[Proofreader's Note: The scenes in Act III are misnumbered in the original, they are labeled I, II, III, VI, and VII. This has been retained in the text.]
DON GARCIE DE NAVARRE;
LE PRINCE JALOUX.
COMEDIE HROQUE EN CINQ ACTES.
* * * * *
DON GARCIA OF NAVARRE
THE JEALOUS PRINCE.
A HEROIC COMEDY IN FIVE ACTS.
(THE ORIGINAL IN VERSE.)
Nothing can be more unlike The Pretentious Young Ladies or Sganarelle than Molire's Don Garcia of Navarre. The Thtre du Palais-Royal had opened on the 20th January, 1661, with The Love-Tiff and Sganarelle, but as the young wife of Louis XIV., Maria Theresa, daughter of Philip IV., King of Spain, had only lately arrived, and as a taste for the Spanish drama appeared to spring up anew in France, Molire thought perhaps that a heroic comedy in that style might meet with some success, the more so as a company of Spanish actors had been performing in Paris the plays of Lope de Vega and Calderon, since the 24th of July, 1660. Therefore, he brought out, on the 4th of February, 1661, his new play of Don Garcia of Navarre. It is said that there exists a Spanish play of the same name, of which the author is unknown; Molire seems to have partly followed an Italian comedy, written by Giacinto Andrea Cicognini, under the name of Le Gelosie fortunata del principe Rodrigo; the style, loftiness and delicacy of expression are peculiar to the French dramatist.
_Don Garcia of Navarre_ met with no favourable reception, though the author played the part of the hero. He withdrew it after five representations, but still did not think its condemnation final, for he played it again before the King on the 29th of September, 1662, in October, 1663, at Chantilly, and twice at Versailles. He attempted it anew on the theatre of the Palace-Royal in the month of November, 1663; but as it was everywhere unfavourably received, he resolved never to play it more, and even would not print it, for it was only published after his death in 1682. He inserted some parts of this comedy in the _Misanthrope_, the _Femmes Savantes_, _Amphitryon_, _Tartuffe_ and _Les Fcheux, where they produced great effect.
Though it has not gained a place on the French stage, it nevertheless possesses some fine passages. Molire wished to create a counterpart of Sganarelle, the type of ridiculous jealousy, and to delineate passionate jealousy, its doubts, fears, perplexities and anxieties, and in this he has succeeded admirably. However noble-minded Don Garcia may be, there rages within his soul a mean passion which tortures and degrades him incessantly. When at last he is banished from the presence of the fair object of his love, he resolves to brave death by devoting himself to the destruction of her foe; but he is forestalled by his presumed rival, Don Alphonso, who turns out to be the brother of his mistress, and she receives him once again and for ever in her favour. The delineation of all these passions is too fine-spun, too argumentative to please the general public; the style is sometimes stilted, yet passages of great beauty may be found in it. Moreover the jealousy expressed by Don Garcia is neither sufficiently terrible to frighten, nor ridiculous enough to amuse the audience; he always speaks and acts as a prince, and hence, he sometimes becomes royally monotonous.
Some scenes of this play have been imitated in The Masquerade, a comedy, acted at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1719, London, "printed for Bernard Linton, between the Temple Gate," which was itself partly borrowed from Shirley's Lady of Pleasure. The comedy was written by Mr. Charles Johnson, who "was originally bred to the law, and was a member of the Middle Temple; but being a great admirer of the Muses, and finding in himself a strong propensity to dramatic writing, he quitted the studious labour of the one, for the more spirited amusements of the other; and by contracting an intimacy with Mr. Wilks, found means, through that gentleman's interest, to get his plays on the stage without much difficulty ... he, by a polite and modest behaviour formed so extensive an acquaintance and intimacy, as constantly ensured him great emoluments on his benefit night by which means, being a man of economy, he was enabled to subsist very genteelly. He at length married a young widow, with a tolerable fortune; on which he set up a tavern in Bow Street, Covent Garden, but quitted business at his wife's death, and lived privately on an easy competence he had saved.... He was born in 1679 ... but he did not die till March 11, 1748." [Footnote: Biographia Dramatica, by Baker, Reed and Jones, 1812, Vol. I. Part i.]
The Masquerade is a clever comedy, rather free in language and thought, chiefly about the danger of gambling. Some of the sayings are very pointed. It has been stated that the author frequented the principal coffee-houses in town, and picked up many pungent remarks there; however this may be, the literary men who at the present time frequent clubs, have, I am afraid, not the same chance. As a specimen of free and easy—rather too easy—wit, let me mention the remarks of Mr. Smart (Act I.) on the way he passed the night, and in what manner. "Nine persons are kept handsomely out of the sober income of one hundred pounds a year." I also observe the name of an old acquaintance in this play. Thackeray's hero in the Memoirs of Mr. Charles J. Yellowplush is "the Honourable Algernon Percy Deuceace, youngest and fifth son of the Earl of Crabs," and in The Masquerade (Act III. Sc. i) Mr. Ombre says: "Did you not observe an old decay'd rake that stood next the box-keeper yonder ... they call him Sir Timothy Deuxace; that wretch has play'd off one of the best families in Europe—he has thrown away all his posterity, and reduced 20,000 acres of wood-land, arable, meadow, and pasture within the narrow circumference of an oaken table of eight foot." The Masquerade as the title of the play is a misnomer, for it does not conduce at all to the plot. We give the greater part of the Prologue to The Masquerade, spoken by Mr. Wilks:—
The Poet, who must paint by Nature's Laws, If he wou'd merit what he begs, Applause; Surveys your changing Pleasures with Surprise, Sees each new Day some new Diversion rise; Hither, thro' all the Quarters of the Sky, Fresh Rooks in Flocks from ev'ry Nation hye, To us, the Cullies of the Globe, they fly; French, Spaniards, Switzers; This Man dines on Fire And swallows Brimstone to your Heart's Desire; Another, Handless, Footless, Half a Man, Does, Wou'd you think it? what no Whole one can, A Spaniard next, taught an Italian Frown, Boldly declares he'll stare all Europe down: His tortured Muscles pleas'd our English Fools;
[Footnote: In the rival House, Lincoln's-Inn-Fields Theatre, Rich was bringing out Pantomimes, which, by the fertility of his invention, the excellency of his own performance, and the introduction of foreign performers, drew nightly crowded houses—hence the allusion.]
Why wou'd the Sot engage with English Bulls? Our English Bulls are Hereticks uncivil, They'd toss the Grand Inquisitor, the Devil: 'Twas stupidly contrived of Don Grimace, To hope to fright 'em with an ugly Face. And yet, tho' these Exotick Monsters please, We must with humble Gratitude confess, To you alone 'tis due, that in this Age, Good Sense still triumphs on the British Stage: Shakespear beholds with Joy his Sons inherit His good old Plays, with good old Bess's Spirit. Be wise and merry, while you keep that Tether; Nonsense and Slavery must die together.
DON GARCIA, Prince of Navarre, in love with Elvira.
[Footnote: In the inventory taken after Molire's death mention is made of "Spanish dress, breeches, cloth cloak, and a satin doublet, the whole adorned with silk embroideries." This is probably the dress in which Molire played Don Garcia.]
DON ALPHONSO, Prince of Leon, thought to be Prince of Castile, under the name of Don Silvio.
DON ALVAREZ, confidant of Don Garcia, in love with Eliza.
DON LOPEZ, another confidant of Don Garcia, in love with Eliza.
DON PEDRO, gentleman usher to Inez.
DONNA ELVIRA, Princess of Leon.
DONNA INEZ, a Countess, in love with Don Silvio, beloved by Mauregat, the usurper of the Kingdom of Leon.
ELIZA, confidant to Elvira.
Scene.—ASTORGA, a city of Spain, in the kingdom of Leon.
DON GARCIA OF NAVARRE;
OR, THE JEALOUS PRINCE.
(DON GARCIE DE NAVARRE, OU LE PRINCE JALOUX.)
* * * * *
SCENE I.—DONNA ELVIRA, ELIZA.
ELVIRA. No, the hidden feelings of my heart were not regulated by choice: whatever the Prince may be, there is nothing in him to make me prefer his love. Don Silvio shows, as well as he, all the qualities of a renowned hero. The same noble virtues and the same high birth made me hesitate whom to prefer. If aught but merit could gain my heart, the conqueror were yet to be named; but these chains, with which Heaven keeps our souls enslaved, decide me, and, though I esteem both equally, my love is given to Don Garcia.
ELIZA. The love which you feel for him, seems to have very little influenced your actions, since I, myself, madam, could not for a long time discover which of the two rivals was the favoured one.
ELV. Their noble rivalry in love, Eliza, caused a severe struggle in my breast. When I looked on the one, I felt no pangs, because I followed my own tender inclination; but when I thought I sacrificed the other, I considered I acted very unjustly; and was of opinion, that Don Silvio's passion, after all, deserved a happier destiny. I also reflected that a daughter of the late King of Leon owed some obligation to the house of Castile; that an intimate friendship had long knit together the interests of his father and mine. Thus, the more the one made progress in my heart, the more I lamented the ill success of the other. Full of pity, I listened to his ardent sighs, and received his vows politely; thus in a slight degree I tried to make amends for the opposition his love met with in my heart.
EL. But since you have been informed he previously loved another, your mind ought to be at rest. Before he loved you, Donna Inez had received the homage of his heart. As she is your most intimate friend, and has told you this secret, you are free to bestow your love upon whom you wish, and cover your refusal to listen to him under the guise of friendship for her.
ELV. It is true, I ought to be pleased with the news of Don Silvio's faithlessness, because my heart, that was tormented by his love, is now at liberty to reject it; can justly refuse his addresses, and, without scruple, grant its favours to another. But what delight can my heart feel, if it suffers severely from other pangs; if the continual weakness of a jealous prince receives my tenderness with disdain, compels me justly to give way to anger, and thus to break off all intercourse between us?
EL. But as he has never been told that you love him, how can he be guilty if he disbelieves in his happiness? And does not that which could flatter his rival's expectations warrant him to suspect your affection?
ELV. No, no; nothing can excuse the strange madness of his gloomy and unmanly jealousy; I have told him but too clearly, by my actions, that he can indeed flatter himself with the happiness of being beloved. Even if we do not speak, there are other interpreters which clearly lay bare our secret feelings. A sigh, a glance, a mere blush, silence itself, is enough to show the impulses of a heart. In love, everything speaks: in a case like this, the smallest glimmer ought to throw a great light upon such a subject, since the honour which sways our sex forbids us ever to discover all we feel. I have, I own, endeavoured so to guide my conduct, that I should behold their merits with an unprejudiced eye. But how vainly do we strive against our inclinations! How easy is it to perceive the difference between those favours that are bestowed out of mere politeness, and such as spring from the heart! The first seem always forced; the latter, alas! are granted without thinking, like those pure and limpid streams which spontaneously flow from their native sources. Though the feelings of pity I showed for Don Silvio moved the Prince, yet I unwittingly betrayed their shallowness, whilst my very looks, during this torture, always told him more than I desired they should.
EL. Though the suspicions of that illustrious lover have no foundation—for you tell me so—they at least prove that he is greatly smitten: some would rejoice at what you complain of. Jealousy may be odious when it proceeds from a love which displeases us; but when we return that love, such feelings should delight us. It is the best way in which a lover can express his passion; the more jealous he is the more we ought to love him. Therefore since in your soul a magnanimous Prince....
ELV. Ah! do not bring forward such a strange maxim. Jealousy is always odious and monstrous; nothing can soften its injurious attacks; the dearer the object of our love is to us, the more deeply we feel its offensive attempts. To see a passionate Prince, losing every moment that respect with which love inspires its real votaries; to see him, when his whole mind is a prey to jealousy, finding fault either with what I like or dislike, and explaining every look of mine in favour of a rival!
[Footnote: Molire has expressed the same thoughts differently in The Bores, Act ii. scene 4.]
No, no! such suspicions are too insulting, and I tell you my thoughts without disguise. I love Don Garcia; he alone can fascinate a generous heart; his courage in Leon has nobly proved his passion for me; he dared on my account the greatest dangers, freed me from the toils of cowardly tyrants, and protected me against the horrors of an unworthy alliance by placing me within these strong walls. Nor will I deny but that I should have regretted that I owed my deliverance to any other; for an enamoured heart feels an extreme pleasure, Eliza, in being under some obligations to the object beloved; its faint flame becomes stronger and brighter when it thinks it can discharge them by granting some favours. Yes, I am charmed that he assisted me and risked his life for me, for this seems to give his passion a right of conquest; I rejoice that the danger I was in threw me into his hands. If common reports be true, and Heaven should grant my brother's return, I wish fervently, and with all my heart, that his arm may aid my brother to recover his throne, and punish a traitor; that his heroic valour may be successful, and thus deserve my brother's utmost gratitude. But for all this, if he continues to rouse my anger; if he does not lay aside his jealousy, and obey me in whatever I command, he in vain aspires to the hand of Donna Elvira. Marriage can never unite us; for I abhor bonds, which, undoubtedly, would then make a hell upon earth for both of us.
EL. Although one may hold different opinions, the Prince, Madam, should conform himself to your desires; they are so clearly set down in your note that, when he sees them thus explained, he...
ELV. This letter, Eliza, shall not be employed for such a purpose. It will be better to tell him what I think of his conduct. When we favor a lover by writing to him, we leave in his hands too flagrant proofs of our inclination. Therefore take care that that letter is not delivered to the Prince.
EL. Your will is law; yet I cannot help wondering that Heaven has made people's minds so unlike, and that what some consider an insult should be viewed with a different eye by others. As for me I should think myself very fortunate if I had a lover who could be jealous, for his uneasiness would give me satisfaction. That which often vexes me is to see Don Alvarez give himself no concern about me.
ELV. We did not think he was so near us. Here he comes.
SCENE II.—DONNA ELVIRA, DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.
ELV. Your return surprises me. What tidings do you bring? Is Don Alphonso coming, and when may we expect him?
ALV. Yes, Madam; the time has arrived when your brother, brought up in Castile, will get his own again. Hitherto, the cautious Don Louis, to whom the late King, on his death-bed, entrusted the care of Don Alphonso, has concealed his rank from every one, in order to save him from the fury of the traitor Mauregat. Though the miserable but successful tyrant has often inquired after him, under pretence of restoring him to the throne, yet Don Louis, who is full of prudence, would never trust to Mauregat's pretended feelings for justice, with which he tried to allure him. But as the people became enraged at the violence which a usurper would have offered you, generous old Don Louis thought it time to try what could be done after twenty years' expectation. He has sounded Leon; his faithful emissaries have sought to influence the minds of great and small. Whilst Castile was arming ten thousand men to restore that Prince so wished for by his people, Don Louis caused a report to be noised abroad that the renowned Don Alphonso was coming, but that he would not produce him save at the head of an army, and completely ready to launch the avenging thunderbolts at the vile usurper's head. Leon is besieged, and Don Silvio himself commands the auxiliary forces, with which his father aids you.
ELV. We may flatter ourselves that our expectations will be realized, but I am afraid my brother will owe Don Silvio too heavy a debt.
[Footnote: Donna Elvira is afraid that Don Alphonso will owe Don Silvio a debt so heavy, that he will only be able to repay it by the gift of her hand.]
ALV. But, Madam, is it not strange that, notwithstanding the storm which the usurper of your throne hears growling over his head, all the advices from Leon agree that he is going to marry the Countess Inez?
ELV. By allying himself to the high-born maiden, he hopes to obtain the support of her powerful family. I am rather uneasy that of late I have heard nothing of her. But she has always shown an inveterate dislike to that tyrant.
EL. Feelings of honour and tenderness will cause her to refuse the marriage they urge upon her, for...
ALV. The Prince is coming here.
SCENE III.—DON GARCIA, DONNA ELVIRA, DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.
GARC. I come, Madam to rejoice with you in the good tidings you have just heard. Your brother, who threatens a tyrant stained with crimes, allows me to hope that my love may one day be returned, and offers to my arm an opportunity to acquire glory in fresh dangers for the sake of your lovely eyes. If Heaven proves propitious I will gain amidst these dangers a victory, which divine justice owes to you, which will lay treachery at your feet, and restore to your family its former dignity. But what pleases me still more amidst these cherished expectations is that Heaven restores you this brother to be King; for now my love may openly declare itself, without being accused of seeking to gain a crown whilst striving to obtain your hand. Yes, my heart desires nothing more than to show before the whole world that in you it values but yourself; if I may say so without giving offence, a hundred times have I wished you were of less rank. Loving you as I do I could have desired that your divine charms had fallen to the lot of some one born in a humbler station, that I might unselfishly proffer my heart, and thus make amends to you for Heaven's injustice, so that you might owe to my love the homage due to your birth.
[Footnote: The sentence from "Yes, my heart," &c., until "your birth" is nearly the same as the words addressed by Alceste to Celimne in the Misanthrope, Act iv. Sc. 3 (see Vol. II.)]
But since Heaven has forestalled me, and deprives me of the privilege of proving my love, do not take it amiss that my amorous flames look for some slight encouragement when I shall have killed the tyrant, whom I am ready to encounter; suffer me by noble services favourably to dispose the minds of a brother and of a whole nation towards me.
ELV. I know, Prince, that by avenging our wrongs you can make a hundred deeds of daring speak for your love. But the favour of a brother and the gratitude of a nation are not sufficient to reward you; Elvira is not to be obtained by such efforts; there is yet a stronger obstacle to overcome.
GARC. Yes, Madam, I know what you mean. I know very well that my heart sighs in vain for you; neither do I ignore the powerful obstacle against my love, though you name it not.
ELV. Often we hear badly when we think we hear well. Too much ardour, Prince, may lead us into mistakes. But since I must speak, I will. Do you wish to know how you can please me, and when you may entertain any hope?
GARC. I should consider this, Madam, a very great favour.
ELV. When you know how to love as you ought.
GARC. Alas! Madam, does there exist anything under the canopy of heaven that yields not to the passion with which your eyes have inspired me?
ELV. When your passion displays nothing at which the object of your love can feel offended.
GARC. That is its greatest study.
ELV. When you shall cease to harbour mean unworthy sentiments of me.
GARC. I love you to adoration.
ELV. When you have made reparation for your unjust suspicions, and when you finally banish that hideous monster which poisons your love with its black venom; that jealous and whimsical temper which mars, by its outbreaks, the love you offer, prevents it from ever being favourably listened to, and arms me, each time, with just indignation against it.
GARC. Alas, Madam, it is true, that, notwithstanding my utmost effort, some trifling jealousy lingers in my heart; that a rival, though distant from your divine charms, disturbs my equanimity. Whether it be whimsical or reasonable, I always imagine that you are uneasy when he is absent, and that in spite of my attentions, your sighs are continually sent in search of that too happy rival. But if such suspicions displease you, alas, you may easily cure them; their removal, which I hope for, depends more on you than on me. Yes, with a couple of love-breathing words you can arm my soul against jealousy, and disperse all the horrors with which that monster has enshrouded it, by encouraging me to entertain some expectation of a successful issue. Deign therefore to remove the doubt that oppresses me; and, amidst so many trials, let your charming lips grant me the assurance that you love me,—an assurance, of which, I know, I am utterly unworthy.
ELV. Prince, your suspicions completely master you. The slightest intimation of a heart should be understood; it does not reciprocate a passion that continually adjures the object beloved to explain herself more clearly. The first agitation displayed by our soul ought to satisfy a discreet lover; if he wishes to make us declare ourselves more plainly, he only gives us a reason for breaking our promise. If it depended on me alone, I know not whether I should choose Don Silvio or yourself; the very wish I expressed for you not to be jealous, would have been a sufficient hint to any one but you; I thought this request was worded agreeably enough without needing anything further. Your love, however, is not yet satisfied, and requires a more public avowal. In order to remove any scruples, I must distinctly say that I love you; perhaps even, to make more sure of it, you will insist that I must swear it too.
GARC. Well, Madam, I own I am too bold; I ought to be satisfied with everything that pleases you. I desire no further information. I believe you feel kindly towards me, that my love inspires you even with a little compassion; I am happier than I deserve to be. It is over now; I abandon my jealous suspicions; the sentence which condemns them is very agreeable; I shall obey the decision you so kindly pronounce, and free my heart from their unfounded sway.
ELV. You promise a great deal, Prince, but I very much doubt whether you can restrain yourself sufficiently.
GARC. Ah! Madam, you may believe me; it is enough that what is promised to you ought always to be kept, because the happiness of obeying the being one worships ought to render easy the greatest efforts. May Heaven declare eternal war against me; may its thunder strike me dead at your feet; or, what would be even worse than death, may your wrath be poured upon me, if ever my love descends to such weakness as to fail in the promise I have given, if ever any jealous transport of my soul...!
SCENE IV.—DONNA ELVIRA, DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA, A PAGE presenting a letter to Donna Elvira.
ELV. I was very anxious about this letter, I am very much obliged to you; let the messenger wait.
SCENE V.—DONNA ELVIRA, DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.
ELV. (Low and aside). I see already by his looks that this letter disturbs him. What a wonderfully jealous temper he has! (Aloud). What stops you, Prince, in the midst of your oath.
GARC. I thought you might have some secret together; I was unwilling to interrupt you.
ELV. It seems to me that you reply in a much altered voice; I see all of a sudden a certain wildness in your looks; this abrupt change surprises me. What can be the cause of it? May I know?
GARC. A sudden sickness at heart.
ELV. Such illnesses have often more serious consequences than one believes; some immediate remedy would be necessary; but, tell me, have you often such attacks?
ELV. Alas, weak-minded Prince! Here, let this writing cure your distemper; it is nowhere but in the mind.
GARC. That writing, Madam! No, I refuse to take it. I know your thoughts and what you will accuse me of, if...
ELV. Read it, I tell you, and satisfy yourself.
GARC. That you may afterwards call me weak-minded and jealous? No, no, I will prove that this letter gave me no umbrage, and though you kindly allow me to read it, to justify myself, I will not do so.
ELV. If you persist in your refusal, I should be wrong to compel you; it is sufficient, in short, as I have insisted upon it, to let you see whose hand it is.
GARC. I ought always to be submissive to you; if it is your pleasure I should read it for you, I will gladly do so.
ELV. Yes, yes, Prince, here it is; you shall read it for me.
GARC. I only do so, Madam, in obedience to your commands, and I may say...
ELV. Whatever you please; but pray make haste.
GARC. It comes from Donna Inez, I perceive.
ELV. It does, and I am glad of it, both for your sake and mine.
GARC. (Reads). "In spite of all that I do to show my contempt for the tyrant, he persists in his love for me; the more effectually to encompass his designs, he has, since your absence, directed against me all that violence with which he pursued the alliance between yourself and his son. Those who perhaps have the right to command me, and who are inspired by base motives of false honour, all approve this unworthy proposal. I do not know yet where my persecution will end; but I will die sooner than give my consent. May you, fair Elvira, be happier in your fate than I am. DONNA INEZ." A lofty virtue fortifies her mind.
ELV. I will go and write an answer to this illustrious friend. Meanwhile, Prince, learn not to give way so readily to what causes you alarm. I have calmed your emotion by enlightening you, and the whole affair has passed off quietly; but, to tell you the truth, a time may come when I might entertain other sentiments.
GARC. What? you believe then...
ELV. I believe what I ought. Farewell, remember what I tell you; if your love for me be really so great as you pretend, prove it as I wish.
GARC. Henceforth this will be my only desire; and sooner than fail in it, I will lose my life.
SCENE I.—ELIZA, DON LOPEZ.
EL. To speak my mind freely to you, I am not much astonished at anything the Prince may do; for it is very natural, and I cannot disapprove of it, that a soul inflamed by a noble passion should become exasperated by jealousy, and that frequent doubts should cross his mind: but what surprises me, Don Lopez, is to hear that you keep alive his suspicions; that you are the contriver of them; that he is sad only because you wish it, jealous only because he looks at everything with your eyes. I repeat it, Don Lopez, I do not wonder that a man who is greatly in love becomes suspicious. But, that a man who is not in love should have all the anxieties of one who is jealous—this is a novelty that belongs to none but you.
LOP. Let everybody comment on my actions as much as they please. Each man regulates his conduct according to the goal he wishes to reach; since my love was rejected by you, I court the favour of the Prince.
EL. But do you not know that no favour will be granted to him if you continue to maintain him in this disposition?
LOP. Pray, charming Eliza, was it ever known that those about great men minded anything but their own interest, or that a perfect courtier wished to increase the retinue of those same grandees by adding to it a censor of their faults? Did he ever trouble himself if his conversation harmed them, provided he could but derive some benefit? All the actions of a courtier only tend to get into their favour, to obtain a place in as short a time as possible; the quickest way to acquire their good graces is by always flattering their weaknesses, by blindly applauding what they have a mind to do, and by never countenancing anything that displeases them. That is the true secret of standing well with them. Good advice causes a man to be looked upon as a troublesome fellow, so that he no longer enjoys that confidence which he had secured by an artful subservience. In short, we always see that the art of courtiers aims only at taking advantage of the foibles of the great, at cherishing their errors, and never advising them to do things which they dislike.
EL. These maxims may do well enough for a time: but reverses of fortune have to be dreaded. A gleam of light may at last penetrate the minds of the deceived nobles, who will then justly avenge themselves on all such flatterers for the length of time their glory has been dimmed. Meanwhile I must tell you that you have been a little too frank in your explanations; if a true account of your motives were laid before the Prince, it would but ill serve you in making your fortune.
LOP. I could deny having told you those truths I have just unfolded, and that without being gainsaid; but I know very well that Eliza is too discreet to divulge this private conversation. After all, what I have said is known by everyone; what actions of mine have I to conceal? A downfall may be justly dreaded when we employ artifices or treachery. But what have I to fear? I, who cannot be taxed with anything but complaisance, who by my useful lessons do but follow up the Prince's natural inclination for jealousy. His soul seems to live upon suspicions; and so I do my very best to find him opportunities for his uneasiness, and to look out on all sides if anything has happened that may furnish a subject for a secret conversation. When I can go to him, with a piece of news that may give a deadly blow to his repose, then he loves me most: I can see him listen eagerly and swallow the poison, and thank me for it too, as if I had brought him news of some victory which would make him happy and glorious for all his life. But my rival draws near, and so I leave you together; though I have renounced all hope of ever gaining your affection, yet it would pain me not a little to see you prefer him to me before my face; therefore I will avoid such a mortification as much as I can.
[Footnote: Don Lopez bears a distant resemblance to "honest Iago" in Othello, though Molire has only faintly shadowed forth what Shakespeare has worked out in so masterly a manner.]
EL. All judicious lovers should do the same.
SCENE II.—DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.
ALV. At last we have received intelligence that the king of Navarre has this very day declared himself favourable to the Prince's love, and that a number of fresh troops will reinforce his army, ready to be employed in the service of her to whom his wishes aspire. As for me, I am surprised at their quick movements... but...
SCENE III.—DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.
GARC. What is the Princess doing?
EL. I think, my Lord, she is writing some letters; but I shall let her know that you are here.
GARC. (In a low voice and aside). How well she dissembles.
ELV. We have just now heard that the King, your father, approves your designs, and consents that his son should restore us to our subjects. I am extremely rejoiced at this.
GARC. Yes, Madam, and my heart is rejoiced at it too; but....
ELV. The tyrant will doubtless find it difficult to defend himself against the thunderbolts which from all sides threaten him. I flatter myself that the same courage which was able to deliver me from the brutal rage of the usurper, to snatch me out of his hands, and place me safe within the walls of Astorga, will conquer the whole of Leon, and by its noble efforts cause the head of the tyrant to fall.
GARC. A few days more will show if I am successful. But pray let us proceed to some other subject of conversation. If you do not consider me too bold, will you kindly tell me, Madam, to whom you have written since fate led us hither?
ELV. Why this question, and whence this anxiety?
GARC. Out of pure curiosity, Madam, that is all.
ELV. Curiosity is the daughter of jealousy.
GARC. No; it is not at all what you imagine; your commands have sufficiently cured that disease.
ELV. Without endeavouring further to discover what may be the reasons for your inquiry, I have written twice to the Countess Inez at Leon, and as often to the Marquis, Don Louis, at Burgos. Does this answer put your mind at rest?
GARC. Have you written to no one else, Madam?
ELV. No, certainly, and your questions astonish me.
GARC. Pray consider well, before you make such a statement, because people forget sometimes, and thus perjure themselves.
ELV. I cannot perjure myself in what I have stated.
GARC. You have, however, told a very great falsehood.
ELV. Heavens; what is the meaning of this! Speak! Have you lost your senses?
GARC. Yes, yes, I lost them, when to my misfortune I beheld you, and thus took the poison which kills me; when I thought to meet with some sincerity in those treacherous charms that bewitched me.
ELV. What treachery have you to complain of?
GARC. Oh! how double-faced she is! how well she knows to dissimulate! But all means for escape will fail you. Cast your eyes here, and recognize your writing.
[Footnote: The lines, "Heavens! what is the meaning of this?" till "and recognize your writing" have been employed again by Molire in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3, (see vol. II). The misanthrope Alceste has also in his hand the written proofs of the faithlessness of the object of his love: but his suspicions are well founded, whilst those of Don Garcia are inspired only by jealousy.]
Without having seen the other part of this letter, it is easy enough to discover for whom you employ this style.
ELV. And this is the cause of your perturbation of spirits?
GARC. Do you not blush on beholding this writing?
ELV. Innocence is not accustomed to blush.
GARC. Here indeed we see it oppressed. You disown this letter because it is not signed.
ELV. Why should I disown it, since I wrote it?
[Footnote: The words, "And this is the cause" until "since I wrote it," are, with a few slight alterations, found also in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3.]
GARC. It is something that you are frank enough to own your handwriting; but I will warrant that it was a note written to some indifferent person, or at least that the tender sentiments it contains were intended only for some lady friend or relative.
ELV. No, I wrote it to a lover, and, what is more, to one greatly beloved.
GARC. And can I, O perfidious woman...?
ELV. Bridle, unworthy Prince, the excess of your base fury. Although you do not sway my heart, and I am accountable here to none but myself, yet for your sole punishment I will clear myself from the crime of which you so insolently accuse me. You shall be undeceived; do not doubt it. I have my defence at hand. You shall be fully enlightened; my innocence shall appear complete. You yourself shall be the judge in your own cause, and pronounce your own sentence.
GARC. I cannot understand such mysterious talk.
ELV. You shall soon comprehend it to your cost. Eliza come hither!
SCENE VI.—DON GARCIA, DONNA ELVIRA, ELIZA.
ELV. (to Don Garcia). At least observe well whether I make use of any artifice to deceive you; whether by a single glance or by any warning gesture I seek to ward off this sudden blow. (To Eliza). Answer me quickly, where did you leave the letter I wrote just now?
EL. Madam, I confess I am to blame. This letter was by accident left on my table; but I have just been informed that Don Lopez, coming into my apartment, took, as he usually does, the liberty to pry everywhere, and found it. As he was unfolding it, Leonora wished to snatch it from him before he had read anything; and whilst she tried to do this, the letter in dispute was torn in two pieces, with one of which Don Lopez quickly went away, in spite of all she could do.
ELV. Have you the other half?
EL. Yes; here it is.
ELV. Give it to me. (To Don Garcia). We shall see who is to blame; join the two parts together, and then read it aloud. I wish to hear it.
GARC. "To Don Garcia." Ha!
ELV. Go on! Are you thunderstruck at the first word?
GARC. (Reads). "Though your rival, Prince, disturbs your mind, you ought still to fear yourself more than him. It is in your power to destroy now the greatest obstacle your passion has to encounter. I feel very grateful to Don Garcia for rescuing me from the hands of my bold ravishers; his love, his homage delights me much; but his jealousy is odious to me. Remove, therefore, from your love that foul blemish; deserve the regards that are bestowed upon it; and when one endeavours to make you happy, do not persist in remaining miserable."
ELV. Well, what do you say to this?
GARC. Ah! Madam, I say that on reading this I am quite confounded; that I see the extreme injustice of my complaints, and that no punishment can be severe enough for me.
ELV. Enough! Know that if I desired that you should read the letter, it was only to contradict everything I stated in it; to unsay a hundred times all that you read there in your favour. Farewell, Prince.
GARC. Alas, Madam! whither do you fly?
ELV. To a spot where you shall not be, over-jealous man.
GARC. Ah, Madam, excuse a lover who is wretched because, by a wonderful turn of fate, he has become guilty towards you, and who, though you are now very wroth with him, would have deserved greater blame if he had remained innocent. For, in short, can a heart be truly enamoured which does not dread as well as hope? And could you believe I loved you if this ominous letter had not alarmed me; if I had not trembled at the thunderbolt which I imagined had destroyed all my happiness? I leave it to yourself to judge if such an accident would not have caused any other lover to commit the same error; if I could disbelieve, alas, a proof which seemed to me so clear!
ELV. Yes, you might have done so; my feelings so clearly expressed ought to have prevented your suspicions. You had nothing to fear; if some others had had such a pledge they would have laughed to scorn the testimony of the whole world.
GARC. The less we deserve a happiness which has been promised us, the greater is the difficulty we feel in believing in it. A destiny too full of glory seems unstable, and renders us suspicious. As for me, who think myself so little deserving of your favours, I doubted the success of my rashness.
[Footnote: Molire has with a few alterations placed this phrase beginning with "the less," and ending with "my rashness," in the mouth of Tartuffe in the play of the same name, Act iv., Sc. 5, (see Vol. II).]
I thought that, finding yourself in a place under my command, you forced yourself to be somewhat kind to me; that, disguising to me your severity...
ELV. Do you think that I could stoop to so cowardly an action? Am I capable of feigning so disgracefully; of acting from motives of servile fear; of betraying my sentiments; and, because I am in your power, of concealing my contempt for you under a pretence of kindness? Could any consideration for my own reputation so little influence me? Can you think so, and dare to tell it me? Know that this heart cannot debase itself; that nothing under Heaven can compel it to act thus: if it has committed the great error of showing you some kindness, of which you were not worthy, know that in spite of your power, it will be able now to show the hatred it feels for you, to defy your rage, and convince you that it is not mean, nor ever will be so.
[Footnote: This scene beginning from "Well," until the end, has, with several alterations rendered necessary by change of metre, been treated by Molire in his Amphitryon, Act ii., Sc. 6, (see Vol. II.).]
GARC. Well, I cannot deny that I am guilty: but I beg pardon of your heavenly charms, I beg it for the sake of the most ardent love that two beautiful eyes ever kindled in a human soul. But if your wrath cannot be appeased; if my crime be beyond forgiveness; if you have no regard for the love that caused it, nor for my heart-felt repentance, then one propitious blow shall end my life, and free me from these unbearable torments. No, think not that having displeased you, I can live for one moment under your wrath. Even whilst we are speaking, my heart sinks under gnawing remorse; were a thousand vultures cruelly to wound it, they could not inflict greater pangs. Tell me, madam, if I may hope for pardon; if not, then this sword shall instantly, in your sight, by a well-directed thrust, pierce the heart of a miserable wretch; that heart, that irresolute heart, whose weakness has so deeply offended your excessive kindness, too happy if in death this just doom efface from your memory all remembrance of its crime, and cause you to think of my affection without dislike. This is the only favour my love begs of you.
ELV. Oh! too cruel Prince!
GARC. Speak, Madam.
ELV. Must I still preserve some kind feelings for you, and suffer myself to be affronted by so many indignities?
GARC. A heart that is in love can never offend, and finds excuses for whatever love may do.
ELV. Love is no excuse for such outbursts.
GARC. Love communicates its ardour to all emotions, and the stronger it is, the more difficulty it finds...
ELV. No, speak to me no more of it; you deserve my hatred.
GARC. You hate me then?
ELV. I will at least endeavour to do so. But alas! I am afraid it will be in vain, and that all the wrath which your insults have kindled, will not carry my revenge so far.
GARC. Do not endeavour to punish me so severely, since I offer to kill myself to avenge you; pronounce but the sentence and I obey immediately.
ELV. One who cannot hate cannot wish anybody to die.
GARC. I cannot live unless you kindly pardon my rash errors; resolve either to punish or to forgive.
ELV. Alas! I have shown too clearly my resolution; do we not pardon a criminal when we tell him we cannot hate him?
GARC. Ah! this is too much. Suffer me, adorable Princess...
ELV. Forbear, I am angry with myself for my weakness.
GARC. (Alone). At length I am...
SCENE VII.—DON GARCIA, DON LOPEZ.
LOP. My Lord, I have to communicate to you a secret that may justly alarm your love.
GARC. Do not talk to me of secrets or alarms, whilst I am in such a blissful rapture. After what has just taken place, I ought not to listen to any suspicions. The unequalled kindness of a divine object ought to shut my ears against all such idle reports. Do not say anything more.
LOP. My Lord, I shall do as you wish; my only care in this business was for you. I thought that the secret I just discovered ought to be communicated with all diligence; but since it is your pleasure I should not mention it, I shall change the conversation, and inform you that every family in Leon threw off the mask, as soon as the report spread that the troops of Castile were approaching; the lower classes especially show openly such an affection for their true King, that the tyrant trembles for fear.
GARC. Castile, however, shall not gain the victory without our making an attempt to share in the glory; our troops may also be able to terrify Mauregat. But what secret would you communicate to me? Let us hear it?
LOP. My Lord, I have nothing to say.
[Footnote: Compare Iago's reticence in Shakespeare's Othello (iii. 3).]
GARC. Come, come, speak, I give you leave.
LOP. My Lord, your words have told me differently; and since my news may displease you, I shall know for the future how to remain silent.
GARC. Without further reply, I wish to know your secret.
LOP. Your commands must be obeyed; but, my Lord, duty forbids me to explain such a secret in this place. Let us go hence, and I shall communicate it to you; without taking anything lightly for granted, you yourself shall judge what you ought to think of it.
SCENE I.—DONNA ELVIRA, ELIZA.
ELV. What say you, Eliza, to this unaccountable weakness in the heart of a Princess? What do you say when you see me so quickly forego my desire for revenge, and, in spite of so much publicity, weakly and shamefully pardon so cruel an outrage.
EL. I say, Madam, that an insult from a man we love is doubtless very difficult to bear; but if there be none which makes us sooner angry, so there is none which we sooner pardon. If the man we love is guilty, and throws himself at our feet, he triumphs over the rash outbreak of the greatest anger; so much the more easily, Madam, if the offence comes from an excess of love. However great your displeasure may have been, I am not astonished to see it appeased; I know the power which, in spite of your threats, will always pardon such crimes.
ELV. But know, Eliza, however great the power of my love may be, I have blushed for the last time; if henceforth the Prince gives me fresh cause for anger, he must no longer look for pardon. I swear, that in such a case, I will never more foster tender feelings for him: for in short, a mind with ever so little pride is greatly ashamed to go back from its word, and often struggles gallantly against its own inclinations; it becomes stubborn for honour's sake, and sacrifices everything to the noble pride of keeping its word. Though I have pardoned him now, do not consider this a precedent for the future. Whatever fortune has in store for me, I cannot think of giving my hand to the Prince of Navarre, until he has shown that he is completely cured of those gloomy fits which unsettle his reason, and has convinced me, who am the greatest sufferer by this disease, that he will never insult me again by a relapse.
EL. But how can the jealousy of a lover be an insult to us?
ELV. Is there one more deserving of our wrath? And since it is with the utmost difficulty we can resolve to confess our love; since the strict honour of our sex at all times strongly opposes such a confession, ought a lover to doubt our avowal, and should he not be punished? Is he not greatly to blame in disbelieving that which is never said but after a severe struggle with one's self?
[Footnote: The words "since it is" until "one's self" have been used by Molire with some slight alteration in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3, (see vol. II.)]
EL. As for me, I think that a little mistrust on such an occasion should not offend us; and that it is dangerous, Madam, for a lover to be absolutely persuaded that he is beloved. If...
ELV. Let us argue no more. Every person thinks differently. I am offended by such suspicions; and, in spite of myself, I am conscious of something which forebodes an open quarrel between the Prince and me, and which, notwithstanding his great qualities.... But Heavens! Don Silvio of Castile in this place!
SCENE II.—DONNA ELVIRA, DON ALPHONSO, under the name of Don Silvio, ELIZA.
ELV. Ah! my Lord, what chance has brought you here?
ALPH. I know, Madam, that my arrival must surprise you. To enter quietly this town, to which the access has become difficult through the orders of a rival, and to have avoided being seen by the soldiers, is an event you did not look for. But if, in coming here, I have surmounted some obstacles, the desire of seeing you is able to effect much greater miracles. My heart has felt but too severely the blows of merciless fate which kept me away from you; to allay the pangs which nearly kill me, I could not refuse myself some moments to behold in secret your inestimable person. I come, therefore, to tell you that I return thanks to Heaven, that you are rescued from the hands of an odious tyrant. But, in the midst of that happiness, I feel that I shall always be tortured with the thought that envious fate deprived me of the honour of performing such a noble deed, and has unjustly given to my rival the chance of venturing his life pleasantly to render you so great a service. Yes, Madam, my readiness to free you from your chains was undoubtedly equal to his; I should have gained the victory for you, if Heaven had not robbed me of that honour.
ELV. I know, my Lord, that you possess a heart capable of overcoming the greatest dangers; I doubt not but this generous zeal which incited you to espouse my quarrel, would have enabled you, as well as any one else, to overcome all base attempts; but even if you have not performed this noble deed—and you could have done it—I am already under sufficient obligations to the house of Castile. It is well known what a warm and faithful friend the Count, your father, was of the late King, and what he did for him. After having assisted him until he died, he gave my brother a shelter in his states; full twenty years he concealed him, in spite of the cowardly efforts to discover him, employed by barbarous and enraged enemies; and now to restore to his brow a crown, in all its splendour, you are marching in person against our usurpers. Are you not satisfied, and do not these generous endeavours place me under strong obligations to you? Would you, my Lord, obstinately persist in swaying my whole fate? Must I never receive even the slightest kindness unless from you? Ah! amidst these misfortunes, which seem to be my fate, suffer me to owe also something to another, and do not complain that another arm acquired some glory, when you were absent.
ALPH. Yes, Madam, I ought to cease complaining; you are quite right when you tell me so; we unjustly complain of one misfortune, when a much greater threatens to afflict us. This succour from a rival is a cruel mortification to me: but, alas! this is not the greatest of my misfortunes; the blow, the severe blow which crushes me, is to see that rival preferred to me. Yes, I but too plainly perceive that his greater reputation was the reason that his love was preferred to mine; that opportunity of serving you, the advantage he possessed of signalizing his prowess, that brilliant exploit which he performed in saving you, was nothing but the mere effect of being happy enough to please you, the secret power of a wonderful astral influence which causes the object you love to become famed. Thus all my efforts will be in vain. I am leading an army against your haughty tyrants; but I fulfil this noble duty trembling, because I am sure that your wishes will not be for me, and that, if they are granted, fortune has in store the most glorious success for my happy rival. Ah! Madam, must I see myself hurled from that summit of glory I expected; and may I not know what crimes they accuse me of, and why I have deserved that dreadful downfall?
ELV. Before you ask me anything, consider what you ought to ask of my feelings. As for this coldness of mine, which seems to abash you, I leave it to you, my Lord, to answer for me; for, in short, you cannot be ignorant that some of your secrets have been told to me. I believe your mind to be too noble and too generous to desire me to do what is wrong. Say yourself if it would be just to make me reward faithlessness; whether you can, without the greatest injustice, offer me a heart already tendered to another; whether you are justified in complaining, and in blaming a refusal which would prevent you from staining your virtues with a crime? Yes, my Lord, it is a crime, for first love has so sacred a hold on a lofty mind, that it would rather lose greatness and abandon life itself, than incline to a second love.
[Footnote: The words "Yes my Lord" until "second love" are also, with some alterations, found in The Blue Stockings, Act iv. Scene 2, (see Vol. III).]
I have that regard for you which is caused by an appreciation of your lofty courage, your magnanimous heart; but do not require of me more than I owe you, and maintain the honour of your first choice. In spite of your new love, consider what tender feelings the amiable Inez still retains for you; that she has constantly refused to be made happy for the sake of an ungrateful man; for such you are, my Lord! In her great love for you, how generously has she scorned the splendour of a diadem! Consider what attempts she has withstood for your sake, and restore to her heart what you owe it.
ALPH. Ah, Madam, do not present her merit to my eyes! Though I am an ungrateful man and abandon her, she is never out of my mind; if my heart could tell you what it feels for her, I fear it would be guilty towards you. Yes, that heart dares to pity Inez, and does not, without some hesitation follow the violent love which leads it on. I never flattered myself that you would reward my love without at the same time breathing some sighs for her; in the midst of these pleasant thoughts my memory still casts some sad looks towards my first love, reproaches itself with the effect of your divine charms, and mingles some remorse with what I wish most fervently. And since I must tell you all, I have done more than this. I have endeavoured to free myself from your sway, to break your chains, and to place my heart again under the innocent yoke of its first conqueror. But, after all my endeavours, my fidelity gives way, and I see only one remedy for the disease that kills me. Were I even to be forever wretched, I cannot forswear my love, or bear the terrible idea of seeing you in the arms of another; that same light, which permits me to behold your charms, will shine on my corpse, before this marriage takes place. I know that I betray an amiable Princess; but after all, Madam, is my heart guilty? Does the powerful influence which your beauty possesses leave the mind any liberty? Alas! I am much more to be pitied than she; for, by losing me, she loses only a faithless man. Such a sorrow can easily be soothed; but I, through an unparalleled misfortune, abandon an amiable lady, whilst I endure all the torments of a rejected love.
ELV. You have no torments but what you yourself create, for our heart is always in our own power. It may indeed sometimes show a little weakness; but, after all, reason sways our passions...
SCENE III.—DON GARCIA, DONNA ELVIRA, DON ALPHONSO, under the name of Don Silvio.
GARC. I perceive. Madam, that my coming is somewhat unseasonable, and disturbs your conversation. I must needs say I did not expect to find such good company here.
ELV. Don Silvio's appearance indeed surprised me very much; I no more expected him than you did.
GARC. Madam, since you say so, I do not believe you were forewarned of this visit; (to Don Silvio) but you, sir, ought at least to have honoured us with some notice of this rare happiness, so that we should not have been surprised, but enabled to pay you here those attentions which we would have liked to render you.
ALPH. My Lord, you are so busy with warlike preparations, that I should have been wrong had I interrupted you. The sublime thoughts of mighty conquerors can hardly stoop to the ordinary civilities of the world.
GARC. But those mighty conquerors, whose warlike preparations are thus praised, far from loving secrecy, prefer to have witnesses of what they do; their minds trained to glorious deeds from infancy, make them carry out all their plans openly; being always supported by lofty sentiments, they never stoop to disguise themselves. Do you not compromise your heroic merits in coming here secretly, and are you not afraid that people may look upon this action as unworthy of you?
ALPH. I know not whether any one will blame my conduct because I have made a visit here in secret; but I know, Prince, that I never courted obscurity in things which require light. Were I to undertake anything against you, you should have no cause to remark you were surprised. It would depend upon yourself to guard against it; I would take care to warn you beforehand. Meanwhile let us continue upon ordinary terms, and postpone the settlement of our quarrels until all other affairs are arranged. Let us suppress the outbursts of our rather excited passions, and not forget in whose presence we are both speaking.
ELV. (To Don Garcia). Prince, you are in the wrong; and his visit is such that you...
GARC. Ah! Madam, it is too much to espouse his quarrel You ought to dissemble a little better when you pretend that you were ignorant he was coming here. You defend him so warmly and so quickly, that it is no very convincing proof of his visit being unexpected.
ELV. Your suspicions concern me so little, that I should be very sorry to deny your accusation.
GARC. Why do you not go farther in your lofty pride, and, without hesitation, lay bare your whole heart? You are too prone to dissimulation. Do not unsay anything you once said. Be brief, be brief, lay aside all scruples; say that his passion has kindled yours, that his presence delights you so much...
ELV. And if I have a mind to love him, can you hinder me? Do you pretend to sway my heart, and have I to receive your commands whom I must love? Know that too much pride has deceived you, if you think you have any authority over me; my mind soars too high to conceal my feelings when I am asked to declare them. I will not tell you whether the Count is beloved; but I may inform you that I esteem him highly; his great merits, which I admire, deserve the love of a Princess better than you; his passion, the assiduity he displays, impress me very strongly; and if the stern decree of fate puts it out of my power to reward him with my hand, I can at least promise him never to become a prey to your love. Without keeping you any longer in slight suspense, I engage myself to act thus, and I will keep my word. I have opened my heart to you, as you desired it, and shown you my real feelings. Are you satisfied, and do you not think that, as you pressed me, I have sufficiently explained myself? Consider whether there remains anything else for me to do in order to clear up your suspicions. (To Don Silvio). In the meanwhile, if you persist in your resolution to please me, do not forget, Count, that I have need of your arm, and that whatever may be the outbreaks of temper of an eccentric man, you must do your utmost to punish our tyrants. In a word, do not listen to what he may say to you in his wrath, and in order to induce you so to act, remember that I have entreated you.
SCENE IV.—DON GARCIA, DON ALPHONSO.
GARC. Everything smiles upon you, and you proudly triumph over my confusion. It is pleasant to hear the glorious confession of that victory which you obtain over a rival; but it must greatly add to your joy to have that rival a witness to it. My pretensions, openly set aside, enhance all the more the triumph of your love. Enjoy this great happiness fully, but know that you have not yet gained your point; I have too just cause to be incensed, and many things may perhaps ere then come to pass. Despair, when it breaks out, goes a great way; everything is pardonable when one has been deceived. If the ungrateful woman, out of compliment to your love, has just now pledged her word never to be mine, my righteous indignation will discover the means of preventing her ever being yours.
ALPH. I do not trouble myself about your antagonism. We shall see who will be deceived in his expectations. Each by his valour will be able to defend the reputation of his love, or avenge his misfortune. But as between rivals the calmest mind may easily become irate, and as I am unwilling that such a conversation should exasperate either of us, I wish, Prince, you would put me in the way of leaving this place, so that the restraint I put upon myself may be ended.
GARC. No, no, do not fear that you will be compelled to violate the order you received. Whatever righteous wrath is kindled within me, and which no doubt delights you, Count, I know when it should break forth. This place is open to you; you can leave it, proud of the advantages you have gained. But once more I tell you that my head alone can put your conquest into your hands.
ALPH. When matters shall have reached that point, fortune and our arms will soon end our quarrel.
SCENE I.—DONNA ELVIRA, DON ALVAREZ.
ELV. You can go back, Don Alvarez, but do not expect that you shall persuade me to forget this offence. The wound which my heart received is incurable; all endeavours to heal it make it but fester the more. Does the Prince think I shall listen to some simulated compliments? No, no, he has made me too angry; and his fruitless repentance, which led you hither, solicits a pardon which I will not grant.
ALV. Madam, he deserves your pity. Never was any offence expiated with more stinging remorse; if you were to see his grief, it would touch your heart, and you would pardon him. It is well known that the Prince is of an age at which we abandon ourselves to first impressions; that in fiery youth the passions hardly leave room for reflection. Don Lopez, deceived by false tidings, was the cause of his master's mistake. An idle report that the Count was coming, and that you had some understanding with those who admitted him within these walls, was indiscreetly bruited about. The Prince believed it; his love, deceived by a false alarm, has caused all this disturbance. But being now conscious of his error, he is well aware of your innocence; the dismissal of Don Lopez clearly proves how great his remorse is for the outburst of which he has been guilty.
ELV. Alas! He too readily believes me innocent; he is not yet quite sure of it. Tell him to weigh all things well, and not to make too much haste, for fear of being deceived.
ALV. Madam, he knows too well....
ELV. I pray you, Don Alvarez, let us no longer continue a conversation which vexes me: it revives in me some sadness, at the very moment that a more important sorrow oppresses me. Yes, I have received unexpectedly the news of a very great misfortune; the report of the death of the Countess Inez has filled my heart with so much wretchedness, that there is no room for any other grief.
ALV. Madam, these tidings may not be true; but when I return, I shall have to communicate to the Prince a cruel piece of news.
ELV. However great his sufferings may be, they fall short of what he deserves.
SCENE II.—DONNA ELVIRA, ELIZA.
EL. I waited, Madam until he was gone, to tell you something that will free you from your anxiety, since this very moment you can be informed what has become of Donna Inez. A certain person, whom I do not know, has sent one of his servants to ask an audience of you, in order to tell you all.
ELV. Eliza, I must see him; let him come quickly.
EL. He does not wish to be seen except by yourself; by this messenger he requests, Madam that his visit may take place without any one being present.
ELV. Well, we shall be alone, I will give orders about that, whilst you bring him here. How great is my impatience just now! Ye fates, shall these tidings be full of joy or grief?
SCENE III.—DON PEDRO, ELIZA.
PED. If you are looking for me, Madam, here I am.
EL. Where is your master....
PED. He is hard by; shall I fetch him?
EL. Desire him to come; tell him that he is impatiently expected, and that no one shall see him. (Alone). I cannot unravel this mystery; all the precautions he takes ... But here he is already.
SCENE IV.—DONNA INEZ, in man's dress, ELIZA.
EL. My Lord, in order to wait for you, we have prepared.... But what do I see? Ah! Madam, my eyes....
INEZ. Do not tell any one, Eliza, I am here; allow me to pass my sad days in peace. I pretended to kill myself. By this feigned death I got rid of all my tyrants; for this is the name my relatives deserve. Thus I have avoided a dreadful marriage; rather than have consented, I would really have killed myself. This dress, and the report of my death, will keep the secret of my fate from all, and secure me against that unjust persecution which may even follow me hither.
EL. My surprise might have betrayed you, if I had seen you in public; but go into this room and put an end to the sorrow of the Princess; her heart will be filled with joy when she shall behold you. You will find her there alone; she has taken care to see you by herself, and without any witnesses.
SCENE V.—DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.
EL. Is this not Don Alvarez whom I see?
ALV. The Prince sends me to entreat you to use your utmost influence in his favour. His life is despaired of, unless he obtains by your means, fair Eliza, one moment's conversation with Donna Elvira; he is beside himself ... but here he is.
SCENE VI.—DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.
GARC. Alas. Eliza, feel for my great misfortune; take pity on a heart full of wretchedness, and given up to the bitterest sorrow.
EL. I should look upon your torments, my Lord, with other eyes than the Princess does; Heaven or our mood is the reason why we judge differently about everything. But, as she blames you, and fancies your jealousy to be a frightful monster, if I were in your place I should obey her wishes, and endeavour to conceal from her eyes what offends them. A lover undoubtedly acts wisely when he tries to suit his temper to ours; a hundred acts of politeness have less influence than this unison, which makes two hearts appear as if stirred by the same feelings. This similarity firmly unites them; for we love nothing so much as what resembles ourselves.
GARC. I know it, but alas! merciless fate opposes such a well intentioned plan; in spite of all my endeavours, it continually lays a snare for me, which my heart cannot avoid. It is not because the ungrateful woman, in the presence of my rival, avowed her love for him, and not for me; and that with such an excess of tenderness, that it is impossible I can ever forget her cruelty. But as too much ardour led me to believe erroneously that she had introduced him into this place, I should be very much annoyed if I left upon her mind the impression that she has any just cause of complaint against me. Yes, if I am abandoned, it shall be only through her faithlessness; for as I have come to beg her pardon for my impetuosity, she shall have no excuse for ingratitude.
EL. Give a little time for her resentment to cool, and do not see her again so soon, my Lord.
GARC. Ah! if you love me, induce her to see me; she must grant me that permission; I do not leave this spot until her cruel disdain at least....
EL. Pray, my Lord, defer this purpose.
GARC. No; make no more idle excuses.
EL. (Aside). The Princess herself must find means to send him away, if she says but one word to him. (To Don Garcia). Stay here, my Lord, I shall go and speak to her.
GARC. Tell her that I instantly dismissed the person whose information was the cause of my offence, that Don Lopez shall never...
SCENE VII.—DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ.
GARC. (Looking in at the door which Eliza left half open). What do I see, righteous Heavens! Can I believe my eyes? Alas! they are, doubtless, but too faithful witnesses; this is the most terrible of all my great troubles! This fatal blow completely overwhelms me! When suspicions raged within me, it was Heaven itself, vaguely but ominously foretelling me this horrible disgrace.
ALV. What have you seen, my Lord, to disturb you?
GARC. I have seen what I can hardly conceive; the overthrow of all creation would less astonish me than this accident. It is all over with me ... Fate ... I cannot speak.
[Footnote: The words from "What have you seen" till "I cannot speak," are with some slight alterations, found in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 2 (see Vol. II).]
ALV. My Lord, endeavour to be composed.
GARC. I have seen... Vengeance! O Heaven!
ALV. What sudden alarm...?
GARC. It will kill me, Don Alvarez, it is but too certain.
ALV. But, my Lord, what can...
GARC. Alas! Everything is undone. I am betrayed, I am murdered!
[Footnote: The last sentences of Don Alvarez and Don Garcia are also found in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 2 (see Vol. II).]
A man, (can I say it and still live) a man in the arms of the faithless Elvira!
ALV. The Princess, my Lord, is so virtuous...
GARC. Ah, Don Alvarez, do not gainsay what I have seen. It is too much to defend her reputation, after my eyes have beheld so heinous an action.
ALV. Our passions, my Lord, often cause us to mistake a deception for a reality; to believe that a mind nourished by virtue can....
GARC. Prithee leave me, Don Alvarez, a counsellor is in the way upon such an occasion; I will take counsel only of my wrath.
ALV. (Aside). It is better not to answer him when his mind is so upset.
GARC. Oh! how deeply am I wounded! But I shall see who it is, and punish with my own hand.... But here she comes. Restrain thyself, O rage!
SCENE VIII.—DONNA ELVIRA, DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ.
ELV. Well, what do you want? However bold you may be, how can you hope for pardon, after the way you have behaved? Dare you again present yourself before me? And what can you say that will become me to hear?
GARC. That all the wickedness of this world 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.
[Footnote: The above words of Don Garcia are also in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3 (see Vol. II).]
ELV. How is this? I expected you would excuse your outrage; but I find you use other words.
GARC. Yes, yes, other words. You did not think that, the door being by accident left half open, I should discover the caitiff in your arms, and thus behold your shame, and my doom. Is it the happy lover who has returned, or some other rival to me unknown? O Heaven! grant me sufficient strength to bear such tortures. Now, blush, you have cause to do so; your treachery is laid bare. This is what the agitations of my mind prognosticated; it was not without cause that my love took alarm; my continual suspicions were hateful to you, but I was trying to discover the misfortune my eyes have beheld; 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 unavenged the slight of being insulted! I know that we have no command over our inclinations; that love will everywhere spring up spontaneously; that there is no entering a heart by force, and that every soul is free to name its conqueror; therefore I should have no reason to complain, if you had spoken to me without dissembling; you would then have sounded the death-knell of my hope; but my heart could have blamed fortune alone. But to see my love encouraged by a deceitful avowal on your part, is so treacherous and perfidious an action, that it cannot meet with too great a punishment; I can allow my resentment to do anything. No, no, after such an outrage, hope for nothing. I am no longer myself, I am mad with rage.
[Footnote: The whole of this speech, from "Now blush," until "mad with rage," has, with few alterations, been used in the Misanthrope. Act iv., Scene 3 (see Vol. II).]
Betrayed on all sides, placed in so sad a situation, my love must avenge itself to the utmost; I shall sacrifice everything here to my frenzy, and end my despair with my life.
ELV. I have listened to you patiently; can I, in my turn, speak to you freely?
GARC. And by what eloquent speeches, inspired by cunning....
ELV. If you have still something to say, pray continue; I am ready to hear you. If not, I hope you will at least listen for a few minutes quietly to what I have to say.
GARC. Well, then, I am listening. Ye Heavens! what patience is mine!
ELV. I restrain my indignation, and will without any passion reply to your discourse, so full of fury.
GARC. It is because you see...
ELV. I have listened to you as long as you pleased; pray do the like to me. I wonder at my destiny, and I believe there was never any thing under Heaven so marvellous, nothing more strange and incomprehensible, and nothing more opposed to reason. I have a lover, who incessantly does nothing else but persecute me; who, amidst all the expressions of his love, does not entertain for me any feelings of esteem; whose heart, on which my eyes have made an impression, does not do justice to the lofty rank granted to me by Heaven; who will not defend the innocence of my actions against the slightest semblance of false appearances. Yes, I see ... (Don Garcia shows some signs of impatience, and wishes to speak). Above all, do not interrupt me. I see that my unhappiness is so great, that one who says he loves me, and who, even if the whole world were to attack my reputation, ought to claim to defend it against all, is he who is its greatest foe. In the midst of his love, he lets no opportunity pass of suspecting me; he not only suspects me, but breaks out into such violent fits of jealousy that love cannot suffer without being wounded. Far from acting like a lover who would rather die than offend her whom he loves, who gently complains and seeks respectfully to have explained what he thinks suspicious, he proceeds to extremities as soon as he doubts, and is full of rage, insults, and threats. However, this day I will shut my eyes to everything that makes him odious to me, and out of mere kindness afford him an opportunity of being reconciled, though he insulted me anew. This great rage with which you attacked me proceeds from what you accidentally saw; I should be wrong to deny what you have seen; I own you might have some reason to be disturbed at it.
GARC. And is it not...
ELV. Listen to me a little longer, and you shall know what I have resolved. It is necessary that our fates should be decided. You are now upon the brink of a great precipice; you will either fall over it, or save yourself, according to the resolution you shall take. If, notwithstanding what you have seen, Prince, you act towards me as you ought, and ask no other proof but that I tell you you are wrong; if you readily comply with my wishes and are willing to believe me innocent upon my word alone, and no longer yield to every suspicion, but blindly believe what my heart tells you; then this submission, this proof of esteem, shall cancel all your offences; I instantly retract what I said when excited by well-founded anger. And if hereafter I can choose for myself, without prejudicing what I owe to my birth, then my honour, being satisfied with the respect you so quickly show, promises to reward your love with my heart and my hand. But listen now to what I say. If you care so little for my offer as to refuse completely to abandon your jealous suspicions; if the assurance which my heart and birth give you do not suffice; if the mistrust that darkens your mind compels me, though innocent, to convince you, and to produce a clear proof of my offended virtue, I am ready to do so, and you shall be satisfied; but you must then renounce me at once, and for ever give up all pretensions to my hand. I swear by Him who rules the Heavens, that, whatever fate may have in store for us, I will rather die than be yours! I trust these two proposals may satisfy you; now choose which of the two pleases you.
GARC. Righteous Heaven! Was there ever anything more artful and treacherous? Could hellish malice produce any perfidy so black? Could it have invented a more severe and merciless way to embarrass a lover? Ah! ungrateful woman, you know well how to take advantage of my great weakness, even against myself, and to employ for your own purposes that excessive, astonishing, and fatal love which you inspired.
[Footnote: The phrase "Ah! ungrateful woman" until "inspired" is also found in the Misanthrope, Act iv., Scene 3 (see Vol. II).]
Because you have been taken by surprise, and cannot find an excuse, you cunningly offer to forgive me. You pretend to be good-natured, and invent some trick to divert the consequences of my vengeance; you wish to ward off the blow that threatens a wretch, by craftily entangling me with your offer. Yes, your artifices would fain avert an explanation which must condemn you; pretending to be completely innocent, you will give convincing proof of it only upon such conditions as you think and most fervently trust I will never accept; but you are mistaken if you think to surprise me. Yes, yes, I am resolved to see how you can defend yourself; by what miracle you can justify the horrible sight I beheld, and condemn my anger.
ELV. Consider that, by this choice, you engage yourself to abandon all pretensions to the heart of Donna Elvira.
GARC. Be it so! I consent to everything; besides, in my present condition, I have no longer any pretensions.
ELV. You will repent the wrath you have displayed.
GARC. No, no, your argument is a mere evasion; I ought rather to tell you that somebody else may perhaps soon repent. The wretch, whoever he may be, shall not be fortunate enough to save his life, if I wreak my vengeance.
ELV. Ha! This can no longer be borne; I am too angry foolishly to preserve longer my good nature. Let me abandon the wretch to his own devices, and, since he will undergo his doom, let him—Eliza!... (To Don Garcia). You compel me to act thus; but you shall see that this outrage will be the last.
SCENE IX.—DONNA ELVIRA, DON GARCIA, ELIZA, DON ALVAREZ.
ELV. (To Eliza). Desire my beloved to come forth ... Go, you understand me, say that I wish it.
GARC. And can I...
ELV. Patience, you will be satisfied.
EL. (Aside, going out). This is doubtless some new trick of our jealous lover.
ELV. Take care at least that this righteous indignation perseveres in its ardour to the end; above all, do not henceforth forget what price you have paid to see your suspicions removed.
SCENE X.—DONNA ELVIRA, DON GARCIA, DONNA INEZ, ELIZA, DON ALVAREZ.
ELV. (To Don Garcia, showing him Donna Inez). Thanks to Heaven, behold the cause of the generous suspicions you showed. Look well on that face, and see if you do not at once recognize the features of Donna Inez.
GARC. O Heavens!
ELV. If the rage which fills your heart prevents you from using your eyes, you can ask others, and thus leave no room for doubt. It was necessary to pretend she was dead, so that she might escape from the tyrant who persecuted her: she disguised herself in this manner the better to profit by her pretended death. (To Donna Inez). You will pardon me, Madam, for having consented to betray your secrets and to frustrate your expectations; but I am exposed to Don Garcia's insolence; I am no longer free to do as I wish; my honour is a prey to his suspicions, and is every moment compelled to defend itself. This jealous man accidentally saw us embrace, and then he behaved most disgracefully. (To Don Garcia). Yes, behold the cause of your sudden rage, and the convincing witness of my disgrace. Now, like a thorough tyrant, enjoy the explanation you have provoked; but know that I shall never blot from my memory the heinous outrage done to my reputation. And if ever I forget my oath, may Heaven shower its severest chastisements upon my head; may a thunderbolt descend upon me if ever I resolve to listen to your love. Come, Madam, let us leave this spot, poisoned by the looks of a furious monster; let us quickly flee from his bitter attacks, let us avoid the consequences of his mad rage, and animated by just motives, let us only pray that we may soon be delivered from his hands.
INEZ. (To Don Garcia). My Lord, your unjust and violent suspicions have wronged virtue itself.
SCENE XI.—DON GARCIA, DON ALVAREZ.
GARC. What gleam of light clearly shows me my error, and, at the same time, involves my senses in such a profound horror that, dejected, I can see nothing but the dreadful object of a remorse that kills me! Ah! Don Alvarez, I perceive you were in the right; but hell breathed its poison into my soul; through a merciless fatality I am my worst enemy. What does it benefit me to love with the most ardent passion that an amorous heart ever displayed, if this love continually engenders suspicions which torment me, and thus renders itself hateful! I must, I must justly revenge by my death the outrage committed against her divine charms. What advice can I follow now? Alas! I have lost the only object which made life dear to me! As I relinquished all hope of ever being beloved by her, it is much easier to abandon life itself.
ALV. My Lord...
GARC. No, Don Alvarez, my death is necessary. No pains, no arguments shall turn me from it; yet my approaching end must do some signal service to the Princess. Animated by this noble desire, I will seek some glorious means of quitting life; perform some mighty deed worthy of my love, so that in expiring for her sake she may pity me, and say, it was excess of love that was my sole offence. Thus she shall see herself avenged! I must attempt a deed of daring, and with my own hand give to Mauregat that death he so justly deserves. My boldness will forestall the blow with which Castile openly threatens him. With my last breath, I shall have the pleasure of depriving my rival of performing such a glorious deed.
ALV. So great a service, my Lord, may perhaps obliterate all remembrance of your offence; but to risk....
GARC. Let me fulfil my duty, and strive to make my despair aid in this noble attempt.
SCENE I.—DON ALVAREZ, ELIZA.
ALV. No, never was anyone more astonished. He had just planned that lofty undertaking; inspired by despair, he was all anxiety to kill Mauregat; eager to show his courage, and to reap the advantage of this lawful deed; to endeavour to obtain his pardon, and prevent the mortification of seeing his rival share his glory. As he was leaving these walls, a too accurate report brought him the sad tidings, that the very rival whom he wished to forestall had already gained the honour he hoped to acquire: had anticipated him, in slaying the traitor, and urged the appearance of Don Alphonso, who will reap the fruits of Don Silvio's prompt success, and come to fetch the Princess, his sister. It is publicly said and generally believed, that Don Alphonso intends to give the hand of his sister as a reward for the great services Don Silvio has rendered him, by clearing for him a way to the throne.
EL. Yes, Donna Elvira has heard this news, which has been confirmed by old Don Louis, who has sent her word that Leon is now awaiting her happy return and that of Don Alphonso, and that there, since fortune smiles upon her, she shall receive a husband from the hands of her brother. It is plain enough from these few words that Don Silvio will be her husband.
ALV. This blow to the Prince's heart...
EL. Will certainly be severely felt. I cannot help pitying his distress; yet, if I judge rightly, he is still dear to the heart he has offended; it did not appear to me that the Princess was well pleased when she heard of Don Silvio's success, and of the approaching arrival of her brother, or with the letter; but...
SCENE II.—DONNA ELVIRA, DONNA INEZ, ELIZA, DON ALVAREZ.
ELV. Don Alvarez, let the Prince come hither. (Don Alvarez leaves). Give me leave, Madam, to speak to him in your presence concerning this piece of news, which greatly surprises me; and do not accuse me of changing my mind too quickly, if I lose all my animosity against him. His unforeseen misfortune has extinguished it; he is unhappy enough without the addition of my hatred. Heaven, who treats him with so much rigour, has but too well executed the oaths I took. When my honour was outraged, I vowed openly never to be his; but as I see that fate is against him, I think I have treated his love with too great severity; the ill success that follows whatever he does for my sake, cancels his offence, and restores him my love. Yes, I have been too well avenged; the waywardness of his fate disarms my anger, and now, full of compassion, I am seeking to console an unhappy lover for his misfortunes. I believe his love well deserves the compassion I wish to show him.
INEZ. Madam, it would be wrong to blame the tender sentiments you feel for him. What he has done for you ... He comes; and his paleness shows how deeply he is affected by this surprising stroke of fate.
SCENE III.—DON GARCIA, DONNA ELVIRA, DONNA INEZ, ELIZA.
GARC. Madam, you must think me very bold in daring to come here to show you my hateful presence...
ELV. Prince, let us talk no more of my resentment; your fate has made a change in my heart. Its severity, and your wretched condition have extinguished my anger, and our peace is made. Yes, though you have deserved the misfortunes with which Heaven in its wrath has afflicted you; though your jealous suspicions have so ignominiously, so almost incredibly, sullied my fame, yet I must needs confess that I so far commiserate your misfortune, as to be somewhat displeased with our success. I hate the famous service Don Silvio has rendered us, because my heart must be sacrificed to reward it; I would, were it in my power, bring back the moments when destiny put only my oath in my way. But you know that it is the doom of such as we are, to be always the slaves of public interests; that Heaven has ordained that my brother, who disposes of my hand, is likewise my King. Yield, as I do, Prince, to that necessity which rank imposes upon those of lofty birth. If you are very unfortunate in your love, be comforted by the interest I take in you; and though you have been overwhelmed by fate, do not employ the power which your valour gives you in this place: it would, doubtless be unworthy of you to struggle against destiny; whilst it is in vain to oppose its decrees, a prompt submission shows a lofty courage. Do not therefore resist its orders; but open the gates of Astorga to my brother who is coming; allow my sad heart to yield to those rights which he is entitled to claim from me; perhaps that fatal duty, which I owe him against my will, may not go so far as you imagine.
GARC. Madam, you give me proofs of exquisite goodness in endeavouring to lighten the blow that is prepared for me, but without such pains you may let fall upon me all the wrath which your duty demands. In my present condition, I can say nothing. I have deserved the worst punishments which fate can inflict; and I know that, whatever evils I may suffer, I have deprived myself of the right to complain of them. Alas, amidst all my misfortunes, on what grounds can I be bold enough to utter any complaint against you? My love has rendered itself a thousand times odious, and has done nothing but outrage your glorious charms; when by a just and noble sacrifice, I was endeavouring to render some service to your family, fortune abandoned me, and made me taste the bitter grief of being forestalled by a rival. After this, Madam, I have nothing more to say. I deserve the blow which I expect; and I see it coming, without daring to call upon your heart to assist me. What remains for me in this extreme misfortune is to seek a remedy in myself, and, by a death which I long for, free my heart from all those tribulations. Yes, Don Alphonso will soon be here; already my rival has made his appearance; he seems to have hurried hither from Leon, to receive his reward for having killed the tyrant. Do not fear that I shall use my power within these walls to offer him any resistance. If you allowed it, there is no being on earth which I would not defy in order to keep you; but it is not for me, whom you detest, to expect such an honourable permission. No vain attempts of mine shall offer the smallest opposition to the execution of your just designs. No, Madam, your feelings are under no compulsion; you are perfectly free. I will open the gates of Astorga to the happy conqueror, and suffer the utmost severity of fate.
SCENE IV.—DONNA ELVIRA, DONNA INEZ, ELIZA.
ELV. Madam, do not ascribe all my afflictions to the interest which I take in his unhappy lot. You will do me but justice if you believe that you have a large share in my heart-felt grief; that I care more for friendship than for love. If I complain of any dire misfortune, it is because Heaven in its anger has borrowed from me those shafts which it hurls against you, and has made my looks guilty of kindling a passion which treats your kind heart unworthily.