Instant Monologues
Racine Phaedra Instant Monologue

by Jean Baptiste Racine


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. Quick, give't.

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