well, thy human nature considered. O cease, my darling child, from evil thoughts, let wanton pride be gone, for this is naught else, this wish to rival gods in perfectness. Face thy love; ’tis heaven’s will thou shouldst. Sick thou art, yet turn thy sickness to some happy issue. For there are charms and spells to soothe the soul; surely some cure for thy disease will be found. Men, no doubt, might seek it long and late if our women’s minds no scheme devise.
Cho. Although she gives thee at thy present need the wiser counsel, Phædra, yet do I praise thee. Still my praise may sound more harsh and jar more cruelly on thy ear than her advice.
Phæ. ’Tis even this, too plausible a tongue, that overthrows good governments and homes of men. We should not speak to please the ear but point the path that leads to noble fame.
Nur. What means this solemn speech? No need of rounded phrases;  but at once must we sound the prince, telling him frankly how it is with thee. Had not thy life to such a crisis come, or wert thou with self-control endowed, ne’er would I to gratify thy passions have urged thee to this course; but now ’tis a struggle fierce to save thy life, and therefore less to blame.
Phæ. Accursed proposal! peace, woman! never utter those shameful words again!
Nur. Shameful, maybe, yet for thee better than honour’s code. Better this deed, if it shall save thy life, than that name thy pride will kill thee to retain.
Phæ. I conjure thee, go no further! for thy words are plausible but infamous; for though as yet love has not
- The punctuation here adopted from Nauck is a vast improvement on the old reading, which put the stop after τἀνδρός, and gave a most coarse sentiment even for so lax a moralist as Phaedra’s nurse to utter.
- Nauck brackets these two lines, and for προῆγον reads πῶς ἦγον;
- I follow Nauck in reading οὐ for εὖ. ὑπειργασμαι=‘have been subdued’—according to Paley and Liddell and Scott (passive). Mahaffy extracts a middle sense ‘prepared my soul for love’s entry,’ and adopts the conjectural οὐ, which would certainly seem to add clearness.