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RACINE, JEAN, a French dramatic poet; born at La Ferté-Milon, December 21, 1639; died at Paris, April 26, 1699. He studied at the College of Beauvais, at Port Royal, and at the College of Harcourt, became known to Boileau and Molière, and at twenty-one won the favor of Louis XIV. by an ode upon the occasion of the marriage of the monarch, who bestowed a pension upon him. In 1667 he produced his tragedy of “Andromaque,” which placed him at the head of the French dramatists. His subsequent dramas are “ Les Plaideurs," a comedy (1668); “Britannicus," (1669); “Bérénice” (1670); “Bajazet” (1672); “Mithridate” (1673); “Iphigénie en Aulide” (1674); “Phèdre” (1677). He wrote in 1689 the Scriptural drama of “Esther," and in 1689 the lyrical drama, “Athalie.” Racine also wrote some vigorous prose, and a few poems of considerable merit.
(From “ Bajazet.") Scene: The private apartments of BAJAZET at Byzantium. Present : RoxANA, BAJAZET, ATALIDE, ZARA.
ROXANA. Come, Bajazet, 'tis time to show yourself,
[TO ATALIDE] —
BAJAZET. Yes, I have promised, and my word is pledged
ATALIDE. To me? He loves you always.
Roxana. His life at least depends on my belief
ATALIDE. Madam, I saw no cloud upon his brow.
Roxana. Such plausible excuses do you credit
What other cause -
ROXANA. How must I construe all that I have seen ?
Ah! why has Heaven doomed me to this affront?
But yet, too ready to torment myself,
But too well I know
But some one comes to speak with me. What can she want?
Enter FATIMA. FATIMA.
Forgive me this intrusion :
Yes, he; of all the Sultan's slaves