wild untamable Hippolytus,

Who scom'd to be admked, whom lovers'

Wearied, this tiger, whom I fear'd to rouse.

Fawns on a huid that has subdued his

Arida has found entrance to his heart.
(ENonb. Arida?
P&jBDBA. Ahl anguish as yet untried!

For what new tortures am I still reserved?

An I have undergone, transports of passion,

T^mgmgp and fears, the honors of remorse.

The shame of bdng q)um'd with con-

Were feeble foretastes <^ my present tor-

They love each other! By what secret

Have they deceived me? Where, and when,

Met they? You knew it all. Why was I

foa never told me of those stolen hours

Of amorous converse. Have they oft been

IVdking together? Did they seek the shades
Of thickest woods? Alas! full freedom had

To see eadi other. Heav'n approved thdr

they loved without the consciousness of

Ind every morning's sun for them shone

iHiile I, an outcast from the face of Nature,
finmn'd the bri|^t day, and sought to hide

Death was the <mly god whose aid I dared

To ask: I waited for the grave's release.
Water'd with tears, nourish'd with gall, my

Was all too closely watch'd; I did not dare
To weep without restraint. In mortal dread
Tasting this dangerous solace, I disguised
My terror 'neath a tranquil countenance,
And oft had I to check my tears, and smile.
(Enonb. What fruit will they enjoy of

their vain love?
They wiU not see each other more.

PHiBDRA. That love
Will last forever. Even while I speak.
Ah, fatal thought, th^ laugh to scorn the

Of my distracted heart. In spite of exile
That soon must part them, wiUi a thousand

They seal yet closer union. Can I suffer
A happiness, (Enone, which insults me?
I crave your pity. She must be destroy'd.
My husband's wrath against a hateful

Shall be revived, nor must the punishment
Be light: the sister's guilt passes the broth-
I will entreat him in my jealous rage.
What am I saying? Have I lost my

Is Phsdra jealous, and will she implore
Theseus for help? My husband lives, and

I bum. For whom? Whose heart is this I

As mine? At every word I say, my hair
Stands up with horror. GuUt henceforth

All bounds. H3rpocri8y and incest breathe
At once thro' aU. My murderous hands are

To spill the blood of guileless innocence.
Do I yet live, wretch that I am, and dare
To face this holy Sun from whom I spring?
My father's sire was king of all the gods;
My ancestors fill all the universe.
Where can I hide? In the dark realms of

But there my father holds the fatal urn;
His hand awards th' irrevocable doom:
Minos is judge of all the ghosts in hell.
Ah! how his awful shade will start and


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When he shall see his daughter brought be-
fore him,
Forced to confess sins of such varied dye,
Crimes it may be unknown to hell itself I
What wilt thou say, my father, at a sight
So dire? I think I see thee drop the urn,
And, seeking some unheard-of punishment,
Thyself become my executioner.
Spare me! A cruel goddess has destrojr'd
Thy race; luid in my madness recognise
Her wrath. Alas! My aching heart has

No fruit of pleasure from the frightful crime
The shame of which pursues me to the

And ends in torment life-long misery.
(Enonv. Ah, madam, pray dinniss a

groundless dread:
Look less severely on a venial error.
You love. We cannot conquer destiny.
You were drawn on as by a fatal charm.
Is that a marvel without precedent
Among us? Has love triumphed over you,
And o'er none else? Weakness is natural
Toman. A mortal, to a mortal's lot
Submit. You chafe against a yoke that

Have long since borne. The dwellers in

The gods themsdves, who terrify with

The sins of men, have bum'd with lawless

Phjcdra. What words are these I hear?

What counsel this
You dare to give me? Will you to the end
Pour poison in mine ears? You have de-

stroy'd me.
Yoa brought me back when I should else

have quitted
The light of day, made me forget my duty
And see Hippolytus, till then avoided.
What hast thou done? Why did your

wicked mouth
With blackest lies slander his blameless

Peihaps you've slain him, and the impious

Of an unfeeling father has been answer'd.
No, not another word! Go, hateful mon-
Aviy, and leave me to my piteous fate.

May Heav'n with justice pay you your

And may your punishment forever be
A terror to all those who would, like you,
Nourish with artful wiles the weaknesses
Of princes, push them to the brink of ruin
To ^diich their heart inclines, and smooth

the path
Of guilt. Such flatterers doth the wrath of

Bestow on kin^i as its most fatal gift. [ExU,]
(Engnb [alone]. O gods! to serve her

what have I not done?
This is the due reward that I have won.



[Enter Hippolttus and Abicia.]

Abicia. Can you keep sflent in this mor-
tal peril?
Your father loves yoa. Will you leave him

Deceived? If in your cruel heart you soom
My tears, content to see me nevermore,
Go, part from poor Aricia; but at least,
Going, secure the safety of your life.
Defend your honor from a shameful stain.
And force your father to recall his pray^
There yet is time. Why out of mere caprice
Leave the field free to Phffidra's calumnies?
Let Theseus know the truth.

HiPPOLTruB. Could I say more.
Without exposing him to dire disgrace?
How should I venture, by revealing all,
To make a father's brow grow red with

The odious m3rstery to you alone
Is known. My heart has been outpofor'd

to none
Save jTou and Heav'n. I could not hide

from you
(Judge if I love you) all I fain would hide
E'en from myself. But think under what

I spoke. Forget my words, if that may be;
And never let so pure a mouth disdoee
This dreadful secret. Let us trust to

My vindication, for the gods are just;
For their own honor wfH ihey dear the


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Sooner or later punJah'd for her cnmey
Fhsdra will not escape the shame she

I«a8k DO other favor than your silence;
In all besides I give my wrath free scope.
Make your escape from this captivity,
Be bold to bear me company in flight;
Linger not here on this accurst soil,
Whm virtue breathes a pestilential air.
To cover your departure take advantage
Of Uus confusion, caused by my disgrace.
The means of flight are ready, be assured;
You have as yet no other guards than mine.
IWif ul defenders will maintain our quar-
Aigoe spreads open aims, and Sparta calls

Let us appeal for justice to our friends,
Nor sufFer Phaedra, in a conunon ruin
Joining us both, to hunt us from the throne.
And aggrandize her son by robbing us.
Embrace this happy opportunity:
Wfaat'fear restrains? You seem to hesitate.
Tour interest alone prompts me to urge
BoMnees. When I am all on fire, how

oomee it
That you are ice? Fear you to follow then
A banish'd man?

Abicia. Ah, dear to me would be
Sochodlel With what joy , my fate to yours
United, could I live, by all the world
Forgotten! But not yet has that sweet tie
Bo«md us together. How then can I steal
Away with you? I know the strictest honor
Fofbids me not out of your father's hands
To free mysdf ; this is no parent's home,
And flight is btwf ul when one flies from

But you, sir, love me; and my virtue

shrinks —
H1FPOLTTU8. No, no, your reputation is

to me
As dear as to yourself . A nobler purpose
Brin0B me to you. Fly from your foes, and

A husband. Heav'n, that sends us these

Bets free from human instruments the

Between us. Torches do not always light
The face of Hymen.
At the gates df Trouen,

'Mid ancient tombs where princes of my

lie buried, stands a temple ne'er approach'd
By perjurera, where mortals dare not make
FiJse oaths, for instant punishment befalls
The guilty. Falsehood knows no stronger

Tlian what is present there — the fear of

That cannot be avoided. Thither then
We'll go, if you consent, and swear to love
Forever, talro the guardian god to witness
Our solenm vows, and his paternal care
Entreat. I will invoke the name of all
The holiest PoVrs; chaste Dian, imd the

Of HeaW, yea all the gods who know my

Will guarantee my sacred promises.
Abicia. The king draws near. Depart—

make no delay.
To mask my flight, I linger yet one moment.
Go you; and leave with me some trusty

To lead my timid footsteps to your side.


[BtUer Thbsbub and Ibmbnb.)

Thbsbxtb. Ye gods, throw light upon my
troubled mind.
Show me the truth which I am seeking here.
Abicia [aaide to Ismenb]. Get ready, dear
Ismene, for our flight.

[ExU Ismenb.]

Tbbsbxtb. Your color comes and goes,

you seem confused,

Madaml What business had my scm with


Abicia. Sire, he was bidding me farewell

Thbsbub. Your eyes, it seons, can tame
that stubborn pride;
And the first sighs he breathes are paid to
Abicia. I can't deny the truth; he has
not, sire.
Inherited your hatred and injtistice;
He did not treat me like a criminal.
Thesbttb. That is to say, he swore eter-
nal love.
Do not rely on that inconstant heart;
To others has he sworn as much before.

Digitized by




Abicia. He, sire?

Thbsbus. You ought to check his roving

How could you bear a partnenhip so vile?
AaiciA. And how can you endure that

vilest slanders
Should make a life so pure as black as pitch?
Have you so little knowledge of his heart?
Do you so ill distinguish between guflt
And innocence? What mist before your ^yes
Blinds them to virtue so conspicuous?
Ahl 't is too much to let false tongues de-
fame him.
Repent; call back your murderous wishes,

Fear, fear lest Heaven in its severity
Hate you enough to hear and grant your

Oft in their wrath the gods accept our

And oftentimes chastise us with their gifts.
Theseus. No, vainly would you cover

up his guflt.
Tour love is blind to his depravity.
But I have witness irr^roachable:
Tears have I seen, true tears, that may be

Abicia. Take heed, my lord. Your

hands invincible
Have rid the world of monsters numberiess;
But all are not destroyed, one you have left
Alive — Your son forbtdiB me to say more;
Knowing with what respect he still regards

I should too much distress him if I dared
Complete my sentence. I will imitate
His reverence, and, to keep sflence, leave

you. [Exit,]

Theseus [aiane]. What is there in her

mind? What meaning lurks
In speech begun but to be broken short?
Would both deceive me with a vain pre-
Have they conspired to put me to the

And yet, despite my stem severity.
What plaintive voice cries deep within my

A secret pity troubles and alarms me.
(Enone shall be questioned once again,
I must have clearer light upon this crime.
Guards, bid (Enone come, and come alone.

[BfUer Panopb.]

Panopb. I know not what the qoeeo in-
tends to do.
But from her agitation dread the worst
Fatal despair is painted on her features;
Death's pallor is already in her face.
CBnone, shamed and driven from her si^^ti
Has cast hersdf into the ocean d^ths.
None knows what prompted her to deed so

And now the waves hide her from us for-
Thbbbus. What say you?
Panopb. Her sad fate seems to have

Fresh trouble to the queen's tempestuous

Sometimes, to soothe her secret pain, she

Her children dose, and bathes them with

her tears;
Then suddenly, the mother's love f ocgoi-

She thrusts them from her with a look of

She wanders to and fro with doubtful steps;
Her vacant eye no longer knows us. Thrice
She wrote, ami thrice did she, nhMiging her

Destroy the letter ere 't was well began.
Vouchiuife to see her, sire: vouchsafe to hdp

her. [ExUi

Theseus. Heav'ns! Is (Encme dead, and

On dying too? Oh, call me back my 8(»il;
Let him defend himself, and I am ready
To hear him. Be not hasty to bestow
Thy fatal bounty, Neptune; let my pray'rs
Rather remain ever unheard. Too soon
I lifted cruel hands, believing lips
That may have lied! Ah! What deqiair

may foUow!

IBriier Thbrambnbs.)

Thbsbus. Th^amenes, is 't thou? Wbeie

is my son?
I gave him to thy charge from tendeiest

But whence these tears that overflow thins

How is it with my son?

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Thbraumbs. Gonoem too late!
Affection yain! Hippolytus Is dead.
Thsseub. Godet
Thbrambnbs. I have seen the floVrof

an mankind
Cat <^, and I am bold to say that none
Dnerved it lees*

Thesbub. What! Mysondead! WhenI
Was etietohing out my anna to him, has

Haaten'd his end? What was this sudden

Thxramensb. Scarce had we pass'd out

of the gates of TrcBsen,
He silent in hki chariot, and his guards,
Downcast and silent too, around him

T6 the Myoenian road he tum'd his steeds,
Then, lost in thought^ allowed the reins to

Loose on thdr backs. His noble chargers,

So fun of ardor to obey his voice,
With head depressed and melancholy ^ye
Seem'd now to mark his sadness and to

share it.
A frif^tful cry, that issues from the deep.
With sudden discard rends the troubled

And from the bosom of the earth a groan
Is hoBUcd in answer to that voice of terror.
Our blood is frosenat our very hearts;
^i^th bristlmg manes the listening steeds

stand stiU.
Meanwhile upon the watery plain there

A mountain billow with mighty crest
Of foam, that shoreward rolls, and, as it

Before our eyss vomits a furious monster.
With formidiable horns its brow is arm'd.
And aU its body clothed with ydlow scales,
In front a savage bull, behind a dragon
Turning and twisting in impatient rage.
Its kmg continued bellowingB make the

Tremble; the sky seems horror-struck to

see it;
Hie earth with terror quakes; its poisonous

Infeets the air. The wave that brought it


In fear. AU fly, forgetful of the courage
That cannot aid, and in a neighboring

Take refuge — aU save bold Hippolytus.
A hero's worthy son, he stays hk steeds.
Seises his darts, and, rushing forward, hurls
A missile with sure aim ihaX wounds the

Deep in the flank. With rage and pain it

E'en to the hones' feet, and, roaring, falls,
Writhes in the dust, and shows a flay

That covers them with flames, and blood,

and smoke.
Fear lends them wings; deaf to his voice for

And heedless of the curb, they onward fly.
Their master wastes his strength in efforts

With foam and blood each courser's bit is

Some say a god, amid this wfld disorder,
Is seen with goads pricking their dusty

O'er jaggM rooks th^ rush urged on by

Crash! goes the aade-tree. Th' intrepid

Sees his car broken up, ftying to pieces;
He falls himself entangled in the reins.
Pardon my grief . That cruel spectacle
Will be for me a source of endless tears.
I saw thy hapless son, I saw him, sire,
Diagg'd by the horses that his hands had

PoVrless to check their fierce career, his

But adding to their fright, his body soon
One mass of wounds. Our cries of anguish

The plain. At last they slacken thdr swift

Then stop, not far from those old tombs

that mark
Whoe lie the ashes of his royal sires.
Panting I thither run, and fliter me
His guard, along the track stain'd with

fresh blood
That reddens aU the rocks; caught in the

Locks of his hair hang dripping, gory spoOst

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I oome, I call him. Stretching forth his

He opes his dying eyes, soon closed again.
"TliA gods have robb'd me of a guiltless

I hear him say: "Take care of sad Arioia
Wheia 1 am dead. Dear friend, if e'er my

Momn, undeceived, his son's unhappy fate
Falsely accused; to give my spirit peace,
Tell him to treat his captive tenderly.
And to restore—" With that the hero's

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