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Stoop to so mean, so base a vice as fraud ?
Nay act such monstrous perfidy, yet start
From promis'd love? Way should one warm’d with youth, and thirst of
glory, Disdain a soul, a form, a crown like mine?
My soul disdain’d a promise.
But yet your false equivocating tongue,
Your looks, your eyes, your every motion promis'd.
Look down, O Theseus, and behold thy son,
As Sciron faithless, as Procrustes cruel. The grief, despair, the agonies, and pangs,
Behold the crimes, the tyrants, all the monsters, All the wild fury of distracted love,
from which thy valour purg'd the groaning Earth :
Behold them all in thy own son reviv'd.
Touch not my glory, lest you stain your own; groves, What gloomy woods, conceal'd their hidden loves?
I still have strove to make my glorious father Alas! they bid it not; the well-pleas'd Sun
Blush, yet rejoice to see himself outdone ; With all his beams survey'd their guiltiess flame;
To mix my parents in my lineal virtues, Glad zephyrs wafted their untainted sighs,
As Theseus just, and as Camilla chaste.
The godlike Theseus never was thy parent. Prest dowo my sighs, and dry'd my falling tears; Obedient to the scourge, and beaten to her arms,
No,'twas some monthly Cappadocian drudge, Search'd a retreat to mourn, and watch'd to grieve. Begot thee, traitor, on the chaste Camilla. LYCON.
Camilla chaste! An Amazon and chaste ! Now cease that grief, and let your injur'd love
That quits her sex, and yet retains her virtue. Contrive due vengeance; let majestic Phædra,
See the chaste matron mount the neighing steed; That lov'd the hero, sacrifice the villain.
In strict embraces lock the struggling warrior, Then haste, send forth your ministers of vengeance,
And choose the lover in the sturdy foe.
Enter Messenger, and seems to talk earnestly with
No; she refus'd the vows of godlike Theseus, guards, Bid then bring forth their instruments of death;
And chose to stand his arms, not meet his love; Darts, engines, flames, and launch into the deep,
And doubtful was the fight. The wide Thermodoon And hurl swift vengeance on the perjur'd slave.
Heard the huge strokes resound; its frighted waves Where am 1, gods? What is't my rage commands ? Convey'd the rattling din to distant shores, Er'n now he's gone! Ev'n now the well-tim'd oars
Whilst she alone supported all his war:
Nor till she sunk beneath his thundering arm, With sounding strokes divide the sparkling waves, And happy gales assist their speedy flight.
Beneath which warlike nations bow'd, would yield Now they embrace, and ardent love enflames
To honest wish'd for love. Their flushing cheeks, and trembles in their eyes.
PHADRA. Now they expose my weakness and my crimes:
Not so her son; • Now to the sporting crowd they tell my follies.
Who boldly ventures on forbidden flames,
On one descended from the cruel Pallas,
Foe to thy father's person and his blood;
Hated by him, of kindred yet more hated,
The last of all the wicked race he ruin'd,
In vain a fierce successive hatred reign'd
Between your sires : in vain, like Cadmus' race,
With mingled blood they dy'd the blushing Earth. PHÆDRA.
In vain indeed, since now the war is o'er ;
We, like the Theban race, agree to love,
Atone for slaughter past.
Your future offspring.
Of blood and death, of murder and relation? Think of her youth, her innocence, her virtue; What joy 't had been to old disabled Theseus, Think, with what warın compassion she bemoan d When he should take thy offspring in his arms ?
you; Ev’n in his arms to hold an infant Pallas,
Think, how she serv'd and watch'd you in your And he upbraided with his grandsire's fate..
sickness ! Oh barbarous youth!
Ilow ev'ry rising and descending Sun
Saw kind Ismena watching o'er the queen.
I only promis'd, 1 alone deceiv'd you ;
And í, and only I, should feel your justice.
Oh! by those powers, to whom I soon must
For all my faults, by that bright arch of Heaven And give the crown to him and his Ismena: I now last see, I wrought him by my wiles, But I'll prevent it,
[Exit Lycon. By tears, by threats, by every female art,
Wrought his disdaining soul to false compliance. Ismena brought in.
The son of Theseus could not think of fraud,
'Twas woman all.
I see 'twas woman all, watch'd me,
And woman's fraud should meet with woman's As ravenous vultures watch the dying lion,
vengeance. To tear his heart, and riot in his blood.
But yet thy courage, truth, and virtue shock me;
So had I stood the shock of angry Fate;
So had I given my life with joy to save him. Oh! ye shall have it; thou, Minos, shalt applaud it;
HIPPOLITUS. Yes, thou shalt copy it in their pains below. And can you doom her death? Can Minus' Gods of revenge, arise.--He comes! He comes!
daughter And shoots himself through all my kindling blood. Condemn the virtue which her soul admires ? I have it here.-Now base perfidious wretch, Are not you Phædra? Once the boast of fame, Now sigh, and weep, and tremble in thy turn. Shame of our sex, and pattern of your own. 'Yes, your Ismena shall appease my vengeance. Ismena dies : and thou her pitying lover Doom'dst her to death. - Thou too shall see her Am I that Phædra? No.-Another soul bleed;
Informs my alter'd frame. Could else Ismena See her convulsive pangs, and hear her dying Provoke my hatred, yet deserve my love? groans :
Aid me, ye gods, support my sinking glory, Go, glut thy eyes with thy ador'd Ismena, Restore my reason, and confirm my virtue. And laugh at dying Phædra!
Yet, is my rage unjust? Then, why was Phædra
Rescu'd for torment, and preserv'l for pain? HIPPOLITUS.
Why did you raise me to the heighth of joy, Om Ismena!
Above the wreck of clouds and storms below,
To dash and break me on the ground for ever? Alas! My tender soul would shrink at death,
ISMENA. Shake with its fears, and sink beneath its pains, Was it not time to urge him to compliance? In any case but this.-But now I'm steeld, At least to feign it, when perfidious Lycon And the near danger lessens to my sight.
Confin'd his person, and conspir'd his death. Now, if I live, 'tis only for Hippolitus, And with an equal joy I'll die to save him. Yes, for his sake I'll go a willing shade,
Confind and doom'd to death - O'cruel Lycon! And wait his coming in th'Elysian fields,
Could I have doom'd thy death?-Could these And there inquire of each descending ghost Of my lov'd hero's welfare, life, and honour. That lov'd thee living, e'er behold thee dead? That dear remembrance will improve the bliss, Yet thou could'st see me die without concern, Add to th’ Elysian joys, and make that Heaven Rather than save a wretched queen from ruin. more happy.
Else could you choose to trust the warring winds,
The swelling waves, the rocks, the faithless sands, HIPPOLITUS,
And all the raging monsters of the deep! Oh heavenly virgin; [Aside.)– imperial Phæ- On! think you see me on the naked shore; dra,
Think how I scream and tear my scatter'd hair; Let your rage fall on this devoted head;
Break from the embraces of my shrieking maids, But spare, oh! spare a guiltless virgin's life: And harrow on the sand my bleeding bosom :
Then catch with wide-stretch'd arms the empty | And Heaven inspires my thoughts with righteous billows,
vengeance. And headlong plunge into the gaping deep. Thou shalt no more despise my offer'd love;
No more Ismena shall upbraid my weakness. HIPPOLITUS.
[Catches Hipp. suord to stub herself. 0, dismal state! My bleeding heart relents, Now all ye kindred gods look down and see, And my thoughts dissolve in tenderest pity. How I'll revenge you, and myself, on Phædra.
Enter Lycon, and snatches away the sword. If you can pity, O! refuse not love;
Horrour on horrour! Theseus is return'd,
Theseus! Then what have I to do with life? And tire the labouring wind. The suppliant na May I be snatch'd with winds, by earth o'ertions
whelm'd, Bow to its ensigns, and with lower'd sails
Rather than view the face of injurd Theseus. Confess the oceau's queen. For thee alone
Now wider still my growing horrours spread, The winds shall blow, and the vast ocean roll. My fame, my virtue, nay, my frenzy's fled : For thee alone the fam'd Cydonian warriors Then view thy wretcbed blood, imperial Jove, From twanging yews shall send their fatal shafts. if crimes enrage you, or misfortunes move;
On me your flames, on me your bolts employ, HIPPOLITUS.
Me if your anger spares, your pity should destroy. Then let me march their leader, not their prince;
[Runs ou". And at the head of your renown'd Cydonians,
Lycos. Brandish this far-fam'd sword of conquering The
This may do service yet. That I may shake th’Egyptian tyrant's yoke
[Erit Lycon, carries of the stoord, From Asia's neck, and fix it on his own';
HIPPOLITUS. That willing nations may obey your laws, And your bright ancestor, the Sun, may shine Is he return'd? Thanks to the pitying gods. On nought but Phædra's empire.
Shall I again behold his awful eyes?
Again be folded in his loving arms?
Yet in the midst of joy 1 fear for Phædra ;
I fear his warmth and unrelenting justice.
O! should her raging passion reach his ears, As to refuse my crown?-0, cruel youth! His tender love, by anger fir'd, would turn By all the pain that wrings my tortur'd soul! To burning rage; as soft Cydonian oil, By all the dear deceitful hopes you gave me; Whose balmy juice glides o'er th’untasting tongue, 0!
eas, at least once more delude, my sorrows. Yet touch'd with fire, with hottest flames will blaze. For your dear sake I've lost my darling honour; But oh, ye powers! I see his godlike form, Por you, but now I gave my soul to death : () extasy of joy! He comes, he comes ! For you I'd quit my crown, and stoop beneath Is it my lord? My father? Oh! 'tis he: The happy bondage of an humble wife.
I see him, touch him, feel his known embraces, With thee I'd climb the steepy Ida's summit,
See all the father in his joyful eyes.
Enter Thcscus with others,
Where have you been, my lord? What angry Of pinching hunter and impatient thirst,
demon I'd find all joys in thee.
Hid you from Crete? From me!-- What god has
sav'd you? HIPPOLITUS.
Did not Philotas see you fall? O answer me! Why stoops the queen
And then I'll ask a thousand questions more. To ask, entreat, to supplicate and pray,
THESEUS. To prostitute her crown and sex's honour, To one whose humble thoughts can only rise No: but to save my life I feign'd my death; To be your slave, not lord ?
My horse and well-kuown arms confirm'd the tale,
And hinderd farther search. This honest Greek PHÆDRA.
Conceal'd me in his house, and curd my wounds;
Procurd a vessel; and, to bless me more,
But this at leisure. Let me now indulge
[Embraces Hippolitus. O Heaven! O Minos! O imperial Jove!
When first I saw thy mother, chaste Camilla; Do ye not blush at my degenerate weakness ! And much she lov'd me.Oh! Did Phædra view Hence lazy, mean, ignoble passion, fly; Hence from my soul-Tis gone, 'tis tied for ever. With half that fondness !--- But she's still unkind
Else hasty joy had brought her to these arms, Why must I drag th' insufferable load
Of foul dishonour, and despairing love?
Oh! length of pain! Am I so often dying, Let us to Phadra.
And yet not dead ? Feel I so oft death's pangs,
Nor once can find its ease?
Would you now die?
Now quit the field to your insulting foe? Forget her former treatment; she's too good Then shall he triumph o'er your blasted name: Still to persist in hatred to my son.
Ages to come, the universe, shall learn
The wide'immortal infamy of Phædra:
And the poor babe, the idol of your soul, 0! let me fly from Crete,—from you, [Aside. The lovely image of your dear dead lord, and Phædra.
Shall be upbraided with his mother's crimes;
Shall bear your shame, shall sink beneath your THESEUS, My son, what meansthisturn? this sudden start? Inherit your disgrace, but not your crown. Why would you fly from Crete, and from your father?
Must he too fall, invoir'd in my destruction, HIPPOLITUS.
And only live to curse the name of Phædra? Not from my father, but from lazy Crete; Oh dear, unhappy habe! must I bequeath thee To follow danger, and acquire renown:
Only a sad inheritance of woe?
Oh lost estate! when life's so sharp a torment,
And death itself can't ease! Assist me, Lycon, What can this coldness mean? Retire, my son, Advise, speak comfort to my troubled soul. [Erit Hippolitus.
LYCON. While I attend the queen.--What shock is this? Why tremble thus my limbs? why faints my heart? 'Tis you must drive that trouble from your soul; Why am I thrill’d with fear, till now unknown? As streams, when dam'd, forget their ancient Where's now the joy, the extasy, and transport,
current, That warm'd my soul, and urg'd me on to Phædra? And wondering at their banks, in other channels O! had I never lov'd her, l'ad been blest.
Sorrow and joy, in love, alternate reign; So must you bend your thoughts from hopeless love, Sweet is the bliss, distracting is the pain.
So turn their course to Theseus' happy bosom, So when the Nile its fruitful deluge spreads, And crown his eager hopes with wish'd enjoyment: And genial heat informs its slimy beds;
Then with fresh charms adorn your troubled looks, Here yellow harvests crown the fertile plain, Display the beauties first inspir'd his soul, There monstrous serpents fright the labouring Sooth with your voice, and woo him with your swain :
eyes. A various product fills the fatten'd sand,
PHÆDRA. And the same floods enrich and curse the land.
Impossible! What woo him with these eyes, Still wet with tears that flowd—but not for The
seus? ACT IV.
This tongue so us'd to sound another name;
What! take him to my arms! Oh awful Juno! Enter Lycon solus.
Touch, love, caress bim! while my wandering fancy
On other objects strays ? A lewd adultress
In the chaste bed? And in the father's arms,
Evin in the father's arms embrace the son ?
Yet you must see him, lest impatient love
Should urge his temper to too nice a search, Great in disgrace, and envy'd in his fall.
And ill-tim’d absence should disclose your crime. The queen!- then try thy art, and work her passion.
Could I, when present to his awful eyes,
tray me? PHÆDRA.
Betray thee, Phædra! then thou 'rt not betray'd! Off, let me loose; why, cruel barbarous maids, | Live, live secure, adoring Crete conceals thee: Why am I barr'd from Death, the common refuge, | Thy pious love, and most endearing goodness, That spreads its hospitable arms for all ?
Will charm the kind Hippolitus to silence
Oh wretched Phædra ! oh ill-guarded secret!
Declare your last resolves.
Do you resolre, for Phædra can do nothing. PHÆDRA.
[Exit Phædra; Do imprecations, oaths, or vows avail !
LYCON. 1, 100, have sworn, ev'n at the altar sworn Eternal love and endless faith to Theseus;
Now, Lycon, heighten his impatient love, And yet am false, forsworn : the hallow'd shrine, Now raise his pity, now inflame bis rage, That heard me swear, is witness to iny falsehood. Quicken bis hopes, then quash them with despair; The youth, the very author of my crimes, Work his tumultuous passions into frenzy ; Evin he shall tell the fault himself inspird; Unite them all, then turn them on the foe. The fatal eloquence, that charm'd my soul,
THESEUS. Shall lavish all its arts to my destruction.
Was that my queen, my wife, my idol, Phædra? LYCON.
Does she still shun me? Oh injurious Heaven !
Her hatred! No, she loves you with such fondHis mighty heart! How his majestic frame
ness, Will shake with rage too fierce, too swift for vent! As none but that of Theseus e'er could equal ; How he 'll expose you to the public scorn, Yet so the gods have doom'd, so Heaven will have And loathing crowds shall murmur out their it, horrour!
She ne'er must view her much-lov'd Theseus more. Then the fierce Scythian-Now methinks I see His fiery eyes with sullen plcasures glow, Survey your tortures, and insult your pangs; Not see her! By my sufferings but I will, I see him, smiling on the pleas'd Ismena, Though troops embattled should oppose my pas, Point out with scorn the once proud tyrant Phædra. sage,
And ready death should guard the fatal way. PHÆDRA.
Not see her! Oh I'll clasp her in these arms, Curst be his name! May infamy attend him! Break through the idle bands that yet have held me,, May swift destruction fall upon his head,
And seize the joys my honest love may claim. Hurld by the hand of those he most adores ! Lycos.
Is this a time for joy? when Phædra's grief. By Heaven, prophetic truth inspires your tongue!
Is this a time for grief? Is this my welcome With just revenge, shall Theseus turn on him. To air, to life, to liberty, and Crete?
Not this I hop'd, when, urg'd by ardent love, PHAEDRA,
I wing'd my eager way to Phædra's arms; Is 't possible? Oh Lycon! Oh my refuge ! Then to my thoughts relenting Phædra flew, Oh good old man! thou oracle of wisdom ! With open arms, to welcome my return, Declare the means, that Phædra may adore thee. With kind endearing blame condemn'dmy rashness,
And made me swear to venture out no more. Lycos.
Oh! my warm soul, my boiling fancy glow'd Accuse bim first.
With charming hopes of yet untasted joys;
New pleasures fill'd my mind, all dangers, pains, PHÆDRA,
Wars, wounds, defeats, in that dear hope were lost.
Pursue me still with unrelenting hatred,
Invent new pains, detest, loath, shun my sight,
O think not so ! for, by th' unerring gods,
At that dear name she reard her drooping head, The guilt, the danger, and the labour, mine. Her feeble hands, and watery eyes, to Heaven,
To bless the bounteous gods : at that dear name
The raging tempest of her grief was calm’d; Hlearens! Theseus comes !
Her sighs were hush'd, and tears forgot to flow. VOL. 1X.