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Thes. Where lies the danger? wherefore should I
stay? Lyc. Your sudden presence would surprize her soul, Renew the galling image of her wrongs, " Revive her sorrow, indignation, shame;" And all your son would strike her from your eyes. Thes. My son ! But he's too good, too brave to wrong
her. Whence then that shocking change; that strong sur.
prize, That fright that seiz'd him at the name of Phædra ?
Lyc. Was he surpriz'd? that shew'd at least remorse? Thes. Reinorse! for what? by heav'n's, my troubled
thoughts Presage some dire attempts:—Say, what remorse? Lyc. I would not-yet
this you command; This Phædra orders; thrice her fault'ring tongue Bad me unfold the guilty scene to Theseus ; Thrice with loud cries recallid me on my way, And blam'd my speed, and chid my rash obedience; " Lest the unwelcome tale should wound your peace." At last, with looks serenely sad, she cried: Go tell it all ; but in such artful words, Such tender accents, and such melting sounds, As may appease his rage, and move his pity; As may incline him to forgive his son A grievous fault, but still a fault of love.
Thes. Of love! what strange suspicions rack my souli As you regard my peace, declare what love !
Lyc. Thus urg'd, I must declare. Yet, pitying
heav'n! Why must I speak? why must unwilling Lycon Accuse the prince of impious love to Phædra?
Thes. Love to his mother! To the wife of Theseus!
Lyc. Yes, at the moment first he view'd her eyes, Ev'n at the altar, when you join'd your hands, His easy heart receiv'd the guilty flame, And from that time he press'd her with his passion.
Thes. Then 'twas for this she banish'd him fromCrete; I thought it hatred all. O righteous hatred! Forgive me, heav'n; forgive me, injur'd Phædra, That I in secret have condemn'd thy justice. Oh! 'twas all just, and Theseus shall revenge, Ev'n on his son, revenge his Phædra's wrongs.
Lyc. What easy tools are these blunt honest heroes, Whio, with keen hunger, gorge the naked hook, Prevent the bait the statesman's art prepares, And post to ruin-"Go, believing fool, “ To act thy far-fam'd justice on thy' son, “ Next on thyself, and both make way
[ Aside. Thes. Ha! am I sure she's wrong'd ? perhaps 'tis
malice. Slave, make it clear, make good your accusation, Or treble fury shall revenge my son.
Lyc. Am I then doubted? can Phædra, or your Lycon, Be thought to forge such execrable falsehoods? 66 Gods! when the queen unwillingly complains, “ Can you suspect her truth? O godlike Theseus !
* Is this the love you bear unhappy Phædra? • Is this her hop’d-for aid ? Go, wretched matron, 66 Sigh to the winds, and rend th' unpitying hvav'ns « With thy vain sorrows ; since relentless Theseus, " Thy hope, thy refuge, Theseus will not hear thee." Thes. « Not hear my Phædra! not revenge her
wrongs!” Speak, make thy proofs, and then his doom': as fix'd, As when Jove nods, and high Olympus shakes, And fate his voice obeys. Lyc. Yet stay; bear witness, heav'n!
( fetches a sreord. With what reluctance I produce this sword, This fatal proof against th’ unhappy prince, Lest it should work your justice to his ruin, And prove
he aim'd at force as well as incesto Thes. Gods ; 'tis.illusion all! “ Is this the sword
By which Procrustes, Scyrun, Pallas fell? • Is this the weapon which my darling son * Swore to employ in nought but acts of honour ? " Now, faithful youth; thou nobly liast fulfild " Thy gen'rous promise. Oh, most injur'd Phædia! " Why did I trust to his deceitful forin?
Why blame thy justice, or suspect thy truth?"
Lyc. Had you this morn beheld his ardent eyes,
" Retir'd at your approach; had you then seen her,
Thes, Oh, impious monster! oh, forgive me, Phædral
Lyc. For Phædra's sake forbear to talk of vengeance;
Thes. “Mercy! for what? oh! well has he rewarded “ Poor Phædra's mercy.--O most barb?rous traitor! “ To wrong such beauty, and insult such goodness." Mercy! what's that? a virtue coin'd by villains, “ Who praise the weakness which supports their
Lyc. Dull fool, I laugh at mercy more than thou dost;
[ Aside and Exit. HIPPOLITUS enters. Thes. Yet can it be? Is this th'incestuous villain? “ How great his presence, how erect his look, fr How ev'ry grace, how all his virtuous mother
Shines in his face, and charms me froin his eyes!
“ O Neptune! O great founder of our race !
Hip. May I presume to ask, what secret care Broods in your breast, and clouds your royal brow?
eyes those angry beams, And fright Hippolitus they usd to chear? Thes. Answer me first. When call’d to wait on
hasten from your To shun the queen your duty bids you please ? Hip. My lord, to please the queen I'm forc'd to shun
Thes. Say, what's the cause of her invet’rate hatred ?
attend her? Hip. When last attend her!-O unhappy queen! Your error's known ; yet I disdain to wrong you; “ Or to betray a fault myself have caus’d.” [ Aside. When last attend her ?
Thes. Answer me directly; Nor dare to trifle with your
Hip. My lord, this very morn I saw the queen.