The Tragedies of Euripides Part 40

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CHOR. But does he not guess it, looking into her face?

NUR. [How should he?] for he is out of this country.

CHOR. But do you not urge it as a matter of necessity, when you endeavor to ascertain her disease and the wandering of her senses?

NUR. I have tried every thing, and have made no further advances. I will not however abate even now from my zeal, so that you being present may bear witness with me, how I behave to my mistress when in calamity--Come, dear child, let us both forget our former conversations; and be both thou more mild, having smoothed that contracted brow, and altered the bent of your design; and I giving up that wherein I did not do right to follow thee, will have recourse to other better words. And if indeed you are ill with any of those maladies that are not to be mentioned, these women here can allay the disease: but if it may be related to men, tell it, that the thing may be mentioned to physicians.--Well! why art thou silent? It doth not behoove thee to be silent, my child, but either shouldst thou convict me, if aught I say amiss, or yield to words well spoken.--Say something--look hither--O wretch that I am! Ladies, in vain do we undergo these toils, while we are as far off from our purpose as before: for neither then was she softened by our words, nor now does she give heed to us. Still however know (now then be more obstinate than the sea) that, if thou shalt die, thou wilt betray thy children, who will have no share in their paternal mansion. I swear by the warlike queen the Amazon, who brought forth a lord over thy children, base-born yet of n.o.ble sentiments, thou knowest him well, Hippolytus.

PHae. Ah me!

NUR. This touches thee.

PHae. You have destroyed me, nurse, and by the G.o.ds I entreat thee henceforth to be silent with respect to this man.

NUR. Do you see? you judge well indeed, but judging well you are not willing both to a.s.sist your children and to save your own life.

PHae. I love my children; but I am wintering in the storm of another misfortune.

NUR. You have your hands, my child, pure from blood.

PHae. My hands are pure, but my mind has some pollution.

NUR. What! from some calamity brought on you by any of your enemies?

PHae. A friend destroys me against my will, himself unwilling.

NUR. Has Theseus sinned any sin against thee?

PHae. Would that I never be discovered to have injured him.

NUR. What then this dreadful thing that impels thee to die?

PHae. Suffer me to err, for against thee I err not.

NUR. Not willingly [dost thou do so,] but 'tis through thee that I shall perish.[10]

PHae. What are you doing? you oppress me, hanging on me with your hand.

NUR. And never will I let go these knees.

PHae. Ills to thyself wilt thou hear, O wretched woman, if thou shalt hear these ills.

NUR. [Still will I cling:] for what greater evil can befall me than to lose thee?

PHae. You will be undone.[11] The thing however brings honor to me.

NUR. And dost thou then hide what is useful, when I beseech thee?

PHae. _Yes_, for from base things we devise things n.o.ble.

NUR. Wilt not thou, then, appear more n.o.ble by telling it?

PHae. Depart, by the G.o.ds, and let go my hand!

NUR. No in sooth, since thou givest me not the boon that were right.

PHae. I will give it; for I have respect unto the reverence of thy hand.

NUR. Now will I be silent: for hence is it yours to speak.

PHae. O wretched mother, what a love didst thou love!

NUR. That which she had for the bull, my child, or what is this thou meanest?

PHae. Thou, too, O wretched sister, wife of Bacchus!

NUR. Child, what ails thee? thou speakest ill against thy relations.

PHae. And I the third, how unhappily I peris.h.!.+

NUR. I am struck dumb with amazement. Whither will thy speech tend?

PHae. _To that point_, whence we have not now lately become unfortunate.

NUR. I know not a whit further of the things I wish to hear.

PHae. Alas! would thou couldst speak the things which I must speak.

NUR. I am no prophetess so as to know clearly things hidden.

PHae. What is that thing, which they do call men's loving![12]

NUR. The same, my child, a most delightful thing, and painful withal.

PHae. One of the two feelings I must perceive.

NUR. What say'st? Thou lovest, my child? What man!

PHae. Him whoever he is,[13] that is born of the Amazon.

NUR. Hippolytus dost thou say?

PHae. From thyself, not me, you hear--this name.

NUR. Ah me! what wilt thou go on to say? my child, how hast thou destroyed me! Ladies, this is not to be borne; I will not endure to live, hateful is the day, hateful the light I behold. I will hurl myself down, I will rid me of this body: I will remove from life to death--farewell--I no longer am.

For the chaste are in love with what is evil, not willingly indeed, yet still [they love.] Venus then is no deity, but if there be aught mightier than deity, that is she, who hath destroyed both this my mistress, and me, and the whole house.

CHOR. Thou didst hear, O thou didst hear the queen lamenting her wretched sufferings that should not be heard. Dear lady, may I perish before I come to thy state of mind! Alas me! alas! alas! O hapless for these pangs! O the woes that attend on mortals! Thou art undone, thou hast disclosed thy evils to the light. What time is this that has eternally[14] awaited thee? Some new misfortune will happen to the house. And no longer is it obscure where the fortune of Venus sets, O wretched Cretan daughter.

The Tragedies of Euripides Part 40

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The Tragedies of Euripides Part 40 summary

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