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Enter by Eisodos A a messenger.

Chorus Leader
But look, I see a servant of Hippolytus, with gloomy face, rushing toward the house.

Messenger
Women, where must I go to find Theseus, this land's king? If you know, [1155] tell me. Is he in the palace?Enter Theseus from the palace.

Chorus Leader
Here he comes out of the house.

Messenger
I bring you news that deserves your concern and that of the citizens who dwell in Athens and in the land of Trozen.

Theseus
[1160] What is it? Has some fresh disaster seized the two neighboring cities?

Messenger
Hippolytus is dead, as good as dead; though he still sees the light of day, yet it will not take much to incline the balance the other way.

Theseus
Who killed him? Did someone have a quarrel with him [1165] whose wife he ravished as he did his father's?

Messenger
His own chariot destroyed him, and the curses of your mouth which you uttered against your son to your father, lord of the sea.

Theseus
stretching out his arms, palm upwards, in prayer
Merciful gods! So you were after all truly my father, Poseidon, [1170] since you have heard my prayer. How did he perish? Tell me, how did Zeus's cudgel strike him for dishonoring me?

Messenger

Messenger
We were scraping and combing the horses' coats near the wave-beaten shore and [1175] weeping at our task. For a messenger had come saying that Hippolytus would no longer dwell in this land, being exiled by you. And he came, singing the same tearful burden, to join us at the shore, and a countless throng [1180] of friends and age-mates at his heels came with him. And when some time had passed, he ceased his lamenting and said, ‘Why am I distraught at this? I must obey my father's words. Servants, get the yoke-horses ready for my chariot, for this city is no longer mine.’

[1185] Thereupon every man worked in haste, and more quickly than one could describe it we set the horses in their gear right beside the master. He seized the reins from the chariot-rail and fitted his feet right into the footstalls. [1190] First he spread his hands palms up in prayer to the gods and said, ‘O Zeus, may I no longer live if I am guilty! But whether I am dead or look on the light may my father come to know that he dishonors me!’

So saying he took the whip into his hand and applied it [1195] to his horses all together. And we servants, on the ground beside the chariot, near the bridle, accompanied our master along the road that makes straight for Argos and Epidaurus.

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