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Chorus Leader
Old woman, faithful nurse to the Queen, we see Phaedra's unhappy plight, yet it is unclear to us what is wrong with her. [270] We want to ask you and hear your answer.

Nurse
I have given up questioning her: she will not say.

Chorus Leader
Not even how the trouble first began?

Nurse
'Tis all one: on all these things she holds her tongue.

Chorus Leader
How weak she is! How wracked her body seems!

Nurse
[275] No wonder: she's been three days without food.

Chorus Leader
Is she deranged? Or does she mean to die?

Nurse
To die? Her fast, no doubt, will end her there.

Chorus Leader
It's very strange if this contents her husband.

Nurse
No, for she hides it and denies she's ill.

Chorus Leader
[280] Can he not guess by looking on her face?

Nurse
No, for as it happens he's abroad.

Chorus Leader
Aren't you then applying force, trying to find out her malady, what is causing her wits to wander?

Nurse
I have tried everything and made no progress. [285] Yet I shall not relax even now from my efforts so that you standing by may also bear witness on my behalf what kind of servant I have been to my masters in distress.

Come, dear child, let us both forget the words that are past: you be more gracious, [290] loosening your morose brow and the path your thoughts take, while I, where in the past I was not able to follow you sympathetically, shall let that be and take another and better tack. If your malady is one of those that are unmentionable, here are women to help set it to rights. [295] If your misfortune may be spoken of to men, speak so that the thing may be revealed to doctors. Phaedra is silent. Well, why are you silent? You ought not to be mute, child, but should either refute me if I have said something amiss or comply with the good advice I have given. She is silent again. [300] Say something! Look at me! Oh unlucky me, women, it is in vain that I endure this toil, and I am just as far off as before. Formerly words failed to soften her, and now too she is not won over.

But know well—and in the face of this be more stubborn [305] than the sea if you like—know that if you die you have betrayed your sons, who shall have no share in their father's house, none: I tell you in the name of that horse-riding queen of the Amazons who bore a master to rule over your sons, a bastard with thoughts of legitimacy, you know him well, [310] Hippolytus. . .

Phaedra
Oh pain!

Nurse
Does this then touch you close?

Phaedra
You have killed me, Nurse, and I beg you by the gods to say nothing of this man again!

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