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

Act IV

Scene V


Ah, he is gone! What tidings struck mine ears?

What fire, half smother’d, in my heart revives?

What fatal stroke falls like a thunderbolt?

Stung by remorse that would not let me rest,

I tore myself out of Œnone’s arms,

And flew to help Hippolytus with all

My soul and strength. Who knows if that repentance

Might not have moved me to accuse myself?

And, if my voice had not been choked with shame,

Perhaps I had confess’d the frightful truth.

Hippolytus can feel, but not for me!

Aricia has his heart, his plighted troth.

Ye gods, when, deaf to all my sighs and tears,

He arm’d his eye with scorn, his brow with threats,

I deem’d his heart, impregnable to love,

Was fortified ’gainst all my sex alike.

And yet another has prevail’d to tame

His pride, another has secured his favour.

Perhaps he has a heart easily melted;

I am the only one he cannot bear!

And shall I charge myself with his defence?