« AnteriorContinuar »
Hippolitus, his son ; in love with} Mr. Booth.
PHÆDRA AND HIPPOLITUS, Why did she give her person and her throne A TRAGEDY.
To one she loath'd ?
Perhaps she thought it just
That he should wear the crown his valour sav'd. MEN. Theseus, king of Crete Mr. Betterton.
Could she not glut his hopes with wealth and
honour, Lycon, minister of state,
Mr. Keen. Reward his valour, yet reject his love? Cratander, captain of the guards Mr. Corey. Why, when a happy mother, queen, and widows
Why did she wed old Theseus? While his son, WOMEN.
The brave Hippolitus, with equal youth, Phædra, Theseus's queen, in love
Mrs. Barry. And equal beauty, might have fill'd her arms with Hippolitus Ismeua, a captive princess, in love
Hippolitus (in distant Scythia born,
The warlike Amazon, Camilla's son), (See the Prologue and Epilogue in the Poems of Till our queen’s marriage, was unknown to Crete; Addison and Prior.]
And sure the queen could wish him still unknown
And shrinks and trembles at his very name.
Well may she hatethe prince she needs must fear;
He may dispute the crown with Phædra's son. LYCON.
He's brave, he's fiery, youthful, and belov’d; 'T'S strange, Cratander, that the royal Phædra His courage charms the men, his form the women; Should still continue resolute in grief,
His very sports are war.
O! he's all hero, scorns th’inglorious ease Should fly inviting joys, and court destruction. Of lazy Crete, delights to shine in arms, CRATANDER.
To wield the sword, and lanch the pointed spear: Is there not cause, when lately join'd in marriage, Neighs on the hills, and dares the angry lion:
To tame the generous horse, that nobly wild To have the king her husband call'd to war? Then for three tedious moons to mourn his absence, To make their stubborn necks the rein obey,
To join the struroline coursers to his chariot, Nor know his fate?
To turn, to stop, or stretch along the plain.
Now the queen's sick, there's danger in his couThe king may cause her sorrow, But not by absence. Oft I've seen him hang Be ready with your guards.--I fcar Hippolitus. With greedy eyes, and languish o'er her beauties;
[Eri Crat. She from his wide, deceiv'd, desiring arms
Fear him! for what? poor silly virtuous wretch, Flew tasteless, loathing; whilst dejected Theseus, Affecting glory, and contemning power: With mournful loving eyes pursu'd her flight,
Warm without pride, without ambition brave; And dropt a silent tear.
A senseless hero, fit to be a tool
To those whose godlike souls are turn'd for empire. CRATANDER.
An open honest fool, that loves and hates, Ha ! this is hatred, And yet more fool to own it. He hates Aatterers, This is aversion, horrour, detestation :
He hates me too; weak boy, to make a foe Why did the queen, who might have cull'd mankind, where he might have a slave. I hate bim too,
But cringe, and flatter, fawn, adore, yet hate him. Why flow these wanton curls in artful'rings !
To heap new sorrows on my tortur'd soul :
All, all conspire to make your queen unhappy!
You bid them lead you from yon bideous darkness
Oh! my Lycon !
Oh! how I long to lay my weary head I'm of a softer mould, poor Phædra's sorrows
On tender, flowery beds, and springing grass, Pierce through my yielding heart, and wound my
To stretch my limbs beneath the spreading shades soul.
Of venerable oaks, to slake my thirst
With the cool nectar of refreshing springs.
Let's to the woods, and lawns, and limpid streams! Thrice has the night brought ease to man, to beast, Since wretched Phædra clos'd her streaming eyes :
PHEDRA. She flies all rest, all necessary food,
Come, let's away, and thou, most bright Diana, Resolv'd to die, uor capable to live.
Goddess of woods, immortal, chaste Diana !
Goddess presiding o'er the rapid race,
Place me, O place me in the dusty ring
See how they mount and shake the flowing reins ! Are incoherent, wild; her words disjointed : See from the goal the fiery coursers bound, Sometimes she raves for music, light, and air; Now they strain panting up the steepy bill, Nor air, nor light, nor music, calm her pains;
Now sweep along its top, now neigh along the vale! Then with extatic strength she springs aloft,
How the car rattles! how its kindling wheels And moves and bounds with vigour not her own. Smoke in the whirl! The circling sand ascends,
And in the noble dust the chariot's lost!
Ah, my Lycon ! ah, what said I ! ISMENA,
Where was I hurry'd by my roving fancy !
My languid eyes are wet with sudden tears,
Blush then, but blush for your destructive silence, She stares, she foams, she raves; the awful secrets
That tears your soul, and weighs you down to death; Burst from her trembling lips, and ease the tor
Oh! should you die (ye powers forbid her death!) tur'd maid.
Who then would shield from wrongs your helpless But Phædra comes, ye gods! how pale, how weak! orphan!
O! he might wander, Phædra's son might wander, Enter Phædra and Attendants.
A naked suppliant through the world for aid !
Then he may cry, invoke his mother's name: PHEDRA.
He may be doom'd to chains, to shame, to death, Stay, virgins, stay, I'll rest my weary steps ; While proud Hippolitus shall mount his throne. My strength forsakes me, and my dazzled eyes Ake with the tlashing light, my loosen'd knees
Ha! Phædra, are you touch'd at this
PHÆDRA, Why blaze these jewels round my wretched head! Unhappy wretch! what name was that you Why all this labour'd elegance of dress!
And does his name provoke your just resent
Do not upbraid me, Lycon' ments!
I love !-Alas! I shudder at the name, Then let it raise your fear, as well as rage : My blood runs backward, and my faultering tongue Think how you wrong'd him, to his father wrong'd Sticks at the sound !--| love!_0 righteous him!
Heaven! Think how you drove him hence,a wandering exile Why was I born with such a sense of virtue, To distant climes! then think what certain ven- So great abhorrence of the smallest crime, geance
And yet a slave to such impetuous guilt' His rage may wreak on your unhappy orphan! Rain on me, gods, your plagues, your sharpest For his sake then renew your drooping spirits,
tortures, Feed, with new oil, the wasting lamp of life, A Mict my soul with any thing but guiltThat winks and trembles, now, just now expiring: And yet that guilt is mine!—I'll think no more. Make haste, preserve your life!
I'll to the woods among the happier brutes :
Come, let's away! hark the shrill horn resounds, PHÆDRA.
The jolly huntsmen's cries rend the wide Heavens!
Come, v'er the hills pursue the bounding stag, Alas! too long,
Come, chase the lion and the foaming boar, Too long hare I preserv'd that guilty life.
Come, rouse up all the monsters of the wood,
For there, ev'n there, Hippolitus will guard me! LYCON. Guilty! what guilt! has blood, has horrid murder,
ICON. Imbrued your hands!
I wrong'd him, shunn'd him, banish'd him from His love indeed! for that unhappy hour,
Crete, In which the priests joind Theseus' hand to mine, I sent him, drove him, from my longing sight : Show'd the young Scythian to my dazzled eyes.
In vain I drove him, for his tyrant form Gods! how i shook! what boiling heat intam'd
Reign'd in my heart, and dwelt before my eyes. My panting breast! how from the touch of Theseus if to the gods I pray'd, the very vows My slack hand dropt, and all the idle pomp,
I made to Hear'n, were, by my erring tongue, Priests, altars, victims, swam before my sight!
Spoke to Hippolitus. If I try'd to sleep, The god of love, ev'n the whole god, possest me!
Straight to my drowsy eyes my restless fancy
Brought back his fatal form, and curst my slumber. LYCON.
First let me try to melt him into love.
Yes, at first!
No; did his hapless passion equal mine,
Consult my fame, and sacrifice my life.
Yes, I would die, Heaven knows, this very moment, Shot glaring fire, and his stiff-pointed bristles Rose high upon his back; at me he made,
Rather than wrong my lord, my husband Theseus. Whetting his tusks, and churning hideous foam : Then, then Hippolitus flew in to aid me; Collecting all himseif, and rising to the blow,
Perhaps that lord, that husband, is no more; He launch'd the whistling spear; the well-aim'd He went from Crete in haste, his army thin, javelin
To meet the numerous troops of fierce Molossians; Piere'i his tough hide, and quiver'd in his heart;
Yet though he lives, while ebbing life decays,
Think on your son.
Alas! that shocks me, proach'd me! When hot and panting from the savage conquest, A hasty farewell, a last dying kiss!
O let me see my young one, let me snatch Dreadful as Mars, and as his Venus lovely,
Yet stay, his sight will melt my just resolves; His kindling cheeks with purple beauties glow'd,
But oh! I beg with my last sallying breath,
Cherish my babe.
Madam, I grieve to tell you
Dead! oh ye powers !
O fortunate event'
Leave to his happy son the crown of Jove, And shall I hoard upguilt, and treasure vengeance? | And be ador'd like him. [Aside.] Mourn, mourn,
Since he is dead, whose valour sav'd your isle, No; labour, strive, subdue that guilt and live. Whose prudent care with flowing plenty crown'd
His peaceful subjects; as your towering Ida
With spreading oaks,and with descending streams, Did I not labour, strive, all-seeing powers! Shades and enriches all the plains below. Did I not weep and pray, implore your aid ? Say, how he dy'd. Burnt clouds of incense on your loaded altars ? Oh! I call'd Heav'n and Earth to my assistance, All the ambitious thirst of fame and empire,
He dy'd as Theseus ought, And all the honest pride of conscious virtue:
In battle dy'd; Philotas, now a prisoner, I struggled, rav'd; the new-born passion reign'd
That, rushing on, fought next bis royal person, Almighty in his birth.
That saw his thundering arm beat squadrons down,
These eyes beheld his well-known steed, beheld
A proud barbarian glittering in his arms,
Encumber'd with the spoil.
Is he then dead!
Is my much-injur'd lord, my Theseus, dead!
And don't I shed one tear upon his urn!
Enter Phædra, Lycon, and Ismena.
Enter Messen er.
MADAM, the Prince Hippolitus attends.
PHEDRA. He's dead, the bar of all your bliss is deail;
Admit him: Where, where Phædra's now thy Live then, my queen, forget the wrinkled Theseus,
soul? And take the youthful hero to your arins.
What- -Shall I speak? And shall my guilty
Let this insulting victor know his power? I dare not now admit of such a thought,
Or shall I still confine within my breast And bless'd be Heaven, that steel'd my stubborn My restless passions and devouring flames? heart,
But see he comes, the lovely tyrant comes. -
I cannot bear the transport of his presence,
(Swoons. LYCON. Then may his happier son be bleșs'd with both;
What have I done to raise such strange abhorPHEDRA.
rence! Bat should the youth refuse my proffer'd love!
What have I dune to shake her shrinking nature O should he throw me from his loathing arms!
With my approach, and kill her with my sight. I fear the trial; for I know Hippolitus
Alas! another grief devours her soul,
And only your assistance can relieve her.
Ha! make it known, that I may fy and oid her, And to the awful gods I'll leave the rest.
But promise first, my lord, to keep it secret. Madam, your signet, that your slave may order
HIPPOLITUS. What's most convenient for your royal service.
Promise! I swear, on this good sword I swear, PHÆDRA.
This sword, which first gaind youthful Theseus
honour; Take it, and with it take the fate of Phædra : Which oft has punish'd perjury and falsehood; And thou, O Venus, aid a suppliant queen, By thundering Jove, by Grecian Hercules, That owns thy triumphs, and adores thy power: By the majestic form of godlike heroes, O spare thy captives, and subdue thy foes. That shine around, and consecrate the steel; On this cold Scythian let thy power be known, No racks,no shame, shall ever force it from me. And in a lover's cause assert thy own;. Then Crete, as Paphos, shall allore thy shrine;
PHEDRA This nurse of Jove with grateful fires shall shine,
Yes, 'tis that wretch who begs you to dismiss
This hated object from your eyes for ever;
Begs leave to march against the foes of Theseus, His haughty soul refuses it with scorn.
And to reyenge or share his father's fate.
you, Then, what her reason hates, her rage may act. Drove you from court, from Crete, and from your When barks glide slowly through the lazy main, father; The balled pilots turn the helms in vain; The court, all Crete, deplord their suffering hero, When driven by winds, they cut the foamy way, And I (the sad occasion) most of all. The rudders govern and the ships obey.
Yet could you know relenting Phælra's soul, [Erit. Oh could you think with what reluctant grief