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The Magnificent Lovers (Les Amants magnifiques)   By: (1622-1673)

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Translated into English Prose.

With Short Introductions and Explanatory Notes.



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.


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 . 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.



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... Continue reading book >>

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