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The Magnificent Lovers - Preface Post by :emb582 Category :Plays Author :Moliere Date :May 2012 Read :2872

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The Magnificent Lovers - Preface

THE MAGNIFICENT LOVERS (LES AMANTS MAGNIFIQUES)
by MOLIERE

Translated into English Prose.
With Short Introductions and Explanatory Notes.
by CHARLES HERON WALL

The subject of this play was given by Louis XIV. It was acted before him at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, on February 4, 1670, but was never represented in Paris, and was only printed after Moliere's death. It is one of the weakest plays of Moliere, upon whom unfortunately now rested the whole responsibility of the court entertainments. His attack upon astrology is the most interesting part.

Moliere acted the part of Clitidas.

 

PREFACE BY THE AUTHOR.

The King, who will have nothing but what is magnificent in all he undertakes, wished to give his court an entertainment which should comprise all that the stage can furnish. To facilitate the execution of so vast an idea, and to link together so many different things, his Majesty chose for the subject two rival princes, who, in the lovely vale of Tempe, where the Pythian Games were to be celebrated, vie with each other in feting a young princess and her mother with all imaginable gallantries.



PERSONS REPRESENTED.

IPHICRATES & TIMOCLES, _princes in love with ERIPHYLE.
SOSTRATUS, _a general, also in love with ERIPHYLE.
ANAXARCHUS, _an astrologer_.
CLEON, _his son_.
CHOROEBUS, _in the suit of ARISTIONE.
CLITIDAS, _a court jester, one of the attendants of ERIPHYLE.
ARISTIONE, _a princess, mother to ERIPHYLE.
ERIPHYLE, _a princess, daughter to ARISTIONE.
CLEONICE, _confidante to ERIPHYLE.
_A sham VENUS, _acting in concert with ANAXARCHUS.

 


FIRST INTERLUDE.

The scene opens with the pleasant sound of a great many instruments, and represents a vast sea, bordered on each side by four large rocks. On the summit of each is a river god, leaning on the insignia usual to those deities. At the foot of these rocks are twelve Tritons on each side, and in the middle of the sea four Cupids on dolphins; behind them the god AEOLUS floating on a small cloud above the waves. AEOLUS commands the winds to withdraw; and whilst four Cupids, twelve Tritons, and eight river gods answer him, the sea becomes calm, and an island rises from the waves. Eight fishermen come out of the sea with mother-of-pearl and branches of coral in their hands, and after a charming dance seat themselves each on a rock above one of the river gods. The music announces the advent of NEPTUNE, and while this god is dancing with his suite, the fishermen, Tritons, and river gods accompany his steps with various movements and the clattering of the pearl shells. The spectacle is a magnificent compliment paid by one of the princes to the princesses during their maritime excursion.


AEOLUS.
Ye winds that cloud the fairest skies,
Retire within your darkest caves,
And leave the realm of waves
To Zephyr, Love, and sighs.

A TRITON.
What lovely eyes these moist abodes have pierced?
Ye mighty Tritons, come; ye Nereids, hide.

ALL THE TRITONS.
Then rise we all these deities fair to meet;
With softest strains and homage let us greet
Their beauty rare.

A CUPID.
How dazzling are these ladies' charms!

ANOTHER CUPID.
What heart but seeing them must yield?

ANOTHER CUPID.
The fairest of th' Immortals--arms
So keen hath none to wield.

CHORUS.
Then rise we all these deities fair to meet;
With softest strains and homage let us greet
Their beauty rare.

A TRITON.
What would this noble train that meets our view?
'Tis Neptune! He and all his mighty crew!
He comes to honour, with his presence fair,
These lovely scenes, and charm the silent air.

CHORUS.
Then strike again,
And raise your strain,
And let your homes around
With joyous songs resound!

NEPTUNE.
I rank among the gods of greatest might;
'Tis Jove himself hath placed me on this height!
Alone, as king, I sway the azure wave;
In all this world there's none my power to brave.

There are no lands on earth my might that know
But trembling dread that o'er their meads I flow;
No states, o'er which the boisterous waves I tread
In one short moment's space I cannot spread.

There's nought the raging billows' force can stay,
No triple dike, but e'en it easily
My waves can crush,
When rolls along their mass with wildest rush.

And yet these billows fierce I force to yield,
Beneath the wisdom of the power I wield;
And everywhere I let the sailors bold
Where'er they list their trading courses hold.

Yet rocks sometimes are found within my states,
Where ships do perish, so doomed by fates;
Yet 'gainst my power none murmurs aye,
For Virtue knows no wreck where'er I sway.

A SEA GOD.
Within this realm are many treasures bright;
All mortals crowd its pleasant shores to view.
And would you climb of fame the dazzling height,
Then seek nought else, but Neptune's countenance sue.

SECOND SEA GOD.
Then trust the god of this vast billowy realm,
And shielded from all storms, you'll guide the helm;
The waves would fain inconstant often be,
But ever constant Neptune you will see.

THIRD SEA GOD.
Launch then with dauntless zeal, and plough the deep;
Thus shall you Neptune's kindly favour reap.

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