Fiction > Harvard Classics > Jean Racine > Phædra
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Jean Racine (1639–1699).  Phædra.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
Act V
 
Scene V
 
 
THESEUS, PANOPE

Panope

I know not what the Queen intends to do,
But from her agitation dread the worst.
Fatal despair is painted on her features;
Death’s pallor is already in her face.
Œnone, shamed and driven from her sight,        5
Has cast herself into the ocean depths.
None knows what prompted her to deed so rash;
And now the waves hide her from us for ever.
 
Theseus

What say you?
 
Panope

        Her sad fate seems to have added
        10
Fresh trouble to the Queen’s tempestuous soul.
Sometimes, to soothe her secret pain, she clasps
Her children close, and bathes them with her tears;
Then suddenly, the mother’s love forgotten,
She thrusts them from her with a look of horror.        15
She wanders to and fro with doubtful steps;
Her vacant eye no longer knows us. Thrice
She wrote, and thrice did she, changing her mind,
Destroy the letter ere ’twas well begun.
Vouchsafe to see her, Sire: vouchsafe to help her.        20
 
Theseus

Heav’ns! Is Œnone dead, and Phædra bent
On dying too? Oh, call me back my son!
Let him defend himself, and I am ready
To hear him. Be not hasty to bestow
Thy fatal bounty, Neptune; let my pray’rs        25
Rather remain ever unheard. Too soon
I lifted cruel hands, believing lips
That may have lied! Ah! What despair may follow!
 

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