Regina Dagger (shattering) wrote,
Regina Dagger

verne and racine

from a journey to the center of the earth by jules verne:

there was no remedy. my lessons lasted five days, and at the end of that period, i ascended blithely enough, and found myself able to look down into the depths below without even winking, and with some degree of pleasure.

i can never tell all the sufferings we endured upon our return. my uncle bore them like a man who has been in the wrong - that is, with concentrated and suppressed anger; hans, with all the resignation of his pacific character; and i - i confess that i did nothing but complain, and despair. i had no heart for this bad fortune.

i was profoundly touched by these words, being by no means accustomed to signs of womanly weakness in the professor. i caught his trembling hands in mine and gave them a gentle pressure. he allowed me to do so without resistance, looking at me kindly all the time. his eyes were wet with tears.

i remarked that my uncle, the professor, had a strong tendency to resume his old impatient character, and i could not but make a note of this disagreeable circumstance in my journal. i saw clearly that it had required all the influence of my danger and suffering, to extract from him one scintillation of humane feeling. now that i was quite recovered, his original nature had conquered and obtained the upper hand.

what happened when the terrible shock took place, when the raft was cast upon the rocky shore, it would be impossible for me now to say. i felt myself precipitated violently into the boiling waves, and if i escaped from a certain and cruel death, it was wholly owing to the determination of the faithful hans, who, clutching me by the arm, saved me from the yawning abyss.
the courageous icelander then carried me in his powerful arms, far out of the reach of the waves, and laid me down upon a burning expanse of sand, where i found myself some time afterwards in the company of my uncle, the professor.
then he quietly returned towards the fatal rocks, against which the furious waves were beating, in order to save any stray waifs from the wreck. this man was always practical and thoughtful. i could not utter a word; i was quite overcome with emotion; my whole body was broken and bruised with fatigue; it took hours before i was anything like myself.


from phaedra by jean racine:

do you think me now a shameful renegade
to disavow all i have ever thought or said?

ah! now anger will be a goad to your reason.
this loathsome name has set you trembling.
now you will live. let rage excite your love,
and duty crush the scythian's son.

oh, this is no gentle warmth that tingles in the veins.
this is venus clawing at the belly of her prey!
yes, i was appalled and called it crime.
i was revolted by life and love itself.
death, i said, will cleanse me of this black desire.
only death has mercy for my kind.
but you see, i have been moved by your tears.
i have told you everything. and i am not sorry.
but now you must have mercy too,
and spare me querulous reproach.
you must not stir the dwindling fire of my spent life,
but stand aside and let it gutter out.

i saw him try to tear his eyes away,
but they clung to you in spite of him.
the name of lover may offend his heart,
but it's a lover's eyes he has,
if not a lover's tongue!

there is no one. i have loved nothing.
there is only this empty echo of my own voice,
counting out the measure of my crimes.
there is only this unwholesome air for me to breathe,
this air of pestilence and the murders i dream of in my sleep.
what a vicious woman i have become,
what a vicious thing clinging on and on to life!
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