Act One (Excerpt)
Scene 1 Hippolytus, Theramenes
I leave, Theramenes: my course is set.
No more in pleasant Troezen will I let
myself be agitated by unease.
I start to blush at idleness that sees
my father's six month's leaving us has led
to unknown destinies for that dear head,
which places yet unknown to me may hide.
Then, Prince, where look for him? I've scoured each side
the oceans bounding Corinth for some word
10. of Theseus, what was rumoured, who had heard.
My search to calm your natural fears has led
to shores where Acheron fades into the dead.
I've called at Elis and from Taenarus
surveyed the waters swallowing Icarus.
What makes you think that through some happy place
the steps of our dear hero left their trace?
Perhaps the king, your father, is not prone
to have the secrets of his absence known
and while we tremble for his life he stays
20. in blessed tranquillity, in hiding plays
with some new love who cannot yet suspect. . .
Now, good Theramenes, show more respect.
Our king renounced such errors with his youth,
and that once dangerous obstacle to truth,
his fateful, wandering heart, is as the throne,
bestowed on Phaedra, and on her alone.
As I too, leaving what I cannot face,
return my duty to its rightful place.
Since when, my lord, would you avert your gaze
30. from childhood's peaceful haunts of happy days?
Which you prefer, I've seen, indeed have sought
above the stir and pomp of Athens' court.
What peril - worse, affliction - could you fear?
Those happy days are gone. All changes here
since gods have sent to us across the sea
the child of Minos and of Pasiphaë.
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