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Hippolytus

Hippolytus
Father, the anger and vehemence of your heart is dreadful. Yet though the case you argue provides such fine words, [985] it is not fine in fact if one should examine it closely. I am not skilful to make a speech to a crowd but have more ability to address my age-mates and the few. (This too is right and proper, for those who are of no account among the wise are often more inspired speakers before the multitude.) [990] Yet since disaster has come upon me, I must loosen my tongue. I shall begin to speak from the point where you first attacked me expecting you would destroy me with not a word to say in reply. You see the light of the son, you see the earth. Upon this sun-lit earth there is no man [995] —though you deny it—more chaste than I. I know how to reverence the gods and how to make friends who do not try to commit wrong, friends who scruple to give evil orders and to render base services to those about them. [1000] I am no mocker of my companions, father, but the same man to friends both absent and present. One thing has not touched me, that wherein you think you have convicted me: to this very moment my body is pure of the bed of love. I do not know this act save by report [1005] or seeing it in painting. I am not eager to look at it either, since I have a virgin soul.

But suppose that my chastity does not persuade you of my innocence. I waive the point. You ought to show how I was corrupted. Did her body surpass all other women's [1010] in beauty? Or did I hope that by taking an heiress to bed I would succeed to your house? [I was foolish then, nay completely out of my mind. But will you say that to be king is a tempting pleasure even to the virtuous? Not so at all, since kingly power has corrupted [1015] the minds of all those who love it.] I for my part would wish to be first at the Greek games but in the city to be second and to enjoy continuous good fortune with my noble friends. For not only is there scope for action, but also the absence of danger [1020] yields a greater pleasure than being king.

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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • William Watson Goodwin, Syntax of the Moods and Tenses of the Greek Verb, Chapter IV
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