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That Jove you worship, as this slave you scorn.
Go seize Almæon, Nicias, and all
The black abettors of this impious treason.
[Exit a Soldier,
Now o'er thy head th' avenging thunder rolls;
For know, on me depends thy instant doom.
Then learn, proud Prince, to bend thy hanghty soul,
And, if thou think'st of life, obey the queen.
Hip. Then free from fear or guilt I'll wait my doom. Whate'er's my fault, no stain shall blot my giory. I'll guard my honour; you dispose my life. “ Lyc. Be it so, Cratander follow me.”
[Exit Lyc. and Crat, Hip. Since he dares brave my rage, the danger's near, The timorous hounds that hunt the generous lion Bay afar off, and tremble in pursuit ; But when he struggles in th' entangling toils, Insult the dying prey.
ISMENA and Lady enter, “ 'Tis kindly done, Ismena, “ With all your charms to visit my distress; “ Soften my chains, and make confinement easy.". O Ismena, is it then giv’n me to behold thy beauties ! “ Those blushing sweets, those lovely loving eyes!” To press, to strain thee to my beating heart, And grow thus to my love ! What's liberty to this? What's fame or greatness ? take 'em, take 'em, Phædra, “ Freedom and farme,” and in the degr confinement Enclose me thus for ever.
Ism. O Hippolitus!
Oh, I could ever dwell in this confinement!
Nor wish for aught while I behold my lord :
But yet that wish, that only wish is vain,
When my hard fate thus forces me to beg you'd
Drive from your godlike soul a wretched maid :
Take to your arms (assist me, Heav'n! to speak it)
Take tò your arms imperial Phædra,
And think of me no more,
Hip. Not think of thee?
What! part, for ever part ? unkind Ismena!
Oh! can you think that death is half so dreadful,
As it would be to live, and live without thee?
Say, should I quit thee, should I turn to Phædra
Say, couldst thou bear it? could thy tender soul
Endure the torment of despairing love,
And see me settled in a rival's arms?
Ism. Think not of me: Perhaps my equal mind
May learn to bear the fate the gods allot me.
Yet would you hear me ; “ could your lov'd Ismena
“ With all her charms o'er-rule your sullen honour,"
You yet might live, nor leave the
Hip. Speak: if I can, I'm ready to obey.
Ism. Give the queen hopes.
Hip. No more-my soul disdains it.
No; should I try, my haughty soul would swell,
Sharpen each word, and threaten in my eyes.
Oh, should I stoop to cringe, to lie, forswear?
Deserve the ruin which I strive to shun?
Isın. Oh, I can't bear this cold contempt of death!
This rigid virtue, that prefers your glory
To liberty or life. O crue! man !
By these sad sighs, by these poor streaming eyes, “ By that dear love that makes us now unhappy, “ By the near danger of that precious life, « Heav'n knows I value much above my own. “ What! not yet mov'd ?" are you resolv'd on death? Then, ere 'tis night, I swear by all the pow'rs, This steel shall end my fears and life together.
“ Hip. You sha'n't be trusted with a life so precious." • No; to the court I'll publish your design: « Ev’n bloody Lycon will prevent your “ Lycon shall wrench the dagger from your bosom; “ And raving Phædra will preserve Ismena.
“ Ism. Phædra! come on, I'll lead you on to Phædra:
I'll tell her all the secrets of our love;
“ Give to her rage her close destructive rival:
“ Her riyal sure will fall; her love may save you.
« Come, see me labour in the pangs of death,
“ My agonizing limbs, my dying eyes,
Dying, yet fix'd in death on my Hippolitus."
Hip. “ What's your design ?" ye pow'rs ! what
means my love?
Ism. She means to lead you in the road of fate;
She means to die with one she can't preserve.
Yet when you see me pale upon the earth,
This once-lov'd form grown horrible in death,
Sure your relenting soul would wish you'd save me.
Hip. Oh! I'll do áll, do any thing to save you ; Give upiny fame, and all my darling honour :
I'll run, I'll fly; what you'll command I'll say.” 1 yield, Ismena. What would
have me do?
Ism. Say what occasion, chance, or Heav'n inspires;
Say that you love her, that you lov'd her long;
Say that you'll wed her, say that you'll comply;
Say, to preserve your life, say any thing.
Bless him, ye pow'rs! and if it be a crime, [Exit Hip.
Oh! if the pious fraud oifend your justice,
Aim all your vengeance on Ismiena's head;
Punish Ismena, but forgive Hippolitus.
" He's gone, and now my brave resolves are stagger'd,
“Now I repent, like some despairing wretch
“That boldly plunges in the frightful deep,
“ That pants, and struggles with the whirling waves,
“ And catches ev'ry slender reed to save him."
Lady. But should he do what your commands en:
Say, should he wed her ?
Ism. Should he wed the queen ?
Oh! I'd remember that 'twas my request,
And die well pleas’d I made the hero happy.
Lady. Die! does Ismena then resolve to die?
Ism. Can I then live? çan I, who lov'd so well,
To part with all my bliss to save iny lover?
Oh! can I drag a wretched life without him,
And see another revel in his arms ?
Oh, 'tis in death alone I can have comfort!
Lyc. What a reverse is this! perfidious boy,
Is this thy třuth ? is this thy boasted honous ?
Then all are rogues alike: I never thought
But one man honest, and that one deceives me. [Aside.
Ism. Now, my lord, is the queen's rage abated?
How is the prince dispos’d?
All's chang'd to love and harmony, my fair.
“ 'Tis all agreed, and now the prince is safe
“ From the sure vengeance of despairing love ;"
Now Plædra's rage is chang’d to soft endearments:
She doats, she dies; and few, but tedious days,
With endless joys will crown the happy pair.
Ism. Does he then wed the queen ?
Lyc. At least I think so.
I, when the prince approach’d, not far retird,
Pale with my doubts: he spoke; th' attentive queen
Dwelt on his accents, and her gloomy eyes
Sparkled with gentler fires; he blushing, bow'd,
She, trembling, lost in love, with soft confusion
Receiv'd his passion, and return’d her own.
Then smiling turn'd to me, and bad me order
The pompous rites of her ensuing nuptials,
Which I must now pursue. Farewell, Ismena. (Exit.
Ism. Then I'll retire, and not disturb their joys.
Lady. Stay and learn more.
Ism. Ah! wherefore should I stay?
What! shall I stay to rave, t'upbraid, to hold him?
To snatch the struggling charmer fronı her arms ?
For could you think that open gen'rous youth
Could with feign'd love deceive a jealous woman?