- Racine, Jean Baptiste; Beaumarchais; Lowell, Robert; Barzun, Jacques
Phaedra and Figaro
Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, New York, 1961, Cloth, , , Good /No Jacket
213 pp. Split to webbing before TP, else very good or better. Robert Lowell has translated Racine's Phedre, and Jacques Barzun has Translated Beaumarchais's Figaro's Marriage. ''Hippolytus: What now? His anger turns my blood to ice. / Will Phaedra, always uncertain, sacrifice / herself? What will she tell the King? How hot / the air's becoming here! I feel the rot / of love seeping like poison through this house.'' ''Figaro: I mean, English is a wonderful language--it takes but a few words to cover a lot of ground. With 'God damn,' in English, a man need lack for nothing. Do you want to sink your teeth into a nice juicy fowl? Go into a tavern and make this gesture (turning a spit) and say 'God damn!' The waiter brings you a joint of salt beef with no bread--it's marvelous! Do you want a good glass of burgundy or claret--just do this (drawing a cork) 'God damn!' and they bring you a a foaming tankard of beer--it's perfectly wonderful! Should you meet one of those attractive ladies who go trotting about with their elbows pulled back and their hips swinging a bit, just put your finger delicately on your lips--'God damn!'--and you get slapped as if by a stevedore. That proves they get your meaning. The English people, it is true, use a word or two more, here or there in conversation, but it is clear that 'God damn!' is the core of the langauge--so if your only reason for leaving me behind in Spain is--''