Fiction > Harvard Classics > Jean Racine > Phædra
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Jean Racine (1639–1699).  Phædra.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act V
 
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,        5
Going, secure the safety of your life.
Defend your honour 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 Phædra’s calumnies?        10
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?        15
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        20
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;        25
Sooner or later punish’d for her crime,
Phædra 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,        30
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.        35
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,        40
Nor suffer Phædra, in a common ruin
Joining us both, to hunt us from the throne,
And aggrandize her son by robbing us.
Embrace this happy opportunity:
What fear restrains? You seem to hesitate.        45
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
        50
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        55
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
        60
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        65
The face of Hymen.
        At the gates of Trœzen,
’Mid ancient tombs where princes of my race
Lie buried, stands a temple ne’er approach’d
By perjurers, where mortals dare not make        70
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        75
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        80
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.        85
 

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