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Jean Racine (1639–1699). Phædra.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Act I

Scene IV



Fain would I hide from you tidings so sad,

But ’tis my duty, Madam, to reveal them.

The hand of death has seized your peerless husband,

And you are last to hear of this disaster.


What say you, Panope?


The queen, deceived

By a vain trust in Heav’n, begs safe return

For Theseus, while Hippolytus his son

Learns of his death from vessels that are now

In port.


Ye gods!


Divided counsels sway

The choice of Athens; some would have the prince,

Your child, for master; others, disregarding

The laws, dare to support the stranger’s son.

’Tis even said that a presumptuous faction

Would crown Aricia and the house of Pallas.

I deem’d it right to warn you of this danger.

Hippolytus already is prepared

To start, and should he show himself at Athens,

’Tis to be fear’d the fickle crowd will all

Follow his lead.


Enough. The queen, who hears you,

By no means will neglect this timely warning.