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I wrong'd the hero, whom I wish'd to cherish! Hide, hide in shameful night thy beamy head, Oh! you'd confess me wretched, not unkind, And cease to view the horrours of thy race. And own those ills did most deserve your pity, Alas! I share tb' amazing guilt; these eyes, Which most procurd your hate.
That first inspir'd the black incestuous flame,
These ears, that heard the tale of impious love, HIPPOLITUS.
Are all accurs'd, and all deserve your thunder.
My hate to Phædra ? Ha! could I hate the royal spouse of Theseus,
Alas! my lord, believe me not so vile.
None but my first, my much-lov'd lord Arsamnes,
No! for the love of thee, of those dear charms, Alas! the iron hand of Death is on me,
Which now I see are doom'd to be my ruin,
If that drove Theseus hence, then that kill'd
Theseus, Heavens,dart your judgments on this faithless head, And cruel Phædra kill'd her husband Theseus. If I don't pay him all a slave's obedience, And all a father's love. PHÆDRA.
Forbear, rash youth, nor dare to rouze my A father's love!
vengeance; Oh doubtful sounds! oh vain deceitful hopes !
You need not urge, nor tempt my swelling rage My grief's much eas'd by this transcending good with black reproaches, scorn, and provocation,
To do a deed my reason would abhor. ness, And Theseus' death sits lighter on my soul :
Long has the secret struggled in my breast, Death ? He's not dead! he lives, he breathes, he Long has it rack'd and rent my tortur'd bosom; speaks,
But now 'tis out. Shame, rage, confusion, tear He lives in you, he's present to my eyes,
And drive me on to act unheard-of crimes, I see him, speak to him. My heart! I rave
To murder thee, myself, and all that know it. And all my folly's known.
As when convulsions cleave the labouring Earth,
Before the distal yawn appears, the ground
Trembles and heaves, the nodding houses crash;
[Erit. See Theseus, see, how much your Phædra lov'd But he that sees its opening bosom, dies. you.
Then let me take the warning and retire;
Than woman's fiercer rage. (But not that hoary venerable Theseus)
[Ismena shows herself, listening. But Theseus, as he was, when mantling blood Glow'd in his lovely cheeks; when his bright eyes
LYCON. Spackled with youthful fires; when every grace
Alas! my lord, Shone in the father, which now crowns the son;
You must not leave the queen to her despair.
Must not? From thee? From that vile upstart
Lycon. Where will this end ?
Yes: from that Lycon who derives his greatness Is 't difficult to guess?
From Phædra's race, and now would guard her life. Does not her Aying paleness that but now
Then, sir, forbear, and view this royal siguet, Sat cold and languid in her fading cheek,
And in her faithful slave obey the queen. (Where now succeeds a moinentary lustre)
[Enter Gourds. Does not her beating heart, her trembling limbs, Guards, watch the prince, but at that awful distance, Her wishing looks, her speechi, her present silence, With that respect, it may not seem confinement, All, all proclaim imperial Phædra loves you. But only meant for honour. HIPPOLITUS.
HIPPOLITUS. What do I hear? Wbat, does no lightning flash,
So, confinement is No thunder bellow, when such monstrous crimes The honour Crete bestows on Theseus' son. Are own'd, avow'd, confest ? All-seeing Sun ! Am I contin'd? And is 't so soon forgot,
When fierce Procrustes' arms b'er-ran your But when he struggles in th’entangling toils, kingdom?
Insult the dying prey.-Tiskindly done, Ismena, When your streets echo'd with the cries of orphans,
(Ism. enters. Your shrieking maids clung round the hallow'd With all your charms to visit my distress, shrines,
Soften my chains, and make confinement easy. When all your palaces and lofty towers
Is it then given me to behold thy beauties; Sinok'd on the earth, when the red sky around Those blushing sweets, those lovely loving eyes ! Glow'd with your city's flames (a dreadful lustre): | To press, to strain thee to my beating heart, Then, then my father flew to your assistance; And grow thus to my love? What's liberty to this? Then Theseus sar'd your lives, estates, and honours, | What's fame or greatness ? Take them, take them, And do you thus reward the hero's toil ?
Phædra, And do you now confine the hero's son?
Freedom and fame, and in the dear confinement
Enclose me thus for ever.
Nor wish for aught while I behold my lord;
But yet that wish, that only wish is vain. 0, I disdain thee, traitor, but not fear thee, When my hard fate thus forces me to beg you, Nor will I hear of services from Lycon.
Drive from your god-like soul a wretched maid ; Thy very looks are lies, eternal falschood
Take to your arms (assist me Heaven to speak it) Smiles in thy lips and flatters in thy eyes;
Take to your arins imperial Phædra,
And think of me no more.
Not think of thee?'
As it would be to live, and live without thee? Do bucklers, helms, and polish'd armour blaze? Say, should I quit thee, should I turn to Phædra, Why sounds the dreadful din of instant war, Say, could'st thou bear it? Could thy tender soul Whilst still the foe's unknown?
Endure the torment of despairing love,
And see me settled in a rival's arms?
Then quit thy arts,
Think not of me: perhaps my equal mind Thou Proteus, shiit thy various forms no more, May learn to bear the fate the gods allot me. But boldly own the god. [Aside.
Yet would you hear me; could your lov'd Ismena
[To Hipp. With all her charms o'er-rule your sullen honour, The queen's disease, and your aspiring mind, You yet might live, nor leave the poor Ismena. Disturb all Crete, and give a loose to war.
Speak, if I can, I'm ready to obey.
Give the queen hopes.
No more. -My soul disdains it.
No, should I try, my haughty soul would swell; LYCON.
Sharpen each word, and threaten in my eyes. You may as well provoke O! should I stoop to cringe, to lie, forswear? That Jove you worship, as this slave you scorn.
Deserve the ruin which I strive to shun? Go seize Alcmxon, Nicias, and all
ISMENA. The black abettors of his impious treason. Now o'er thy head th' avenging thunder rolls : 0, I can't bear this cold contempt of death! For know, on me depends thy instant doom. This rigid virtue, that prefers your glory Then learn, proud prince, to bend thy haughty To liberty or life. O cruel man! soul,
By these sad sighs, by these poor streaming eyes, And if thou think'st of life, obey the queen.
By that dear love that makes us now unhappy,
By the near danger of that precious life,
Heaven knows I value much above my own.
HIPPOLITUS. Since he dares brave my raze, the danger's near. Tize timorous hounds that hunt the generous lion You shan't be trusted with a life so' precious. Bay afar off, and tremble in pursuit;
No, to the court I'll publish your design,
That foe's too near,
Ev'n bloody Lycon will prevent your fate; Is this thy truth? Is this thy boasted honour?
From the sure vengeance of despairing love.
Does he then wed the queen?
At least I think so. I, when the prince approach’d, not far retired ISMENA.
Pale with my doubts: he spoke; th'attentive queen
The pompous rites of her ensuing nuptials,
Which I must now pursue. Farewell, Ismena. (Exit. Oh! I'll do all, do any thing to save you,
Then I'll retire, and not disturb their joys.
Say, what occasion, chance, or Heaven inspires :
Stay and learn more.
Ah! wherefore should I stay?
[Egil Hip. | What! Shall I stay to rave, tupbraid, to hold him? Bless him, ye powers ! and if it be a crime,
To snatch the struggling cbarmor from her arms ? Oh! if the pious fraud ofiend your justice,
For could you think that open generous youth Aim all your vengeance on Ismena's head;
Could with feign'd love deceive a jealous woman? Punish Ismena, but forgive Hippolitus.
Could he so soon grow artful in dissembling? He's gone, and now my brave resolves are
Ah! without doubt his thoughts inspir'd his tongue, stagger'd,
And all his soul receiv'd a real love, Now I repent, like some despairing wretch
Perhaps new graces darted from her eyes, That boldly plunges in the frightful deep,
Perhaps soft pity charm'd his yielding soul, Then pants, and struggles with the whirling waves, Perhaps her love, perhaps her kingdom charm'd And catches every slender reed to save bimn.
bim; Perhaps--Alas! how many things might charm
him! But should he do what your commands enjoin'd
him, Say, should he wed her ?
Wait the success: it is not yet decided.
Should he wed the queen!
Die! does Ismena then resolve to die?
Not yet decided ! Did not Lycon tell us
Panlon the errours of a silly maid, Mylord, my soul is charm'd with your success;
Wild with her fears, and mad with jealousy; You know, my lord, my fears are but for you,
For still that fear, that jealousy, was love. For your dear life; and since my death alone
Haste then, my lord, and save yourself by flight; Can make you safe, that soon shall make you shall cease to cheer forlorn Ismena's eyes,
And when you're absent, when your god-like form happy. Yet had you brought less love to Phædra's arms,
Then let each day, each hour, each minute, bring My soul had parted with a less regret,
Some kind remembrance of your constant love; Blest if surviving in your dear remembrance.
Speak of your health, your fortune, and your friends
(For sure those friends shall have my tenderest HIPPOLITUS.
but of thy dear, dear love, Your death! My love! My marriage! And to Speak much of all; Phædra!
Speak much, speak very much, and still speak on. Hear me, Ismena.
Oh! thy dear love shall ever be my theme,
Of that alone I'll talk the live-long day; Put though you've been thus cruelly unkind,
But thus I'll talk, thus dwelling in thy eyes, Though you have left me for the royal Phædra, Tasting the odours of thy fragrant bosom. Yet still my soul o'er-runs with fondness t'wards Come then to crown me with immortal joys,
Come, be the kind companion of my flight,
Come haste with me to leave this fatal shore.
Expects its freight, a hundred lusty rowers
The loosen'd canvass trembles with the wind, Yes, you 'd outlive her in your Phædra's arms,
And the sea whitens with auspicious gales.
Fly then, my lord, and may the gods protect quest,
thee; And all thy peaceful days with sure repose
Fly, ere insidious Lycon work thy ruin; May'st thou be blest with lovely Phædra's charms, Fly, ere my fondness talk thy life away'; And for thy ease forgot the lost Ismena !
Fly from the queen.
But not from my Ismena.
Why do you force me from your heavenly sight, stay, hear me speak, or by th’infernal powers
With those dear arms that ought to clasp me to I'll not survive the minute you depart.
Oh I could rave for ever at my fate! weakness.
Now force thee from my arms, now snatch thee
to my breast, Deceive thee! Why, Ismena, do you wrong me?
And tremble till you go, but die till you return. Why doubt my faith? O lovely, cruel maid !
Nay, I could go -Ye gods, if I should go, Why wound my tender soul with harsh suspicion !
What would fame say? If I should fly alone Oh! by those charming eyes, by thy dear love,
With a young lovely prince that charm'd my soul ? I neither thought por spoke, design'd nor promis'd
HIPPOLITUS. To love, or wed the queen.
Say you did well to fly a certain ruin,
To fly the fury of a queen incens'd,
To crown with endless joys the youth that lov'd My honest soul inclines me to believe thee;
you. And much I fear, and much I hope I've wrong'do! by the joys our mutual loves have brought, thee.
By the blest hours I've languish'd at your feet,
By all the love you ever bore Hippolitus,
Come fly from hence, and make him ever happy, Then thus, I came and spake, but scarce of love;
Hide me, ye powers; I never shall resist,
Will you refuse me? Can I leave behind me All that inspires my soul, and cheers my eyes?
Will you not go? Then here I'll wait my doom. Art thou then true? Thou art. Oh, pardon me, Come, raving l’hædra, bloody Lycon come!
I offer to your rage this worthless life,
Is there aught else? Has happy Phædra aught, Since 'tis no longer my Ismena's care.
In the wide circle of her far-stretch'd empire?
Ask, take, my friend, secure of no repulse:
Let spacious Crete through all her hundred cities O! haste away, my lord; I go, Illy
Resound her Phædra's joy. Let altars smoke, Through all the dangers of the boisterous deep. And richest gums, and spice, and incense, roll When the wind whistles through the crackling Their fragrant wreaths to Heaven, to pityinz masts,
Heaven, When through the yawning ship the foaming sea Which gives Hippolitus to Phædra's arms. Rowls bubbling in; then, the I'll clasp thee fast, Set all at large, and bid the loathsome dungeons And in transporting love forget my fear.
Give up the meagre slaves that pine in darkness, Oh! I will wander through the Scythian gloom, And waste in grief, as did despairing Phædra: O'er ice, and hills of everlasting snow :
Let them be cheer'd, let the starv'd prisoners riot, There, when the horrid darkness shall enclose us, And glow with generous wine.—Let sorrow cease. When the bleak wind shall chill iny shivering Let none be wretched, none, since Phædra's happy. limbs,
But now he comes, and witb an equal passion Thou shalt alone supply the distant Sun, Rewards iny flame, and springs into my arms! And cheer my gazing eyes, and warm my heart.
Say, where's the prince?
He's no where to be found.
Perhaps he hunts.
He hunted pot to-day.
the temples ? And bay the fancy'd boar with feeble sounds. For nobler sports he quits the savage fields,
MESSENGER. And all the hero to the lover yields.
Search'd all in vain.
Did he not hunt to-day?
Alas! you told me once before he did not:
My heart misgives me.
So indeed doth mine.
Could he deceive me? Could that god-like youth Restor'd to Cr te, and to herself, she lives; Design the ruin of a queen that loves him? Joy with fresh strength inspires her drooping limbs, Oh! he's all truth; his words, his looks, his eyes, Revives her charms, and o'er her faded cheeks Open to view his inmost thoughts.
He comes! Spreads a fresh rosy bloom, as kindly springs Ha! Who art thou? Whence com'st thou? With genial heat renew the frozen earth,
Where's Hippolitus ?
Madam, Hippolitus with fair Ismena
Drove toward the port-
With fair Ismena!
Could see me tortur'd with despairing love,
With artful tears could mourn my monstrous sufPHÆDRA.
ferings, 'Tis flattery all;
While her base malice plotted my destruction. Yet when you name the prince, that fattery's
LYCON. pleasing, You wish it so, poor good old man, you wish it. A thousand reasons crowd upon my soul, The fertile province of Cydonia's thine;
That evidence their love.