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Hippolytus
O earth, my mother, o bright and open sunlight, what unspeakable words I have heard!

Nurse
Silence, my son, before your shout is heard.

Hippolytus
I have heard dread things: I cannot now be silent.

Nurse
She kneels as a suppliant before Hippolytus and tries to grasp his hand.
[605] Do so, I beg you by your fair right hand!

Hippolytus
Keep your hands from me! Do not touch my cloak!

Nurse
I beg you by your knees, do not destroy me!

Hippolytus
What? Didn't you say your tale was not so bad?

Nurse
Its words, my son, are not for the ears of all!

Hippolytus
[610] Fine tales make finer telling to many hearers!

Nurse
My child, I beg you, do not break your oath!

Hippolytus
It was my tongue that swore it, not my mind.

Nurse
Son, what will you do? Destroy those near to you?

Hippolytus
spitting
Pah! No criminal shall be near and dear to me!

Nurse
[615] Forgive! To err is mankind's lot, my son!

Hippolytus

Hippolytus
O Zeus, why have you settled women in the light of the sun, women, this bane mankind find counterfeit?1 If you wished to propagate the human race, it was not from women that you should have given us this. [620] Rather, men should have put down in the temples either bronze or iron or a mass of gold and have bought offspring, each man for a price corresponding to his means, and then dwelt in houses free from the female sex. [625] [But as matters stand, when we are about to take unto ourselves a bane, we pay out the wealth of our homes.] The clear proof that woman is a great bane is this: her father, who begat her and raised her, adds a dowry to her and thus sends her off in order to be quit of a trouble. [630] But her husband, who has taken this creature of ruin into his house, takes pleasure in adding finery to the statue, lovely finery to a statue most worthless, and tricks her out with garments, wretch that he is, destroying by degrees the wealth of his house. [There is a fatal necessity. Either a man makes a good connection by marriage, [635] and his joy in his in-laws makes him preserve a marriage-relation that gives him pain, or he gets a good wife and bad in-laws and keeps in check his unhappiness with his blessing.]

1 According to Hes. Th. 570-612, women are a punishment sent by Zeus to afflict mortal men. They make him poor by their drone-like unproductivity. Men are faced with a choice: marry and face economic ruin or die childless and have no one to whom they may bequeath their property.

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