A monologue from the play by Molière

NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Dramatic Works of Molière, Vol. II. Ed. Charles Heron Wall. London: George Bell & Sons, 1898.

EURYALUS: Alas! my dear Arbates, if for a while I defied the power of Love, he takes now full vengeance! If you but knew what sufferings are torturing my heart, even you would wish that I had never loved. For see where my destiny leads me! She whom I so ardently love is the Princess of Elis. You know what pride is hidden under her divine charms: how it makes her resist all feelings of love; how she shuns, during these days of brilliant rejoicings, the society of that crowd of admirers attracted here with the hope of winning her. Ah! how untrue it is that the one we are destined to love, charms us at first sight–that the first glance kindles in our breast that passion to which we are destined from our birth! On my return from Argos I passed through this place and then saw the Princess. I looked upon her and all her charms as one contemplates a fine statue. I quietly beheld her dazzling youth, but the sight brought no trouble to my heart. I returned to the shores of Ithaca in perfect peace of mind, and lost even for two years all remembrance of her. Then, rumours of the scorn with which she treated every offer of homage reached my court. It was said that her proud soul had a most unconquerable aversion to the bonds of marriage; and that with a bow in her hand, a quiver on her shoulder, a second Diana, she frequented the woods, cared for nought but the chase, and let all the youth of Greece sigh for her in vain. We cannot wonder too much, Arbates, at the freaks of passion in our heart, nor at the strange workings of fate! The fame of her haughty coldness gave rise in my soul to unknown feelings which I could not master, and which her presence and beauty had failed to call forth. Her well-known contempt for love had the secret power of bringing back all her features to my remembrance, and of making me look back at her charms with new eyes. I formed in my mind such a noble and beautiful image of her, I pictured to myself so much pride and such pleasure if I could but triumph over her coldness, that my heart, dazzled by the splendour of such a conquest, saw the glory of its liberty vanish away. In vain I tried to resist the attraction; its charm took such hold upon my senses that, urged on by an irresistible power, I sailed in all haste from Ithaca. Here, however, I conceal my ardent passion under the desire of appearing at these renowned sports, to which the illustrious Iphitas, father of the Princess, has invited most of the princes of Greece. What would it serve me to declare my love, Arbates? Should I not draw on myself her haughty disdain, and rank myself among those submissive princes whom she considers her enemies from the moment they have declared themselves her lovers? The sovereigns of Messenia and Pylos pay useless homage to her, and the fame of their great virtues is in vain seconded by faithful deference. This repulse of their love makes me conceal in silence all the violence of mine. When I consider the fate of these famous rivals, I feel myself already condemned, and in her contempt for them I read my own sentence.

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