take me in, an exile on so grave, a charge?
THESEUS Seek one who loves to entertain as guests and partners in
his crimes corrupters of men's wives.
HIPPOLYTUS Ah me! this wounds my heart and brings me nigh to tears
to think that I should appear so vile, and thou believe me so.
THESEUS Thy tears and forethought had been more in season when thou
didst presume to outrage thy father's wife.
HIPPOLYTUS O house, I would thou couldst speak for me and witness
if I am so vile!
THESEUS Dost fly to speechless witnesses? This deed, though it speaketh
not, proves thy guilt clearly.
HIPPOLYTUS Alas! Would I could stand and face myself, so should I
weep to see the sorrows I endure.
THESEUS Ay, 'tis thy character to honour thyself far more than reverence
thy parents, as thou shouldst.
HIPPOLYTUS Unhappy mother! son of sorrow! Heaven keep all friends
of mine from bastard birth!
THESEUS Ho! servants, drag him hence! You heard my proclamation long
ago condemning him to exile.
HIPPOLYTUS Whoso of them doth lay a hand on me shall rue it; thyself
expel me, if thy spirit move thee, from the land.
THESEUS I will, unless my word thou straight obey; no pity for thy
exile steals into my heart. (THESEUS goes in. The central doors of
the palace are closed.)
HIPPOLYTUS The sentence then, it seems, is passed. Ah, misery! How
well I know the truth herein, but know no way to tell it! O daughter
of Latona, dearest to me of all deities, partner, comrade in the chase,
far from glorious Athens must I fly. Farewell, city and land of Erechtheus;
farewell, Troezen, most joyous home wherein to pass the spring of
life; 'tis my last sight of thee, farewell! Come, my comrades in this
land, young like me, greet me kindly and escort me forth, for never
will ye behold a purer soul, for all my father's doubts. (HIPPOLYTUS
departs. Many follow him.)
CHORUS (singing, strophe 1)
In very deed the thoughts I have about the gods, whenso they come
into my mind, do much to soothe its grief, but though I cherish secret
hopes of some great guiding will, yet am I at fault when survey the
fate and doings of the sons of men; change succeeds to change, and
man's life veers and shifts in endless restlessness.
Fortune grant me this, I pray, at heaven's hand,-a happy lot in life
and a soul from sorrow free; opinions let me hold not too precise
nor yet too hollow; but, lightly changing my habits to each morrow
as it comes, may I thus attain a life of bliss!
For now no more is my mind free from doubts, unlooked-for sights
greet my vision; for lo! I see the morning star of Athens, eye of
Hellas, driven by his father's fury to another land. Mourn, ye sands
of my native shores, ye oak-groves on the hills, where with his fleet
hounds he would hunt the quarry to the death, attending on Dictynna,
No more will he mount his car drawn by Venetian steeds, filling the
course round Limna with the prancing of his trained horses. Nevermore
in his father's house shall he wake the Muse that never slept beneath
his lute-strings; no hand will crown the spots where rests the maiden
Latona 'mid the boskage deep; nor evermore shall our virgins vie to
win thy love, now thou art banished.
While I with tears at thy unhappy fate shall endure a lot all undeserved.
Ah! hapless mother, in vain didst thou bring forth, it seems. I am
angered with the gods; out upon them! O ye linked Graces, why are
ye sending from his native land this poor youth, guiltless sufferer,
far from his home?