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Raise up my body, hold my head erect! My limbs are unstrung. [200] Take my fair arms, servants! It is grievous to have this head-dress on my head. Take it off, spread my tresses on my shoulders!

Courage, my child! Do not shift your body so roughly. [205] You will bear up under your ailment more easily with calmness and nobility of mind. Mortals must endure trouble.

Oh, oh! How I long to draw a drink of pure water from a dewy spring [210] and to take my rest lying under the poplar trees and in the uncut meadow!

My child, what are these words of yours? Won't you stop saying such things before the crowd, hurling wild words that are mounted on madness?

[215] Take me to the mountain: I mean to go to the wood, to the pine-wood, where hounds that kill wild beasts tread, running close after the dappled deer! By the gods, how I want to shout to the hounds [220] and to let fly past my golden hair a javelin of Thessaly, to hold in my hand the sharp-pointed weapon!

Why, my child, these fevered thoughts? Why concern yourself with hunting? [225] Why do you long for water from a flowing spring? For hard by the city wall is a dewy slope from which you might have a drink.

Mistress of the Salt Lake, Artemis, mistress of the coursing-ground for horses, [230] oh that I might find myself on your ground taming Enetic horses!

What whirling words are these you utter yet again in your madness? One time you are off going to the mountains to the hunt you long for, another time on the sands [235] untouched by the waves you yearn for horses. All this calls for a skilful diviner to say which of the gods is wrenching your head aside, my child, and striking your wits awry.1

1 The audience, thanks to the prologue, know the answer to the Nurse's query here: Aphrodite is attempting to bring Phaedra's secret to light.

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Salt Lake (Utah, United States) (1)

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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • Sir Richard C. Jebb, Commentary on Sophocles: Oedipus at Colonus, 1624
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