Phaedra

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Author: Jean Baptiste Racine

Scene I Hippolytus, Aricia

ARICIA Can you keep silent in this mortal peril? Your father loves you. Will you leave him thus Deceived? If in your cruel heart you scorn 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’rs. There yet is time. Why out of mere caprice Leave the field free to Phaedra’s calumnies? Let Theseus know the truth.

HIPPOLYTUS 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 shame? The odious mystery to you alone Is known. My heart has been outpour’d to none Save you 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 seal I spoke. Forget my words, if that may be; And never let so pure a mouth disclose This dreadful secret. Let us trust to Heav’n My vindication, for the gods are just; For their own honour will they clear the guiltless; Sooner or later punish’d for her crime, Phaedra will not escape the shame she merits. I ask no other favour 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 accursed soil, Where virtue breathes a pestilential air. To cover your departure take advantage Of this confusion, caused by my disgrace. The means of flight are ready, be assured; You have as yet no other guards than mine. Pow’rful defenders will maintain our quarrel; Argos spreads open arms, and Sparta calls us. Let us appeal for justice to our friends, Nor suffer Phaedra, in a common ruin Joining us both, to hunt us from the throne, And aggrandise her son by robbing us. Embrace this happy opportunity: What fear restrains? You seem to hesitate. Your interest alone prompts me to urge Boldness. When I am all on fire, how comes it That you are ice? Fear you to follow then A banish’d man?

ARICIA Ah, dear to me would be Such exile! With what joy, my fate to yours United, could I live, by all the world Forgotten! but not yet has that sweet tie Bound us together. How then can I steal Away with you? I know the strictest honour Forbids me not out of your father’s hands To free myself; this is no parent’s home, And flight is lawful when one flies from tyrants. But you, Sir, love me; and my virtue shrinks—

HIPPOLYTUS No, no, your reputation is to me As dear as to yourself. A nobler purpose Brings me to you. Fly from your foes, and follow A husband. Heav’n, that sends us these misfortunes, Sets free from human instruments the pledge Between us. Torches do not always light The face of Hymen. At the gates of Troezen, ’Mid ancient tombs where princes of my race Lie buried, stands a temple, ne’er approach’d By perjurers, where mortals dare not make False oaths, for instant punishment befalls The guilty. Falsehood knows no stronger check Than what is present there—the fear of death That cannot be avoided. Thither then We’ll go, if you consent, and swear to love For ever, take the guardian god to witness Our solemn vows, and his paternal care Entreat. I will invoke the name of all The holiest Pow’rs; chaste Dian, and the Queen Of Heav’n, yea all the gods who know my heart Will guarantee my sacred promises.

ARICIA 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 guide, To lead my timid footsteps to your side.

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Chicago: Jean Baptiste Racine, "Scene I Hippolytus, Aricia," Phaedra, ed. CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb and trans. Robert Boswell in Phaedra (New York: The Modern Library Publishers, 1918), Original Sources, accessed August 15, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4BICA1Z6U8KV21J.

MLA: Racine, Jean Baptiste. "Scene I Hippolytus, Aricia." Phaedra, edited by CM01B10.Txt - 149 Kb, CM01B10.Zip - 56 Kb, and translated by Robert Boswell, in Phaedra, New York, The Modern Library Publishers, 1918, Original Sources. 15 Aug. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4BICA1Z6U8KV21J.

Harvard: Racine, JB, 'Scene I Hippolytus, Aricia' in Phaedra, ed. and trans. . cited in 1918, Phaedra, The Modern Library Publishers, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 15 August 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4BICA1Z6U8KV21J.