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Chorus
[555] O holy fortress of Thebes, o mouth where Dirce's stream pours forth, you could second my account of how Aphrodite comes. For she gave as bride to the blazing thunder [560] the mother of twice-born Bacchus1 and with bloody fate brought her to bed. She is terrible, her breath blows over all and she hovers flittingly like a bee.A shout within is heard. Phaedra rises from her couch and stands with her ear to the palace door.

1 Semele, daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes, was loved by Zeus, who visited her in his full Olympian glory and thus caused her death. The child of this union was Dionysus, whom Zeus rescued from his dead mother's womb and sewed up in his own thigh, so that he was 'twice-born'.

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Thebes (Greece) (2)

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