Psyche

 

E-text prepared by Charles Franks, Delphine Lettau,
and the Project Online Distributed Proofreading Team
(http://www.pgdp.net)


 

 

PSYCHE.

BY

MOLIÈRE

 

 

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH PROSE.

WITH A SHORT INTRODUCTION AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.

BY

 

CHARLES HERON WALL

 

‘Psyche’ is a tragédie-ballet. Molière had sketched the plan, written the prologue, the first act, and the first scenes of the second and third acts, when the King asked him to have the play finished before Lent. Pierre Corneille, then sixty years old, helped him, and wrote the other scenes in a fortnight. Quinault wrote the words of the songs.

Molière acted the part of Zephyr.

 

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

Jupiter.
Venus.
Love.
Zephyr.
Aegiale and Phaëne, two Graces.
The King.
Psyche.
Aglaura.
Cidippe.
Cleomenes and Agenor, two princes, Psyche’s lovers.
Lycas, captain of the guards.
A River God
Two Cupids.

 

PROLOGUE.

 

The front of the stage represents a rustic spot, while at the back the sea can be seen in the distance.

 

SCENE I.

Flora. appears in the centre of the stage, attended by Vertumnus, god of trees and fruit, and by Palemon, god of the streams. Each of these gods conducts a troup of divinities; one leads in his train Dryads and Sylvans, and the other River Gods and Naiads.

Flora sings the following lines, to invite Venus to descend upon earth:—

Flora.

The din of battle is stayed;
   The mightiest king of earth
His arms aside has laid;
   Of peace ’tis now the birth!
Descend thou, lovely Venus,
And blissful hours grant us!

Vertumnus and Palemon, and the divinities who attend them, join their voices to that of Flora, and sing the following words.

Chorus of Divinities of the earth and streams, composed of Flora, Nymphs, Palemon, Vertumnus, Sylvans, Fauns, Dryads, and Naiads.

A peace profound we now enjoy,
And games and bliss without alloy;
Earth’s mightiest king has giv’n us rest;
To him be praise and thanks addrest.
   Descend thou, lovely Venus,
   And happy hours grant us!

Then is formed an entry of the ballet, composed of two Dryads, four Sylvans, two River Gods, and two Naiads, after which Vertumnus and Palemon sing the following dialogue:—

Vertumnus.
Yield, yield, ye beauties stern,
To sigh ’tis now your turn!

Palemon.
See you, the queen above,
She comes to breathe soft love!

Vertumnus.
A fair one stern for aye
Ne’er wins a faithful sigh!

Palemon.
To woo has beauty arms,
But gentleness has greater charms.

Both (together).
To woo has beauty arms;
But gentleness has greater charms.

Vertumnus.

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