E-text prepared by Delphine Lettau, Lee Chew Hung,
and the Project Online Distributed Proofreading Team
THE MAGNIFICENT LOVERS
(LES AMANTS MAGNIFIQUES)
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE.
WITH A SHORT INTRODUCTION AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.
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 Molière’s death. It is one of the weakest plays of Molière, upon whom unfortunately now rested the whole responsibility of the court entertainments. His attack upon astrology is the most interesting part.
Molière 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 fêting a young princess and her mother with all imaginable gallantries.
Iphicrates & Timocles, princes in love with Eriphyle.
Sostratus, a general, also in love with Eriphyle.
Anaxarchus, an astrologer.
Cleon, his son.
Chorœbus, 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.
THE MAGNIFICENT LOVERS.
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 Æolus floating on a small cloud above the waves. Æolus 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.
Ye winds that cloud the fairest skies,
Retire within your darkest caves,
And leave the realm of waves
To Zephyr, Love, and sighs.
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.
How dazzling are these ladies’ charms!
What heart but seeing them must yield?