|Phaedra Monologue by Jean Racine|
- PHAEDRA: Ah! cruel Prince, too well
- You understood me. I have said enough
- To save you from mistake. I love. But think not
- That at the moment when I love you most
- I do not feel my guilt; no weak compliance
- Has fed the poison that infects my brain.
- The ill-starr'd object of celestial vengeance,
- I am not so detestable to you
- As to myself. The gods will bear me witness,
- Who have within my veins kindled this fire,
- The gods, who take a barbarous delight
- In leading a poor mortal's heart astray.
- Do you yourself recall to mind the past:
- 'Twas not enough for me to fly, I chased you
- Out of the country, wishing to appear
- Inhuman, odious; to resist you better,
- I sought to make you hate me. All in vain!
- Hating me more I loved you none the less:
- New charms were lent to you by your misfortunes.
- I have been drown'd in tears, and scorch'd by fire;
- Your own eyes might convince you of the truth,
- If for one moment you could look at me.
- What is 't I say? Think you this vile confession
- That I have made is what I meant to utter?
- Not daring to betray a son for whom
- I trembled, 'twas to beg you not to hate him
- I came. Weak purpose of a heart too full
- Of love for you to speak of aught besides!
- Take your revenge, punish my odious passion;
- Prove yourself worthy of your valiant sire,
- And rid the world of an offensive monster!
- Does Theseus' widow dare to love his son?
- The frightful monster! Let her not escape you!
- Here is my heart. This is the place to strike.
- Already prompt to expiate its guilt,
- I feel it leap impatiently to meet
- Your arm. Strike home. Or, if it would disgrace you
- To steep your hand in such polluted blood,
- If that were punishment too mild to slake
- Your hatred, lend me then your sword, if not
- Your arm.
Credits: Reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Jean Racine. Trans. Robert Bruce Boswell. London: George Bell and Sons, 1911.