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M O L I E R E 



With a Prefatory Memoir, Introductory Notices and Notes 




Horace Vernet, Desenne, Johannot and Hersent 







La Princesse d' 1 Elide 


Don Juan ; ou, Le Festin de Pierre 69 


L Amour Medecin 135 


Le Misanthrope 171 


Le Medecin Malgre lui 247 





Le Medecin Malgre lui Frontispiece 

DON JUAN. Act II., Scene 5. 

Don Juan; ou, Le Festin de Pierre 94 


Le Misanthrope 208 






STH MAY 1664. 


IN the month of May 1664, Louis XIV. entertained the Queen-mother, 
Anne of Austria, and his own wife, Maria Theresa, with a brilliant and 
sumptuous fete at Versailles. It began on the 7th, and lasted a whole 
week. The duke de Saint- Aignan was commissioned to superintend the 
arrangements ; and the plan he adopted was suggested by the materials 
which he discovered in the 6th and jth cantos of Ariosto's epic poem, 
Orlando Furioso, which describe the sojourn of Rogero in the isle and 
palace of the enchantress Alcina. The king was Rogero, whilst the princes 
and courtiers personified the other characters mentioned in the poem. 
We shall give a description of this fete farther on. 

In this fete, the second day was distinguished by the representation of 
The Princes of Elis ; and subsequent days saw the production of The 
Bores, The Forced Marriage, and the first three acts of Tartuffe. For 
their services on this occasion, Moliere's troupe received the sum of 4,000 

The Princess of Elis, a comedy-ballet, was intended to represent the 
struggle between the affections of the male and female sex, a struggle in 
which victory often remains with the one who seems the farthest from ob- 
taining it. Shakespeare has also attempted to sketch this strife in Muck 
ado about Nothing, in As You like it, and in A Midsummer Night's 

Moliere composed this comedy-ballet at the special request of the king ; 
and it was conceived in a romantic vein suitable to the character of the 
fete. The author's natural flow of wit and humour was checked by the 
necessity of accommodating himself to the conventionalities of courtly 
propriety ; and it must be admitted that Moliere mingled a good deal of 
water with his wine, in order to please the fastidious palates of the cour- 
tiers. He borrowed his subject from Moreto's Spanish comedy, ElDesden 
con el Desden (Scorn for Scorn). The idea is pretty, and there is abund- 
ant room for the development of plot and passion ; but the genius of the 
adapter was cramped, and The Princess o/E/is is certainly not one of his 
happiest efforts. He has narrowed, rather than improved upon, the treat- 
ment of Moreto ; he has blunted the edge of the Spaniard's keenness, and, 
taking the situations almost too punctiliously, has rendered them bare and 
barren. He transports the scene to Elis ; and the Count of Urgel, the 
Prince of Beam, the Count of Foix, are disguised under the Princes of 
Ithaca, Pylos, and Messena. He was hurried in his work ; and, almost 



as if himself craving for relief from an unwelcome mood, he created and 
sustained the character of the fool Moron, a coward who gives good 
advice, and is, on the whole, not unlike Butler's Hudibras. 

The piece was again produced in July of the same year at Fontaine- 
bleau, before the Pope's Legate ; and in November and December, it had 
a run of twenty-five days at the theatre of the Palais- Royal. It undoubt- 
edly hit the mark with some amongst Moliere's contemporaries whose 
tastes were similar to those of the court. As an ephemeral production, 
therefore, designed for a temporary purpose, it may be held to have been 

James Miller wrote a play called The Universal Passion, acted at the 
Theatre, Drury Lane, on the 28th of February, 1737, which consists of 
Shakespeare's Much ado about Nothing, and Moliere's Princess of Elis. 
He acknowledges his obligations to Shakespeare, but does not say any- 
thing about the French dramatist. In the dedication of The Universal 
Passion to Frederick Frankland, Esq., it is stated, thai "the strict Regard 
I have had to Decency and good manners ... is the principal Merit . . . 
the World is at present happily inclin'd to support what is produced with 
that Intention." The Prologue, spoken by Mr. Gibber, harps on the 
same string, and ends thus : 

" Howe'er, this Merit he at least can claim, 
That sacred Decency 's his constant Aim ; 
There's nought but what an Anchoret might hear, 
No Sentence that can wound the chastest Ear . . . 
To your Protection Shakespeare's Offspring take, 
And save the Orphan for the Father's Sake." 

George Hyde wrote Love's Victory ; or the School for Pride, a comedy 
in five acts, founded on the Spanish of Moreto, and performed at Covent- 
Garden, November 16, 1825. As Moliere borrowed from the same 
source, there is a great similarity in the plot of both plays, but Hyde has 
chiefly followed the arrangement of a German author, West, and can 
therefore hardly be said to have imitated Moliere. 

As we have already mentioned, Moliere's play formed part of the court 
entertainment, and was published in Les Plaisirs de V Isle Enchantee: 
Course de Bague, Collation ornee de Machines, Comedie de Moliere de la 
Princesse d? Elide, meslee de Danse et de Musique Ballet du Palais d'Al- 
cine, feu d' Artifice : Et autres Festes galantes et magnifiques ; faites par 
le Roy a Versailles, le 7 May, 1664. Et continuees plusieurs autres yours. 
Paris, Robert Ballard, 1663. Although the description of The Pleasures 
of the Enchanted Island was not written by Moliere, who wrote only 
comedy, it is inserted in the first collected edition of our author's works ; 
and I give it here as a specimen of the complimentary style of the official 
catalogue of entertainments of Louis XIV. I am indebted for the com- 
pleteness and accuracy of nearly all the notes which illustrate Les Plaisirs 
de I' Isle Enchantee, to M. Paul Lacroix, the Biblioth^caire de 1' Arsenal, 
well known as the Bibliophile Jacob, who kindly communicated to me 
the genealogy and short history of the noble ladies and gentlemen who 
took part in the festivities at Versailles. These fetes, given nominally in 
honour of the two Queens, but in reality to please the queen, Mademoi- 
selle de la Valliere, " whom the king delighteth to honour," lasted seven 
days ; the description opens thus : 

" The King, wishing to give to the Queen and the whole Court the 
pleasure of some uncommon entertainments, in a spot adorned with all 


thebeauties to be admired in a Country Seat, chose for that purpose Ver- 
sailles, four leagues from Paris. It is a seat which may justly be called aa 
Enchanted Palace so much have the embellishments of Art seconded the 
care which Nature has taken to render it perfect. It is every way charm- 
ing ; everything pleases both within and without : gold and marble vie 
there in beauty and splendour ; and although it is not so extensive as some 
of her Majesty's other Palaces, yet all things there are so polished, so well 
contrived, and so perfect, that nothing can equal them. Its symmetry, the 
richness of its furniture, the beauty of its walks, and the infinite number 
of its flowers, as well as of its orange-trees, render the neighborhood of 
that place worthy of its singular rarity. The different animals within the 
two parks and the menagerie, wherein are several courts, in the figure of 
stars, with ponds for the water-fowl, together with great structures, add 
pleasure to magnificence, and create a palace in which nothing can be 
found to criticise." 1 

First Day of the Pleasures of the Enchanted Island. 

It was in this beautiful place that on the fifth of May all the Court met, 
and that the King treated above six hundred persons till the fourteenth, 
not reckoning a great number of persons necessary in the dancing and in 
the play, besides all kinds of workmen who came from Paris ; so that they 
looked like a small army. 

The very heavens appeared to favour his Majesty's designs, since in a 
season in which it almost always rains, there was only a slight wind, which 
seemed to rise solely in order to show that the King's foresight and power 
were proof against the greatest inconveniences. High cloths, wooden 
buildings, run up almost in an instant, and a prodigious number of torches 
of white wax, to supply daily the place of above four thousand wax can- 
dles, resisted the wind, which everywhere else would have rendered these 
diversions almost impracticable. 

Monsieur de Vigarani, a gentleman from Modena, very skilful in all 
such things, invented and proposed these. The King commanded the 
duke de Saint-Aignan, who was then first Gentleman of the Chamber, 1 
and who had ere this arranged several very agreeable balls, to plan some- 
thing which might contain, connect, and group them all, so that they 
could not fail to please. 

He took for his subject the Palace of Alcina, 3 which gave the name to 

1 1 am, of course, not answerable for the peculiar style of the official catalogue. 
A " Collation adorned with machines " would be rather hard to digest in the pre- 
sent times. One statement in the opening paragraph is also startling : " Nature has 
taken care to render it (Versailles) perfect." Now Nature has taken no care to 
render Versailles perfect ; and it is said to have cost so much money, that Louis 
XIV. did not like the fabulous sums spent on it to be known, but threw the accounts 
into the fire. The palace and gardens of Versailles were begun in i66i,and not fin- 
ished until 1684. The King did not reside there until 1682, and according to A. de 
Laborde, Versailles ancien et moderne, in 1664 the palace was still in the same 
state as Louis XIII. had left it. 

* Francis I. instituted in 1545 the post of Gentilhomme de la chatnbre du roi, of 
which there were two at the first, and afterwards four. Each served a year, and 
received 9500 livres, besides considerable perquisites, and a pension of 4500. livres. 
Their duties were to give orders that the King's first mourning garments should be 
made, as well as his ball, ballet, and theatrical dresses; they also regulated the 
mourning of the members and officers of the royal household and family, the ordi- 
nary and extraordinary expenses for the King, his entertainments, &c. 

* Alcina, who changed her lovers into trees, stones, fountains, or beasts, accord- 
ing to her fancy, is, in Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, the personification of carnal 


The Pleasures of the Enchanted Island, because, according to Ariosto, 
the brave Rogero, and several other good knights, were detained thereby 
the spell of beauty (though it was artificial), and by the incantations of 
that enchantress, and were delivered, after a long time spent in pleasures, 
by a ring, which destroyed the enchantment. It was the ring of Angelica, 
which Melissa, under the disguise of old Allan tes, at length placed upon 
Rogero's finger. 

In a few days there was fitted up a round, where four great alleys met 
between high palisades, with four porticos thirty-five feet high and twenty- 
two feet square, and several festoons enriched with gold and divers paint- 
ings, with his Majesty's arms. 

All the court having taken their places on the seventh ; there entered, 
at six o'clock in the evening, a herald at arms, represented by M. des 
Bardins, dressed after the antique manner, in flame- colour, embroidered 
with silver, and very well mounted. 

He was followed by three pages. The King's (M. d'Artagnan)* pre- 
ceded the two others, very richly dressed in flame-colour, his Majesty's 
livery, bearing his lance and shield, whereon sparkled a sun of precious 
stones, with these words : Nee cesso, nee erro (I neither stay, nor stray), 
alluding to his Majesty's application to the affairs of state and his manner 
of governing ; which was likewise represented by these four verses of the 
President de Pe"rigny, author of the said device. 5 

Not without reason Heaven and earth behold 
So rare an object with the utmost wonder, 
Who in his no less hard than glorious course, 
Does never take repose, nor ever strays. 

The two other pages belonged to the dukes de Saint-Aignan and de 
Noailles, the former marshal of the camp, the latter judge of the course. 
The duke de Saint-Aignan's page bore the shield of his device, and was 
dressed in his livery of silver cloth, enriched with gold, with flesh-coloured 
and black plumes, and ribands of the same. His device was the bell of a 
clock, with these words: De mis golpes mi ruido (From my strokes (pro- 
ceeds) my noise). 

The duke de Noailles' page was dressed in flame-colour, silver and 
black, and the rest of the livery in harmony. The device on his shield 
was an eagle, with these words :' Fidelis et audax (Faithful and bold). 

Four trumpeters and two kettle-drummers followed these pages, dressed 
in flame-colour and silver, with plumes of the same, and the caparisons 
of their horses embroidered in the same colours, with very brilliant suns 

* It is not easy to say who M. d'Artagnan was, for many of the Montesquiou 
family bore the name and arms of d'Artagnan. The best known, however, and 
the on who enjoyed the King's confidence, was the son of Henri de Montesquiou- 
d'Artagnan and of Jeanne de Gassion (a sister of a marshal of France of the same 
name), who was called Charles de Bats, capitaine-lieutenant of the first company 
of the King's musketeers. To him was entrusted the guard of Foquet (see Preface 
to The Bores, Vol. I.), until the latter was condemned. The well-known pam- 
phleteer, Courtilz de Sandraz, wrote in 1700 the Memoires de M. efArtagnan, 
after some curious notes left by that nobleman ; and the late Alexandre Dumas has 
partly followed these memoirs in The Three Musketeers. 

5 De Perigny, president aux enquetes at the Parliament of Paris, was reader to 
the King in 1663^ teacher to the Dauphin in 1666, and died in 1670. He had a 
wholly literary office at court. In 1664 he wrote in verse the ballet of the Amours 
deguisis, and at the same time, under the eye of Louis XIV., his Journal and 


upon the bandrols of their trumpets 8 and the coverings of the kettle- 

The duke de Saint-Aignan, marshal of the camp, came after them, 
wearing, in the Greek fashion, a cuirass of silver-cloth, covered with little 
scales of gold, as was also the lower part of his cloak ; ' his helmet was 
adorned with a dragon and a great number of white feathers, mixed with 
flesh-coloured and black ones. He rode a white horse, caparisoned in 
the same fashion, and represented Guido, the savage. 

Madrigal for the duke dt Saint- Aignan, representing Guido, the savage. 

Those combats I fought in the dang'rous isle, 

When 1 so many warriors overcame, 

Followed by battles of an am'rous kind, 

Showed what my strength as well as heart could do. 

My well-known force in lawful frays displayed, 

Or in forbidden fields exerted, 

Proclaim it, for my glory, at both poles ; 

None, during war, deals more or better strokes. 

For the same. 

Singly against ten warriors and ten maids, 
I am engaged in two peculiar contests. 
If I with honour leave this twofold field, 
Methinks I'm then a most terrific warrior.* 

Eight trumpeters and eight kettle-drummers, dressed like the first, 
walked behind the marshal of the camp. 

The King, representing Rogero, followed them upon one of the finest 
horses in the world, of which the flame-coloured trappings shone with 
gold, silver, and precious stones. His Majesty was armed in the Greek 
fashion, as were all those of his troop, and wore a cuirass of silver plates, 
covered with a rich embroidery of gold and diamonds. His carriage and 
whole action were worthy of his rank ; his helmet, entirely covered with 
flame-coloured plumes, looked incomparably beautiful ; never did a more 
free or warlike air raise a mortal so much above other men. 9 

According to Ash's " Dictionary of the English Language," London, 1773, a 
bandrol is " a little flag or streamer, the fringed flag hung on to a trumpet." 

' In the original, son bas de saie, translated by my predecessors as " his sills 
stockings," in mistake for bas de soie. 

8 Francois de Beauvillier, first duke de Saint Aignan, born in 1610, was peer of 
France, gentleman of the King's chamber, and lieutenant-general. His county had 
been erected into a dttchi-prairie in December, 1663. He was a lover of literature, 
a patron of Moliere, a member of the French Academy, and died in 1679. Guido, 
the savage, is, in Ariosto, a son of Constantia and Amon, and a younger brother of 
Rinaldo. Being wrecked on the coast of the Amazons, he was doomed to fight 
their ten male champions, and having killed them all, was obliged to marry ten 
amazons ; hence the allusion. At last he succeeds in escaping with his favourite 
wife Alen'a, and joins the army of Charlemagne. These verses and the following 
were written by Benserade. 

* Rogero, the brother of Marphisa, was, on the death of his mother. Galaciella, 
nursedby a lioness. Brought up by Atlantes, the magician, who gave him a shield 
of such dazzling splendour that every one quailed who set eyes on it, and which 
shield he threw into a well, he deserted from the Moorish army, was baptized, 
married Bradamant, Charlemagne's niece, and became King of Bulgaria. I wish 
to draw attention to the official flatteries about Louis le Grand's "carriage," 
" action," and " air ; " even his horse and helmet come in for their share. 


Sonnet for the King, representing Rogero. 

What shape, what carnage this bold conqu'ror has, 

His person dazzles each beholder's eye ; 

And though by his high post he is distinguished. 

Yet something greater sparkles in his mien, 

Clearly his brow his future fate foretells 

His virtue outshines all his ancestors ! 

They are forgotten, if lie continues so, 

He'll leave them far, yea very far, behind. 

His generous heart delights to employ its time, 

To act for others and not for himself. 

In this his power is chiefly occupied. 

All ancient heroes pale compared to him, 

Honour's his sole aim; he only draws 

The sword for other int'rests than his own. 

The duke de Noailles, judge of the lists, by the name of Ogier the 
Dane, 10 marched after the King, wearing flame-colour and black under- 
neath a rich embroidery of silver ; his plumes, as well as the rest of his 
equipage, were of the same livery. 

For the Duke de Noailles, judge of the lists, representing Ogier the Dane. 

The only business of this paladine 
Is well to serve the greatest king on earth, 
As he who judges well must act as well, 
Methinks none from his sentence will appeal. 

The duke de Guise and the count d'Armagnac went after him. The 
former, under the name of Aquilant the black, 11 wore a black dress em- 
broidered with gold and jet ; his horse and his lance being matched in 
the same colours. The count, representing Gryphon the white, 12 wore on 
a dress of silver cloth several rubies, and rode on a white horse capari- 
soned in the same colour. 

For the duke de Guise, representing Aquilant the black. 

Night has its beauties, and so has the day ; 
Black is my colour, and I always loved it. 
But if obscurity does suit my love, 
"T has not extended to my well-known fame. 

1U Ogier the Dane, a paladin, married Ermellina, the daughter of Namus, duke 
of Bavaria, of whom was born Dudon. Anne de Noailles, was the first duke, his 
county, d'Ayen, having been erected into a duche-pairie in 1663. He was first 
captain of the king's life-guards, lieutenant-general of Auvergne, and had married 
in 1646 Louise Boyer, dame d"atours of the Queen Anne of Austria. He died :n 
1678. Mad. de Sevigne's letters are filled with details about him and his family. 

11 Aquilant, a knight in Charlemagne's army, always wore black armor. Whilst 
Martano was strutting about in Gryphon's white armour, he met Aquilant, who took 
him prisoner to Damascus. The duke de Guise, Henri de Lorraine, second of that 
name, peer and grand chamberlain of France, was born in 1614, and died twenty 
days after the fetes of the Isle Enchantee, on the 2d ot June 1664. He had been 
one of the first patrons of Moliere, when the latter acted at the Illustre Theatre 
in 1645. This prince, who had attempted rashly to become King of Naples, in 
1647, died unmarried. 

14 Gryphon, a brother of Aquilant, ever wearing white armour, overthrew the 
eight champions of the King of Damascus. Whilst asleep Martano stole Gryphon's 
armour, and he was obliged to put on the coward's ; hence he was hooted and jos- 
tled by the crowd. At last everything is discovered, and the right man is put in the 
right place. Louis de Lorraine count d'Armagnac, son of Henri de Lorraine, Count 
d'Harcourt, was grand ecuyer of France, seneschal of Bourgognc, and governor of 


For the count d* Armagnac, representing Gryphon the white. 

Behold what candour Heaven has placed in me ; 
Thus no fair maid by me shall be'deceived ; 
When it is time to attack the enemy 
My sword will keep my colour stainless white. 

The dukes de Foix and de Coaslin appeared afterwards, dressed, the 
one in flesh-colour, with gold and silver, and the other in green, with white 
and silver ; their livery and horses were worthy the rest of their equipage. 

For the duke de Foix, representing Rinaldo^ 

He bears a glorious name, is young and sage, 
To speak the truth he lief mounts very high ; 
What great good fortune, at so young an age 
To have such fire as well as so much calmness. 

For the duke de Coaslin, representing Dudo.^ 

None can too far in glory's course engage, 
Though seven kings I were to conquer bravely, 
And see them subject to Rogero's power, 
Yet e'en this exploit would not content me. 

After them marched the Count de Lude and the Prince de Marsillac. 
the former dressed in flesh-colour and white, and the other in yellow, white 
and black, enriched with silver embroidery, their livery of the same, and 
very well mounted. 

For the count de Lude, representing AstolphoP 

Of all the paladines this world contains, 
No knight more prone to love was ever seen. 
Always in fresh adventures he'll engage, 
And ever smitten by some youthful fay. 

For the Prince de Marsillac, representing Brandimart?* 

My vows will be content, my wishes crowned, 
My fortune at its utmost height arriv'd, 
When, lovely Flordelice, my zeal you know, 
Indelibly within my heart imprest. 

a c 


WRinaldo, in Ariosto's poem, was the son of the fourth marquis of Este, the rival 
r his cousin Orlando for the love of Angelica, who detested him, and the leader of 
corps of Scotch and English auxiliaries in Charlemagne's army. Gaston-Jean- 
uaptiste de Foix and de Candale, peer of France, eldest son of the countess de 
Fleix, was called Duke de Foix, because his county of Randan had been raised by 
the King into a duche-pairie . He died in 1665, at the age of twenty-seven, and his 
brother and heir, Henri Francois de Foix, then took the title. 

14 Dudo was the admiral commanding the fleet of Orlando and Astolpho, Ar- 
mand du Cambout, duke de Coaslin, peer of France, chevalier des ordres du roi, 
lieutenant general, had, only in the beginning of 1664, been made a duke and 
peer ; he was formerly a marquis. 

"Astolpho, an English duke, the son of Otho, joined Charlemagne against the 
Saracens ; he was carried upon the back of a whale to the island of Alcina, who 
soon tired of him and changed him into a myrtle. His descent into the infernal re- 
gions, and his flight to the moon, are among the best parts of the Orlando Furi- 
oso. Henn de Daillon count de Lude, first gentleman of the King's chamber, 
grand master of the artillery captain of the castles of St. Germain and Versailles 

*H e M U ^ e j a "c P ' Cr !" T ? 75> and died w!thout iss "e 'n '685. He is often men- 
tioned in Mad. de Sevigne s letters. 

IT^nn""" "i'M* 1130 wa * Francois d .e la Rochefoucauld, eighth of that 
name, and son of the famous duke de la Rochefoucauld, author of the Maximt. 


The marquises de Villequier and de Soyecourt followed. One wore blue 
and silver, the other blue, white, and black, with gold and silver ; their 
plumes and the harness of their horses were of the same colour, and 
equally rich. 

For the Marquis de Villequier, representing RichardettoF 
No one, like me, with gallantry could quit 
An intrigue where, no doubt, some skill was greatly needed, 
No one deceived his fair so pleasantly, methinks, 
While all the time remaining faithful to her. 

For the Marquis de Soyecourt, representing Oliviero.^ 
Behold the honour of the age, compared to whom 
E'en giants and ourselves are ordinary men ; 
This valiant knight, prepared for all that come, 
Has aye his lance quite ready for the tilts. 

The marquises d'Humieres and de la Valli&re followed them. The first 
wore flesh-colour and silver, and the other gridelin, 19 white, and silver ; 
their whole livery being the richest and best matched in the world. 

For the Marquis d'Humieres, representing Ariodantes.^ 
Fevered by love, I tremble in my fit, 
And without boast elsewhere I ne'er did tremble ; 
Handsome young Ginevra is the only fair 
Young charmer to whose laws I bow. 

For the Marquis de la Valliere, representing Zerbino.^ 
Whate'er grand feelings glory may inspire 
>Vhen we are wholly all-absorbed in love ; 
To die in the arms of her whom we admire, 
Methinks is of all deaths the one most pleasant. 

He was born in 1639 and died in I 7 I 4- He married, in 1659, his cousin, Jeanne 
Charlotte du Plessis Liancourt, daughter of the Count de la Roche-Guyon. Bran- 
dimart, one of the bravest knights in Charlemagne's army, was slain by Gradasso, 
King of Sericana ; he was the brother-in-law of Orlando, and the lover of Flordel- 
ice, daughter of Dolistone. According to Ariosto (Orlando Furioso) Cant, xlii., 
St. 14), he thus spoke to Orlando, when dying : " Ne men ti raccomando la mio 
Fiordi. . . Ma der non puote ligi : e qui nnio." Rendered by Rose in his transla- 
tion : " Nor recommend to thee less warmly my " Flordelice would, but could 
not, say and died. 

1 J Richardetto was the son of Aymon and brother of Bradamant, and was mistak- 
en by Flordespine for his sister Bradamant. This rather free story may be read 
in the twenty-fifth canto of the Orlando Furioso. Louis Marie- Victor d'Aumont, 
marquis de Villequier, eldest son of the duke d'Aumont, born in 1632, was first gen' 
' tleman of the King's chamber. At his father's death, in 1669 he became duke 
peer, and marshal of France. 

18 Ojiverio of Burgundy was a famous paladin, son of Rinieri of Vienna, brother 
of Alda, and father of Gryphon and Aquilant. The descriptive verses contain an 
allusion to the Marquis de Soyecourt's prowess, of which the curious may find thq 
details in the chronique scandaleuse of Louis XIV. 's age. Maximilien Antoine de 
Belleforiere, marquis de Soyecourt or Saucourt, was grand master of the King's 
wardrobe, and became afterwards master of the hunt to the King : he died in 1670. 

i '> the Dorante of The Sores (see Introductory Notice, Vol. 1 1. 

"According to several old dictionaries, "gridelin" is a colour mixed of white and 

Ariodantes, an Italian knight at the court of Scotland, duke of Albany, married 
e ^T?f the daughter of that king. Louis de Crevant, fourth of that name, mar- 
quis d Humieres, lieutenant-general, was made a duke and peer in 1688, and at the 
same time was appointed marshal of France and grand master of the artillery. 
Madame de Sevigne mentions his name several times in her letters. 

"Zerbmo.duke of Ross-shire, was the son of the King of Scotland, and the inti- 
aate friend of Orlando. He died in the arms of the sorrowing Isabel. 


Monsieur the Duke 21 went alone, having for his livery flame-colour, 
white and silver ; a great number of diamonds were fastened to the mag- 
nificent embroidery with which his cuirass and the lower part of his cloak 
were covered ; his helmet, and the harness of his horse being likewise 
adorned with them. 

For Monsieur the Duke, representing Orlando. 
Fame will in distant lands Orlando's name make known, 
Glory shall ne'er depart from him ; 
Descended from a race that e'er desires 
To show its valour when war is proclaim'd. 

In him, to speak unvarnished truth, 

Flows the pure blood of Charlemagne. 5 * 

A car, eighteen feet high, twenty-four long, and fifteen wide, appeared, 
afterwards shining with gold and divers colours. It represented the 
chariot of Apollo, in whose honour the Pythian games were formerly cele- 
brated, which those knights intended to imitate in their lists and dresses. 
The god, radiant with light, was seated on the top of the car, having at 
his feet the four ages, distinguished by rich habits, and by what they bore 
in their hands. 

The golden Age, adorned with that precious metal, was also decked 
with different flowers, one of the principal ornaments of that happy age. 
The silver and brass Ages had also their distinguishing marks. The iron 
Age was represented by a warrior of terrible aspect, holding his sword in 
one hand, and his buckler in the other. 

Several other large figures in relief adorned the sides of the magnifi- 
cent chariot. The celestial monsters, the serpent Python, Daphne, Hya- 
cinth, and the other figures which are suitable to Apollo, with an Atlas 
bearing the globe, were also elegantly carved upon it. Time, represented 
by M. Millet, 25 with his scythe, his wings, and that decrepitude in which 
he is always depicted, was the coachman. The car was drawn by four 
horses, of uncommon size and beauty, abreast, covered with large hous- 
ings, ornamented with gold-worked suns. 

The twelve hours of the day, and the twelve signs of the Zodiac, splen- 
didly dressed, as the poets described them, walked in two files on both 
sides of the chariot. All the knights' pages followed it in pairs, after the 
duke's, very neatly dressed in their liveries, with a great many plumes, 
bearing their master's lances, and the shields with their devices. 

The Duke de Guise, representing Aquilant the black, having for his 
device a lion sleeping, with these words Et guiescente pavescunt (They fear 
me even when asleep). 

The count d'Armagnac, representing Gryphon the white, having for his 
device an ermine, with these words: Ex candore decus (My beauty pro- 
ceeds from my whiteness). 

The duke de Foix, representing Rinaldo, having for his device a ship 

"The " Duke" was the name given to the duke of Enghien, the son of the 

Orlando was lord of Anglant, and through his mother, a nephew of Charlemagne. 
Although a married man, he fell in love with^ Angelica, Daughter of the ^ d i f^ k ^ 

Orlando recovers his wits by sniffing at the urn. 

An allusion to the Prince de Conde being a Bourbon. 

* M Millet was the coachman in ordinary to Louis XIV., and celebrated for hia 


on the sea, with these words : Longe levis auraferet (A slight breeze will 
carry it far). 

The duke de Coaslin, representing Dudo, having for his device a sun 
and a sun-flower, with these words : Splendor ab obsequio (Its splendour 
arises from its obedience). 26 

The count de Lude, representing Astolphus, having for his device a 
cypher in the form of a knot, with these words : Non fia mat sciolto (It 
shall never be broken). 

The prince de Marsillac, representing Brandimart, having for his device 
a watch in relief, of which all the springs were visible, with these words : 
Chietofuor, commoto dentro (Calm without, agitated within). 

The marquis de Villequier, representing Richardetto, having for his 
device au eagle soaring before the sun, with these words : Uni militat 
astro (He fights for a single star). 27 

The marquis de Soyecourt, representing Oliviero, having for his device 
Hercules' club, with these words : Vix asquat fama labores (his fame is 
scarce equal to his labours). 

The marquis d'Humieres, representing Ariodantes, having for his device 
all sorts of crowns, with these words : No quiero menos (Less will not 
content me). 

The marquis de la Valliere, representing Zerbino, having for his device 
a phoenix on a pile set on fire by the sun, with these words : Hoc juvat 
uri (It is pleasant to be so burnt). 78 

The Duke, representing Orlando, having for his device a dart, wreathed 
with laurel, with these words: Certoferit (It strikes surely). 

Twenty shepherds, carrying different pieces of the barrier to be set up for 
the tilting, formed the last troop that entered the lists. They were dressed 
in short jackets of flame-colour, adorned with silver, and caps of the 

As soon as these troops entered the camp, they went round it, and, after 
having paid their obeisance to the queen, they separated, and each took 
his post. The pages who were in front, the trumpeters and kettle-drum- 
mers crossed, and stationed themselves at the wings. The King advanc- 
ing towards the middle, placed himself opposite to the high canopy ; the 
Duke near his Majesty ; the dukes de Saint-Aignan and de Noailles on 
the right and left ; the ten knights in a line on both sides of the chariot ; 
their pages in the same order behind them : the Hours and the signs of 
the Zodiack as they entered. 

When they had thus stopped, a profound silence, which arose from 
attention and respect, gave Mademoiselle Debrie, 29 who represented the 
Age of Brass, an opportunity to recite these verses, in praise of the 
Queen addressed to Apollo, represented by M. de la Grange. 

THE BRASS AGE (to Apollo). 
Thou dazzling father of the day, whose power 
Does by its various aspects give us birth ; 

* These words were flattering to Louis XIV., whose device was the sun. 
TK C same remarlc can be applied to the marquis de Villequier's device. 

, f .. .. it by stating that " it is pleasant to 

be burnt by the sun." The noble Marquis became duke de la Valliere and peer in 
l6 - after his sister had taken her vows in the Carmelite convent. 

* For the actors and actresses of Moliere's troupe, see Introductory Notice to 
The Impromptu of Versailles, Vol. I. 


Hope of the earth, and ornament of Heaven, 
Thou fairest and most necessary god ; 
Thou, whose activity and sovereign bounty, 
In every place makes itself seen and felt, 
Say by what destiny, or what new choice, 
Thy games are solemnized on Gallia's shores.* 


If all th' address, the glory, valour, merit, 
Which made Greece shine, are found on these blest shores, 
Then justly hither are those games transferred, 
Which, to my honour, earth nas consecrated. 

I ever did delight to pour on France 
The balmy influence of my gentle rays ; 
But the bright dame whom Hymen there enthrones, 
Makes me for her disdain all other realms. 

Since for the wide creation's good so long 
I've made the boundless tour of seas and earth 
I ne'er saw ought so worthy of my fires, 
Such noble blood, so generous a heart, 
Never such lustre with such innocence, 
Never such youth with so much sound discretion ; 
Never such grandeur with such condescension, 
Never such wisdom joined to so much beauty. 

The thousand various climates which are ruled 
By all those demi-gods from whom she springs, 
Led by their own devoir and her high merit, 
United, will one day confess her power. 

Whatever grandeur France or Spain might boast, 
The rights of Charles the Fifth, and Charlemagne, 
Auspiciously transmitted in her blood, 
Will to her throne subject the universe : 
But a yet greater title, nobler lot. 
Which lifts her higher, and which charms her more, 
A name which in itself all names outweighs, 
Is that of consort to the mighty Louis. 


By what unjust decree has fate produced, 
A star so kindly in the age of iron ? 


Ah I Do not murmur at the gods' appointment. 
This age which has the hate of Heav'n deserv'd, 
Instead of growing proud with that rare blessing, 
Ought thence to augurate its approaching ruin, 
And think a virtue which it can't corrupt, 
Comes rather to destroy than to ennoble it. 

As soon as she appeared on this blest earth, 
She chased away the furious raging war ; 
From that same day labour unwearied hands 
To render happy all humanity. 
See by what hidden springs a Hero strives, 
To banish from a barbarous age its horrors, 
And kindly to assist my resurrection, 
With all those joys which innocence desires. 


I know what enemies have planned my ruin, 
Their plots are known, their strategems are traced; 
But yet my courage is not so far sunk . . . 

*> The president de Perigny is the author of the following verses, as well as those 
pronounced by the other Ages, by Apollo, the Seasons, Diana, and Pan. I have 
taken them from some older translations and corrected and modified them, when 



Should all hell's monsters join in thy defence, 
Feeble and vain would their resistance prove 
Against such grandeur and against such virtue : 
Long with thy galling yoke the world opprest 
Shall by thy flight a happier lot enjoy. 
'Tis time that thou give way to the high law 
Which an august and mighty Queen imposes. 
It is time to yield to the illustrious labours 
Of a great King, favoured by Heaven and Earth; 
But here too long this quarrel made me stay ; 
These lists invite to much more gentle combats, 
Let us ope them just now, and laurels wreathe 
To bind the brows of our most famous warriors. 

After all these verses were spoken, the running at the ring began ; 
wherein, after they had admired the King's skill and gracefulness in that 
exercise, as in all others, and after several fine courses of all these knights, 
the duke de Guise, the marquises de Soyecourt and de la Valliere re- 
mained the last. The last bore off the prize, which was a golden sword 
enriched with diamonds, with very valuable buckles for the belt, which 
the Queen-mother gave, and wherewith she honoured him with her own 

They began their running in such good time, that just when it was 
finished, darkness came on ; when a great number of lights illuminated 
this beautiful place, and thirty-four musicians, who were to precede the 
Seasons entered very well dressed, and performed the most pleasant music 
in the world. 

Whilst the Seasons were taking up the delicious viands they had to 
carry for the magnificent entertainment of their Majesties, the twelve 
signs of the Zodiac and the four Seasons danced in the ring one of the 
finest entrees ever seen. 

Spring, represented by Mademoiselle Duparc, afterwards appeared on 
a Spanish horse. She showed the skill of a man, as well as womanly at- 
tractions. Her dress was green with silver embroidery, adorned with 

M. Duparc, who represented Summer, followed upon an elephant 
covered with rich housings. 

Next came M. de la Thorilliere, representing Autumn, as splendidly 
dressed, and mounted on a camel. 

Winter, represented by M. Bejart, followed on a bear. 

Forty-eight persons followed them, carrying on their heads large basins 
for the lunch. 

The first twelve, covered with flowers, carried, like gardeners, baskets 
painted green and silver, containing a great many china dishes, so full 
of preserves and many other delicious things of the season, that they bent 
beneath the agreeable load. 

Twelve others, like reapers, clothed in garments which suited their pro- 
fession, but very rich, carried basins of that incarnadine colour which may 
be observed at sun-rise, and followed Summer. 

Twelve others, dressed like vine-dressers, were covered with vine- 
leaves, and bunches of grapes, and bore in baskets of filemot colour, 31 
full of little basins of the same, various other fruits and preserves. These 
followed Autumn. 

The last twelve were old men, nearly frozen to death, whose furs and 

81 The original \a&feuille-morte, the colour of a dead leaf. ' 


gait showed how they felt the inclemency of the weather, as well as their 
weakness, bearing, in basins covered with ice and snow so well imitated 
that they might have been taken for the very things they were intended to 
represent, that which was to contribute to the collation. These followed 

Fourteen musicians preceded the two divinities Pan and Diana, with an 
agreeable harmony of flutes and bagpipes. 

Pan and Diana then appeared upon a very ingenious carriage, shaped 
like a little mountain or rock, shaded by several trees, and so wonderfully 
constructed, that the machinery which held it in the air, and put it in mo- 
tion, could not be perceived. 

Twenty other persons followed, carrying viands, the produce of Pan's 
menagerie and of Diana's chase. 

Eighteen pages of the King, very richly clad, who were to wait upon 
the ladies at table, came last. The whole troop then placed themselves 
in order. Pan, Diana, and the Seasons presented themselves before the 
Queen, whilst Spring first, and the others afterwards, addressed her in the 
following words : 

SPRING (to the Queen). 

Of all the new-born flowers that deck my gardens, 
Scorning the jessamine, the pinks and roses. 
These lilies I have chosen to pay my tribute, 
Which in your earliest years you so much cherished. 
Louis has made them shine from east to west, 
Whilst the charmed world at once respects and fears them, 
But still their reign's more soft and powerful too, 
When, brilliant-like, they beam on your complexion. 


Seized with too hasty a surprise, I bring 
A slender ornament to grace this feast ; 
Yet know, before my season's passed away, 
Your warriors in the fields of Thrace, 
Shall reap an ample crop of laurels. 


The Spring, proud of the beauty of those flowers 
Which to his lot have fortunately fallen, 
Thinks to have all th' advantage of this feast. 
And quite obscure us by his lively colours. 
But you, you matchless Princess, well remember 
What precious fruit my season has produced, 
Which in your house does one day mean to prove 
The darling and the blessing of mankind. 88 


The snow and icicles I hither bring, 
Are viands far from being rare or precious ; 
But they're most necessary in a feast, 
Where with their killing eyes, a thousand objects, 
Replete with charms, so many flames create. 

M An allusion to the Dauphin, born on the ist of November, 1661. What Sum- 
mer has said before about the " ample crop of laurels " your warriors shall reap in 
the fields of Thrace, I cannot elucidate, because in 1664 there was neither war nor 
rumours of war. The last line Pan states, " "Tis to your charms that happiness 
we owe " refers to the Peace of the Pyrenees in 1659, an d the subsequent marriage 
of Louis XIV. with Maria Theresa of Spain, in 1660. 


DIANA (to the Queen). 

Our woods, our rocks, our mountains, all our hunters, 
And my companions who have to me always 
Paid sovereign honours, since they have beheld 
Your presence here, will know me now no more ; 
And laden with their presents, come with me 
To bring this tribute to you, as a mark 
Of their allegiance. 

The swift inhabitants of those blessed groves, 
Make it their choice to fall into your nets, 
And only wish to perish by your hands. 
Love, whose address and countenance you wear, 
Alone with you this wondrous secret shares. 


Be not surprised, young deity, that we 
In this famed festival approach to offer 
The choice of what our pastures can bestow. 
For if our flocks their herbage taste in peace, 
'Tis to your charms that happiness we owe. 

After these verses had been spoken, a great table was seen, shaped like 
a half moon, concave on the side on which they were to serve, and 
adorned with flowers on the convex side. 

Thirty-six violin players, very well dressed, were behind on a little 
stage, whilst Messieurs de laMarche and Parfait, father, brother, and son, 
controllers- general, by the names of Plenty, Joy, Cleanliness, and Good- 
cheer, caused the aforesaid table to be covered by Pleasures, Sports, 
Smiles, and Delights. 

Their Majesties sat down in the following order, which prevented all 
the confusion that might have arisen about precedence . 

The Queen-mother M was seated in the middle of the table, and had at 
her right hand The King, Mademoiselle d'Alencon^ Madame la Prin- 
cessefb Mademoiselle d' Elbeuf** Madame de Bethunef 1 Madame la 
duchess de Crequi^ Monsieur , s9 Madame la duchesse de Saint- Aignar.P 

33 See Vol. I., page 402, note i. 

84 Mademoiselle d'Alencon, daughter of Gaston or France, duke of Orleans, and 
of Marguerite de Lorraine, was born in 1646, married, in 1667, Louis Joseph de 
Lorraine, duke of Guise, and died in 1696. 

35 Madame la Princesse was the name given at court to Claire-Clemence de Maille, 
marchioness of Breze, who had married, in 1641, Louis II., prince de Conde, called 
the Grand Conde. Since the sixteenth century, the princes of Conde were called 
Monsieur le Prince. 

88 Mademoiselle d'Elbeuf, Anne Elisabeth de Lorraine, was the daughter of 
Charles de Lorraine, third of that name, duke d'Elbeuf, and of his first wife, 
Anne Elisabeth de Lannoi, widow of the count de la Roche-Guyon. Mademoiselle 
d'Elbeuf, born in 1649, married, in 1669, Charles Henri de Lorraine, count de 

87 Anne Marie de Beauvillier was the wife of Hippolyte de Bethune, count de 
Selles and marquis de Cabris, and dame tfatour to the queen. She died in 1688, 
a widow, at the age of seventy-eight years. 

88 Armande de Saint-Gelais, a daughter of the lord de Lansac, marquis de Balon, 
was the wife of Charles III., duke de Crequi, peer of France, prince de Poix, first 
gentleman of the chamber to the King, and governor of Paris. 

89 Monsieur was the title of the eldest brother of the king. He married, first, 
Henrietta of England, a sister of Charles II., and, after her death (1670), Charlotte 
Elizabeth of Bavaria. He was said to be a good general, and gained a brilliant 
victory over the Prince of Orange at Cassel, in 1676, which made Louis XIV. so 
jealous that he never gave his brother any other military command. He died sud- 
denly at Saint-Cloud in 1701. 

*> Madame la duchesse de Saint-Aignan, whose maiden name was Antoinette 


Madame la marechale du P'essis^- Madame la marechale 
Madame de Gourdon^ Madame de Montespan,^ Madam d' ' Humicres^ 
Mademoiselle de Brancas,^ Madame d'Armagnac,^ Madame la comtesse 
de Soissons, 4 * Madame la princesse de Bade, Mademoiselle de Grancey. ^ 
On the other side were seated the Queen, 51 Madame de Carignan^ 

Servien, was the first wife of Francois de Beauvillier, duke of Saint-Aignan, whom 
she married in 1633. She died in 1680, and her husband married again six months 
after her death. Madame de Sevigne speaks of this in her letters. 

41 Colombe de Charron was the wife of Cesar de Choiseul, count, and afterwards, 
duke de Plessis-Praslin, marshal of France, who died in 1675, seventy-eight years 
old. This lady, known as the marechale du Plessis , had great influence at court, 
because her husband had been governor of Philip of France, duke of Orleans. 

^Madame la marechale d'Etampes, the eldest daughter of the marquis de Praslin, 
marshal of France, and whose maiden name was Catherine Blance de Choiseul, 
had married, in 1610, Jacques d'Etampes, called the marshal de la Ferte d'Imbault, 
who died in 1668, seventy-eight years old. She was nearly as old as her husband, 
was called at court la. marechale d" Estampes, and was first maid of honour to 
Henrietta of England, duchess of Orleans. 

43 Madame de Gourdon belonged to the household of Madame, duchess of Or- 
leans, after whose death she was falsely accused of having poisoned her. 

44 Francoise Athenais de Rochechouart, daughter of Gabriel de Rochechouart, 
duke de Mortemart, married, in 1663, Henri Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin, 
marquis de Montespan, and became soon after this dame du palais to the queen. 
She was first the confidante, and afterwards the rival, of Mademoiselle de la Val- 
liere. In 1668, Madame de Montespan became the mistress of the King, and lived 
long enough " to point a moral and adorn a tale." 

46 Louise Antoinette Therese de la Chatre, daughter of Edme de la Chatre, count 
of Nancei, married, in 1653, Louis de Crevant, marquis d'Humieres, who was lieu- 
tenant-general, and became, in 1668, marshal of France. Madame de Sevigne 
mentions him in her letters. 

48 Mademoiselle de Brancas, according to the researches of the eminent French 
litterateur, Paul Lacroix, made kindly and specially for this edition, is Marie de 
Brancas, daughter of count Charles de Brancas, who married, in 1667, Alphonse- 
Henri-Charles de Lorraine, prince d'Harcourt, and became then dame du palais. 

47 Madame d'Armagnac, whose maiden name was Marguerite-Phillipe de Cam- 
bout, was the widow of Antoine de 1'Age, duke de Puy-Laurens, and had married 
again Henri de Lorraine, count d'Armagnac, second son of Charles de Lorraine, 
first of that name, duke d'Elbeuf. She died in 1674. 

** Madame la comtesse de Soissons, Olympe Mancini, the niece of Cardinal 
Mazarin, was born at Rome in 1640. She inspired a great passion in Louis XIV. 
when he was very young, but she married, in 1657, the count de Soissons. In 1664, 
she was made grand-mistress of the household of the queen, and was exiled from the 
court the following year, on account of an intrigue which she had planned against 
Mademoiselle de la Valliere, whom she could never forgive for having become mis- 
tress to the King. 

49 Madame la Princesse de Bade was Louise Christine de Savoie, daughter of 
Thomas de Savoie, prince de Carignan, and of Marie de Bourbon-Soissons. She 
married, in 1655, Ferdinand Maximilien, marquis of Baden, who left her and her 
son behind in France, five years after his marriage. She was called princesse de 
Bade, as being a daughter of the prince of Carignan. 

80 Mademoiselle de Grancey, the eldest daughter of Jacques Rouxel, count de 
Grancey, marshal! of France, was afterwards known as countess de Grancey. 

81 Maria Theresa of Austria, born at the Escurial, in Spain, in 1638, daughter of 
Philip IV., King of Spain, and of Elizabeth of France, married Louis XIV., in 
1660, and suffered all her life long, her husband's marital infidelities without com- 
plaining. She was appointed regentess in 1672, when the King started for the Dutch 
wars, and died in 1683. Of her six children, only one survived her. 

M Madame de Carignan's name was Marie de Bourbon, daughter of Charles, count 
de Soissons. She had married, in 1624, Thomas Francois de Savoie, prince de 
Carignan, who died in 1656. She returned then to the court of France, and died in 
1692. Her eldest son continued the branch of the princes of Carignan ; her second 
son, Eugene Maurice, the branch of the Soissons. 



Madame de Fleix** Madame la duchesse de Foix f* Madame de Brancas?* 
Madame de Froulayf* Madame la duchesse de Navailles^ Mademoiselle 
d' Ardennes, Mademoiselle de Coetlogonp* Madame de Crussol, 60 Ma- 
dame de Montausier, 61 Madame, 6 * Madame la princesse Benedictef* Ma- 
dam la Duchesse^ Madame de Rouvroy* Mademoiselle de la AfotAe, 66 
Madame Marse 6 " 1 Mademoiselle de la Valliere^ Mademoiselle d'Ar- 

63 Marie-Claire de Baufremont, first lady of honour to the Queen Anne of Austria, 
married, in 1637, Jean-Baptiste-Gaston de Foix, count de Fleix, after whose death, 
in 1646, she was always called countess de Fleix. She was held in great considera- 
tion by Louis XIV. 

54 There was no duchess de Foix in 1664; but there was a countess of Foix, who 
took the title of duchesse, a title which no one disputed with her. Her maiden 
name was Madeleine Charlotte d'Ailli d'AIbert, daughter of Henri-Louis, duke de 
Chaulnes, and she was married to Gaston-Jean-Baptiste de Foix et de Candale, 
whom she preceded to the tomb by four months. 

55 It is not easy to state exactly who was the real Madame de Brancas, for at that 
time there were two branches of the family of Brancas, the Forcalquier-Cereste 
and the Brancas- Villars, who both figured at the entertainments given by Louis 
XIV. We believe, however, that the lady mentioned here was Suzanne Gamier, 
wife of Charles, count de Brancas, uncle and father-in-law of Louis de Brancas 
duke de Villars. 

66 Madame de Froulay, widow of Charles, count de Froulay, grand-marechal des 
logis of the King, was a very intriguing busybody, who at last rendered herself 
obnoxious to Louis XIV. 

67 Madame la duchesse de Navailles was the daughter of Charles de Beauveau, 
count de Neuillan, and married, in 1651, Philippe de Montault-Benac, due de 
Navailles, peer and marshal of France. She was one of the ladies-in-waiting to 
the Queen Anne of Austria. 

8S Mademoiselle d' Ardennes belonged certainly to the family of the Rommilles in 
Brittany, who were lords d'Ardennes. She was most likely maid of honour to the 

59 Mademoiselle Louise Philippe de Coetlogon, maid of honour to the Queen, was 
afterwards married to the marquis de Cavoye. 

60 Madame de Crussol was married, March i6th, 1664, to Emmanuel de Crussol, 
a son of the duke d'Usez ; she was the only daughter of the duke de Montausier, 
and her maiden name was Julie Marie de Sainte Maure. 

61 Madame de Montausier, the celebrated Julie of the hotel Rambouillet, whose 
real name was Julie Lucie d'Angennes, marchioness of Rambouillet and Pisani, 
governess of the dauphin, and lady of honour to the Queen. 

62 For Madame, see Introductory Notice to The School for Wives, Vol. I. 

63 Madame la princesse Benedicte belonged most probably to some branch of the 
house of France. I have, however, not been able to discover who she was. 

M Madame la Duchesse had been, for a year (1663). the wife of Henry- Jules de 
Bourbon, duke d'Enghein, and was called, according to custom, Madame la 
Duchesse. She was the daughter of Edward of Bavaria, palatine of the Rhine. 

45 Madame de Rouvroy was unmarried in 1664, when the fetes at Versailles were 
given, and belonged to the family of the duke of St. Simon. She was maid of honour 
to the Queen, and married the count de St. Vallier in 1675. Mad. de Sevigne 
speaks of her and her mother in her letters. 

66 Mademoiselle de la Mothe, daughter of the marshal Antoine de la Mothe, mar- 
quis d'Houdancourt, was maid of honour to the Queen, and afterwards duchess de 
la Vieuville. 

7 Madame de Marse. I have been unable to discover who this lady was ; most 
likely a maid of honour or lady in waiting on the Queen. In Burgundy there was 
a lordship de Marze, belonging to the noble family of Nanton. 

68 Mademoiselle Louise Francoise de La Baume Le Blanc de la Valliere, the king's 
present mistress, had, only five months before, been confined of her first child, 
and sought, afterwards, by a cloistral penance of twenty years, to redeem the mis- 
take of having loved that coarse and egotistical voluptuary, Louis XIV. She was 
born at Tours in 1644, and was maid of honour to Madame in 1664. In 1667, the 
property of La Valliere was made a duche-pairie in favour of Mademoiselle de la 
Valliere. and of her child, fille legitimee de France, who afterwards became prin- 
cess de Conti. Charles II., King of England, who liked to imitate Louis XIV. as 


iigny Mademoiselle du Bellay Mademoiselle de Dampierre," 11 Ma- 
demoiselle de Fiettnes.T*. 

The splendour of this collation surpasses all that could be written of it, 
as well for its abundance, as for the delicacy of the things that were 
served up. It formed, likewise, the finest object for the gratification of 
the senses ; for, in the night-time, near the verdure of those palisades, a 
great number of candlesticks painted green and silver, each of them 
holding twenty-four tapers, and two hundred flambeaux of white wax, 
held by as many masked persons, gave a light almost as great as, and 
more agreeable than, daylight. All the knights, with their helmets covered 
with plumes of different colours, and their tilting dresses, leaned on the 
barriers ; and the great number of officers, richly clad . who waited at 
table, enhanced its beauty, and rendered that ring an enchanted place ; 
whence, after the collation, their Majesties and all the court went out by 
a portico opposite the lists, and in a great number of very comfortable 
carriages, took their way to the castle. 

The Second Day of the Pleasures of the Enchanted Island. 

On the evening of the second day, their Majesties went to another ring, 
surrounded by palisades like the former, and in the same line still pro- 
jecting towards the lake, where the palace of Alcina was supposed to be 

The plan of this second feast was that Rogero and the knights of his 
troop, after having performed wonders in the lists, which by order of the 
fair magician had been held in honour of the Queen, should continue in 
the same manner, the following diversion ; and that the floating island 
not having left the French shore, they might afford her Majesty the plea- 
sure of a comedy, of which the scene was laid in Elis. 

The King then caused, with surprising expedition, the whole ring to be 
covered with cloths, shaped like a dome, to protect against the wind the 
great number of flambeaux and wax lights which were to light up the 
theatre, of which the decorations were very pleasing. They then repre- 

well as he could, bestowed a similar reward upon Barbara Villiers, countess of 
Castlemain, for similar services rendered (see Introductory Notice to Love is the 
Beit Doctor). Louis le Grand appears to have acquired the name of " great," 
solely on account of his indomitable will, which showed itself above all in a disre- 
gard for the feelings of others, in his voracious appetite, in the repeated gratifica- 
tion of his brutal passions, in the number of his mistresses and bastards, in his 
cravings for swallowing medicine, and finally, in the revocation of the Edict of 
Nantes, and hi devotee drivellings, by which he seemed to wish to cheat Heaven, 
as he had cheated posterity, out of the nickname of " Grand," by a sham assump- 
tion of dignity. Injustice to Mons. Paul Lacroix, whom I know to entertain other 
opinions in regard to Louis XIV., I beg to state these remarks on the Grand Mon- 
arque are mine. 

* Mademoiselle d'Artigny belonged probably to the family de Guast, who came 
from the Comtat Venaissin, in which the name and lordship of d'Artigny are found. 
She was most likely one of the maids of honour to the Queen. 

70 Mademoiselle du Bellay , or rather de Belloy, was probably one of the maids of 
honour to the queen, and belonged to the ancient and illustrious family of de Belloy, 
of which a great many representatives were in the King's and Queen's retinue. 

71 Mademoiselle de Dampierre, was a maid of honour to the Queen, and after- 
wards married to Alphonse de Moreuil, first gentleman of the chamber to the 
Prince de Conde. 

72 Mademoiselle de Fienne's real name was Mademoiselle de Fruges ; but she 
took the first title because she belonged to that noble house. She married Henri 
Gamier, count des Chapelles, governor of Montargis, and would never take the 
name of her husband. She was maid of honour to the Queen. 


sented The Princess of Elis as well as six interludes. Whilst the 
shepherds and shepherdesses were singing and dancing at the end of the 
sixth interlude, there rose, from underneath the stage, a great tree, on 
which were sixteen fauns, eight of whom played on the flute, and the 
others on the violin, with the most agreeable harmony. Thirty violins 
answered them from the orchestra, as well as six harpsichords and the- 

Four shepherds and shepherdesses came and danced a very fine 
entree^ in which the fauns, who had come down from the tree, mingled 
from time to time. This whole scene was so grand, so busy, and so 
agreeable, that no more beautiful ballet was ever seen. 

Thus the amusements of this day, which all the court praised no less 
than those of the preceding, ended most advantageously, every one going 
away well satisfied, and having great expectations of the sequel of so 
complete a festival. 

The Third Day of the Pleasures of the Enchanted Island. 

The more they advanced towards the great round water, representing 
the lake, on . which formerly the palace of Alcina was built, the nearer 
they came to the end of the amusements of the Enchanted Island, as if 
it had not been fit that so many valiant knights should remain away 
any longer in an idleness which would have wronged their glory. 

Therefore, always following the first plan, it was pretended that, Heaven 
having resolved to set free these warriors, Alcina had some forebodings of 
it, which filled her with terror and uneasiness. She resolved to do all she 
could to prevent such a misfortune, and to fortify, by all possible means, 
a place which might secure her entire repose and joy. 

Within this round lake, of which the size and shape were extraordinary, 
was a rock situated in the middle of an island, filled with different ani- 
mals, as if they would forbid the entry of it. 

Two other islands, longer, but not so wide, were on both sides of the 
first, and all three, as well as the banks of the lake, were so well lit up 
that there seemed to arise a new day amidst the darkness of the night. 

As soon as their Majesties had arrived and taken their places, one of 
the two islands which were by the sides of the first was wholly filled with 
violin-players, very well dressed. The opposite island was at the same 
time filled with trumpeters and kettle-drummers, whose dresses were no 
less rich. 

But what was more surprising was to see Alcina (Mademoiselle Duparc) 
issue from behind a rock, born by a sea monster of prodigious size. Two 
of her nymphs, called Celia (Mademoiselle Du Brie) and Dirce (Mademoi- 
selle Moliere), followed her ; and, placing themselves on each side upon 
large whales, approached the bank of the lake ; while Alcina began to 
recite the following verses, which her companions answered, and which 
were in praise of the Queen, mother of the King. 


Alcina. You who both share my happy lot, 
Come weep with me in this extremity. 

Celia. Why such alarms so unexpectedly ? 
What draws such floods of tears from those bright eyes T 

T *In the official description of The Pleasures of the Enchanted Island , Moliere's 
comedy, The Princess of Elis, is placed here. I have printed it at the end of this 
Introductory Notice. 

7 * See Prefatory Memoir, Vol. I. 


Alcina. I can't even think to speak on't without trembling. 
'Midst the dark horrors of a threatening dream, 
A spectre with a hideous voice declared 
That hell no longer aids me with its force, 
That a celestial power arrests its aid, 
And that this day for me shall be the last. 
All the malignant influence of the stars, 
Which adverse reigned ascendant at my birth, 
And all misfortunes which my art had promised, 
This dream foreshadowed in such lively colours, 
That ceaseless to my waking eyes it offers 
Melissa's power and Bradamant's good fortune. 
These evils I foresaw, but the dear pleasures, 
Which here seemed even to forestal our wishes ; 
Our lofty palaces, our fields, our gardens, 
The pleasing converse of our dear companions, 
Our songs and sports, the concerts of the birds, 
The zephyr's fragrant breath, the murmuring waters, 
The sweet adventures of our tender loves, 
Made me forget those fatal auguries ; 
When that dire dream, which still distracts my senses, 
With so much fury brought 'em to my mind. 
Methinks I see my troops each moment routed, 
My guards all slaughtered, and my prisons forced, 
A thousand lovers by my art transformed, 
Who bent on my destruction full of rage, 

?uit, all at once, their trunks and leafy dwellings 
o take a righteous vengeance upon me ; 
And last methinks I see my dear Rogero 
Ready to shake off my despised chains. 

Celia. Fear in your breast has gained the upper hand. 
You reign sole here ; for you alone they sigh ; 
Nought interrupts the course of your contentment, 
But plaintive accents of your mournful lovers. 
Logistilla's 76 troops driven from our fields 
Still quake with fear, hidden in their far mountains ; 
And even Melissa's name, unheard of here 
Is only by your aug'ries known to us. 

Dirce. An ! let us not deceive ourselves, this phantom 
Held, this last night, the same discourse with me. 

Alcina. Alas ! who then can doubt of our misfortunes ? 

Celia. I see a sure and easy remedy ; 
A queen appears, whose most auspicious aid 
Will guard us from the efforts of Melissa. 
The goodness of this queen is highly praised. 
'Tis said her heart, whose constancy despised 
The insolence of the rebellious waves, 78 
Is ever open to her subjects' vows. 

Alcina. 'Tis true, I see her. In this pressing danger 
Let us endeavour to engage her succour. 
Let's tell her that the public voice proclaims 
The charming beauties of her royal soul. 
Say that her virtue, higher than her rank, 
Adorns the lustre of her noble blood ; 
And that our sex's glory she has borne 
So far, that times to come will scarce believe it. 
That her great heart, fond of the public good, 
Gives her a generous contempt of dangers ; 
Proof against ought that may befall herself, 
She apprehends for nothing but the state. 
Say that her benefits profusely poured, 
Gain her the love and rev'rence of mankind, 

^Logistilla is a good fairy, and the sister of the wicked enchantress Alcina. 
' This is an allusion to the troubles of the Fronde during the minority of 
Louis XIV. 


That even the shadow of an ill that threats her 

Is cause enough to put the world in mourning. 

Say that at the acme of an absolute power, 

Her grandeur without pride or pomp appears ; 

That in most dangerous times her constant prudence 

Has fearless the prerogative supported ; 77 

And in the happy calm gained by her labours 

Restores it to her son without regret. 

Say, with what great respect, with what complaisance, 

That glorious son rewards her for her cares. 

Let's laud the just laws, and the life-long labours 

Of that same son, the greatest of all monarchs ; 

And how that mother, fortunately fruitful, 

Giving but twice, gave so much to the world. 78 

In fine, the more to move her to compassion, 

Let's use the eloquence of sighs and tears, 

Then we amidst our greatest pangs may find 

A peaceful refuge at her royal feet. 

DIRCE. I know her heart, magnificently generous, 
Does kindly listen to the voice of misery; 
But yet she ne'er exerted all her power, 
Unless to shield the innocent from wrong ; 
I know she all things can, but dare not think 
She'll stoop so low as to defend our cause. 
She may have been informed of our soft errors, 
And nothing is more clashing with her conduct ; 
Her well-known zeal for piety will render 
Our interests odious to her spotless virtue ; 
And far from growing less at her approach 
My fear redoubling chills my troubled spirits. 

ALCINA. Oh ! my own fear's sufficient to afflict me. 
Do not augment my grief, but try to soothe it, 
To furnish my dejected soul, with means 
Of warding off the ills that threaten it. 
Meanwhile let all the palace guards be doubled, 
And if there be no sanctuary for us, 
Let us in our despair our comfort seek, 
Nor yield ourselves at least without resistance. 

When they had finished, and Alcina had gone out to double the guards 
of the palace, a concert of violins was heard, during which the front of 
the palace opened with wonderful art, and towers rose to view, whilst four 
giants of great size appeared with four dwarfs, who, by the contrast of 
their little stature, made that of the giants seem still more excessive. To 
these giants was committed the guard of the palace, and by them began 
the first entree. 


The first entree was composed of four giants and four dwarfs : the 
second, of eight Moors, to whom the guard of the interior was entrusted 
by Alcina. and who carefully visited it, each having two flambeaux. 

The third -entree. Meanwhile some lover's quarrel prompted six of the 
knights whom Alcina kept near her to attempt to get out of the palace ; 
but fortune not seconding the endeavours they made, in their despair they 
were overcome, after a sharp combat, by as many monsters which attack 

Fourth entree. Alcina, alarmed by this accident, invokes anew all her 
spirits, and demands their aid ; two of them present themselves before 
her, leaping with wonderful force and agility. 

17 Another allusion to the troubles of the Fronde. 

" Louis XIV. had only one brother, the Duke of Orleans. 


Fifth entree. Other demons came and seemed to reassure the enchan- 
tress that they shall not forget anything that may contribute to her repose. 

Sixth and last entree. But hardly had she begun to reassure herself, 
when she saw the wise Melissa appear under the form of Atlant, near 
Rogero and some knights of his train. She immediately hastened to hin- 
der her from executing her intention ; but she came too late ; Mclissahad 
already placed on the ringer of that brave knight the famous ring which 
destroys enchantments. Then thunderclaps, followed by several flashes 
of lightning, portended the destruction of the palace, which was immedi- 
ately reduced to ashes by fireworks, which put an end to this adventure, 
and to the amusements of the Enchanted Island. 79 

It looked as if Heave", Earth, and Water were all in a flame, and as if 
the destruction of the splendid palace of Alcina, as well as the liberation 
of the knights she there kept in prison, could be effected only amidst 
prodigies and miracles. The height and number of rockets, those which 
fell on the shore, and those which came out of the water after having 
fallen into it, formed a spectacle so grand and magnificent, that nothing 
could better terminate the enchantments, than these fireworks; which, 
ending at last after an extraordinary length and noise, redoubled the loud 
reports which had begun it. 

Then all the court withdrew, and confessed that nothing could be more 
perfect than these three feasts. It is sufficient acknowledgment of this 
perfection, to say that, as each of the three days had its partisans, as every 
one of them had its particular beauties, none could agree which ought to 
bear away the bell; although they all agreed that they might justly dis- 
pute it with all those that ever had been seen till then, and perhaps sur- 
pass them. 

The Fourth Day of the Pleasures of the Enchanted Island. 8 

But although the feasts properly belonging to the pleasures of the En- 
chanted Island were ended, yet all the diversions of Versailles were not so. 
The magnificence and gallantry of the King had reserved some for other 
days, which were no less agreeable. 

On Saturday, the loth, his Majesty had a mind to run at heads, an 
exercise of which few people are ignorant, which has come to us from Ger- 
many, and is well adapted for shewing a cavalier's skill, as well in managing 
his horse in times of war, as in rightly using a lance, a dart, and a sword. 
If there are any who never saw them run at, being not so common as the 
ring, and brought hither only of late, they may here find a description of 
it ; while those who have had the pleasure of seeing them, may bear with 
so short a narrative. 

The knights enter the lists one after another with lance in hand, and a 

" The names of all the dancers are given in the official description ; but we have 
omitted them, as not possessing the smallest interest at the present time. Amongst 
them appears, however, a certain Moliere, who was a professional dancer and 
singer, and several times displayed his talents before the King. He was in Paris 
at least ten years before Moliere, and has composed a collection of songs, which is 
printed. For more details about this namesake of our author, see a note by the 
Bibliophile Jacob in the Catalogue Soleinne, Vol. iii., 9383. There had also been 
another Moliere, called Francois, who died in 1623, and whose novt\Polixette, pub- 
lished only in 1632, and to be found in the British Museum, caused a certain sensa- 
tion in those times. See Prefatory Memoir, Vol. I. 

*> The official account of the feast no longer separates the days but as nearly 
all old editions of Moliere do so, I have followed them. 


dart under the right thigh ; and after one of them has run and borne off a 
head of thick paste-board painted, and like a Turk's, he gives his lance to 
a page, and, turning the horse partly round, he returns at full gallop to the 
second head, which is like a Moor's and as black, bears it off with the 
dart, with which he strikes it as he passes; then taking a javelin a little 
different in form from a dart, in a third turn he plants it in a buckler, 
whereon is painted a Medusa's head ; and ending his demi-volt, he draws 
his sword, wherewith, as he gallops past, he bears off a head raised half a 
foot from the ground ; then giving way to another, he who in his running 
bears off most, gains the prize. 

All the courtiers having arranged themselves behind a balustrade of 
iron gilt, which went quite round the agreeable house of Versailles, and 
which looks into the trench, where the lists and the barriers were, the 
King repaired thither, followed by the same knights that ran at the ring. 
The dukes de Saint-Aignan and de Noailles continued in their former 
offices, one of marshal of the camp, and the other of judge of the course. 
Of these, many were run very handsomely and successfully ; but the 
King's skill gained him not only the prize of the ladies' course, but like- 
wise that which was given by the queen. It was a rose of diamonds of 
great value, which the King won, but freely gave to be run for by the 
other knights, and for which the marquis de Coaslin contended with the 
marquis de Soyecourt, and gained. 

The Fifth Day of the Pleasures of the Enchanted Island. 

On Sunday, at the King's Levee, almost all the conversation turned on 
the fine running of the preceding day, and occasioned a grand challenge 
between the duke de Saint-Aignan, who had not yet run, and the marquis 
de Soyecourt. The running was deferred till the next day, because the 
marshal duke de Grammont, who bet for the Marquis, was obliged to go 
to Paris, whence he was not to return till that time. 

On that afternoon, the king took all the court to his aviary, which ex- 
cited great admiration, both by its particular beauties, and by the almost 
incredible number of birds of all sorts, amongst which were many of great 
rarity. It would be useless to mention the collation which followed this 
diversion, since, for eight successive days, every repast might be esteemed 
one of the greatest feasts that could be made. 81 

In the evening, his Majesty caused to be represented, on one of those 
double theatres of his Salon which his boundless ingenuity had invented, 
the very clever comedy of The Bores, (see Vol. I., p. 297), written by the 
sieur de Moliere, with entrees de ballet. 

The Sixth Day of the Pleasures of the Enchanted Island. 
The rumour of the challenge which was to be run on Monday the 
twelfth, caused an infinite number of bets of great value to be laid; 

81 It must not be forgotten that Louis XIV. was an omnivorous eater. As an ex- 
ample of this, I shall give a passage from one of the letters of the Princesse palatine, 
duchess of Orleans : " I have often seen the king eat four plates-full of different 
soups, a whole pheasant, a partridge, a large plate- full of salad, some mutton 
roasted, with garlic, two good slices of ham, a plate-full of pastry, and then fruits 
and sweets." When Louis XIV. was seventy years old (1708), he dieted himself as 
follows, according to the Journal de la santt du Roy : "with some soup, with either 
some pigeons or a fowl boiled in it, and three roast fowls, of which he ate four wings, 
the breasts, and one leg." Of course the courtiers tried to imitate him ; hence the 
repeated mention of repasts. 


although that of the two knights was but a hundred pistoles. And as the 
duke, by a happy boldness, gave one head to that dexterous marquis, 
several betted on the latter, who, coming somewhat late to the King, 
found a challenge to hasten him. This challenge being only in prose, we 
have not inserted here. 

The duke de Saint-Aignan had likewise shown to some of his friends, 
as an happy omen of his victory, these three verses : 


If, O ye fair, your sentiments agree 

With mine, you shall confess this day, that he 

Who conquers Soyecourt conquers ten besides 

still alluding to his name of Guido the savage whom the adventure of the 
dangerous island made conqueror over ten knights. 82 As soon as the 
King had dined, he conducted the queens, the duke and duchess of 
Orleans, and all the ladies, to a place where a lottery was to be drawn, 
that nothing might be wanting to the gallantry of these entertainments. 
The prizes were precious stones, furniture, plate and similar things ; and 
though chance decided these presents, yet it certainly fell in with his 
Majesty's desire, when it gave the great prize to the Queen. Every one 
left that place very well pleased, to go to see the running which was 
about to begin. 

At length Guido and Oliviero appeared in the lists, at five o'clock in 
the evening, very handsomely dressed and well mounted. 

The King and all the court honored them with their presence, and his 
Majesty himself read the conditions of the running, that there might be 
no difference between them. The duke de Saint-Aignan was fortunate, 
for he gained the day. 

At night, his Majesty caused to be performed the first three acts of a 
comedy called Tartuffe, which the sieur de Moliere had made against 
the hypocrites. But although the King thought it very diverting, he 
found so much conformity between those whom a true devotion leads in 
the way to Heaven, and those whom a vain ostentation of good works 
does not hinder from committing evil ones, that his extreme delicacy 
in point of religion could hardly bear that resemblance of vice and virtue 
which might be mistaken for one another. And although he did not 
doubt the good intentions of the author, he forbade its being acted in 
public, and deprived himself of that pleasure, so as not to deceive others, 
who were less capable of a just discernment. 


The Seventh Day of the Pleasures of the Enchanted Island. 

On Tuesday the i3th, the King was pleased again to run at heads, as a 
common sport, wherein he who hit most was to win. His Majesty gained 
anew the prize of the course of the ladies, the duke de Saint-Aignan that 
of the sport ; and having had the honour to enter the next time into 
competition with his Majesty, the incomparable skill of the King gained 
him that prize also. It was not without unavoidable astonishment, that 
the King was seen to gain four, whilst running twice to the head. On 
the same night was played the comedy of The forced Marriage, which 
was likewise the work of the same Moliere. The King then took his way 

* There is in these lines an allusion to the marquis de Soyecourt's well-known 
prowess in other fields. See also page 10, note 18. 


to Fontainebleau on Wednesday the I4th. All the court was so satisfied 
with what they had seen, that every one was of opinion that it ought to 
be put in writing, to give some idea of it to those who did not see such 
varied and agreeable entertainments, wherein were at once to be admired 
the project and the success, the liberality with the politeness, the multitude 
with order, and the satisfaction of all ; wherein the indefatigable pains of 
Monsieur Colbert were employed through all these diversions, notwith- 
standing his important affairs ; wherein the duke de Saint-Aignan acted, 
as well as invented the designs ; wherein the fine verses of the president 
de Perigny in praise of the queens were so justly conceived, so agreeably 
turned, and repeated with so much art; wherein those which M. de 
Benserade made for the knights were generally approved; wherein the 
great care of M. Bontemps, M and the application of M. de Launay, M let 
nothing that was necessary be wanting ; wherein every one so advan- 
tageously testified his design of pleasing the King, at a time when his 
Majesty himself thought of nothing but pleasing; and wherein, in a word, 
all that was seen will for ever continue in the memoiy of the spectators, 
even if care had not been taken to preserve in writing the remembrance 
of all these wonders. 

^Mons. Bontemps was the first valet de chambre of the King, and afterwards 
became governor of the castles of Versailles and Marly. He was the confidant and 
favourite of Louis XIV., to whom he rendered many secret services. St. Simon 
prajses him in his Memoires. 

M M . de Launay was the intendant des menus plaisirs et affaires de la chambre. 



IPHITAS, father to the Princess of Elis. 

EURYALUS, Prince of Ithaca. 

ARISTOMENES, Prince of Messena. 

THEOCLES, Prince of Pylos. 

ARBATES, governor to the Prince of Ithaca. 

LYCAS, attendant on Iphitas. 

MORON, the Princess 's fool. 


AGLANTA, cousin to the Princess. 

CYNTHIA, cousin to the Princess. 

PHILLIS, attendant on the Princess. 


First Interlude. 


LYCISCAS, a huntsman. 
WHIPPERS-IN, dancing. 

Second Interlude. 

HUNTSMEN, dancing. 

Third Interlude. 



A SATYR, singing. 

SATYRS, dancing. 

Fourth Interlude. 


TIRCIS, a singing shepherd. 


Fifth Interlude. 




Sixth Interlude. 

ESSES, singing. 

ESSES, dancing. 

It has been said in the pamphlet la Fameuse comedienne (See Intro- 
ductory Notice to The Impromptu of Versailles, Vol. I.,) that Madame 
Moliere, whilst acting the part of the Princess of Elis, attracted the atten- 
tion and afterwards responded to the flame, of the Count de Lauzun. and 
also, perhaps, to those of the Abb< de Richelieu and the Count de Guiche. 
Several of Moliere's biographers have repeated this accusation. M. Bazin, 
in his Notes historiques sur la Vie de Moliere, has proved that one of the 
accused noblemen was at that time in Hungary, and the other in Poland. 

88 This short part was created by Moliere himself. Moliere acted also 
the part of Moron. 





When Love presents a charming choice 

Respond to his flame, oh youthful fair ! 

Do not affect a pride which no one can subdue, 

Though you've been told such pride becomes you well. 
When one is of a lovely age 
Naught is so handsome as to love. 

Breathe freely sighs for him who faithful loves 

And challenge those who wish to blame your ways. 

A tender heart is lovely ; but a cruel maid 

Will never be a title to esteem. 

When one is fair and beautiful 
Naught is so handsome as to love. 


Whilst Aurora was singing these verses, four whippers-in 
were asleep on the grass, one of whom, called Lyciscas, rep- 
resented by M. de Moliere, an excellent actor, who had 
invented the verses and the whole comedy, was lying between 
two, whilst the third was at his feet. The other huntsmen 
were Messrs. Estival, Don, and Blondel, musicians of the 
king, who had admirable voices, and who awoke, at Aurora's 
call, and, as soon as she had finished, sang in recitativo. 



Hullo ! hullo ! get up, get up, get up ! Everything must 
be prepared for the hunting match. Hullo ! get up; get 
up quickly. 

1 WHIP. Day to the darkest spots imparts its light. 

2 WHIP. The air distils its pearls on flowers. 

3 WHIP. The nightingales begin their warbling notes, 
and with their little concerts thrill the air. 

ALL THREE. Come, come, get up ! quick, get up! (To 
Lyciscas asleep). What is the matter, Lyciscas? What! 
you are snoring still ! you, who promised to outstrip 
Aurora ? Come, get up ; get up, quick ! Everything 
must be prepared for the hunting match. Get up quickly, 
get up ! Make haste, get up ! 

LYCISCAS. ( Waking). Zounds, you are terrible brawlers ! 
You open your throats early in the morning. 

MUSICIANS. Do you not see the light beams everywhere ! 
Come, get up, Lyciscas, get up. 

LYC. Oh ! let me sleep yet a little while, I entreat you. 

Mus. No, no, get up, Lyciscas, get up. 

LYC. I only ask about a quarter of an hour. 

Mus. Not at all, not at all ; get up, quick, get up. 

LYC. Alas ! I pray you. 

Mus. Get up. 

LYC. A moment. 

Mus. Get up. 

LYC. I beseech you. 

Mus. Get up. 

LYC. Oh! 

Mus. Get up. 

LYC. I ... 

JMus. Get up. 

LYC. I shall have done immediately. 

Mus. No, no, get up, Lyciscas, get up. Everything 
has to be prepared for the hunting match. Quickly, get 
up ; make haste, get up. 

LYC. Well, be quiet ; I shall rise. You are strange 
people to torment me thus. You will be the cause of my 
being unwell all day ; for, do you see, sleep is necessary to 
man, and when one does not sleep one's fill, it happens . . . 
that . . . one is not . . . (He falls asleep again. 

i Mus. Lyciscas ! 


2 Mus. Lyscicas ! 

3 Mus. Lyciscas! 
ALL. Lyciscas ! 

LYC. To the deuce with these brawlers ! I wish your 
throats were stopped with scalding porridge. 87 

A.LL. Get up, get up ; make haste ; get up, quick, get 

LYC. Oh ! how wearisome not to sleep one's fill ! 

1 Mus. Soho, ho ! 

2 Mus. Soho, ho ! 

3 Mus. Soho, ho ! 
ALL. Soho, ho ! 

LYC. Ho ! ho ! ho ! ho ! Plague take the fellows with 
their howlings. May the devil take me if I do not give 
you a good drubbing for this. But what deuced enthusi- 
asm possesses them to come and caterwaul in my ears at 
this rate ? 

ALL. Get up ! 

LYC. Again ? 

ALL. Get up ! 

LYC. The devil take you ! 

ALL. Get up. 

LYC. {Getting up). What! again! Was there ever 
such a passion for singing ? Zounds ! I shall go mad ! 
Since I am disturbed, I will not let the others sleep. I 
shall torment them as they have done me. Come, soho ! 
gentlemen, get up, get up, quick; you have been sleeping 
too long. I shall make a devil of a noise everywhere. 
{He shouts with all his might). Get up, get up, get up! 
Come quick ! Soho, ho ! get up, get up ! Everything 
must be prepared for the hunt ; get up, get up ! Lyciscas, 
get up ! Soho ! ho ! ho ! ho ! 

Lyciscas having at length risen with the greatest difficulty, 
and having shouted as loud as he could, several horns and 
hunting-horns are blown, which, together with the violins, 
begin an entree-tune, to which six whippers-in dance with 
great precision and order, whilst winding their horns at cer- 
tain periods. 

87 In Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy, chapter xxxii., Bailie Nicol Jarvie 
says : " And I wish Mr. Jarvie's boots had been fu' o' boiling water when 
he drew them on for sic a purpose." 



This hunt was prepared by the Prince of Elis, who, being of a gallant and 
magnificent disposition, and desirous that the Princess, his daughter, 
would think of marriage, to which she was very much averse, had in 
vited to his court the Princes of Ithaca, Messena, and Pylos, thinking 
that whilst hunting, which she loved much, or during other sports, 
chariot-races, and the like displays, one of these princes might perhaps 
please her, and so become her husband. 


Euryalus, Prince of Ithaca, in love with the Princess of 
Elis ; Arbates, his governor, who, indulgent to the prince' s 
passion, praises him in elegant phraseology, instead of blam- 
ing him. 


ARE. This dreamy silence, to which you have accus- 
tomed yourself so dolefully, makes you continually seek 
solitude, those deep sighs which come from your heart, 
and that gaze so full of languor, certainly say much to one 
of my age. I believe, my lord, I understand the language ; 
but, for fear of running too great a risk, I dare not be so 
bold as to explain it without your leave. 

EUR. Explain, explain with all freedom, Arbates, these 
sighs, these looks, and this mournful silence. I give you 
leave to say that love has subjected me to its laws, and de- 
fies me in its turn. I farther admit that you make me 
ashamed of the weakness of a heart which suffers itself to 
be overcome. 

ARE. What, my lord, shall I blame you for the tender 
emotions with which I now see you inspired? The sour- 
ness of old age cannot embitter me against the gentle 
transports of an amorous flame. Although my life is near 
its close, I maintain that love suits well such men as you; 
that the tribute paid to the charms of a beautiful face is a 
clear proof of a beautiful mind ; and that it is not easy 
for a young prince to be great and generous without being- 
in love. It is a quality I admire in a monarch. Tender- 
ness of heart is a sure sign that everything may be ex- 
pected from a prince of your age as soon as we perceive 
that his soul is capable of love. Yes, that passion, the 
most beautiful of all others, draws a hundred virtues in its 


train. It urges the heart to noble deeds, and all great 
heroes have felt its ardour. Your infancy, my lord, was 
spent under my eyes. I have seen realized the expecta- 
tions formed from your virtues. I observed in you quali- 
ties which told of the blood from which you sprung ; I 
discovered in you a fund of wit and brightness; I found 
you handsome, great, and noble ; your courage and your 
abilities shone forth every day ; but I was concerned be- 
cause I did not perceive any traces of love. Now that the 
pangs of an incurable wound show that your soul is insen- 
sible to its strokes, I triumph, and my heart, full of joy, 
looks upon you as a finished prince. 88 

EUR. If, for a time, I defied the power of love, alas ! 
my dear Arbates, it takes ample vengeance for it now. If 
you knew the ills into which my heart is plunged, you 
yourself would wish that it had never loved. For this is 
the fate that awaits me ; I love I ardently love the 
Princess of Elis ; you know that that pride which lurks 
beneath her charming aspect arms her youthful sentiments 
against love ; and that she avoids, during this grand feast, 
the crowd of lovers who strive to obtain her hand. Alas ! 
how little truth is there in the saying that the being we 
love -charms us at first sight, and that the first glance 
kindles in us those flames to which Heaven at our birth 
destined our souls. On my return from Argos, I passed 
this way, and then saw the Princess. I beheld all the 
charms with which she is endowed, but looked on them as 
one would look on a fine statue. Her brilliant youth, 
which I observed carefully, did not inspire my soul with 
one secret desire ; I quietly returned to the shores of 
Ithaca, without so much as recalling her to my mind for 
two years. In the meantime, the rumour spread to my 
court that she was known to entertain a contempt for 
love ; it was published everywhere that her proud spirit 
had an unconquerable aversion to marriage, and that, with 
a bow in her hand, and a quiver on her shoulder, she 

88 These verses, spoken in a festival given by Louis XIV. to please 
Mademoiselle de la Valliere, contain a very transparent allusion to the 
monarch's passion. Of course, many things may be brought forward to 
excuse Moliere ; yet, after all, although we admire the dramatist, we have 
not the same feelings for the courtier. 

VOL. II. c 


roamed through the woods like another Diana, loved 
nothing but hunting, and caused all the young heroes of 
Greece to sigh in vain. Admire our tempers and fate ! 
What her presence and beauty failed to do, the fame of 
her boldness produced in my heart. An unknown trans- 
port was born within me, which I could not master. Her 
disdain so bruited about had a secret charm, which made 
me carefully call to remembrance all her features. Look- 
ing upon her with new eyes, I formed an image of her 
so noble, so beautiful picturing to myself so much glory, 
and such pleasures, if I could but triumph over her cold- 
ness, that my heart, dazzled by such a victory, saw its 
glorious liberty fade away. It in vain resisted such a 
bait ; the sweetness of it took such complete possession of 
my senses that, impelled by an invisible power, I sailed at 
once from Ithaca hither, concealing my ardent passion 
under the pretence of wishing to be present at these re- 
nowned sports, to which the illustrious Iphitas, father of 
the princess, has invited most of the princes of Greece. 

ARE. But of what use, my lord, are the precautions you 
take ; and why are you so anxious to keep it a secret ? 
You love this illustrious princess, you say, and come to 
signalize yourself before her; yet neither looks, words, 
nor sighs have informed her of your ardent passion? I 
cannot, for my part, understand this policy, which will 
not allow you to open your heart ; nor do I see what fruit 
can be expected of a love which avoids all modes of dis- 
covering itself. 

EUR. And what should I gain, Arbates, by avowing my 
pangs, but draw down on myself the disdain of her haughty 
soul, and throw myself into the rank of those submissive 
princes, whose title of lovers causes her to look on them 
as enemies ? You see the kings of Messena and Pylos in 
vain lay their hearts at her feet ; the lofty splendour of 
their virtues, accompanied by the most assiduous respect, 
is useless. This repulse of their homage makes me con- 
ceal, in sad silence, the warmth of my love. I account 
myself condemned in seeing her behaviour towards these 
famous rivals, and read my own sentence in the contempt 
she shows to them. 

ARE. And it is in this contempt and haughty humour 


that your love should see its brightest hope, since fortune 
presents to you a heart to conquer, which is defended only 
by mere coldness, and does not oppose to your passion the 
deep-rooted tenderness of some other engagement. A 
heart already occupied resists powerfully ; but when the 
soul is free, it is easily overcome, and only a little patience 
is needed to triumph over all the pride of indifference. 
Conceal no longer from her the influence which her eyes 
have upon you ; openly display your passion, and, far 
from trembling at the example of others, fortify yourself 
with the hope that you will be successful because they 
have been repulsed. Perhaps you may possess the secret 
of touching her obdurate heart, which these princes have 
not. And if, through her imperious and capricious pride, 
you should not meet with a more propitious destiny, it is 
at least a happiness in misfortunes of this kind to see one's 
rivals rejected with oneself. 

EUR. I am glad to find that you approve a declaration 
of my passion ; by combating my reasons, you delight my 
soul. I wished to see, by what I said, whether you could 
approve what I had done. In short, since I must take 
you into my confidence, there is one who is to explain my 
silence to the Princess, and perhaps, at the very moment I 
am talking to you here, the secret of my heart is revealed. 
This chase, to which she went, you know, this morning 
early, in order to avoid the crowd of her adorers, is the 
opportunity which Moron has chosen to declare my pas- 

ARE. Moron, my lord ? 

EUR. My choice rather astonishes you ; you misjudge 
him because he is a court fool ; but you must know that 
he is less of a fool than he wishes to appear, and that, not- 
withstanding his present employment, he has more sense 
than those who laugh at him. 89 The Princess amuses her- 
self with his buffooneries : he his obtained her favour by 

* The office of court fool was, at the time Moliere wrote, not wholly 
abolished ; Louis XIV. still kept one, called 1'Angeli, who formerly be- 
longed to the Prince de Conde". Very little is known of him, except that 
he was biting in his remarks, and at last obliged to leave the court. I do 
not think any court fool was represented on the French stage from the 
time of The Princess of Ells until Victor Hugo's Triboulet in Le Roi 


a hundred jests, and can thus say, and persuade her to, 
what others dare not hazard. In short, I think him fit for 
my purpose ; he says he has a great affection for me, and, 
having been born in my country, will assist my love 
against all rivals. A little money given him to sustain his 
zeal . . . 


Moron, represented by M. de Moliere, arrives, and, being 
haunted by the remembrance of a furious wild boar, before 
which he had taken flight in the chase, asks for assistance. 
Meeting with Euryalus and Arbates, he places himself be- 
tween them for greater safety, after having given proofs of 
his terror and cracked a hundred jokes about his want of 


MOR. (Behind the scenes}. Help, help ! save me from 
this cruel animal. 

EUR. I think I hear his voice. 

MOR. {Behind the scenes). Come to me ! for mercy's 
sake, come to me ! 

EUR. It is he. Where is he running in such a fright ? 

MOR. {Appearing without seeing anyone). How shall 
I avoid this frightful boar ? Ye gods ! preserve me from 
his horrid tusks, and I promise you, if he does not catch 
me, four pounds of incense and two of the fattest calves. 
(Meeting Euryalus, whom in his fright he takes for the boar 
from which he is flying). Oh ! I am dead. 

EUR. What ails you? 

MOR. I took you for the animal, whose throat I beheld 
ready to swallow me ; my lord, I could not recover from 
my fright. 

EUR. What is it ? 

MOR. Oh ! what a strange taste the Princess has ; and, 
in following the chase and her extravagances, what foolish- 
ness we must put up with. What pleasure can these 
hunters find in being exposed to many thousand terrors ? 
Now, if a man hunted only hares, rabbits, or young does, 
it would be sensible ; they are animals of a very gentle 
nature, and always run away from us. But to go and 


attack these unmannerly beasts, who have not the least 
respect for a human face, and who hunt those who come 
to hunt them; that is a foolish pastime that I cannot 

EUR. Tell us what is the matter. 

MOR. (Turning round). What a whim of the Princess 
to take exercise under such difficulties ! I could have 
sworn she would play this trick. As the chariot-race 
came on to-day, she must needs go hunt to show her open 
contempt for these sports, and to make it appear .... 
But, mum, let me finish my tale, and resume the thread 
of my discourse. What was I saying. 

EUR. You were talking of an exercise under diffi- 

MOR. Ah ! yes. Well, then, fainting under this hor- 
rible labour (for I was up at break of day fitted out like a 
famous hunter), I slunk away from them all like a hero, 
and, finding a good place to take a nap in, I laid me 
down, and, composing myself, already began to snore 
comfortably, when suddenly a frightful noise made me 
open my eyes, and I beheld, coming out from behind 
an old thicket of the leafy wood, a boar of enormous size 
for. . . 

EUR. What now ? 

MOR. Nothing. Do not be afraid, but let me get be- 
tween you, for a reason ; I may then be better able to tell 
you the whole thing. I was saying I beheld the boar, 
which, being pursued by our people, set up all his bristles' 
with a hideous air ; his glaring eyes darted only threats, 
his mouth with an ugly grin shewed through the foam 
certain tusks, for those who ventured near him ... I 
leave you to imagine it. At this terrible sight, I seized 
my weapons; but the treacherous brute without the 
slightest fear rushed straight at me, without my speaking 
a word to him. 

ARE. And you stood your ground ? 

MOR. I was not such a fool ! I threw down my arms 
and ran like a dozen. 

ARE. What ! Having weapons, and yet fly from a boar I 
That was not a valiant action, Moron. 

MOR. I confess it was not valiant, but sensible. 


ARE. But if one does not immortalize oneself by some 
exploit . . . 

MOR. I am your servant. I had rather people should 
say, it was here that Moron, by flying without much pres- 
sure, saved himself from the fury of a wild boar, than that 
they should say, here is the famous spot where the brave 
Moron, with heroic boldness facing the furious rush of a 
wild boar, lost his life by a wound from his tusk. 

EUR. Very good. 

MOR. Yes. Without offence to glory, I would rather 
live two days in the world, than a thousand years in history. 

EUR. Your death would indeed grieve your friends; 
but if your mind has recovered from its fright, may I in- 
quire if the passion which consumes me ... 

MOR. My lord, I will not dissemble with you. I have 
done nothing yet, not having had the opportunity to 
speak with the Princess as I desired. The office of court 
buffoon has its prerogatives, but we must often turn aside 
from our free attempts. To talk of your flame is a deli- 
cate matter ; it is a state affair with the Princess. You 
know in what title she glories, and that her brain is full 
of a philosophy which wars against marriage, and treats 
Cupid as a minor god. I must manage the thing skilfully 
for fear of rousing her tiger humour. One must be care- 
ful how to speak to great folks, for they are very ticklish 
sometimes. Let me manage it by degrees. I am full of 
zeal for you. I was born your subject. Some other obli- 
gations may also contribute to the happiness I design for 
you. My mother was esteemed handsome in her day, and 
was not naturally cruel ; that generous Prince, your late 
father, was dangerously gallant, and I have heard that 
Elp6nor, supposed to be my father because he was my 
mother's husband, related to the shepherds that he was 
occasionally honoured by a visit from the Prince, and 
that, during that time, he had the advantage of being 
bowed to by all the village. That is sufficient ! Be that 
as it may, I intend by my labours ... But here is the 
Princess and two of your rivals. 

T*he Princess of E Its appears afterwards with the Princes 


of Messena and Pylos, who show that their characters are 
very different from that of the Prince of Ithaca, which pro- 
cured for him, in the heart of the Princess, all the advan- 
tages he could desire. This amiable Princess did not show, 
however, that the merit of this Prince had made any impres- 
sion on her mind, or that she had so much as observed him. 
She always professed that, like Diana, she only loved the 
chase and the forests ; and when the Prince of Messena 
wished to mention the service he had rendered her by rescu- 
ing her from a huge boar which had attacked her, she told 
him that, without diminishing in aught her gratitude , she con- 
sidered his assistance so much the less considerable, as she, 
unaided, had killed many as furious, and might perhaps have 
overcome that one. 


ARIS. Do you upbraid us, madam, for saving your 
charms from this peril? For my part, I should have 
thought that to overcome the boar which was about to 
attack you so furiously was an adventure (not knowing of 
the hunt) for which we ought to have thanked our happy 
fate ; but, by your coldness, I see plainly that I ought to 
be of another opinion, and quarrel with that fatal power 
of chance which made me take part in an affair that has 
given you offence. 

THEO. For my part, madam, I esteem myself very 
happy in having performed this action for which my 
whole heart was anxious, and, notwithstanding your dis- 
pleasure, cannot consent to blame fortune for such an ad- 
venture. I know that, when one is disliked everything 
one does displeases ; but even were your anger greater 
than it is, it is an extreme pleasure, when one's love is 
extreme, to be able to rescue from peril the object of one's 

PRIN. And do you think, my lord, since I must speak, 
that there would have been anything in this danger to 
terrify me so greatly ? That the bow and arrow, which I 
love so much, would have been a useless weapon in my 
hands? And that I, accustomed to traverse our moun- 
tains, our plains, our woods, might not dare hope to suf- 


fice for my own defence ? Surely I have made but little 
use of my time and the assiduous labours of which I boast, 
if, in such an emergency, I could not have triumphed 
over a wretched animal. At least if, in your opinion, my 
sex in general is unable for such actions, allow me the 
glory of a higher sphere, and do me the favour, both of 
you, to believe that, whatever the boar of to-day may 
have been, I have conquered fiercer ones without your 
help, my lords. 

THEO. But, madam . . . 

PRIN. Well, be it so. I see that your desire is to shew 
me that I owe my life to you ; I grant it. Yes, without 
you I had lost my life. I heartily thank you for your 
grand assistance, and will go at once to the Prince to in- 
form him of the kindness with which your love has in- 
spired you for me. 


MOR. Well ! was there ever seen such an untamed spirit? 
The well-timed death of that ugly boar vexes her. Oh ! 
how willingly would I have rewarded anyone who would 
have rid me of him just now ! 

ARE. (To Euryalus). I see, my lord, her disdain ren- 
ders you pensive ; but it ought not to retard in the least 
the execution of your plans. Her hour must come, and 
perhaps it is to you that the honour of conquering her is 

MOR. She must know of your passion before the race, 
and I ... 

EUR. No, Moron, I do not wish it so any longer. Be 
careful to say nothing, and leave rne to act ; I have re- 
solved to take quite a different course. I see plainly she 
is resolved to despise all who think to gain her heart by 
deep respect ; and the deity who induces me to sigh for 
her has inspired me with a new way to conquer her. Yes, 
it is he who has caused this sudden change, and from him 
I await its happy conclusion. 

ARE. May one know, my lord, by what means you 
hope . . . 

EUR. You shall see it. Follow me and keep silence. 




The agreeable Moron leaves the Prince to go and talk of his growing 
passion to the woods and the rocks, uttering everywhere the beautiful 
name of his shepherdess Phillis ; a ridiculous echo answers him whim- 
sically ; he takes so great a pleasure in it, that, laughing in a hundred 
ways, he makes the echo answer as often, without seeming at all tired 
of it. But a bear interrupts this fine amusement, and surprises him 
so much by the unexpected sight, that he shows visible signs of terror, 
which causes him to make before the bear all the bows he can think 
of to mollify him. At length he is going to run up a tree ; but seeing 
that the bear is also going to climb, he cries out for help so loudly, 
that eight peasants armed with pointed sticks and spears appear, whilst 
another bear comes after the first. A battle then begins, which ends 
with the death of one of the bears, and the flight of the other. 

SCENE I. MORON, alone. 

Good bye, till I see you again ; as for me, I shall stay 
here, and have a little conversation with these trees and 

Woods, meadows, fountains, flowers, that behold my 
pale countenance, if you do not know it, I tell you I am 
in love. Phillis is the charming object who has fixed my 
heart. I became her lover by seeing her milk a cow ; her 
fingers, quite full of milk, and a thousand times whiter, 
squeezed the udder in an admirable manner. Ouf ! the 
thought of it will drive me crazy. Ah ! Phillis ! Phillis ! 
(echo, Phillis!) ah! (echo, ah !) hem! (echo, hem!) ah! 
(echo, ah!) oh! (echo, oh!) oh! (echo, oh!) This is a 
funny echo ! Horn ! (echo, horn !) ha ! (echo, ha !) ha ! 
(echo, ha !) hu ! (echo, hu !) This is a funny echo. 


MOR. (Seeing a bear approaching). Oh, Master bear, I 
am your very humble servant. Pray, spare me ; I assure 
you I am not worth eating ; I am only skin and bone, and 
I see certain people yonder who would serve your turn 
much better. Eh ! eh ! eh ! my lord, gently, if you please. 
There (he caresses the bear and trembles with fear), there, 
there, there. Ha, my lord, how handsome and well-made 
your highness is ! You look quite stylish, and you have 
the prettiest shape in the world. Ah ! what beautiful 
bristles ! what a beautiful head ! what beautiful, sparkling, 


and large eyes ! Ah ! what a pretty little nose ! what a 
pretty little mouth ! what darling little teeth ! Ah ! what 
a beautiful throat ! what beautiful little paws ! what well- 
shaped little nails (the bear gets on his hind legs) \ Help ! 
help ! I am dead ! Have mercy ! Poor Moron ! Oh ! good 
Heavens ! Oh ! quick, I am lost. ( The huntsmen appeat 
and Moron climbs up a tree). (He addresses the huntsmen). 
Oh ! gentlemen, take pity upon me. (The huntsmen fight 
with the bear). That is right gentlemen, kill that ugly 
beast for me. Assist them, kind Heaven ! All right he 
runs away ; there he stops and falls upon them. That is 
right, there is one who has given him a thrust in his throat. 
They all surround him. Courage stand to it ! well done, 
my friends ! That is right ! go on ! again ! Oh ! there he 
is on the ground ; it is all over with him ; he is dead. 
Let us come down now and give him a hundred blows. 
(Moron comes down the tree). Your servant, gentlemen, I 
am much obliged to you for having delivered me from this 
animal. Now that you have killed him, I am going to 
finish him, and triumph with you. 

These fortunate huntsmen had no sooner gained this vic- 
tory, than Moron, grown bold by the danger being remote, 
wishes to go and give a thousand blows to the animal, no 
longer able to defend himself, and does all that a braggart, 
not over bold, would have done on such an occasion ; the 
huntsmen, to show their joy, dance a very fine entree. 


The Prince of Ithaca and the Princess had a very gallant conversation 
about the chariot race which was in preparation. She had ere this 
told one of the princesses, her relatives, that the insensibility of the 
Prince of Ithaca disturbed her, and was disagreeable to her : that, al- 
though she did not wish to love any one, it was very sad to see that he 
loved nothing, and that, although she had resolved not to go to see 
the races, she now would go, in order to endeavour to triumph over 
the liberty of a man who was so fond of it. It might easily be per- 
ceived that the merit of this prince produced its ordinary effect ; 
that his fine qualities had touched her proud heart, and had begun 
partly to thaw that ice which had resisted until then all the ardour of 
love. Advised by Moron, whom he had gained over, and who knew 
weH the heart of the Princess, the more the Prince pretended to be 


insensible, although he was but too much in love, the more the Princess 
resolved to win his affections, though she did not intend to return his 
love. The Princes of Messena and Pylos took their leave of her, to 
go to prepare for the races, and spoke of the expectation they had of 
being conquerors, because they desired to please her. The Prince 
of Ithaca, on the contrary, told her that, having never been in love 
with any thing, he was going to try to obtain the prize for his own 
satisfaction. This made the Princess all the more anxious to subdue 
a heart, already sufficiently subdued, but which knew how to disguise 
its sentiments in a wonderful manner. 


PRIN. Yes, I love to dwell in these peaceful spots. 
There is nothing here but what enchants the eye ; and all 
the noble architecture of our palaces must yield the palm 
to these simple beauties formed by nature. These trees, 
these rocks, these waters, this fresh turf, have charms for 
me of which I never tire. 

AGL. Like you, I love tranquil retreats where one avoids 
the bustle of the city. Such places are adorned with a 
thousand charming objects ; and what is surprising is that, 
at the very gates of Elis, those gentle souls who hate a 
crowd may find so vast and beautiful a solitude. But, to 
tell you the truth, in these days of rejoicing your retreat 
here appears somewhat unseasonable, and puts a slight on 
the magnificent preparations made by each prince for the 
public entertainment. The grand spectacle of the chariot- 
race merits the honour of your notice. 

PRIN. What right have they to desire my presence, and 
what do I owe, after all, to their magnificence ? They 
take these pains on purpose to win me, and my heart is the 
only prize for which they all strive. But with whatever 
hope they may flatter themselves, I am greatly mistaken if 
either of them carries it off. 

CYN. How long will this heart be provoked at the in- 
nocent designs which are formed to touch it ; and regard 
the trouble which people give themselves as so many 
offences against your person ? I know that in pleading 
the cause of love, I am exposed to your displeasure, but 
as I have the honour to be related to you, I oppose myself 
to the harshness which you show ; and cannot feed by 
flattery your resolution of never loving. Is anything more 
beautiful than the innocent flame which brilliant merit 


kindles in the soul ? What happiness would there be in 
life, if love were banished from among mortals ? No, no, 
the delights which it affords are infinite, and to live with- 
out loving is, properly speaking, not to live at all. 90 

AGL. For my part, I think that this passion is the most 
agreeable business of life ; that, in order to live happily, 
it is necessary to love, and that all pleasures are insipid 
unless mangled with a little love. 

PRIN. Can you two, being what you are, talk fchus? 
And ought you not to blush for countenancing a passion 
which is nothing but error, weakness, and extravagance, 
and of which all the disorders are so repugnant to the 
glory of our sex ? I intend to maintain its honour until 
the last moment of my life, and will never trust those men 
who pretend to be our slaves, only to become in time our 
tyrants. All these tears, all these sighs, all this homage, 
all these respects, are but snares laid for our hearts, and 
which often induce them to act basely. For my part, 
when I behold certain examples, and the hideous mean- 
nesses to which that passion can debase persons who are 
under its sway, my whole heart is moved ; I cannot bear 
that a soul which possesses ever so little pride should not 
feel horribly ashamed of such weaknesses. 

CYN. Ah, madam, there are certain weaknesses that are 
not at all shameful, and which it ie beautiful to have in 
the highest degree of glory. I hope that one day you will 
change your mind ; and if Heaven please, we shall shortly 
see your heart . . . 

PRIN. Hold. Do not finish that strange wish. I have 
too unconquerable a horror of such debasement ; if I 
should ever be capable of sinking so low, I should cer- 
tainly never forgive myself. 

AGL. Take care, madam ! Love knows hovr to revenge 
himself for the contempt shown him, and perhaps . . . 

PRIN. No, no. I defy all his darts ; the great power 

90 As far as this line the play is, in the original, in verse ; but in the 
printed edition, Moliere inserted the following notice : "The design of 
the author was to treat thus the whole comedy. But an order of the 
King, who hurried on this affair, compelled him to finish the remainder ia 
prose, and to pass lightly over several scenes, which he would have ex- 
tended if he had had more leisure." 


which is attributed to him is nothing but an idle fancy, 
and an excuse for feeble hearts, who represent him as in- 
vincible to justify their weakness. 

CYN. But all the world recognizes his power, and you 
see that the gods themselves are subject to his empire. We 
are told that Jupiter loved more than once, and that 
Diana herself, whom you so much affect to imitate, was not 
ashamed to breathe sighs of love. 

PRIN. Public opinions are always mixed with error. 
The gods are not such as the vulgar make them out to be, 
and it is a want of respect to attribute to them human 


AGL. Come hither, Moron; come, help us to defend 
love against the Princess's opinion. 

PRIN. Your side is strengthened by a grand defender 

MOR. Upon my word, madam, I believe that after my 
example there is no more to be said, and that none should 
doubt any longer the power of love. I for a long time 
defied his arms, and acted like a rogue, just as any other ; 
but at length my pride was cowed, and you have a traitress 
{pointing to Phillis) who has made me tamer than a lamb. 
After that, you ought to have no scruples to love ; and, 
since I have submitted to him, others may do the same. 

CYN. What ! Moron in love ? 

MOR. Yes, indeed. 

CYN. And is he beloved? 

MOR. And why not ? Am I not well enough made for 
that ? I think this face is passable enough ; and as to 
elegant manners, thank Heaven, we yield to none. 

CYN. Without doubt, it would be wrong to ... 


LYC. Madam, the Prince, your father, is coming hither 
to seek you ; he brings with him the Princes of Pylos, of 
Ithaca, and of Messena. 

PRIN. Heavens ! what does he mean by bringing them 


to me? Has he resolved on my ruin, and would he force 
me to choose one of them ? 


PRIN. (Iphitas). My lord, I beg you to give me leave 
to prevent, by two words, the declaration of the thoughts 
which you may perhaps foster. There are two truths, my 
lord, the one as certain as the other, of which I can 
assure you ; the one is, that you have an absolute power 
over me, and that you can lay no command upon me 
which I would not blindly obey ; the other is, that I look 
upon marriage as death, and that it is impossible for me to 
conquer this natural aversion. To give me a husband and 
to kill me are the same thing ; but your will takes prece- 
dence, and my obedience is dearer to me than life. After 
this, my lord, speak ; say freely what you desire. 

IPH. Daughter, you are wrong to be so alarmed ; and I 
am grieved that you can think me so bad a father as to do 
violence to your sentiments, and to use tyrannically the 
power which Heaven has given me over you. I wish, in- 
deed, that your heart were capable of loving some one. 
All my desires would be satisfied if that were to happen ; 
and I proposed to celebrate the present ftes and sports 
only to assemble all the illustrious youth of Greece, that 
amongst them you might meet one who would please you 
and determine your choice. I say, I ask of Heaven no 
other happiness than to see you married. To obtain this 
favour, I have this morning again offered up sacrifice to 
Venus ; and if I know how to interpret the language of 
the gods, the goddess promised me a miracle. But, be 
this as it may, I will act like a father who loves his 
daughter. If you can find one on whom to fix your in- 
clination, your choice shall be mine, and I shall consider 
neither interests of state nor advantages of alliance. If 
your heart remains insensible, I shall not attempt to force 
it. But at least be polite in answer to the civilities offered 
to you, and do not oblige me to make excuses for your 
coldness. Treat these princes with the esteem which you 
owe them, and receive with gratitude the proofs of their 


zeal. Come and see this race in which their skill will 

THEO. {To the Princess}. Every one will do his ut- 
most to gain the prize of this chariot-race. But to tell 
you the truth, I care little for the victory, since your 
heart is not to be contended for. 

ARIS. For my part, madam, you are the only prize I 
propose to myself everywhere. It is you whom I imagine 
to be the reward in these combats of skill ; I aspire 
honourably to gain this race only to obtain a degree of 
glory which may raise me nearer to your heart. 

EUR. As for me, madam, I do not go with any such 
thought. As I have all my life professed to love nothing, 
I take pains, but not with the same object as the other 
princes. I do not pretend to obtain your heart, and the 
honour of gaining the race is the sole advantage to which 
I aspire. 


PRIN. Whence proceeds thus unexpected haughtiness? 
Princesses, what do you say of this young Prince ? . Did 
you observe what an air he assumed ? 

AGL. It is true it was somewhat haughty. 

MOR. (Aside). Oh ! what a fine trick he has played 

PRIN. Do you not think it would be pleasant to humble 
his pride, and to abase a little that hectoring heart ? 

CYN. As you are accustomed to receive nothing but 
homage and adoration from the whole world, such a com- 
pliment as his must indeed surprise you. 

PRIN. I confess it has caused me some emotion ; and I 
should much like to find a way to chastise this pride. I 
had no great desire to go to this race, but now I shall go 
on purpose, and do all I can to inspire him with love. 

CYN. Take care, madam, the enterprise is dangerous ; 
and when one tries to inspire love, one runs a risk of 
receiving it. 

PRIN. Oh, pray apprehend nothing. Come, I shall 
answer for myself. 




MOR. Phillis, stay here. 

PHIL. No, let me follow the rest. 

MOR. Oh ! cruel creature ! If Tircis had asked you, 
you would have stayed fast enough. 

PHIL. That may be. I own I love much better to be 
with him than with you, for he amuses me with his voice, 
and you deafen me with your cackle. When you sing as 
well as he does, I promise to listen to you. 

MOR. Oh, stay a little. 

PHIL. I cannot. 

MOR. Pray do. 

PHIL. No, I tell you. 

MOR. (Holding Phillis). I will not let you go ... 

PHIL. What a bother ! 

MOR. I only ask to be one instant with you. 

PHIL. Well, I shall stay, provided you promise me one 

MOR. What? 

PHIL. Not to speak at all. 

MOR. Oh, Phillis. 

PHIL. If you do, I shall not stay. 

MOR. Will you . . . 

PHIL. Let me go. 

MOR. Well, stay ; I shall not say a word. 

PHIL. Take care you do not, for at the first word I shall 

MOR. Be it so (Making some gestures}. Ha, 

Phillis ! Ha ! ... 

SCENE II. MORON, alone. 

She runs away, and I cannot overtake her. That is 
the mischief. If I could but sing, I might do my business 
better. Most women now-a-days are caught by the ear ; 
that is the reason why every one learns music ; no one 
succeeds with them but with little songs and little verses 
that are warbled to them. I must learn to sing that I may 
act like others. Oh ! here is the very man. 



SAT. (Sings). La, la, la. 

MOR. Ah, friend Satyr, you know what you promised 
me, ever so long ago. Pray teach me to sing. 

SAT. I will ; but first listen to a song I have just made. 

MOR. {Aside and in a whisper). He is so used to sing 
that he cannot speak otherwise. (Aloud}. Come, sing, I 
am listening to you. ' 

SAT. (Sings}. I was carrying . . . 

MOR. A song, do you say ? 

SAT. I was . . . 

MOR. A song to be sung ? 

SAT. I was . . . 

MOR. A lover's song ? Hang it ! 

SAT I was carrying in a cage two sparrows I had 
caught, when young Chloris, in a dark grove, showed to 
my astonished eyes her blooming and lovely countenance. 
When I beheld her gaze, so skilled in conquering, I said to 
the sparrows, Alas ! console yourselves, poor little ani- 
mals, he who caught you is much more caught than you 

Moron was not satisfied with this song, though he thought 
it very pretty ; he asked for one with more passion in it, and, 
begging the Satyr to sing him the one he had heard him sing 
some days before, the Satyr thus continued : 

In your songs so sweet, sing to my fair one, oh birds, 
sing all my mortal pain. But if the cruel maid gets angry 
when she hears the true story of the pangs I endure for her 
sake, then, birds, be silent. 

This second song having moved Moron very much, he de- 
sires the Satyr to teach him to sing it. 

MOR. Ah ! this is fine ; teach it me. 
SAT. La, la, la, la. 
MOR. La, la, la, la. 
SAT. Fa, fa, fa, fa. 
MOR. Fa yourself." 

91 In the original there is a play on words which cannot be rendered 
into English. The musical scale consisted formerly of the notes ut, r, 
mi, fa, sol, la, si, ut; hence when Moron answers the Satyr Fat toi- 
meme ; it may mean " fa yourself," or " dandy yourself." 



The Satyr gets angry, and by degrees places himself in an 
attitude as if he was coming to fisticuffs; the violins begin to 
play, and several Satyrs dance an agreeable entree. w 


In the meantime the Princess of Elis was very uneasy ; the Prince of Ithaca 
had gained the prize at the races ; afterwards the Princess had sung 
and danced in an admirable manner ; and yet it did not seem that 
these gifts of nature and art had been even observed by the Prince of 
Ithaca j she complains of it to the Princess, her relative; she also 
speaks of it to Moron, who calls that unfeeling Prince a brute. At 
last, seeing him herself, she cannot refrain from making some serious 
allusions to it ; he candidly answers that he loves nothing except his 
liberty, and the pleasures of solitude and the chase, in which he de- 


CYN. It is true, madam, that this young prince showed 
uncommon skill, and that his bearing was surprising. He 
is the conqueror in this race, but I doubt much if he leaves 
with the same spirit with which he came ; for you aimed 
such blows at him that it was difficult to defend himself, 
and, without mentioning anything else, your graceful danc- 
ing and the sweetness of your voice had charms to-day to 
touch the most insensible. 

PRIN. There he comes, conversing with Moron. We 
shall know what he is talking of. Let us not interrupt 
them, but turn this way, to meet them again by-and-bye. 


EUR. Ah, Moron ! I confess I was enchanted ; never 
have so many charms together met my eyes and ears. She 
is, in truth, adorable at all times ', but she was at that mo- 
ment more so than ever. New charms enhanced her beauty. 
Never was her face adorned with more lively colours, nor 
were her eyes armed with swifter or more piercing shafts. 

91 Shakespeare, in his Merchant of Venice (Act v., Scene i.), has also 
given a kind of musical interlude, in the scene between Lorenzo and Jes- 
sica ; but in it the sparkling poetry sometimes soars to the highest realms 
of lyric enthusiasm ; Moliere wished only to give a comic scene, inter- 
spersed with some songs. 


The sweetness of her voice showed itself in the perfectly 
charming air which she deigned to sing ; and the marvel- 
lous tones she uttered went to the very depth of my soul, 
and held all my senses so enraptured that they could not 
recover. She then showed an agility altogether divine ; 
her lovely feet upon the enamel of the soft turf traced such 
delightful steps as put me quite beside myself, and 
bound me by irresistible bonds to the easy and accurate 
motion with which her whole body followed those harmo- 
nious strains. In short, never did soul feel stronger emo- 
tions than mine. More than twenty times have I thought 
to give up my resolution, cast myself at her feet, and de- 
clare to her frankly the ardour which I felt for her. 

MOR. Take my advice, my lord, and be careful how you 
do that. You have discovered the best method in the 
world, and I am greatly deceived if it does not succeed. 
Women are animals of a whimsical nature ; we spoil them 
by our tenderness; and I verily believe we should see 
them run after us, were it not for the respect and sub- 
mission whereby men allure them. 

ARB. My lord, here comes the princess, a little in ad- 
vance of her retinue. 

MOR. At least continue as you have begun. I shall go 
and see what she will say to me. In the meantime, walk 
you in these alleys without showing any desire to join her, 
and if you do accost her, stay as little with her as you can. 


PRIN. You are intimate, Moron, with the Prince of 
Ithaca ? 

MOR. Ah, madam ! we have known one another a long 

PRIN. What is the reason that he did not walk so far as 
this, but turned the other way when he saw me ? 

MOR. He is a whimsical fellow, and only loves to con- 
verse with his own thoughts. 

PRIN. Were you present just now when he paid me that 
compliment ? 

MOR. Yes, madam, I was, and thought it rather im- 
pertinent, under favour of his princeship. 

PRIN. For my part, I confess, Moron, this avoidance of 


me offends me. I have a great desire to make him fall in 
love with me, that I may bring down his pride a little. 

MOR. Upon my word, madam, you would not do ill; he 
deserves it : but, to tell you the truth, I have great doubts 
of your success. 

PRIN. How so ? 

MOR. How ? Why, he is the proudest little rogue you 
ever saw. He thinks no one in the world is like him, and 
that the earth is not worthy to bear him. 

PRIN. But has he not yet spoken of me ? 

MOR. He? No. 

PRIN. Did he say nothing to you of my singing and 
dancing ? 

MOR. Not the least word. 

PRIN. This contempt is shocking. I cannot bear this 
strange haughtiness, which esteems nothing. 

MOR. He neither esteems nor loves any one but himself. 

PRIN. There is nothing I would not do to humble him 
as he deserves. 

MOR. We have no marble in our mountains harder or 
more insensible than he. 

PRIN. There he comes. 

MOR. Do you see how he passes without noticing you ? 

PRIN. Pray, Moron, go and tell him I am here, and 
oblige him to come and speak to me. 


MOR. {Going up to Euryalus and whispering to him). 
My lord, I tell you everything is going on well. The 
Princess wishes you to come and speak to her ; but take 
care to continue to play your part. For fear of forgetting 
it, do not stay long with her . 

PRIN. You are very solitary, my lord ; and it is an ex- 
traordinary disposition of yours to renounce our sex in 
this manner, and to avoid at your age that gallantry upon 
which your equals pride themselves. 

EUR. This disposition, madam, is not so extraordinary 
but that we may find examples of it at no great distance ; 
you cannot condemn the resolution I have taken of never 
loving anything, without also condemning your own 


PRIN. There is a great difference. That which becomes 
well our sex does not well become yours. It is noble for 
a woman to be insensible, and to keep her heart free from 
the flames of love : but what is a virtue in her is a crime 
in a man ; and as beauty is the portion of our sex, you 
cannot refrain from loving us without depriving us of the 
homage which is our due, and committing an offence which 
we ought all to resent. 

EUR. I do not see, madam, that those who will not love 
should take any interest in offences of this kind. 

PRIN. That is no reason, my lord; for although we will 
not love, yet we are always glad to be loved. 

EUR. For my part, I am not of that mood ; and as I 
design to love none I should be sorry to be beloved. 

PRIN. Why so ? 

EUR. Because we are under an obligation to those who 
love us, and I should be sorry to be ungrateful. 

PRIN. So that, to avoid ingratitude, you would love the 
one who loved you ? 

EUR. I, madam ? Not at all. I say I should be sorry 
to be ungrateful ; but I would sooner be so than be amorous. 

PRIN. Perhaps such a person might love you that your 
heart . . . 

EUR. No, madam ; nothing is capable of touching my 
heart. Liberty is the sole mistress whom I adore ; and 
though Heaven should employ its utmost care to form a 
perfect beauty, in whom should be combined the most 
marvellous gifts both of body and mind ; in short, though 
it should expose to my view a miracle of wit, cleverness, 
and beauty, and that person should love me with all the 
tenderness imaginable, I confess frankly to you I should 
not love her. 

PRIN. (Aside). Was ever anything seen like this ? 

MOR. (To the Princess}. Plague take the little brute! 
I have a great mind to give him a slap in the face. 

PRIN. (Aside}. This pride confounds me ! I am so 
vexed that I am beside myself! 

MOR. (In a whisper to the Prince}. Courage, my lord; 
everything goes as well as can be. 

EUR. (To Moron). Ah, Moron, I am exhausted ! I 
have made strange efforts. 


PRIN. {To Euryalus). You must be very unfeeling, in- 
deed, to talk as you do. 

EUR. Heaven has not made me of another disposition. 
But, madam, I interrupt your walk, and my respect ought 
to inform me that you love solitude. 


MOR. He is not inferior to you, madam, in hardness of 

PRIN. I would willingly give all I possess in the world 
to triumph over him. 

MOR. I believe you. 

PRIN. Could not you serve me, Moron, in such a de- 

MOR. You know well, madam, that I am wholly at your 

PRIN. Speak of me to him in your conversation. Cun- 
ningly praise my charms and my lofty birth ; try to shake 
his resolution by encouraging him to hope ; I give you 
leave to say all you think fit, to try to make him in love 
with me. 

MOR. Leave it to me. 

PRIN. It is a thing I have set my heart on. I ardently 
wish he may love me. 

MOR. It is true, the little rascal is well made ; he has a 
good appearance, a good countenance, and I believe would 
suit very well a certain young Princess. 

PRIN. You may expect anything from me, if you can 
but find means to inflame his heart for me. 

MOR. Nothing is -impossible; but, madam, if he should 
come to love you, pray what would you do ? 

PRIN. Oh, then I would take delight in fully triumph- 
ing over his vanity ; I would punish his disdain by my 
coldness, and practise on him all the cruelties I could 

MOR. He will never yield. 

PRIN. Ah ! Moron, we must make him yield. 

MOR. No, he will not ; I know him ; my labour will be 
in vain. 

PRIN. We must, however, try everything, and prove if 


his soul be entirely insensible. Come, I will speak to him, 
and follow an idea which has just come into my head. 



PHIL. Come, Tircis, let them go, and depict to me 
your sufferings, in the manner you know. Your eyes 
have spoken to me for a long time, but I should be more 
glad to hear your voice. 

TIR. (Sings). Alas! you listen to my sad complaints ; 
but, O matchless fair one, I am not the better for it; I 
make an impression on your ears, but not on your heart. 

PHIL. Well, well, it is something to touch the ear; time 
will produce the rest. Meanwhile, sing me some little 
ditty that you have made for me. 


MOR. Oh ! have I caught you, cruel one ? You slink 
away from the company to listen to my rival ? 

PHIL. Yes, I slink away for that reason. I repeat it to 
you, I find a pleasure in his company ; we hearken will- 
ingly to lovers when they complain so agreeably as he 
does. Why do you not sing like him ? I should then, 
take a delight in listening to you. 

MOR. If I cannot sing, I can do other things ; and 
when . . . 

PHIL. Be silent, I wish to hear him. Tircis, say what 
you like. 

MOR. Ah ! cruel one . . . 

PHIL. Silence, I say, or I shall get angry. 

TIR. (Sings}. Ye tufted trees ; and ye enamelled 
meads ; that beauty winter stript you of is restored to you 
by spring. You resume all your charms ; but, alas ! my 
soul cannot resume the joy it has lost ! 

MOR. Zounds ! why cannot I sing ? Oh ! stepmotherly 
nature, why did you not give me the means of singing like 
any other? 

PHIL. Really, Tircis, nothing can be more agreeable, 
and you bear away the bell from all your rivals. 


MOR. But why can I not sing ? Have I not a stomach, 
a throat, and a tongue, as well as as any other man ? Yes, 
yes, come on then. I too will sing, and show you that 
love enables one to do all things. Here is a song I made 
for you. 

PHIL. Come, sing it then ; I shall listen to you for the 
novelty of the thing. 

MOR. Pluck up your courage, Moron, there is nothing 
like boldness. (He sings). Your extreme severity cruelly 
wounds my heart. Ah ! Phillis, I am dying ; deign to 
lend me some assistance. Will you be the stouter for it, 
because you have allowed me to die ? . . . Well said, 

PAIL. That is very well. But, Moron, I should like 
very much the glory of having some lover die for me ! It 
is an advantage I have not yet enjoyed ; I find I should 
love with all my heart a person who would love me suffi- 
ciently to kill himself. 

MOR. You would love the person that would kill him- 
self for you ? 

PHIL. Yes. 

MOR. That is the only thing to please you ? 

PHIL. Ay. 

MOR. It is done then. I will show you that I can kill 
myself when I have a mind to it. 

TIR. (Sings). Ah ! how pleasant it is to die for the 
object one loves. 

MOR. (10 Tircis). It is a pleasure you may have when 
you like. 

TIR. (Sings). Take courage, Moron, quickly die, like 
a generous lover. 

MOR. {To Tircis). Pray, mind your own business, 
.and let me kill myself as I like. Come, I will shame all 
lovers. (To Phillis). Behold, I am not a man who 
makes many compliments. Do you see this dagger ? 
Pray, observe how I shall pierce my heart. {Laughing at 
Tircis). I am your servant ; I am not such a fool as I 

PHIL. Come, Tircis, repeat to me, in an echo, what you 
have sung. 



The Princess of Elis, hoping by a stratagem to discover the sentiments of 
the Prince of Ithaca, confides to him that she loves the Prince of Mes- 
sena. Instead of seeming concerned at it, he gives her tit-for-tat, and 
tells her that he is enamoured of the Princess, her relative, and that 
he will demand her in marriage of the King, her father. At this un- 
expected news, the Princess of Elis loses all firmness, and although 
she tries to restrain herself before him, yet, as soon as he is gone, she 
so earnestly entreats her cousin not to listen favourably to this Prince, 
and never to marry him, that she cannot refuse. The Princess com- 
plains even to Moron, who, having freely told her that it was a sign 
she loved the Prince of Ithaca, is driven from her presence an account 
of his remark. 


PRIN. Prince, as hitherto we have shown a conformity 
of sentiment, and Heaven seems to have imbued us both 
with the same affection for liberty and the same aversion 
to love, I am glad to open my heart to you, and to en- 
trust you with the secret of a change which will surprise 
you. I have always looked upon marriage as a frightful 
thing, and have vowed rather to abandon life than to 
resolve ever to lose that liberty of which I was so fond ; 
but now, one moment has dispersed all these resolutions. 
The merit of a certain prince has to-day become obvious 
to me ; my soul suddenly, as it were by a miracle, has 
become sensible to that passion which I have always 
despised. I presently found reasons to authorize this 
change; I may attribute it to my willingness to satisfy 
the eager solicitations of a father, and the wishes of a 
whole kingdom ; but, to tell you the truth, I dread the 
judgment you may pass upon me, and would fain know 
whether or not you will condemn my design of taking a 

EUR. You may make such a choice, madam, that I 
should certainly approve of it. 

PRIN. Whom do you think, in your opinion, I intend 
to choose? 

EUR. If I were in your heart I could tell you ; but as I 
am not, I do not care to answer you. 

PRIN. Guess, name some one. 

EUR. I am too much afraid of making a mistake. 


PRIN. But for whom would you wish that I should de- 
clare myself ? 

EUR. I know well, to tell you the truth, for whom I 
could wish it ; but, before I explain myself, I must know 
your thoughts. 

PRIN. Well, Prince, I will disclose it to you. I am 
sure you will approve of my choice; and, to hold you no 
longer in suspense, the Prince of Messena is he whose 
merit has made me love him. 

EUR. (Aside). Oh, Heavens ! 

PRIN. (Aside to Moron). My invention has succeeded, 
Moron. He is disturbed. 

MOR. (To the Princess}. Good, madam. (To the 
Ptince). Take courage, my lord. {To the Princess). He 
is hit hard. (To the Prince). Do not be disheartened. 

PRIN. (To Euryalus). Do you not think that I am in 
the right, and that the Prince possesses very great merit ? 

MOR. (Aside to the Prince). Recover yourself and 

PRIN. How comes it, Prince, that you do not say a 
word, and seem thunderstruck ? 

EUR. I am so, indeed, and I wonder, madam, that 
Heaven could form two souls so alike in everything as 
ours ; two souls in which are seen the greatest conformity 
of sentiment, which have shown, at the same time, a re- 
solution to brave the power of love, and which, in the 
same instant, have shown an equal facility in losing the 
character of insensibility. For, in short, madam, since 
your example authorizes me, I shall not scruple to tell you 
that love, this very day, has mastered my heart, and that 
one of the princesses, your cousins, the amiable and beau- 
tiful Aglanta, has overthrewn with a glance all my proud 
projects. I am overjoyed, madam, that we cannot re- 
proach each other, as we are equally defeated. I do not 
doubt that, as I praise your choice greatly, you shall also 
approve mine. This miracle must become apparent to all 
the world, and we ought not to delay making ourselves 
both happy. For my part, madam, I solicit your influ- 
ence, so that I may obtain her I desire ; you will not ob- 
ject that I go immediately to ask her hand of the Prince, 
your father. 


MOR. {Aside to Euryalus). Ah, worthy heart ! ah, 
brave spirit ! 


PRIN. Ah, Moron ! I am undone. This unexpected 
blow absolutely triumphs over all my firmness. 

MOR. It is a surprising blow, it is true ; I thought at 
first that your stratagem had taken effect. 

PRIN. Ah ! this vexation is enough to drive me mad ! 
Another has the advantage of subduing a heart which I 
wished to conquer. 


PRIN. Princess, I have one thing to beg of you, which 
you absolutely must grant me. The Prince of Ithaca 
loves you, and designs to ask your hand of the Prince, my 

AGL. The Prince of Ithaca, madam ! 

PRIN. Yes ; he has just now told me so himself, and 
asked my consent to obtain your hand ; but I conjure you 
to reject this proposal, and not lend an ear to what he 
may say. 

AGL. But, madam, if it be true that this prince really 
loves me, and as you have yourself no design to gain his 
affections, why will you not suffer . . . 

PRIN. No, Aglanta, I desire it of you. I beg you to 
gratify me so far ; and, as I have not the advantage of 
subduing his heart, let me have the pleasure of depriving 
him of the joy of obtaining yours. 

AGL. Madam, I must obey you ; but I should think the 
conquest of such a heart no contemptible victory. 

PRIN. No, no, he shall not have the pleasure of braving 
me entirely. 



ARTS. Madam, at your feet I come to thank love for my 
happy fate, and to testify to you, by my transports, how 
grateful I am for the surprising goodness with which you 
deign to favour the most humble of your captives. 
PRIN. How ? 


ARIS. The Prince of Ithaca, madam, just now assured 
me that, with regard to that celebrated choice which all 
Greece awaits, your heart had been kind enough to declare 
itself in my favour. 

PRIN. He told you that he had it from my mouth ? 

ARIS. Yes, madam. 

PRIN. He is thoughtless, and you are a little too credu- 
lous, prince, to believe so hastily what he told you ; such 
news, in my opinion, should have been doubted for some 
time ; and you could have done no more than believe it, 
if I myself had told it you. 

ARIS. Madam, if I have been too ready in persuading 
myself . . . 

PRIN. Pray, my lord, let us break off this conversation ; 
and, if you will oblige me, let me enjoy a moment's solitude. 


PRIN. With what strange severity Heaven uses me in 
this adventure ! At least, Princess, remember the request 
I have made to you. 

AGL. I have already told you, madam, that you shall 
be obeyed. 


MOR. But, madam, if he loved you, you would not have 
him, and yet you will not let him be another's. It is just 
like the dog in a manger. 98 

PRIN. No, I cannot bear that he should be happy with 
another. If such a thing is to be, I believe I shall die 
with vexation. 

MOR. Come, madam, confess all. You would fain have 
him for yourself ; and in all your actions it is easily seen 
that you rather love this young prince 

PRIN. I, I love him? Oh, Heavens ! I love him? Have 
you the insolence to pronounce those words ? Out of my 
sight, impudent man, and never let me see you again. 

98 A dog in a manger cannot himself eat the corn and straw that are 
there, but barks if any other animal approaches, and will not allow it to 
eat in peace ; this is called in French faire comme le chien du jardinier 
because a dog cannot eat cabbage, and does not permit others to eat it. 


MOR. Madam . . . 

PRIN. Begone, I say, or I shall make you leave in an- 
other manner 

MOR. {Aside). Upon my word, her heart is no longer 
free, and . . . {The Princess casts a look upon him which 
sends him away}. 


What unknown emotion do I feel in my heart ! What 
secret uneasiness suddenly disturbs the tranquillity of my 
soul ! Is it not what I have just been told, and do I love 
this young prince without knowing it ! Ah ! if it were 
so, I should be in despair. But it is impossible it should 
be so, and I plainly perceive that I can never love him. 
What ! I be capable of that baseness ! I have seen the 
whole world at my feet with the utmost insensibility. Re- 
spect, homage, submission, could never touch my soul ; 
and shall haughtiness and disdain triumph over it? I have 
despised all those who have loved me, and shall I love the 
only one who despises me 1 No, no, I know well I do not 
love him ; there is no reason for it. But if this is not love 
which I now feel, what can it be? And whence comes 
this poison which runs through all my veins, and will not 
let me rest? Out of my heart, whatever you may be, you 
enemy who lurk there ! Attack me openly, and appear 
before me as the most frightful monster of all our forests, so 
that with my darts and javelins I may rid myself of you. 


O, you admirable ones, who by your sweet songs can 
calm the greatest uneasiness, draw near, I pray you, and 
try to soothe, with your music, the sorrow which I feel. 


{Climene and Phi His sing this duef). 
CLIM. Tell me, dear Phillis, what think you of love ? 
PHIL. Tell me, what think you, my -dear trusty friend ? 


CLIM. They say its flame is worse than vulture's gnawing, 

And that great pangs are suffered when one loves. 
PHIL. They say no fairer passion e'er existed, 

And that we live not, if we do not love. 
CLIM. Which of us two shall be victorious here? 
PHIL. Must we believe love to be good or ill ? 
BOTH. Let's love, and then we'll know 

What we ought to believe. 

PHIL. Chloris praises love and its flames everywhere. 
CLIM. For its sake, Amarant sheds always tears. 
PHIL. If it fills every heart with so much pain 

Whence comes it that we like to yield to it ? 
CLIM. If, Phillis, its flame is so full of charms 

Why forbid us its pleasures to enjoy ? 
PHIL. Which of us two shall be victorious here ? 
CLIM. Must we believe love to be good or ill ? 
BOTH. Let's love, and then we'll know 

What we ought to believe. 

PRIN. (Interrupting them here, says). Finish alone, if 
you like. I cannot remain at rest ; and however agreeable 
your songs are, they do but redouble my uneasiness. 


The heart of the Prince of Messena was agitated by various feelings ; the 
joy which the Prince of Ithaca had caused by maliciously informing 
him that he was beloved by the Princess, had compelled him to go to 
her, with a want of consideration which nothing but extreme love could 
excuse ; but he was received in a manner very different from what he 
hoped for. She asked him who had told him that news ; and when 
she knew that it was the Prince of Ithaca, that knowledge cruelly in- 
creased her disease, and made her nearly beside herself. She replied, 
" He is thoughtless." This so confounded the Prince of Messena that 
he departed without being able to answer. On the other hand, the 
Princess went to the King, her father, who came with the Prince of 
Ithaca, and told the latter not only how delighted he should be to see 
him allied to him, but even the opinion he entertained that his daugh- 
ter did not hate him. No sooner was the Princess in her father's pre- 
sence than, casting herself at his feet, she asked him, as the greatest 
favour she could ever receive, that the Prince of Ithaca might not 
marry the Princess Aglanta. This he solemnly promised her ; but he 
told her that if she did not wish him to belong to another, she should 
take him herself. She answered " that the Prince did not desire it," 
but in such a passionate manner that it was easy to see the sentiments 
of her heart. Then the Prince, abandoning all disguise, avowed his 
love for her, and the stratagem which, knowing her disposition, he had 


made use of, in order to attain the object he had now reached. The 
Princess giving him her hand, the King turned towards the two Princes 
of Messena and Pylos, and asked them if his two relatives, whose me- 
rit was equal to their rank, were incapable of consoling them in their 
disgrace. They answered that, the honour of his alliance being all 
they wished for, they could not expect a happier lot. This occasioned 
so great a joy in the Court, that it spread over the whole neighbour- 


MOR. {To Iphitas). Yes, my lord, it is no jest; I am 
what they call in disgrace. I was forced to pack up my 
traps as quickly as I could ; you never saw any one more 
suddenly in a passion than she was. 

IPH. {To Euryalus}. Ah, Prince ! how grateful I ought 
to be for your amorous stratagem, if it has found the 
secret of touching her heart ! 

EUR. Whatever, my lord, you may have been told, I 
dare not, for my part, yet flatter myself with that sweet 
hope ; but if it is not too presumptuous in me to aspire 
to the honour of your alliance, if my person and domin- 
ions . . . 

IPH. Prince, let us not enter upon these compliments. 
I find in you all that a father could desire ; and if you 
have gained the heart of my daughter, you want nothing 


PRIN. Oh, Heaven ! what do I see here ! 

IPH. (To Euryalus). Yes, the honour of your alliance 
is of the highest value to me ; and without any farther 
difficulty I consent to your request. 

PRIN. (To Iphitas). My lord, I throw myself at your 
feet to beg a favour of you. You have always shewn great 
tenderness to me ; I owe you much more for your kind- 
ness than for my birth. But if ever you had any affection 
for me, I now ask the greatest proof of it which you can 
show. My lord, do not listen to that prince's request 
and do not permit the princess Aglanta to marry him. 

IPH. And why, daughter, would you oppose that 
union ? 


PRIN. Because I hate the Prince, and will, if I can, 
cross his designs. 

IPH. You hate him, daughter ? 

PRIN. Yes, from my heart I confess it. 

IPH. And what has he done to you ? 

PRIN. He has despised me. 

IPH. And how? 

PRIN. He did not consider me handsome enough to 
pay his addresses to me. 

IPH. What offence does that give you? You will 
accept no one's hand. 

PRIN. No matter. He ought to have loved me like the 
rest, and at least have left me the glory of refusing him. 
His love for Aglanta is an insult to me ; he disgraces me 
when, in my presence and in the midst of your court, he 
has sought the hand of any other but me. 

IPH. But what interest can you have in him ? 

PRIN. My lord, I wish to revenge myself for his dis- 
dain ; and as I know he is very much in love with Aglanta, 
with your permission I shall prevent him from being 
happy with her. 

IPH. Then you take this to heart ? 

PRIN. Without doubt, my lord ; and if he obtains his 
desires, I shall die before your eyes. 

IPH. Come, come, daughter, make a frank confession. 
This Prince's merit has made you open your eyes ; and in 
short, you love him, say what you will. 

PRIN. I, my lord ? 

IPH. Yes, you love him. 

PRIN. I love him, say you? Do you impute such base- 
ness to me ? Oh, Heavens ! how great is my misfortune ! 
Can I hear these words and live ? And must I be so un- 
happy as to be suspected of loving him ? Oh ! if it were 
anyone but you, my lord, who spoke thus to me, I know 
not what I should do. 

IPH. Well, well, you do not love him. You hate him, 
I grant; and I am resolved to content you, so that he 
shall not wed the Princess Aglanta. 

PRIN. Oh ! my lord, you give me life. 

IPH. But to prevent his ever being hers, you must take 
him for yourself. 


PRIN. You are joking, my lord, and that is not what he 

EUR. Pardon me, madam, I am rash enough to aspire 
so high, and I take to witness the prince, your father, 
if it was not your hand I asked of him. I have deceived 
you too long; I must throw off the mask, and, though you 
use it against me, discover to your eyes the real sentiments 
of my heart. I have never loved anyone but you, and 
never shall I love any other. It is you, madam, who took 
from me that want of feeling which I always affected ; all 
I said to you was only a feint which I adopted, inspired by 
some secret motive which I did not follow up without doing 
the greatest violence to my feelings. It must soon have 
ceased, no doubt, and I am only astonished that it lasted 
for half a-day ; for I was dying, my soul was burning within 
me, when I disguised my sentiments to you ; never did a 
heart suffer a constraint equal to mine. If this feint, 
madam, has given you offence, I am ready to die to avenge 
you ; you have only to speak, and my hand will imme- 
diately glory in executing the decree you pronounce. 

PRIN. No, no, Prince, I do not take it ill that you have 
deceived me ; and would rather that all you have said to 
me were a feint than not the truth. 

IPH. So that you accept the Prince for a husband, my 
daughter ? 

PRIN. My lord, I do not yet know what I shall do. 
Pray give me time to think of it, and spare a little the con- 
fusion I am in. 

IPH. Prince, you may guess the meaning of this ; and 
you can now see what you may expect. 

EUR. I shall wait as long as you please, madam, for this 
decree of my destiny ; and, if it condemns me to death, I 
shall obey without murmuring. 

IPH. Come, Moron, this is a day of peace, and I restore 
you to favor with the Princess. 

MOR. My lord, I shall be a better courtier for the future, 
and shall take very good care not to say what I think. 


IPH. ( To the Princes of Messina and Pylos ). I am 



afraid, princes, that my daughter's choice is not in your 
favour ; but there are two princesses who may console you 
for this trifling misfortune. 94 

ARTS. My lord, we have made up our minds ; and, if 
these amiable Princesses have not too great contempt for 
hearts which have been repulsed, we may, through them, 
attain to the honour of your alliance. 



PHIL. (To Iphitas). My lord, the goddess Venus has 
proclaimed everywhere the change in the Princess's heart. 
All the shepherds and two shepherdesses testify their joy 
for it by dances and songs ; and, if it is not a spectacle 
which you despise, you' may see the public rejoicings ex- 
tend as far as this. 

94 The hands of the two princesses, Aglanta and Cynthia, seem to be 
right royally disposed of : they have not even been courted, but the an- 
swers of the two princes denote also royal causes for alliance. 



A chorus of SHEPHERDS and SHEPHERDESSES, who dance. 

Four Shepherds and two Shepherdesses, dressed in heroic 
style, and holding each other's hands, sing this song, to 
which the rest answer. 

Proud fair, employ in better way 
The power of charming all : 
Love, darling rustic maidens: 
Our hearts are made to love. 
However much we e'er may try 
One day comes when we love. 
Naught does exist but yet it yields 
To the sweet charms of love. 
In pristine youth, oh follow 
The ardent love's delight. 
A heart only begins to live 
The day it knows to love. 
However much, etc., etc. 

The rest of the Interlude will be found in the Introductory 
Notice to this comedy, page 22. 





FEBRUARY 151*1, 1665. 


AFTER Moliere had written Tartuffe, he found it impossible to get per- 
mission to play it ; all his attempts were in vain ; the clerical party was 
too strong for him ; he therefore resolved to write a counterpart to it, in 
Don jfuan, or the Feast with the Statue. This play was acted for the first 
time on the isth of February, 1665. It contains, perhaps, more severe 
attacks upon hypocrisy than does even Tartu/e. It depicts the hero as 
a man who, rich, noble, powerful, and bold, respects neither heaven nor 
earth, and knows no bounds to the gratification of his desires or his 
passions. He has excellent manners, but abominable principles ; he is 
" a whited sepulchre," and abuses the privileges of nobility without 
acknowledging its obligations or its duties. Moliere sketches no longer 
the nobleman as ridiculous, but makes him terrible, and shows that his 
exaggerated hatred of cant leads to the commission of the greatest im- 
moralities, and to Atheism. After having seduced and abandoned many 
fair maids ; after having insulted his father, and openly flaunted the most 
sceptical doctrines, Don Juan turns hypocrite ; for hypocrisy is the climax 
of all vices. But although the hero of the play is young, elegant, and 
profligate, Moliere makes us feel all the while that, underneath that charm- 
ing exterior lurks something venomous. No doubt he is witty, but too 
sarcastic to be pleasant. He is sensual, but less than is generally thought. 
He is not so much a libertine, as a man who loves to set all rules of de- 
cency, order, and morality at defiance. What attracts him is something 
eccentric, violent, and scandalous. He likes to seduce a nun, or an inno- 
cent country girl, who is already engaged ; and this not through mere 
lust, but in order to prove that he can trample upon all human laws ; just 
as he invites to supper the statue of a man whom he has killed, and plays 
the hypocrite in order to show his scorn for all divine laws. He is not a 
follower of the modern romantic school, always in pursuit of an eternal 
idea of beauty, and fluttering from flower to flower ; he has arrived at that 
stage of satiety that only the pangs of his victims can produce any emo- 
tion in him. This is proved by the remark he makes to Sganarelle on 
beholding Donna Elvira (Act i., Scene 2, page 86). He has something 
of the cruelty of Lovelace in Richardson's Clarissa Harlowe, and like 
him, is faithful to his friends, generous to his enemies, but at the same time 
cowardly enough to sacrifice any woman to his caprices. 

But Molidre has not made the hero coarse or ribald ; his language is 
always well chosen ; and although his morality may be offensive, his 
manners are never so. The style of his speech is generally masterly, often 


72 DON JUAN ; OR, 

eloquent, and not seldom characteristic of his sneering, insolent, cruel, 
hypocritical feelings. The author sometimes borders upon almost forbid- 
den ground, as, for example, when Don Juan, after having witnessed the 
"surprising miracle of a moving and speaking statue," says "There is 
really something in that which I do not understand ; but, whatever it may 
be, it is not capable either of convincing my judgment, or of shaking my 

And yet this play made far less sensation than Tartu/e, and its repre- 
sentations were never forbidden. The reason of this is simple ; Don 
Juan, attacked an abstract idea, but Tartuffe satirized a particular class, 
" the unco guid." 

This drama came originally from Spain. A very old legend relates how 
one of the twenty-four governors of Sevilla, Don Juan de Tenorio, ran 
away with the daughter of the venerable Commander Gonzalo de Ulloa, 
whom he killed in a duel, and who was buried in the church of the Fran- 
ciscans, where a splendid tomb and statue were erected to him. For 
some time, the murderer, thanks to the privileges of his rank and the 
influence of his family, set at nought human justice, when a rumour was 
circulated that, Don Juan having dared to insult the statue of his victim, 
the latter had come down from his marble tomb, had seized the impious 
wretch, and had precipitated him to the uttermost depths of the infernal 
regions. Those who said that he had been allured into the church, 
under some pretext or other, and slain there, were declared unbelievers 
and sceptics. 

One of the Spanish dramatists, friar Gabriel Tellez, who lived at the 
beginning of the sixteenth century, wrote, under the name of Tirso de 
Molina, a comedy on this legend, which he divided into three jornades or 
days, and which he called The Seducer of Sevilla and the Stone Guest. 

The action opens at Naples, where a certain Duchess Isabella, of whom 
Don Juan, under the feigned name of Duke Ottavio, has taken advantage 
complains loudly to the king, who orders the guilty one to be seized. 
The seducer escapes, and is shipwrecked on the coast of Tarragona, in 
Spain, where he meets a young fisherman's daughter, Tisbea, whom he 
seduces under promise of marriage, and who, when undeceived, throws 
herself into the sea. We next meet him at Sevilla, where, under the name 
and the disguise of his friend, the Marquis de la Mota, he treats Donna 
Anna, the daughter of the Commander de Ulloa, as he had treated Isa- 
bella. He then kills the Commander, and anew takes flight into the 
country, where he meets Aminta, who also falls a victim to his usual 
method of promising marriage. Don Juan secretly returns to Sevilla, 
and sees in the church the mausoleum of the Commander de Ulloa, 
bearing the inscription : " Here the most loyal of gentlemen awaits until 
God shall avenge him on a traitor." Don Juan and his servant, Catali- 
non, insult him and invite him to supper. The statue makes its appear- 
ance and requests Don Juan to come to feast with him the next evening 
at ten o'clock in the chapel. He goes, and the seventeenth scene of the 
third day shows us the funeral feast, in which Don Juan and the statue 
sup on scorpions and vipers, drink gall and vinegar ; and in which, finally, 
the libertine repents, and asks for a priest to be confessed and to receive 
absolution. The last scene of the play represents the Alcazar at Sevilla, 
where the king repairs the crimes of Don Juan by giving all his victims 
away in marriage, and commands the tomb and statue of the Commanaer 
to be brought to Madrid, to remain there as a warning for all time. The 
Spanish Don Juan is not a heartless and deliberate seducer, a thorough 


unbeliever but an easy-going fellow, swayed by his passsion, who does 
not repent because he thinks he has sufficient time for it, and at the final 
catastrophe proves himself a good Roman Catholic. Moreover, he meets 
the statue, not because he disbelieves in miracles, but because he has 
given his word to come, and " the dead man might otherwise have the 
right to call (him) me infamous." The impression which the Spanish play 
leaves on the mind is eminently a religious one, and must have been 
strongly felt at the time it was written, a feeling enhanced by the scene 
in the chapel, with the moonlight shining through the stained glass win- 
dows, and the chorus singing : " Let those who flee from the punishments 
of God, know that there is no term nor debt which must not be paid. No 
mortal living should say, ' I have time before me,' for the time of repent- 
ance is so short.'' 

From Spain, this drama went to Italy, where Onifrio Giliberti wrote an 
imitation of the Spanish play, called // Convitato di pietra, and which 
was performed in 1652, in which Don Juan appears as a high-born free- 
lover, making fun of everything, and even of the gods. In 1657, the 
Italian actors of Torelli, who played at the Theatre du petit Bourbon, in 
Paris, gave a harlequinade, based on Gilibertis' imitation. This piece was 
full of broad fun ; and Arlequin, the servant, is the principal character, 
whose chief business seems to be to crack jokes and to indulge in practi- 
cal horse-play. 

The actor Dorimond, in 1658, translated the Italian play for the come- 
dians of Mademoiselle (see Prefatory Memoir, Vol. I.), who were then at 
Lyons, and brought it to Paris in 1661. The translator made a blunder 
in the very title of the piece. // convitato means "The guest;'' but Dori- 
mond thought it meant " feast," which was in old French convive, and in 
Italian convito, and thus gave to his piece the title, Le Festin de Pierre, 
the Stone Feast. This play was printed only in 1665, after the great suc- 
cess which Moliere's comedy obtained. Villiers also versified an imitation 
of Giliberti's comedy for the actors of the Hotel de Bourgogne, with the 
same title as Dorimond's, and which was printed in 1660. It is probable 
that the Spanish actors, who appeared in France in 1659, on the occasion 
of the marriage of Louis XIV., with the Infanta Maria Theresa, had re- 
presented the original Spanish play. 

Four years after Moliere's Don Juan, ou le Festin de Pierre for he 
kept the old title as well had been performed, a certain actor, Rosimond, ' 
wrote for the Theatre du Marais Le Nouveau Festin de Pierre, ou f Athee 
foudroye, in which he made of Don Juan a tiresome controversialist. 

Don yuan was played from February isth, 1665, until the 2Oth of 
March of the same year; but produced so much irritation and remarks 
that several scenes, for example, that between the poor man and Don 
Juan, and the boldest remarks in the dialogue between Don Juan and 
Sganarelle, had to be suppressed at once. It may even be supposed that 
Moliere received a hint not to play the piece again ; for after the aoth of 
March it disappeared for a long time from the scene. 

In the month of April 1665, a pamphlet appeared, called Observations 
sur une Comedie de Moliere intitulee le Festin de Pierre, and written by a 
clergyman called de Rochemont. It passed through three or four edi- 
tions, which followed one another m quick succession, and is written in a 
good style, but full of the most bitter animus against our author. It 
faintly praises Moliere, admits that he has some talent for farce, that he 
speaks passable French, translates Italian pretty well, and does not copy 
badly other authors ; but states that he is always the same, although the 

74 DON JUAN ; OR, 

public should be indulgent to those who try to amuse them. If Moliere 
had, in the Precieuses, only criticised th-; little doublets, and the prodi- 
gious quantity of ribbands, nobody would have attacked him, or been in- 
dignant at him ; but to make fun of religion, and openly to display scep- 
ticism, is too bad for a mere buffoon. Don yuan has caused a public 
scandal, which is the greater because it was performed in the house of a 
Christian prince, and in the presence of so many wise and pious mag- 
istrates. Whilst the greatest and most religious monarch in the world 
tries to destroy heresy, and to establish real devotion, Moliere raises 
altars to impiety ; his purpose is to ruin men whilst making them laugh ; 
the malicious ingenuousness of his Agnes has corrupted more maidens 
than the most licentious writings ; Sganarelle teaches how to make cuck- 
olds, and The School for Wives how to debauch them. In fact, he first 
destroys the morals of men, and then their religion. To use his own 
words : " he does not mind if people criticise his pieces, so that they come 
to see them " * and pay for their places. Nothing more impious has ever 
appeared than Tartuffe and Don. Juan; even Pagan emperors con- 
demned to death those who ridiculed religion. It is to be hoped that our 
great Prince will put a stop to this : " Deluge, plague and famine are the 
consequences of Atheism ; when Heaven resolves to punish it, it pours 
out upon us all the vials of its wrath to make the chastisement more im- 
pressive. The wisdom of the King will divert those misfortunes which 
impiety wishes to draw upon us ; it will establish the altars which it en- 
deavours to overturn ; we shall see everywhere religion triumph over its 
enemies, under the sway of this pious and invincible monarch, the glory 
of his age, the ornament of his states, the beloved of his subjects, the 
terror of the unbelievers, the delight of the whole human race. Vivat 
rex, vivat in cBtemum ! May the King live, but may he live eternally for 
the good of the Church, for the tranquillity of the State, and for the hap- 
piness of all nations !" 

These observations were answered in a Lettre sur les Observations d? 
une Comedi du Sieur Moliere, intitulee Le Festin de Pierre, published 
also in 1665, in which the author defends Moliere ; says that he is more 
than a mere buffoon ; that the very fact that that most religious King, Louis 
XIV., allowed Don Juan to be acted before him, proves that there is no 
harm in the play ; that people ought not to accuse Moliere of infidelity 
without sufficient proof ; that in this play virtue is rewarded and vice 
punished ; that in Don Juan, as well as in Tartuffe, hypocrisy only is at- 
tacked, but not real religion ; and that, finally, if we are to be visited by 
all those plagues prophesied by the Observateur, the hypocrites will be the 
first to feel the effects of them. 

Another very badly written pamphlet was likewise published in the 
same year, in defence of Moliere, having for its title Reponse aux Obser- 
vations touchant Le Festin de Pierre de Monsieur de Moliere. 

In 1667, Don yuan re-appeared on the French stage, but remodelled 
and put into verse by Thomas Corneille. This version, or rather perver- 
sion, of Moliere's play was acted until the isth of January 1847, when 
the comedy, as originally written, was again performed, and continues to 
be so until the present day. 

Sir Aston Cokain wrote The Tragedy of Ovid, which was printed in 
1662, but which was never acted. In this, the passage of Captain Hanni- 
bal (Don Juan) inviting the dead body of Helvidius to supper, and the 

iSee The School for Wives Criticised, Vol. I., Scene vii. 


Spectre accepting it, and the latter afterwards inviting Hannibal to sup- 
per, as well as the final catastrophe, seem borrowed from the Italian play 
// Atheisto fulminato, from which Moliere appears also to have taken sev- 
eral scenes. In any case, Cokain cannot have borrowed from the French 
author, whose play was not brought out until February I5th, 1665. 

Thomas Shadwell (see Introductory Notice to The Bores, Vol. I., has, 
in The Libertine, acted at Dorset Garden in 1676, partly imitated Mo- 
liere. This play is dedicated to William, Duke of Newcastle ; and in the 
preface it is admitted that '' there are an Italian, a Spanish, and four 
French plays on the story of Don Juan, the character of the libertine, 
and consequently those of his friends are borrowed ; but all the plot till 
the latter end of the fourth act is new." This seems not quite true ; for 
in the second act of Shadwell's comedy there are evidently some scenes 
borrowed from Moliere. In the English play, Don -Juan loves wicked- 
ness, and philosophizes about it to his two friends, Don Lopez and Don 
Antonio ; he causes his own father to be murdered, and, on the whole, 
behaves rather like a madman. The scenes between Don Juan, The 
Statue, and Sganarelle Jacomo in the English play are pretty closely 
followed from Moliere, but made more horrible. Shadwell's comedy 
met with great success, although our author states : " there being no act 
in it which cost me above five days writing, and the two last (the play- 
house having great occasion for a play) were both written in four days." 
The Prologue opens thus : 

" Our Author sent me hither for a Scout, 
To spy what bloody Criticks were come out. 
Those Piccaroons in Wit, wh' infest this Road, 
And snap both Friend and Foe that come abroad. 
This savage Party crueller appears 
Than in the Channel Ostend Privateers. 
You in this Road, or sink or plunder all ; 
Remorseless as a Storm on us you fall. 
But as a Merchant, when by Storm distres'd, 
Flings out his bulky goods to save the rest, 
Hoping a Calm may come, he keeps the best. 
In this black Tempest which o'er us impends, 
Near Rocks and Quicksands, and no Port of Friends, 
Our Poet gives this over to your Rage, 
The most irregular Play upon the Stage." 

Congreve has imitated, in Love for Love (Act i., Scene i), acted for the 
first time in Little Lincoln's Inn Fields in 1695, the scene from Moliere's 
Don jfuan between M. Dimanche and the hero of the play. Love for 
Love appears to me to be a free imitation of three of Moliere's plays ; 
the scenes between Valentine and Jeremy are something like those be- 
tween Don Juan and Sganarelle, from Don jfuan; Scandal, Tattle, Mrs. 
Foresight, and Mrs. Frail, are followed from similar characters in The Mis- 
anthrope ; whilst Foresight seems Harpagon from The Miser. Love for 
Love was, curiously enough, acted entirely by women June 25th, 27th, 
and agth, 1705 ; the two first times most likely at Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
the last, at the Haymarket. 

At the Royalty Theatre was acted, in 1787, a tragic pantomimical en- 
tertainment, called Don yuan, or the Libertine Destroyed, composed by 
M. Delpini ; the songs, duets, and choruses by Mr. Reeve. At Drury 
Lane, in 1790, was played a pantomime-ballet of the same name. 

Monorieff wrote an operatic extravaganza, in two acts, called Giovanni 
in London, or the Libertine Reclaimed. '' Don Giovanni having, like his 


noble compeers, made the grand tour, and also acquired additional no- 
toriety, by being forcibly ejected from that place where Telemachus went 
to look for his lather, jumps into Charon's boat, re-passes the river Styx, 
and pays a visit to London, for the purpose, like the man when he opened 
the oysters, of astonishing the natives. In this expedition he is accom- 
panied by his valet, pimp, and bottle-holder, Leporello ; and whether at 
the Magpie and Punch-Bowl, in the Borough in St. Giles', with Mes- 
dames Drainemdry, Porous, and Simpkins at Chalk Farm, with Finikin 
and Popinjay in the King's Bench, with Shirk, Sponge, and other gen- 
tlemen who pay their creditors by a bill at three months or at Charing 
Cross, in company with King Charles on horseback their adventures are 
equally wonderful and entertaining." This piece was originally written 
for the Olympic Theatre, but was played in 1827 both at Drury Lane and 
at Covent Garden. In the last mentioned theatre the late Madame 
Vestris created a certain furore, in acting the hero of the piece. 

Thomas Dibdin wrote a similar piece, called Don Giovanni, or the 
Spectre on Horseback, a burlesque on Mozart's celebrated opera, which 
was acted at Bath, on the igth of May, 1819. 

On the 22d of December, 1821, there was performed at Drury Lane, an 
opera called Giovanni in Ireland, in which Madame Vestris again played 
the hero ; but it met with little success. 

Goldine, the Italian dramatist, also wrote a Don yuan, or the Libertine, 
a comedy in five acts, and in blank verse, of which he says in his Auto- 
biography, " Having learned enough of French to be able to read it, I 
found that Moliere and Thomas Corneille had employed their talents on 
the same subject ; I undertook also to give a similar treat to my country- 
men, that I might be on somewhat decent terms with the devil. I could 
not, it is true, give the same title to it ; for in my piece, the statue of the 
Commander neither speaks, moves, nor goes to sup in town. ... I could 
not dispense with the thunder which strikes Don Juan, because the wicked 
deserve to be punished ; but I brought about the event in such a way that 
it might either be an immediate effect of the wrath of God, or might pro- 
ceed from a combination of secondary causes under the direction of the 
laws of providence." 

Mozart also composed the music to an opera called Don Giovanni, 
in which the Italian librettist, Delponte, has followed rather the old 
Spanish play than Moliere, and which is known and admired wherever 
music is cultivated. 


DON JUAN, son to Don Louis. 



DON Louis, father to Don Juan. 


GUZMAN, gentleman-usher to Donna Elvira. 

M. DIMANCHE, a tradesman. 


VIOLETTE, \servantstoDonJuan. 


PIERROT, a countryman. 

LA RAMEE, a swashbuckler. 


Don Juan's FOLLOWERS. 

Don Carlos' and Don Alonzo" s FOLLOWERS. 


DONNA ELVIRA, wife to Don Juan. 


> country-women. 

*A Commander was a member of the military-religious order of the 
Knights of Malta, or of any other similar order, who, by virtue of long or 
meritorious services, had the control of a manor, with lands and tene- 
ments appertaining thereto, part of the proceeds of which had to be used 
for the benefit of that oftier, and part for himself. Such a manor was 
called a commandery or preceptory. 

' Moliere played this part. In the inventory taken after the author's 
death, we see : " a deep gold-coloured satin little jerkin, with long skirts, 
a linen jacket with gold facings, a doublet of flowered satin for the Festin 
de Pierre." I doubt if this was part of the dress of Sganarelle. 







SCAN. {With a snuff-box in his hancT). Whatever 
Aristotle and all the philosophers may say, nothing can be 
compared to tobacco : all respectable men are very fond 
of it, and he who lives without tobacco deserves not to 
live. It not only enlivens and clears a man's brains, but 
it also teaches men to be virtuous ; through it one learns 
to become a respectable man. Do you not see plainly, as 
soon as we take it, how affable we become with everyone, 
and how delighted we are to give right and left, wherever 
we are ? We do not even wait till it is asked for, but we 
forestall people's wishes ; so true it is that tobacco inspires 
all those who take it with sentiments of honour and virtue.* 
But enough of this ; let us rather resume our discourse. 
So, then, dear Guzman, Donna Elvira, your mistress, being 

* Tobacco had been. in use for more than a century. It was introduced 
into France, in the year 1560, by Jean Nicot, lord of Villemain, ambassa- 
dor of Francis II. at the Court of Madrid, who made a present of it to the 
Queen, Catherine de Medici : hence its first name was in French Herbe df 
la rein* or Nlcotiane. 



surprised at our departure, is come after us; and my master 
has touched her heart so intensely, that you say she cannot 
exist without coming here in search of him. Between 
ourselves, do you wish me to tell you my thoughts ? I am 
afraid her love will be ill repaid, that her journey to this 
city will produce little fruit, and that you would have 
gained just as much had you never stirred from the spot. 

Guz. And pray, Sganarelle, what can inspire you with 
a terror which so augurs ill ? Has your master opened his 
heart to you on that subject, and did he tell you that his 
coldness for us obliged him to leave? 

SCAN. Not at all ; but, by what I see, I know pretty 
well how things are ; and, although he has not yet said 
anything to me, I could almost lay a wager that the busi- 
ness is tending that'way. I may, perhaps, be mistaken ; 
but yet, in such cases, experience has given me some in- 

Guz. What ! Can this sudden departure be caused by 
the faithlessness of Don Juan. Could he insult so greatly 
the chaste love of Donna Elvira ? 

SCAN. No, no, he is young yet, and has not the courage 
to ... 

Guz. Can a man of his rank commit so base an action ! 

SCAN. Oh yes, his rank ! The idea is really admirable ; 
he would forbear on that account ! 

Guz. But he is restrained by the holy bonds of matri- 

SCAN. Ah ! poor Guzman, my good friend, believe me, 
you do not know yet what sort of man Don Juan is. 

Guz. Truly, I do not know what sort of a man he may 
be, if he has acted so treacherously towards us. I do not 
understand how, after so much love and impatience shown, 
such homage urged upon us, such vows, sighs, and tears, 
so many passionate letters, such ardent protestations and 
repeated oaths, such transports in short, and such out- 
bursts, forcing even, in his passion, the sacred obstacle of 
a nunnery, in order to get Donna Elvira in his power ; I 
do not understand, I say, how after all this, he should have 
the heart to break his word. 

SCAN. I have no great difficulty in understanding this ; 
and, if you knew the fellow, you would think the thing 


easy enough for him. I do not say that he has changed 
his sentiments for Donna Elvira ; I am not yet quite sure 
of it. You know that he ordered me to set out before 
him ; and since his arrival, he has not spoken to me ; but, 
by way of precaution, I tell you, between ourselves, that 
Don Juan, my master, is one of the greatest scoundrels 
upon earth, a madman, a dog, a demon, a Turk, a here- 
tick, who believes neither in Heaven, hell, nor devil, who 
passes his life like a regular brute beast, one of Epicurus' 
swine, a true Sardanapalus, who shuts his ears against all 
Christian remonstrances that can be made to him, and 
considers all that we believe as so much nonsense. You 
tell me that he has married your mistress ; believe me, he 
would have done more to satisfy his passion, and would, 
besides herself, have married you, her dog and her cat into 
the bargain. It costs him nothing to contract a marriage ; 
he uses no other snares to entrap the fair sex ; and he 
marries whomsoever he can get hold of. A lady, gentle- 
woman, citizen's daughter, countrywoman ; he thinks 
nothing too hot or too cold for him ; and if I were to tell 
you the names of all those whom he has married in differ- 
ent places, I would not have finished until night. 5 You 
seem surprised and change colour at what you hear ; 
this is a mere outline of the man ; and many other touches 
would be required to finish the picture. Let it be sufficient 
that some day or other Heaven must needs overwhelm him 
with its wrath ; that I had much better be with the devil 
than with him, and that he makes me witness so many 
horrors, that I could wish him already I do not know 
where! If a great lord is a wicked man, it is a terrible 
thing. I must be faithful to him in spite of myself; fear 
moves me instead of zeal, curbs my sentiments, and often 
compels me to applaud what I detest from my very soul. 
See, there he comes to take a walk in this palace ; let us 
separate. One word more ; I have trusted you, and not 

6 Moliere has not given a list of the names of the different wives of Don 
Juan, to be found in the Italian piece which he has freely followed, and 
also in several other plays of that time. Perhaps he thought the idea too 
hackneyed. In Mozart's opera, Don Giovanni, the list of the mille e tre 
conquests of the hero, as sung by Leporello, beginning Madamina il cato- 
logo e guesto, Delle belle ch' amo il padron mio, produces a great and ad- 
mirable effect. 



concealed anything from you ; it came a little too quick- 
ly out of my mouth ; but, if ever anything should reach 
his ears, I shall declare flatly that you have told a lie. 


D. Ju. What man was just now talking to you . He 
has very much the air, it seems to me, of honest Guzman, 
a servant of Donna Elvira. 

SCAN. It is something very like it. 

D. Ju. What ! it is he? 

SCAN. The very man. 

D. Ju. And how long has he been in town? 

SCAN. Since last night. 

D. Ju. And why has he come ? 

SCAN. I believe you may imagine well enough what dis- 
turbs him. 

D. Ju. Our departure, no doubt ? 

SGAN. The good man is quite offended, and asked me 
the qause of it. 

D. Ju. And what answer did you give him ? 

SCAN. That you had not told me anything about it. 

D. Ju. But, prithee, what do you think of it? What 
do you imagine about this affair ? 

SCAN. I? I believe, without wronging you, that you 
have some new love affair in your head. 

D. Ju. Do you think so ? 

SCAN. Yes. 

D. Ju. Upon my word, you are not mistaken ; and I 
must confess another object has driven Elvira from my 

SCAN. Oh ! good Heavens ! I know my Don Juan at 
my fingers' ends, and that your heart is the most restless 
in the world ; it delights to rove from one set of chains to 
another and never likes to stay in one spot. 

D. Ju. And tell me, do you not think I am right in 
acting in such a manner ? 

SCAN. Oh ! sir ... 

D. Ju. What ! Speak. 

SCAN. Certainly, you are right, if you have a mind to 
it ; no one can say anything against it. But, if you had 
not a mind to it, it might perhaps be another affair 


D. Ju. Well, then, I give you leave to speak, and to 
tell me your sentiments. 

SCAN. In that case, sir, I must frankly tell you that I 
do not approve of your goings on, and that I think it very 
wicked to make love to every one, as you do. 

D. Ju. What ! Would you have a man bind himself to 
remain with the first object which has caught him, re- 
nounce the world for her sake, and have no more eyes for 
anybody? A nice thing to pique one's self upon the 
false honour of being faithful, to bury one's self for ever 
in one passion, and to be dead from our very youth to all 
other beauties that may strike us ! No, no, constancy is 
fit only for fools ; every handsome woman has a right to 
charm us, and the advantage of being first met with ought 
not to rob others of the just pretensions which they all 
have upon our hearts. As for me beauty delights me 
wherever I meet with it, and I easily give myself up to 
that sweet violence with which it hurries us along. It 
does not matter if I am engaged ; the love I feel for one 
fair does not induce me to do injustice to others ; I have 
eyes to see the merit of all, and pay to every one the 
homage and tribute which nature demands from us. 
However it be, I cannot refuse my heart to any lovely 
creature I behold ; and as soon as a handsome face asks it of 
me, if I had ven thousand hearts, I would give them all. 
Budding inclinations, after all have a charm which is in- 
describable, and all the pleasure of love is in variety. 
One takes great delight in reducing, by a hundred con- 
trivances, the heart of a young beauty ; in seeing every 
day the gradual progress one has made; in combating 
with transports, tears, and sighs, the innocent bashfulness 
of a mind which can hardly prevail upon itself to surren- 
der ; in demolishing, inch by inch, all the little resistance 
she can oppose to us ; in conquering the scruples upon 
which she prides herself, and in leading her gently whither 
we have a mind to bring her. But when we are once her 
master, there is nothing more to say, nothing more to 
wish for ; all the charms of the passion are over, and we 
are lulled asleep in the tranquillity of such a love, if some 
new object does not awaken our desires and present to our 
heart the attractive charms of a conquest still to make. 

84 DON JUAN ; OR, [ ACT ,. 

In short, there is nothing so pleasant as to triumph over 
the resistance of a fair maiden ; I possess, in such a case, 
the ambition of a conqueror, who flies perpetually from 
one victory to another, and can never resolve to set 
bounds to his wishes. Nothing can restrain the impetu- 
osity of my desires ; I feel I have a heart that could love 
all the world, and like Alexander, I could wish for other 
worlds, wherein to extend my amorous conquests. 6 

SCAN. Ods' boddikins, how you talk ! It seems that 
you have learned this by heart ; you speak like a book. 

D. Ju. What have you to say to this? 

SCAN. Upon my word, I have to say ... I do not 
know what to say ; for you turn things in such a manner 
that it seems you are right, and yet it is certain you are 
not. I had the finest thoughts in the world, but your 
speech has put them all out of my head. Let me alone ; 
another time I shall write down all my arguments, to dis- 
pute with you. 

D. Ju. Do so. 

SCAN. But, sir, would it be included in the permission 
you have given me, if I were to tell you that I am some- 
what scandalized at the life which you lead. 

D. Ju. How? What life do I lead ? 

SCAN. A very good one. But, for example, to see you 
marry every month, as you do ! 

D. Ju. Can there be anything more agreeable ? 

SCAN. True, I should think it very agreeable and very 
amusing, and I should myself like it well enough if there 
were no harm in it ; but, sir, to make thus a jest of a 
sacred mystery, and . . . 

D. Ju. Well, be it so ; it is an affair between Heaven 
and me, and I can very well settle it without your troub 
ling yourself about it. 

SCAN. Upon my word, sir, I have always heard it s*a* 
that to jest about Heaven is wicked jesting, and that 
libertines always come to a bad end. 

* Lovelace, in Richardson's Clarissa Harlowe, expresses nearly the 
same sentiments, and writes, " the Debellare superbos should be my mot- 
to ; I always considered opposition and resistance as a challenge to do 
my worst" 


D. Ju. Hullo, Master Fool ! You know I told you that 
I do not like persons who remonstrate. 

SCAN. Therefore I do not speak to you ! Heaven for- 
bid ! You know what you do ; and, if you are a libertine 7 
you have your reasons : but there are certain punny cox- 
combs in this world who are so without knowing why or 
wherefore, who pretend to be free-thinkers, because they 
think it becomes them. Had I a master of that kind, I 
would tell him plainly to his face : " Dare you thus jest 
with Heaven, and do you not tremble to laugh, as you do, 
at things the most sacred ? Does it become you, you little 
earthworm, you mannikin that you are (I speak to the 
master I mentioned), does it become you to wish to turn 
into ridicule what all men revere ? Do you think that 
because you are a man of rank, because you wear a fair 
and well-curled wig, have some feathers in your hat, a 
gold-laced coat, and flame-coloured ribbons 8 (I do not 
speak to you but to the other) do you think, I say, that 
you are a cleverer man for all this, that you may be 
allowed to do everything, and that no one should dare to 
tell you the truth ? Learn from me, who am your servant, 
that Heaven, sooner or later, punishes the impious ; that 
a wicked life leads to a wicked death ; that libertines never 
come to a good end, and that ..." 

D. Ju. Silence ! 

SCAN. Why, what is the matter ? 

D. Ju. The matter is, that I inform you that a certain 
beauty has got possession of my heart, and that, captivated 
by her charms, I followed her to this city. 

SCAN. And you have no fear, sir, of the consequences 
of the death of that Commander whom you killed six 
months ago ? 

7 The French word libertin had formerly not only the signification which 
it has in our days, but meant also a free-thinker; and was often said of a 
man or woman who did not like to submit to the ordinary rules and regtr 
lations of society. Libertine was also formerly applied, in English, " to 
certain heretical sects, and intended to mark the licentious liberty of their 
creed and forms," says Trench, in his Select Glossary, "a striking evidence 
of the extreme likelihood that he who has no restraints on his belief will 
ere long have none upon his life." 

8 Sganarelle describes the apparel Don Juan wears, without daring to 
name him. 

86 DON JUAN ; OR, [ACT i. 

D. Ju. Why should I be afraid ? Did I not kill him 
honourably ? 

SCAN. Very honourably ; it could not have been done 
more so, and he would be wrong to complain. 

D. Ju. I had my pardon for this affair. 

SCAN. Yes ; but this pardon does not perhaps stifle the 
resentment of relatives and friends, and . . . 

D. Ju. Pooh ! Let us not think of any harm that may 
happen to us, but only of what can give us pleasure. The 
person of whom I speak to you is a young bride, one of the 
prettiest in the world, who was brought hither by the very 
man she is to marry. Chance threw this pair of lovers in 
my way, three or four days before they set out on their 
journey. Never did I see two people so satisfied with each 
other ; and displaying so much love. The visible tender- 
ness of their mutual flame moved me ; I felt it deeply, and 
my love began by jealousy. Yes, I could not at first sight 
endure to see them so happy together. Resentment kindled 
my desire, and I thought it would cause me very great 
pleasure to disturb their intimacy, and to sever that union 
by which the delicate feelings of my heart were offended ; 
but hitherto all my efforts have been in vain, and I have 
recourse to the final stratagem. This intended spouse is 
to-day to treat the object of his love with a sail. Without 
having said anything to you, all things are prepared for 
gratifying my passion. I have freighted a little vessel, and 
engaged men with whose assistance I can easily carry off 
the fair. 

SCAN. Ah ! sir ... 

D. Ju. What ? 

SCAN. You have done quite right, and you take things 
in the proper way. There is nothing in the world like 
satisfying all one's desires. 

D. Ju. Get ready to come along with me, and take care, 
you yourself, to bring all my arms, so that . . . (Iff sees 
Donna Elvira). Oh ! most unlucky meeting. Traitor, 
you did not tell me she was here herself. 

SCAN. Sir, you did not so much as ask me. 

D. Ju. Is she mad not to have changed her dress, and 
to come here in her riding-habit ? 9 

' This remark of Don Juan on beholding a woman whom he has aban- 



D. EL. Will you do me the favour, Don Juan, to notice 
me ? And may I at least hope that you will deign to turn 
your eyes this way ? 

D. Ju. I confess to you, madam, that I am surprised, 
and that I did not expect you here. 

D. EL. Yes, I see plainly that you did not expect me 
here ; and you are indeed surprised, but quite otherwise 
than I hoped for; the manner in which you appear con- 
vinces me fully of what I refused to believe. I am aston- 
ished at my simplicity, and at the weakness of my heart 
in doubting a treachery so strongly confirmed by appear- 
ances. I was simple-minded enough, I confess it, or 
rather foolish enough, to be willing to deceive myself, and 
to take pains to contradict my eyes and my judgment. I 
sought for reasons to excuse to my affection that diminu- 
tion of friendship which it discovered in you ; and I pur- 
posely invented a hundred legitimate excuses for so hurried 
a departure, to clear you from the crime of which my rea- 
son accused you. All that my just suspicions could daily 
say to me was in vain ; I would not listen to their voice, 
which represented you to me as a criminal ; I took a plea- 
sure in giving ear to a thousand ridiculous fancies, which 
depicted you to my heart as innocent ; but, at last, your 
reception permits me no longer to doubt, and the glance 
with which you received me informs me of many more 
things than I would wish to know. .1 shall be glad, never- 
theless, to hear from your own mouth the reasons for your 
departure. Pray, speak, Don Juan, let us hea'r in what 
way you can justify yourself. 

D. Ju. Madam, there is Sganarelle, who knows why I 
went away. 

SCAN. ( Whispering to Don Juan). I, sir ! By your 
leave, I know nothing of the matter. 

doned, shows that he has neither feelings nor heart. Louis XIV.. then 
(1665) in the height of his passion for Mademoiselle de la Valliere, be- 
haved afterwards to her as badly as Don Juan does to Donna Elvira. It 
has many a time been stated that the King was neither coarser nor more 
unfeeling than his contemporaries. We have only to look at the Memoires 
du Due de Saint Simon, to see what at least one of them thought of U 
Grand Monarque. But Louis XIV. was no sceptic, and during the latter 
part of his reign he became even a fanatic and a persecutor. 

88 DON JUAN ; OR, [ACT r. 

D. EL. Well, Sganarelle, speak. It does not matter 
from whose mouth I hear his reasons. 

D. Ju. {Making signs to Sganarelle to draw near him). 
Come, speak then to the lady. 

SGAN. ( Whispering to Don Juan?) What would you have 
me say? 

D. EL. Come hither, since he will have it so, and tell 
me the causes of so sudden a departure. 

D. Ju. Why do you not answer? 

SGAN. ( Whispering to Don Juan). I have nothing to 
answer. You make fun of your very humble servant. 

D. Ju. Will you answer, I say? 

SGAN. Madam . . . 

D. EL. What ? 

SGAN. ( Turning towards his master). Sir . . . 

D. Ju. ( Threatening him). If ... 

SGAN. Madam, the conqueror, Alexander, and the other 
worlds, are the cause of our departure. That sir, is all I 
can say. 

D. EL. Will you be pleased, Don Juan, to explain to 
me these beautiful mysteries ? 

D. Ju. Madam, to say the truth . . . 

D. EL. Fy ! how badly you defend yourself for a 
courtier, who should be accustomed to these sort of things ! 
I pity you to see you so confused. Why do you not arm 
your brow with a noble impudence? Why do you not 
swear that you entertain still the same feelings for me ; 
that you always love me with an unparalleled affection, and 
that nothing but death can sever you from me ? Why do 
you not tell me that affairs of the greatest consequence 
compelled you to set out without informing me of it ; that, 
much against your will, you must stay here for some time ; 
.and that I need only return whence I came, with the 
assurance that you will follow me as soon as possible ; that 
it is certain you are very anxious to rejoin me, and that, 
whilst you are absent from me, you endure the pangs of a 
body separated from the soul ? That is the way to defend 
yourself; but not to stand thunderstruck as you do. 

D. Ju. I must confess, madam, that I possess not a 
talent for dissimulation, but am sincere at heart. I will 
not tell you that I entertain still the same feelings for you, 


and that I am very anxious to rejoin you, since it is certain 
that I came away only to avoid you ; not for the reasons 
you imagine, but from a pure motive of conscience, and 
because I thought I could not live with you any longer 
without sin. I felt some scruples, madam ; and the eyes 
of my mind were opened to what I was doing. I reflected 
that, in order to marry you, I took you from the precincts 
of a convent, that you broke vows which engaged you 
elsewhere, and that Heaven is very jealous of such things. 
I was seized with repentance, and dreaded the wrath of 
Heaven. I thought our marriage was only adultery in 
disguise; that it would bring down upon us some calamity, 
and that, in short, I ought to endeavour to forget you, 
and to give you an opportunity of returning to your former 
obligations. Would you oppose so holy a design, madam, 
and would you have me expose myself to the vengeance 
of Heaven by retaining you ; that by ... 

D. EL. Ah ! wicked wretch ! now I know you -tho- 
roughly ; and to my misfortune I know you when it is too 
late, and when such a knowledge can only serve to make 
me despair. But be assured that your crime will not 
remain unpunished, and that the same Heaven which you 
mock will revenge your perfidy. 

D. Ju. Sganarelle, Heaven ! 

SCAN. Oh, yes, we care much for that. 

D. Ju. Madam . . . 

D. EL. It is enough. I do not wish to hear anything 
more. I even blame myself for having already heard too 
much. It is meanness to have our shame explained too 
clearly, and in such cases, a noble heart should, at the 
very first word, resolve what to do. Do not expect me 
to break out into reproaches and opprobrious language ; 
no, no, my wrath does not spend itself in vain words ; it 
reserves all its ardour for vengeance. I tell you once 
more, Heaven will punish you, wretch, for the wrong you 
have done me ; and if you have nothing to fear from 
Heaven, fear at least the anger of an injured woman. 

SCAN. (Aside). If he should ever feel some remorse. 

90 DON JUAN J OR, [ACT 11. 

D. Ju. (After some pause). Let us go and think of the 
execution of our amorous enterprise. 

SCAN. (Alone) Oh ! what an abominable master I am 
forced to serve ! 


(A Landscape near the sea shore}. 

CHAR. By Jingo, Pierrot, you were there just in the 
nick of time. 

PIER. 'Sbobs, they were within an ace of being 
drowned, both of them. 

CHAR. Was it the great storm this morning that upset 
them in the sea ? 

PIER. Look you, Charlotte, I shall tell you outright how 
it happened ; for, as the saying is, I saw them first, first I 
saw them. I was on the sea-shore, I and fat Lucas, and 
we were a-larking together with clods of earth, that we 
threw at one another's heads, for you very well know that 
fat Lucas likes to be a-larking, and so do I sometimes too. 
So as we were a-larking, for we were a-larking, I perceived 
a distance off something that stirred in the water, and 
that came bobbing towards us. I looked fixedly at it, but 
all of a sudden I saw that I saw nothing more. Ay, Lucas, 
says I, I think that there are men a-swimming down 
there. Oh, says he, you have been at the burial of a cat, 
your eyes are dazed. 'Sdeath, says I, my eyes are not 
dazed ; they are men. No, no, says he to me, you are 
purblind. Would you wager, says I, that I am not pur- 
blind, says I, and that they are two men, says I, who are 
swimming straight this way, says I. Znigs, says he, I lay 

10 Charlotte and Pierrot speak in a provincial dialect, which was quite 
a novelty on the stage in the time of Moliere ; we shall give an example 
of this : CHARLOTTE : Notre dinse 1 Piarrot, tu f es trouvt Id bien d. 
point. PIERROT. Parquienne ! il ne s'en est pas f all-it F epoisseur tfane 
eplinque, gu'il ne se sayant nayes tous deux. CHARLOTTE. C'est done le 
coui> de vent d* d matin qul les avait ranvarses dans la mar f &c. As it 
would be impossible to render this in an equivalent dialect, I have trans- 
lated it in plain English. 


a wager they are not. Well, come on, says I, I will lay you 
tenpence on it ? Marry will I, says he, and to show thee, 
there is the money down on the nail, says he. I was 
neither a fool nor a gaby ; I boldly threw down upon the 
ground four silver pennies and sixpenny worth of ha'- 
pence, as freely, i' faith, as if I had drank off a glass of 
wine ; for I am very venturesome, and go on any way. 
Yet I knew what I did howsomdever. I am not such a 
fool as I look. We had but just laid the wager when I 
saw the two men very plainly, who made signs to us to 
come and fetch them, and I take up the stakes. Come, 
Lucas, says I, you see that they call us ; let us go at once 
and help them. No, says he, they have made me lose. 
Then, to cut short my story, I went on so, and at last 
preached so much to him, that we got into a boat, and 
then I made so much ado that I got them out of the 
water, and then I carried them home to the fire, and then 
they pulled off all their clothes and stripped to dry them- 
selves, and then two more of the same gang came, who 
had saved themselves quite alone, and then comes Mathu- 
rine, and one of them cast sheep's eyes at her. And that 
is precisely, Charlotte, how all this has happened. 

CHAR. Did you not say, Pierrot, that one of them is a 
great deal handsomer than the rest ? 

PIER. Ay, he is the master ; he must be some great, 
great man to be sure, for he has gold upon his clothes from 
top to bottom, and his servants are gentlefolks themselves ; 
but for all his being a great man, he would have been 
drowned if I had not been there. 

CHAR. Lawk a-day ! 

PIER. Ay, indeed, if it had not been for us he would 
have had his fill of water. 

CHAR. Is he still at your house without his clothes on, 
Pierrot ? 

PIER. No, no, they all put on their clothes again before 
us. Mercy on me, I never saw any of these folks dress 
themselves before ; what a parcel of gimcracks these cour- 
tiers wear ! I should lose myself in them, and I was quite 
flabbergasted to see them. Why, Charlotte, they have hair 
which does not stick to their heads, and, after all, they put 
it on like a big cap of unspun flax. They have smocks 

92 DON JUAN J OR, [ ACT n . 

with sleeves that you and I might get into; instead of 
breeches they have an apron as large as from this to Easter, 
instead of doublets they have little tiny waistcoats that 
do not reach to their middle, and instead of bands a great 
neck-handkerchief all open-worked with four large tufts of 
linen hanging down over their stomach. They have bands 
about their wrists too, and great funnels of lace about their 
legs, and amongst all this so many ribands, that it is a 
downright shame. Their very shoes are stuffed with them 
from one end to the other, and they are made in such a 
fashion that I should break my neck in them. 

CHAR. I' fakins, Pierrot, I must go and see them. 

PIER. Oh ! Hark you, Charlotte, stay a little first, I 
have something else to say to you. 

CHAR. Well, tell me, what is it ? 

PIER. Do you not see, Charlotte, that, as the saying is, 
I must unbosom myself to you? I am in love with you, 
you know it very well, I am for us being married together; 
but 's boddikins, I am not pleased with you. 

CHAR. How? what's the matter? 

PIER. The matter is, to tell the truth, that you vex my 
very heart. 

CHAR. How so ? 

PIER. Because, by the powers, you do not love me. 

CHAR. Ho ! ho ! Is that all ? 

PIER. Ay, that is all, and enough too. 

CHAR. Law, Pierrot, you always say the same thing tome. 

PIER. I always say the same thing to you because it is 
always the same thing ; and if it was not always the same 
thing I would not always say the same thing. 

CHAR. But what do you want ? What do you wish? 

PIER. Drat it, I would wish you to love me. 

CHAR. Why, do I not love you ? 

PIER. No, you do not love me, and yet I do all I can to 
make you. I do not mean to reproach you, but I buy rib- 
bons for you of all the pedlars that come about, I risk my 
neck to go and fetch jackdaws out of their nests for you, 
I make the piper play for you when your birthday comes ; 
and all this is no more than if I ran my head against the 
wall. Do ye hear ? it is neither fair nor honest not to 
love folk that love us. 


CHAR. But, lawk-a-day, I love you too. 

PIER. Ay. very much indeed ! 

CHAR. What would you have me do then ? 

PIER. I would have you do as folk do when they love 
as they ought. 

CHAR. Why, do I not love you as I ought ? 

PIER. No, when that is the case, anyone can see it; peo- 
ple play a thousand little tricks to folk when they love 
them with all their heart. Look at stout Thomasse, how 
smitten she is with young Robin ; she is always about him 
to tease him, and never lets him alone. She is always 
playing him some trick or other, or hits him a rap when 
she passes by 'him. The other day, as he was sitting upon 
a small stool, she comes and pulls it from under him, and 
down falls he at full length upon the ground. Zounds, 
that is the way folk do when they are in love ; but you 
never say a word to me, you always stand like a log of 
wood ; I may go by ye twenty times and you never stir to 
give me the smallest thump, or to say the least thing to 
me. Upon my word, it is not fair, after all, and you are 
too cold for folk. 

CHAR. What would you have me do ? My temper is 
such, and I cannot alter myself. 

PIER. Temper or no temper, when a body loves a body 
one always gives some small inkling of it. 

CHAR. I love you as well as I can, and if you are not 
satisfied with that, you must go and love somebody else. 

PIER. Why there now ! I have got what I bargained for. 
Zooks, if you loved me you would not say that. 

CHAR. Why do you come and worrit me so ? 

PIER. And what harm do I do you? I only ask a little 
friendship from ye. 

CHAR. Well, let me alone then and do not press me so, 
maybe it will come all of a sudden, without thinking of it. 

PIER. Shake hands, then, Charlotte. 

CHAR. {Gives him her hand). Well, there. 

PIER. Promise me that you will do your best to love me 

CHAR. I will do all that I can, but it must come of 
itself. Pierrot, is that the gentleman ? 

PIER. Yes, that is he. 

94 ON JUAN ; OR, [ACT H. 

CHAR. Oh 1 lack-a-day, how nice he is ! what a pity it 
would have been if he had been drowned. 

PIER. I shall come again presently ; I shall go to take 
a pint to refresh myself a little after my fatigue. 


D. Ju. We have failed Li our plot, Sganarelle, and this 
sudden squall has overturned our sloop, as well as the plan 
we had formed ; but, to tell you the truth, the country- 
wench I have just parted with, makes amends for this mis- 
fortune. I have found such charms in her that they have 
effaced from my mind all the vexation caused by the ill 
success of our enterprise. This heart must not escape me : 
I have already disposed it in such a manner that I shall 
have no need to sigh long in vain. 

SCAN. I confess, sir, you astonish me. We have hardly 
escaped from the jaws of death, and instead of thanking 
Heaven for the mercy it has granted us, you labour anew 
to draw down its wrath by your usual whims and your 
amours . . . (Seeing Don Juan look angry) . Peace, rascal 
that you are ; you do not know what you are talking of, 
and my master knows what he does. Come. 

D. Ju. (Perceiving Charlotte). Ha ! whence comes this 
other country-girl? Did you ever see anything prettier? 
Tell me, do you not think she is as handsome as the other? 

SGAN. Certainly. (Aside'). Another fresh morsel. 

D. Ju. (To Charlotte). Whence this pleasant meeting, 
fair one ? What ? are there in these rural spots, amongst 
these trees and rocks, persons as handsome as you are ? 

CHAR. As you see, sir. 

D. Ju. Do you belong to this village ? 

CHAR. Yes, sir. 

D. Ju. And do you live there ? 

CHAR. Yes, sir. 

D. Ju. What is your name ? 

CHAR. Charlotte, at your service. 

D. Ju. Ah ! what a beauty ! what piercing eyes ! 

CHAR. Sir, you make me quite ashamed. 

D. Ju. Oh ! do not be ashamed to hear the truth. 
What do you say, Sganarelle? Can anything be more 


agreeable ? Turn about a little, please. Oh ! what a fine 
shape. Hold up your head a little, pray. Oh ! what a 
pretty face is this ! Open your eyes wide. Oh ! how 
lovely they are. Pray let me see your teeth. Oh ! how 
love- inspiring ! And those provoking lips ! For my part, 
I am delighted ; I never beheld so charming a person. 

CHAR. Sir, you are pleased to say so ; I do not know 
whether you make fun of me. 

D. Ju. I make fun of you ! Heaven forbid ! I love you 
too well for that ; I speak to you from the bottom of my 

CHAR. I am very much obliged to you if it is so. 

D. Ju. Not at all ; you are not obliged to me for any- 
thing I say; you owe it to your beauty alone. 

CHAR. Sir, all these words are too fine for me ; I have 
not wit enough to answer you. 

D. Ju. Sganarelle, just cast a glance on her hands. 

CHAR. Fie, sir ! they are as black as anything. 

D. Ju. Oh ! what are you saying ? They are the fairest 
in the world ; pray, allow me to kiss them. 

CHAR. You do me too much honour, sir, and if I had 
known it just now, I would not have failed to have washed 
them with bran. 

D. Ju. Pray, tell me, pretty Charlotte, are you married ? 

CHAR. No, sir, but I am to be very soon, to Pierrot, 
our neighbour Simonetta's son. 

D. Ju. What ! should a person like you become the 
wife of a simple clod-hopper ! No, no ! that would be a 
profanation of so much beauty ; you were not born to pass 
your whole life in a village. No doubt you deserve a.9 
better fate ; Heaven, which very well knows this, has led 
me hither on purpose to prevent this match, and to do 
justice to your charms; for, in short, beauteous Charlotte, 
I love you with all my heart ; it only depends upon your- 
self whether I shall carry you off from this wretched place, 
and put you in the position you deserve. This passion is 
doubtless very sudden ; but what then ; it is owing to 
your great beauty ; I love you as much in one quarter of 
an hour as I would another in six months. 

CHAR. Really, I do not know what to do when you 
speak. What you say pleases me, and I should very much 

96 DON JUAN ; OR, [ ACT . 

like to believe you ; but I have always been told that we 
must never believe gentlemen, and that you, courtiers, 
are cozeners who think of nothing but of making fools of 
young girls. 

D. Ju. I am not one of these. 

SCAN. Not at all ! Not at all ! 

CHAR. Look ye, sir, there is no pleasure in being im- 
posed upon. I am but a poor country-wench, but I value 
honour above everything ; I would sooner die than lose 
my honour. 

D. Ju. I have a soul so wicked as to impose on such a 
person as you ! I should be so base as to dishonor you ! 
No, no, I am too conscientious for that. I love you, Char- 
lotte, virtuously and honourably ; and to show you that I 
speak the truth, be convinced that I have no other design 
than to marry you. Can you have any greater proof? 
Here I am ready, whenever you please, and I call this 
fellow to be a witness of the promise which I make you. 

SCAN. No, no, never fear. He will marry you as much 
as you please. 

D. Ju. Ah ! Charlotte, I plainly perceive you do not yet 
know me. You do me great wrong in judging of me by 
others ; and if there are rogues in the world, people who 
only endeavour to make fools of young women, you ought 
not to consider me one of them, and never doubt the sin- 
cerity of my love ; besides, your beauty is a guarantee for 
everything. When a woman is as handsome as you are 
she ought never to entertain such fears ; believe me, you 
do not look as if you could be made a fool of. As for 
me, I protest I would stab myself a thousand times to 
the heart if I fostered the least thought of betraying you. 

CHAR. Good Heavens ! I do not know whether you 
speak the truth or not ; but you make people believe 

D. Ju. You do me justice most certainly by believing 
me ; I repeat anew the promise which I have made you. 
Do you not acceot it ? Will you not consent to become 
my wife ? 

CHAR. Yes, provided my aunt has no objection. 

D. Ju. Give me your hand then upon it, Charlotte, 
since you do not object. 


CHAR. But at the very least, sir, pray, do not deceive 
me ; it would be a sin, and you see how honestly I act. 

D. Ju. What ! you seem to doubt still my sincerity ! 
Would you have me swear the most frightful oaths ? May 
Heaven . . . 

CHAR. Bless me, do not swear, I believe you. 

D. Ju. Give me one little kiss, then, as a pledge of 
your promise. 

CHAR. Nay, sir, pray, wait till we are married, and then 
I shall kiss you as much as you wish. 

D. Ju. Well, pretty Charlotte, I will do whatever you 
please ; only give me your hand, and let me, by a thou- 
sand kisses, express the rapture I am in ... 



PIER. {Getting between them and pushing away Don 
Juan). Gently, sir, if you please, you are getting too 
warm ; you may get a pleurisy. 

D. Ju. {Pushing away Pierrot roughly]. What brings 
this impertinent fellow here? 

PIER. (Placing himself between Don Juan and Char- 
lotte). Hold hard, sir, you must not kiss our wives that 
are to be. 

D. Ju. (Pushing Pierrot again away). Ha ! what a 
noise ! 

PIER. 'Sdeath ! People are not to be pushed thus. 

CHAR. {Taking Pierrot by the arm). Let him alone, 

PIER. What ! let him alone ? I will not, not I ! 

D. Ju. Hah ! 

PIER. Drat it, because you are a gentleman, you come 
here to caress our wives under our very noses ? Go and 
kiss your own. 

D. Ju. What ? 

PIER. What ? (Don Juan gives him a box on the ear.) 
Darn it, do not strike me; (another). Hang it! (another!) 
Zounds ! (another). 'Sblood and wounds ! it is not fair, 
to beat people ! Is this my reward for saving you from 
being drowned? 

CHAR. Do not be angry, Pierrot. 


98 DON JUAN; OR, [ACT n. 

PIER. I will be angry ; and you are a hussy, to let him 
cozen you. 

CHAR. Oh, Pierrot ! it is not as you think. This gen- 
tleman will marry me, and you should not be in a passion. 

PIER. Ha ! But you are engaged to me. 

CHAR. That makes no matter, Pierrot. If you love 
me, should ye not be glad that I am to be made a 
madam ? 

PIER. No, I would as soon see you hanged as see you 

CHAR. Come, come, Pierrot, do not fret yourself. If 
I am a madam I shall make you gain something ; you 
shall serve us with butter and cheese. 

PIER. Zounds ! I shall never serve you with anything, 
even if you would pay me twice as much. Do not listen 
thus to what he says. 'Sfish, had I known this just now, 
I should not have taken him out of the water at all, but 
I would have given him a good rap upon the head with 
my oar. 

D. Ju. {Coming up to Pierrot to strike him). What is 
that you say? 

PIER. {Getting behind Charlotte}. Drat it! I fear no 

D. Ju. {Coming towards him). Let me only get hold 
of you. 

PIER. {Gets on the other side of Charlotte}. I do not 
care, not I. 

D. Ju. {Running after hint). We shall try that. 

PIER. {Getting anew behind Charlotte}. I have seen 
many a man as good as you. 

D. Ju. What ? 

SGAN. Oh, sir, let the poor wretch alone. It is a pity 
to beat him. {Placing himself between Don Juan and 
Pierrot, and addressing the latter). Harkee, my poor lad, 
move off, and do not talk to him. 

PIER. {Passing before Sganarelle, and looking boldly at 
Don Juan). I will talk to him. 

D. Ju. {Lifts up his hand and intends to give Pierrot a 
box on the ear). Ha ! I shall teach you. {Pierrot ducks 
down his head, so that Sganarelle receives if). 

SCAN. {Looking at Pierrot). Plague take the booby ! 


D. Ju. (To Sganarelle). That is a reward for your 

PIER. Zounds ! I shall go and tell her aunt of all her 


D. Ju. (To Charlotte). At last I am going to be the 
happiest of men, and I would not change my happiness for 
all the world could give me. What pleasures shall we 
have, when you are my wife, and what . . . 


SCAN. (Perceiving Mathurine). So, so. 

MATH. (To Don Juan). Sir, what are you doing there 
with Charlotte ? Are you courting her too ? 

D. Ju. (Aside to Mathurine). No ; on the contrary she 
told me she wished to be my wife, and I told her I was 
engaged to you. 

CHAR. ( To Don Juan). What is that Mathurine wants 
with you ? 

D. Ju. (Aside to Charlotte). She is jealous of my speaking 
to you, and would like me to marry her ; but I tell her it 
is you whom I wish to have. 

MATH. What ! Charlotte . . . 

D. Ju. (Aside to Mathurine). All you can say to her will 
be of no use ; she took this into her head. 

CHAR. What then, Mathurine . . . 

D. Ju. (Aside to Charlotte). It is in vain to talk to her, 
you will not get this whim out of her head. 

MATH. Would you . . . 

D. Ju. (Aside to Mathurine}. There is no possibility of 
making her listen to reason. 

CHAR. I should like . . . 

D. Ju. (Aside to Charlotte). She is as obstinate as the 

MATH. Really . . . 

D. Ju. (Aside to Mathurine). Do not say anything to 
her, she is a fool. 

CHAR. I think . . . 

D. Ju. (Aside to Charlotte}. Let her alone, she is silly. 

ioo DON JUAN; OR, fAcru. 

MATH. No, no, I must speak to her. 

CHAR. I will hear some of her reasons. 

MATH. What . . . 

D. Ju. {Aside to Mathurine). I will lay you a wager that 
she tells you that I promised to marry her. 

CHAR. I ... 

D. Ju. (Aside to Charlotte). I will bet you anything that 
she Will maintain that I have given her my word to make 
her my wife. 

MATH. Hark you, Charlotte, it is not right to meddle 
with other folks' bargains. 

CHAR. It is not polite to be jealous because the gentle- 
man speaks to me. 

MATH. The gentleman saw me first. 

CHAR. If he saw you first, he saw me second, and has 
promised to marry me. 

D. Ju. (Aside to Mathurine). Well, did I not tell 
you so ? 

MATH. (To Charlotte']. Your humble servant, it was me 
and not you whom he promised to marry. 

D. Ju. (Aside to Charlotte}. Did I not guess right ? 

CHAR. You may tell that to others, if you please, but 
not to me ; it was me he promised to marry, I tell you. 

MATH. You make fun of folks ; once more it was me he 
promised to marry. 

CHAR. There he is; he can tell you whether I am 

MATH. There he is ; he can give me the lie if I do not 
speak the truth ? 

CHAR. Did you promise to marry her ? 

D. Ju. (Aside to Charlotte). You are joking. 

MATH. Is it true, sir, that you have given your word 
to be her husband ? 

D. Ju. (Aside to Mathurine). Could you entertain such 
a thought ? 

CHAR. You see she affirms it. 

D. Ju. (Aside to Charlotte). Let her alone. 

MATH. You are witness how positive she is. 

D. Ju. (Aside to Mathurine). Let her say what she likes. 

CHAR. No, no, we must know the truth. 

MATH. We must have it decided. 


CHAR. Yes, Mathurine, I will have the gentleman show 
you your mistake. 11 

MATH. Yes, Charlotte, I will have the gentleman make 
you look foolish." 

CHAR. Decide the quarrel, sir, if you please. 

MATH. Satisfy us, sir. 

CHAR. You shall see. 

MATH. And you shall see too. 

CHAR. {To Don Juan). Speak. 

MATH. {To Don Juan). Speak. 

- D. Ju. What would you have me say? You both main- 
tain that I have promised to marry you. Does not each 
of you know the whole business without any necessity for 
me giving any more explanations ? Why should you 
oblige me to repeat what I have said ? Has not the person 
to whom I really gave the promise sufficient reasons within 
herself to laugh at what the other says ; and ought she to 
trouble herself, provided I keep my promise? All the 
speeches do not forward affairs ; we must act and not talk, 
and facts prove more than words. Therefore, that is the 
only way in which I shall satisfy you, and when I marry, 
you shall see which of you two has my heart. (Aside to 
Mathurine). Let her believe what she will. {Aside to 
Charlotte). Let her natter herself in her own imagination. 
{Aside to Mathurine). I adore you. {Aside to Charlotte). 
I am entirely yours. {Aside to Mathurine}. All faces are 
ugly in comparison with yours. {Aside to Charlotte). 
When a man has once seen you he cannot bear to look at 
others. {Aloud to both). I have some trifling message to 
deliver; I shall be back again in a quarter of an hour. 11 

11 The original has % veux que monsieur vcus montre votre bee jaune ; 
literally, " I will that the gentleman should show you your yellow beak." 
This is a phrase which dates from the days when falconry was a favourite 
sport. A bird with a yellow beak is a very young bird, hence young scho- 
lars, greenhorns, were called bejaunes, and tljus montrer a qvelqu'un son 
bejavne or son bee jaune came to mean, " to show one he was duped" or 
foolishly taken in. ''Green,' 1 instead of jaune, yellow, appears to have 
the same signification in very familiar English phraseology. 

12 In the original we find, Je veux que monsieur vous rende unpeu ca- 
muse, literally, " I wish the gentleman would make you a little flat-nosed.'* 
or figuratively, as above. Avoir un pied de nez, literally " to have a nose 
a foot long," has the same meaning when used as a familiar form of speech. 

18 On reading this scene it seems forced and unnatural, but on the stage, 
when acted well, it is very amusing. 

102 DON JUAN ; OR, [ACT n. 


CHAR. ( To Mathurine). I am the one he loves, however. 

MATH. {To Charlotte). He will marry me. 

SCAN. {Stopping Charlotte and Mathurine). Ah ! poor 
girls, I pity your innocence. I cannot bear to see you run 
thus to your destruction. 'Believe me both, do not be im- 
posed upon by the stories he tells you, but stay in your 


D. Ju. (In the background, aside). I would fain know 
why Sganarelle does not follow me. 

SCAN. My master is a knave ; he only wishes to make 
fools of you ; he has made fools of a good many others ; 
he marries the whole sex, and . . . (Seeing Don Juan). It 
is false, and whoever tells you this you may tell him he 
lies. My master does not marry the whole sex ; he is no 
knave; he does not intend to deceive you, nor has he ever 
made a fool of any one. Oh, stay! here he is; ask him himself. 

D. Ju. {Looking at Sganarelle, and suspecting him of 
having said something). Yes! 

SCAN. Sir, as the world is full of backbiters, I was be- 
forehand with them ; and I was telling these girls that if 
anybody should say anything wrong of you they ought not 
to believe him, and be sure to tell him that he lied. 

D. Ju. Sganarelle ! 

SCAN. ( To Charlotte and Mathurine~). Yes, my master 
is an honourable man ; I warrant him such. 

D. Ju. Hem ! 

SCAN. They are impertinent rascals. 


LA R. (Aside to Don Juart). Sir, I come to tell you 
that it is not quite safe for you to be here. 
D. Ju. How so ? 

LA R. Twelve men on horseback are in search of you ; 
they will be here in a moment. I do not know how they 
have followed you ; but I have learned these tidings from 
a countryman of whom they inquired, and to whom they 


described you. As there is no time to lose, the sooner 
you leave here the better. 



D. Ju. (To Charlotte and Mathurine). Urgent business 
obliges me to leave this place, but I entreat you to remem- 
ber the promise which I made you ; depend upon it, you 
shall hear from me before to-morrow evening. 


1 D. Ju. As we are unequally matched we must make use 
of a stratagem, and cleverly escape from the misfortune 
that pursues me. Sganarelle you shall put on my clothes, 
and I ... 

SCAN. Sir, you are joking. To expose me to be killed 
in your clothes, and . . . 

D. Ju. Make haste, I do you too much honour. Happy 
is the servant who has the glory of dying for his master. 

SCAN. Thank you for such an honour. (Alone). As it 
is a case of death, grant me the favour, oh Heaven ! not 
to be taken for another. 


SCENE I. (A Forest}. DON JUAN, dressed as a country 
gentleman, SGANARELLE, as a physician. 

SCAN. Upon my word, sir, acknowledge that I was 
right, and that we are both wonderfully well disguised. 
Your first plan would by no means have been opportune ; 
this conceals us much better than what you would have 

D. Ju. It is true, you look very well ; I cannot imagine 
where you have unearthed this ridiculous apparel. 

SCAN. Yes ! It is the dress of an old physician which 
was left in pawn in the place where I got it, and it cost 
me some money to have it. But do you know, sir, that 
this dress has already obtained me some consideration ; 
that the people I meet bow to me, and that they come to 
consult me as an able man ? 

104 DON JU AN I OR [ACT in. 

D. JU. HOW? 

SCAN. Five or six countrymen and countrywomen, 
seeing me pass, came to ask my advice upon different 

D. Ju. You answered that you knew nothing of the 
matter ? 

SCAN. I? Not at all. I wished to keep up the honour 
of my dress; I speechified about the disease, and gave 
each of them a "prescription. 

D. Ju. And what remedy did you prescribe? 

SCAN. Upon my word, sir, I picked them up where I 
could. I prescribed at random ; it would be a funny thing 
if the patients should get cured, and come to thank me. 

D. Ju. And why not-? Why should you not have the 
same privileges as all other physicians? They have no 
more to do with the recovery of their patients than you 
have, and all their art is mere pretence. They do nothing 
but get honour if they succeed; and you may take 
advantage, as they do, of a patient's good luck, and see 
attributed to your remedies what is owing to a lucky 
chance and the powers of nature. 14 

SCAN. What, sir? You are also an unbeliever in 

D. Ju. It is one of the greatest errors of mankind. 15 

SCAN. What ! you have no belief in senna, cassia, or 
antimonial wine? 16 

14 This remark, which Moliere has also made use of in Love is the best 
Doctor, is taken from Montaigne's Essays. " If good fortune, nature, or 
some other strange cause, produce something good and healthy within us, 
it is the privilege of medicine to see it attributed to it ; all the fortunate 
successes which happen to a patient who is under the hands of physicians, 
are ascribed to it." 

15 This is the first satirical outburst of Moliere against the physicians ; 
but as it was put into the mouth of a man who believed in nothing, and 
attacked everything, the doctors and the public in general did not think 
they were the expression of the feelings of the author. His next play, 
Love is the best Doctor, undeceived them. 

16 In Moliere's time, several works, pamphlets, and satires had been 
written against, or in favour of a comparative new remedy, a preparation 
of antimony, called emetic, or antimonial wine. But in 1658, Louis XIV. 
fell ill at Calais, and was cured by it, so that this medicine became quite 
the fashion. In 1666, about one year after the first performance of Don 
Juan, the parliament decided that antimony could be used by the physi- 
cians of the Faculte. 


D. Ju. And why would you have me believe in them ? 

SCAN. You are of a very unbelieving temper. Yet you 
know how, of late, great noise has been made about antk- 
monial wine ? The miracles it has produced have con- 
verted the most incredulous minds; and it is but three 
weeks ago since I myself, who am speaking to you, saw a 
marvellous effect of it. 

D. Ju. What? 

SCAN. There was a man who, for six days, was dying ; 
they did not know what more to prescribe for him, and all 
the remedies produced no effect; at last the doctors took 
it into their heads to give him an emetic. 

D. Ju. He recovered, did he not ? 

SCAN. No, he died. 

D. Ju. The effect is admirable. 

SCAN. I should say so ! He could not die for six whole 
days, and that made him die at once. Could you have 
anything more efficacious ? 

D. Ju. You are right. 

SCAN. But let us drop physic, in which you do not 
believe, and talk of other things ; for this dress inspires 
me, and I feel in the humour of disputing with you. You 
know you allow me to dispute, and forbid me only to 

D. Ju. Well ? 

SCAN. I would fain know your innermost thoughts. Is 
it possible that you do'not believe at all in Heaven ? 

D. Ju. Let us leave that alone. 

SCAN. That means no. And in hell ? 

D. Ju. Eh? 

SCAN. The same thing over again. And in the devil, 
if you please ? 

D. Ju. Yes, yes. 

SCAN. Very little also. Do you not believe in a life 
after this ? 

D. Ju. Ha ! ha ! ha ! 

SCAN. I shall have some trouble in converting this man. 
Tell me what do you think of the moine bourru ? " Eh ? 

17 The moine bourru, literally, " the gruff monk," was a phantom who, 
it is said, ran through the streets at night, and beat the belated wayfarers. 
This connecting a superstition with the highest belief gave great offence 


D. Ju. A plague on the fool ! 

SCAN. That is what I cannot bear ; for nothing can be 
more true than the moine bourru. I will be hanged if it 
is not true ! People must believe something in this world. 
What do you believe ? 

D. Ju. What do I believe ? 

SCAN. Yes. 

D. Ju. I believe that two and two are four, Sganarelle, 
and that twice four are eight. 

SCAN. A fine belief, and nice articles of faith ! As far 
as I can see, your religion is arithmetic. It cannot be 
denied that strange follies run in the heads of men, and 
that those who have studied are often not the wiser for it. 
As for me, sir, thank Heaven ! I have not studied as you 
have, and no one can boast of ever having taught me 
anything ; but with my small amount of sense, and my 
little judgment, I can see things more clearly than all 
books, and I can very well understand that this world 
which we behold has not sprung up of itself in one night, 
like a mushroom. I should like to ask you who has created 
these trees, these rocks, this earth, and this sky above us; 
and if all this has sprung up of itself. There you are ; I 
take you as an example ; there you are : did you make 
yourself alone, and was not your father obliged to sleep 
with your mother to make you? Can you see all the 
inventions of which the human machine is composed 
without wondering how the one influences the other? 
these nerves, these bones, these veins, these arteries, 
these . . . this lung, this heart, this liver, and all these 
other ingredients to be found there, and which . . . Oh, 
Lord ! interrupt me, if you please. I cannot argue unless 
I am interrupted. You do not say a single word on pur- 
pose, and allow me to go on out of spite. 

D. Ju. I am waiting for your arguments to be finished. 

SCAN. My arguments are that there exists something 
admirable in man, whatever you may say, which all the 
philosophers cannot explain. Is it not marvellous that I 

in Moli&re's time, and our author had probably to suppress this passage 
after the first representations of Don Juan. But very likely he only 
wished to show that people like Sganarelle have a greater belief in super- 
stitions than in the highest abstract truths. 


am here, and that I have something in my head which 
thinks a hundred different things in one moment, and does 
with my body all that it wishes to do? I wish to clasp my 
hands, to lift up my arm, to raise my eyes towards Heaven, 
to bend my head, to move my feet, to go to the right, to 
the left, forwards, backwards, turn . . . (He falls down 
whilst turning round}. 

D. Ju. There is an end of all your arguing. 

SCAN. Zounds ! I am a fool to amuse myself in arguing 
with you ; believe what you like ; it does not matter a 
straw to me whether you are damned ! 

D. Ju. I believe that whilst arguing we have lost our 
way. Call that man we see yonder, and let us ask him our 
road. 18 


SCAN. Hullo ! ho ! I say, you man ! ho ! my good 
fellow ! friend, a word with you, pray. Show us the way 
to the town. 

POOR M. You have only to follow that path, gentlemen, 
and turn to the right when you come to the end of the 
forest ! but I warn you to be upon your guard, for there 
have been robbers about for some time. 

D. Ju. I am much obliged to you, friend, and thank 
you with all my heart. 

POOR M. If you would kindly assist me, sir, with some 
trifle ? 

D. Ju. Ha, ha J your advice is interested, I see. 

POOR M. I am a poor man, sir, living alone in this for- 
est these ten years ; and I shall pray to Heaven to grant 
you all kinds of prosperity. 

D. Ju. Pray Heaven to give you a coat, and do not 
trouble yourself about other people's business. 

18 Moliere intended to print his Don yuan, but this was never done. 
In 1682, eight years after his death, La Grange and Vinot, in the first col- 
lected edition of Moliere's works, printed this play ; but they had to sup- 
press several passages, which were afterwards found in a copy, that 
belonged to M. de la Reynie, then lieutenant-general of police, and which 
was discovered only in 1825. Some passages are found only in the edi- 
tions printed at Amsterdam in 1683, and at Brussels in 1694. None of 
these has ever before been translated into English. The suppressed words 
being page 105, " Don Juan. Let us leave that alone," until nearly the 
end of the scene. 

108 DON JUAN ; OR, [ ACT m. 

SCAN. My good man, you do not know this gentleman ; 
he only believes that two and two make four, and that 
twice four are eight. 

D. Ju. What is your occupation among these trees ? 

POOR M. To pray to Heaven for the prosperity of all 
kind people who give me something. 

D. Ju. You are pretty well off, then? 

POOR M. Alas ! sir, I am as poor as poor can be. 

D. Ju. You are joking: a man who prays to Heaven 
every day must be very well off. 

POOR M. I assure you, sir, that frequently I have not 
even a piece of bread to eat. 

D. Ju. That is strange ; your assiduity is ill rewarded. 
Ha, ha ! I am going to give you directly a piece of gold, 
provided you swear a round oath. 

POOR M. Oh ! sir, would you wish me to commit such 
a sin? 

D. Ju. Will you gain a piece of gold ? yes or no. Here 
is one for you, if you swear. There ; now swear. 

PooRM. Sir ... 

D. Ju. Unless you swear, you shall not get it. 

SCAN. Well, well ; swear ever so little ; there is no 
harm in it. 

D. Ju. Take it ; here it is ; take it, I tell you ; but 

POOR M. No, -sir, I would rather die of hunger. 

D. Ju. There, there ; I give you this piece of gold be- 
cause you are a human being. 19 {Looking into the forest). 
But what do I see ? One man attacked by three ! The 
match is too unequal, and I ought not to allow so base an 
action. (He draws his sword and hastens to the spot 
where the attack was going on}. 

19 The original has pour V amour de I'humanite, for the love of 
humanity. Humanite often meant with Moliere " the quality of being 
human," and not what it usually means now, " mankind collectively." 
The passages suppressed in the first printed and uncastrated edition of 
this play are on page 108, from " I have not even apiece of bread to 
eat," to, " I would rather die of hunger." The rest of the scene is found 
only in the Amsterdam edition of 1684. This whole scene caused an 
immense scandal in the beginning, and Moliere was accused of impiety 
(see Introductory Notice.) 



My master is truly mad to run unsought into danger. 
But, upon my word his assistance has been of some use ; 
the two have put the three to flight. 


D. CAR. {Putting up his sword}. The flight of these 
robbers shows me what I owe to your arm. Allow me, 
sir, to return you thanks for so generous an action, and 
let ... 

D. Ju. I have done nothing, sir, but what you would 
have done in my place. Such adventures touch our 
honour ; the action of these rogues was so cowardly, that 
it would have been taking part with them not to have op- 
posed them. But how fell you into their hands ? 

D. CAR. By chance I strayed from my brother and all 
our retinue; and whilst I was endeavouring to rejoin 
them, I fell in with these robbers, who immediately killed 
my horse, and would have done as much for me, had it 
not been for your valour. 

D. Ju. Do you intend to go towards the town ? 

D. CAR. Yes but I do not intend to go into it; my 
brother and I are obliged to roam about on account of 
one of those sad affairs which compel noblemen to sacri- 
fice themselves and their families to their untarnished 
honour ; it is ever fatal, even if we do succeed ; if we do 
not lose our life, we are compelled to leave the kingdom. 
This is the reason why I think it unfortunate to be a 
nobleman, for however discreetly and honestly he may 
live himself, he cannot prevent the laws of honour from 
connecting him with the disgraceful conduct of other 
people, nor from having his life, repose, and property 
depend upon the whims of the first audacious fellow who 
takes it into his head to do him one of those injuries for 
which a gentleman must lose his life. 

D. Ju. There is, however, this advantage, that those 
who take it into their head to offend us out of mere wan- 
tonness run the same risks, and spend their time just as 
uncomfortably. But if I am not indiscreet, may I ask 
what this sad affair is ? 

1 10 DON JUAN; OR, [Acrm. 

D. CAR. It has gone so far that the secret can no longer 
be kept. When the insult is once public, our honour 
does not oblige us to conceal our shame, but openly to 
blazon forth our vengeance, and even to proclaim that we 
intend to avenge ourselves. Therefore, sir, I have no 
scruples in telling you that the offence which we wish to 
avenge is the seduction of a sister, who was carried off 
from a convent, and that the author of this offence is Don 
Juan Tenorio, son of Don Louis Tenorio. We have been 
in search for him for some days, and we have followed him 
this morning, upon the information of a servant, who told 
us that he had gone out on horseback, with four or five 
others, and that he had taken this route; but all our 
pains have been useless, and we cannot discover what has 
become of him. 

D. Ju. Do you know this Don Juan, sir, of whom you 

D. CAR. No, sir, I do not. I never saw him, and I 
have only heard my brother describe him ; but his reputa- 
tion is none of the best ; he is a man whose life . . . 

D. Ju. Stop, sir, if you please. He is rather a friend 
of mine, and it would be base in me to allow any one to 
speak ill of him. 

D. CAR. Out of respect for you, sir, I shall say nothing 
of him. As you have saved my life, certainly the least 
thing I can do is not to speak before you of one of your 
acquaintances, when I can say nothing but evil of him. 
But however much his friend you may be, I venture to hope 
that you will not approve of this action of his, or think 
it strange that we should endeavour to avenge ourselves. 

D. Ju. On the contrary, I will serve you in this, and 
spare you some fruitless trouble. I am Don Juan's friend, 
I cannot help being so ; but it is not right that he should 
offend gentlemen with impunity, and I promise you in 
his name that he shall give you satisfaction. 

D. CAR. And what satisfaction can he give for these 
sorts of injuries ? 

D. Ju. All that your honour can desire ; and, without 
giving you any further trouble to look for Don Juan, I 
engage that he shall be forthcoming wherever you like, 
when you please. 


D. CAR. This is very pleasant news, sir, to outraged 
hearts ; but after what I owe you, it would be very painful 
to me, if you were to be one of the combatants. 

D. Ju. I am so intimately connected with Don Juan 
than he cannot fight unless I must fight too; but I answer 
for him as for myself, and you have only to say when you 
wish to meet him, and give you satisfaction. 

D. CAR. How cruel is my lot ! Must I owe my life to 
you, and Don Juan be one of your friends ? 


D. AL. {Speaking to his retinue, without seeing Don 
Carlos or Don Juan). Give some water to my horses, and 
then lead them after us ; I shall walk a little. (Seeing 
them botfi). Heavens! what do Isee? What! brother, 
you are in conversation, with our mortal enemy ? 

D. CAR. Our mortal enemy ? 

D. Ju. (Clapping his hand to his sword}. Yes, I am 
myself, Don Juan ; and your superior number shall not 
force me to wish to disown my name. 

D. AL. (Drawing his sword}. Ah ! traitor, you must 
die, and . . . (Sganarelle runs away and hides him- 

D. CAR. Stay, brother. I owe my life to him ; and 
had he not come to my assistance, the robbers whom I 
encountered would have killed me. 

D. AL. And would you allow this consideration to pre- 
vent our vengeance ? Whatever service the hand of an 
enemy may render us, it ought to have no influence upon 
our heart ; if we are to measure the obligation by the 
injury, then your gratitude, brother, is- in this case ridicu- 
lous; for honour is infinitely more precious than life, and 
therefore we owe nothing when we owe our life to him 
who has taken away our honour. 

D. CAR. I know the difference, brother, that a gentle- 
man ought always to make between the one and the other ; 
and gratitude for the obligation does not efface within me 
resentment for the injury ; but allow me to give back to 
him on this very spot what he has lent me ; let me repay 
him immediately the life I owe him, by delaying our ven- 


geance, and by allowing him the liberty of enjoying, for 
a few days, the benefit of this kind action to me. 

D. AL. No, no, we run the risk of not wreaking our 
vengeance if we delay it, and the opportunity of taking it 
may never come again. Heaven offers it to us now, and 
we ought not to let it pass. When honour is mortally 
wounded, we should not think of keeping any modera- 
tion ; if you do not like to engage personally in this 
action, you need only retire, and leave to my arm the 
glory of such a sacrifice. 

D. CAR. Pray, brother . . . 

D. AL. All further conversation is unnecessary ; he 
must die. 

D. CAR. Hold, I say, brother. I will not allow any 
attempt upon his life ; and I swear by Heaven that I shall 
defend him here against any and every one; that very life 
which he has saved shall always guard him; if you attempt 
to kill him, you must first pierce me. 

D. AL. What ! you side with our enemy against me ; 
and, instead of feeling the same rage on beholding him as I 
do, you show feelings full of gentleness ! 

D. CAR. Brother, let us show moderation in a lawful 
action ; and not avenge our honour with so much violence. 
Let us master our courage ; let us show valour without 
ferocity, which only proceeds from mature deliberation 
and reason, not from the impulse of a blind rage. I will 
not remain in debt, brother, to my enemy ; I am under 
an obligation to him, which I must repay before I do any- 
thing else. Our revenge will not be the less exemplary 
for being deferred ; on the contrary, it will be the great- 
er ; and the opportunity we have had of taking it, will 
make it appear more just in the eyes of the whole world. 

D. AL. O, the strange weakness and dreadful blindness 
of thus hazarding the interests of our honour for the ridicu- 
lous idea of a fanciful obligation ! 

D. CAR. No, brother, do not trouble yourself about 
that. If I commit a fault, I shall make amends for it, and 
take care of our honour ; I know to what it obliges us, and 
this delay of one day, which my gratitude asks for him, 
will only augment my desire to satisfy it. You see, Don 
Juan, how anxious I am to return you the favour I have 


received ; by this you can judge of the consequences ; rest 
assured that I discharge with the same warmth what I owe, 
and that I shall not be the less punctual in repaying you 
the insult than the kindness. I will not oblige you to ex- 
press your sentiments now ; I allow you to think at your 
leisure about what you are resolved to do. You very well 
know the great injury you have done us ; you shall your- 
self judge what reparation it demands. There are peace- 
ful means of giving us satisfaction ; there are violent and 
bloody ones ; but finally, whatever choice you may make, 
you have passed me your word to let Don Juan give me satis- 
faction. Pray, mind to do so, and remember that, out of 
this place, my only duty is for my honour. 

D. Ju. I have asked nothing of you, and shall keep my 

D. CAR. Come, brother, a moment's forbearance does 
not injure the severity of our duty. 


D. Ju. Hullo ! hey ! Sganarelle ! 

SCAN. ( Coming out of a place where he had hid himself}. 
What is your pleasure, sir ? 

D. Ju. How ! scoundrel, you run away when I am 
attacked ? 

SCAN. I beg your pardon, sir ; I was quite near. I be- 
lieve that this gown is purgative, and that to wear it is as 
good as taking medicine. 

D. Ju. Plague on your insolence ! Hide your coward- 
ice at least behind a more decent covering. Do you know 
who the gentleman is whose life I saved ? 

SCAN. I? No. 

D. Ju. It is a brother of Elvira. 

SCAN. A ... 

D. Ju. He is gentlemanly enough, and behaved pretty 
well ; I am sorry I have a quarrel with him. 

SCAN. It would be easy for you to arrange all things. 

D. Ju. Yes, but my passion for Elvira is worn out, and 
it does not suit my mood to engage myself. You know I 
love liberty in love, and I cannot resolve to immure my 
heart between four walls. I have told you a score of times 
I have a natural propensity to give way to whatever at- 



tracts me. My heart belongs to the whole fair sex ; and 
they must take it by turns, and keep it as long as they 
can. But what splendid edifice do I see amongst those 
trees ? 

SCAN. Do you not know it ? 

D. Ju. No, indeed. 

SCAN. Why ! it is the tomb which the Commander 
ordered to be built when you killed him. 

D. Ju. Ha ! you are right. I did not know that it was 
hereabout. Every one says it is wonderfully well done, 
and the statue of the Commander as well ; I have a mind 
to go and see it. 

SCAN. Do not go there, sir. 

D. Ju. Why not ? 

SCAN. It is not courteous to go to pay a visit to a man 
whom you have killed. 

D. Ju. On the contrary ; I intend to be courteous by 
paying him a visit, which he ought to receive politely, if 
he is anything of a gentleman. Come, let us go in. (The 
tomb opens, and discovers a splendid mausoleum and the 
statue of the Commander). 

SCAN. Ah ! how beautiful that is ! what fine statues ! 
what beautiful marble ! what fine pillars ! ah ! how beauti- 
ful that is ! What do you say of it, sir ? 

D. Ju. That the pride of a dead man cannot possibly 
go farther. What I think admirable is that a man, who, 
whilst he was alive, was satisfied with quite a plain 
abode, should desire so magnificent a one, when he has 
tio longer occasion for it. 

SCAN. Here is the statue of the Commander. 

D. J. Zounds ! he looks very well in the dress of a 
Roman emperor ! 

SCAN. Upon my word, sir, it is very well made. It 
seems as if he were alive, and going to speak. He looks at 
Us in such a manner that it would frighten me if I were 
quite alone ; I do not think he likes to see us. 

D. Ju. He would be wrong ; and it would be an un- 
handsome reception of the honour I do him. Ask him if 
he will come to take supper with me. 

SCAN. That is a thing he has no occasion for, I believe. 

D. Ju. Ask him, I say. 


SCAN. You are jesting. It would be madness to go and 
speak to a statue. 

D. Ju. Do what I bid you. 

SCAN. How ridiculous ! Mr. Commander . . . (Aside). 
I laugh at my folly, but my master makes me do it. 
(Aloud). Mr. Commander, my master, Don Juan, asks 
whether you will do him the honour to come to take sup- 
per with him. (The statue nods its head}. Ah ! 

D. Ju. What is the matter? What ails you? Tell me. 
Will you speak? 

SCAN. (Nodding his head like the statue). The 
statue . . . 

D. Ju. Well, what do you mean, villain ? 

SCAN. I say that the statue . . . 

D. Ju. Well ! what of the statue? Speak, or I will break 
every bone in your body. 

SCAN. The statue made a sign to me. 

D. Ju. Plague take the rascal ! 

SCAN. I tell you it made a sign to me ; there is nothing 
more true. Go and speak to him yourself, and then you 
will see. Perhaps . . . 

D. Ju. Come rogue, come. I will convict you clearly 
of cowardice. Observe. Will his Excellency the Com- 
mander come to take supper with me ? ( The statue nods 
his head again. ) 

SCAN. I would not take ten pistoles to see it again. 
Well, sir? 

D. Ju. Come, let us begone. 

SCAN. (Alone). These are your free-thinkers who be- 
lieve in nothing. 


SCENE I. (A Room in Don Juan's Palace). DON JUAN, 

D. Ju. (To Sganarelle). Be it as it will; let us drop it. 
It is but a trifle, and we may have been deceived by a 
false light, or surprised by some giddiness which disturbed 
our sight. 

Il6 DON JUAN; OR, [ACT iv. 

SCAN. Ah ! sir, do not try to deny what we saw with 
our own eyes. Nothing can be more certain than that 
nod; I make no doubt that Heaven offended by your way 
of living has wrought this miracle to convince you, and 
to reclaim you from . . . 

D. Ju. Harkee. If you bother me any more with your 
foolish morality ; if you say another word on that subject, 
I shall call one of the servants, send for a strong switch, 
have you held down by three or four men, and give you a 
thousand lashes. Do you understand me ? 20 

SCAN. Very well, sir, perfectly well. You explain your- 
self clearly; that is one good thing in you that you never 
affect a roundabout way ; you express yourself with won- 
derful plainness. 21 

D. Ju. Come, let me have supper as soon as possible. 
A chair here, boy. 


LA V. Sir, here is one of your tradesmen, M. Dimanche, 
who wishes to speak to you. 

SCAN. That is all right ; we only wanted to be bothered 
by a creditor ! What put it into his head to come to ask 
us for money ? why did you not tell him that your master 
was not at home ? 

LA V. I have been telling him so these three-quarters of 
an hour, but he would not believe me, and sat down within 
to wait. 

SCAN. Let him wait as long as he likes. 

D. Ju. No, on the contrary bid him come in. It is 
very bad policy to hide from your creditors. It is good to 
pay them something ; and I possess the secret of sending 
them away satisfied without giving them a farthing. 


D. Ju. Ha ! M. Dimanche, come this way. How de- 

20 This is the first time that Don Juan threatens Sganarelle in a positive 
and serious way, a proof that he is disturbed by what he has seen. 
Hence the slightest contradiction kindles his fury. 

11 This is an imitation of the Andria of Terence, Act i., Scene a. 


lighted I am to see you ! And how angry I am that my 
people did not show you in immediately ! I had given 
orders that I would not see any one ; but this order was 
not meant for you, and you have a right never to have 
the door shut against you in my house. 

M. DIM. Sir, I am very much obliged to you. 

D. Ju. (To La Violette and Ragotiri), Zounds! ras- 
cals, I shall teach you to leave M. Dimanche in the ante- 
chamber, and I shall let you know who is who. 

M. DIM. Sir, it is not of the slightest consequence. 

D. Ju. (To M. Dimanche). What! to say I was not 
within, to M. Dimanche, my very best friend ! 

M. DIM. Sir, I am your servant ; I came . . . 

D. Ju. Here, quick, a seat for M. Dimanche. 

M. DIM. Sir, I am very well as I am. 

D. Ju. No, no ; I will have you sit down by me. 

M. DIM. It is not necessary. 

D. Ju. Take away that stool, and bring an arm chair. 

M. DIM. Sir, you are jesting, and . . . 

D. Ju. No, no ; I know what I owe you ; and I will 
not allow them to make any difference between us two. 

M. DIM. Sir. . . . 

D. Ju. Come, sit down. 

M. DIM. There is no need for it, sir. I have only one 
word to say to you. I was . . . 

D. Ju. Sit you down there, I say. 

M. DIM. No, sir, I am very well. I come to ... 

D. Ju. No, I will not hear you if you do not sit down. 

M. DIM. Sir, I do as you wish. I . . 

D. Ju. Upon my word, M. Dimanche, you look very 

M. DIM. Yes, sir, at your service. I came to ... 

D. Ju. You have an admirable constitution, rosy lips, 
a ruddy complexion, and sparkling eyes. 

M. DIM. I should be glad . . . 

D. Ju. How is Mrs. Dimanche, your good lady ? 

M. DIM. Very well, sir, thank Heaven. 

D. Ju. She is a good woman 

M. DIM. She is your humble servant, sir. I came . . . 

D. Ju. And how is your little daughter, Claudine ? 

M. DIM. As well as possible. 


D. Ju. What a pretty little girl she is ! I love her with 
all my heart. 

M. DIM. You do her too much honour, sir. I ... 

D. Ju. And does little Colin make as much noise as 
ever with his drum ? 

M. DIM. Always the same, sir. I ... 

D. Ju. And your little dog, Brusquet, does he still 
bark as loudly, and as lustily bite the legs of the people 
who visit you ? 

M. DIM. More than ever, sir ; and we cannot break 
him off it. 

D. Ju. Do not be surprised if I ask after your whole 
family ; for I take a very great interest in them all. 

M. DIM. We are infinitely obliged to you, sir. I ... 
D, Ju. {Holding out his hand}. Shake hands, then, M. 
Dimanche. Are you really a friend of mine ? 

M. DIM. Sir, I am your servant. 

D. Ju. I' gad, I am yours with all my heart. 

M. DIM. You do me too much honour. I ... 

D. Ju. There is nothing I would not do for you. 

M. DIM. Sir, you are too kind. 

D. Ju. And that without any motive, believe me. 

M. DIM. I have certainly not deserved this favour. 
But, sir . . . 

D. Ju. Nonsense ! Come, Mr. Dimanche, will you 
take supper with me without any ceremony ? 

M. DIM. No, sir; I must return home immediately. I. . . 

D. Ju. (Rising). Here, quick, a candle to light Mr. 
Dimanche, and let four or five of my fellows take their 
blunderbusses to escort him. 

M. DIM. {Rising also). Sir, this is not necessary ; I can 
very well go alone. But . . . (Sganarelle quickly removes 
the chairs}. 

D. Ju. What ? They shall escort you ; I take too great 
an interest in you. I am your humble servant, and your 
debtor to boot. 

M. DIM. Ah ! sir . . . 

D. Ju. I do not conceal it, and I tell it to everyone. 

M. DIM. If ... 

D. Ju. Do you wish me to see you home ? 

M. DIM. Oh, sir ! you jest. Sir . . . 


D. Ju. Embrace me then, pray. Once more I desire 
you to be convinced that I am entirely yours, and that 
there is nothing in the world which I would not do to 
serve you. 


SCAN. I must needs own that my master is a man who 
loves you much. 

M. DIM. It is true ; he is so polite to me, and pays me 
so many compliments, that I can never ask him for money. 

SCAN. I assure you that his whole household would lay 
down their lives for you ; and I wish something would 
happen to you, that somebody would take it into his head 
to cudgel you, then you should see how . . . 

M. DIM. I believe it ; but, Sganarelle, pray speak a 
word to him about my money. 

SCAN. Oh ! do not you trouble yourself about that, he 
will pay you as well as anyone. 

M. DIM. But you, Sganarelle, you owe me something 
on your own account. 

SCAN. Fie ! do not speak of that. 

M. DIM. What? I ... 

SCAN. Do I not know what I owe you ? 

M. DIM. Yes. But . . . 

SCAN. Come, Mr. Dimanche, I am going to light you 
to the door. 

M. DIM. But my money . . . 

SCAN. {Taking M. Dimanche by the arm). You are 
only jesting. 

M. DIM. I wish to ... 

SCAN. {Pulling him). Come. 

M. DIM. I intend to ... 

SCAN. (Pushing him towards the door}. Fiddlesticks ! 

M. DIM. But . . . 

SCAN. (Pushing him again). Fie ! 

M. DIM. I . . 

SCAN. (Pushing him quite off the stage). Fie I say. M 

M Sganarelle has not much more money to give than his master ; but 
as he has not the same means of awing or of flattering M. Dimanche, he 
uses but few words, and trusts to the strength of his arm to silence his 
creditor, and to turn him out of the house. The servant, as well as the 
master, are true to their natures. 

120 DON JUAN; OR, (ACT iv 


LA V. {To Don Juan}. Sir, here is your father. 

D. Ju. Oh ! This completes the business ! It wanted 

Jy this to drive me mad ! 


D. Louis. I see plainly that I disturb you, and that you 
could very easily have dispensed with my visit. It is true 
we are a thorn in one another's path, and if you are tired 
of seeing me, I am also very tired of your unruly beha- 
viour. Alas ! how little do we know what we do, when 
we do not allow Heaven to judge what we need, when we 
wish to be wiser than it, and importune it by our blind 
wishes and inconsiderate demands ! I most anxiously 
wished for a son ; I incessantly prayed with incredible fer- 
vour for one; and this son, whom I obtained by wearying 
Heaven with my prayers is the plague and punishment of 
that very life, of which I thought he would be the joy and 
consolation ! With what eye, do you think, can I behold 
the many unworthy actions, whose wickedness can hardly 
be palliated before the world, that continuance of dis- 
graceful affairs which daily compels us to weary the good- 
ness of our sovereign, and which has exhausted, in his 
opinion, the merit of my services, and the influence of my 
friends ? Ah ! what a mean spirit you have ! Do you 
blush because you so little deserve your lofty birth ? Tell 
me, pray, what right have you to be proud of it ? and 
what have you done in this world that gives you a claim 
to be considered a nobleman ? Do you think it is suffi- 
cient to bear the title and arms of one, and that it is any 
glory to be descended of noble blood, if one lives in in- 
famy? No, no ! Rank is nothing without virtue. 28 We 
have therefore no share in the glory of our ancestors, un- 
less we strive to be like them ; and the lustre which their 
actions reflect upon us, demands that we should do them 
like honour, follow in their footsteps, and not degenerate 
from their virtues, if we would be deemed their true de- 
scendants. Hence in vain are you born of lofty progeni- 

23 Burns also says '' The rank is but the guinea stamp, 
The man's the gowd for a' that." 


tors ; they disown you as one of their race, and all the 
illustrious deeds that they have achieved confer no advan- 
tage upon you ; on the contrary, their renown only re- 
dounds to your discredit; and their glory is a shining 
light which renders clear to the eyes of all the infamy of 
your actions. Know, finally, that a nobleman who leads 
a wicked life is a monster in nature ; that virtue is the 
prime badge of nobility ; that I regard much less the 
nime which a man bears than the actions which he com- 
mits, and that I should value more highly a porter's son 
who was an honest man, than a monarch's son who led 
such a life as yours. 21 

D. Ju. Sir, if you were to take a seat, you would speak 
more at your ease. 

D. Louis. No, insolent wretch ; I will neither take a 
seat nor speak any more, and I plainly perceive that all 
my words have no effect upon you ; but learn, unworthy 
son, that by your actions you have worn out a father's 
love ; that, sooner than you think, I shall put a stop to 
your irregularities, forestall the vengeance of Heaven, and, 
by your punishment, blot out the shame of being your 


D. Ju. (Still addressing his father, although he has left). 
Why ! die as soon as you can, it is the best thing you can 
possibly do. Every one must have his turn ; it drives me 
mad to see fathers live as long as their children. {He 
throws himself down in his arm-chair). 

SGAN. Ah ! sir, you are in the wrong. 

D. Ju. {Rising}. I in the wrong. 

SGAN. (Trembling). Sir . . . 

D. Ju. I in the wrong? 25 

SGAN. Yes, sir, you were wrong in having listened to 
what he said to you, and you ought to have turned him 
out by the shoulders. Did any one ever see anything 

M Nearly the whole of Don Louis' speech, beginning from, *' Oh ! what 
a mean spirit you have," is, in the original, in blank verse. 

25 Don Juan twice says to Sganarelle, " I in the wrong ? " The re- 
proaches of his servant would not sting him so much if he did not feel 
he deserved them. 

122 DON JUAN; OR, fxcmv. 

more impertinent ? A father to come and remonstrate 
with his son, and tell him to reform his ways, not to forget 
his lofty birth, to live the life of a respectable man, and 
a hundred other silly things of the same kind ! Can a 
man like you, who knows how to live, stand such a thyig 
as that? I wonder at your patience. Had I been in 
your place, I should have sent him about his business. 
(Aside}. O cursed complaisance, what do you bring 
me to! 

D. Ju. Will supper be ready soon ? 


RAG. Sir, a lady, with her face veiled, wishes to speak 
to you. 

D. Ju. Who can that be ? 
SCAN. You must see. 


D. ELV. Do not be surprised, Don Juan, to see me at 
this hour, and in this dress. An urgent motive obliges 
me to make you this visit ; what I have to say will admit 
of no delay. I do not come here possessed by that wrath 
I showed a little while ago ; I am changed from what I 
was this morning. I am no longer that Donna Elvira 
who uttered imprecations against you, whose angry soul 
vented nothing but threats, and breathed only revenge. 
Heaven has banished from my heart all that unworthy 
passion which I entertain for you, all those tumultuous 
upheavings of a criminal attachment, all those shameful 
outbursts of an earthly and gross love ; and it has left in 
my heart a flame which burns for you without any sensual 
affection, a tenderness entirely holy, a love detached from 
everything, which is not actuated by selfishness, and cares 
only for your good. 

D. Ju. {Whispering to Sganarelle). I think you weep? 

SCAN. Excuse me. 

D. ELV. It is this perfect and pure love which brings 
me hither for your sake, to impart to you a warning from 
Heaven, and endeavour to turn you away from that preci- 
pice whither you are .hastening. Yes, Don Juan, I know 


all the irregularities of your life; and that same Heaven 
which has touched my heart, and made me see the errors 
of my own conduct, has inspired me to come to you, and 
to tell you in its name that your crimes have tired out its 
mercy, that its dreadful wrath is ready to fall upon you, 
that you can avoid this by a speedy repentance, and that 
perhaps not another day is left to save yourself from the 
greatest of all miseries. As for me, no earthly ties bind 
me any longer to you. Thanks be to Heaven, I have 
abandoned all foolish thoughts. I am resolved to retire 
into a nunnery; I only hope to live long enough to ex- 
piate the crime I have committed, and, by an austere 
penance, to deserve pardon for the blindness into which I 
have been plunged by the violence of a guilty passion. 
But, when I am retired from the world, it would greatly 
pain me if a person, whom I once tenderly loved, should 
be made an ominous example of the justice of Heaven ; it 
will be an unspeakable delight to me if I can prevail upon 
you to ward off the dreadful blow that threatens you. I 
beseech you, Don Juan, grant me as a last favour this 
soothing consolation ; refuse me not your own salvation, 
which I beg of you with tears ; if you are not moved for 
your own sake, let at least my entreaties prevail, and spare 
me the terrible grief of seeing you condemned to eternal 

SCAN. (Aside). Poor lady ! 

D. ELV. I once loved you very tenderly ; nothing in 
this world was so dear to me as you ; I forgot my duty 
for your sake; I have done every thing for you; all the 
reward I desire is that you should amend your life, and 
ward off your destruction. Save yourself, I beseech you, 
either for your own sake or mine. Once more, Don Juan, 
I beg it of you with tears ; and if the tears of a person 
you once loved have no influence with you, I conjure you 
by everything that is most capable of moving you. 

SCAN. (Aside, looking to Don Juan). You have the 
feelings of a tiger. 

D. ELV. I leave you now ; that is all I had to say to 

D. Ju. Madam, it is late, stay here. We shall give you 
as good a room as we can. 

1 24 DON JUAN ; OR, [ACT nr. 

D. ELV. No, Don Juan, do not detain me longer. 

D. Ju. Madam, you will oblige me by remaining, I 
assure you. 

D. ELV. No, I tell you, let us not waste time in need- 
less words. Let me go immediately; do not insist upon 
accompanying me, and think only of profiting by my 


D. J. Do you know that I felt something stirring in 
my heart for her, that I was rather pleased with this 
strange unexpected adventure, and that her careless dress, 
her languishing air, and her tears, rekindled within me 
some small embers of an extinguished flame ? 

SGAN. That is as much as to say her words did not 
make any impression on you. 

D. Ju. Supper, quickly. 

SCAN. Very well. 


D. Ju. (Sitting down at table). Sganarelle, we must 
really think of amending our lives. 

SGAN. Ay, that we must ! 

D. Ju. Yes, upon my word, we must reform. Twenty 
or thirty years more of this life, and then we shall consider 
about it. 

SGAN. Oh! 

D. Ju. What do you say to that ? 

SGAN. Nothing. Here comes supper, (ffe takes a bit 
from one of the dishes that was brought in, and puts it into 
his mouth). 

D, Ju. Methinks you have a swollen cheek : what is the 
matter with it ? Speak. What have you in your mouth ? 

SGAN. Nothing. 

D. Ju. Show it me. Zounds ! he has got a swelling in 
his cheek. Quick ! a lancet to open it. The poor fellow 
cannot stand this any longer, and this abscess may choke 
him. Wait ! see it is quite ripe. 'Ha ! you rascal ! 

SGAN. Upon my word, Sir, I wished to see whether 
your cook had not put in too much pepper or salt. 

D. Ju. Come, sit down there and eat. I have some 


business for you as soon as I have finished supper. I per- 
ceive you are hungry. 

SCAN. (Sitting down at the table). I should think so, 
Sir, I have not eaten anything since this morning. Taste 
that, it is very good. (Ragotin takes Sganarelle 1 s plate 
away, as soon as he has got anything upon it to eat). My 
plate, my plate ! Gently, if you please. Ods boddikins ! 
my mannikin, how nimble you are in giving clean plates ! 
I say, little la Violette, you are not very handy in giving 
a man something to drink ! ( WJiilst la Violette gives 
Sganarelle something to drink Ragotin again takes away his 

D. Ju. Who can it be that knocks in such a manner ? 

SCAN. Who the deuce comes to disturb us at our meal ? 

D. Ju. I wish to take my supper at least in peace ; let 
no one, therefore, come in. 

SCAN. Let me alone, I shall go to the door myself. 

D. Ju. (Seeing Sganarelle return frightened}. What ails 
you ? What is the matter ? 

SCAN. (Nodding his head as the statue did}. The . . . 
is there. 

D. Ju. Let us go and see, and let us show that nothing 
can move me. 

SCAN. Ah ! poor Sganarelle, where will you hide your- 


D. Ju. (To his servants}. A chair and a plate here. 
Quick ! (Don Juan and the Statue sit down at the table}. 
(To Sganarelle}. Come, sit down. 

SCAN. Sir, I have lost my appetite. 

D. Ju. Sit down here, I say. Give me something to 
drink. The Commander's health, Sganarelle. Give him 
some wine. 

SCAN. Sir, I am not thirsty. 

D. Ju. Drink, and sing a song to entertain the Corr- 

SCAN. I have got a cold, Sir. 

D. Ju. No matter. Begin. (To his servants}. You, 
there, come and sing along with him. 

126 DON JUAN; OR, [ AC rv. 

STAT. It is enough, Don Juan. I invite you to come 
and take supper with me to-morrow. Will you be so 

D. Ju. Yes. Sganarelle alone shall accompany me. 

SCAN. I thank you, to-morrow is fast-day with me. 

D. Ju. {To Sganarelle). Take a light. 

STAT. No need of light for those whom Heaven guides. 


( The theatre represents a landscape). 

D. Lou. What ! my son, is it possible that the mercy 
of Heaven has granted my prayers? Is what you tell me 
really true? Do you not deceive me with a false expecta- 
tion ? and can I indeed believe the astonishing tidings of 
your conversion ? 

D. Ju. (Playing the hypocrite). ."* Yes, I have seen the 
error of my ways ; I am no longer the same I was last 
night ; and Heaven has suddenly wrought a change in me, 
which will surprise every one. It has touched my heart 
and opened my eyes ; I look back with horror upon my 
long blindness, and the crimes and disorders of the life I 
have led. In my own mind I consider all my former 
abominations ; I am astonished that Heaven could bear 
with me so long, and that it has not twenty times dis- 
charged upon my head the thunderbolts of its terrible jus- 
tice. I see how kind and merciful it has been to me in 
not punishing my crimes ; I intend to profit by it as I 
ought, to show openly to the world a sudden change in my 
life, to repair, by those means, the scandal of my past 
actions, and endeavour to obtain from Heaven a full re- 

26 Don Juan until now was swayed only by his passions, and a slave 
to pleasure and debauchery. When he finds himself everywhere 
detested, when he sees the anger of powerful families raised against him, 
when his friends leave him isolated, and his creditors become importunate, 
when even his own father has cursed and disinherited him, and when he 
imagines that the shadow of a man he has killed pursues him, the only 
way that is left open to him, is falsehood and hypocrisy. He does not 
change his character, it is true, but his conversation and behaviour. 


mission of my sins. I am now going to strive for this; I 
beg of you, Sir, to aid me in this design, and to assist me 
in making choice of a person, who may serve me as a 
guide, and under whose conduct I may walk safely in the 
way upon which I am entering. 

D. Lo. Ah ! my son ! how easily does the love of a 
father return, and how quickly do the offences of a son 
fade from the memory at the least mention of repentance ! 
I have already forgotten all the sorrows you have caused 
me ; everything is effaced by the words you have just 
spoken. I confess I am beside myself; I shed tears of joy ; 
all my prayers are answered, and henceforth I have noth- 
ing to ask from Heaven. Embrace me, my son, and per- 
sist, I conjure you, in this praiseworthy resolution. As 
for me, I shall go immediately to carry these happy tidings 
to your mother, unite with her in expressing our delight, 
and return thanks to Heaven for the holy thoughts with 
which it has vouchsafed to inspire you. 


SCAN. Ah, Sir, how glad I am to see you converted ! I 
have long been waiting for this ; and now, thanks to Hea- 
ven, all my wishes are accomplished. 

D. Ju. Hang the booby ! 

SCAN. How, booby ? 

D. Ju. What, do you think I was serious in what I said 
just now, and do you imagine that my mouth uttered what 
my heart believed ? 

SCAN. What ! it is not . . . You do not . . . Your 
. . . (Aside). Oh ! what a man ! what a man ! what a 

D. Ju. No, no, I am not altered, and my feelings are 
always the same. 

SCAN. What, do you not yield to the surprising miracle 
of a moving and speaking statue ? 

D. Ju. There is really something in that which I do 
not understand ; but, whatever it may be, it is not capable 
either of convincing my judgment, or of snaking my nerves, 
and if I said I wished to reform my conduct, and was going 
to lead an exemplary life, it is a plan which I have formed 
out of pure policy, a useful stratagem, a necessary disguise 

128 DON JUAN ; OR, [ACT v. 

which I am willing to adopt, in order to spare the feelings 
of a father, whose assistance I want, and to screen myself, 
with respect to mankind, from the consequences of a 
hundred disagreable adventures. Sganarelle, I make you 
my confidant in this case, and I am very glad to have a 
witness of the feeling of my inmost soul, and of the real 
motives which instigate me to act as I do. 27 

SCAN. What ! you believe in nothing, and you pretend 
at the same time to set up as a virtuous man ! 

D. Ju. And why not? There are many others besides 
myself, who carry on this trade, and who make use of the 
same mask to deceive the world. 

SCAN. (Aside). Oh ! what a man ! what a man ! 

D. Ju. There is no longer any shame in acting thus : 
hypocrisy is a fashionable vice, and all fashionable vices 
pass for virtues. The character of a virtuous man is the 
best part which one can play. Now-a-days, the profession 
of hypocrite possesses marvellous advantages. It is an art, 
the quackery of which is always respected ; and although 
it be seen through, no one dares to say anything against it. 
All other vices of mankind are liable to censure, and 
everyone is at liberty to attack them openly ; but hypocrisy 
is a privileged vice, which, with its own hand, closes the 
mouth of all the world, and peacefully enjoys a sovereign 
impunity. By mere force of humbug, a compact body is 
formed by the whole set. He who offends one, brings 
them all upon him; and those, whom every one knows to 
act in all good faith, and to be perfectly sincere, even 
those, I say, are generally the dupes of the others ; they 
simply fall into the traps of the humbugs, and blindly 
support those who ape their own conduct. How many, 
think you, do I know who, by this stratagem, have adroitly 
patched up the errors of their youth ; who put on a cloak 
of religion, and beneath this venerated habit obtain leave 

27 The maxims which Don Juan promulgates farther on in defence of 
hypocrisy, are not so much for Sganarelle as for the audience who listen 
to the piece ; hence the statement that he is " very glad to have a wit- 
ness ... of the (his) real motives," which he then unfolds. Don Juan is 
above all afraid that, for one single moment, he could be thought sincerely 
repentant, and is glad to have some confidant who can testify to his 
hypocrisy. I doubt, however, if the real hypocrite ever unbosoms himself, 
even to his most intimate companion. Tartuffe has no confidant. 


to be the most wicked fellows on earth? It signifies 
nothing that their intrigues, and they themselves, are 
known for what they are, they have none the less influence 
in society; a demurely bent head, a canting sigh, and a 
pair of up-turned eyes, justify with the world all that they 
can do. It is under this favourable shelter that I intend 
to take refuge, and arrange matters comfortably. I shall 
not abandon my darling habits, but I shall take care to 
conceal them, and amuse myself quietly. If I should be 
discovered, I shall, without stirring a finger, find my 
interests espoused by the whole crew, 28 and be defended by 
them through thick and thin against every one. In short, 
this is the true way of doing with impunity all that I 
please. I shall set myself up as a censor of the actions 
of others, judge ill of every one, and think well only of 
myself. Whoever has offended me, however slightly, I 
shall never forgive; but preserve, without much ado, an 
irreconcilable hatred. I shall announce myself as the 
advocate of the interests of Heaven ; and, under this con- 
venient pretext, I shall persecute my enemies, accuse them 
of impiety, let loose against them those rash zealots who, 
without knowing why or wherefore, will raise an outcry 
against them, overwhelm them with abuse, and openly 
condemn them to perdition on their own private authority. 
It is thus that we must profit by men's weaknesses, and 
that a man who is no fool adapts himself to the vices of 
his age." 9 

SCAN. O Heavens ! what do I hear ? You only wanted 
to be a hypocrite to make you perfect ; and now you have 
reached the height of your abominations. Sir, your last 
stroke is more than I can bear, and I cannot help speak- 
ing. Do what you please with me ; beat me, break every 
bone in my body, kill me if you like ; I must discharge 
my conscience, and, like a faithful servant, tell you what 
I ought. Know, sir, that the pitcher goes so often to the 

"The original has a "cabale," which was formerly said only of the clique 
of The Precieuscs ; but, when Don Juan was performed (1665), it had 
come to mean " a set of organized devotees." 

49 These words contain a vigorous protest against those who had attacked 
Tartuffe, which had already been played tentatively and through whose 
machinations it had been forbidden to be brought out. 



well, that it comes home broken at last, and as that 
author, whose name I have forgotten, very well says, man 
is, in this world, like a bird on a bough ; the bough is 
fixed to the tree; he who clings to the tree follows good 
precepts ; good precepts are better than fair words ; fair 
words are found at court ; at court are courtiers ; the 
courtiers follow the fashion ; fashion proceeds from fancy ; 
fancy is a faculty of the soul; the soul gives us life; life 
ends in death ; death causes us to think of Heaven ; 
Heaven is above the earth ; the earth is not the sea ; the 
sea is subject to storms ; the storms toss vessels ; vessels 
have need of a good pilot ; a good pilot is prudent ; 
young people are not prudent; young people ought to 
obey old people; old people love riches; riches make 
men rich ; the rich are not poor ; the poor have necessi- 
ties ; necessity has no law ; he who knows no law lives 
like a brute beast, and consequently you shall be con- 
demned to the bottomless pit. 30 

D. Ju. What fine arguments ! 

SCAN. If you do not give in, after this, so much the 
worse for you. 


D. CAR. Don Juan, I meet you just in time ; and I am 
glad to address you here rather than at your own house, 
to ask you what you are resolved to do. You know that 
it concerns me, and that, in your presence, I took upon 
me to watch over this affair. As for me, I do not con- 
ceal it, I sincerely wish that things may be arranged in 
an amicable way ; there is nothing which I would not do 
to induce you to take that course, and to see you publicly 
recognize my sister as your wife. 

D. Ju. (In a hypocritical tone). Alas ! I should indeed 
like to give you, with all my heart, the satisfaction you 
desire ; but Heaven is directly opposed to it ; it has in- 
spired me with the design of amending my life; and I 

80 Some of the early editions have Sganarelle's speech only as far as 
" in death." At last, Sganarelle's indignation is roused by Don Juan's 
Tiypocrisy ; he flies in a passion, and attacks his master violently, but 
flounders in the midst of his reasonings, talks nonsense, and ends rather 


now entertain no other thoughts than entirely to abandon 
all that binds me to this world, to strip myself as soon as 
possible of all sorts of pomps and vanities, and henceforth 
to correct, by an austere behaviour, all those criminal 
irregularities into which a blind and youthful ardour 
led me. 

D. CAR. This design, Don Juan, does not clash with 
what I propose, and the company of a lawful wife is not 
1 in opposition to the praiseworthy designs with which 
Heaven has inspired you. 

D. Ju. Alas ! that is by no means the case. Your sister 
herself has formed this same plan ; she has resolved to 
withdraw into a nunnery ; and we have been both touched 
by grace at the same time. 

D. CAR. Her going into a nunnery cannot give us 
satisfaction, since it may be attributed to the contempt 
which you show to her and our family; our honour de- 
mands that she should be married to you. 

D. Ju. I assure you that that cannot be. I was very 
much inclined towards that union ; and this very day I 
asked counsel from Heaven about it ; but, when I did so 
I heard a voice which told me that I ought not to think 
of your sister, and that most certainly I could not be 
saved with her. 

D. CAR. Do you think, Don Juan, that you can blind 
us with such fine excuses ? 

D. Ju. I obey the voice of Heaven. 

D. CAR. What ? would you have me be satisfied with 
such a speech ? 

D. Ju. Heaven will have it so. 

D. CAR. Have you taken my sister out of a nunnery, to 
abandon her at last ? 

D. Ju. Heaven ordains it so. 

D. CAR. Shall we suffer such a blot upon our family ? 

D. Ju. Seek your redress from Heaven. 

D. CAR. Pooh ! why always Heaven ? 

D. Ju. Heaven wishes it should be so. 

D. CAR. It is enough, Don Juan ; I understand you. 
This spot is not favourable for what I have to say about 
it ; but I shall find you before long. 

D. Ju. You may do as you please. You know I am not 

132 DON JUAN J OR, [ACT v. 

wanting in courage, and can use my sword, if need be. I 
am going directly through that little lonely street which 
leads to the great convent ; but I declare to you, solemnly, 
I do not wish to fight ; Heaven forbid the thought ; and 
if you attack me, we shall see what will come of it.* 1 
D. CAR. Truly, we shall see, we shall see. 


SCAN. Sir, what a devil of a style have you adopted ? 
This is worse than all the rest, and I liked you much better 
as you were before. I always hoped you might be saved ; 
but now I despair of it ; I believe that Heaven, which has 
endured you hitherto, can never bear this last abomination. 

D. Ju. Pooh ! Pooh ! Heaven is not so particular as 
you think ; and if men were every time to ... 

of a veiled woman. 

SCAN. (Seeing the Ghost). Ah ! Sir, Heaven speaks to 
you ; it is a warning it gives you. 

D. Ju. If Heaven gives me a warning, it must speak 
more plainly, if it wishes me to understand it. 

GHOST. Don Juan has but a moment to take advantage 
of the mercy of Heaven ; and if he does not repent now, 
his perdition is certain. 

SCJAN. Do you hear, sir? 

D. Ju. Who dares to utter such words? I think I know 
that voice. 

SGAN. Oh, sir, it is a Ghost, I know it by its step. 

D. Ju. Ghost, phantom, or devil, I shall see what it is. 
(The Ghost changes its shape, and represents time with a 
scythe in its hand). 

SGAN. Oh Heavens ! do you see this change of shape, 

D. Ju. No, no, nothing can frighten me ; and I shall 
try with my sword whether it is a body or a spirit. {The 
Ghost vanishes the instant Don Juan offers to strike it). 

n In the former scene, Don Juan has laid down the theory of hypocrisy ; 
in this scene, he brings it into practice. 


SCAN. Ah, sir, yield to so many proofs, and repent 

D. Ju. No, no, come what will, it shall never be said 
that I was capable of repentance. Come, follow me. 


STAT. Stay, Don Juan. You gave me your word yester- 
day that you would come and sup with me. 

D. J. Yes. Where shall we go ? 

STAT. Give me your hand. 

D. Ju. Here it is. 

STAT. Don Juan, a terrible death is the consequence of 
persistency in sin ; and when the mercy of Heaven is 
refused, its thunder appears. 

D. Ju. Oh Heavens ! what do I feel ? an inward flame 
devours me, I can bear it no longer, and my whole body 
is on fire. Oh ! (Loud claps of thunder are heard; great 
flashes of lightning fall upon Don Juan. The earth opens 
and swallows him up; flames burst out on the very spot 
where he went down). 


Alas ! my wages ! my wages ! Every one is satisfied by 
his death. Offended Heaven, violated laws, maids se- 
duced, families dishonoured, parents outraged, wives 
ruined, husbands driven to despair, all are satisfied. I 
alone am unhappy. My wages, my wages, my wages !** 

w This exclamation of Sganarelle about his wages gave great offence. 
People considered that a man who could remain cool and collected in the 
presence of such a miracle, was nothing better than an infidel, and that 
instead of shouting for his wages, he would have done better to remain 
dumb, as struck by a religious terror. Moliere had to leave out the ex- 
clamation, "my wages." But, a few years later, it was allowed to pass 
without any remarks when put into the mouth of Arlequie in a stupid 
farce by a certain actor, Rosimond. 






SEPTEMBER 15x11, 1665. 


ON the Ijth of September, 1665, was represented at Versailles an im- 
promptu comedy, " interspersed with tunes, symphonies, singing, and 
dancing," called Love is the best Doctor, in which Moliere most strenu- 
ously attacked the faculty of medicine. He had already begun this criti- 
cism in Don yuan ; but, as it was put into the mouth of a complete 
sceptic in everything, it was not considered as very serious. In Love is 
the best Doctor, however, he ridiculed the most fashionable physicians, and 
the patients who consulted and trusted them. Four doctors are called in 
to a consultation, in which, instead of comparing notes about the state of 
the patient, they converse about things in general and nothing in particu- 
lar ; at the end, the distracted father finds himself more bewildered than 
before, and rushes out of the house to buy a quack medicine, which the 
quack declares " cures by its excellence rare more complaints than are 
counted up in a whole year," and the great virtues of which could ne'er 
be *' repaid by the gold of all climes which by the ocean are bound," but 
for which the anxious but avaricious parent only pays " thirty sous," 
" which," he says, addressing the quack, " you will take, if you please." 
The professional discussions of the learned brethren, and the shrewd in- 
terested advice of Dr. Filerin, who rebukes them, and tells them not to 
quarrel before the public, and thus to lessen their influence, but to main- 
tain a sedate and deeply anxious look, are admirable, and suitable, not 
for one but for all ages. As long as credulous and physic-swallowing 
people exist, and as long as external appearances will be taken as an indi- 
cation of true knowledge and worth, so long will Moliere's comedy retain 
its sting. In nice contrast to the contentious practitioners, is the sharp 
common-sense of the maid Lisette, and the stubbornness and miserly feel- 
ings of the father Sganarelle, who asks advice, but does not follow it, 
refuses to give his daughter in marriage because " he means to keep his 
wealth,'' and is finally tricked out of his daughter and a dowry as well. 

Although 1 do not deny the courage, I cannot admire the taste, of 
Moliere, in bringing four famous court physicians bodily on the stage, in 
exposing the physical defects of two of them, the one a stammerer, the 
other a very rapid talker, and in even barely disguising their names 
under Greek denominations, and which, tradition affirms, are due to 
Boileau. It is always right to attack and ridicule a vice on the stage, 
when by so doing, an author conscientiously believes that he is improving 
his fellow-men at the same time that he is amusing them, and is holding "a 
mirror up to nature ;" but it can never be defensible to imitate living per- 



sons, to mimic their defects, to ape their attitudes nay, to wear their very 
dress. The representative of a vice or virtue should, I imagine, be an 
embodiment of many persons, possessed of such good or evil qualities, 
but not the faithful portrait of one man or woman. To say that such an 
imitation is Aristophanesk, is simply to disguise a very ugly, and not even 
a very artistical, thing, under a not over-nicely sounding adjective. 

According to some annotators, Moliere meant by Desfonandres, com- 
pounded of two Greek words, phonos, murder, and andres, men, a certain 
Dr. Elie Beda, who, at the time when Love is the best Doctor was first 
represented, must have been about seventy years old. He had adopted 
the name of Des Fougerais, and was the favourite physician of the high 
nobility and magistracy. Born a Protestant, he became a Roman Catho- 
lic in 1648, is said to have been a regular medical Vicar of Bray, and 
never to have changed his religious or medical opinions, except to benefit 
himself and his family. M. A. Jal, in his Dictionnaire critique, pretends 
that Guenault is caricatured in Desfonandres, because he killed so many 
patients by antimony, and because Desfonandris boasts, in the third scene 
of the second act, that he has "an astonishing horse, an indefatigable 
animal." Now, it was well known in Moliere's time, that Guenault was 
the only doctor who always rode on horseback, whilst his colleagues went 
about in carriages, sedan chairs, or on foot. 

Bahis (barker), seems to have been intended for Dr. Esprit, whose real 
name was Andre, and who spoke very fast. He had been one of the 
physicians of Cardinal Richelieu, afterwards of Cardinal Mazarin, and 
finally of Monsieur, brother of the King, and was a declared partizan of 
emetics. According to Raynaud, les Medecines au temps de Moliere, 1683, 
the physician Brayer is meant by Bahis, chiefly because Bahis is in French 
" brailleur, shouter," and therefore there is a similarity in name, and also 
because he was one of the four physicians who held a famous consultation 
at Vincennes, when Cardinal Mazarin was dying. 

By Macroton (stammerer), it is generally believed that Dr. Fra^ois 
Guenault is meant, because he spoke very slowly. This gentleman was 
one of the best known and most celebrated medical men of the time, and 
had been physician to the Prince de Conde, and then to the Queen. He had 
often professionally attended on the King, and scarcely a man of rank fell 
ill who did not consult him. It is said that he was very fond of money, 
and a declared champion of antimony, and, through his influence 
amongst the great, a decided lord amongst doctors. 

Tomes (the bleeder), was intended for Vallot, first physician to the King 
with the rank of grand Chamberlain, as well as with the hereditary title 
of Count ; and who exercised supreme jurisdiction over all the doctors 
and apothecaries in the kingdom. He kept a Journal de la Sante du 
Roy (Louis XIV.), published in 1662, which contains all the recipes " with 
which Heaven inspired "' him, to keep the monarch in health. Bleeding 
and purgatives appear to have been the doctor's two favourite remedies. 
He was a strenuous defender of emetics, Peruvian bark and laudanum, 
and obtained a great triumph when he cured, in 1650, Louis XIV., with 
antimonial wine ; but became anew the butt of many satires and epigrams, 
on the death of Henrietta of France, Queen of England, whom his oppo- 
nents accused him of having killed by his prescriptions. 

In the character of Dr. Filerin (a friend of death), it is said that Mo- 
liere wished to have a hit at the whole medical faculty. Mons. E. Soulie 1 , 
in the Recherches sur Moliere, states that in Moliere's time, there lived a 
certain well-known fencing-master, Andre Fillerin, and that therefore, the 


joke must have been enjoyed by the audience, on hearing that name 
given to a physician who killed his man. 

Love is the best Doctor was, according to the preface, " sketched, written 
off, learned, and acted in five days." It was three times represented at 
Versailles, and played, for the first time, in Paris, on the 22d of September 
1665, when it was acted twenty-six times consecutively. 

Several English dramatists have borrowed or imitated Moliere's 

The first imitator of Moliere's Love is the best Doctor is John Lacy, 
who was greatly admired by Pepys 1 and by Charles II., and was an ex- 
cellent low-comedy actor. During the civil wars, he served as lieutenant 
in the King's army, and returned to the stage at the Restoration. It has 
been rumoured that Lacy was a great favourite of Nell Gwyn, and taught 
her, amongst other things, the art of acting. He lived to an advanced 
age. and died on the lyth of September 1681. He wrote several plays, 
one of which was Tht Dumb Lady, or the Farrier made a Physician, a 
farce in five acts, performed about 1672, of which the main plot is taken 
from Moliere's Mock Doctor, and the catastrophe is borrowed from his 
Love is the Best Doctor. Lacy, who himself most probably played the 
part of Drench, the farmer, dedicates his play to the high-born and most 
hopeful Prince Charles. Lord Limerick, and Earl of Southampton, the 
eldest of the three natural sons of Charles II., by Barbara Villiers, wife of 
Roger Palmer, Earl of Castlemain, better known as Duchess of Cleveland. 2 
This dedication is couched in such high-flown and fawning language, that 
I give it here as a specimen of what flattery was in the days of 
Charles II. : 

" GREAT SIR, When I began to write this dedication my hand shook, a fear pos- 
sessed me, and I trembled ; my pen fell from me, and my whole frame grew disordered, 
as if blasted with some sudden upstart comet. Such awe and reverence waits on dig- 
nity, that I now find it fit for me to wish I had been refused the honour of my dedi- 
cation, rather than undertake a task so much too great for me. How shall I excuse 
this bold and saucy fault ? How shall my mean, unworthy pen render you your 
attributes ? Now I find presumption is a sin indeed. I have given myself a wound 
beyond the cure of common men : heal me, then, great sir ; for where princes 
touch the cure is infallible. And now, since you so graciously have received my 
Farrier, who dares say he is no Physician ? When you vouchsafe to call him Doc- 
tor, he has commenced, and from your mouth he has taken his degree ; for what 
you say is, and ought to be. Such a power is due to you from the greatness of your 
blood. I and my abject muse had perished but for you ; and in such distress whi- 
ther should we flee for shelter but to him that has power to spread his wings and 
cover us ? And you have done it generously. Yet am I not to wonder at this 
virtue in you, since your high birth can do no less for you than to make you good ; 
and you are so. And may that goodness and humility which so early appears in 
you increase to a full perfection ! May your virtues prove as beautiful as your per- 
son ! May they still endeavour to out-vie each other, yet neither obtain, but still 
walk hand in hand till your virtues in you be reverenced by all mankind, and your 
lovely person honoured by all women ; and so may you continue to a long and 
happy life. But I need not wish this, nor the world doubt it, for already you're 
possessed of all those virtues that men hereafter may reasonably expect from you ; 
for, being supported by majesty of one side, and so admired and beautiful a mother 
on the other, besides her great and honourable birth, on such sure foundations you 
cannot fail our hopes ; and that you never may, shall be forever the prayers of your 
most faithful and most obedient servant, JOHN LACY." 

1 See Pepys' Diary, aist and 22d of May 1662 ; loth and iath of June 1663 ; isth 
of April, ist of May, and i3th of August 1667 ; and 28th of April 1608. 

* This dignity was conferred upon her, according to Collins' Peerage, on account 
of the high opinion Charles II. entertained of her " personal virtues. For a simi- 
lar high opinion entertained by Louis XIV., the latter made a duchess of Mademoi- 
selle de la Valliere. See Introductory Notice to the Princess of Elis. 


Mrs. Aphra Behn (See Introductory Notice to Pretentious Young 
Ladies, Vol. I., has, in Sir Patient Fancy an imitation, partly of Mo- 
liere's Malade Imaginaire, and of M. de Pourceaugnac , and acted at the 
Duke's Theatre, 1678 borrowed and amplified all the scenes of Love is 
the best Doctor, in which the physicians consult. But the patient to be 
cured is a hypochondriac, and not a young girl ; Sir Patience himself is 
present at the consultation, and the doctors' names are also altered to 
Turboon, Amsterdam, Leyden, Brunswick, and Sir Credulous. 

As a second imitation of Love is the test Doctor I have to mention 
" The Quacks, or Love's the Physician, as it was acted (after being twice 
forbid) at the Theatre-Royal in Drury Lane (March i8th, 1705), by Mr. 
Swiney. Quod libet, licet. London, Printed for Benj. Bragg, at the 
Blew Ball in Avemary Lane, 1705." In the Preface, Swiney states that 
" this Play was to be stifled because the other House were to Act one 
upon the same Subject," and that " the hints of this Play were taken from 
a petit piece of Moliere call'd L'Amour Medecin," but " I can't stile it a 
translation, the Doctor's part being intirely new, much of the other cha- 
racters alter'd, and the Contrivance somewhat Chang'd." He ends by 
saying that " the Noise of these Scenes Alarm'd the Licenser, who gen- 
erally destroys with as much Distinction as the old Woman in Don Quix- 
ot's Library." Swiney harps on the same string in the Prologue, by 
saying : 

" Let every Quack be comforted to-Night, 
Care has been taken that he shall not Bite." 

The play is, for the most part, a bad translation of Moliere's play, with 
a few alterations and additions which do not improve it. The scene of 
Sganarelle and his advisers is left out ; while a nurse and two servant-men, 
Harry and Edward, are needlessly introduced. The doctors' names are 
changed into Medley, Caudle, Tickle, Pulse, Novice, Refugee, and the 
conversation is slightly altered. In the end, Clitandre and Lucinda, who 
have been really married by a priest disguised as a footman, acknowledge 
their deceit, and are forgiven. 

James Miller (See Introductory Notice to The Pretentious Young 
Ladies, Vol. I., wrote a comedy, Art and Nature, acted at the Theatre 
Royal, Drury Lane, 1738 ; and, according to Baker's Biographia Drama- 
tica, the principal scenes in this play are founded on the Arlequin Sauvage 
of M. De 1'Isle and Le Flatteur of Rousseau. But it met with no suc- 
cess, because the Templars had taken an unreasonable prejudice against 
Miller, on account of his farce of The Coffee House, in which they thought 
themselves attacked, and seem to have been determined to condemn any 
piece known to be his. Miller has imitated the first, second, fifth, and 
sixth scenes of the first act of Love is the best Doctor. In his Preface to 
the Right Honourable the Lady. . . . Miller states, " that he never knew 

a Play destroy'd with so much Art But in Paris there is an Academy 

founded for the Encouragement of Wit and Learning, so in London, it is 
said, there is a Society established for the Demolition of them." He also 
says in the Prologue, that he hopes there is none in the theatre, " who'd 
aim, Thro' Wantonness of Heart, to blast his Fame." 

Another translation of Moliere's play, under the title of Love is the 
Doctor, was performed as a comedy in one act, at Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
on April 4, 1734, for the benefit of the author, but has never been printed. 

Bickerstaffe (See Introductory Notice to The School for Wives, Vol. 
I., in Dr. Last in his Chariot an imitation of Moliere's Malade Im- 


aginaire, acted at the Haymarket, 1769 acknowledges his ooligation to 
Mr. Foote for a whole scene in the first act, the consultation of the physi- 
cians. This acknowledgment is certainly a proof of Bickerstaffe's grati- 
tude, but none of his reading ; otherwise he might have discovered that 
Foote had simply taken it from Moliere's Love is the best Doctor, and 
considerably enlarged it ; the doctors are called Coffin, Skeleton, Bul- 
ruddery, and of course Doctor Last 


THIS is only a slfght impromptu, a simple pencil sketch, which 
it has pleased the King to have made into an entertainment. 
It is the most hastily composed of all those written by order of 
his Majesty ; and when I say that it was sketched, written, 
learned, and acted in five days, I shall only be speaking the 
truth. There is no need to tell you that many things depend 
entirely on the manner of the performance. Every one knows 
well enough that comedies are written only to be acted ; and I 
advise no one to read this, unless he have the faculty, while 
doing so, of catching the meaning of the business of the stage. 
I shall say only one thing more, that it is to be wished that 
these sorts of works could always be shown with the same 
accessories, with which they are accompanied when played 
before the King. One would then see them under much more 
agreeable conditions ; and the airs and symphonies of the in- 
comparable M. Lulli, added to the sweet voices and agility of 
the dancers, invest them, undoubtedly, with certain graces, 
with which they could with difficulty dispense. 



COMEDY. | Music. | THE BALLET (Dancing). 


SGANARELLE, father to Lu- 

CLITANDRE, in love with Lu- 

M. GUILLAUME, dealer in 


M. JOSSE, goldsmith. 
M. TOMES, a physician. 
M. BAHIS, " 

M. FILERIN, physician. 


CHAMPAGNE, Sganarelle 's 

LUCINDE, daughter of Sgan- 

AMINTA, Sganarelle' s neigh- 

LUCRETIA, Sganarelle' s niece. 

LISETTE, maid to Lucinde. 


First Entry. 
CHAMPAGNE, Sganarelle' s 

servant, dancing. 


Second Entry. 

A QUACK, singing. 

CHES,* dancing in the suite 
of the quack. 

Third Entry. 



* It is more than probable that Moliere played this part. In the inventory taken 
after his death, and given by M. E. Soulie, we find, " a box of clothes for the repre- 
sentation of the Medecins, for this was the name often given to Love is the best 
Doctor by Moliere's contemporaries, -consisting in a doublet of common satin, cut 
out on golden roc (sic), cloak and breeches of velvet, with a gold ground, adorned 
with a loop and buttons." 

4 Tiberio Fiorilli, an Italian actor, was born near Naples, in 1608, and died at 
Paris, on the 8th of December, 1694. He was much liked by Louis XIV., and 
acted the character of Scaramouch, a braggart, a poltroon, and a fool, always 
dressed in black, with a large white collar. In Italian, a skirmish is called scarra- 
muccia; hence perhaps the name. Isaac Disraeli in his excellent chapter "The 
Pantomimical Characters " in the Curiotitiet of Literature , says : " When Charles 
V. entered Italy, a Spanish captain was introduced ; a dreadful man he was too, if 

in compliment to themselves. When the Spaniards lost their influence in Italy, 
the Spanish Captain was turned into Scaramouch, who still wore the Spanish dress, 
and was perpetually in a panic. The Italians could only avenge themselves on the 
Spaniards in pantomime. 




Comedy. Let us our fruitless quarrels banish, 

Each other's talents not by turns dispute: 
But greater glory to attain 
This day of all let be our aim. 
Let us all three unite with matchless zeal 
The greatest King on earth with pleasure to 

The three together. Let us all three unite with matchless 


The greatest King on earth with 
pleasure to provide. 

Comedy. From toils more irksome than can be imagined. 
Amongst us, now and then, he comes to un- 

Can greater glory, greater pleasure be our 
share ? 

The three together. Let us all three unite with matchless 


The greatest King on earth with 
pleasure to provide. 6 

' The Prologue is in the original in verse. 






SCAN. What a strange thing is life ! and well may I 
say with a great ancient philosopher, that he who has 
much land has also strife, 6 and misfortune seldom comes 
alone. I had but one wife, and she is dead. 

M. Gu. And, pray, how many would you have ? 

SGAN. She is dead, friend Guillaume. I take this loss 
very much to heart, and I cannot think of it without tears. 
I was not altogether satisfied with her behaviour, and we 
often quarrelled ; but, after all, death settles everything. 
She is dead ; I bewail her. If she were alive, we would 
very likely quarrel. Of all the children God sent me, He 
has left me but one daughter, and it is she who is the 
cause of all my trouble ; for I see her plunged in the most 
dismal melancholy, the greatest sadness, of which there is 
no way of getting rid, and the cause of which I cannot 
even learn. I declare I am at my wit's end, and am very 
much in want of good advice about it. {To Lucretid}, 
You are my niece ; {To Aminta), you my neighbour ; {To 
M. Guillaume and M. Josse}, you my companions and 
friends : tell me, I pray, what I am to do. 

M. Jo. As for me, I think that finery and dress are the 
things which please young girls most ; and if I were you, 
I should buy her, this very day, a handsome set of dia- 
monds, or rubies, or emeralds. 

M. Gu. And I, if I were in your place, I would buy her 
a beautiful set of hangings, with a landscape, or some 
figures in them, and I should have them hung up in her 
room to cheer her spirits and to please her eyes. 

AMIN. As for me, I would not take so much trouble ; I 
would marry her well, and as quickly as I could, to that 
young man who asked her hand some time ago, as I have 
been told. 

Luc. And I, I think your daughter is not at all fit to 

6 It was not an ancient philosopher who said this. It is simply a wise 
saw of the Middle Ages, common to the French and the Italians, qui terre 
a guerre a and chi compra terra compra terra compra guerra. 


be married. She has too delicate and unhealthy a consti- 
tution, and it is almost sending her wilfully and speedily 
to the next world, to expose her to bear children in the 
state she is in. The busy world does not suit her at all, 
and I would advise you to put her in a convent, where she 
will find some amusements more to her taste. 

SCAN. All this advice is certainly admirable, but I think 
it rather interested, and I find that you are giving it very 
much for your own benefit. You are a goldsmith, 
M. Josse ; and your advice savours of a man who wants 
to get rid of his wares. You sell hangings, M. Guillaume, 
and you look to me as if you had some which you would 
fain part with. The young man whom you are in love 
with, fair neighbour, is, I have been told, the very one 
who is somewhat favourably disposed towards my 
daughter; and you would not be sorry to see her the 
wife of another. And as for you, my dear niece, it is not 
my intention, as is well known, to allow my daughter to 
get married at all, for reasons best known to myself; but 
your advice to make a nun of her is that of a woman who 
might charitably wish to become my sole heiress. There- 
fore, ladies and gentlemen, although your counsels be the 
best in the world, with your permission, I shall not follow 
a single one of them. (Alone). So much for those fash- 
ionable advisers. 


SGAN. Ah, here is my daughter come to take a breath 
of air. She does not see me. She is sighing ; she looks 
up to the sky. {To Lucinde}. May Heaven protect you ! 
Good morning, my darling. Well, what is the matter ? 
How do you feel ? What ! always so sad and so melan- 
choly, and you will not tell me what ails you ? Come, 
open your little heart to me. There, my poor pet, come 
and tell your little thoughts to your little fond papa. 
Keep your spirits up. Let me give you a kiss. Come. 
(Aside). It makes me wild to see her in that humour. 
(To Lucinde). But tell me, do you wish to kill me with 
displeasure ; and am I not to know the reason of this great 
listlessness ? Tell me the cause, and I promise that I 
shall do everything for you. Yes, if you will only tell me 


why you are so sad, I assure you and swear on this very 
spot, that I shall leave nothing undone to please you ; I 
cannot say more. Are you jealous because one of your 
companions is better dressed than yourself, and is it some 
new-fashioned stuff of which you want a dress ? No. Is 
your room not furnished nicely enough, and do you wish 
for one of those cabinets from St. Laurent's Fair? 7 It is 
not that. Do you feel inclined to take lessons in some- 
thing, and shall I get you a master to teach you how to 
play upon the harpsichord ? No, not that either. Are 
you in love with some one, and do you wish to be mar- 
ried ? (Lucinde gives an affirmative sign). 


Lis. Well, sir, you have just been talking to your 
daughter. Have you found out the cause of her melan- 
choly ? 

SCAN. No. She is a hussy who enrages me. 

Lis. Let me manage it, sir ; I shall pump her a little. 

SCAN. There is no occasion ; and since she prefers to 
be in this mood, I am inclined to let her remain in it. 

Lis. Let me manage it, I tell you. Perhaps she will 
open her heart more freely to me than to you. How now ! 
Madam, 8 you will not tell us what ails you, and you wish 
to grieve everyone around you ? You ought not to be- 
have as you do, and if you have any objection to explain 
yourself to a father, you ought to have none to open 
your heart to me. Tell me, do you wish anything from 
him ? He has told us more than once that he will spare 
nothing to satisfy you. Does he not allow you all the 

7 In Le Tracas de Paris, the Hubbub of Paris, described in burlesque 
verses by F. Colletet, written in 1665, and re-edited by the Bibliophile 
Jacob in 1859, I nn< i a l n S an d not rery poetical description of 
this fair, which seems to have been frequented, if not by bad, at 
least by very mixed company. Formerly this fair lasted only eight 
days, then three weeks and finally three months ; it was probably held 
in Moliere's time where the church St. Laurent is now, Boulevard de 

8 Lisette addresses Lucinde as "Madam" in the presence of her 
father. This seems to me to be ironical, as Madam was used only 
in speaking to ladies of high nobility. When later, in Clitandre, the 
lover calls her by that same name, it appears to me to be done as a piece 
of flattery. 


freedom you could wish for ? And do pleasure parties 
and feasts not tempt you? Say! has anyone displeased 
you? SayS have you not some secret liking for some one 
to whom you would wish your father to marry you ? 
Ah! I begin to understand you; that is it? Why the 
deuce so many compliments? Sir, the secret is found 
out, and . . . 

SCAN. (Interrupting her). Go, ungrateful girl ; I do 
not wish to speak to you any more, and I leave you in 
your obstinacy. 

Luc. Dear father, since you wish me to tell you . . . 

SCAN. Yes, I am losing all my regard for you. 

Lis Her sadness, sir . . . 

SCAN. She is a hussy who wishes to drive me to my 

Luc. But, father, I am willing . . . 

SCAN. That is not a fit reward for having brought you 
up as I have done. 

Lis. But, sir . . . 

SGAN. No, I am in a terrible rage with her. 

Luc. But, father . . . 

SCAN. I do not love you any longer. 

Lis. But . . 

SCAN. She is a slut. 

Luc. But . . . 

SCAN. An ungrateful girl. 

Lis. But . . . 

SCAN. A hussy who will not tell me what is the matter 
with her. 

Lis. It is a husband she wants. 

SCAN. {Pretending not to hear). I have done with her. 

Lis. A husband. 

SCAN. I hate her. 

Lis. A husband. 

SCAN. And disown her as my daughter. 

Lis. A husband. 

SCAN. Do not speak to me any more about her. 

Lis. A husband. 

SCAN. Speak no more to me about her. 

Lis. A husband. 

SCAN. Speak no more to me about her. 


Lis. A husband, a husband, a husband. 


Lis. True enough, none so deaf as those who will not 

Luc. Well, Lisette, I was wrong to hide my grief ! I 
had but to speak to get all I wished from my father ! You 
see now. 

Lis. Upon my word, he is a disagreeable man ; and I 
confess that it would give me the greatest pleasure to play 
him some trick. But how is it, Madam, that, till now, 
you have kept your grief from me ? 

Luc. Alas ! what would have been the use of telling you 
before ? and would it not have been quite as well if I 
had kept it to myself all my life ? Do you think that I 
have not foreseen all which you see now, that I did not 
thoroughly know the sentiments of my father, and that 
when he refused my hand to my lover's friend, who came 
to ask for it in his name, he had not crushed every hope 
in my heart ? 

Lis. What ! this stranger, who asked for your hand, is 
the one whom you . . . 

Luc. Perhaps it is not altogether modest in a girl to 
explain herself so freely; but, in short, I tell you candidly, 
that, were I allowed to wish for any one, it is he whom I 
should choose. We have never had any conversation 
together, and his lips have never avowed the love he has 
for me; but, in every spot where he had a chance of 
seeing me, his looks and his actions have always spoken so 
tenderly, and his asking me in marriage seems to me so 
very honourable, that my heart has not been able to remain 
insensible to his passion ; and yet, you see to what the 
harshness of my father is likely to bring all this tenderness. 

Lis. Let me manage it. Whatever reason I have to 
blame you for the secret you kept from me, I shall not fail 
to serve your love; and, provided you have sufficient 
resolution . . . 

Luc. But what am I to do against a father's authority? 
And if he will not relent . . . 

Lis. Come, come, you must not allow yourself to be led 
like a goose, and provided it be done honourably, we can 


free ourselves from a father's tyranny. What does he wish 
you to do ? Are you not of an age to be married, and 
does he think you are made of marble ? Once more bear 
up, I shall take in hand your love affair, and from this 
very moment do all I can to favour it, and you shall see 
that I know some stratagems . . . But I see your father. 
Let us go in, and leave me to act. 


It is good sometimes to pretend not to hear things, 
which one hears only too well ; and I have done wisely 
to ward off the declaration of a wish which I have no 
intention of satisfying. Was there ever a greater piece of 
tyranny than this custom to which they wish to subject all 
fathers ; anything more preposterous and ridiculous than 
to amass great wealth by hard work, and to bring up a girl 
with the utmost tenderness and care, in order to strip one's 
self of the one and of the other, for the benefit of a man 
who is nothing to us ? No, no, I laugh at that custom, 
and I mean to keep my wealth and my daughter to myself. 


Lis. {Running on to the stage and pretending not to see 
Sganarelle). Oh ! what a misfortune ! Oh ! what a ca- 
lamity ! Poor Mr. Sganarelle ! where can I find him ? 

SCAN. (Aside). What does she say? 

Lis. (Still running about). Oh! wretched father ! what 
will you do when you hear this news ? 

SGAN. (Aside). What can it be ? 

Lis. My poor mistress ! 

SGAN. I am undone ! 

Lis. Ah! 

SGAN. (Running after Lisette). Lisette ! 

Lis. What a misfortune ! 

SGAN. Lisette ! 

Lis. What an accident ! 

SGAN. Lisette ! 

Lis. What a calamity ! 

SGAN. Lisette! 

Lis. Oh, Sir ! 

SGAN. What is the matter ? 


Lis. Sir! 

SCAN. What has happened ? 

Lis. Your daughter . . . ' 

SCAN. Oh! Oh! 

Lis. Do not cry in such a way, sir. You will make me 

SCAN. Tell me quickly. 

Lis. Your daughter, overcome by your words, and see- 
ing how dreadfully angry you were with her, went quietly 
up to her room, and, driven by despair, opened the win- 
dow that looks out upon the river. 

SGAN. Well! 

Lis. Then, casting her looks up to Heaven : No, said 
she, it is impossible for me to live under my father's anger, 
and as he disowns me for his child, I shall die. 

SCAN. She has thrown herself out of the window? 

Lis. No, sir. She gently closed it, and lay down upon 
her bed. There she began to cry bitterly ; all at once she 
turned pale, her eyes rolled about, her strength failed her, 
and she became stiff in my arms. 

SCAN. Oh, my child ! She is dead ? 

Lis. No, sir. I pinched her till she came to herself 
again ; but she relapses every moment, and I believe she 
will not live out the day. 

SCAN. Champagne ! Champagne ! Champagne ! 


SGAN. Quick, go and fetch me some doctors, and bring 
a lot of them. 10 One cannot have too many in a crisis like 
this. Oh my daughter ! my poor child ! 


Champagne, servant to Sganarelle, knocks, dancing, at 
the doors of four Physicians. 

Moliere has also employed the beginning of this scene in The 
Rogueries of Scapin. (See Vol. III.) 

10 Compare Shakespeare's Second Part of King Henry IV. (Act ii., 
Scene i), when Fang, being kept off by Falstaff and Bardolph, shouts 
"'A rescue! a rescue !" and Hostess quickly exclaims, "Good people, 
bring a rescue or two I" 

11 The original has entre-actre, which might perhaps have been 
translated by " interlude." 


The four Physicians dance, and ceremoniously enter into 
Sganarelle 's house. 



Lis. What do you want with four physicians, sir? Is 
one not enough to kill one person ? 

SCAN. Hold your tongue. Four heads are better than 

Lis. Cannot your daughter die well enough without 
the assistance of those gentlemen ? 

SCAN. Do you think people die through having physi- 
cians ? 

Lis. Undoubtedly; and I knew a man who maintained 
and proved it, too, by excellent reasons that we should 
never say, Such a one has died of a fever, or from inflam- 
mation of the lungs, but, Such a one has died of four 
physicians and two apothecaries. 

SCAN. Hush ! do not offend those gentlemen. 

Lis. Upon my word, sir, our cat had a narrow escape 
from a leap he took, a little while ago, from the top of 
the house into the street; he was three days without 
eating, and unable to wag head or foot ; but it is very 
lucky that there are no cat doctors, else it would have 
been all over with him, for they would have physicked 
and bled him. 

SCAN. Will you hold your tongue when I bid you? 
What next ! Here they are. 

Lis. Look out ; you are going to be finely edified. 
They will tell you in Latin that your daughter is ill. 



SCAN. Well, gentlemen ? 

M. To. We have examined the patient sufficiently, and 
undoubtedly there is a great deal of impurity in her. 

SCAN. Is my daughter impure ? 

M. To. I mean to say that there is a great deal of im- 
purity in her system, and much corrupt matter. 


SCAN. Ah ! I understand you now. 

M. To. But . . . We are going to consult together. 

SCAN. Come, hand some chairs. 

Lis. (To M. Tomes}. Ah ! sir, are you with them ? 

SCAN. (To Lisette). How do you know this gentle- 

Lis. From having seen him the other day at a dear 
friend's of your niece. 

M. To. How is her coachman ? 

Lis. Very well indeed. He is dead. 

M. To. Dead? 

Lis. Yes. 

M. To. That cannot be. 

Lis. I do not know whether it can be or not ; but I 
know well enough that it is. 

M. To. He cannot be dead, I tell you. 

Lis. And I tell you that he is dead and buried. 

M. To. You are mistaken. 

Lis. I have seen him. 

M. To. It is impossible. Hippocrates says that these 
sorts of diseases end only on the fourteenth or twenty-first 
day ; and he has been ill only six. 

Lis. Hippocrates may say what he likes ; but the 
coachman is dead. 

SCAN. Peace ! chatterbox. Come, let us leave this 
room. Gentlemen, I pray you to consult carefully. Al- 
though it is not the custom to pay beforehand, yet, for 
fear I should forget it, and to have done with it, here 
is ... (He hands them some money, and each one, on 

(receiving it, makes a different gesture. ) 

BAHIS. (They all sit down and begin to cough}. 

M. DES. Paris is marvellously large, and one has to 
take long journeys when business is a little brisk, 

M. To. I am glad to say that I have got a wonderful 
mule for that ; and that one would hardly believe what a 
deal of ground he takes me over daily. 

M. DES. I have got an astonishing horse, and it is an 
indefatigable animal. 

M. To. Do you know the ground my mule has been 


over to-day? I have been, first, close by the Arsenal ; from 
the Arsenal, to the end of the faubourg Saint Germain ; 
from the faubourg Saint Germain, to the lower part of the 
Marais ; from the lower part of the Marais, to the Porte 
Saint-Honor^; from the Porte Saint-Honore, to the fau- 
bourg Saint-Jacques ; from the faubourg Saint-Jacques, to 
the Porte de Richelieu ; from the Porte de Richelieu, here ; 
and from here, I have yet to go to the Place Roy ale. 12 

M. DES. My horse has done all that to-day; and, 
besides, I have been to see a patient at Ruel. 13 

M. To. But, by the bye, which side do you take in the 
quarre 1 between the two physicians Theophrastus and 
Artemius? for it is a matter that divides our profession. 

M. DES. I ? I am for Artemius. 

M. To. So am I. It is true that his advice killed the 
patient, as we have experienced, and that Theophrastus' s 
was certainly much better ; but the latter is wrong in the 
circumstances, and ought not to have been of a different 
opinion from his senior. What do you say? 

M. DES. Certainly. We ought at all times to preserve 
the professional etiquette, whatever may happen. 

M. To. For my part, I am excessively strict on that 
subject, except among friends. The other day three of 
us were called in to to consult with an outsider ; u but I 
stopped the whole affair, and would hold no consultation 
unless things were conducted according to etiquette. The 
people of the house did what they could and the case grew 
worse ; but I would not give way, and the patient bravely 
died during the contention. 

M. DES. It is highly proper to teach people how to 
behave, and to show them their inexperience. 15 

M. To. A dead man is but a dead man, and of very 
little consequence; but professional etiquette neglected 
does great harm to the whole body of physicians. 

11 M. Tomes states, in detail, that he has been from one end of Paris to 
the other. 

18 Ruel, a village on the road to Saint Germain, was at that time 
(1665) a very fashionable residence ; the Cardinal de Richelieu had a 
country seat there, under Louis XIII. 

14 A physician, who had not taken his degree in Paris, was called "an 
outsider," un medecin de dehors. 

14 The original has leur montrer leur bee jaune. 



SCAN. Gentlemen, my daughter is growing worse ; I 
beg you to tell me quickly what you have decided on. 

M. To. ( To M De sfonandres). The word is with you, Sir. 

M. DBS. No, Sir ; it is for you to speak if you please. 

M. To. You are jesting. 

M. DES. I shall not speak first. 

M. To. Sir. 

M. DES. Sir. 

SCAN. For mercy's sake, gentlemen, drop these cere- 
monies, and consider that matters are urgent. 

( They all four speak at the same time.} 

M. To. Your daughter's complaint . . . 

M. DES. The opinion of all these gentlemen . . . 

MAC. M. After hav-ing care-fully consi-dered . . . 

M. BA. In order to deduce . . . 

SCAN. Ah! gentlemen, one at a time, pray . . . 

M. To. Sir, we have duly argued upon your daughter's 
complaint, and my own opinion is, that it proceeds from 
the overheating of the blood, consequently I would have 
her bled as soon as possible. 

M. Des. And I say that her illness arises from a putre- 
faction of humours, caused by too great repletion ; conse- 
quently I would have her given an emetic. 

M. To. I maintain that an emetic will kill her. 

M. DES. And I, that bleeding will be the death of her. 

M. To. It is like you to set up for a clever man ! 

M. DES. Yes, it is like me ; and I can, at any rate, cope 
with you in all kinds of knowledge. 

M. To. Do you recollect the man you killed a few days 

M. DES. Do you recollect the lady you sent to the other 
world three days ago ? 

M. To. (To Sganarelle). I have given you my opinion. 

M. DES. (To Sganarelle}. I have told you what I think. 

M. To. If you do not have your daughter bled directly, 
she is a dead woman. (Exit. 

M. DES. If you have her bled, she will not be alive a 
quarter of an hour afterwards. (Exit. 



SCAN. Which of the two am I to believe ? And who can 
decide amidst such conflicting opinions? Gentlemen, I 
beseech you to guide me, and to tell me, dispassionately, 
the best means of relieving my daughter. 

M. MAC. (Drawling out his words). Sir, in these kind- 
of-ca-ses, one must pro-ceed ve-ry care-fully, and do no- 
thing in-con-si-der-ate-ly, as the say-ing is ; the more so, 
as the mis-takes one may make, ac-cord-ing to our mas-ter 
Hip-po-cra-tes, have the most fatal con-se-quen-ces. 

M. BA. {Jerking out his words hastily). That is true 
enough, one must take great care what one does ; for this 
is not child's play ; and, when a mistake has been made, 
it is not easy to rectify it, nor make good what one has 
spoilt: experimentum periculosum. It is, therefore, as well 
to argue beforehand, to weigh things duly, to consider the 
constitution of people, to examine the causes of the com- 
plaint, and to decide upon the remedies to be adopted. 

SCAN. (Aside). One moves like a tortoise, while the 
other gallops like a post-horse. 

M. MAC. Yes, sir, to come to the fact, I find that your 
daugh-ter has a chro-nic dis-ease, to which she will suc- 
cumb if re-lief be not giv-en to her, the more as the symp- 
toms give in-di-ca-tions of e-mit-ting fu-li-gi-nous and 
mor-di-cant ex-ha-la-tions which ir-ri-tate the ce-re-bral 
mem-branes. And these va-pours, which in Greek we call 
At-mos, are caus-ed by pu-trid, te-na-ci-ous, and con-glu-^ 
ti-nous hu-mours, which have ag-glo-mer-at-ed in the ab- 
do-men. 16 

M. BA. And as these humours were engendered there 
by a long succession of time, they have become hardened, 
and have assumed those malignant fumes that rise towards 
the region of the brain. 

M. MAC. Con-se-quent-ly, in or-der to with-draw, to 
de-tach, to loos-en, to ex-pel, to e-va-cu-ate these said hu- 

16 This is the theory of " the humours" then in vogue amongst 
physicians. According to them, every disease arose from a superabun- 
dance of humours, which were either in too great quantity or of too bad 
a quality ; the first was called plethora, and was supposed to be cured by 
copious bleedings ; against the second, cacochymia, a frequent use of 
purgatives was recommended. 


mours, a ve-ry strong pur-ga-tive is ne-ces-sa-ry. But first 
of all, I think it as well, and it will not cause any in-con- 
ve-ni-ence, to em-ploy some lit-tle a-no-dyne me-di-ci-nes, 
that is to say, small e-mol-li-ent and de-ter-sive in-jec- 
ti-ons, re-fresh-ing ju-leps and sy-rups, which may be 
mix-ed with her bar-ley wa-ter. 

M. BA. After that, we will come to the purgatives, and 
to the bleeding, which we shall repeat, if necessary. 

M. MAC. We do not say that your daugh-ter may not 
die for all this; but you will at least have the sat-is-fac- 
tion of hav-ing done some-thing, and the con-so-la-tion of 
know-ing that she died ac-cord-ing to rule. 

M. BA. It is better to die according to rule than to 
recover in violation of it. 

M. MAC. We have sin-ce-re-ly told you our o-pi-ni-ons. 

M. BA. And we have spoken to you as to our own 

SCAN. {To M. Macroton, drawling out his words}, lam 
hum-bly o-bli-ged to you. {To M. Bahis, sputtering). 
And I am very much obliged to you for the trouble you 
have taken. 


Here I am, a little more in the dark than I was before." 
Zounds. I have got an idea ! I will buy some Orvietan, 18 

17 The result of the consultation of the physicians is the same for 
Sganarelle as, in the Phormio (ii., 4) of Terence, the result of the consul- 
tation of the three lawyers Cratinus, Hegio, Crito. Demiphon, after 

hearing it, cries out, '' Incertior sum multo quam dudum I am 

much more uncertain than before.' 1 

18 Towards the year 1639, a quack began to sell, on the Pont-Neuf in 
Paris, specifics against all maladies, and especially an antidote, the 
Orvietan, so called because it was prepared by a certain doctor Lupi, at 
Orvieto, a town in Italy. His real name was Jacques Ovyn, and he 
had a brother, a clergyman, who, as well as himself, was called de f 
Orvietan; hence Jal, in his Dictionnaire critique, supposes that their 
father must already have sold this electuary. His probable successor 
was Christoforo Contugi, who called himself "Antidotaire du Roi," and 
who, according to Guy- Fating, bribed twelve Paris physicians, who had 
afterwards to ask their pardon from the Faculty of Paris, to give him a 
certificate. According to a note of M. Pauly, in the edition of Moliere, 
published by M. Lemerre, Paris, Vol. IV., Orvietan was an antidote, of 
which the secret was communicated, in 1560, by Cardinal Deodati to 
his apothecary, Martin Guerche. It was then called antitan, which 
means antidote of the time. It was named Orvietan by Hieronimo 


and I will make her take it. Orvietan is a kind of remedy 
that has done a great deal of good to many. Soho ! 


SCAN. Will you, Sir, kindly give me a box of your 
Orvietan, for which I shall pay you ? 

QUACK. (Stngs}. The gold of all climes which by the 

ocean are bound 

Can e'er it repay this important secret ? 
My remedy cures, by its excellence rare, 
More complaints than are counted up in 

a whole year : 

The itch, the mange, the scurf, the fever, the plague, 
The gout, the small-pox, ruptures, the measles, 
Great power possesses my Orvietan. 
SCAN. Sir, I am willing to believe that all the gold in 
the world could not pay for your remedy ! but here is a 
piece of thirty sous, which you will take, if you please. 
QUACK. (Sings}. Admire how good I am. For a few 

paltry pence, 

I dispense freely such marvellous treasure. 
With this you may brave, quite devoid of 

all fear, 
All the ills to which mortals are subject 

down here : 

The itch, the mange, the scurf, the fever, the plague, 
The gout, the small-pox, ruptures, the measles, 
Great power possesses my Orvietan. 


Several Trivelins 19 and Scaramouches, servants of the 
quack, come in dancing. 

Feranti, a native of Orvieto, whose successor, Giovanni Vitrario, trans- 
mitted the recipe for it to his son-in-law, Christoforo Contugi, who sold 
it at Paris, in virtue of a royal privilege, dated gth April 1647. In the 
thirteenth chapter of Kenilworth, Sir Walter Scott describes how Way- 
land successfully endeavoured to collect materials for making the 
Orvietan, or Venice treacle, as it was sometimes called, understood to be 
a sovereign remedy against poison. 

19 Domenico Lucatelli, was an Italian comedian, who died in 1671 
and acted at Paris the part of Trivelin, a kind of harlequin. 





M. FIL. Are you not ashamed, gentlemen, for men of 
your age to show so little discrimination, and to quarrel 
like young madcaps ? Do you not plainly see the harm 
which these kinds of disputes do us with the world ? and 
is it not sufficient that the learned perceive the dissensions 
and differences between our contemporaries and the old 
masters of our craft, without revealing to the public, by 
our quarrels and bickerings, the boasting of our art ? As 
for me, I do not at all understand the mischievous policy 
of some of our brethren ; and it must be admitted that all 
these controversies have somewhat strangely disparaged 
us, and that, if we are not careful, we shall ruin ourselves. 
I do not say so for my own interest, for, Heaven be 
praised, my little affairs are already settled. Whether it 
blows, rains, .or hails, those who are dead are dead, and I 
have sufficient to be independent of the living ; yet all 
these disputes do physic no good. Since Heaven has done 
us the favour, that, for so many centuries, people remain 
infatuated with us, let us not open their eyes by our ex- 
travagant cabals, and let us take advantage of their folly 
as quietly as possible. We are not the only ones, as you 
know full well, who try to make the best of human foibles. 
The whole study of the greatest part of mankind tends 
towards that ; and every one endeavours to speculate on 
man's weakness, in order to derive some benefit from 
them. Flatterers, for example, seek to profit by men's 
love for praise, by giving them all the vain incense they 
crave ; it is an art by which, as we may see, large fortunes 
are made. Alchemists seek to profit by the passion for 
wealth by promising mountains of gold to those who 
listen to them ; the drawers of horoscopes, by their de- 
ceitful prophecies, profit by the vanity and ambition of 
credulous minds. But the greatest failing in men is their 
love of life ; by our pompous speeches we benefit by it, 
and know how to take advantage of the veneration for 
our profession with which the fear of death inspires them. 
Let us, therefore, maintain ourselves in that esteem in 


which their foibles have placed us, and let us agree before 
our patients, so as to claim for ourselves the credit of the 
happy issue of the complaint, and to throw on Nature all 
the blunders of our art. Let us not, I say, foolishly 
destroy the happy accident of an error, which gives bread 
to so many people, and which allows us to raise every- 
where such beautiful estates with the money of those whom 
we have sent to the grave. 20 

M. To. You are right in all that you say; but some- 
times one cannot control one's temper. 

M. FIL. Come, gentlemen, lay aside all animosity, and 
make up your quarrel on the spot. 

M. DBS. I consent. Let him allow me to have my way 
with the emetic for the patient in question ; and I will let 
him have his with the first patient he shall be concerned 

M. FIL. Nothing could be better said, and that is rea- 

M. DES. Very well, that is settled. 

M. FIL. Shake hands then. Farewell. Another time, 
show more tact. 


Lis. What ! gentlemen, you are here, and you do not 
think of repairing the wrong done to the medical profes- 

M. To. What now ? What is the matter ? 

Lis. Some insolent fellow has had the impudence to 
encroach upon your trade, and, without your prescription, 
has killed a man by running a sword clean through his 

M. To. Look you here, you may laugh at us now ; but 
you shall fall into our hands one of these days. 

Lis. If ever I have recourse to you, I give you leave to 
kill me. 

M A great part of Dr. Filerin's speech sets forth some of Montaigne's 
ideas, contained in the Essays, Book II., chapter xxxvii. Moliere re- 
peats some of these same ideas, clothed in dog- Latin, and puts them 
into the opening speech of the president of the learned assembly of 
persons connected with the medical profession, in the third Interlude of 
the Hypochondriac (See Vol. III.) 


SCENE III. CLITANDRE, disguised as a physician, 


CLIT. Well, Lisette, what do you think of my disguise? 
Do you believe that I can trick the good man in these 
clothes ? Do I look all right thus. 

Lis. It could not be better ; and I have been waiting 
impatiently for you. Heaven has given me the most hu- 
mane disposition in the world, and I cannot bear to see 
two lovers sigh for one another, without entertaining a 
charitable tenderness towards them, and an ardent wish to 
relieve the ills which they are suffering. I mean, no mat- 
ter at what cost, to free Lucinde from the tyranny to which 
she is subjected, and to confide her to your care. I liked 
you at first sight : I am a good judge of people, and she 
could not have made a better choice. Love risks extra- 
ordinary things, and we have concocted a little scheme, 
which may perhaps be successful. All our measures are 
already taken : the man we have to deal with is not one 
of the sharpest ; and if this trick fail, we shall find a thou- 
sand other ways to encompass our end. Just wait here a 
little, I shall come back to fetch you. (Clitandre retires 
to the far end of the stage. 


Lis. Hurrah ! hurrah ! Sir. 

SCAN. What is the matter ? 

Lis. Rejoice. 

SCAN. At what ? 

Lis. Rejoice, I say. 

SCAN. Tell me what it is about, and then I shall rejoice, 

Lis. No. I wish you to rejoice first, I wish you to sing, 
to dance. 

SCAN. On what grounds? 

Lis. On my bare word. 

SCAN. Be it so. (He sings and dances}. La, lera, la, 
la, la, lera, la. What the deuce ! 

Lis. Your daughter is cured, Sir. 

SCAN. My daughter is cured ? 

Lis. Yes. I have brought you a doctor, but a doctor 


of importance, who works wonderful cures, and who 
laughs at the other physicians. 

SCAN. Where is he ? 

Lis. I shall bring him in. 

SCAN. {Alone). It remains to be seen if he will do 
more than the others. 

SCENE V. CLITANDRE disguised as a physician, SGANA- 


Lis. (Leading Clitandre). Here he is. 

SCAN. That doctor has not much beard, as yet. 

Lis. Knowledge is not measured by the beard, and his 
skill does not lie in his chin. 

SCAN. Sir, they tell me that you have some capital re- 
cipes for relieving the bowels. 

CLIT. My remedies, sir, are different from those of 
other physicians. They use emetics, bleeding, drugs, 
and injections ; but I cure by vords, sounds, letters, tal- 
ismans, and rings. 

Lis. Did I not tell you so ? 

SCAN. A great man this ! 

Lis. Sir, as your daughter is yonder, ready dressed, in 
her chair, I shall bring her here. 

SCAN. Yes, do. 

CLIT. (Feeling Sganarelle 1 s pulse). Your daughter is 
very ill, Sir. 

SCAN. You can tell that here ? 

CLIT. Yes, by the sympathy which exists between 
father and daughter. 


Lis. (To Clitandr/s). Sir, here is a chair near her. (To 
Sganarelle}. Come, let us leave them to themselves. 

SCAN. Why so ? I wish to remain here. 

Lis. Are you jesting ? We must leave them. A doctor 
has a hundred things to ask, which it is not decent for a 
man to hear. (Sganarelle and Lisette retire. 

CLIT. (Softly to Lucinde). Ah ! lady, how great is my 
delight ! and how little do I know how to begin my dis- 
course ! As long as I spoke to you only with my eyes, it 
seemed to me that I had a hundred things to say ; and 


now that I have the opportunity of speaking to you, as 
I wished, I remain silent, and my great joy prevents my 

Luc. I may say the same ; and I feel, like you, thrills 
of joy which prevent me from speaking. 

CLIT. Ah ! madam, how happy should I be, if it were 
true that you feel all I do, and that I were allowed to 
judge of your heart by mine. But, may I at least believe, 
dear lady, that I owe to you the idea of this happy scheme 
which enables me to enjoy your presence. 

Luc. If you do not altogether owe the thought to me, 
you are, at any rate, my debtor for having gladly approved 
of the proposal. 

SCAN. (To Lisette). It seems to me that he talks very 
close to her. 

Lis. He is studying her physiognomy, and all the features 
of her face. 

CLIT. {To Lucinde). Will you be constant, dear lady, 
in these favours which you are bestowing upon me ? 

Luc. But you, will you be firm in the resolutions which 
you have taken ? 

CLIT. Ah ! madam, till death. I desire nothing so 
much as to be yours ; and I shall prove it to you. 

SCAN. (To Clitandre). Well! how does our patient? 
She seems a little more cheerful. 

CLIT. That is because I have already tried upon her one 
of the remedies which my art teaches me. As the mind 
has a great influence on the body, and as it is from the 
first that diseases most generally arise, my custom is to 
cure the mind before dealing with the body. I have 
therefore studied this young lady's looks, her features, and 
the lines of both her hands ; and by the knowledge which 
Heaven has bestowed upon me, I have discovered she is 
ill in mind, and that the whole of her complaint arises 
only from a disordered imagination, from an inordinate 
desire of being married. As for myself, I think nothing 
more extravagant and ridiculous than this hankering after 

SGAN. (Aside) . A clever fellow this ! 

CLIT. And I have and always shall have, a frightful 
dislike to it. 


SCAN. (Aside). A great doctor this ! 

CLIT. But as we must humour the imagination of 
patients, and as I have perceived in her a wandering of 
the mind, and even that there was great danger in not 
giving her prompt relief, I have taken her at her foible, 
and told her that I came here to solicit her hand from 
you. Suddenly her countenance changed, her complexion 
cleared, her eyes became animated ; and if you will leave 
her for a few days in this error, you will see that we shall 
cure her. 

SCAN. Indeed, I do not mind. 

CLIT. After that, we shall apply other means to cure her 
of this fancy. 

SCAN. Yes, that will do very well. Listen ! my girl, 
this gentleman wishes to marry you, and I have told him 
that I give my consent. 

Luc. Alas ! can it be possible ? 

SCAN. Of course. 

Luc. But really, in earnest ? 

SCAN. Certainly. 

Luc. ( To Clitandre). What ! You wish to be my 
husband ? 

CLIT. Yes, madam. 

Luc. And my father consents to it ? 

SCAN. Yes, my child. 

Luc. Ah how happy I am ! if that is true. 

CLIT. Doubt it not, madam. My love for you, and my 
ardent wish to be your husband, do not date from to-day, 
I came only for this ; and, if you wish me to tell you the 
plain truth, this dress is nothing but a mere disguise ; I 
acted the physician only to get near to you, and the more 
easily to obtain what I desire. 

Luc. These are signs of a very tender love, and I am 
fully sensible of them. 

SCAN. (Aside). Oh, poor silly girl ! silly girl ! silly 


Luc. You do consent then, father, to give me this gen- 
tleman for a husband ? 

SCAN. Yes, certainly. Come, give me your hand. Give 
me yours also, Sir, for a moment. 

CLIT. But, Sir ... 


SCAN. {With suppressed laughter). No, no, it is . 
to satisfy her mind. Take it. That is over. 

CLIT. Accept, as a pledge of my faith, this ring which 
I give you (Softly to Sganarelle). It is a constellated ring, 
which cures aberrations of the mind. 22 

Luc. Let us draw up the contract, so that nothing may 
be wanting. 

CLIT. I have no objections, Madam. (Softly to Sgana- 
relle). I will bring the fellow who writes my prescriptions, 
and will make her believe that he is a notary. 

SCAN. Just so. 

CLIT. Hulloo ! send up the notary I have brought with 

Luc. What ! you brought a notary with you ? 

CLIT. Yes, Madam. 

Luc. I am glad of that. 

SCAN. Oh the poor silly girl ! the silly girl ! 



{Clitandre speaks softly to the Notary. .) 

SCAN. {To the Notary). Yes, Sir, you are to draw up 
a contract for these two people. Write. {To Lucinde). 
We are making the contract. {To the Notary). I give 
her twenty thousand crowns as a portion. Write that 

Luc. I am very much obliged to you, dear father. 

NOT. That is done. You have only to sign it. 

SCAN. That is a quickly drawn contract. 

CLIT. {To Sganarelle). But at least, Sir . . . 

M These rings, sometimes called also " planetary rings '' had certain 
stars or planets engraved upon them, and were supposed to soothe the mind ; 
a reminiscence of the feeling that stars influenced human destiny. The 
metals from which these rings were made appear also to be thought to 
have some mysterious power, for the seven metals gold, silver, mercury, 
copper, iron, tin, and lead, were under the influence of the Sun, the 
Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn. If the rings were com- 
posed of several metals, then, of course, different influences were at 
work ; if made of all the metals the electron of Paracelsus they pos- 
sessed the highest power. I imagine that the metals used in the 
manufacture of such rings must also have had some connection with the 
horoscope of the person for whom it was made. 


SCAN. No, no, I tell you. Do we not all know . . . 
(71? the Notary). Come, hand him the pen to sign. (70 
Lucinde}. Come you, sign now, sign, sign. Well, I shall 
sign presently. 

Luc. No, no, I will have the contract in my own hands. 

SCAN. Well ! there then. (After having signed}. Are 
you satisfied ? 

Luc. Better than you can imagine. 

SCAN. That is all right, then, that is all right. 

CLIT. I have not only had the precaution to bring a 
notary; I have also brought singers, musicians, and 
dancers to celebrate the feast, and for our enjoyment. 
Let them come in. They are people I always have with 
me, and whom I daily make use of to calm, by their har- 
mony and dancing, the troubles of the mind. 


Together. Without our aid, all humankind 
Would soon become unhealthy. 
We are indeed the best of all physicians. 
COMEDY. Would you dispel by easy means 

Splenetic fumes that man is heir to. 
Avoid Hippocrates, and come to us. 
TOGETHER. Without our aid, all humankind 
Would soon become unhealthy. 
We are indeed the best of all physicians. 
( While the Sports, Laughter, and Pleasures are dancing . 
together, Clitandre leads Lucinde away). 


SCAN. A pleasant way of curing people this ! But where 
are my daughter and the doctor? 

Lis. They are gone to finish the remaining part of the 

SCAN. What do you mean by the marriage? 

11 Here the words "third entry" ought to come, or perhaps above the 
words "while the sports," etc., but nothing is given in the original copies 
I have compared. 


Lis. The fact is, Sir, you have been cleverly done; 54 
and the joke you thought to play remains a truth. 

SCAN. The devil it does! (He wishes to rush after 
Clitandre and Ludnde, the dancers restrain him). Let me 
go, let me go, I tell you. ( The dancers still keep hold of 
him.~} Again ! (They wish to make him dance by force). 
Plague take you all ! 

24 The original has la becasse est bridee, the woodcock is caught, an 
allusion to the snare in which those birds catch themselves. 





JUNE 4TH, 1666. 


The Misanthrope, Mcliere's masterpiece, according to Voltaire, was first 
acted on the 4th of June, 1666, at the theatre of the Palais Royal, and, 
in spite of what has generally been believed, was no complete failure ; for 
it was represented twenty-one consecutive times. 1 It is, however, not to 
be expected that a comedy like The Misanthrope should please the gen- 
eral public as much as a farce. But those who admired noble thoughts, 
select language, accurate delineations of character, and a perfect and en- 
tertaining style, placed this comedy from the very beginning where it is 
now generally put, with the common consent of all students of sound lit- 
erature, in the foremost rank of the good comedies of Moliere. 

The subject of a misanthrope has been treated at all times and in all lite- 
ratures. Antiquity possessed a proverbial misanthrope, which Plutarch 
mentions in his Lives of Illustrious Men (Timon) in the following words : 

" Anthony in the meantime forsook the city and the society of his 
friends, and retired to a small house which he had built himself near 
Pharos, on a mound he had cast up in the sea. In this place, sequestered 
from all commerce with mankind, he affected to live like Timon, because 
there was a resemblance in their fortunes. He had been deserted by his 
friends, and their ingratitude had put him out of humour with his own 

" This Timon was a citizen of Athens, and lived about the time of the 
Peloponnesian war, as appears from the comedies of Aristophanes and 
Plato in which he is exposed as the hater of mankind. Yet, although he 
hated mankind in general, he caressed the bold and impudent boy Alci- 
biades, and being asked the reason of this by Apemantus, who expressed 
some surprise at it, he answered, it was because he foresaw that he would 
plague the people of Athens. Apemantus was the only one he admitted 
to his society, and he was his friend in point of principle. At the feast 

1 M. E. Despois, in his very accurate book, Le Theatre francaise sous Louis 
XIV., states that The Misanthrope was neither a great success, nor a complete 
failure. At its first representation, 1447 livres, 10 sous were received, which was a 
considerable " take" for that time ; but from the third representation, the receipts 
went down to between 600 and 700 livres, and the tenth brought only 212 livres. 
It is therefore, more than probable that, if this comedy had not been Moliere's, 
and played in his own theatre, it would have been withdrawn. The twenty- 
first representation took place on a Sunday, when there was generally a good deal 
of money taken at the door and brought only 268 livres. 



of sacrifices for the dead, these two dined by themselves, and when Ape- 
mantus observed that the feast was excellent, Timon answered, " It would 
be so if you were not here.'' Once, in an assembly of the people, he 
mounted the rostrum, and the novelty of the thing occasioned a universal 
silence and expectation ; at length he said, " People of Athens, there is a 
fig-tree in my yard, on which many worthy citizens have hanged them- 
selves, and as I have determined to build upon the spot, I thought it ne- 
cessary to give this public notice, that such as choose to have recourse to 
this tree for the aforesaid purpose may repair to it before it is cut down." 

" He was buried at Halae near the sea, and the water surrounded his 
tomb in such a manner that he was even then inaccessible to mankind. 

" The following epitaph is inscribed on his monument : 

' At last I've bid the knaves farewell ; 
Ask not my name but go to hell.' 

" It is said that he wrote this epitaph himself. That which is commonly 
repeated is by Callimachus. 

' My name is Timon, knaves begone 1 
Curse me, but come not near my stone !' 

*' These are some of the many anecdotes we have concerning Timon." 
In Lucian's " Dialogues of the Dead," Dialogue XXIV., Timon is 
represented as finding fault with Jupiter about his half-heartedness, twit- 
ting him with his want of energy, that when they despoiled his temples 
and robbed him on Olympus, he dared not set the dogs after therm, nor 
call the neighbours to his assistance, and compares his own case with that 
of Jove. Jupiter does not altogether like this, and wishes to know from 
Mercury who that dirty fellow is, standing at the foot of Hymettus, abus- 
ing him coming to the conclusion that it must be some philosopher rail- 
ing against him. Upon being informed by his son who he really is, the 
Thunderer expresses his surprise and sorrow at the change that has taken 
place in the condition of the once so wealthy man, and inquires the 
causes of this decline. " To speak simply,' 1 answered Mercury, " bene- 
volence has ruined him, also philanthropy and compassion towards all 
in need ; but to speak truly, folly and simplicity in choosing his friends, 
who were only so many vultures gnawing his liver, treating him with dis- 
dain afterwards, when he was no longer useful, and even pretending not 
to know his name." Jove now begins to remember Timon in his better 
days, and chides himself for his neglect in having forgotten him ; alleging, 
however, as the cause, the noise which the perjured and the wicked make 
around him, not leaving him a moment's leisure to look into Attica. He 
commands Mercury to take Plutus with him, to seek Timon. and remain 
with him, even should he endeavour to drive them from his house by re- 
peating his former acts of benevolence. He also promises revenge upon 
those who have been ungrateful to Timon when his thunderbolts shall be 
repaired, which are out of order just then, he having hurled them at the 
sophist Anaxagoras, who was persuading his disciples that the gods did 
not exist at all. Plutus refuses to go to Timon because he insulted him, 
and divided him amongst flatterers and parasites ; and begs Jove to send 
him to those who will appreciate him, and not squander him in benevo- 
lence. Jupiter informs Plutus that Timon shall not do so again, having 
gained experience by his misfortunes ; at the same time telling him that 
he has often complained of different treatment by being completely im- 
prisoned under bars and keys. Plutus gives him to understand that he 


prefers the middle way, and does not like the greed of some, any more 
than the lavishness of others. He prepares to go in company with Mer- 
cury to find Timon. They meet with him close at hand, digging the soil. 
Plutus thinks that, surrounded as he is by Labour, Wisdom, Strength, 
and Fortitude, they cannot do much for him, and wishes them to leave 
him. Poverty, who is closely attending Timon, resents the intrusion of 
Plutus and Mercury, telling them that he had formed the man perfectly 
to his work, which they would only undo again, and Timon also reviles 
them for having come to disturb him, threatening to strike them. The 
two gods reveal themselves to him, offering him wealth. Timon tells Plu- 
tus to go and hang himself, and offers to smash him to pieces. Plutus in- 
tends to depart, Mercury persuades Timon to reconsider his decision, but 
Timon persists, telling them he has no need of their services, that his 
spade is wealth enough, and that he will be perfectly happy if but left 
alone, asking them to convey his thanks to Jupiter for his kind attentions, 
but persistently refusing to have ought to do with Plutus, ascribing all his 
misfortunes to the blind god, who offers to defend himself from the accu- 
sations, Timon permitting him to do so in a few words only. Timon re- 
luctantly consents to become rich again in obedience to Jupiter, upon 
which all his parasites anew assemble round him. 

The above sketches fairly represent the idea which antiquity formed of 
a misanthrope. 

Moliere's play of The Misanthrope, his only comedy which represents 
courtiers and courtly people, opens with great spirit, and shows us the 
hero Alceste attacking his friend Philinte for being too lenient and toler- 
ant to the foibles of mankind, whilst the defence of the latter is plausible, 
perhaps too much so. Then we have Oronte, the high-born but wretched 
poet, who, offended by Alceste's blunt, honest opinion, goes away fuming 
and fretting. The coquettish, evil-speaking Celimene, beloved by Al- 
ceste, spurns an honest man's affection, through vanity and thoughtless- 
ness, enlivens the comedy, and is finally rewarded and cruelly mortified 
by being discarded. Such men as Acaste and Clitandre, represent the 
butterflies of society, fluttering from one drawing-room to another, but 
instead of distilling, as from flowers, sweet odours, only carrying venom- 
ous poison with glib and smooth small talk. The charming Miss Elian te, 
whose beauty is enhanced by modest behaviour, finally receives the hand 
of Philinte. 

I think no better delineation has been given of this play than the fol- 
lowing one by M. Taine, in his " History of English Literature :" " A 
doeen conversations make up the play of The Misanthrope. The same 
situation, five or six times renewed, is the whole of /' cole des Femmes. 
These pieces are made out of nothing. They have no need of incidents, 
they find ample space in the compass of one room and one day, without 
surprises, without decoration, with an arras and four arm-chairs. This 
paucity of matter throws out the ideas more clearly and quickly ; in fact, 
their whole aim is to bring those ideas prominently forward ; the simpli- 
city of the subject, the progress of the action, the linking together of the 
scenes, to this everything tends. At every step clearness increases, the 
impression is deepened, vice stands out : ridicule is piled up, until, before 
so many apt and united appeals, laughter forces its way and breaks forth. 
And this laughter is not a mere outburst of physical amusement ; it is the 
judgment which incites it. The writer is a philosopher, who brings us 
into contact with a universal truth by a particular example. We under- 
stand through him, as through La Brayere or Nicole, the force of pre- 


judice, the obstinacy of conventionality, the blindness of love. The cou- 
plets of his dialogue, like the arguments of their treatises, are but the 
worked-out proof and the logical justification of a preconceived conclu- 
sion. We philosophize with him on humanity ; we think because he has 
thought. And he has Only thought thus in the character of a French- 
man, for an audience of French men of the world. In him we taste a 
national pleasure. French refined and systematic intelligence, the most 
exact in seizing on the subordination of ideas, the most ready in separa- 
ting ideas from matter, the most fond of clear and tangible ideas, finds in 
him its nourishment and its echo. None who have sought to show us man- 
kind, has led us by a straighter and easier mode to a more distinct and 
speaking portrait. I will add, to a more pleasing portrait, and this is 
the main talent of comedy : it consists in keeping back what is hateful ; 
and observe that that which is hateful abounds in the world. As soon as 
you will paint the world truly, philosophically, you meet with vice, in- 
justice, and everywhere indignation ; amusement flees before anger and 
morality. ... In The Misanthrope, is not the spectacle of a loyally sincere 
and honest man, very much in love, whom his virtue finally overwhelms 
with ridicule and drives from society, a sad sight to see? . . . How every- 
thing changes under the hand of the mercurial Frenchman ! how all this 
human ugliness is blotted out ! how amusing is the spectacle which Mo- 
liere has arranged for us ! how we ought to thank the great artist for 
having transformed his subjects so well ! At last we have a cheerful 
world, on canvas at least ; we could not have it otherwise, but this we 
have. How pleasant it is to forget truth ! what an art is that which di- 
vests us of ourselves ! what a point of view which converts the contor- 
tions of suffering into funny grimaces ! Gaiety has come upon us, the 
dearest possession of a Frenchman. The soldiers of Villars used to dance 
that they might forget they had no longer any bread. Of all French 
possessions, too, it is the best. This gift does not destroy thought, but it 
masks it. In Moliire, truth is at the bottom, but concealed ; he has 
heard the sobs of human tragedy, but he prefers not to re-echo them. It 
is quite enough to feel our wounds smart ; let us not go to the theatre to 
see them again. Philosophy, while it reveals them, advises us not to 
think of them too much. Let us enliven our condition with the gaiety of 
easy conversation and light wit, as we would the chamber of sickness. . . 
Let Alceste be grumpy and awkward. It is in the first place true, be- 
cause our more valiant virtues are only the outbreaks of a temper out of 
harmony with circumstances ; but, in addition, it will be amusing. His 
mishaps will cease to make him the martyr of justice ; they will only be 

the consequences of a cross-grained character Moliere is the only 

man who gives us models without getting pedantic, without trenching on 
the tragic, without growing solemn. 

"This model is the 'respectable man,' as the phrase was, Philinte, 
Ariste, Clitandre, Eraste ; there is no other who can at the same time in- 
struct and amuse us. His talent has reflection for its basis, but it is culti- 
vated by the world. His character has honesty for its basis, but it is in 
harmony with the world. You may imitate him without transgressing 
either reason or duty ; he is neither a coxcomb nor a roisterer. You can 
imitate him without neglecting your interests or making yourself ridicu- 
lous ; he is neither an ignoramus nor unmannerly. He has read and un- 
derstands the jargon of Trissotin and Lycidas, but in order to pierce 
them through and through, to beat them with their own arguments, to set 
the gallery in a roar at their expense. He will discuss even morality and 


religion, but in a style so natural, with proofs so clear, with warmth so genu- 
ine, that he interests women, and is listened to by men of the world. He 
knows man, and reasons about him, but in such brief sentences, such living 
delineations, such pungent humour, that his philosophy is the best of enter- 
tainments. He is faithful to his ruined mistress, his calumniated friend, but 
gracefully, without fuss. Allhisactions.evennobleones.havean easy way 
about them which adorns them ; he doesnothing without pleasantness. His 
great talent is knowledge of the world ; he shows it not only in the trivial 
circumstances of every-day life, but in the most passionate scenes, the 
most embarrassing positions. A noble swordsman wants to take Philinte, 
the 'respectable man,' as his second in a duel ; he reflects a moment, ex- 
cuses himself in a score of phrases, and, ' without playing the Hector,' 
leaves the bystanders convinced that he is no coward. Armande insults 
him, then throws herself in his arms ; he politely averts the storm, de- 
clines the reconciliation with the most loyal frankness, and without employ- 
ing a single falsehood, leaves the spectators convinced that he is no boor. 
When he loves Eliante, who prefers Alceste, and whom Alceste may pos- 
sibly marry, he proposes to her with a complete delicacy and dignity, 
without lowering himself, without recrimination, without wronging himself 
or his friend. When Oronte reads him a sortnet, he does not assume in 
the fop a nature which he has not, but praises the conventional verses in 
conventional language, and is not so clumsy as to display a poetical judg- 
ment which would be out of place. He takes at once his tone from the 
circumstances; he perceives instantly what he must say and what be silent 
about, in what degree and what gradations, what exact expedient will 
reconcile truth and conventional propriety, how far he ought to go or 
where to take his stand, what faint line separates decorum from flattery, 
truth from awkwardness. On this narrow path he proceeds free from em- 
barrassment or mistakes, never put out of his way by the shocks or 
changes of circumstances, never allowing the calm smile of politeness to 
quit his lips, never omitting to receive with a laugh of good humour the 
nonsense of his neighbour. This cleverness, entirely French, reconciles 
in him fundamental honesty and worldly breeding ; without it, he would 
be altogether on the one side or the other. In this way comedy finds its 
hero half way between the roue and the preacher. 1 ' 

Thus far M. Taine. His definition of the respectable man fhonnete 
homme, does not, in my opinion, apply to Philinte, but is quite necessary 
in the present age, when honnete homme means no longer a well-born man 
and gentleman, as well as an honest man ; hence Alceste says rightly to 
Oronte, in the second scene of the first act of The Misanthrope, " do not 
.... forfeit the reputation you enjoy at court of being a man of sense 
and a gentleman (honnete homme}, to take from the hands of a greedy 
printer that of a ridiculous and wretched author.'' In the beginning of 
the seventeenth century, a certain Mons. Nicholas Faret, first secretary of 
the count of Harcourt, and who has gone down to posterity as an invet- 
erate drinker, because his friend Saint-Amant made his name rhyme with 
cabaret, a public house, wrote a book, which was then in everybody's 
hand, called L'Honeste homme ou I' Art de plaire d la Cour. This book, 
a sort of " Handbook of Politeness," was first published in 1630, but 
several editions had been printed since that time, and it was still the 
fashionable guide-book of manners in 1666. It is probable that Moliere 
got inspired by a description given by Faret of V honnete homme, when in 
love, which had been copied from Lucretius, and that our author then 
referred to the original Latin author, whose fourth canto of De Natura 



Rerum he utilizes for Eliante's description of the power of self-deception 
in love, in the fifth scene of the second act. Moliere has also borrowed 
some lines from Lucretius, for the speech of the Master of Philosophy in 
the sixth scene of the second act of The Citizen who Apes the Gentleman 
(see Vol. III.). But thence to conclude that Moliere had translated Lu- 
cretius, which translation has been lost to posterity, is going rather too far. 
The only biographer of Moliere who mentions this is Grimarest (1659- 
1713), who is far from trustworthy, and who may have supposed that a 
whole translation of Lucretius existed, when only a few lines had been 

It has been said that Moliere, at the time he wrote The Misanthrope, 
endured the pangs of jealousy, and that he was shamefully betrayed by 
his wife, but could not resist loving her. It seems more than likely that, 
in Alceste's admiration for the spoiled beauty, Moliere gave vent to his 
own feelings of mixed jealousy and admiration of his wife, and that our 
author's attempt to depict the hero of this play trying to free himself from 
the toils of feminine and personal charms, is only heightened in intensity 
and force by an impulse from within. Still, although we admit that these 
anecdotes about a great man may sometimes give the complexion of the 
times as, for example, the story told about Shakespeare and Burbage 
they are not seldom the mere groundless gossip of his professional friends 
and foes, the rakings of the tap-rooms frequented by the hangers-on of the 
great man, and even, now and then the venomous utterings of the hero's 
enemies. This appears to have been the case with the accusations brought 
against Moliere's wife, which are chiefly based on a libellous pamphlet, 
published nominally at Frankfort, but in reality in Holland, fifteen years 
after our author's death, and called : La Fameuse comedienne, ou Histoire 
de la Guerin, auparavant femme et veuve de Moliere, and which, in my 
opinion, deserve not the smallest amount of credit. (See Vol. I., Intro- 
ductory Notice to The Impromptu of Versailles.') There can be no doubt 
that Moliere was jealous. This cannot be wondered at, when we find 
that he was about twenty years older than his wife, who appears to have 
been rather a coquette, with a great amount of levity, very fond of admira- 
tion, and nearly always moving about amidst a retinue of young and ele- 
gant courtiers, crowding round the favourite actress of the day to pay her 
homage. It is more than probable that Moliere wrote the greater part of 
The Misanthrope during a season of illness and convalescence, and there- 
fore the bitterness of his feelings must have increased a hundredfold when 
he found himself alone in his sick-room, and his youthful spouse gadding 
about with the gaudy and sprightly noblemen. But this is really all that 
can be said, with any certainty, against Moliere's wife. 

It has also been stated that Moliere attacked and satirized several 
noblemen in The Misanthrope, and took literary vengeance upon some of 
the supposed admirers of his wife, such as the Count de Guiche, the Abbe 
de Richelieu, and the Duke de Lauzun, whom he is said to have drawn 
in this play ; as well as the Count de Saint Gilles in Timante ; Madame de 
Longueville, or some other great lady according to some even Ma- 
dame Moliere in Celimene ; the Duke de Saint- Aignan, in Oronte ; Mo- 
liere's friend Chapelle, in Philinte; Mademoiselle Debrie in feliante. 
Besides this, characters were found in real life for the prudish and slander- 
ing Arsinoe\ the ridiculous Cleonte, the reasoning Damon, the tiresome 
story-teller Geralde, the poor silly woman Belise, the conceited Adraste, 
the foolish Cleon, the would-be witty Damis, and even " the great hulk- 
ing booby of a viscount." This, like many other statements about our 


author's presumed personal attacks, may be probable, but has really never 
been proved. There is no doubt that personalities were then in fashion, 
and that Moliere often used, and even sometimes abused, his powerful 
pen to describe, and tosatarize, his rivals and his enemies. But as Urania 
says in The School for Wives criticised (See Vol. I., Scene 7), " Let us 
not apply to ourselves the points of general censure ; let us profit by the 
lesson, if possible, without assuming that we are spoken against. All the 
ridiculous delineations which are drawn on the stage, should be looked on 
by every one without annoyance. They are public mirrors, in which we 
must never pretend to see ourselves. To bruit it about that we are of- 
fended at being hit, is to state openly that we are at fault." 

Tradition also states that Moliere intended Alceste as a portrait of the 
virtuous Charles de Ste.-Maure, Duke de Montausier, and that some of 
our author's enemies induced this nobleman to go and see The Mis- 
anthrope, but that, instead of being offended at Moliere's sketch, he took 
it as a compliment, and said that he should be delighted to resemble such 
an honest man as Alceste. 

An attempt has been made to draw a parallel between Moliere's Mis- 
anthrope and Shakespeare's Timon of Athens. Though the nature of 
their subject may appear at the first glance, similar, nothing could be 
more opposite than these two personages. Timon becomes a misanthrope 
through sentiment and experience, for he has been shamefully abandoned 
by his pseudo-friends when in poverty, and hence his savage onslaughts 
on society : but Alceste was born splenetic. The one is continually 
showering gifts and favours around him, even on the most worthless ob- 
jects, whilst the other would only have assisted a man if he were thoroughly 
honest and respectable. The character of Apemantus is, if anything, 
much more like Alceste's than that of the Athenian lord himself. Shakes- 
peare's work points a moral at ingratitude and indiscriminate benevolence 
and its rewards : Moliere's is a satire against spleen. Alceste is a well- 
born, honourable, and wealthy man, who rails against society, with which 
he is angry, through an innate and exaggerated sentiment of honour ; and 
although he is nearly always right in principle and theory, he is nearly 
always wrong in practice and form. He is unbendingly strict in the most 
trifling, as well as in the gravest, matters. He is sincere and earnest, but 
blunt and passionate : and it is through this very passion that he is be- 
trayed into an exaggeration, and a quarrelsomeness which render him 
ridiculous and amusing. His is a sort of finnikin fastidiousness which is 
entirely absent in Timon. In iact, Shakespeare works with a Nasmyth's 
steam hammer to demolish the vices, while Moliere, with due regard for 
the spirit of his age, and especially that of the King, uses an ordinary mal- 
let, with which he does nearly as much execution as the Englishman, 
without exerting himself so powerfully. 

It is doubtful if Moliere would have been allowed the same latitude by 
Louis XIV., as Shakespeare was by Elizabeth, who never took the slight- 
est notice of his attacks upon her father, Henry VIII. It may be safely 
asserted that the Grand Monarque was not averse to hear serious reason- 
ing railed at and ridiculed, but that he would soon have interfered had the 
prominent vices of the court been attacked too strongly. Philinte, the 
worldling, is but a strong reproduction of Ariste in The School for Hus- 
bands, and of Chrysalde in The School for Wives. That he has his re- 
ward at the end of the play if it be a reward by being made happy with 
the hand of Eliante, while the Misanthrope is left out in the cold, may be 
taken as a concession of Moliere's to the prevailing feeling at the court, 


which was more likely to sympathize with Philinte, their representative, 
than to grieve over the sorrow of Alceste, their antagonist. It must, how- 
ever, be admitted that the only show of criticism which Moliere displayed 
against the person of the King, is to be found in this play, because our 
author, in attacking the men who filled public offices, reflects on the Mon- 
arch who appointed them. 

Metaphysically considered, Alceste is not unlike Hamlet. Neither of 
them is fit to live in this world. Both feel they are powerless in changing 
the decrees of fate : but the causes which have produced that inability 
differ. In Alceste, it is a brusque candour, swooping unexpectedly down 
upon meretricious society ; but Hamlet has " that within which passeth 
show," " the time is out of joint," and the will is puzzled by thinking of 
" the undiscover'd country, from whose borne no traveller returns." 

The Misanthrope has been attacked and defended by so many eminent 
men, that we cannot do better than to give a short resume of some of their 
opinions, and let the reader himself draw his own conclusions. Let us be- 
gin with those who attack him. First we have the celebrated morose 
philosopher, Jean Jacques Rousseau. If it be true that " a fellow feeling 
makes us wondrous kind," Rousseau must have felt some sympathy for 
the tetchy, irritable, well-meaning Alceste. In a letter to d'Alembert, he 
advances the following objections to Moliere.s play : " Alceste is a sin- 
cere, estimable, honest man, and the author makes him simply ridiculous. 
This alone would be without excuse. Moreover, Alceste is not a man- 
hater or Misanthrope, as the title of the piece implies, for in that case none 
of the audience would like to meet such a man, as the hero of the play, 
for whom they feel, at the bottom of their heart, a certain respect. The 
virtuous man is made ridiculous and is opposed to Philinte one of those 
honest and fashionable men whose maxims are very much like those of a 
scoundrel ; one of those gentle and even-tempered optimists who are sat- 
isfied with everybody and everything; who never imagine anybody can 
be hungry, so long as they can sit down at a well furnished table ; who 
cannot understand people to be poor, because they have money in their 
pockets, and who, from their well-protected house, would see the whole 
of mankind robbed, pillaged, slaughtered, and even murdered, without 
being moved in the least. Moliere was wrong in having sketched the 
Misanthrope as a man who gets angry about trifles ; Alceste knows man- 
kind, and ought therefore not to be astonished or enraged at anything they 
can do, neither at the treachery of a perfidious coquette, nor at the neglect 
of false friends ; hence Moliere has not well understood the character of the 
Misanthrope, and has made him ridiculous in order to please the pub- 

Fenelon, in his Lettre sur I' Eloquence, also attacks Moliere, because he 
says he "has a ... fault, which many clever people forgive in him, but 
which I do not, namely, that he has made vice graceful, and virtue se- 
verely ridiculous and odious. I can understand that his champions will 
bring forward that he has treated real honesty in an honourable manner, 
that he has only attacked splenetic virtue and detestable hypocrisy : but, 
without entering into any long discussions, I maintain that Plato, and the 
other legislators of Pagan antiquity, would never have admitted in their 
republics such a play about morals." 

Augustus William Schlegel, in his Course of Lectures (XXI.) on Dra- 
matic Art and Literature, says " In The Misanthrope .... the action 
which is also poorly invented, is found to drag heavily ; for, with the ex- 
ception of a few scenes of a more sprightly description, it consists alto- 


gather of discourses formally introduced and supported, while the stag- 
nation is only partially concealed by the art employed on the details of 
versification and expression. In a word, these pieces are too didactic, too 
expressly instructive ; whereas, in comedy, the spectator should only be 
instructed incidentally, and, as it were, without its appearing to have been 
intended As is well known The Misanthrope was at first very cold- 
ly received, because it was even less amusing than The School for Wives 
and The Blue-Stockings, the action is less rapid, or rather there is none at 
all ; and there is a great want of coherence between the meagre incidents 
which give only an apparent life to the dramatic movement, the quarrel 
with Oronte respecting the sonnet, and its adjustment ; the decision of the 
law-suit, which is ever being brought forward ; the unmasking of Celi- 
mene, through the vanity of the two Marquises, and the jealousy of Ar- 
sinoe. Besides all this, the general plot is not even probable. It is 
framed with a view to exhibit the thorough delineation of a character ; 
but a character discloses itself much more in its relations with others than 
immediately. How comes Alceste to have chosen Philinte for a friend 
a man whose principles were directly the reverse of his own ? How comes 
he also to be enamoured of a coquette, who has nothing amiable in her 
character, and who entertains us merely by her scandal ? We might well 
say of this Celimene, without exaggeration, that there is not one good 
point in her whole composition. In a character like that of Alceste, love 
is not a fleeting sensual impulse, but a serious feeling arising from a want 
of a sincere mental union. His dislike of flattery, falsehood, and mali- 
cious scandal, which always characterize the conversation of Celimene, 
breaks forth so incessantly, that we feel the first moment he heard her 
open her lips, ought to have driven him for ever from her society. Finally 
the subject is ambiguous, and that is its greatest fault. The limits within 
which Alceste is in the right, and beyond which he is in the wrong, it would 
be no easy matter to fix, and I am afraid the poet himself did not here see 
very clearly what he would be at. Philinte, however, with his illusory 
justification of the way of the world and his phlegmatic resignation, he 
paints throughout as the intelligent and amiable man. As against the 
elegant Celimene, Alceste is most decidedly in the right, and only in the 
wrong in the inconceivable weakness of his conduct towards her. He is 
in the right in his complaints of the corruption of the social constitution ; 
the facts, at least, which he adduces, are disputed by nobody. He is in 
the wrong, however, in delivering his sentiments with so much violence, 
and at an unseasonable time ; but as he cannot prevail upon himself to 
assume the dissimulation which is necessary to be well received in the 
world, he is perfectly in the right in preferring solitude to society.' 1 

The defenders of Moliere's views are numerous. We shall take the 
oldest of his champions first, viz. : Donneau de Vis, a former enemy, 
who had attacked The School for Wives in his, but who had seen 
his mistake, most probably because a play of his, La Mere Coquette, had 
been performed on the 5th of October of the year before, at the theatre 
of the Palais-Royal. He wrote a letter in defence of the piece, which 
was printed with the original edition, and has always since been published 
with it. He therein says, " Before we go to the foundation of the comedy, 
it is proper to see what was the author's aim." " That the author's de- 
sign being to please, and the comedy having pleased, the critics cannot 

say he has done ill It was not his intention to write a comedy full 

of incidents, but only a play wherein he might speak against the manners 
of the age ;" hence he chose a Misanthrope for his hero, whose " in- 


firmity sets off his friend's (Philinte) wisdom." He further says, that the 
choice of Celimene, a woman given to slander, and of a man who hates 
mankind, as mouthpieces for railing at the manners of the age, is very in- 
genious ; for what the hero may forget the coquette will add ; praises the 
skilful opening of the piece, the scene between Oronte and Alceste, and 
adds, '' the sonnet is not bad according to the manner of writing now-a- 
days ; and those who love what we men call points or conclusions, rather 
than good sense, will certainly like it. Nay, I saw some, at the first repre- 
sentation of this piece, who exposed their own character to the ridicule 
of this scene, whilst it was being acted, for they cried out that the sonnet 
was good, until the Misanthrope had criticised it, and then they were all 
confounded." De Vise praises also the way in which Moliere delineates 
the power of love, as seen in Alceste ; speaks highly of the scene between 
Celimene and Arsino, and the " vigour with which the character of the 
hero is maintained," without being made ridiculous; considers that the 
part of Philinte is reasonable, and that every one ought to imitate him, 
and finishes thus : " In this comedy backbiting coquettes, after the ex- 
ample of Celimene, seeing that they cannot avoid encounters that will 
make them contemptible, ought to learn not to rail at their best friends 
behind their backs. False prudes ought to learn, that their grimaces are 
of no use ; and that though they were indeed as sage as they would be 
thought, they would nevertheless be blamed so long as they set up for 
prudes. I say nothing of the Marquises ; I think them the most incorri- 
gible of all ; and there are so many things in them still to be found fault 
with, that everybody owns they may yet for a long time afford matter for 
ridicule, though they themselves are far from allowing this to be true. 

Voltaire, though calling The Misanthrope Moliere's masterpiece, pre- 
tends that the intrigue hangs fire now and then ; that the conversation is 
sparkling, but not always necessary to the action ; and finally, that the 
ending, though well managed, leaves the spectator indifferent, for he does 
not care whether the Misanthrope marries the coquette or not. 

Chamfort, in the Eloge de Moliere, says : " If ever any comic author 
has proved that he understood the system of society, it is Moliere in The 
Misanthrope. There, whilst showing its abuses, he teaches at what cost a 
wise man should obtain the advantages which it grants ; that, in a system 
of union based upon mutual indulgence, perfect virtue is out of place 
amongst men, and torments itself without correcting them. It is a gold 
which needs alloy to become firm and be of much use to society ; but, at 
the same time, the author shows, by the constant superiority of Alceste 
over all the other personages, that virtue, in spite of the ridicule caused 
by his austerity, eclipses all that surrounds it ; and that, though gold has 
been alloyed, it is yet the costliest of metals." 

La Harpe, in his Cours de Litterature, a work formerly too much 
lauded, and at present too much neglected, defends Moliere against 
Rousseau ; says that the dramatist does not ridicule Alceste's honesty and 
sincerity, but the excess of those qualities, and that every exaggeration 
belongs to the domain of comedy; that whenever Alceste attacks slander, 
nobody feels inclined to laugh, but that when he states that he should like 
to lose his lawsuit, for the fun of the thing, everybody laughs at him, and 
justly so. Sincerity is a good thing, but it does not give a man the right 
to become ridiculous with impunity ; hence Moliere has done rightly in 
even attempting to teach honesty not to exceed the ordinary limits of 
moderation. Rousseau himself admits that " people feel at the bottom 
of their heart a certain respect " for Alceste, though he professes faults, 


at which they justly laugh. The accusation that Moliere has not under- 
stood the character of a Misanthrope, because the latter does not always 
rage against public vices, and feels the sting of personal offences, is un- 
just, because man remains always a man. The accusation that Moliere 
sacrificed everything to the necessity of making the pit laugh is unjust, 
because he attacked only what was laughable, and, like Horace, said the 
truth whilst laughing. As to Rousseau's hard words against Philinte, 
whom he calls " a scoundrel, 1 ' "a gentle and even-tempered optimist," 
he appears to forget that scoundrels are never optimists, but pessimists 
plausibly assuming that the world could not be worse, and seemingly so 
much the more severe in morals and honesty as they never attempt to 
bring them into practice. 

Nisard, a well known modern French literary critic, defends The Mis- 
anthrope, and states that this play cannot be analyzed nor reproduced 
with any chance of success ; that the action takes place in the drawing- 
room of a heartless coquette of fashion, vrho has many gallants. Only 
one of them, Alceste, really loves her. He is not wrong in despising 
men, but wrong in stating his feelings openly, when he discovers at last 
that he is betrayed. This is the whole plot of the piece, and the situa- 
tions are just as commonplace, even if they do exist. The characters 
unfold themselves. Alceste has a lawsuit, but he will not go and visit his 
judge ; he has a duel, because he does not wish to abandon his reputation 
as an honnete homme ; Celimene is a flirt and triumphs over the prude 
Arsinoe', but is punished by Alceste. And this is the peculiarity of The 
Misanthrope. Every one is punished by his or her own vices or faults; 
and even Alceste, though he is too honest to deserve marrying a coquette, 
is in perpetual opposition during the whole play, receives a great shock at 
,the end, and all this, because, although an honest man, he thinks he is 
the only honest man in the world. 

It has often been said that posterity is represented by foreigners : let us 
listen for a few minutes to English, German, and Swiss critics on this 

William Hazlitt says, in his Lectures on Wit and Humour "With 
respect to his two most laboured comedies, the ' Tartuffe' and ' Misan- 
thrope,' I confess I find them rather hard to get through. They have 
much of the improbability and extravagance of the others, united with 
the endless common-place prosing of French declamation. What cart 
exceed, for example, the absurdity of the Misanthrope, who leaves his 
mistress after every proof of her attachment and constancy, for no other 
reason than that she will not submit to the technical formality of going to 
live with him in a wilderness? The characters, again, which Celimene 
gives of her female friends, near the opening of the play, are admirable 
satires (as good as Pope's characters of women), but not exactly in the 
spirit of comic dialogue. 1 ' 

Prescott, in his Biographical and Critical Miscellanies, has a very good" 
Essay on Moliere, in which he says : " We are now arrived at that period 
of Moliere's career when he composed his ' Misanthrope' a play which 
some critics have esteemed his master-piece, and which all concur in admir- 
ing as one of the noblest productions of the modern drama. Its literary 
execution, too, of paramount importance in the eye of a French critic, is 
more nicely elaborated than any other of the pieces of Moliere, if we 
except the Tartuffe, and its didactic dialogue displays a maturity of 
thought equal to what is to be found in the best satires of Boileau. It is 
the very didactic tone of this comedy, indeed, which, combined with its 


want of eager, animating interest, made it less popular on its representa- 
tion than some of his inferior pieces." With regard to Moliere's sketch- 
ing himself and his wife in the roles of Alceste and Celimene, Prescott 
comments thus upon it : " The respective parts which they performed in 
this piece, corresponds precisely with their respective situations ; that of 
Celimene, a fascinating capricious coquette, insensible to every remon- 
strance, and selfishly bent on the gratification of her own appetites ; and 
that of Alceste, perfectly sensible of the duplicity of his mistress, whom 
he vainly hopes to reform, and no less so of the unworthiness of his own 
passion, from which he as vainly hopes to extricate himself. The coinci- 
dences are too exact to be wholly accidental." 

John Sterling, in his critical essay on Characteristics of German Genius, 
says : "The genius of Moliere rose above the pitch of his contemporaries, 
and in spite of seeming destiny, made him a great original painter of life, 
and a worthy companion of Montaigne and Rabelais, who had preluded, 
somewhat as Chaucer among us, to the glories of a later age. His Mis- 
anthrope is more truly Shakespearean, more simply, deeply drawn from the 
realities of the human soul, than anything we have seen of the professedly 
Shakespearean school now shedding blood by pailfuls on the Parisian stage. 
This play, in fact, anticipates Rousseau, and stands in a very singular 
relation between Hamlet and Faust ; and in like manner Tartuffe strikes 
the key-note of much that distinguishes Voltaire." 

A Swiss literary critic, M. E. Rambert, in his work Corneille, Racine 
et Moliere, writes that, in poets of the second order, speech kills the 
action : in Moliere, on the contrary, it serves and vivifies it ; that it is true 
that there is in The Misanthrope a moral question, but this always hap- 
pens in lofty dramatic poetry ; that no one can analyze a fictitious or real 
character, without stumbling upon some philosophic or moral problem, 
which ought to arise from the character of the hero. He further affirms 
that Philinte is not created only to give a reply, but that he is the model of 
a true friend, who bears all Alceste's whims and rebuffs. He also prefers 
Alceste to Tartuffe, because the first is one of those who possess all the 
attributes of humanity ; says Alceste is superior to Shakespeare's Timon 
whom he calls " a Job on his dunghill, but a Job full of hatred and 
bile " because Alceste's hatred is akin to love, Timon's only humiliation 
and thirst for vengeance ; believes that The Misanthrope produces in us 
a poetical impression, and contains not a satire, but a lesson, which leaves 
us in thought, but not haunted, as it were, by one idea, which becomes 
fatiguing. M. Rambert ends by stating, that, after the troubles of the 
Fronde, society had become philosophical, and liked to speculate on ab- 
struse questions of morality ; hence the appearance of La Rochefoucauld's 
JMaxims of which the first edition was published in 1665 and hence the 
Misanthrope, who gets angry at the wickedness of men, whilst the noble 
moralist judges them, despises them, but remains cool all the time. 

Goethe, in his Conversations with Eckermann (1825), says : " MoliSre is 
so great, that one is astonished anew every time one reads him. He is a 
man by himself his pieces border on tragedy ; they are apprehensive, 
and no one has the courage to imitate them." And in 1827, the great 
German says : " The Misanthrope, which I read over and over again, as 
one of my most favourite pieces, is repugnant to him (Schlegel)." " It'is 
not to be denied," continues he, " that Schlegel knows a great deal, and 
one is almost terrified at his extraordinary attainments and his extensive 
reading. But this is not enough. All the learning in the world is still no 
judgment. His criticism is completely one-sided, because in all theatri- 


cal pieces he merely regards the skeleton of the plot and arrangement, 
and only points out small points of resemblance to great predecessors, 
without troubling himself in the least as to what the author brings forward 
of graceful life and the culture of a high soul. But of what use are all 
the arts of a talent if we do not find in a theatrical piece an amiable or a 
great personality of the author. This alone influences the cultivation ot 
the people.'' 

Paul Lindau, a living German critic of some celebrity, and who has 
written a Life of Moliere, says, that " when our author wrote this play, he 
was forty-four years old ; his friend Racine had betrayed him ; his patro- 
ness, the Queen-Mother was dead ; his enemies at Court had prevented 
the representation of the Tartvfe ; his youthful wife gave him reason to 
be jealous ; he had been ill for two months ; and yet, in spite of all that, 
he wrote The Misanthrope.'' In this play, he attacks the court, its hol- 
lowness, its empty glitter and heads ; for in spite of his admiration for 
Louis XIV., Moliere did not spare the courtiers. Amidst the splendour 
of Versailles, its triumphant paeans, its sparkling fountains, shaded walks 
and rustling trees, where puppets, in velvet and silk, jump about and 
dance and sing, and think not of the morrow, our Moralist appears and 
asks himself How are all these enjoyments obtained ? And the answer 
is : " By lies and hypocrisy." The philosopher looks underneath the 
masks and the paint, and beholds the spectre of misery. He warns men 
to become sincere, honest, and true, for the earth trembles under their 
feet, the foundations of society are undermined by the worm of falsehood, 
thunder rolls in the distance and will break out a hundred years later. 
Alceste is the precursor of a threatening social revolution ; these feelings 
have unconsciously moved him to speak ; hence his dislike and hatred for 
lies and liars, and, " as all men are liars," the cause of his being a Misan- 

In the preface to this translation (Vol. I.,) I have stated that Philinte 
"pourtrays quiet common sense, amiability, intelligence, instruction, 
knowledge of the world, and a spirit of refined criticism." He possesses 
rather too much of all these qualities, which thus become faults. I ima- 
gine that Moliere clearly indicates that Philinte has a far greater contempt 
for men than Alceste. The latter is very loud in all his denunciations 
against wickedness ; his passion for sincerity often carries him to ridicu- 
lous extremes, but amidst all his vapouring, we feel that he is angry with 
rampant falsehood and deceit, but not that he hates his fellow-creatures : 
in fact, his very rage proves the contrary. Philinte has over much "quiet 
common sense ;' he " treats the man of worth and the fop alike ;" he has 
too much " amiability," for he pays compliments to old Emilia, to Dori- 
las, to Oronte about his sonnet ; he shows his "spirit of refined criticism " 
by stating that " whatever he may discover, at any moment, people do not 
see him in a rage , . . that he takes men quietly just as they are ;" " that 
his mind is not more shocked at seeing a man a rogue, unjust, or selfish, 
than at seeing vultures eager for prey, mischievous apes, or fury-lashed 
wolves." When he hears Alceste thundering against Celimene, Acaste 
and Clitandre slandering their acquaintances, he proves his " knowledge 
of the world " by coolly asking his friend why he takes such a great in- 
terest in those people. He never blames nor admires anything, except 
with some feeble adjectives. When Eliante states that she esteems Al- 
ceste, he only expresses his astonishment at seeing him in love. When 
his friend's heart is torn by jealousy, he can say nothing warmer than 
that " a letter may sometimes deceive by appearances, and not be as 


guilty as you think." His "intelligence" is as characteristic as all his 
other qualities ; he first tells his friend that the sincere Eliante has some 
inclination for him, and then, when Eliante informs Philinte that she 
might be induced to receive Alceste's addresses, he coolly informs her 
that in case his friend does not answer her love, he would only be too 
happy to have her affection transferred to himself. When in the last 
scene Eliante offers him her hand, he seems to get excited, and ex- 
claims that he "could sacrifice my (his) life and soul for it;" but the 
lukewarmness he has displayed in his courtship, during the whole play, 
proves his excitement to be abnormal. It is true that he bears with 
the rebuffs of Alceste, but this is not out of friendship, but simply because 
he is too amiable ; hence it would be too much trouble to argue. He 
has no warm blood coursing through his veins. I said just now that 
Philinte had a far greater contempt for men than Alceste. I do not mean 
that he shows this contempt openly. But the man to whom good or evil 
is theoretically alike, to whom all men are the same, and who is the same 
to all men, is the greatest Misanthrope that ever existed, for he is above 
or below humanity. It is not necessary that Philinte should have acted 
up to his principles ; his very contempt for men forbids such a thing as 
action. What would be the good of it? His feebly beating heart cannot 
contain such a feeling as healthy hatred or even love. I imagine that he 
must have uttered his speeches with an affected drawl, as painful for him 
to produce as for his audience to listen to. He is the real prototype of 
the nil admirari school ; he is no " scoundrel," as Rousseau says, for he 
has no passions, good or evil : he does not play the fool, for it requires 
not an intelligent, but a wise man, to play the fool ; he is the chief of the 
pococuranti, who pursue the even tenor of their ways, without being 
moved or stirred by anything, who are too critically refined ever to do an 
evil deed or to admire a noble action ; the worthy ancestor of those petits 
creves, who strut languidly through life with their dainty dress and man- 
ners, with their eternal grin, their want of heart and patriotism, and their 
never varying answer, pas si bete. 

In the third volume of the Select Comedies of M. de Moliere, London, 
1732, The Misanthrope is dedicated to the Duke of Montagu, under 
the name of The Man-Hater in the following words : 

The Misanthrope of MOLIERE in French and English, assumes the honour of 
appearing in the World under your GRACE'S Patronage. The Translator doubts 
not but Your GRACE will be the first to forgive what has the Face of monstrous Im- 
priety, his dedicating the Man-hater to the most humane Man in England. 

Your GRACE very well knows that this Play has always bore the Character, 
amongst Men of Taste and Judgment, of being the most finished Piece of this 
Author, in which are united the utmost Efforts of Genius and Art. 

The Subject, MY LORD, is single, and the Unities exactly observ'd. The princi- 
pal Character is strong, and distinguish'd with the boldest Strokes of a masterly 
Pencil ; 'tis well preserv'd, and throughout intirely uniform. The under Charac- 
ters are equally well drawn, and admirably chose to cast each their proper De- 
gree of Light upon the Chief Figure : The Scenes and Incidents are so contriv'd 
and conducted as to diversify the main Character, and set it in all the different 
Points of Light one can wish to see it in. The Sentiments are not only proper, but 
strong and nervous, and the whole Piece so fraught with good Sense, that twere 
hard to find an indifferent Line in it. So just is the Observation of Rapin, that the 
Misanthrope is the most finish'd, and withal the most singular Character that ever 
appear' d on the Stage. 

Not but that the Title of Man-Hater, MY LORD, has been famous in the World 
for many Centuries, and is as well known as the Name of Timon of Athens ; with- 
out any Impeachment of what the French Critic has said of the singularity of our 
Misantfirope ; tor the Character of the antient Man-Hater had little uncommon in 


it, it took its Rise merely from personal Ill-usage and Disappointment, and was 
no more Strange than that one who suffers by Excess of Good-nature and Credulity, 
shou'd run into the other Extreme of being excessively revengeful and suspicious. 

Whereas MOLIBRB'S Man-Hater owes his Character to an over-rigid Virtue, 
which cou'd give no Quarter to the Vices of Mankind ; to a Sincerity, particularly, 
which disdain'd that undistinguishing Complaisance, those surfeiting expressions 
of Kindness to all in common, which leave Men no Language to express Approba- 
tion and Friendship to the wise and virtuous, but what is prostituted to flatter 
Fools and Knaves : so that Alcestes hates men not to injure, but to avoid them. 

It must at the same time, be confess'd, MY LORD, that MOLIERE drew not this 
Character for Imitation. Had he done so, he wou'dmade him only a good-natured, 
brave, and generous Plain-dealer, not a Man-Hater ; as far from the Churlishness 
of Alcestes as from the Over-civility of Philintes. He wou'd have drawn him se- 
vere, but not Cynical ; an Enemy to Men's Vices but not to their Persons ; inflexi- 
bly virtuous, but not ill-natur'd ; reserved, yet not unsociable ; sincere with good 
Manners. In short, he wou'd have made him a MONTAGU. The character had 
then been unexceptionable I am, My LORD, Your GRACE'S most Faithful, most 
Obedient Humble Servant, THE TRANSLATOR. 

An author of the end of last century, Fabre d' Eglantine, who devoted 
his time partly to politics and partly to literature, wrote a play, The 
Philinte of Moliere, in which he made of Philinte an odious and miser- 
able egotist, and of Alceste an exagerated philanthropist. Geoffrey, a 
celebrated French critic, said that The Philinte compared to The Mis- 
anthrope, was like anarchy in comparison with a good government. 
Several other Misanthropes have also been attempted on the French 
stage. Br^court (See Introductory Notice to The Impromptu of Ver- 
sailles, Vol. I.,) wrote a comedy in one act, called Timon, first performed 
on the lath of August, 1684 ; and Delisle wrote a three-act play, called 
Timon the Misanthrope, first brought out on the 2d of January, 1782, 
and in which an ass is changed into harlequin, and gives lessons of kindness 
and wisdom to his former master Timon. 

In English, part of The Misanthrope has been borrowed by Wycherley 
for The Plain Dealer, of which Manley and Olivia are decided imitations 
of Alceste and Celimene, and in which one scene is imitated from The 
School for Wives criticised (see Introductory Notice to The School for 
Wives criticised, Vol. I.). Baker, in his '' Biographia Dramatica," most 
amusingly says : " The Misanthrope (of Moliere), and other things, 
seem to have been in Wycherley's mind when he traced his characters ; 
but when subjects are so well handled, it is but mean cavilling to say so 
much about it, and in revenge, if he had recourse to French writers, 
English writers have had recourse to him." M. Taine has another opin- 
ion of Wycherley and his play, and I entirely agree with him. He says 
in the History of English Literature : " If he (Wycherley) translates 
the part of Moliere, he wipes out at one stroke the manners of a great 
lady, the woman's delicacy, the tact of the lady of the house, the polite- 
ness, the refined air, the superiority of wit and knowledge of the world, 
in order to substitute for them the impudence and deceit of a foul- 
mouthed courtezan. . . A certain gift hovers over all namely, vigour. . . 
He is a realist, not on set purpose, as the realist of our day, but naturally. 

. . . Our modern nerves could not endure the portrait Olivia draws of 
Manley. . . The woman's independence is like a professed courtezan's. 

. . . Manley is copied after Alceste . . . and is not a courtier but a ship- 
captain, with the bearing of the sailor of the time, his cloak stained with 
tar, and smelling of brandy, ready with blows or foul oaths, calling those 
he came across dogs and slaves, and when they displeased him, kicking 
them down stairs . . . Wycherley took to himself in his dedication the 


title of his hero, Plain Dealer ; he fancied he had drawn the portrait of 
a frank, honest man ... he had only given . . . the model of an unre- 
served and energetic brute." 

Sir Walter Scott, in his Essay on the Drama, says, " The Plain Dealer 
is, indeed, imitated from Moliere ; but the principal character has more 
the force of a real portrait, and is better contrasted with the perverse, 
bustling, masculine, petty fogging, and litigious character of Widow 
Blackacre, than Alceste is with any character of The Misanthrope" 

The late Lord Macaulay, in his Essay on the Comic Dramatists of the 
Restoration, uses the following words about Wycherley's Plain Dealer ; 
" Moliere exhibited in his Misanthrope a pure and noble mind, which 
had been sorely vexed by the sight of perfidy and malevolence, disguised 
under forms of politeness. As every extreme naturally generates its con- 
trary, Alceste adopts a standard of good and evil directly opposed to that 
of the society which surrounds him. Courtesy, seems to him a vice ; and 
those stern virtues which are neglected by the fops and coquettes of Paris 
become too exclusively the objects of his veneration. He is often to 
blame ; he is often ridiculous ; but he is always a good man ; and th 
feeling which he inspires is regret that a person so estimable should be so 
unamiable. Wycherley borrowed Alceste, and turned him we quote the 
words of so lenient a critic as Mr. Leigh Hunt into ' a ferocious sensual- 
ist, who believed himself as great a rascal as he thought everybody else.' 
The surliness of Moliere 's hero is copied and caricatured. But the 
most nauseous libertinism and the most dastardly fraud are substituted 
for the purity and integrity of the original. And, to make the whole com- 
plete, Wycherley does not seem to have been aware that he was not draw- 
ing the portrait of an eminently honest man. So depraved was his moral 
taste, that, while he firmly believed that he was producing a picture of 
virtue too exalted for the commerce of the world, he was really delineating 
the greatest rascal that is to be found, even in his own writings." 

Voltaire has imitated The Plain Dealer in a five-act comedy in verse, 
called La Prude, and represented for the first time in the private theatre 
of the Duchess of Maine, at Anet. It is one of the funniest, and, for the 
student, one of the most interesting imitations I have ever read ; and the 
attempt of Voltaire to hide the coarseness of Manley and Olivia under an 
elegant French dress, and to make them fit to be represented before the 
rather finical, although witty, company at Anet, is highly entertaining. 
This is the moral of the piece after Dorfise (Olivia) is found out: "Cua 
Pourra d' abord faire jaser ; mats tout s'appaise, et tout doit s'appaiser." 

Sheridan has also borrowed some scenes from The Misanthrope for The 
School for Scandal, a comedy of which M. Taine, in his work already 
mentioned, says, "Sheridan took two characters from Fielding, Blifil and 
Tom Jones ; two plays of Moliere, Le Misanthrope and Tartvffe ; and 
from these puissant materials, condensed with admirable cleverness, he has 
constructed the most brilliant firework imaginable. Moliere has only one 
female slanderer, Celimene ; the other characters serve only to give her a 
cue : there is quite enough of such a jeering woman ; she rails on within 
certain bounds, without hurry, like a true queen of the drawing-room, who 
has time to converse, who knows that she is listened to, who listens to herself ; 
she is a woman of society, who preserves the tone of refined conversation ; 
and in order to smooth down the harshness, her slanders are interrupted 
by the calm reason and sensible discourse of the amiable Eliante. Moliere 
represents the malice of the world without exaggeration ; but in Sheridan 
they are rather caricatured than depicited. 


The sixth Scene of the second Act of Congreve's The Way of the 
World, performed at the theatre, Lincoln's-Inn-Fields, in 1700, has also 
been partly inspired by the fifth scene of the second act of Moliere's play. 
Congreve seems to have liked Moliere's Misanthrope, for he imitated the 
same scenes of the same play in Love for Love (Act i. p scenes 9-15). (See 
Introductory Notice to Don Juan). The characters there are called Val- 
entine, Scandal, Tattle, and Mrs. Frail, and are certainly not copied, but 
based upon those of Moliere. 

Th. Shadwell, in The Sullen Lovers (see Introductory Notice to The 
Bores, Vol. I.), has likewise imitated the first scene of the first act of The 

In Baker's Biographia Dramatica, it is stated that a certain Mr. John 
Huges translated The Misanthrope from Voltaire Moliere is evidently 
meant ; and that this translation . . . . " was afterwards reprinted with 
Moliere's other plays translated by Ozell, without any notice by whom it 
was Englished. 


ALCESTE, in love with Celimene* 
PHILINTE, his friend. 
ORONTE, in love with Celimene. 
CELIMENE, beloved by Alceste. 
ELIANTE, her cousin. 
ARSINOE, Celimene 1 s friend. 


> marquises. 

BASQUE, servant to Ceftmene. 

DUBOIS, servant to Alceste. 



1 This part was played by Moliere himself. In the inventory taken 
after Moliere's death, and given by M. E. Souli in the Recherchei sur 
Moliere, we find the dress for the representation of The Misanthrope, con- 
sisting of breeches and jacket of a gold-coloured and grey striped brocade, 
lined with tabby, ornamented with green ribbands ; the waistcoat of gold 
brocade, silk stockings and gaiters. 

8 The marichaussee was a kind of mounted police, doing formerly the 
same duty as the gendarmerie does now. It was commanded by a.prev!X- 
gineral, under the orders of the marshals of France. 





PHIL. What is the matter ? What ails you ? 

ALC. (Seated). Leave me, I pray. 

PHIL. But, once more, tell me what strange whim . . . 

ALC. Leave me, I tell you, and get out of my sight. 

PHIL. But you might at least listen to people, without 
getting angry. 

ALC. I choose to get angry, and I do not choose to 

PHIL. I do not understand you in these abrupt moods, 
and although we are friends, I am the first . . . 

ALC. (Rising quickly). I, your friend ? Lay not that 
flattering unction to your soul. I have until now professed 
to be so ; but after what I have just seen of you, I tell 
you candidly that I am such no longer ; I have no wish 
to occupy a place in a corrupt heart. 

PHIL. I am then very much to be blamed from your 
point of view, Alceste? 

ALC. To be blamed ? You ought to die from very 
shame; there is no excuse for such behaviour, and every 
man of honour must be disgusted at it. I see you almost 
stifle a man with caresses, show him the most ardent affec- 
tion, and overwhelm him with protestations, offers, and 



vows of friendship. Your ebullitions of tenderness know 
no bounds ; and when I ask you who that man is, you can 
scarcely tell me his name ; your feelings for him, the mo- 
ment you have turned your back, suddenly cool ; you 
speak of him most indifferently to me. Zounds ! I call it 
unworthy, base, and infamous, so far to demean one's 
self as to act contrary to one's own feelings, and if, un- 
fortunately, I had done such a thing, I should go that 
very instant, and hang myself out of sheer A 'exation. 

PHIL. I do not see that it is a hanging matter at all ; 
and I beg of you not to think it amiss if I ask you to show 
me some mercy, for I shall not hang myself, if it be all 
the same to you. 

ALC. That is a sorry joke. 

PHIL. But, seriously, what would you have people do ? 

ALC. I would have people be sincere, and that, like 
men of honour, no word be spoken that comes not from 
the heart. 

PHIL. When a man comes and embraces you warmly, 
you must pay him back in his own coin, respond as best 
you can to his show of feeling, and return offer for offer, 
and vow for vow. 

ALC. Not so. I cannot bear so base a method, which 
your fashionable people generally affect ; there is nothing 
I detest so much as the contortions of these great time- 
and-lip servers, these affable dispensers of meaningless 
embraces, these obliging utterers of empty words, who vie 
with every one in civilities, and treat the man of worth 
and the fop alike. What good does it do if a man heaps 
endearments on you, vows that he is your friend, that he 
believes in you, is full of zeal for you, esteems and loves 
you, and lauds you to the skies, when he rushes to do the 
same to the first rapscallion he meets ? No, no, no heart 
with the least self-respect cares for esteem so prostituted ; 
ihe will hardly relish it, even when openly expressed, 
when he find? that he shares it with the whole universe. 
Preference must be based on esteem, and to esteem every 
one is to esteem no one. As you abandon yourself to the 
"vices of the times, zounds ! you are not the man for me. 
I decline this over-complaisant kindness, which uses no 
discrimination. I like to be distinguished ; and, to cut 


the matter short, the friend of all mankind is no friend of 

PHIL. But when we are of the world, we must conform 
to the outward civilities which custom demands. 

ALC. I deny it. We ought to punish pitilessly that 
shameful pretence of friendly intercourse. I like a man 
to be a man, and to show on all occasions the bottom 
of his heart in his discourse. Let that be the thing to 
speak, and never let our feelings be hidden beneath vain 

PHIL. There are many cases in which plain speaking 
would become ridiculous, and could hardly be tolerated. 
And, with all due allowance for your unbending honesty, 
it is as well to conceal your feelings sometimes. Would 
it be right or decent to tell thousands of people what we 
think of them ? And when we meet with some one whom 
we hate or who displeases us, must we tell him so openly? 

ALC. Yes. 

PHIL. What! Would you tell old Emilia, that it ill 
becomes her to set up for a beauty at her age, and that 
the paint she uses disgusts everyone ? 

ALC. Undoubtedly. 

PHIL. Or Dorilas, that he is a bore, and that there is 
no one at court who is not sick of hearing him boast of 
his courage, and the lustre of his house ? 

ALC. Decidedly so. 

PHIL. You are jesting. 

ALC. I am not jesting at all ; and I would not spare any 
one in that respect. It offends my eyes too much ; and 
whether at Court or in town, I behold nothing but what 
provokes my spleen. ' I become quite melancholy and 
deeply grieved to see men behave to each other as they 
do. Everywhere I find nothing but base flattery, injus- 
tice, self-interest, deceit, roguery. I cannot bear it any 
longer ; I am furious ; and my intention is to break with 
all mankind. 

PHIL. This philosophical spleen is somewhat too savage. 
I cannot but laugh to see you in these gloomy fits, and 
fancy that I perceive in us two, brought up together, 
the two brothers described in The School for Husbands, 
who . 


ALC. Good Heavens ! drop your insipid comparisons. 

PHIL. Nay, seriously, leave off these vagaries. The 
world will not alter for all your meddling. And as plain 
speaking has such charms for you, I shall tell yo"u frankly 
that this complaint of yours is as good as a play, wherever 
you go, and that all those invectives against the manners 
of the age, make you a laughing-stock to many people. 

ALC. So much the better, Zounds ! so much the better. 
That is just what I want. It is a very good sign, and I 
rejoice at it. All men are so odious to me, that I should 
be sorry to appear rational in their eyes. 

PHIL. But do you wish harm to all mankind ? 

ALC. Yes; I have conceived a terrible hatred for 

PHIL. Shall all poor mortals, without exception, be in- 
cluded in this aversion ? There are some, even in the age 
in which we live . . . 

ALC. No, they are all alike ; and I hate all men : some, 
because they are wicked and mischievous ; others because 
they lend themselves to the wicked, and have not that 
healthy contempt with which vice ought to inspire all 
virtuous minds. You can see how unjustly and excessively 
complacent people are to that bare-faced scoundrel with 
whom I am at law. You may plainly perceive the traitor 
through his mask; he is well known everywhere in his 
true colours ; his rolling eyes and his honeyed tones im- 
pose only on those who do not know him. People are 
aware that this low-bred fellow, who deserves to be pillo- 
ried, has, by the dirtiest jobs, macfe his way in the world ; 
and that the splendid position he has acquired makes merit 
repine and virtue blush. Yet whatever dishonourable 
epithets may be launched against him everywhere, nobody 
defends his wretched honour. Call him a rogue, an in- 
famous wretch, a confounded scoundrel if you like, all 
the world will say "yea," and no one contradicts you. 
But for all that, his bowing and scraping are welcome 
everywhere ; he is received, smiled upon, and wriggles 
himself into all kinds of society; and, if any appoint- 
ment is to be secured by intriguing, he will carry the 
day over a man of the greatest worth. Zounds ! these 
are mortal stabs to me, to see vice parleyed with ; and 


sometimes I feel suddenly inclined to fly into a wilderness 
far from the approach of men. 

PHIL. Great Heaven ? let us torment ourselves a little 
less about the vices of our age, and be a little more leni- 
ent to human nature. Let us not scrutinize it with the 
utmost severity, but look with some indulgence at its fail- 
ings. In society, we need virtue to be more pliable. If 
we are too wise, we may be equally to blame. Good sense 
avoids all extremes, and requires us to be soberly rational.* 
This unbending and virtuous stiffness of ancient times 
shocks too much the ordinary customs of our own ; it re- 
quires too great perfection from us mortals ; we must yield 
to the times without being too stubborn ; it is the height 
of folly to busy ourselves in correcting the world. I, as 
well as yourself, notice a hundred things every day which 
might be better managed, differently enacted ; but what- 
ever I may discover at any moment, people do not see me 
in a rage like you. I take men quietly just as they are; I 
accustom my mind to bear with what they do ; and I be- 
lieve that at Court, as well as in the city, my phlegm is as 
philosophical as your bile. 

ALC. But this phlegm, good sir, you who reason so well, 
could it not be disturbed by anything ? And if perchance 
a friend should betray you ; if he forms a subtle plot to 
get hold of what is yours ; if people should try to spread 
evil reports about you, would you tamely submit to all this 
without flying into a rage ? 

PHIL. Ay, I look upon all these faults of which you 
complain as vices inseparably connected with human na- 
ture ; in short, my mind is no more shocked at seeing a 
man a rogue, unjust, or selfish, than at seeing vultures, 
eager for prey, mischievous apes, or fury-lashed wolves. 

ALC. What ! I should see myself deceived, torn to pieces, 
robbed, without being . . . Zounds ! I shall say no more 
about it ; all this reasoning is full of impertinence ! 

PHIL. Upon my word, you would do well to keep silence. 
Rail a little less at your opponent, and attend a little more 
to your suit. 

* Compare St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, xii. 3, " Not to think more 
highly than he ought to think ; but to think soberly." 


ALC. That I shall not do ; that is settled long ago. 

PHIL. But whom then do you expect to solicit for you? 

ALC. Whom ? Reason, my just right, equity. 

PHIL. Shall you not pay a visit to any of the judges ? 

ALC. No. Is my cause unjust or dubious ? 

PHIL. I am agreed on that ; but you know what harm 
intrigues do, and . . . 

ALC. No. I am resolved not to stir a step. I am either 
right or wrong. 

PHIL. Do not trust to that. 

ALC. I shall not budge an inch. 

PHIL. Your opponent is powerful, and by his underhand 
work, may induce . . . 

ALC. It does not matter. 

PHIL. You will make a mistake. 

ALC. Be it so. I wish to see the end of it. 

PHIL. But . . . 

ALC. I shall have the satisfaction of losing my suit. 

PHIL. But after all . . . 

ALC. I shall see by this trial whether men have sufficient 
impudence, are wicked, villainous, and perverse enough 
to do me this injustice in the face of the whole world. 

PHIL. What a strange fellow ! 

ALC. I could wish, were it to cost me ever so much, 
that, for the fun of .the thing, I lost my case. 

PHIL. But people will really laugh at you, Alceste, if 
they hear you go on in this fashion. 

ALC. So much the worse for those who will. 

PHIL. But this rectitude, which you exact so carefully 
in every case, this absolute integrity in which you intrench 
yourself, do you perceive it in the lady you love ? As for 
me, I am astonished that, appearing to be at war with the 
whole human race, you yet, notwithstanding everything 
that can render it odious to you, have found aught to 
charm your eyes. And what surprises me still more, is 
the strange choice your heart has made. The sincere 
filiante has a liking for you, the prude Arsino6 looks with 
favour upon you, yet your heart does not respond to their 
passion; whilst you wear the chains of Celimene, who 
sports with you, and whose coquettish humour and mali- 
cious wit seems to accord so well with the manner of the 


times. How comes it that, hating these things as mortally 
as you do, you endure so much of them in that lady? 
Are they no longer faults in so sweet a charmer ? Do not 
you perceive them, or if you do, do you excuse them? 

ALC. Not so. The love I feel for this young widow does 
not make me blind to her faults, and, notwithstanding the 
great passion with which she has inspired me, I am the 
first to see, as well as to condemn, them. But for all this, 
do what I will, I confess my weakness, she has the art of 
pleasing me. In vain I see her faults ; I may even blame 
them ; in spite of all, she makes me love her. Her charms 
conquer everything, and, no doubt, my sincere love will 
purify our heart from the vices of our times. 5 

PHIL. If you accomplish this, it will be no small task. 
Do you believe yourself beloved by her? 

ALC. Yes, certainly ! I should not love her at all, did I 
not think so. 

PHIL. But if her love for you is so apparent, how comes 
it that your rivals cause you so much uneasiness ? 

ALC. It is because a heart, deeply smitten, claims all to 
itself; I come here only with the intention of telling her 
what, on this subject, my feelings dictate. 

PHIL. Had I but to choose, her cousin Eliante would 
have all my love. Her heart, which values yours, is stable 
and sincere ; and this more compatible choice would have 
suited you better. 

ALC. It is true ; my good sense tells me so every day ; 
but good sense does not always rule love. 

PHIL. Well, I fear much for your affections; and the 
hope which you cherish may perhaps . . . 


ORON. (To Alceste). I have been informed yonder, that 
Eliante and Cdimene have gone out to make some pur- 
chases. But as I heard that you were here, I came to tell 
you, most sincerely, that I have conceived the greatest 
regard for you, and that, for a long time, this regard has 
inspired me with the most ardent wish to be reckoned 

' Compare the supposed conversation between Moliere and Chapelle in 
the Introductory Notice to The Impromptu of Versailles, Vol. I. 


among your friends. Yes ; I like to do homage to merit ; 
and I am most anxious that a bond of friendship should 
unite us. I suppose that a zealous friend, and of my 
standing, is not altogether to be rejected. (All this time 
Alceste has been musing, and seems not to be aware that 
Oronte is addressing him. He looks up only when Oronte 
says to him,} It is to you, if you please, that this speech is 

ALC. To me, sir? 

ORON. To you. Is it in any way offensive to you ? 

ALC. Not in the least. But my surprise is very great ; 
and I did not expect that honour. 

ORON. The regard in which I hold you ought not to 
astonish you, and you can claim it from the whole world. 

ALC. Sir . . . 

ORON. Our whole kingdom contains nothing above the 
dazzling merit which people discover in you. 

ALC. Sir . . . 

ORON. Yes ; for my part, I prefer you to the most im- 
portant in it. 

ALC. Sir . . . 

ORON. May Heaven strike me dead, if I lie ! And, to 
convince you, on this very spot, of my feelings, allow me, 
sir, to embrace you with all my heart, and to solicit a 
place in your friendship. Your hand, if you please. Will 
you promise me your friendship ? 

ALC. Sir . . . 

ORON. What ! you refuse me ? 

ALC. Sir, you do me too much honour ; but friendship 
is a sacred thing, 6 and to lavish it on every occasion is 
surely to profane it. Judgment and choice should preside 
at such a compact ; we ought to know more of each other 
before engaging ourselves ; and it may happen that our 
dispositions are such that we may both of us repent of our 

ORON. Upon rr? word ! that is wisely said ; and I es- 
teem you all the more for it. Let us therefore leave it to 

The original has ramitie demande un peu plus de mystere, friendship 
demands a little more mystery. I imagine this to be an allusion to the 
mystery of religion. Hence the idea of sacredness ; for otherwise it is 
unintelligible why friendship should demand mystery. 


time to form such a pleasing bond ; but, meanwhile I am 
entirely at your disposal. If you have any business at 
Court, every one knows how well I stand with the King ; 
I have his private ear ; and, upon my word, he treats me 
in everything with the utmost intimacy. In short, I am 
yours in every emergency ; and, as you are a man of 
brilliant parts, and to inaugurate our charming amity, I 
come to read you a sonnet which I made a little while 
ago, and to know whether it be good enough for pub- 

ALC. I am not fit, sir, to decide such a matter. You 
will therefore excuse me. 

ORON. Why so ? 

ALC. I have the failing of being a little more sincere in 
those things than is necessary. 

ORON. The very thing I ask ; and I should have reason 
to complain, if, in laying myself open to you that you 
might give me your frank opinion, you should deceive me, 
and disguise anything from me. 

ALC. If that be the case, sir, I am perfectly willing. 

ORON. Sonnet . . It is a sonnet . . . Hope ... It 
is to a lady who flattered my passion with some hope. 
Hope . . . They are not long, pompous verses, but 
mild, tender and melting little lines. 

(At every one of these interruptions he looks at 

ALC. We shall see. 

ORON. Hope ... I do not know whether the style 
will strike you as sufficiently clear and easy, and whether 
you will approve of my choice of words. 

ALC. We shall soon see, sir. 

ORON. Besides, you must know that I was only a quar- 
ter of an hour in composing it. 

ALC. Let us hear, sir ; the time signifies nothing. 

ORON. (Reads). Hope, it is true, oft gives relief, 

Rocks for a while our tedious pain, 
But what a poor advantage, Phillis, 
IVhen nought remains, and all is gone / 

PHIL. I am already charmed with this little bit. 

ALC. (Softly to Philinte). What ! do you mean to tell 
me that you like this stuff? 


ORON. You once had some complacency, 
But less would have sufficed, 
You should not take that trouble 
To give me nought but hope. 

PHIL. In what pretty terms these thoughts are put ! 
ALC. How now ! you vile flatterer, you praise this rub 

ORON. If I must wait eternally, 

My passion, driven to extremes, 
Will fly to death. 

Your tender cares cannot prevent this, 
Fair Phillis, aye we 1 re in despair, 
When we must hope for ever. 

PHIL. The conclusion is pretty, amorous, admirable. 
ALC. (Softly, and aside to Philinte}. A plague on the 
conclusion ! I wish you had concluded to break your 
nose, you poisoner to the devil ! 

PHIL. I never heard verses more skilfully turned. 7 
ALC. (Softly, and aside}. Zounds ! . . . 
ORON. (To Philinte}. You flatter me; and you are 
under the impression perhaps . . . 
PHIL. No, I am not flattering at all. 
ALC. (Softly, and aside}. What else are you doing, you 
wretch ? 

ORON. (To Alceste}. But for you, you know our agree- 
ment. Speak to me, I pray, in all sincerity. 

ALC. These matters, sir, are always more or less deli- 
cate, and every one is fond of being praised for his wit. 
But I was saying one day to a certain person, who shall be 
nameless, when he showed me some of his verses, that a 
gentleman ought at all times to exercise a great control 
over that itch for writing which sometimes attacks us, and 
should keep a tight rein over the strong propensity which 
one has to display such amusements ; and that, in the 
frequent anxiety to show their productions, people are 
frequently exposed to act a very foolish part. 

7 One of the commentators of Moliere, Aim^-Martin, thinks that the 
praises which Philinte bestows on Oronte's sonnet prove his kind feeling. 
I think the saying, " I never heard verses more skilfully turned," proves 
more than this. 


ORON. Do yon wish to convey to me by this that I am 
wrong in desiring . . . 

ALC. I do not say that exactly. But I told him that 
writing without warmth becomes a bore ; that there needs 
no other weakness to disgrace a man ; that, even if peo- 
ple on the other hand, had a hundred good qualities, we 
view them from their worst sides. 

ORON. Do you find anything to object to in my sonnet ? 

ALC. I do not say that. But, to keep him from writing, 
I set before his eyes how, in our days, that desire has 
spoiled a great many very worthy people. 

ORON. Do I write badly? Am I like them in any way ? 

ALC. I do not say that. But, in short, I said to him, 
What pressing need is there for you to rhyme, and what 
the deuce drives you into print ? If we can pardon the 
sending into the world of a badly-written book, it will 
only be in those unfortunate men who write for their live- 
lihood. Believe me, resist your temptations, keep these 
effusions from the public, and do not, how much soever 
you may be asked, forfeit the reputation which you enjoy 
at Court of being a man of sense and a gentleman, to 
take, from the hands of a greedy printer, that of a ridicu- 
lous and wretched author. That is what I tried to make 
him understand. 

ORON. This is all well and good, and I seem to under- 
stand you. But I should like to know what there is in my 
sonnet to ... 

ALC. Candidly, you had better put it in your closet. 
You have been following bad models, and your expressions 
are not at all natural. Pray what is Rocks for a while our 
tedious pain? And what, When nought remains, and all is 
gone ? What, You should not take that trouble to give me 
nought but hope? And what, Phi His, aye we're in despair 
when we must hope for ever? This figurative style, that 
people are so vain of, is beside all good taste and truth ; it 
is only a play upon words, sheer affectation, and it is not 
thus that nature speaks. The wretched taste of the age is 
what I dislike in this. Our forefathers, unpolished as they 
were, had a much better one ; and I value all that is ad- 
mired now-a-days far less than an old song which I am 
going to repeat to you : 


" Had our great monarch granted me 
His Paris large and fair ; 
And I straightway must quit for aye 
The love of my true dear; 
Then would I say, King Hall, I pray, 
Take back your Paris fair, 
I love much mo my dear, I trow, 
I love much mo my dear. ' ' 

This versification is not rich, and the style is antiquated ; 
but do you not see that it is far better than all those trum- 
pery trifles against which good sense revolts, and that in 
this, passion speaks from the heart? 

" Had our great monarch granted me 
His Paris large and fair; 
And I straightway must quit for aye 
The love of my true dear; 
Then would I say, King Hall, I pray, 
Take back your Paris fair, 
I love much mo my dear, I trow, 
I love much mo my dear." 

This is what a really loving heart would say. (To Philinte, 
who is laughing). Yes, master wag, in spite of all your 
wit, I care more for this than for all the florid pomp and 
the tinsel which everybody is admiring now-a-days. 

ORON. And I, I maintain that my verses are very good. 

ALC. Doubtless you have your reasons for thinking them 
so ; but you will allow me to have mine, which, with your 
permission, will remain independent. 

ORON. It is enough for me that others prize them. 

ALC. That is because they know how to dissemble, which 
I do not. 

ORON. Do you really believe that you have such a great 
share of wit ? 

ALC. If I praised your verses, I should have more. 

ORON. I shall do very well without your approbation. 

ALC. You will have to do without it, if it be all the 


ORON. I should like much to see you compose some on 
the same subject, just to have a sample of your style. 

ALC. I might, perchance, make some as bad ; but I 
should take good care not to show them to any one. 

ORON. You are mighty positive; and this great suffi- 
ciency . . . 

ALC. Pray, seek some one else to flatter you, and 
not me. 

ORON. But, my little sir, drop this haughty tone. 

ALC. In truth, my big sir, I shall do as I like. 

PHIL. {Coming between them). Stop, gentlemen ! that is 
carrying the matter too far. Cease, I pray. 

ORON. Ah! I am wrong, I confess; and I leave the 
field to you. I am your servant, sir, most heartily. 

ALC. And I, sir, am your most humble servant. 


PHIL. Well ! you see. By being too sincere, you have 
got a nice affair on your hands ; I saw that Oronte, in 
order to be flattered . . . 

ALC. Do not talk to me. 

PHIL. But . . . 

ALC. No more society for me. 

PHIL. Is it too much . . . 

ALC. Leave me alone. 

PHIL. If I . . . 

ALC. Not another word. 

PHIL. But what . . . 

ALC. I will hear no more. 

PHIL. But . . . 

ALC. Again ? 

PHIL. People insult . . . 

ALC. Ah ! zounds ! this is too much. Do not dog my 

PHIL. You are making fun of me ; I shall not leave 


ALC. Will you have me speak candidly to you, madam ? 


Well, then, I am very much dissatisfied with your be- 
haviour. I am very angry when I think of it ; and I per- 
ceive that we shall have to break with each other. Yes ; 
I should only deceive you were I to speak otherwise. 
Sooner or later a rupture is unavoidable ; and if I were to 
promise the contrary a thousand times, I should not be 
able to bear this any longer. 

CEL. Oh, I see ! it is to quarrel with me, that you 
wished to conduct me home ? 

ALC. I do not quarrel. But your disposition, madam, 
is too ready to give any first comer an entrance into your 
heart. Too many admirers beset you; and my temper 
cannot put up with that. 

CEL. Am I to blame for having too many admirers ? 
Can I prevent people from thinking me amiable ? and am 
I to take a stick to drive them away, when they endeavour 
by tender means to visit me ? 

ALC. No, madam, there is no need for a stick, but only 
a heart less yielding and less melting at their love-tales. 
I am aware that your good looks accompany you, go 
where you will ; but your reception retains those whom 
your eyes attract ; and that gentleness, accorded to those 
who surrender their arms, finishes on their hearts the sway 
which your charms began. The too agreeable expectation 
which you offer them increases their assiduities towards 
you ; and your complacency, a little less extended, would 
drive away the great crowd of so many admirers. But, 
tell me, at least, Madam, by what good fortune Clitandre 
has the happiness of pleasing you so mightily? Upon 
what basis of merit and sublime virtue do you ground the 
honour of your regard for him ? Is it by the long nail on 
his little finger that he has acquired the esteem which you 
display for him? Are you, like all the rest of the fashion- 
able world, fascinated by the dazzling merit of his fair 
wig? Do his great rolls make you love him? Do his 
many ribbons charm you? Is it by the attraction of his 
large rhingrave* that he has conquered your heart, whilst 
at the same time he pretended to be your slave ? Or have 

8 The rhingrave was a large pair of breeches, introduced into France 
by a certain Count von Salm, who was called the Rheingraf. 


his manner of smiling, and his falsetto voice, 9 found out 
the secret of moving your feelings ? 

CEL. How unjustly you take umbrage at him ! Do not 
you know why I countenance him ; and that he has pro- 
mised to interest all his friends in my lawsuit ? 

ALC. Lose your lawsuit, madam, with patience, and do 
not countenance a rival whom I detest. 

CEL. But you are getting jealous of the whole world. 

ALC. It is because the whole world is so kindly received 
by you. 

CEL. That is the very thing to calm your frightened 
mind, because my goodwill is diffused over all : you would 
have more reason to be offended if you saw me entirely 
occupied with one. 

ALC. But as for me, whom you accuse of too much 
jealousy, what have I more than any of them, madam, 

CEL. The happiness of knowing that you are beloved. 

ALC. And what grounds has my love-sick heart for 
believing it ? 

CEL. I think that, as I have taken the trouble to tell 
you so, such an avowal ought to satisfy you. 

ALC. But who will assure me that you may not, at the 
same time, say as much to everybody else perhaps ? 

CEL. Certainly, for a lover, this is a pretty amorous 
speech, and you make me out a very nice lady. Well ! to 
remove such a suspicion, I retract this moment everything 
I have said ; and no one but yourself shall for the future 
impose upon you. Will that satisfy you ? 

ALC. Zounds ! why do I love you so ! Ah ! if ever I get 
heart-whole out of your hands, I shall bless Heaven for 
this rare good fortune. I make no secret of it ; I do all 
that is possible to tear this unfortunate attachment from 
my heart ; but hitherto my greatest efforts have been of no 
avail ; and it is for my sins that I love you thus. 

CEL. It is very true that your affection for me is 

9 Compare with this what Moliere says in The Impromptu of Versailles, 
Vol. I., Scene iii., when he reprimands La Grange. "That is not the 
way in which Marquises talk. It must be a little higher. Most of these 
gentlemen affect a special tone to distinguish themselves from the vulgar.'' 


ALC. As for that, I can challenge the whole world. My 
love for you cannot be conceived ; and never, madam, has 
any man loved as I do. 

CEL. Your method, however, is entirely new, for you 
love people only to quarrel with them ; it is in peevish 
expressions alone that your feelings vent themselves ; no 
one ever saw such a grumbling swain. 

ALC. But it lies with you alone to dissipate this ill- 
humour. For mercy's sake let us make an end of all 
these bickerings ; deal openly with each other, and try to 
put a stop . . . 10 


CEL. What is the matter ? 

BAS. Acaste is below. 

CEL. Very well ! bid him come up. 


ALC. What ! can one never have a little private con- 
versation with you? You are always ready to receive 
company ; and you cannot, for a single instant, make up 
your mind to be "not at home." 

CEL. Do you wish me to quarrel with Acaste ? 

ALC. You have such regard for people, which I by no 
means like. 

CEL. He is a man never to forgive me, if he knew that 
his presence could annoy me. 

ALC. And what is that to you, to inconvenience your- 
self so ... 

CEL. But, good Heaven ! the amity of such as he is of 
importance; they are a kind of people who, I do not 
know how, have acquired the right to be heard at Court. 
They take their part in every conversation ; they can do 
you no good, but they may do you harm ; and, whatever 
support one may find elsewhere, it will never do to be on 
bad terms with these very noisy gentry. 

w It has been justly remarked by Genin, that Racine, who until then 
had treated love in La Thebdide, and Alexandra, as a heroic passion, was 
taught, probably by The Misanthrope, to treat that passion in a natural 
manner ; for thus he displays it in Andromaque, which appeared a year 
after Moliere's play. 


ALC. In short, whatever people may say or do, you 
always find reasons to bear with every one ; and your very 
careful judgment . . . 


BAS. Clitandre is here too, madam. 

ALC. Exactly so. ( Wishes to go). 

CEL. Where are you running to ? 

ALC. I am going. 

CEL. Stay. 

ALC. For what ? 

CEL. Stay. 

ALC. I cannot. 

CEL. I wish it. 

ALC. I will not. These conversations only weary me ; 
and it is too bad of you to wish me to endure them. 

CEL. I wish it, I wish it. 

ALC. No, it is impossible. 

CEL. Very well, then ! go, begone ; you can do as you 


EL. (To Celimene). Here are the two marquises coming 
up with us. Has anyone told you ? 

CEL. Yes. (To Basque}. Place chairs for everyone. 
(Basque places chairs, and exit). (To Alcesti). You are 
not gone? 

ALC. No ; but I am determined, madam, to have you 
make up your mind either for them or for me. 

CEL. Hold your tongue. 

ALC. This very day you shall explain yourself. 

CEL. You are losing your senses. 

ALC. Not at all. You shall declare yourself. 

CEL. Indeed! 

ALC. You must take your stand. 

CEL. You are jesting, I believe. 

ALC. Not so. But you must choose. I have been too 
patient. 11 

11 Whilst this " aside " is going on between Alceste and Celimene, all the 
other persons have taken seats on the stage in a semi-circle, facing the 
VOL. II. o 


CL. Egad ! I have just come from the Louvre, where 
Cleonte, at the levee, made himself very ridiculous. Has 
he not some friend who could charitably enlighten him 
upon his manners ? 

CEL. Truth to say, he compromises himself very much 
in society; everywhere he carries himself with an air 
that is noticed at first sight, and when after a short 
absence you meet him again, he is still more absurd than 

Ac. Egad ! Talk of absurd people, just now, one of the 
most tedious ones has annoyed me. That reasoner, 
Damon, kept me, if you please, for a full hour in the 
broiling sun, away from my Sedan chair. 12 

CEL. He is a strange talker, and one who always finds 
the means of telling you nothing with a great flow of 
words. There is no sense at all in his tittle-tattle, and 
all that we hear is but noise. 

EL. {To Philinte). This beginning is not bad; and 
the conversation takes a sufficiently agreeable turn against 
our neighbours. 

CL. Timante, too, Madam, is another original. 

CEL. He is a complete mystery from top to toe, who 
throws upon you, in passing, a bewildered glance, and 
who, without having anything to do, is always busy. 
Whatever he utters is accompanied with grimaces; he 
quite oppresses people by his ceremonies. To interrupt a 
conversation, he has always a secret to whisper to you, 
and that secret turns out to be nothing. Of the merest 
molehill he makes a mountain, and whispers everything in 
your ear, even to a " good-day." 

spectators. After they have been thus settled, Clitandre begins the 
conversation j Alceste has a chair on the extreme right, rather at the 

12 It is odd that English authorities pretend that Sedan chairs were 
introduced from France. D'Israeli, in his Curiosities of Literature, states 
that the Duke of Buckingham introduced Sedan chairs into England; 
Hone, in The Every-Day Book, vol. ii., p. 902, says in a note : " Sedan 
chairs were first introduced into England in 1634. The first was used 
by the Duke of Buckingham, to the indignation of the people, who ex- 
claimed, that he was employing his fellow-creatures to do the services 
of beasts.*' According to a note of M. E. Despois in the Precieuses 
Ridicules, it was the Marquis de Montbrun who first introduced the 
covered Sedan chairs from England into France. 


Ac. And Geralde, Madam? 

CEL. That tiresome story-teller ! He never comes down 
from his nobleman's pedestal; he continually mixes with 
the best society, and never quotes any one of minor rank 
than a Duke, Prince, or Princess. Rank is his hobby, 
and his conversation is of nothing but horses, carriages, 
and dogs. He thee* s and thou's persons of the highest 
standing, and the word Sir is quite obsolete, with him. 

CL. It is said that he is on the best of terms with 

CEL. Poor silly woman, and the dreariest company! 
When she comes to visit me, I suffer from martyrdom ; 
one has to rack one's brains perpetually to find out what to 
say to her ; and the impossibility of her expressing her 
thoughts allows the conversation to drop every minute. 
In vain you try to overcome her stupid silence by the 
assistance of the most commonplace topics ; even the fine 
weather, the rain, the heat and the cold are subjects, 
which, with her, are soon exhausted. Yet for all that, 
her calls, unbearable enough, are prolonged to an insuffer- 
able length; and you may consult the clock, or yawn 
twenty times, but she stirs no more than a log of wood. 

Ac. What think you of Adraste ? 

CEL. Oh ! What excessive pride ! He is a man posi- 
tively puffed out with conceit. His self-importance is 
never satisfied with the Court, against which he inveighs 
daily ; and whenever an office, a place, or a living is 
bestowed on another, he is sure to think himself unjustly 

CL. But young Cl6on, whom the most respectable peo- 
ple go to see, what say you of him ? 

CEL. That it is to his cook he owes his distinction, and 
to his table that people pay visits. 

EL. He takes pains to provide the most dainty dishes. 

CEL. True ; but I should be very glad if he would not 
dish up himself. His foolish person is a very bad dish, 
which, to my thinking, spoils every entertainment which 
he gives. 

PHIL. His uncle Damis is very much esteemed ; what 
say you to him, Madam ? 

CEL. He is one of my friends. 


PHIL. I think him a perfect gentleman, and sensible 

CEL. True ; but he pretends to too much wit, which 
annoys me. He is always upon stilts, and, in all his con- 
versations, one sees him labouring to say smart things. 
Since he took it into his head to be clever, he is so diffi- 
cult to please that nothing suits his taste. He must needs 
find mistakes in everything that one writes, and thinks 
that to bestow praise does not become a wit, that to find 
fault shows learning, that only fools admire and laugh, 
and that, by not approving of anything in the works of our 
time, he is superior to all other people. Even in conver- 
sations he finds something to cavil at, the subjects are too 
trivial for his condescension ; and, with arms crossed on 
his breast, he looks down from the height of his intellect 
with pity on what everyone says. 

Ac. Drat it ! his very picture. 

CL. (To Celimene). You have an admirable knack of 
portraying people to the life. 

ALC. Capital, go on, my fine courtly friends. You 
spare no one, and every one will have his turn. Never- 
theless, let but any one of those persons appear, and we 
shall see you rush to meet him, offer him your hand, and, 
with a flattering kiss, give weight to your protestations of 
being his servant. 

CL. Why this to us ? If what is said offends you, the 
reproach must be addressed to this lady. 

ALC. No, gadzooks ! it concerns you ; for your assent- 
ing smiles draw from her wit all these slanderous remarks. 
Her satirical vein is incessantly recruited by the culpable 
incense of your flattery ; and her mind would find fewer 
charms in raillery, if she discovered that no one applauded 
her. Thus it is that to flatterers we ought everywhere to 
impute the vices which are sown among mankind. 

PHIL. But why do you take so great an interest in those 
people, for you would condemn the very things that are 
blamed in them ? 

CEL. And is not this gentleman bound to contradict ? 
Would you have him subscribe to the general opinion; 
and must he not everywhere display the spirit of con- 
tradiction with which Heaven has endowed him ? Other 


people's sentiments can never please him. He always sup- 
ports a contrary idea, and he would think himself too 
much of the common herd, were he observed to be of 
any one's opinion but his own. The honour of gainsay- 
ing has so many charms for him, that he very often takes 
up the cudgels against himself; he combats his own sen- 
timents as soon as he hears them from other folks' lips. 13 

ALC. In short, madam, the laughers are on your side ; 
and you may launch your satire against me. 

PHIL. But it is very true, too, that you always take up 
arms against everything that is said ; and, that your 
avowed spleen cannot bear people to be praised or 

ALC. 'Sdeath ! spleen against mankind is always season- 
able, because they are never in the right, and I see that, 
in all their dealings, they either praise impertinently, or 
censure rashly. 

CEL. But . . . 

ALC. No, madam, no, though I were to die for it, you 
have pastimes which I cannot tolerate; and people are 
very wrong to nourish in your heart this great attachment 
to the very faults which they blame in you. 

CL. As for myself, I do not know; but I openly 
acknowledge that hitherto I have thought this lady 

Ac. I see that she is endowed with charms and attrac- 
tions ; but the faults which she has have not struck me. 

ALC. So much the more have they struck me; and far 
from appearing blind, she knows that I take care to 
reproach her with them. The more we love any one, the 

18 This passage has been applied by Moliere's contemporaries to the 
Duke de Montausier. It is said that this nobleman was one day walking 
with a friend, near the Tuileries, when the latter remarked how foolish 
Renard, the proprietor of some gardens close by, was to allow the 
public to enter there, instead of keeping them only for himself and his 
friends. The Duke replied that Renard could not do better than receive 
respectable people in his grounds, and proved this convincingly. On 
the next day, being by accident in the same neighbourhood, Montausier's 
friend observed how praiseworthy it was in Renard to allow good com- 
pany to enter his grounds; but the Duke replied, that only a madman 
could spoil his own and his friends' pleasures, in order to allow all the 
idlers of the court and town to saunter there. It is said that Manage 
related this anecdote. 


less we ought to flatter her. True love shows itself by 
overlooking nothing; and, were I a lady, I would banish 
all those mean-spirited lovers who submit to all my sen- 
timents, and whose mild complacencies every moment 
offer up incense to my vagaries. 

CEL. In short, if hearts were ruled by you we ought, 
to love well, to relinquish all tenderness, and make it the 
highest aim of perfect attachment to rail heartily at the 
persons we love. 

EL. Love, generally speaking, is little apt to put up 
with these decrees, and lovers are always observed to 
extol their choice. Their passion never sees aught to 
blame in it, and in the beloved all things become love- 
able. They think their faults perfections, and invent 
sweet terms to call them by. The pale one vies with the 
jessamine in fairness; another, dark enough to frighten 
people, becomes an adorable brunette ; the lean one has 
a good shape and is lithe ; the stout one has a portly and 
majestic bearing; the slattern, who has few charms, 
passes under the name of a careless beauty ; the giantess 
seems a very goddess in their sight ; the dwarf is an 
epitome of all the wonders of Heaven ; the proud one 
has a soul worthy of a diadem ; the artful brims with wit ; 
the silly one is very good-natured; the chatterbox is 
good-tempered ; and the silent one modest and reticent. 
Thus a passionate swain loves even the very faults of 
those of whom he is enamoured. 1 * 

ALC. And I maintain that . . . 

CEL. Let us drop the subject, and take a turn or two in 
the gallery. What ! are you going, gentlemen ? 

CL. AND Ac. No, no, madam. 

ALC. The fear of their departure troubles you very 
much. Go when you like, gentlemen ; but I tell you be- 
forehand that I shall not leave until you leave. 

14 1 have already said that Grimarest stated that Moliere had prepared 
a translation of Lucretius in verse ; and that he intended to read part of 
it at an evening-party given at the house of M. du Broussin, in 1664, but 
did not think his verses worthy of coming after those of Boileau, who 
read before him. All this rests upon very slight tradition ; the only traces 
of Lucretius in Moliere's works are a few lines of The Citizen who apes 
the Nobleman (See Vol. III.), and the above passage. 


Ac. Unless it inconveniences this lady, I have nothing 
to call me elsewhere the whole day. 

CL. I, provided I am present when the King retires, 15 
I have no other matter to call me away. 

CEL. (To Alceste}. You only joke, I fancy. 

ALC. Not at all. We shall soon see whether it is me of 
whom you wish to get rid. 


BAS. (To Alceste). There is a man down stairs, sir, who 
wishes to speak to you on business which cannot be post- 

ALC. Tell him that I have no such urgent business. 

BAS. He wears a jacket with large plaited skirts em- 
broidered with gold. 

CEL. ( To Alceste). Go and see who it is, or else let 
him come in. 


ALC. (Going to meet the guard}. What may be your 
pleasure? Come in, sir. 

GUARD. I would have a few words privately with you, 

ALC. You may speak aloud, sir, so as to let me know. 

GUARD. The Marshalls of France, whose commands I 
bear, hereby summon you to appear before them immedi- 
ately, sir. 

ALC. Whom? Me, sir? 

GUARD. Yourself. 

ALC. And for what ? 

18 The original has petit couche. See Vol. I., p. 151. 

18 The dress of the guards of the mare'chauss^e, was something 1 like 
that of the " buflfetiers " of the Tower 01 London ; hence the allusion to 
" the planted skirts." The marechaux de France formed a tribunal, which 
inquired into affairs of honour among noblemen or officers. The garde 
de la connetablie was under its orders, and made the offended parties 
appear before the tribunal of the mare'cnausse'e, who settled the reparation 
to be given. See also page 191, note 3. 


PHIL. {To Alceste). It is this ridiculous affair between 
you and Oronte. 

CEL. ( To Philinte). What do you mean ? 

PHIL. Oronto and he have been insulting each other 
just now about some trifling verses which he did not like; 
and the Marshalls wish to nip the affair in the bud. 

ALC. But I shall never show any base complacency. 

PHIL. But you must obey the summons : come, get ready. 

ALC. How will they settle this between us? Will the 
edict of these gentlemen oblige me to approve of the verses 
which are the cause of our quarrel ? I will not retract 
what I have said ; I think them abominable. 

PHIL. But with a little milder tone . . . 

ALC. I will not abate one jot ; the verses are execra- 

PHIL. You ought to show some more accommodating 
spirit. Come along. 

ALC. I shall go, but nothing shall induce me to retract. 

PHIL. Go and show yourself. 

ALC. Unless an express order from the King himself 
commands me to approve of the verses which cause all this 
trouble, I shall ever maintain, egad, that they are bad, and 
that a fellow deserves hanging for making them. 17 (To 
Clitandre and A caste who are laughing). Hang it ! gen- 
tlemen, I did not think I was so amusing. 

CEL. Go quickly whither you are wanted. 

ALC. I am going, madam ; but shall come back here to 
finish our discussion. 



CL. My dear marquis, you appear mightily pleased with 
yourself; everything amuses you, and nothing discom- 
poses you. But really and truly, think you, without flat- 

17 Tradition pretends that when Boileau was told that Colbert was very 
intimate with Chapelain, that even the King liked the tatter's poem 
La Pucelle, and that therefore the first-mentioned should be more careful 
in his criticisms, he exclaimed, "The King and M. Colbert may do what 
they please, but unless his Majesty expressly commands me to consider 
the verses of M. Chapelain good, I shall always maintain that a man, 
after having written such a poem, deserves to be hanged." 


taring yourself, that you have good reasons for appearing 
so joyful. 

Ac. Egad, I do not find, on looking at myself, any 
matter to be sorrowful about. I am wealthy, I am young, 
and descend from a family which, with some appearance 
of truth, may be called noble ; and I think that, by the 
rank which my lineage confers upon me, there are very 
few offices to which I might not aspire. As for courage, 
which we ought especially to value, it is well known this 
without vanity that I do not lack it ; and people have 
seen me carry on an affair of honour in a manner suffi- 
ciently vigorous and brisk. As for wit, I have some, no 
doubt ; and as for good taste, to judge and reason upon 
everything without study; at "first nights," of which I 
am very fond, to take my place as a critic upon the stage, 
to give my opinion as a judge, to applaud, and point out 
the best passages by repeated bravoes, I am sufficiently 
adroit ; I carry myself well, and am good-looking, have 
particularly fine teeth, and a good figure. I believe, with- 
out flattering myself, that, as for dressing in good taste, very 
few will dispute the palm with me. I find myself treated 
with every possible consideration, very much beloved by 
the fair sex; and I stand very well with the King. With 
all that, I think, dear marquis, that one might be satisfied 
with oneself anywhere. 

CL. True. But, finding so many easy conquests else- 
where, why come you here to utter fruitless sighs ? 

Ac. I ? Zounds ! I have neither the wish nor the dis- 
position to put up with the indifference of any woman. I 
leave it to awkward and ordinary people to burn con- 
stantly for cruel fair maidens, to languish at their feet, and 
to bear with their severities, to invoke the aid of sighs and 
tears, and to endeavour, by long and persistent assiduities, 
to obtain what is denied to their little merit. But men of 
my stamp, marquis, are not made to love on trust, and be 
at all the expenses themselves. Be the merit of the fair 
ever so great, I think, thank Heaven, that we have our 
value as well as they ; that it is not reasonable to enthrall 
a heart like mine without its costing them anything ; and 
that, to weigh everything in a just scale, the advances 
should be, at least, reciprocal. 


CL. Then you think that you are right enough here, 
marquis ? 

Ac. I have some reason, marquis, to think so. 

CL. Believe me, divest yourself of this great mistake ? 
you flatter yourself, dear friend, and are altogether self- 

Ac. It is true. I flatter myself, and am, in fact, alto- 
gether, self-deceived. 

CL. But what causes you to judge your happiness to be 
complete ? 

Ac. I flatter myself. 

CL. Upon what do you ground your belief? 

Ac. I am altogether self-deceived. 

CL. Have you any sure proofs? 

Ac. I am mistaken, I tell you. 

CL. Has Celimene made you any secret avowal of her 
inclinations ? 

Ac. No, I am very badly treated by her. 

CL. Answer me, I pray. 

Ac. I meet with nothing but rebuffs. 

CL. A truce to your raillery ; and tell me what hope 
she has held out to you. 

Ac. I am the rejected, and you are the lucky one. She 
has a great aversion to me, and one of these days I shall 
have to hang myself. 

CL. Nonsense. Shall we two, marquis, to adjust our 
love affairs, make a compact together ? Whenever one of 
us shall be able to show a certain proof of having the 
greater share in Celimene's heart, the other shall leave the 
field free to the supposed conqueror, and by that means 
rid him of an obstinate rival. 

Ac. Egad ! you please me with these words, and I agree 
to that from the bottom of my heart. But, hush. 

CEL. What ! here still ? 

CLI. Love, madam, detains us. 

CEL. I hear a carriage below. Do you know whose it is? 

CLI. No. 

BAS. Arsino, Madam, is coming up to see you. 


CEL. What does the woman want with me? 

BAS. filiante is down stairs talking to her. 

CEL. What is she thinking about, and what brings her 

Ac. She has everywhere the reputation of being a con- 
summate prude, and her fervent zeal . . . 

CEL. Psha, downright humbug. In her inmost soul she 
is as worldly as any ; and her every nerve is strained to 
hook some one, without being successful, however. She 
can only look with envious eyes on the accepted lovers of 
others; and in her wretched condition, forsaken by all, 
she is for ever railing against the blindness of the age. 
She endeavours to hide the dreadful isolation of her home 
under a false cloak of prudishness; and to save the credit 
of her feeble charms, she brands as criminal the power 
which they lack. Yet a swain would not come at all amiss 
to the lady; and she has even a tender hankering after 
Alceste. Every attention that he pays me, she looks upon 
as a theft committed by me, and as an insult to her attrac- 
tions ; and her jealous spite, which she can hardly hide, 
breaks out against me at every opportunity, and in an un- 
derhand manner. In short, I never saw anything, to my 
fancy, so stupid. She is impertinent to the last degree . . 


CEL. Ah ! what happy chance brings you here, madam ? 
I was really getting uneasy about you. 

ARS. I have come to give you some advice as a matter 
of duty. 

CEL. How very glad I am to see you ! 

(Exeunt Clitandre and Acaste, laughing). 


ARS. They could not have left at a more convenient 

CEL. Shall we sit down ? 

ARS. It is not necessary. Friendship, madam, must 
especially show itself in matters which may be of conse- 
quence to us; and as there are none of greater importance 
than honour and decorum, I come to prove to you, by an 


advice which closely touches your reputation, the friend- 
ship which I feel for you. Yesterday I was with some 
people of rare virtue, where the conversation turned upon 
you ; and there, your conduct, which is causing some stir, 
was unfortunately, madam, far from being commended. 
That crowd of people, whose visits you permit, your gal- 
lantry and the noise it makes, were criticised rather more 
freely and more severely than I could have wished. You 
can easily imagine whose part I took. I did all I could 
to defend you. I exonerated you, and vouched for the 
purity of your heart, and the honesty of your intentions. 
But you know there are things in life, which one cannot 
well defend, although one may have the greatest wish to 
do so ; and I was at last obliged to confess that the way 
in which you lived did you some harm; that, in the eyes 
of the world, it had a doubtful look; that there was no 
story so ill-natured as not to be everywhere told about it ; 
and that, if you liked, your behaviour might give less 
cause for censure. Not that I believe that decency is in 
any way outraged. Heaven forbid that I should harbour 
such a thought ! But the world is so ready to give credit 
to the faintest shadow of a crime, and it is not enough to 
live blameless one's self. Madam, I believe you to be too 
sensible not to take in good part this useful counsel, and 
not to ascribe it only to the inner promptings of an af- 
fection that feels an interest in your welfare. 

CEL. Madam, I have a great many thanks to return you. 
Such counsel lays me under an obligation ; and, far from 
taking it amiss, I intend this very moment to repay the 
favour, by giving you an advice which also touches your 
reputation closely ; and as I see you prove yourself my 
friend by acquainting me with the stories that are current 
of me, I shall follow so nice an example, by informing 
you what is said of you. In a house the other day, where 
I paid a visit, I met some people of exemplary merit, who, 
while talking of the proper duties of a well spent life, turned 
the topic of the conversation upon you, madam. There your 
prudishness and your too fervent zeal were not at all cited 
as a good example. This affectation of a grave demeanour, 
your eternal conversations on wisdom and honour, your 
mincings and mouthings at the slightest shadows of in- 


dency, which an innocent though ambiguous word may 
convey, that lofty esteem in which you hold yourself, and 
those pitying glances which you cast upon all, your fre- 
quent lectures and your acrid censures on things which are 
pure and harmless ; all this, if I may speak frankly to you, 
madam, was blamed unanimously. What is the good, said 
they, of this modest mien and this prudent exterior, which 
is belied by all the rest ? She says her prayers with the 
utmost exactness; but she beats her servants and pays 
them no wages. She displays great fervour in every place 
of devotion ; but she paints and wishes to appear hand- 
some. She covers the nudities in her pictures ; but loves 
the reality. As for me, I undertook your defence against 
everyone, and positively assured them that it was nothing 
but scandal ; but the general opinion went against me, 
and they came to the conclusion that you would do well 
to concern yourself less about the actions of others, and 
take a little more pains with your own ; that one ought to 
look a long time at one's self before thinking of con- 
demning other people; that when we wish to correct 
others, we ought to add the weight of a blameless life; and 
that even then, it would be better to leave it to those 
whom Heaven has ordained for the task. Madam, I also 
believe you to be too sensible not to take in good part this 
useful counsel, and not to ascribe it only to the inner 
promptings of an affection that feels an interest in your 

AR. To whatever we may be exposed when we reprove, 
I did not expect this retort, madam, and, by its very sting, 
I see how my sincere advice has hurt your feelings. 

CEL. On the contrary, madam ; and, if we were reason- 
able, those mutual counsels would become customary. If 
honestly made use of, it would to a great extent destroy 
the excellent opinion people have of themselves. It de- 
pends entirely on you whether we shall continue this trust- 
worthy practice with equal zeal, and whether we shall take 
great care to tell each other, between ourselves, what we 
hear, you of me, I of you. 

AR. Ah ! madam, I can hear nothing said of you. It 
is in me that people find so much to reprove. 

CEL. Madam, it is easy, I believe, to blame or praise 


everything; and everyone may be right, according to 
their age and taste. There is a time for gallantry, there 
is one also for prudishness. One may out of policy take to 
it, when youthful attractions have faded away. It some- 
times serves to hide vexatious ravages of time. I do not 
say that I shall not follow your example, one of these days. 
Those things come with old age; but twenty, as everyone 
well knows, is not an age to play the prude. 

AR. You certainly pride yourself upon a very small 
advantage, and you boast terribly of your age. Whatever 
difference there may be between your years and mine, 
there is no occasion to make such a tremendous fuss about 
it ; and I am at a loss to know, madam, why you should 
get so angry, and what makes you goad me in this manner. 

CEL. And I, madam, am at an equal loss to know why 
one hears you inveigh so bitterly against me everywhere. 
Must I always suffer for your vexations? Can I help it, 
if people refuse to pay you any attentions? If men will 
fall in love with me, and will persist in offering me each 
day those attentions of which your heart would wish to 
see me deprived, I cannot alter it, and it is not my fault. 
I leave you the field free, and do not prevent you from 
having charms to attract people. 

AR. Alas ! and do you think that I would trouble 
myself about this crowd of lovers of which you are SQ 
vain, and that it is not very easy to judge at what price 
they may be attracted now-a-days ? Do you wish to make 
it be believed, that, judging by what is going on, youi 
merit alone attracts this crowd ; that their affection foi 
you is strictly honest, and that it is for nothing but youi 
virtue that they all pay you their court ? People are not 
blinded by those empty pretences ; the world is not duped 
in that way ; and I see many ladies who are capable of 
inspiring a tender feeling, yet who do not succeed in 
attracting a crowd of beaux ; and from that fact we may 
draw our conclusion that those conquests are not altogether 
made without some great advances ; that no one cares to 
sigh for us, for our handsome looks only ; and that the 
attentions bestowed on us are ^generally dearly bought. 
Do not therefore puff yourself up with vain-glory about 
the trifling advantages of a poor victory ; and moderate 


slightly the pride on your good looks, instead of looking 
down upon people on account of them. If I were at all 
envious about your conquests, I dare say, that I might 
manage like other people ; be under no restraint, and thus 
show plainly that one may have lovers, when one wishes 
for them. 

CEL. Do have some then, madam, and let us see you 
try it ; endeavour to please by this extraordinary secret ; 
and without . . . 

AR. Let us break off this conversation, madam, it might 
excite too much both your temper and mine ; and I would 
have already taken my leave, had I not been obliged to 
wait for my carriage. 

CEL. Please stay as long as you like, and do not hurry 
yourself on that account, madam. But instead of weary- 
ing you any longer with my presence, I am going to give 
you some more pleasant company. This gentleman, who 
comes very opportunely, will better supply my place in 
entertaining you. 18 


CEL, Alceste, I have to write a few lines, which I cannot 
well delay. Please to stay with this lady ; she will all the 
more easily excuse my rudeness. 


AR. You see, I am left here to entertain you, until my 
coach comes round. She could have devised no more 
charming treat for me, than such a conversation. Indeed, 
people of exceptional merit attract the esteem and love of 

18 One of the commentators of Moliere, M. Auger, has justly observed 
how admirably Celimene and Arsinoe vent their malignity, under the 
pretext of doing their duty as friends. Both are equally bad, both hate 
and insult each other ; but yet, although their feelings and situations are 
the same, Moliere shows with a master hand the difference between them. 
The prude Arsinoe 1 is bitter and angry in 'er speech ; the coquette Celi- 
mene jocular and calm ; the first, by getting in a rage, is wholly off her 
guard, and exposes herself to the most terrible blows : the second, keep- 
ing cool, preserves all her advantages, and makes the best possible use of 
them. The reason of it is that the one is of a certain age, and of uncertain 
charms, whilst the other is in the flower of her youth and beauty ; the one 
is a hypocrite, whose mask has been snatched off; the other is a rather 
impudent young woman, whose faults are obvious. 


every one ; and yours has undoubtedly some secret charm, 
which makes me feel interested in all your doings. I 
could wish that the Court, with a real regard to your 
merits would do more justice to your deserts. You have 
reason to complain ; and it vexes me to see that day by 
day nothing is done for you. 

ALC. For me, madam ? And by what right could I 
pretend to anything ? What service have I rendered to 
the State ? Pray, what have I done, so brilliant in itself, 
to complain of the Court doing nothing for me ? 

AR. Not everyone whom the State delights to honour, 
has rendered signal services; there must be an opportu- 
nity as well as the power ; and the abilities which you 
allow us to perceive, ought . . . 

ALC. For Heaven's sake, let us have no more of my 
abilities, I pray. What would you have the Court to do ? 
It would have enough to do, and have its hands full, to 
discover the merits of people. 

AR. Sterling merit discovers itself. A great deal is 
made of yours in certain places ; and let me tell you that, 
not later than yesterday, you were highly spoken of in 
two distinguished circles, by people of very great standing. 

ALC. As for that, madam, everyone is praised now-a- 
days, and very little discrimination is shown in our times. 
Everything is equally endowed with great merit, so that it 
is no longer an honour to be lauded. Praises abound, 
they throw them at one's head, and even my valet is put 
in the gazette. 19 

AR. As for me, I could wish that, to bring yourself into 
greater notice, some place at Court might tempt you. If 
you will only give me a hint that you seriously think 
about it, a great many engines might be set in motion to 
serve you ; and I know some people whom I could em- 

19 The only newspaper then (1666) known was the official Gazette de 
France, established by Renaudot in 1631 ; Denis de Sallo founded, in 
1665, a literary and scientific paper, called le Journal des Savants. As 
the news given by the Gazette was very meagre, there arose the gazettes 
secretes, which were rigorously prosecuted, and, if possible, suppressed, 
&iid the authors, if got hold of, publicly flagellated and imprisoned. Com- 
pare Byron's Jine in Don Juan, " And even my servant's put in the 


ploy for you, and who would manage the matter smoothly 

ALC. And what should I do when I got there, madam? 
My disposition rather prompts me to keep away from it. 
Heaven, when ushering me into the world, did not give 
me a mind suited for the atmosphere of a Court. I have 
not the qualifications necessary for success, nor for making 
my fortune there. To be open and candid is my chief 
talent ; I possess not the art of deceiving people in con- 
versation ; and he who has not the gift of concealing his 
thoughts, ought not to stay long in those places. When 
not at Court, one has not, doubtless, that standing, and 
the advantage of those honourable titles which it bestows 
now-a-days ; but, on the other hand, one has not the vexa- 
tion of playing the silly fool. One has not to bear a 
thousand galling rebuffs; one is not, as it were, forced to 
praise the verses of mister, to laud madam 
such and such, and to put up with the whims of some 
ingenuous marquis. 40 

AR. Since you wish it, let us drop the subject of the 
Court : but I cannot help grieving for your amours ; and, 
to tell you my opinions candidly on that head, I could 
heartily wish your affections better bestowed. You cer- 
tainly deserve a much happier fate, and she who has fas- 
cinated you is unworthy of you. 

ALC. But in saying so, madam, remember, I pray, that 
this lady is your friend. 

AR. True. But really my conscience revolts at the 
thought of suffering any longer the wrong that is done to 
you. The position in which I see you afflicts my very 
soul, and I caution you that your affections are betrayed. 

ALC. This is certainly showing me a deal of good feel- 
ing, madam, and such information is very welcome to a 

AR. Yes, for all Celimene is my friend, I do not hesi- 
tate to call her unworthy of possessing the heart of a man 
of honour ; and hers only pretends to respond to yours. 

10 This is, I believe, the only direct attack Moliere ever made against 
the Court, and by so doing, he ran the risk of offending Louis XIV. 
Part of this outbreak may be found in Juvenal, and also one of Boileau's 

VOL. II. p 


ALC. That is very possible, madam, one cannot look 
into the heart ; but your charitable feelings might well 
have refrained from awakening such a suspicion as mine. 

AR. Nothing is easier than to say no more about it, if 
you do not wish to be undeceived. 

ALC. Just so. But whatever may be openly said on this 
subject is not half so annoying as hints thrown out ; and 
I for one would prefer to be plainly told that only which 
could be clearly proved. 

AR. Very well ! and that is sufficient ; I can fully en- 
lighten you upon this subject. I will have you believe 
nothing but what your own eyes see. Only have the 
kindness to escort me as far as my house ; and I will give 
you undeniable proof of the faithlessness of your fair one's 
heart ; 21 and if, after that, you can find charms in anyone 
else, we will perhaps find you some consolation. 



PHIL. No, never have I seen so obstinate a mind, nor 
a reconciliation more difficult to effect. In vain was 
Alceste tried on all sides ; he would still maintain his 
opinion ; and never, I believe, has a more curious dispute 
engaged the attention of those gentlemen. " No, gentle* 
men," exclaimed he, " I will not retract, and I shall agree 
with you on every point, except on this one. At what is 
Oronte offended ? and with what does he reproach me ? 
Does it reflect upon his honour that he cannot write 
well? What is my opinion to him, which he has alto- 
gether wrongly construed ? One may be a perfect gentle- 
man, and write bad verses ; those things have nothing to 
do with honour. I take him to be a gallant man in every 
way ; a man of standing, of merit, and courage, anything 
you like, but he is a wretched author. I shall praise, if 

21 The original has a bad play on words, or rather on the antithesis of 
thought, as shown in the sentence: je vousferai voir une preuve fi dele, 
de I'infidelite du caeur de votre belle. This was quite in the taste of the 
times, though happily no longer so. 


you wish, his mode of living, his lavishness, his skill in 
riding, in fencing, in dancing ; but as to praising his 
verses, I am his humble servant ; and if one has not the 
gift of composing better, one ought to leave off rhyming 
altogether, unless condemned to it on forfeit of one's 
life."" In short, all the modification they could with dif- 
ficulty obtain from him, was to say, in what he thought a 
much gentler tone " I am sorry, Sir, to be so difficult to 
please ; and out of regard for you, I could wish, with all 
my heart, to have found your sonnet a little better." And 
they compelled them to settle this dispute quickly with 
an embrace. 

EL. He is very eccentric in his doings ; but I must con- 
fess that I think a great deal of him ; and the candour 
upon which he prides himself has something noble and 
heroic in it. It is a rare virtue now-a-days, and I, for 
one, should not be sorry to meet with it everywhere. 

PHIL. As for me, the more I see of him, the more I am 
amazed at that passion to which his whole heart is given 
up. I cannot conceive how, with a disposition like his, 
he has taken it into his head to love at all ; and still less 
can I understand how your cousin happens to be the per- 
son to whom his feelings are inclined. 

EL. That shows that love is not always produced by 
compatibility of temper; and in this case, all the pretty 
theories of gentle sympathies are belied. M 

PHIL. But do you think him beloved in return, to judge 
from what we see? 

EL. That is a point not easily decided. How can we 
judge whether it be true she loves ? Her own heart is not 
so very sure of what it feels. It sometimes loves, without 

B See page 216, note 16. This passage reminds me of a nearly similar 
one in the ninth satire of Boileau, in which he says of Chape lain 
Let aye his honesty and his fair name be praised ; 
His candour and civility be highly valued ; 
Let him be gentle, pliant, upright, o'er-polite; 
Amen, I say to this, not one word will I utter. 
But when they say his writings are the very best, 
When he's the amplest paid of all the wits in town, 
When they declare him king of all the author's tribe, 
Then I'm quite in a rage, anxious to scribble too. 

"The word "Sympathy" was then used to express in an elegant 
manner, the feeling of love. 


[ACT iv. 

being quite aware of it, and at other times thinks it does, 
without the least grounds. 

PHIL. I think that our friend will have more trouble 
with this cousin of yours than he imagines ; and to tell 
you the truth, if he were of my mind, he would bestow 
his affections elsewhere ; and by a better choice, we should 
see him, madam, profit by the kind feelings which your 
heart evinces for him. 

EL. As for me, I do not mince matters, and I think that 
in such cases we ought to act with sincerity. I do not run 
counter to his tender feelings; on the contrary, I feel in- 
terested in them ; and, if it depended only on me, I would 
unite him to the object of his love. But if, as it may hap- 
pen in love affairs, his affections should receive a check, 
and if Celimene should respond to the love of any one 
else, I could easily be prevailed upon to listen to his ad- 
dresses, and I should have no repugnance whatever to 
them on account of their rebuff elsewhere. 

PHIL. Nor do I, from my side, oppose myself, madam, 
to the tender feelings which you entertain for him ; and 
he himself, if he wished, could inform you what I have 
taken care to say to him on that score. But if, by the 
union of those two, you should be prevented from accept- 
ing his attentions, all mine would endeavour to gain that 
great favour which your kind feelings offer to him ; only 
too happy, madam, to have them transferred to myself, if 
his heart could not respond to yours. 

EL. You are in the humour to jest, Philinte. 

PHIL. Not so, madam, I am speaking my inmost feel- 
ings. I only wait the opportune moment to offer myself 
openly, and am wishing most anxiously to hurry its 


ALC. Ah, madam ! obtain me justice for an offence 
which triumphs over all my constancy. 

EL. What ails you? What disturbs you? 

ALC. This much ails me, that it is death to me to think 
of it ; and the upheaving of all creation would less over- 
whelm me than this accident. It is all over with me . . . 
My love ... I cannot speak. 


EL. Just endeavour to be composed. 

ALC. Oh, just Heaven ! must so many charms be allied 
to most odious vices of the most perfidious hearts. 

EL. But, once more, what can have . . . 

ALC. Alas ! All is ruined ' I am ! I am betrayed ! I am 
stricken to death ! Celimene . . . would you credit it ! 
Celimene deceives me and is faithless. 24 

EL. Have you just grounds for believing so ? 

PHIL. Perhaps it is a suspicion, rashly conceived ; and 
your jealous temper often harbours fancies . . . 

ALC. Ah ! 'Sdeath, please to mind your own business, 
sir. (To Eliante}. Her treachery is but too certain, for I 
have in my pocket a letter in her own handwriting. Yes, 
madam, a letter, intended for Oronte, has placed before 
my eyes my disgrace and her shame; Oronte, whose 
addresses I believed she avoided, and whom, of all my 
rivals, I feared the least. 

PHIL. A letter may deceive by appearances, and is 
sometimes not so culpable as may be thought. 

ALC. Once more, sir, leave me alone, if you please, and 
trouble yourself only about your own concerns. 

EL. You should moderate your passion; and the in- 
sult . . . 

ALC. You must be left to do that, madam ; it is to you 
that my heart has recourse to-day to free itself from this 
goading pain. Avenge me on an ungrateful and perfidious 
relative who basely deceives such constant tenderness. 
Avenge me for an act that ought to fill you with horror. 

EL. I avenge you? How? 

ALC. By accepting my heart. Take it, madam, instead 
of the false one; it is in this way that I can avenge 
myself upon her ; and I shall punish her by the sincere 
attachment, and the profound love, the respectful cares, 
the eager devotions, the ceaseless attentions which this 
heart will henceforth offer up at your shrine. 

EL. I certainly sympathize with you in your sufferings, 
and do not despise your proffered heart ; but the wrong 

2i The words from " What ails you " till " faithless," are with some 
slight alterations, taken from Don Garcia of Navarre, Act iv., Scene 7, 
Vol. I. 


done may not be so great as you think, and you might 
wish to forego this desire for revenge. When the injury 
proceeds from a beloved object, we form many designs 
which we never execute ; we may find as powerful a reason 
as we like to break off the connection, the guilty charmer 
is soon again innocent ; all the harm we wish her quickly 
vanishes, and we know what a lover's anger means. 

ALC. No, no, madam, no. The offence is too cruel ; 
there will be no relenting, and I have done with her. 
Nothing shall change the resolution I have taken, and I 
should hate myself for ever loving her again. Here she 
comes. My anger increases at her approach. I shall 
taunt her with her black guilt, completely put her to the 
blush, and, after that, bring you a heart wholly freed from 
her deceitful attractions. 


ALC. (Aside), Grant, Heaven, that I may control my 

CEL. (Aside). Ah! (70 Alceste}. What is all this 
trouble that I see you in, and what mean those long-drawn 
sighs, and those black looks which you cast at me? 

ALC. That all the wickedness of which a heart is capa- 
ble is not to be compared to your perfidy ; that neither 
fate, hell, nor Heaven in its wrath, ever produced anything 
so wicked as you are. 25 

CEL. These are certainly pretty compliments, which I 
admire very much. 

ALC. Do not jest. This is no time for laughing. Blush 
rather, you have cause to do so; and I have undeniable 
proofs of your treachery. This is what the agitations of 
my mind prognosticated ; it was not without cause that 
my love took alarm ; by these frequent suspicions, which 
were hateful to you, I was trying to discover the misfortune 
which my eyes have beheld ; and in spite of all your care 
and your skill in dissembling, my star foretold me what I 
had to fear. But do not imagine that I will bear un- 
avenged this slight of being insulted. I know that we 

25 These words, from " That all " till "you are," are also in Don Garcia 
of Navarre, Act iv., Scene 8, Vol. I. 


have no command over our inclinations, that love will 
everywhere spring up spontaneously, that there is no en- 
tering a heart by force, and that every soul is free to name 
its conqueror : I should thus have no reason to complain 
if you had spoken to me without dissembling, and re- 
jected my advances from the very beginning ; my heart 
would then have been justified in blaming fortune alone. 
But to see my love encouraged by a deceitful avowal on 
your part, is an action so treacherous and perfidious, that 
it cannot meet with too great a punishment ; and I can 
allow my resentment to do anything. Yes, yes ; after 
such an outrage, fear everything; I am no longer myself, 
I am mad with rage. 26 My senses, struck by the deadly 
blow with which you kill me, are no longer governed by 
reason ; I give way to the outbursts of a just wrath, and 
am no longer responsible for what I may do. 

CEL. Whence comes, I pray, such a passion ? Speak ! 
Have you lost your senses ? 

ALC. Yes, yes, I lost them when, to my misfortune, I 
beheld you, and thus took the poison which kills me, and 
when I thought to meet with some sincerity in those 
treacherous charms that bewitched me. 

CEL. Of what treachery have you to complain ? 

ALC. Ah ! how double-faced she is ! how well she 
knows how to dissemble ! But I am fully prepared with 
the means of driving her to extremities. Cast your eyes 
here and recognize your writing. This picked-up note is 
sufficient to confound you, and such proof cannot easily 
be refuted. 

CEL. And this is the cause of your perturbation of 
spirits ? 

ALC. You -do not blush on beholding this writing ! 

CEL. And why should I blush ? 

ALC. What ! You add boldness to craft ! Will you dis- 
own this note because it bears no name? 

CEL. Why should I disown it, since I wrote it. 17 

* The whole of Alceste's speech, from "Blush rather" until "mad 
with 'rage," is, with some slight alterations, taken from Don Garcia of 
Navarre, Act iv., Scene 8, Vol. I. 

* The words "Whence comes I pray" until "since I wrote it," are, 
with some slight alterations, taken from Don Garcia of Navarre, Act. ii., 
Scene 5, Vol. I. 


ALC. And you can look at it without becoming confused 
at the crime of which its style accuses you ! 

CEL. You are, in truth, a very eccentric man. 

ALC. What ! you thus out-brave this convincing proof! 
And the contents so full of tenderness for Oronte, need 
have nothing in them to outrage me, or to shame you ? 

CEL. Oronte ! Who told you that this letter is for 
him ? 

ALC. The people who put it into my hands this day. 
But I will even suppose that it is for some one else. Has 
my heart any less cause to complain of yours ? Will you, 
in fact, be less guilty toward me ? 

CEL. But if it is a woman to whom this letter is ad- 
dressed, how can it hurt you, or what is there culpable 
in it? 

ALC. Hem ! The prevarication is ingenious, and the 
excuse excellent. I must own that I did not expect this 
turn ; and nothing but that was wanting to convince me. 
Do you dare to have recourse to such palpable tricks? 
Do you think people entirely destitute of common sense ? 
Come, let us see a little by what subterfuge, with what 
air, you will support so palpable a falsehood; and how 
you can apply to a woman every word of this note which 
evinces so much tenderness ! Reconcile, if you can, to 
hide your deceit, what I am about to read. . . . 

CEL. It does not suit me to do so. I think it ridiculous 
that you should take so much upon yourself, and tell me 
to my face what you have the daring to say to me ! 

ALC. No, no, without flying into a rage, take a little 
trouble to explain these terms. 

CEL. No, I shall do nothing of the kind, and it matters 
very little to me what you think upon the subject. 

ALC. I pray you, show me, and I shall be satisfied, if 
this letter can be explained as meant for a woman. 

CEL. Not at all. It is for Oronte ; and I will have you 
believe it. I accept all his attentions gladly ; I admire 
what he says, I like him, and I shall agree to whatever 
you please. Do as you like, and act as you think proper; 
let nothing hinder you, and do not harass me any longer. 

ALC. (Aside), Heavens ! can anything more cruel be 
conceived, and was ever heart treated like mine ? What ! 


I am justly angry with her, I come to complain, and I am 
quarrelled with instead ! My grief and my suspicions are 
excited to the utmost, I am allowed to believe everything, 
she boasts of everything ; and yet, my heart is still suffi- 
ciently mean not to be able to break the bonds that hold 
it fast, and not to arm itself with a generous contempt for 
the ungrateful object of which it is too much enamoured. 
{To Celimene). Perfidious woman, you know well how to 
take advantage against myself of my great weakness, and 
to employ for your own purpose that excessive, astonish- 
ing, and fatal love which your treacherous looks have in- 
spired I 28 Defend yourself at least from a crime that over- 
whelms even me, and cease that affectation of being 
culpable against me. Show me, if you can, the innocence 
of this note ; my affection will even consent to assist you. 
At any rate, endeavour to appear faithful, and I shall 
strive to believe you such. 

CEL. Bah, you are mad with your jealous frenzies, and 
do not deserve the love which I have for you. I should 
much like to know what could compel me to stoop for you 
to the baseness of dissembling ; and why, if my heart were 
disposed towards another, I should not say so candidly. 
What ! does the kind assurance of my sentiments towards 
you not defend me sufficiently against all your suspicions? 
Ought they to possess any weight at all with such a 
guarantee ? Is it not insulting me even to listen to them ? 
And since it is with the utmost difficulty that we can re- 
solve to confess our love, since the strict honour of our 
sex, hostile to our passion, strongly opposes such a con- 
fession, ought a lover who sees such an obstacle overcome 
for his sake, doubt with impunity our avowal ? And is 
he not greatly to blame in not assuring himself of the 
truth of that which is never said but after a severe struggle 
with oneself? 29 Begone, such suspicions deserve my 
anger, and you are not worthy of being cared for. I am 

18 The phrase *' Perfidious woman " until " inspired "' is with few 
alterations, to be found in Don Garcia of Navarre, Act iv., Scene 8, 
Vol. I. 

29 The words " And since it is" until "with one's self" are found, with 
some slight alterations, in Don Garcia of Navarre, Act iii., Scene i, 
Vol. I. 


silly, and am vexed at my own simplicity in still pre- 
serving the least kindness for you. I ought to place my 
affections elsewhere, and give you a just cause for com- 

ALC. Ah ! you traitress ! mine is a strange infatuation 
for you; those tender expressions are, no doubt, meant 
only to deceive me. But it matters little, I must submit 
to my fate ; my very soul is wrapt up in you ; I will see to 
the bitter end how your heart will act towards me, and 
whether it will be black enough to deceive me. 

CEL. No, you do not love me as you ought to love. 

ALC. Indeed ! Nothing is to be compared to my ex- 
ceeding love; and, in its eagerness to show itself to the 
whole world, it goes even so far as to form wishes against 
you. Yes, I could wish that no one thought you hand- 
some, that you were reduced to a miserable existence; that 
Heaven, at your birth, had bestowed upon you nothing ; 
that you had no rank, no nobility, no wealth, so that I 
might openly proffer my heart, and thus make amends to 
you for the injustice of such a lot; and that, this very 
day, I might have the joy and the glory of 'seeing you owe 
everything to my love. 30 

CEL. This is wishing me well in a strange way ! S1 
Heaven grant that you may never have occasion . . . But 
here comes Monsieur Dubois curiously decked out. 


ALC. What means this strange attire, and that frightened 
look? What ails you? 
Du. Sir . . . 

30 The words " so that " until " love" are, with some alterations, found 
also in Don Garcia of Navarre, Act i., Scene 3, Vol. I. 

81 It has been said that Moliere has reproduced an incident of his 
own life, with his wife, out of despair that her love for the Count of 
Guiche was not returned, threw herself into the arms of the Duke of 
Lauzun, and that the liaison was betrayed to Moliere by the Abbe de 
Richelieu ; that when Moliere reproached his wife with her conduct, 
she answered that she was guilty only of thoughtlessness, and begged 
his pardon ; that he forgave her ; that for some time they lived happily 
together ; but that, on her return to Paris, she broke out again. For 
all these and similar stories, there is no other foundation than the well- 
known pamphlet, La Fameuse comedienne. (See Introductory Notice 
to The Impromptu of Versailles, Vol. I. See also Note 85, page 27.) 


ALC. Well? 

Du. The most mysterious event. 

ALC. What is it? 

Du. Our affairs are turning out badly, sir. 

ALC. What? 

Du. Shall I speak out? 

ALC. Yes, do, and quickly. 

Du. Is there no one there ? 

ALC. Curse your trifling ! Will you speak? 

Du. Sir, we must beat a retreat. 

ALC. What do you mean? 

Du. We must steal away from this quietly. 

ALC. And why? 

Du. I tell you that we must leave this place. 

ALC. The reason? 

Du. You must go, sir, without staying to take leave. 

ALC. But what is the meaning of this strain ? 

Du. The meaning is, sir, that you must make yourself 

ALC. I shall knock you on the head to a certainty, 
booby, if you do not explain yourself more clearly. 

Du. A fellow, sir, with a black dress, and as black a 
look, got as far as the kitchen to leave a paper with us, 
scribbled over in such a fashion that old Nick himself 
could not have read it. It is about your law-suit, I make 
no doubt ; but the very devil, I believe, could not make 
head nor tail of it. 

ALC. Well! what then? What has the paper to do 
with the going away of which you speak, you scoundrel ? 

Du. I must tell you, sir, that, about an hour afterwards, 
a gentleman who often calls, came to ask for you quite 
eagerly, and not finding you at home, quietly told me, 
knowing how attached I am to you, to let you know . . . 
Stop a moment, what the deuce is his name ? 

ALC. Never mind his name, you scoundrel, and tell me 
what he told you. 

Du. He is one of your friends, in short, that is suffi- 
cient. He told me that for your very life you must get 
away from this, and that you are threatened with arrest. 

ALC. But how ! has he not specified anything ? 

Du. No. He asked me for ink and paper, and has 


sent you a line from which you can, I think, fathom the 
mystery ! 

ALC. Hand it over then. 

CEL. What can all this mean? 

ALC. I do not know; but I am anxious to be informed. 
Have you almost done, devil take you? 

Du. (After having fumbled for some time for the Note}. 
After all, sir, I have left it on your table. 

ALC. I do not know what keeps me from . . . 

CEL. Do not put yourself in a passion, but go and 
unravel this perplexing business. 

ALC. It seems that fate, whatever I may do. has sworn 
to prevent my having a conversation with you. But, to 
get the better of her, allow me to see you again, madam, 
before the end of the day. 



ALC. I tell you, my mind is made up about it. 

PHIL. But, whatever this blow may be, does it compel 
you . . . 

ALC. You may talk and argue till doomsday if you 
like, nothing can avert me from what I have said. The 
age we live in is too perverse, and I am determined to 
withdraw altogether from intercourse with the world. 
What ! when honour, probity, decency, and the laws, are 
all against my adversary ; when the equity of my claim is 
everywhere cried up ; when my mind is at rest as to the 
justice of my cause, I meanwhile see myself betrayed by 
its issue ! What ! I have got justice on my side, and I 
lose my case ! A wretch, whose scandalous history is well 
known, comes off triumphant by the blackest falsehood ! 
All good faith yields to his treachery ! He finds the 
means of being in the right, whilst cutting my throat ! 
The weight of his dissimulation, so full of cunning, over- 
throws the right and turns the scales of justice ! He obtains 
even a decree of court to crown his villainy. And, not 
content with the wrong he is doing me, there is abroad in 


society an abominable book, of which the very reading is 
to be condemned, a book that deserves the utmost severity, 
and of which the scoundrel has the impudence to proclaim 
me the author. 32 Upon this, Oronte is observed to mutter, 
and tries wickedly to support the imposture ! He, who 
holds an honourable position at Court, to whom I have 
done nothing except having been sincere and candid, who 
came to ask me in spite of myself of my opinion of some 
of his verses ; and because I treat him honestly, and will 
not betray either him or truth, he assists in overwhelming 
me with a trumped-up crime. Behold him now my 
greatest enemy ! And I shall never obtain his sincere 
forgiveness, because I did not think that his sonnet was 
good ! Sdeath ! to think that mankind is made thus ! 
The thirst for fame induces them to do such things ! 
This is the good faith, the virtuous zeal, the justice and 
the honour to be found amongst them ! Let us begone ; 
it is too much to endure the vexations they are devising ; 
let us get out of this wood, this cut-throat hole; and 
since men behave towards each other like real wolves, 
wretches, you shall never see me again as long as I live. 

PHIL. I think you are acting somewhat hastily ; and the 
harm done is not so great as you would make it out. 
Whatever your adversary dares to impute to you has not 
had the effect of causing you to be arrested. We see his 
false reports defeating themselves, and this action is likely 
to hurt him much more than you. 

ALC. Him? he does not mind the scandal of such 
tricks .'as these. He has a license to be an arrant knave; 
and this event, far from damaging his position, will ob- 
tain him a still better standing to-morrow. 

PHIL. In short, it is certain that little notice has been 
taken of the report which his malice spread against you ; ** 
from that side you have already nothing to fear ; and as 
for your law-suit, of which you certainly have reason to 

M According to Grimarest, there was at that time secretly in circulation 
'' a terrible book," published under Moliere's name. Of course it was 
said that his opponents, very angry at the Tartuffe, were the authors of it : 
hence the allusion. 

** These words of Philinte may perhaps vaguely refer to the accusation 
brought by Montfleury against Moliere in 1663. (See Prefatory Memoir, 
Vol. I.) 


complain, it is easy for you to bring the trial on afresh, 
and against this decision . . . 

ALC. No, I shall leave it as it is. Whatever cruel 
wrong this verdict may inflict, I shall take particular 
care not to have it set aside. We see too plainly how 
right is maltreated in it, and I wish it to go down to 
posterity as a signal proof, as a notorious testimony of the 
wickedness of the men of our age. It may indeed cost 
me twenty thousand francs, but at the cost of twenty 
thousand francs I shall have the right of railing against 
the iniquity of human nature, and of nourishing an un- 
dying hatred of it. 

PHIL. But after all . . . 

ALC. But after all, your pains are thrown away. What 
can you, sir, say upon this head ? Would you have the 
assurance to wish, to my face, to excuse the villainy of all 
that is happening ? 

PHIL. No, I agree with you in all that you say. Every- 
thing goes by intrigue, and by pure influence. It is only 
trickery which carries the day in our time, and men ought 
to act differently. But is their want of equity a reason for 
wishing to withdraw from their society ? All human fail- 
ings give us, in life, the means of exercising our philoso- 
phy. It is the best employment for virtue ; and if pro- 
bity reigned everywhere, if all hearts were candid, just, 
and tractable, most of our virtues would be useless to us, 
inasmuch as their functions are to bear, without annoy- 
ance, the injustice of others in our good cause ; and just 
in the same way as a heart full of virtue . . . 

ALC. I know that you are a most fluent speaker, sir; 
that you always abound in fine arguments ; but you are 
wasting your time, and all your fine speeches. Reason 
tells me to retire for my own good. I cannot command 
my tongue sufficiently ; I cannot answer for what I might 
say, and should very probably get myself into a hundred 
scrapes. Allow me, without any more words, to wait for 
Celimene. She must consent to the plan that brings me 
here. I shall see whether her heart has any love for me ; 
and this very hour will prove it to me. 

PHIL. Let us go upstairs to Eliante, and wait her 


ALC. No, my mind is too harassed. You go and see 
her, and leave me in this little dark corner with my black 

PHIL. That is strange company to leave you in ; I will 
induce Eliante to come down. 


ORON. Yes, madam, it remains for you to consider 
whether, by ties so dear, you will make me wholly yours, 
I must be absolutely certain of your affection : a lover dis- 
likes to be held in suspense upon such a subject. If the 
ardour of my affection has been able to move your feelings, 
you ought not to hesitate to let me see it ; and the proof, 
after all, which I ask of you, is not to allow Alceste to 
wait upon you any longer; to sacrifice him to my love, 
and, in short, to banish him from your house this very 

CEL. But why are you so incensed against him; you, 
whom I have so often heard speak of his merits? 

ORON. There is no need, madam, of these explanations; 
the question is, what are your feelings ? Please to choose 
between the one or the other; my resolution depends en- 
tirely upon yours. 

ALC. {Coming out of his corner). Yes, this gentleman 
is right, madam, you must make a choice ; and his request 
agrees perfectly with mine. I am equally eager, and the 
same anxiety brings me here. My love requires a sure 
proof. Things cannot go on any longer in this way, and 
the moment has arrived for explaining your feelings. 

ORON. I have no wish, sir, in any way to disturb, by 
an untimely affection, your good fortune. 

ALC. And I have no wish, sir, jealous or not jealous, to 
share aught in her heart with you. 

ORON. If she prefers your affection to mine . . . 

ALC. If she has the slightest inclination towards 
you . . . 

ORON. I swear henceforth not to pretend to it again. 

ALC. I peremptorily swear never to see her again. 

ORON. Madam, it remains with you now to speak openly. 

ALC. Madam, you can explain yourself fearlessly. 


ORON. You have simply to tell us where your feelings 
are engaged. 

ALC. You may simply finish the matter, by choosing 
between us two. 

ORON. What ! you seem to be at a loss to make such a 

ALC. What ! your heart still wavers, and appears un- 
certain ! 

CEL. Good Heavens, how out of place is this persist- 
ence, and how very unreasonable you both show your- 
selves ! It is not that I do not know whom to prefer, nor 
is it my heart that wavers. It is not at all in doubt be- 
tween you two ; and nothing could be more quickly ac- 
complished than the choice of my affections. But to tell 
the truth, I feel too confused to pronounce such an avowal 
before you; I think that disobliging words ought not to 
be spoken in people's presence ; that a heart can give suf- 
ficient proof of its attachment without going so far as to 
break with every one ; and gentler intimations suffice to 
inform a lover of the ill success of his suit. 

ORON. No, no, I do not fear a frank avowal ; for my part 
I consent to it. 

ALC. And I demand it ; it is just its very publicity that 
I claim, and I do not wish you to spare my feelings in the 
least. Your great study has always been to keep friends 
with everyone; but no more trifling, no more uncertainty. 
You must explain yourself clearly, or I shall take your 
refusal as a verdict ; I shall know, for my part, how to 
interpret your silence, and shall consider it as a confirma- 
tion of the worst. 

ORON. I owe you many thanks, sir, for this wrath, and 
I say in every respect as you do. 

CEL. How you weary me with such a whim ! Is there 
any justice in what you ask ? And have I not told you 
what motive prevents me ? I will be judged by liante, 
who is just coming. 


CEL. Good cousin, I am being persecuted here by peo- 
ple who have concerted to do so. They both demand, 


with the same warmth, that I should declare whom my heart 
has chosen, and that, by a decision which I must give be- 
fore their very faces, I should forbid one of them to tease 
me any more with his attentions. Say, has ever such a 
thing been done ? 

EL. Pray, do not consult me upon such a matter. You 
may perhaps address yourself to a wrong person, for I am 
decidedly for people who speak their mind. 

ORON. Madam, it is useless for you to decline. 

ALC. All your evasions here will be badly supported. 

ORON. You must speak, you must, and no longer 

ALC. You need do no more than remain silent. 

ORON. I desire but one word to end our discussions. 

ALC. To me your silence will convey as much as speech. 


Ac. (To Celimene). We have both come, by your 
leave, madam, to clear up a certain little matter with you. 

CL. (To Oronte and Alceste). Your presence happens 
fortunately, gentlemen ; for this affair concerns you also. 

ARS. (To Cttimene). No doubt you are surprised at 
seeing me here, madam; but these gentlemen are the 
cause of my intrusion. They both came to see me, and 
complained of a proceeding which I could not have cre- 
dited. I have too high an opinion of your kindness of 
heart ever to believe you capable of such a crime ; my 
eyes even have refused to give credence to their strongest 
proofs, and in my friendship, forgetting trivial disagree- 
ments, I have been induced to accompany them here, to 
hear you refute this slander. 

Ac. Yes, madam, let us see, with composure, how you 
will manage to bear this out. This letter has been written 
by you, to Clitandre. 

CL. And this tender epistle you have addressed to 

Ac. (To Oronte and Alee ste). This writing is not alto- 
gether unknown to you, gentlemen, and I have no doubt 
that her kindness has before now made you familiar with 



her hand. But this is well worth the trouble of read- 

" You are a strange man to condemn my liveliness of 
spirits, and to reproach me that I am never so merry as when 
I am not with you. Nothing could be more unjust y and if 
you do not come very soon to ask my pardon for this offence, 
I shall never forgive you as long as I live. Our great hulk- 
ing booby of a Viscount." He ought to have been here. 
" Our great hulking booby of a Viscount, with whom you 
begin your complaints, is a man who would not at all suit 
me ; and ever since I watched him for full three-quarters of 
an hour spitting in a well to make circles in the water, I 
never could have a good opinion of him. As for the little 
Marquis ..." that is myself, ladies and gentlemen, be 
it said without the slightest vanity, . . . " As for the 
little Marquis, who held my hand yesterday for a long while, 
I think that there is nothing so diminutive as his whole per- 
son, and his sole merit consists in his cloak and sword. As 
to the man with the green shoulder knot."** {To Alceste}. 
It is your turn now, Sir. " As to the man with the green 
shoulder knot, he amuses me sometimes with his bluntness 
and his splenetic behaviour ; but there are hundreds of times 
when I think him the greatest bore in the world. Respecting 
the man with the big waistcoat . . . " 37 (To Oronte). 
This is your share. " Respecting the man with the big 
waistcoat, who has thought fit to set up as a wit, and wishes 
to be an author in spite of every one, I cannot even take the 
trouble to listen to what he says; and his prose bores me just 

84 Acaste reads the letter written to Clitandre ; and Clitandre, the one 
written to Acaste. 

85 It has been said that the "great hulking booby of a Viscount " was 
intended for the Count de Guiche, and that Madame, the wife of Louis 
XIV.'s brother, whose Chevalier he was, wished the description to be 
omitted, but that the King told Moliere to leave it in. All this appears to 
be mere gossip, unsupported by anything. 

86 On page 191, note 2, we find that Moliere, on playing the part of 
Alceste, wore a dress '' ornamented with green ribands ;" hence the allu- 
sion to " the green shoulder knot." 

87 Oronte wore a big waistcoat (veste) to distinguish himself from the 
other personages. But afterwards everyone wore such a waistcoat ; and 
La Grange and Vinot, the editors of the first collected edition of Mo- 
liere's works, finding that this no longer distinguished Oronte, called him 
I'homme au sonnet, the sonnetteer. 


as much as his poetry. Take it then for granted that I do 
not always enjoy myself so much as you think ; and that I 
wish for you, more than I care to say, amongst all the enter- 
tainments to which I am dragged; and that the presence of 
those we love is an excellent relish to our pleasures.' 1 

CL. Now for myself. 

" Your Clitandre, whom you mention to me, and who 
has always such a quantity of soft expressions at his com- 
mand, is the last man for whom I could feel any affection. 
He must be crazed in persuading himself that I love him; 
and you are so too in believing that I do not love you. You 
had better change your fancies for his, and come and see me 
as often as you can, to help me in bearing the annoyance of 
being pestered by him. 1 ' This shows the model of a lovely 
character, madam ; and I need not tell you what to call it. 
It is enough. We shall, both of us, show this admirable 
sketch of your heart everywhere and to everybody. 

Ac. I might also say something, and the subject is 
tempting ; but I deem you beneath my anger ; and I will 
show you that little marquises can find worthier hearts 
than yours to console themselves. 


ORON. What ! Am I to be pulled to pieces in this fash- 
ion, after all that you have written to me ? And does your 
heart, with all its semblance of love, plight its faith to all 
mankind by turns ! Bah, I have been too great a dupe, 
but I shall be so no longer. You have done me a service, 
in showing yourself in your true colours to me. I am the 
richer by a heart which you thus restore to me, and find 
my revenge in your loss. (To Alceste). Sir, I shall no 
longer be an obstacle to your flame, and you may settle 
matters with this lady as soon as you please. 



ARS. (To Celimlne}. This is certainly one of the basest 
actions which I have ever seen ; I can no longer be silent, 
and feel quite upset. Has any one ever seen the like of 
it ? I do not concern myself much in the affairs of other 


people, but this gentleman {pointing to Alceste), who has 
staked the whole of his happiness on you, an honourable 
and deserving man like this, and who worshipped you to 
madness, ought he to have been . . . 

AL. Leave me, I pray you, madam, to manage my own 
affairs ; and do not trouble yourself unnecessarily. In 
vain do I see you espouse my quarrel. I am unable to 
repay you for this great zeal ; and if ever I intended to 
avenge myself by choosing some one else, it would not be 
you whom I would select. 

ARS. And do you imagine, sir, that I ever harboured 
such a thought, and that I am so very anxious to secure 
you ? You must be very vain, indeed, to flatter yourself 
with such an idea. Celimene's leavings are a commodity 
of which no one needs be so very much enamoured. Pray, 
undeceive yourself, and do not carry matters with so high 
a hand. People like me are not for such as you. You 
will do much better to remain dangling after her skirts, 
and I long to see so beautiful a match. 


AL. (To Celimene). Well ! I have held my tongue, 
notwithstanding all I have seen, and I have let everyone 
have his say before me. Have I controlled myself long 
enough ? and will you now allow me . . . 

CEL. Yes, you may say what you like ; you are justified 
when you complain, and you may reproach me with any- 
thing you please. I confess that I am in the wrong ; and 
overwhelmed by confusion I do not seek by any idle ex- 
cuse to palliate my fault. The anger of the others I have 
despised ; but I admit my guilt towards you. No doubt, 
your resentment is just ; I know how culpable I must ap- 
pear to you, that every thing speaks of my treachery to 
you, and that, in short, you have cause to hate me. Do 
so, I consent to it. 

ALC. But can I do so, you traitress ? Can I thus get 
the better of all my tenderness for you ? And although I 
wish to hate you with all my soul, shall I find a heart 
quite ready to obey me. (To Eliante and Philinte). You 
see what an unworthy passion can do, and I call you both 
as witnesses of my infatuation. Nor, truth to say, is this 


all, and you will see me carry it out to the bitter end, to 
show you that it is wrong to call us wise, and that in all 
hearts there remains still something of the man. (To Ce~ 
limene). Yes, perfidious creature, I am willing to forget 
your crimes. I can find, in my own heart, an excuse for 
all your doings, and hide them under the name of a weak- 
ness into which the vices of the age betrayed your youth, 
provided your heart will second the design which I have 
formed of avoiding all human creatures, and that you are 
determined to follow me without delay into the solitude 
in which I have made a vow to pass my days. It is by 
that only, that, in every one's opinion, you can repair the 
harm done by your letters, and that, after the scandal 
which every noble heart must abhor, it may still be pos- 
sible for me to love you. 

CEL. What ! I renounce the world before I grow old, 
and bury myself in your wilderness ! 

ALC. If your affection responds to mine what need the 
rest of the world signify to you ? Am I not sufficient for 

CEL. Solitude is frightful to a widow of twenty. 88 I do 
not feel my mind sufficiently grand and strong to resolve 
to adopt such a plan. If the gift of my hand can satisfy 
your wishes, I might be induced to tie such bonds ; and 
marriage . . . 

ALC. No. My heart loathes you now, and this refusal 
alone effects more than all the rest. As you are not dis- 
posed, in those sweet ties, to find all in all in me, as I 
would find all in all in you, begone, I refuse your offer, 
and this much-felt outrage frees me for ever from your 
unworthy toils. 


ALC. (To Eliante). Madam, your beauty is adorned by 
a hundred virtues ; and I never saw anything in you but 
what was sincere. For a long while I thought very highly 

88 It would be against all the traditions of the French stage to let a 
respectable unmarried young lady be visited by gentlemen ; hence Alceste 
says (Act i., Scene I, page 199), that " Celimene is a young widow." 
Arsinoe also would not have given vent to her insinuations (page 222) if 
this had not been the case. 


of you ; but allow me to esteem you thus for ever, and 
suffer my heart in its various troubles not to offer itself for 
the honour of your acceptance. I feel too unworthy, and 
begin to perceive that Heaven did not intend me for the 
marriage bond ; that the homage of only the remainder 
of a heart unworthy of you, would be below your merit, 
and that in short . . . 

EL. You may pursue this thought. I am not at all 
embarassed with my hand ; and here is your friend, who, 
without giving me much trouble, might possibly accept it 
if I asked him. 

PHIL. Ah ! Madam, I ask for nothing better than that 
honour, and I could sacrifice my life and soul for it. 

ALC. May you, to taste true contentment, preserve for 
ever these feelings towards each other ! Deceived on all 
sides, overwhelmed with injustice, I will fly from an abyss 
where vice is triumphant, and seek out some small secluded 
nook on earth, where one may enjoy the freedom of being 
an honest man. 

PHIL. Come, madam, let us leave nothing untried to 
deter him from the design on which his heart is set. 






AUGUST 6xH, 1666. 


The Physician in spite of Himself was played for the first time on the 
6th of August, 1666, according to Moliere's nearly invariable rule, by 
which he always produced a farcical work, which made people laugh, 
after a serious one, which had caused people to reflect. The plot of this 
play was not entirely new ; it existed probably in the outline of the Italian 
Commedia delFarte, and was found among the stories related by the trou- 
badours and trouveres. Moliere must have often played a remodelling of 
it in the Provinces. La Grange, in his Register (see Introductory Notices 
to The School for Wives critised, Vol. I.,), speaks of a farce called Le 
Fagotier, of another called Le Fagoteux both words meaning The Fag- 
got-Maker and of a third called Le Medecin par force. But all these 
small plays appear to refer to one jocular short comedy, which was 
changed and doctored to suit the tastes of the different provincial audi- 
ences. Moliere got his chief plan from these, and probably from nothing 
else. The Physician in spite of Himself consists of two different parts, 
each drawn from a different source. There is, first, the idea of a clodhop- 
per on whom his wife wishes to be avenged, and whom she pretends to be 
a skilful physician, whose zeal has to be stimulated by the stick : and there 
is, secondly, the idea of a girl who feigns to be dumb, but who recovers 
speech again, and abuses it in such a manner that every one wishes her to 
be speechless. 

One of the oldest accounts of the story on which Moliere's play is 
based, but which we are convinced the French dramatist never saw, is the 
following, to be found in a Sanscrit collection, La Couka Saptali. 

" In the town of Pantchapoura lived a king called Satroumardana. His 
daughter, named Madanarekha, had an abscess in her throat. The doc- 
tors applied all kinds of plasters, but without effect, so at last they agreed 
that there was no remedy for the disease. Then the King proclaimed in 
every country that he who cured the Princess should be richly rewarded. 
The wife of a Brahmin who lived in a village, having heard the proclama- 
tion, said to the messenger, ' My husband is the most skilful magician 
and charmer in the world, Take him with you ; he will cure the Princess.' 
And she said to her husband, ' Pretend to be a magician and a charmer, 
and go boldly into the town and cure the Princess. You won't waste 
your time.' The Brahmin went to the palace and to the Princess, sprinkled 
her with water, blew at her, and imitated the charmers, muttering the 



while between his teeth. Suddenly he cried out at the top of his voice, 
and uttered a farrago of the most absurd words he could think of. On 
hearing all these strange utterances, the Princess was taken with such a 
fit of laughter, that the abscess broke and she was cured. The King, 
transported with joy, overloaded the Brahmin with presents. 1 ' 

It is, however possible that Moliere may have seen Olearius' Scientific 
Journey to Moscow and Persia, which history was translated into French 
as early as the year 1656 by the celebrated Wickefort. 

The account to be found there is as follows : " The Grand Duke Boris 
Gudenow, who reigned during the years 1597 and 1605, was according to 
the relation of Olearius, very much afflicted with the gout. At a certain 
period, when he suffered very severe pains, he caused it publicly to be 
proclaimed at Moscow, that he would reward with extraordinary favour 
and great riches, the man, whoever he might be, that would relieve him 
from those pains. It seems that no one voluntarily appeared to earn the 
favour of the Grand Duke : and, indeed, no wonder, for a doctor had his 
whole existence at stake in those times in Russia if his cure failed, upon 
some high or noble patient ; and Gudenow was in the habit of making 
the surgeon, as if he considered the latter as absolute master of nature, 
responsible for the result of his art. 

" The wife of a certain bojaar, or councillor of the cabinet, who re- 
ceived very harsh treatment from her husband, took the advantage of this 
public edict of the Grand Duke to revenge herself, in a cunning manner, 
on her cruel husband. She therefore had the Duke informed that her 
husband possessed an infallible remedy for the gout, but that he was not 
sufficiently humane to impart it. 

" The bojaar was immediately sent for to court, and strictly examined. 
The latter declared, by all that was holy, that he was unacquainted with 
any such remedy, and had not the slightest knowledge of medicine. But 
oaths would not avail him ; Gudenow had him severely whipped and con- 
fined. When, shortly after, he was again examined, he repeated the same 
declarations, adding that this trick was probably played upon him by his 
wife ; the Duke had him whipped a second time, but more severely, and 
threatened him with death if he did not speedily relieve him from pain. 
Seized with terror, the bojaar was now entirely at a loss what to be at. 
He promised to do his best, but requested a few days in order to have the 
necessary drugs gathered. Having with great difficulty, had his request 
granted, he sent to Ozirbalt, two days' journey from Moscow, in order to 
get thence all sorts of drugs which were to be had there. He sent for a 
cartload of them, mixed them all together, and prepared therewith a bath 
for the Duke, in the hope of his blind cure proving successful. Gudenow, 
after having used the bath, really found some relief, and the bojaar had 
his life spared him. Nevertheless, because he had known such an art, 
denied his knowledge of it, and refused his assistance to the Grand Duke, 
the latter had him again thoroughly whipt, and after being entirely re- 
covered, he gave him a new dress, two hundred rubles, and eighteen 
slaves, by way of a present. In addition to this, he seriously admonished 
the doctor never to be revenged on his wife. It is said that the bojaar, after 
this occurrence, lived many years in peace and happiness with his 

The idea of a woman avenging herself on her husband, by pretending 
that he is a doctor, and must be compelled to exercise his art, is found in 
many ancient fabliaux ; above all, in one of the twelfth century, Le vilain 
Mire, the rustic physician, which is nearly the same story as that told by 


Olearius, except that it is the king's daughter who has a fish-bone sticking 
in her throat, which prevents her eating and drinking. The rustic's wife, 
who is the daughter of a poor knight, and whom her husband has mal- 
treated, revenges herself in the same way as the bojaar's spouse, but the 
cure is different ; the rustic scratches himself in all kinds of ridiculous at- 
titudes, so that the royal maiden laughs to such a degree that the fish- 
bone flies out. The ending is also different. The king, delighted that 
his daughter has been cured, sends for a great many sick people, and 
orders the physician to restore them to health. He refuses, and is beaten ; 
whereupon he commands a great fire to be kindled in the large hall, tells 
all his patients that he has an infallible remedy, and that he is going to 
put the most seriously ill of them into the fire, to give his ashes to the 
others to drink, and that then they shall be cured. It is needless to say 
that all immediately recover their health in a great measure. 

Rabelais, in the twenty-fourth chapter of the third book of Pantagruel, 
relates that he and some of his friends acted in his youth "the moral 
comedy of him who had espoused and married a dumb wife. . . . The 
good honest man, her husband, was very earnestly urgent to have the 
fillet of her tongue untied, and would needs have her speak by any means. 
At his desire, some pains were taken on her, and partly by the industry 
of the physician, other part by the expertness of the surgeon, the ency- 
liglotte which she had under her tongue being cut, she spoke, and spoke 
again ; yea, within a few hours she spoke so loud, so much, so fiercely, 
and so long, that her poor husband retuined to the same physician for a 
receipt to make her hold her peace. There are, quoth the physician, 
many proper remedies in our art to make dumb women speak, but there 
are none that ever I could learn therein to make them silent. The only 
cure which I have found out is their husband's deafness. The wretch be- 
came within a few weeks thereafter, by virtue of some drugs, charms, or 
enchantments, which the physician had prescribed unto him, so deaf, that 
he could not have heard the thundering of nineteen hundred cannons at 
a salvo. His wife, perceiving that indeed he was as deaf as a door nail, 
and that her scolding was but in vain, sith that he heard her not, she grew 
stark mad. Some time after the doctor asked for his fee of the husband ; 
who answered, That truly he was deaf, and so was not able to understand 
what the tenour of his demand might be. Whereupon the leech be- 
dusted him with a little, I know not what, sort of powder ; which rendered 
him a fool immediately, so great was the stultificating virtue of that 
strange kind of pulverized dose. Then did this fool of a husband, and 
his mad wife, join together, and falling on the doctor and the surgeon, did 
so scratch, bethwack, and bang them, that they were left half dead upon 
the place, so furious were the blows which they received. I never in my 
lifetime laughed so much, as at the acting of that buffoonery," 

Menage and Brossette mention that Moliere intended Sganarelle for a 
certain wig-maker of his time, Didier 1'Amour, whose shop was under the 
stairs of la Sainte Chapelle, whose first wife was very violent, like Martine, 
and to whom Boileau, later on, gave a place in the Lutrin. It really 
seems that Sganarelles may be found in every country, men who, with a 
certain amount of natural mother-wit, and a few sesquipedalian words, 
acquired heaven knows where, are the heroes of the bar-parlour, and the 
admired of all admirers among their boon-companions. Such men may 
possibly love their wives, but they box their ears ; they may have a cer- 
tain feeling for their children, but, instead of giving them bread, they 
squander their scanty wages, lazily gained, in the public-house, caring 


neither for the day nor the morrow, never thinking of the future or the 
past, and deserving, in one word, the reputation of " real good fellows." 

It has been well said by Boileau, that " in the smallest farces of Mo- 
liere, there are some admirable touches that may vainly be sought in the 
finest pieces of other comic authors." The Physician in spite of Himself 
is a proof of this. It is written in a most unbounded spirit of mirth, the 
matrimonial breezes wafting a certain amount of refreshing coolness 
through it all. The way in which Sganarelle is dubbed, or rather drubbed 
a doctor, is highly amusing ; and the cure of the dumb girl, and the use 
which she makes of her recovered speech, contains a philosophical lesson 
which may be sometimes applied to the way in which nouveaux riches 
spread their newly acquired wealth. The learned and anatomical dis- 
quisitions between Sganarelle and Geronte are also very entertaining, as 
well as the growth of greed in the rustic physician. 

In the second volume of the Select Comedies of M. de Moliere, Lon- 
don, 1732, The Physician in Spite of Himself is dedicated to Dr. Mead, 
under the title of Doctor and no Doctor, in the following words : 

SIR, MOLIERE having sent most of his Performances Patronless into the World, 
his Translators have determined to supply this his only Defect by prefixing some 
favourite Name to each of 'em, in order to recommend 'em the more powerfully to 
the perusal of their Countrymen. None can have a stronger Influence in this re- 
spect than that of Dr Mead, for if we have but as many Readers as owe to him being 
in a Capacity of reading at all, our Bookseller will have no cause to repent of his 
undertaking. It may, by some, be here expected, that I should apologize for my 
Author, as having in this and several other of his Comedies treated Medicine and 
its Professors with a severe kind of Freedom ; but this, Sir, to one of Your Discern- 
ment and Politeness would be highly impertinent. 

As 'twas perverted Medicine alone, and its quack Professors that were the sub- 
jects of his Ridicule, Dr Mead can be no more affected by it than a true Prophet 
by the Punishment of Imposture, nor be displeas'd with a Satire he could not 

You are too well acquainted, Sir, with the universal History of Physick, to be 
ignorant of the State of it at Paris in Moliere' s time, or the Characters of their 
Physicians. AH they employed themselves about, was searching after visionary 
Specificks, and trying of chemical Tricks ; the Cause of a Disease was never en- 
quir'd into, nor the Symptoms of it regarded, but hypothetical Jargon and random 
Prescription serv'd in the room. This made Medicine become a Pest, instead of a 
Remedy, on which account you'll readily acknowledge that the Chastisement was 
just. On the contrary, Sir, Your Practice was founded on the Rock of sound 
Learning, and Your Success secur'd by an extensive and well-mark'd Experience ; 
by which means You have established the Honour of the Profession, are become a 
general Blessing to the Society You belong to, and have been capable, as a good 
Physician, of doing more Service in Your Generation than all the bad ones have 
done Mischief. 

It will be thought, I know, by the World, that when I'm speaking of Dr Mead, 
I should not only celebrate him as an excellent Physician, but as an excellent Man 
likewise, and an accomplish'd Gentleman ; but these Characters are necessary to 
and included in the other. To be a good Physician, a Man must possess all the 
Virtues of Humanity and Politeness, he must be Eyes to the blind, Feet to the 
lame, and Health and Refreshment to the sick and needy ; he must be a fine Schol- 
ar by Education, and a fine Gentleman by being obliged to converse with the best 
Company : In all these respects, therefore, You are certainly as eminent, Sir, as 
You are in Your Profession. 

THAT Heaven may prolong Your Life for the Benefit of Your Fellow-creatures, 
as long as Life can be a Good, and that at last, when you must quit this mortal Coil, 
You may do it with that Ease, which You have so often procur'd for others in those 
critical Moments, is the sincere Prayer of all that ever heard of Your Name, but of 
none more sincerely than of, SIR, Your most obedient humble Servant, 


The Physician in Spite of Himself has been often imitated by English 


dramatists ; first by Lacy in The Dumb Lady ; or the Farrier made a 
Physician, a farce in five acts, acted about 1672, and in which the adapter 
played probably '' Drench, the farrier." The main plot is taken from 
Moliere's play, and the catastrophe from Love is the best Doctor (see In- 
troductory Notice to Love is the best Doctor). 

Another partial adaptation of Moliere's play is by Mrs. Centlivre, who. 
in Love's Contrivance, acted in 1703 at Drury Lane, imitated several of 
the French author's comedies (see Introductory Notice to The Forced 
Marriage, Vol. I). 

Henry Fielding has also nearly literally followed Moliere's play, and 
has added some songs, in a " ballad farce," called The Mock Doctor ; or 
the Dumb Lady Cured, acted at Drury Lane in 1732. This piece was, 
and has remained, a great favourite on the English stage. 

Another imitation of Moliere's Physician, in Spite of Himself, or rather 
a remodelling of Fielding's translation, is George Wood's The Irish Doc- 
tor; or the Dumb Lady cured, first performed at the Queen's Theatre, 
November igth, 1844. It is Fielding's Mock Doctor, with all the spirit 
evaporated. Sganarelle becomes an Irish broom-maker, Dennis Murphy, 
and Ge"ronte, Sir Ralph Credulous. 

The " high-born and most hopeful prince," to whom Lacy inscribed 
his play, was the eldest of the three natural sons of Charles II. by Bar- 
bara Villiers, wife of Roger Palmer, Earl of Castlemaine, better known as 
Duchess of Cleveland, a dignity conferred by her royal keeper in testi- 
mony of the high opinion he entertained of her " personal" virtues, 1 at 
least so runs the preamble of the patent of creation. 

At the date of the play, the hopeful prince enjoyed the title of Earl of 
Southampton, " as,'' says Collins, the Peerage writer, " heir of his mother, 
the Duchess of Cleveland," that being her second title. Upon the ist of 
April 1673, he was installed a Knight of the Garter, and upon the loth of 
September 1675 was created Duke of Southampton, Earl of Chichester, 
and Baron of Newberry, with remainder to the heirs-male of his body, 
whom failing, to his younger brother George, Duke of Northumberland, 
Upon the death of his mother, at her house of Chiswick, in the county of 
Middlesex, on the gth October 1709, the title of Cleveland, under the 
limitations in the patent, devolved on her eldest son Charles. His Grace 
married, when eighteen, Mary, heiress of Sir Henry Wood, the elder 
brother of Thomas, Bishop of Litchfield and Coventry. The Duchess died 
in 1680, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. By her he had no issue. 
This lady seems to have brought him a very handsome fortune, as in Mi- 
chaelmas term 1685 he had a decree in Chancery against the Bishop for 
,30,000, " as part of his lady's fortune." 

In 1694, the Duke took to wife Anne, daughter of Sir William Pulteny 
of Misterton, in the county of Leicester, by whom he had three sons and 
three daughters. He died on the gth September 1730, and was succeeded 
by his eldest son William, who died without issue in 1774, so that the 
titles of Cleveland and Southampton became extinct, and remained so for 
more than half a century, when the Dukedom of Cleveland was revived 
in the person of the Earl of Darlington, the heir of line of Lady Grace 
Fitzroy, the second daughter of Duke Charles, who married Henry Vane, 
son of Lord Barnard. Her eldest sister Barbara died unmarried ; and 
her younger sister, Lady Anne, who married John Paddey, Esq., departed 
this life at Waterford, Herts, on the 23d of January 1769. 

> Collins' Peerage, vol. i., p. 56. London, 1741. 8vo. See also Introductory 
Notice to The Priucess of Elis, and Introductory Notice to Love is the best 


GERONTE, father to Lucinde. 
LEANDRE, Lucinde' 's lover. 
SCAN ARELLE, husband to Martine. * 
M. ROBERT, Sganarelle 1 s neighbour. 
LUCAS, husband to Jacqueline. 
VALERE, Geronte 1 s servant? 


\ peasants. 
PERRIN, his son, J 

LUCINDE, Geronte's daughter. 

MARTINE, Sganarelle' s wife. 

JACQUELINE, nurse at Geronte 1 s, and Lucas 1 wife. 

*. This part was*played by Moliere himself. In the inventory of his 
dresses, given by M. E. Soulie", and taken after his death, we find, " The 
clothes for the representation of The Physician in spite of Himself, con- 
sisting of a doublet, breeches, collar, girdle, ruff, woollen stockings, and 
pouch, all of yellow serge, trimmed with green radon;* a satin dress with 
breeches of short nap, flowered velvet." 

8 The original has domestique, which in the seventeenth century meant 
a steward, a secretary, a trustworthy man. 

* I have not been able to find this word in any dictionary. 




The Scene represents a Forest. 

SCENE I. SGANARELLE, MARTINE (appearing on the stage, 

SCAN. No ; I tell you that I will do nothing of the 
kind, and that it is for me to speak, and to be master. 

MART. And I tell you that I will have you to live as I 
like, and that I am not married to you to put up with 
your vagaries. 

SCAN. Oh ! what a nuisance it is to have a wife ! and 
Aristotle is perfectly right in saying that a woman is worse 
than a demon.* 

MART. Look at Master Clever, with his silly Aristotle ! 

SCAN. Yes, Master Clever. Find me another faggot- 
binder who can argue upon things as I can, who has served 
a famous physician for six years, and who, when only a 
boy, had his rudiments at his fingers' ends !' 

4 It would be difficult to give the passage in Aristotle, where such a 
thing is stated. 

6 The rudiments stand here for a little book containing the elements of 
the Latin tongue. Compare Shakespeare in As You Like It (Act. v., 
Scene 4), who says " This boy is forest-born. 

And has been tutored in the rudiments 
Of many desperate studies." 
VOL. II. R 257 


MART. Plague on the arrant fool. 6 

SCAN. Plague on the slut ! 

MART. Cursed be the hour and the day when I took it 
into my head to say yes. 

SCAN. Cursed be the cuckold of a notary that made me 
sign my own ruination. 

MART. Certainly it well becomes you to complain on 
that score. Ought you not rather to thank Heaven every 
minute of the day that you have me for a wife? and did 
you deserve to marry a woman like me ? 

SCAN. It is true you did me too much honour, and I 
had great occasion to be satisfied with my wedding-night. 
Zounds ! do not make me open my mouth too wide : I 
might say certain things . . . 

MART. What? What could you say? 

SGAN. Enough ; let us drop the subject. It is enough 
that we know what we know, and that you were very glad 
to meet with me. 

MART. What do you call very glad to meet with you? 
A fellow who will drive me to the hospital a debauched, 
deceitful wretch, who gobbles up every farthing I have 

SCAN. That is a lie : for I drink part of it. 

MART. Who sells piecemeal every stick of furniture in 
the house ! 

SCAN. That is living upon one's means. 

MART. Who has taken the very bed from under me ! 

SCAN. You will get up all the earlier. 

MART. In short, who does not leave me a stick in the 
whole house. 

SCAN. There will be less trouble in moving. 

MART. And who from morning to night does nothing 
but gamble and drink ! 

SCAN. That is done in order not to get in the dumps. 

MART. And what am I to do all the while with my 

SCAN. Whatever you like. 

MART. I have got four poor children on my hands. 

SCAN. Put them down. 

6 The original has foufieffe. See Vol. I., page 486, note 14. 


MART. Who keep asking me every moment for bread. 

SCAN. Whip them. When I have had enough to eat and 
to drink, every one in the house ought to be satisfied. 

MART. And do you mean to tell me, you sot, that things 
can always go on so? 

SCAN. Wife, let us proceed gently, if you please. 

MART. That I am to bear forever with your insolence 
and your debauchery? 

SCAN. Do not let us get into a passion, wife. 

MART. And that I do not know the way to bring you 
back to your duty? 

SCAN. Wife, you know that I am not very patient, and 
that my arm is somewhat heavy. 

MART. I laugh at your threats. 

SCAN. My sweet wife, my pet, your skin is itching as 

MART. I will let you see that I am not afraid of you. 

SCAN. My dearest rib, you have set your heart upon a 
thrashing. 7 

MART. Do you think that I am frightened at your talk ? 

SCAN. Sweet object of my affections, I shall box your 
ears for you. 

MART. Sot that you are ! 

SCAN. I shall thrash you. 

MART. Walking wine-cask ! 

SCAN. I shall pummel you. 

MART. Infamous wretch ! 

SCAN. I shall curry your skin for you. 

MART. Wretch ! villain ! deceiver ! cur ! scoundrel ! gal- 
lows-bird ! churl ! rogue ! scamp ! thief ! . . . 

SCAN. You will have it, will you? 

( Takes a stick and beats her. 

MART, (shrieking}. Help ! help ! help ! help ! 

SCAN. That is the real way of quieting you. 

M. ROB. Hulloa, hulloa, hulloa ! Fie ! What is this? 

7 The original has Vous avez envie de me derober quelque chose, Yon 
wish to rob me of something, meaning, of course, " of a box on the 
ear." In English we say also familiarly of any one who receives some- 
thing which he richly deserves : He has not stolen that. 


What a disgraceful thing ! Plague take the scamp to beat 
his wife so. 

MART. (Her arms akimbo, speaks to M. Robert, and 
makes him draw back; at last she gives him a slap on the 
face}. And I like him to beat me, I do. 

M. ROB. If that is the case, I consent with all my heart. 

MART. What are you interfering with ? 

M. ROB. I am wrong. 

MART. Is it any of your business? 

M. ROB. You are right. 

MART. Just look at this jackanapes, who wishes to hin- 
der husbands from beating their wives ! 

M. ROB. I apologize. 

MART. What have you got to say to it ? 

M. ROB. Nothing. 

MART. Is it for you to poke your nose into it? 

M. ROB. No. 

MART. Mind your own business. 

M. ROB. I shall not say another word. 

MART. It pleases me to be beaten. 

M. ROB. Agreed. 

MART. It does not hurt you. 

M. ROB. That is true. 

MART. And you are an ass to interfere with what does 
not concern you. 

M. ROB. Neighbour, I ask your pardon with all my 
heart. Go on, thrash and beat your wife as much as you 
like ; I shall help you, if you wish it. (He goes towards 
Sganarelle, who also speaks to him, makes him draw back, 
beats him with the stick he has been using, and puts him to 

SCAN. I do not wish it. 

M. ROB. Ah ! that is a different thing. 

SCAN. I will beat her if I like ; and I will not beat her 
if I do not like. 

M. ROB. Very good. 

SCAN. She is my wife, and not yours. 

M. ROB. Undoubtedly. 

SCAN. It is not for you to order me about. 

M. ROB. Just so. 

SCAN. I do not want your help. 


M. ROB. Exactly so. 

SCAN. And it is like your impertinence to meddle with 
other people's business. Remember that Cicero says that 
between the tree and the finger you should not put the 
bark. 8 (He drives him away, then comes back to his wife, 
and says to her, squeezing her hand], 


SCAN. Come, let us make it up. Shake hands. 

MART. Yes, after having beaten me thus ! 

SCAN. Never mind that. Shake hands. 

MART. I will not. 

SCAN. Eh? 

MART. No. 

SCAN. Come, wife ! 

MART. I shall not. 

SCAN. Come, I tell you. 

MART. I will do nothing of the kind. 

SCAN. Come, come, come. 

MART. No ; I will be angry. 

SCAN. Bah ! it is a trifle. Do. 

MART. Leave me alone. 

SCAN. Shake hands, I tell you. 

MART. You have treated me too ill. 

SCAN. Well ! I beg your pardon ; put your hand there. 

MART. I forgive you; (aside, softly}, but I shall make 
you pay for it. 

SCAN. You are silly to take notice of it; these are 
trifles that are necessary now and then to keep up good 
feeling ; and five or six strokes of a cudgel between peo- 
ple who love each other, only brighten the affections. 
There now ! I am going to the wood, and I promise you 
that you shall have more than a hundred faggots to-day. 


Go, my lad, whatever look I may put on, I shall not 
forget to pay you out ; and I am dying to hit upon some- 

8 Sganarelle quotes the proverb wrong, which says that between the tree 
and the bark one ought not to put one's finger, which means figuratively, 
" Never interfere in things which do not concern you." Of course Cicero 
says nothing of the kind. 


thing to punish you for the blows you gave me. I know 
well enough that a wife has always the means of being 
revenged upon her husband ; but that is too delicate a 
punishment for my gallows-bird ; I want a revenge that 
shall strike home a little more, or it will not be satisfaction 
for the insult which I have received. 


Luc. {To Valere, without seeing Martine). I'facks we 
have undertaken a curious errand ; and I do not know, 
for my part, what we shall get by it. 9 

VAL. (To Lucas, without seeing Mar tine). What is the 
use of grumbling, good foster-father 1 we are bound to do 
as our master tells us ; and, besides, we have both of us 
some interest in the health of his daughter, our mistress ; 
for her marriage, which is put off through her illness, will 
no doubt bring us in something. Horace, who is gener- 
ous, is the most likely to succeed among her suitors ; and 
although she has shown some inclination for a certain 
Leandre, you know well enough that her father would 
never consent to receive him for his son-in-law. 

MART. {Musing on one side, thinking herself alone). Can 
I not find out some way of revenging myself? 

Luc. {To Valere). But what an idea has he taken into 
his head, since the doctors are quite at a loss. 10 

VAL. {To Lucas). You may sometimes find by dint of 
seeking, what cannot be found at once ; and often in the 
most unlikely spots you may . . . 

MART. {Thinking herself always alone). Yes; I must 
pay him out, no matter at what cost. Those cudgel blows 
lie heavy on my stomach ; I cannot digest them ; and . . . 
{She is saying all this musingly, and as she moves, she comes 
in contact with the two men). Ah, gentlemen, I beg your 
pardon, I did not notice you, and was puzzling my brain 
about something that perplexes me. 

9 Lucas speaks in a provincial dialect, which I think it unnecessary 
to endeavour to imitate in English. 

10 The original has puisque les medecins y avont tons pardu leur latin 
" since the doctors have lost all their Latin over it." I suppose in allusion 
to the latinized gibberish which the doctors in Moliere's time used to 
employ in their consultations. 


VAL. Every one has his troubles in this world, and we 
also are looking for something that we should be very glad 
to find. 

MART. Is it something in which I can assist you ? 
VAL. Perhaps. We are endeavouring to meet with 
some clever man, some special physician, who could give 
some relief to our master's daughter, seized with an illness 
which has at once deprived her of the use of her tongue. 
Several physicians have already exhausted all their know- 
ledge on her behalf; but sometimes one may find people 
with wonderful secrets, and certain peculiar remedies, who 
very often succeed where others have failed : and that is 
the sort of man we are looking for. 

MART. (Softly and aside). Ah ! This is an inspiration 
from Heaven to revenge myself on my rascal. (Aloud}. 
You could never have addressed yourselves to any one 
more able to find what you want ; and we have a man 
here, the most wonderful fellow in the world for desperate 

VAL. Ah ! for mercy's sake, where can we meet with 
him ? 

MART. You will find him just now in that little spot 
yonder, where he is amusing himself in cutting wood. 

Luc. A doctor who cuts wood ! 

VAL. Who is amusing himself in gathering some sim- 
ples, you mean to say ? 

MART. No ; he is a strange fellow who takes a delight 
in this ; a fantastic, eccentric, whimsical man, whom you 
would never take to be what he really is. He goes about 
dressed in a most extraordinary fashion, pretends some- 
times to be very ignorant, keeps his knowledge to himself, 
and dislikes nothing so much every day as using the mar- 
vellous talents which God has given him for the healing 

VAL. It is a wonderful thing that all these great men 
have always some whim, some slight grain of madness 
mixed with their learning. 

MART. The madness of this man is greater than can be 
imagined, for sometimes he has to be beaten before he 
will own his ability ; and I warn you beforehand that you 
will not succeed, that he will never own that he is a phy- 


sician, unless you take each a stick, and compel him, by 
dint of blows, to admit at last what he will conceal at 
first. It is thus that we act when we have need of him. 

VAL. What a strange delusion ! 

MART. That is true ; but, after that, you shall see that 
he works wonders. 

VAL. What is his name? 

MART. His name is Sganarelle. But it is very easy to 
recognise him. He is a man with a large black beard, 
and who wears a ruff, and a yellow and green coat. 

Luc. A yellow and green coat ! He is then a parrot- 
doctor ? 

VAL. But is it really true that he is as clever as you say ? 

MART. As clever. He is a man who works miracles. 
About six months ago, a woman was given up by all the 
other physicians; she was considered dead at least six 
hours, and they were going to bury her, when they 
dragged by force the man we are speaking of to her bed- 
side. Having seen her, he poured a small drop of some- 
thing into her mouth ; and at that very instant she rose 
from her bed, and began immediately to walk in her 
room as if nothing had happened. 

Luc. Hah! 

VAL. It must have been a drop of liquid gold. 11 

MART. Possibly so. Not more than three weeks ago, 
a young child, twelve years old, fell from the top of the 
belfry, and smashed his head, arms, and legs on the 
stones. No sooner took they our man to it, than he 
rubbed the whole body with a certain ointment, which he 
knows how to prepare; and the child immediately rose on 
its legs, and ran away to play at chuck-farthing. 

Luc. Hah! 

VAL. This man must have the universal heal-all." 

MART. Who doubts it ? 

Luc. Odds-bobs ! that is the very man we want. Let 
us go quickly and fetch him. 

11 The liquid gold (aurum potabile) was long thought to be a most 
wonderful remedy, and was in use even during the last century. 

12 Liquid gold was formerly thought to cure all diseases, hence the 
name of "universal heal-all." 


VAL. We thank you for the service you have rendered 

MART. But do not fail to remember the warning I have 
given you. 

Luc. Hey ! Zooks ! leave it to us. If he wants noth- 
ing but a thrashing, we will gain our point. 13 

VAL. (To Lucas}. We are very glad to have met with 
this woman ; and I conceive the best hopes in the world 
from it. 

SCAN. (Singing behind the Scene). La, la, la ... 
VAL. I hear some one singing and cutting wood. 
SCAN. {Coming on, with a bottle in his hand, without 
perceiving Valere or Lucas). La, la, la. . . . Really I 
have done enough to deserve a drink. Let us take a little 
breath. (He drinks}. This wood is as salt as the very 
devil." (Sings). 

How sweet to hear, 
My pretty flask, 
How sweet to hear, 
Your little gull, gull ! 
No fate with mine could vie, 
If never you ran dry, 
Oh / darling little flask, 
But constantly were full! 

18 In the original la vache est a nous, the cow is ours. 

14 Meaning that he wants something to drink. 

15 Tradition mentions that the President Rose, a few days after the first 
representation of The Physician in spite of himself, met Moliere at the 
Duke de Montausier, and accused the dramatist, before a numerous com- 
pany, of having translated Sganarelle's couplet from the Latin, which was 
itself borrowed from the Greek. Moliere denied the fact; and to 
his great surprise, the President recited the following verses, which 
astounded Moliere, and which were afterwards admitted by Rose to be 
a translation from the playwright's original, which we give as well : 

Qu'ils sont doux, Quam dulces, 

Bouteille jolie, Amphora amcena, 

Qu'ils sont doux, Quam dulces, 

Vos petits glougloux ! Sunt tuae voces ! 

Mais mon sort ferait bien des jaloux, Dum fundis merum in calices, 

Si vous tiez toujours remplie, Utinam semper esses plena ! 

Ah ! bouteille, ma mie, Ah ! Ah ! cara mea lagena, 

Pourquoi vous videz-vous ? Vacua cur jaces ? 


Come ! Zounds ! we must take care not to get the 

VAL. (Softly to Lucas). This is the very man. 

Luc. (Softly to Valere). I think you are right, and 
that we have just hit upon him. 

VAL. Let us look a little closer. 

SCAN. (Hugging the bottle). Ah ! you little rogue ! I 
love you, my pretty dear ! (He sings ; but perceiving Lucas 
and Valere, who are examining him, he lowers his voice. 

No fate . . . with mine . . . could . . . vie, 
Is. , . 

(Seeing that they examine him more closely]. Whom the 
deuce do these people want ? 

VAL. (To Lucas). It is surely he. 

Luc. (To Valere). There he is, exactly as he has been 
described to us. 

SCAN. (Aside\ (At this point he puts down his bottle ; 
and Valere stooping down to bow to him, he thinks that it is 
in order to snatch it away, and puts it on the other side. 
As Lucas is doing the same thing as Valere, Sganarelle 
takes it up again, and hugs it to his breast, with various 
grimaces which make a great deal of by-play). They are 
consulting each other, while looking at me. What can be 
their intentions ! 

VAL. Sir, is not your name Sganarelle ? 

SGAN. Hey! What I 

VAL. I ask you if your name is not Sganarelle. 

SCAN. ( Turning first to Valere, then to Lucas\ Yes, 
and no. It depends on what you want with him. 

VAL. We want nothing with him, but to offer him our 
utmost civilities. 

SGAN. In that case my name is Sganarelle. 

VAL. We are delighted to see you, Sir. We have been 
recommended to you for what we are in search of; and 
we have come to implore your help, of which we are in 

SGAN. If it be anything, gentlemen, that belongs to my 
little trade, I am quite ready to oblige you. 

VAL. You are too kind to us, Sir. But put your hat 
on, Sir, if you please ; the sun might hurt you. 


Luc. Pray, Sir, put it on. 

SCAN. (Aside). What a deal of ceremony these people 
use. (He puts his hat on), 

VAL. You must not think it strange, Sir, that we have 
addressed ourselves to you. Clever people are always 
much sought after, and we have been informed of your 

SCAN. It is true, gentlemen, that I am the best hand in 
the world at making faggots. 

VAL. Oh ! Sir . . . 

SCAN. I spare no pains, and make them in a fashion 
that leaves nothing to be desired. 

VAL. That is not the question we have come about, Sir. 

SCAN. But I charge a hundred and ten sous the hun- 

VAL. Let us not speak about that, if you please. 

SCAN. I pledge you my word that I could not sell them 
for less. 

VAL. We know what is what, Sir. 

SCAN. If you know what is what, you know that I 
charge that price. 

VAL. This is a joke, Sir, but . . . 

SCAN. It is no joke at all, I cannot bate a farthing. 

VAL. Let us talk differently, please. 

SCAN. You may find some elsewhere for less ; there be 
faggots and faggots ; but for those which I make . . . 

VAL. Let us change the conversation, pray, Sir. 

SGAN. I take my oath that you shall not have them for 
less, not a fraction. 

VAL. Fie! Fie! 

SCAN. No, upon my word, you shall have to pay that 
price. I am speaking frankly, and I am not the man to 

VAL. Ought a gentleman like you, Sir, to amuse him- 
self with those clumsy pretences, to lower himself to talk 
thus? Ought so learned a man, such a famous physician 
as you are, to wish to disguise himself in the eyes of the 
world and keep buried his great talents ? 

SCAN. (Aside). He is mad. 

VAL. Pray, Sir, do not dissemble with us. 

SCAN. What do you mean ? 


Luc. All this beating about the bush is useless. We 
know what we know. 

SCAN. What do you know ? What do you want with 
me ? For whom do you take me ? 

VAL. For what you are, a great physician. 

SCAN. Physician yourself; I am not one, and I have 
never been one. 

VAL. (Aside). Now the fit is on him. (Aloud}. Sir, 
do not deny things any longer, and do not, if you please, 
make us have recourse to unpleasant extremities. 

SCAN. Have recourse to what ? 

VAL. To certain things that we should be sorry for. 

SCAN. Zounds! Have recourse to whatever you like. 
I am not a physician, and do not understand what you 

VAL. (Aside}. Well, I perceive that we shall have to 
apply the remedy. (Aloud}. Once more, Sir, I pray you 
to confess what you are. 

Luc. Odds bobs, do not talk any more nonsense ; and 
confess plainly that you are a physician. 

SCAN. (Aside). I am getting in a rage. 

VAL. What is the good of denying what all the world 
knows ? 

Luc. Why all these funny falsehoods? What is the 
good of it ? 

SCAN. One word is as good as a thousand, gentlemen. 
T tell you that I am not a physician. 

VAL. You are not a physician ? 

SCAN. No. 

Luc. You are not a physician ? 

SCAN. No, I tell you. 

VAL. Since you will have it so, we must make up our 
minds to do it. ( They each fake a stick, and thrash him). 

SCAN. Hold ! hold ! hold, gentlemen ! I will be any- 
thing you like. 

VAL. Why, Sir, do you oblige us to use this violence ? 

Luc. Why do you make us take the trouble of giving 
you a beating ? 

VAL. I assure you that I regret it with all my heart. 

Luc. Upon my word I am sorry for it too. 

SCAN. What the devil does it all mean, gentlemen ? 


For pity's sake, is it a joke, or are you both gone out of 
your minds, to wish to make me out a physician? 

VAL. What ! you do not give in yet, and you still deny 
being a physician ? 

SCAN. The devil take me if I am one ! 

Luc. Are you not a physician ? 

SCAN. No, plague choke me ! (They begin to thrash 
him again). Hold ! hold ! Well, gentlemen, yes, since 
you will have it so, I am a physician, I am a physician 
an apothecary into the bargain, if you like. I prefer 
saying yes to everything to being knocked about so. 

VAL. Ah ! that is right, Sir ; I am delighted to see you 
so reasonable. 

Luc. It does my heart good to hear you speak in this 

VAL. I beg your pardon with all my heart. 

Luc. I hope you will forgive me for the liberty I have 

SCAN. (Aside}. Bless my soul ! Am I perhaps myself 
mistaken, and have I become a physician without being 
aware of it ? 

VAL. You shall not regret, Sir, having shown us what 
you are ; and you shall certainly be satisfied. 

SCAN. But, tell me, gentlemen, may you not be your- 
selves mistaken ? Is it quite certain that I am a physi- 

Luc. Yes, upon my word ! 

SCAN. Really and truly. 

VAL. Undoubtedly. 

SCAN. The devil take me if I knew it ! 

VAL. Nonsense ! You are the cleverest physician in the 

SCAN. Ha, ha ! 

Luc. A physician who has cured I do not know how 
many complaints. 

SCAN. The dickens I have ! 

VAL. A woman was thought dead for six hours ; she 
was ready to be buried when you, with a drop of some- 
thing, brought her to again, and made her walk at once 
about the room. 

SCAN. The deuce I did ! 


Luc. A child of twelve fell from the top of the belfry, 
by which he had his head, his legs, and his arms smashed; 
and you, with I do not know what ointment, made him 
immediately get up on his feet, and off he ran to play 

SGAN. The devil I did ! 

VAL. In short, Sir, you will be satisfied with us, and 
you shall earn whatever you like, if you allow us to take 
you where we intend. 

SGAN. I shall earn whatever I like ? 

VAL. Yes. 

SGAN. In that case I am a physician : there is no doubt 
of it. I had forgotten it ; but I recollect it now. What 
is the matter ? Where am I to go ? 

VAL. We will conduct you. The matter is to see a girl 
who has lost her speech. 

SGAN. Indeed ! I have not found it. 

VAL. {Softly to Lucas}. How he loves his joke ! {To 
Sganarelle). Come along, Sir ! 

SGAN. Without a physician's gown ! 

VAL. We will get one. 

SGAN. {Presenting his bottle to Valere). You carry this : 
I put my juleps in there ( Turning round to Lucas and spit- 
ting on the ground). And you, stamp on this, by order of 
the physician. 

Luc. Odds sniggers ! this is a physician I like. I think 
he will do, for he is a comical fellow. 


{The scene represents a room in Geronte* s house.') 

VAL. Yes, sir, I think you will be satisfied ; we have 
brought the greatest physician in the world with us. 

Luc. Oh ! Zooks ! this one beats everything ; all the 
others are not worthy to hold the candle to him. 16 

18 The original has tous Its a-utres ne sont pas daignes de li dechausser 
ses soulies, all the others are not worthy to take off his shoes. 


VAL. He is a man who has performed some marvellous 

Luc. Who has put dead people on their legs again. 

VAL. He is somewhat whimsical, as I have told you ; 
and at times there are moments when his senses wander, 
and he does not seem what he really is. 

Luc. Yes, he loves a joke, and one would say some- 
times that he has got a tile loose somewhere. 17 

VAL. But in reality, it is all learning this ; and very 
often he says things quite beyond any one's comprehen- 

Luc. When he sets about it, he talks as finely as if he 
were reading a book. 

VAL. He has already a great reputation hereabout, and 
everybody comes to consult him. 

GER. I am very anxious to see him ; send him to me 

VAL. I am going to fetch him. 


JACQ. Upon my word, Sir, this one will do just the same 
as all the rest. 18 I think it will be six of the one and half- 
a-dozen of the others; and the best medicine to give to 
your daughter would, in my opinion, be a handsome strap- 
ping husband, for whom she could have some love. 19 

Ger. Lord bless my soul, nurse dear, you are meddling 
with many things ! 

Luc. Hold your tongue, mother Jacqueline; it is not 
for you to poke your nose there. 

JACQ. I tell you, and a dozen more of you, 20 that all 
these physicians do her no good ; that your daughter 

1T The original has qu'il a quelque petit coup de hache a la tcte, that 
he has received some small blow with an axe on his head. 

18 Jacqueline talks in a kind of peasants' dialect, which cannot be 
translated. The first sentence is thus in the original : Par mafi, monsieu, 
ceti-ciferajustement ce qu ant fait Us autres. 

19 Something similar is said by Gros-Rene in the third scene of one of 
Moliere's early farces, The flying Physician (Le Medecin volant}, which 
will be given in the last volume of this edition. 

10 The original has an attempt at a play on words : je vans dis et vous 
douse, because dis, say, and dix, ten, have nearly the same pronunciation. 


wants something else than rhubarb and senna, and that a 
husband is a plaster which cures all girls' complaints. 

GER. Would any one have her in her present state, with 
that affliction on her ? and when I intended her to marry, 
has she not opposed my wishes ? 

JACQ. No wonder. You wished to give her a man 
whom she does not like. Why did you not give her to 
Monsieur Leandre, who takes her fancy? She would have 
been very obedient, and I vouch for it that he will take 
her as she is, if you but give her to him. 

GER. Leandre is not the man we want ; he has not got 
a fortune like the other. 

JACQ. He has got an uncle who is so rich, and whose 
fortune he will inherit. 

GER. All these expectations seem to me but moonshine. 
Brag is a good dog, but Holdfast is a better ; and we run 
a great risk in waiting for dead men's shoes. Death is not 
always at the beck and call of gentlemen heirs ; and while 
the grass grows, the cow starves. 21 

JACQ. That is all well and good, but I have always heard 
that in marriage, as in everything else, happiness excels 
riches. Fathers and mothers have this cursed habit of 
asking always, "How much has he got?" and " How 
much has she got ? ' ' And gaffer Peter has married his 
Simonette to that lout Thomas, because he has got a few 
more vineyards than young Robin, for whom the girl had 
a fancy ; and now the poor creature is as yellow as a 
guinea, and has not looked like herself ever since. That 
is a good example for you, Sir. After all, folks have but 
their pleasure in this world ; and I would sooner give my 
daughter a husband whom she likes, than have all the 
riches in the country. 22 

n This is rather a free translation of Geronte's speech. The original 
has : Tous ces Hens d venir me semblent autant de chansons. II n'est rien 
telce quon tient ; et I'on courtgrand risque de s'abuser, lorsgue Ton compte 
sur le lien qu'un autre vous garde. La mort n'a pas toujours les oreilles 
ouvertes aux yeux et aux prieres de messieurs les heritiers ; et I'on 
a le temps d' avoir les dents longues, lorsqu' on attend, pour vivre, le trepas 
de quelqu'un. Avoir les dents longues is, according to Gdnin's Lexique 
compare de la langue de Moliere, to be hungry, because hunger is sup- 
posed to sharpen one's teeth. 

n The original has to-utes les rentes de la Biausse, of Beauce, becanse 
it is one of the richest agricultural parts of France Beauce having for 


GER. Bless me, nurse, how you chatter ! Hold your 
tongue, let me beg of you ; you take too much upon your- 
self, and you will spoil your milk. 

Luc. (Slapping Geronte 1 s shoulder at every word\ In- 
deed, be silent ; you are too saucy. The master does not 
want your speeches, and he knows what he is about. All 
you have got to do is to suckle your baby, without arguing 
so much. Our master is the girl's father, and he is good 
and clever enough to know what she wants. 

GER. Gently, gently. 

Luc. (Still slapping Geronte 1 s shoulder). I wish to show 
her her place, and teach her the respect due to you, Sir. 

G-ER. Very well. But it does not need all this gesticu- 


VAL. Look out, Sir, here is our physician coming. 

GER. ( To Sganarelle). I am delighted to see you, Sir, 
at my house, and we have very great need of you. 

SCAN. (In a physician* s gown with a very pointed cap). 
Hippocrates says . . . that we should both put our hats on. 

GER. Hippocrates says that? 

SCAN. Yes. 

GER. In which chapter, if you please? 

SCAN. In his chapter ... on hats. 

GER. Since Hippocrates says so, we must obey. 

SCAN. Doctor, having heard of the marvellous things . . . 

GER. To whom are you speaking, pray ? 

SGAN. To you. 

GER. I am not a physician 

SCAN. You are not a physician ? 

GER. Indeed I am not. 

its principal towns Dreux, Chartres, and Chateaudun. Rabelais, in his 
Gargantua, Book I., Chapter 16, relates how the huge mare on which 
Gargantua rode destroyed the ox-flies of the Beauce with her enormous 
tail, "and felled everywhere the wood with as much ease, as the mower 
doth the grass, in such sort that never since hath there been there 
neither wood nor dorflies : for all the country was thereby reduced to a 
plain champagne field, which Gargantua took great pleasure to behold, 
and said to his company no more but this, 'Je trouve beau ce," I find 
this pretty ; whereupon that country hath been ever since that time called 



SCAN. Really? 

GER. Really. (Sganarelle takes a stick and thrashes 
Geronte). Oh! Oh! Oh! 

SCAN. Now you are a physician, I have never taken any 
other degree. 

GER. (To Valere). What a devil of a fellow you have 
brought me here ! 

VAL. Did I not tell you that he was a funny sort of a 

GER. Yes; But I shall send him about his business with 
his fun. 

Luc. Do not take any notice of it, Sir. It is only his 

GER. The joking does not suit me. 

SCAN. Sir; I beg your pardon for the liberty I have 

GER. I am your humble servant, Sir. 

SCAN. I am sorry . . . 

GER. It is nothing. 

SCAN. For the cudgelling I ... 

GER. There is no harm done. 

SCAN. Which I have had the honour to give you. 

GER. Do not say any more about it, Sir. I have a 
daughter who is suffering from a strange complaint. 

SCAN. I am delighted, Sir, that your daughter has need 
of my skill ; and I wish, with all my heart, that you stood 
in the same need of it, you and all your family, in order 
to show you my wish to serve you. 

GER. I am obliged to you for these kind feelings. 

SCAN. I assure you that I am speaking from my very 

GER. You really do me too much honour. 

SGAN. What is your daughter's name? 

GER. Lucinde. 

SCAN. Lucinde! Ah! a pretty name to physic! Lu- 
cinde ! ffl 

GER. I will just see what she is doing. 

SCAN. Who is that tall woman? 

GER. She is my baby's nurse. 

23 Not unlikely this was an allusion to the Juno Lucinda. 



SCAN. (Aside). Zounds, that is a fine piece of household 
furniture. (Aloud'). Ah, nurse! Charming nurse! my 
physic is the very humble slave of your nurseship, and 
I should like to be the fortunate little nursling to suck 
the milk of your good graces. (He puts his hand on her 
bosom}. All my nostrums, all my skill, all my cleverness, 
is at your service ; and . . . 

Luc. By your leave, Mr. Doctor ; leave my wife alone, 
I pray you. 

SCAN. What! is she your wife? 

Luc. Yes. 

SCAN. Oh ! indeed ! I did not know that, but I am very 
glad of it for the love of both. (He pretends to embrace 
Lucas j but embraces the nurse. 

Luc. (Pulling Sganarelle away, and placing himself 
between him and his wife). Gently, if you please. 

SCAN. I assure you that I am delighted that you should 
be united together. I congratulate her upon having such 
a husband as you ; and I congratulate you upon having a 
wife so handsome, so discreet, and so well-shaped as she 
is. (He pretends once more to embrace Lucas, who holds 
out his arms, he slips under them and embraces the nurse. 

Luc. (Pulling him away again). Do not pay so many 
compliments, I beg of you. 

SCAN. Shall I not rejoice with you about such a lovely 
harmony ? 

Luc. With me as much as you like; but a truce to 
compliments with my wife. 

SCAN. I have both your happiness equally at heart; 
and if I embrace you to show my delight in you, I em- 
brace her to show my delight in her. (Same by-play}. 

Luc. {Pulling him away for the third time). Odds 
boddikins, Mr. Doctor, what vagaries ! 


GER. My daughter will be here directly, Sir. 
SCAN. I am awaiting her, Sir, with all my physic. 
GER, Where is it ? 


SCAN. (Touching his forehead). In there. 

GER. That is good. 

SCAN. But as I feel much interested in your family, I 
should like to test the milk of your nurse, and examine her 
breasts. ( He draws close to Jacqueline). 

Luc. ( Pulling him away, and swinging him round). 
Nothing of the sort, nothing of the sort. I do not wish it. 

SCAN. It is the physician's duty to see the breasts of 
the nurse. 

Luc. Duty or no duty, I will not have it. 

SGAN. Have you the audacity to contradict a physician ? 
Out with you. 

Luc. I do not care a straw about a physician. 

SCAN. (Looking askance at him). I will give you a 

JACQ. {Taking Lucas by the arm, and swinging him 
round also). Get out of the way. Am I not big enough 
to take my own part, if he does anything to me which 
he ought not to do ? 

Luc. I will not have him touch you, I will not. 

SCAN. For shame you rascal, to be jealous of your wife. 

GER. Here comes my daughter. 


SCAN. Is this the patient ? 

GER. Yes I have but one daughter; and I would never 
get over it if she were to die. 

SGAN. Do not let her do anything of the kind. She 
must not die without a^rescription of the physician. 2 * 

GER. A chair here ! 

SGAN. (Seated between Geronte and Lucinde). This is 
not at all an unpleasant patient, and I am of opinion that 
she would not be at all amiss for a man in very good 

GER. You have made her laugh, Sir. 

SGAN. So much the better. It is the best sign in the 
world when a physician makes the patient laugh. {To 

24 Geronte and Sganarelle's remarks are also found slightly altered in 
Moliere's The flying Physician, one of his early farces. 


Lucinde]. Well, what is the matter? What ails you? 
What is it you feel ? 

Luc. (Replies by motions, by putting her hand to her 
mouth , her head, and under her chin). Ha, hi, ho, ha ! 

SCAN. What do you say ? 

Luc. (Continues the same motions}. Ha, hi, ho, ha, ha, 
hi, ho ! 

SCAN. What is that? 

Luc. Ha, hi, ho ! 

SCAN. (Imitating her). Ha, hi, ho, ha, ha ! I do not 
understand you. What sort of language do you call that ? 

GER. That is just where her complaint lies, Sir. She 
has become dumb, without our having been able till now 
to discover the cause. This accident has obliged us to 
postpone her marriage. 

SCAN. And why so ? 

GER. He whom she is going to marry wishes to wait 
for her recovery to conclude the marriage. 

SCAN. And who is this fool that does not want his wife 
to be dumb ? Would to Heaven that mine had that com- 
plaint ! I should take particular care not to have her 

GER. To the point, Sir. We beseech you to use all 
your skill to cure her of this affliction. 

SCAN. Do not make yourself uneasy. But tell me, does 
this pain oppress her much ? 

GER. Yes, Sir. 

SCAN. So much the better. Is the suffering very acute ? 

GER. Very acute. 

SCAN. That is right. Does she go to . . . you know 
where ? 

GER. Yes. 

SCAN. Freely? 

GER. That I know nothing about. 

SCAN. Is the matter healthy ? 

GER. I do not understand these things. 

SCAN. ( Turning to the patient). Give me your hand. 
(To Geronte\ The pulse tells me that your daughter is 

GER. Sir, that is what is the matter with her ; ah ! yes, 
you have found it out at the first touch. 


SCAN. Of course ! 

JACQ. See how he has guessed her complaint. 

SCAN. We great physicians, we know matters at once. 
An ignoramus would have been nonplussed, and would 
have told you : it is this, that, or the other ; but I hit the 
nail on the head from the very first, and I tell you that 
your daughter is dumb. 

GER. Yes ; but I should like you to tell me whence it 

SCAN. Nothing is easier ; it arises from loss of speech. 

GER. Very good. But the reason of her having lost her 
speech, pray? 

SCAN. Our best authorities will tell you that it is be- 
cause there is an impediment in the action of her 

GER. But, once more, your opinion upon this impedi- 
ment in the action of her tongue. 

SCAN. Aristotle on this subject says ... a great many 
clever things. 

GER. I dare say. 

SCAN. Ah ! He was a great man ! 

GER. No doubt. 

SGAN. Yes, a very great man. {Holding out his arm, 
and putting a finger of the other hand in the bend}. A man 
who was, by this, much greater than I. But to come 
back to our argument : I am of opinion that this impedi- 
ment in the action of her tongue is caused by certain hu- 
mours, which among us learned men, we call peccant hu- 
mours; peccant that is to say . . . peccant humours; 
inasmuch as the vapours formed by the exhalations of the 
influences which rise in the very region of diseases, com- 
ing, . . . as we may say to ... Do you understand 
Latin ? 

GER. Not in the least. 

SCAN. (Suddenly rising). You do not understand 
Latin ? 

GER. No. 

SCAN. (Assuming various comic attitudes}. Cabricias 
arci thuram, catalamus, singulariter, nominative, hcEC 
musa, the muse, bonus, bona, bonum. Deus sanctus, est- 
ne oratio latinas ? Etiam, Yes. Quare ? Why. Quiet 


substantive et adjectivum, concordat in generi, numerum, ct 

GER. Ah ! Why did I not study ? 

JACQ. What a clever man ! 

Luc. Yes, it is so beautiful that I do not understand a 
word of it. 

SCAN. Thus these vapours which I speak of, passing 
from the left side, where the liver is, to the right side, 
where we find the heart, it so happens that the lungs, 
which in Latin we call armyan, having communication 
with the brain, which in Greek we style nasmus, by means 
of the vena cava, which in Hebrew, is termed cubile 
meet in their course the said vapours, which fill the ven- 
tricles of the omoplata ; and because the said vapours . . . 
now understand well this argument, pray . . . and be- 
cause these said vapours are endowed with a certain ma- 
lignity . . . listen well to this, I beseech you. 

GER. Yes. 

SCAN. Are endowed with a certain malignity which is 
caused . . . pay attention here, if you please. 

GER. I do. 

SCAN. Which is caused by the acridity of these humours 
engendered in the concavity of the diaphragm, it happens 
that these vapours. . . . Ossabandus, nequeis, nequer, 
potarinum, puipsa mt'/us. 2 " 1 That is exactly the reason that 
your daughter is dumb. 

JACQ. Ah ! How well this gentleman explains all this. 

Luc. Why does not my tongue wag as well as his ? 

GER. It is undoubtedly impossible to argue better. 
There is but one thing that I cannot exactly make out : 
that is the whereabouts of the liver and the heart. It ap- 

15 The first four words of Sganarelle's address are words of Moliere's 
coining, and belong to no language ; the rest is a truncated quotation 
of the following passage from the old Latin grammar of Despautere : 
Deus sanctus, est-ne oratio latino, f Etiam. Quare f Quia substantivum 
et adjectivum concordant ingenere, numero, casu. In pronouncing the 
word casus, which means "case," and "fall," the actor, who plays the 
part of Sganarelle, upsets his chair whilst sitting down, and falls on the 
floor, according to tradition. 

M Armyan and Nasmus belong to no language ; cubile is the Latin 
for bed or den. 

27 These words belong to no language. 


pears to me that you place them differently from what 
they are ; that the heart is on the left side, and the liver 
on the right. 

SGAN. Yes ; this was so formerly ; but we have changed 
all that, and we now-a-days practise the medical art on an 
entirely new system. 

GER. I did not know that, and I pray you pardon my 

SCAN. There is no harm done ; and you are not obliged 
to be so clever as we are. 

GER. Certainly not. But what think you, Sir, ought 
to be done for this complaint ? 

SCAN. What do I think ought to be done ? 

GER. Yes. 

SCAN. My advice is to put her to bed again, and make 
her, as a remedy, take plenty of bread soaked in wine. 

GER. Why so, sir ? 

SCAN. Because there is in bread and wine mixed to- 
gether a sympathetic virtue which produces speech. Do 
you not see that they give nothing else to parrots-, and 
that, by eating it, they learn to speak ? 

GER. That is true. Oh ! the great man ! Quick, plenty 
of bread and wine. 

SCAN. I shall come back to-night to see how the patient 
is getting on. 


SCAN. {To Jacqueline). Stop a little you. (To Geronte). 
Sir, I must give some medicine to your nurse. 

JACQ. To me, Sir ? I am as well as can be. 

SCAN. So much the worse, nurse, so much the worse. 
This excess of health is dangerous, and it would not be 
amiss to bleed you a little gently, and to administer some 
little soothing injection. 

GER. But, my dear Sir, that is a method which I can- 
not understand. Why bleed folks when they are not ill ? 

SCAN. It does not matter, the method is salutary ; and 
as we drink for the thirst to come, so must we bleed for 
the disease to come.* 

K This is really no joke. It was the custom in Moliere's time to 
swallow a certain amount of physic as a matter of precaution, and in 
case of future maladies. 


JACQ. (Going}. I do not care a fig for all this, and I 
will not have my body made an apothecary's shop. 

SCAN. You object to my remedies ; but we shall know- 
how to bring you to reason. 


SCAN. I wish you good day. 

GER. Stay a moment, if you please. 

SCAN. What are you going to do? 

GER. Give you your fee, sir. 

SCAN. (Putting his hands behind him, from under his 
gown, while Geronte opens his purse}. I shall not accept 
it, Sir. 

GER. Sir. 

SCAN. Not at all. 

GER. One moment. 

SGAN. On no consideration. 

GER. Pray ! 

SCAN. You are jesting. 

GER. That is settled. 

SCAN. I shall do nothing of the kind. 

GER. What ! 

SCAN. I do not practise for money's sake. 29 

GER. I am convinced of that. 

SCAN. (After having taken the money}. Are they good 
weight ? 

GER. Yes, Sir. 

SCAN. I am not a mercenary physician. 

GER. I am well aware of it. 

SCAN. I am not actuated by interest. 

GER. I do not for a moment think so. 

SCAN. (Alone, looking at the money he has received}. 

29 This is taken from Rabelais' Pantagruel, Book III., Chapter 34, 
when Panurge, having taken counsel with the physician Rondibilis, 
clapped into his hand, without the speaking of so much as one word, four 
rose nobles. " Rondibilis did shut his fist upon them right kindly; yet, as 
if it had displeased him to make acceptance of such golden presents, he 
in a start as if he had been wroth, said, He, he, he, he, he, there was no 
need of anything, I thank you nevertheless. From wicked folks I never 
get enough, and from honest people I refuse nothing. I shall be always, 
Sir, at your command. Provided that I pay you well, quoth Panurge. 
That, quoth Rondibilis, is understood. 1 ' 


Upon my word, this does not promise badly ; and pro- 
vided . . . 


LEAN. I have been waiting some time for you, Sir, and 
I have come to beg your assistance. 

SCAN, (feeling his pulse). That is a very bad pulse. 

LEAN. I am not ill, Sir ; and it is not for that I am 
come to you. 

SCAN. If you are not ill, why the devil do you not tell 
me so? 

LEAN. No. To tell you the matter in a few words, 
my name is Leandre. I am in love with Lucinde to 
whom you have just paid a visit ; and as all access to her 
is denied to me, through the ill-temper of her father, I 
venture to beseech you to serve me in my love affair, and 
to assist me in a stratagem that I have invented, so as to say 
a few words to her, on which my whole life and happiness 
absolutely depend. 

SCAN. (In apparent anger). Whom do you take me 
for? How dare you address yourself to me to assist you 
in your love affair, and to wish me to lower the dignity of 
a physician by an affair of that kind ! 

LEAN. Do not make a noise, Sir. 

SCAN. {Driving him back). I will make a noise. You 
are an impertinent fellow. 

LEAN. Ah ! gently, Sir. 

SCAN. An ill-mannered jackanapes. 

LEAN. Pray ! 

SCAN. I will teach you that I am not the kind of man 
you take me for, and that it is the greatest insolence . . . 

LEAN. (Taking out a purse). Sir. . . 

SCAN. To wish to employ me . . . (taking the purse). 
I am not speaking about you, for you are a gentleman ; 
and I should be delighted to be of any use to you ; but 
there are certain impertinent people in this world who 
take folks for what they are not ; and I tell you candidly 
that this puts me in a passion. 

LEAN. I ask your pardon, Sir, for the liberty I have . . . 

SCAN. You are jesting. What is the affair in question ? 

LEAN. You must know then, Sir, that this disease which 


you wish to cure is a feigned complaint. The physicians 
have argued about it, as they ought to do, and they have 
not failed to give it as their opinion, this one, that it 
arose from the brain ; that one, from the intestines ; 
another, from the spleen ; another, again, from the liver j 
but the fact is that love is its real cause, and that Lucinde 
has only invented this illness in order to free herself from 
a marriage with which she has been harassed. But for 
fear that we may be seen together, let us retire ; and I 
will tell you as we go along, what I wish you to do. 

SCAN. Come along, then, Sir. You have inspired me 
with an inconceivable interest in your love ; and if all my 
medical science does not fail me, the patient shall either 
die or be yours. 


{The scene represents a spot near Geronte 1 s house.*) 

LEAN. I think that I am not at all badly got up for an 
apothecary ; and as her father has scarcely ever seen me, 
this change of dress and wig is likely enough, I think, to 
disguise me. 

SCAN. There is no doubt of it. 

LEAN. Only I should like to know five or six big medi- 
cal words to leaven my conversation with, and to give me 
the air of a learned man. 

SCAN. Go along, go along ; it is not at all necessary. 
The dress is sufficient; and I know no more about it than 
you do. 

LEAN. How is that ! 

SCAN. The devil take me if I understand anything 
about medicine ! You are a gentleman, and I do not 
mind confiding in you, as you have confided in me. 

LEAN. What ! Then you are not really . . . 

SCAN. No, I tell you. They have made me a physician 
in spite of my teeth. I have never attempted to be so 
learned as that ; and all my studies did not go farther 
than the lowest class at school. I do not know how the 


idea has come to them ; but when I saw that in spite of 
every thing they would have it that I was a physician, I 
made up my mind to be so at somebody's expense. You 
would not believe, however, how this error has spread, 
and how everyone is possessed, and believes me to be a 
learned man. They come seeking me on all sides; and 
if things go on in this way, I am resolved to stick to the 
profession all my life. I find that it is the best trade of 
all ; for, whether we manage well or ill, we are paid just 
the same. Bad workmanship never recoils on us ; and 
we cut the material we have to work with pretty much as 
we like. A shoemaker, in making a pair of shoes, cannot 
spoil a scrap of leather without having to bear the loss ; 
but in our business we may spoil a man without its cost- 
ing us a farthing. The blunders are never put down to 
us, and it is always the fault of the fellow who dies. The 
best of this profession is, that there is the greatest honesty 
and discretion among the dead ; for you never find them 
complain of the physician who has killed them. 

LEAN. It is true that the dead are very honourable in 
that respect. 

SCAN. (Seeing some people advancing towards him). 
There come some people, who seem anxious to consult 
me. (To Leandre}. Go and wait for me near the house 
of your lady-love. 


THIB. Sir, we come to look for you, my son Perrin and 
myself. 30 

SCAN. What is the matter ? 

THIB. His poor mother, whose name is Perrette, has 
been on a bed of sickness for the last six months. 

SCAN. (Holding out his hand as if to receive money). 
What would you have me do to her ? 

THIB. I would like you to give me some little doctor's 
stuff to cure her. 

SCAN. We must first see what is the matter with her. 

THIB. She is ill with the hypocrisy, Sir. 

10 In the original, Thibaut speaks like a peasant ; as Mounsie, j'e venous 
vous charcher, monfils Perrin et moi. 


SCAN. With the hypocrisy? 

THIB. Yes ; I mean she is swollen everywhere. They 
say that there is a lot of seriosities in her inside, and that 
her liver, her belly, or her spleen, as you would call it, 
instead of making blood makes nothing but water. She 
has, every other day, the quotiguian fever, with lassitude 
and pains in the muscles of her legs. We can hear in her 
throat phlegms that are ready to choke her, and she is 
often taken with syncoles and conversions, so that we 
think she is going off the hooks. We have got in our 
village an apothecary with respect be it said who has 
given her, I do not know how much stuff; and it has 
cost me more than a dozen good crowns in clysters, 
saving your presence, in apostumes which he has made 
her swallow, in infections of hyacinth, and in cordial 
potions. But all this, as people say, was nothing but an 
ointment of fiddle-faddle. He wanted to give her a cer- 
tain drug called ametile wine; but I was downright 
afeard that this would send her to the other world alto- 
gether; because they tell me that those big physicians 
kill, I do not know how many, with that new-fangled 
notion. 81 

SCAN. (Still holding out his hand, and moving it about 
to show that he wants money). Let us come to the point, 
friend, let us come to the point. 

THIB. The point is, Sir, that we have come to beg of 
you to tell us what we must do. 

SCAN. I do not understand you at all. 

PER. My mother is ill, Sir, and here are two crowns 
which we have brought you to give us some stuff. 

SCAN. Ah ! you I do understand. There is a lad who 
speaks clearly, and explains himself as he should. You 
say that your mother is ill with the dropsy ; that she is 
swollen all over her body ; that she has a fever, with pains 
in the legs ; that she sometimes is taken with syncopes 
and convulsions, that is to say with fainting fits. 

PER. Indeed, Sir ! that is just it. 

n Of course, Thibaut mispronounces nearly every word, and also the 
medical words. Sganarelle corrects him a little further on. For emetic 
wine, which he calls ''ametile wine," see page 104. note 16. 


SCAN. I understand you at once. Your father does not 
know what he says. And now you ask me for a remedy? 

PER. Yes, sir. 

SCAN. A remedy to cure her? 

PER. That is just what I mean. 

SCAN. Take this then. It is a piece of cheese which 
you must make her take. 

PER. A piece of cheese, Sir ? 

SCAN. Yes ; it is a kind of prepared cheese, in which 
there is gold, coral, and pearls, and a great many other 
precious things. 

PER. I am very much obliged to you, Sir, and I shall 
go and make her take it directly. 

SCAN. Go, and if she dies, do not fail to bury her in 
the best style you can. 

SCENE III. (The Scene changes, and represents, as in the 
Second Act, a room in Geronte 's house} JACQUELINE, 
SGANARELLE, LUCAS, at the far end of the stage. 

SCAN. Here is the pretty nurse. Ah ! you darling 
nurse, I am delighted at this meeting ; and the sight of 
you is like rhubarb, cassia, and senna to me, which purges 
all melancholy from my mind. 

JACQ. Upon my word, Mr. Physician, it is no good 
talking to me in that style, and I do not understand your 
Latin at all. 

SCAN. Get ill, nurse, I beg of you ; get ill for my sake. 
I shall have all the pleasure in the world of curing you. 

JACQ. I am your humble servant ; I would much rather 
not be cured. 

SCAN. How I grieve for you, beautiful nurse, in having 
such a jealous and troublesome husband. 

JACQ. What am I to do, Sir ? It is as a penance for 
my sins; and where the goat is tied down she must 

SCAN. What ! Such a clod-hopper as that ! a fellow 
who is always watching you, and will let no one speak to 
you ! 

JACQ. Alas ! you have seen nothing yet ; and that is 
only a small sample of his bad temper. 


SCAN. Is it possible? and can a man have -so mean a 
spirit as to ill-use a woman like you ? Ah ! I know some, 
sweet nurse, and who are not very far off, who would only 
be too glad to kiss your little feet ! Why should such a 
handsome woman have fallen into such hands ! and a mere 
animal, a brute, a stupid, a fool . . . Excuse me, nurse, 
for speaking in that way of your husband. 

JACQ. Oh ! Sir, I know full well that he deserves all 
these names. 

SCAN. Undoubtedly, nurse, he deserves them ; and he 
also deserves that you should plant something on his head 
to punish him for his suspicions. 

JACQ. It is true enough that if I had not his interest 
so much at heart, he would drive me to do some strange 

SCAN. Indeed it would just serve him right if you were 
to revenge yourself upon him with some one. The fellow 
richly deserves it all, I tell you, and if I were fortunate 
enough, fair nurse, to be chosen by you . . . 

(While Sganarelle is holding out his arms to embrace 
Jacqueline, Lucas passes his head under them, and 
comes between the two. Sganarelle and Jacqueline 
stare at Lucas, and depart on opposite sides, but the 
doctor does so in a very comic manner}. 


GER. I say, Lucas, have not you seen our physician 

Luc. Indeed I have seen him, by all the devils, and my 
wife too. 

GER. 'Where can he be ? 

Luc. I do not know ; but I wish he were at the devil. 

GER. Just go and see what my daughter is doing. 


GER. I was just inquiring after you, Sir. 

SCAN. I have just been amusing myself in your court 
with expelling the superfluity of drink. How is the 
patient ? 

GER. Somewhat worse since your remedy. 

SCAN. So much the better ; it shows that it takes effect. 


GER. Yes ; but while it is taking effect, I am afraid it 
will choke her. 

SCAN. Do not make yourself uneasy ; I have some 
remedies that will make it all right ! and I will wait until 
she is at death's door. 

GER. {Pointing to Leandre). Who is this man that is 
with you ? 

SGAN. (Intimates by motions of his hands that it is an 
apothecary). It is 

GER. What? 

SCAN. He who . . . 

GER. Oh! 

SCAN. Who .... 

GER. I understand. 

SGAN. Your daughter will want him. 


JACQ. Here is your daughter, Sir, who wishes to stretch 
her limbs a little. 

SGAN. That will do her good. Go to her, Mr. Apothe- 
cary, and feel her pulse, so that I may consult with you 
presently about her complaint. (At this point he draws 
Geronte to one end of the stage, and putting one arm upon 
his shoulder, he places his hand under his chin, with which 
he makes him turn towards him, each time that Geronte 
wants to look at what is passing between his daughter and 
the apothecary, while he holds the following discourse with 
him). Sir, it is a great and subtle question among physi- 
cians to know whether women or men are more easily 
cured. I pray you to listen to this, if you please. Some 
say "no," others say "yes:" I say both "yes" and 
"no;" inasmuch as the incongruity of the opaque hu- 
mours, which are found in the natural temperament of 
women, causes the brutal part to struggle for the mastery 
over the sensitive, 32 we find that the conflict of their opin- 
ion depends on the oblique motion of the circle of the 
moon ; and as the sun, which darts its beams on the con- 
cavity of the earth, meets . . . 

33 Compare Gros Rene's Speech in The Love Tiff, Act iv., Scene ii., 
Vol. I., page 115. 


Luc. (To Leandre). No j I am not at all likely to 
change my feelings. 

GER. Hark ! my daughter speaks ! O, great virtue of 
the remedy ! O, excellent physician ! How deeply am I 
obliged to you, Sir, for this marvellous cure ! And what 
can I do for you after such a service ? 

SCAN. (Strutting about the stage, fanning himself with 
his hat). This case has given me some trouble. 

Luc. Yes, father, I have recovered my speech; but I 
have recovered it to tell you that I will never have any 
other husband than Leandre, and that it is in vain for you 
to wish to give me to Horace. 

GER. But . . . 

Luc. Nothing will shake the resolution I have taken. 

GER. What . . . 

Luc. All your fine arguments will be in vain 

GER. If ... 

Luc. All you talking will be of no use. 

GER. I ... 

Luc. I have made up my mind about the matter. 

GER. But . . 

Luc. No paternal authority can compel me to marry 
against my will. 

GER. I have . . . 

Luc. You may try as much as you like. 

GER. It ..." 

Luc. My heart cannot submit to this tyranny. 

GER. The . . . 

Luc. And I will sooner go into a convent than marry 
a man I do not love. 

GER. But ... 

Luc. (In a loud voice). No. By no means. It is of no use. 
You waste your time. I shall do nothing of the kind. I 
am fully determined. 

GER. Ah ! what a torrent of words ! One cannot hold 
out against it. ( To Sganarelle). I beseech you, Sir, to 
make her dumb again. 

SCAN. That is impossible. All that I can do in your 
behalf is to make you deaf, if you like. 

GER. I thank you. (To Lucinde). Do you think . . . 



Luc. No ; all your reasoning will not have the slightest 
effect upon me. 

GER. You shall marry Horace this very evening. 

Luc. I would sooner marry death itself. 

SCAN. (To Geronte). Stop, for Heaven's sake! stop. 
Let me doctor this matter ; it is a disease that has got 
hold of her, and I know the remedy to apply to it. 

GER. Is it possible, indeed, Sir, that you can cure this 
disease of the mind also ? 

SCAN. Yes; let me manage it. I have remedies for 
every thing ; and our apothecary will serve us capitally 
for this cure. (To Leandre}. A word with you. You per- 
ceive that the passion she has for this Leandre is alto- 
gether against the wishes of the father ; that there is no 
time to lose ; that the humours are very acrimonious ; and 
that it becomes necessary to find speedily a remedy for 
this complaint, which may get worse by delay. As for 
myself, I see but one, which is a dose of purgative flight, 
mixed, as it should be, with two drachms of matrimonium, 
made up into pills. She may, perhaps, make some diffi- 
culty about taking this remedy ; but as you are a clever 
man in your profession, you must induce her to consent to 
it, and make her swallow the thing as best you can. Go 
and take a little turn in the garden with her to prepare 
the humours, while I converse here with her father ; but, 
above all, lose not a moment. Apply the remedy quick ! 
apply the specific ! 


GER. What drugs are those you have just mentioned, 
Sir ? It seems to me that I never heard of them before. 

SCAN. They are drugs which are used only in urgent 

GER. Did you ever see such insolence as hers ? 

SCAN. Daughters are a little headstrong at times. 

GER. You would not believe how she is infatuated with 
this Leandre. 

SCAN. The heat of the blood produces those things in 
young people. 

GER. As for me, the moment I discovered the violence 


of this passion, I took care to keep my daughter under 
lock and key. 

SCAN. You have acted wisely. 

GER. And I have prevented the slightest communica- 
tion between them. 

SGAN. Just so. 

GER. They would have committed some folly, if they 
had been permitted to see each other. 

SCAN. Undoubtedly. 

GER. And I think she would have been the girl to run 
away with him. 

SCAN. You have argued very prudently. 

GER. I was informed, that he tried every means to get 
speech of her. 

SGAN. The rascal ! 

GER. But he will waste his time. 

SGAN. Aye ! Aye ! 

GER. And I will effectually prevent him from seeing 

SGAN. He has no fool to deal with, and you know some 
tricks of which he is ignorant. One must get up very 
early to catch you asleep. 


Luc. Odds bobs ! Sir, here is a pretty to do. Your 
daughter has fled with her Leandre. It was he that played 
the apothecary, and this is the physician who has per- 
formed this nice operation. 

GER. What ! to murder me in this manner ! Quick, 
fetch a magistrate, and take care that he does not get 
away. Ah villain ! I will have you punished by the law. 

Luc. I am afraid, Mister Doctor, that you will be 
hanged. 3 * Do not stir a step, I tell you. 


MART. (To LUCAS) Good gracious ! what a difficulty 
I have had to find this place ! Just tell me what has be- 
come of the physician I recommended to you ? 

33 A nearly similar saying is also used by Georgibus in one of Moliere's 
early farces, The Flying Physician. 


Luc. Here he is ; just going to be hanged. 

MART. What ! my husband hanged ! Alas, and for 

Luc. He has helped some one to run away with master's 

MART. Alas, my dear husband, is it true that you are 
going to be hanged ? 

SCAN. Judge for yourself. Ah ! 

MART. And must you be made an end of in the presence 
of such a crowd. 

SCAN. What am I to do? 

MART. If you had only finished cutting our wood, I 
shonld be somewhat consoled. 

SCAN. Leave me, you break my heart. 

MART. No, I will remain to encourage you to die; and 
I will not leave you until I have seen you hanged. 

SCAN. Ah! 


GER. (To Sganarelle). The magistrate will be here 
directly, and we shall put you in a place of safety where 
they will be answerable for you. 

SCAN. (On his knees, hat in hand}. Alas! will not a 
few strokes with a cudgel do instead ? 

GER. No, no; the law shall decide. But what do I 


LEAN. Sir, I appear before you as Leandre, and am 
come to restore Lucinde to your authority. We intended 
to run away, and get married ; but this design has given 
way to a more honorable proceeding. I will not presume 
to steal away your daughter, and it is from your hands 
alone that I will obtain her. I must at the same time 
acquaint you, that I have just now received some letters 
informing me of the death of ray uncle, and that he has 
left me heir to all his property. 

GER. Really, Sir, your virtue is worthy of my utmost 
consideration, and I give you my daughter with the great- 
est pleasure in the world. 


SCAN. (Aside). The physician has had a narrow escape ! 

MART. Since you are not going to be hanged, you may 
thank me for being a physician ; for I have procured you 
this honour. 

SCAN. Yes, it is you who procured me, I do not know 
how many thwacks with a cudgel. 

LEAN. (To Sganarelle}. The result has proved too 
happy to harbour any resentment. 

SCAN. Be it so. (To Martini). 1 forgive you the blows 
on account of the dignity to which you have elevated me ; 
but prepare yourself henceforth to behave with great re- 
spect towards a man of my consequence ; and consider 
that the anger of a physician is more to be dreaded than 
people imagine. 





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