Molière’s ‟Les Fâcheux,” ‟The Bores” (1)


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Les facheux par Ed. Héd. (2)

Les Fâcheux par Edmond Hédouin (

I may not be able to post Les Fâcheux today. It would be too long a post. But I could indicate that in Les Fâcheux, first performed on 17 August 1661, at Vaux-le-Vicomte, Nicolas Fouquet‘s magnificent castle, the spectator/reader goes from bore to bore, all of whom want to talk to our hero, Éraste, a marquis who loves Orphise to whom he seems unable to catch up. He does catch up to her in an unexpected dénouement.

The play is therefore repetitive. Éraste is forever interrupted by bores. But one of the episodes, Act Two, Scene Four, features Éraste who is asked by Clymène and Orante, to play umpire, adjudicator, in a debate on whether jealousy is a sign of love.

C’est une question à vider difficile,/ Et vous devez chercher un juge plus habile
Éraste à Clymène et Orante (II. iv)
[That is a question difficult to settle; you had best look for a more skilful judge.]
Éraste to Clymène and Orante (II. 4)

Pour moi de son esprit j’ai trop bon témoignage,/ 400 Pour craindre qu’il prononce à mon désavantage./ Enfin ce grand débat qui s’allume entre nous,/ Est de savoir s’il faut qu’un amant soit jaloux.
Orante à Éraste (II. iv)
[For my part, I am too much assured of his sense to fear that he will decide against me. Well, this great contest which rages between us is to know whether a lover should be jealous.]
Orante to Éraste (II. 4)

Ou, pour mieux expliquer ma pensée et la vôtre,/ Lequel doit plaire plus d’un jaloux ou d’un autre.
Orante à Éraste (II. iv)
[Or, the better to explain my opinion and yours, which ought to please most, a jealous man or one that is not so?]
Orante to Éraste (II. 4)

405 Pour moi, sans contredit, je suis pour le dernier.
Clymène à tous (II. iv)
[For my part, I am clearly for the last.]
Clymène to all (II. 4)

Et dans mon sentiment je tiens pour le premier.
Orante à tous (II. iv)
[As for me, I stand up for the first.]
Orante to all (II. 4)

Je crois que notre cœur doit donner son suffrage,/ À qui fait éclater du respect davantage.
Orante à tous (II. iv)

445 Et je veux, qu’un amant pour me prouver sa flamme, Sur d’éternels soupçons laisse flotter son âme,/ Et par de prompts transports, donne un signe éclatant/ De l’estime qu’il fait de celle qu’il prétend./ On s’applaudit alors de son inquiétude,/ Et s’il nous fait parfois un traitement trop rude,/ Le plaisir de le voir soumis à nos genoux,/ 450 S’excuser de l’éclat qu’il a fait contre nous,/ Ses pleurs, son désespoir d’avoir pu nous déplaire, /Est un charme à calmer toute notre colère.
Orante à tous (II. iv)
[I would that a lover, in order to prove his flame, should have his mind shaken by eternal suspicions, and, by sudden outbursts, show clearly the value he sets upon her to whose hand he aspires. Then his restlessness is applauded; and, if he sometimes treats us a little roughly, the value he sets upon her to whose hand he aspires. Then his restlessness is applauded; and, if he sometimes treats us a little roughly, the pleasure of seeing him, penitent at our feet, to excuse himself for the outbreak of which he has been guilty, his tears, his despair at having been capable of displeasing us, are a charm to soothe all our anger.]
Clymène to all (II. 4)

Si pour vous plaire il faut beaucoup d’emportement,/ Je sais qui vous pourrait donner contentement;/ 455 Et je connais des gens dans Paris plus de quatre,/ Qui comme ils le font voir, aiment jusques à battre.
Orante à tous (II. iv)
[If much violence is necessary to please you, I know who would satisfy you; I am acquainted with several men in Paris who love well enough to beat their fair ones openly.]
Orante to all (IV. 4)

Éraste’s answer is:

Puisqu’à moins d’un arrêt je ne m’en puis défaire,
Toutes deux à la fois je vous veux satisfaire;

465 Et pour ne point blâmer ce qui plaît à vos yeux,
Le jaloux aime plus, et l’autre aime bien mieux.
Éraste to all (II. iv)
[Since I cannot avoid giving judgment, I mean to satisfy you both at once; and, in order, not to blame that which is pleasing in your eyes, the jealous man loves more, but the other loves more wisely.].
Éraste to all (IV. 4)

Who would appreciate reducing a man to sudden outbursts, applauding a man’s restlessness? Who would wish to be treated a little roughly and enjoy seeing the penitent at one’s feet, witness his tears and his despair?

If Clymène enjoys the pain she inflicts, we could perhaps put her on the same footing as our tormented and jaloux, or on the other side of the same coin. This is not love.


Molière, Jean-Baptiste Lully (music) and Pierre Beauchamp (ballet) performed their first comédie-ballet, Les Fâcheux, at Vaux-le-Vicomte. Les Fâcheux (The Bores) was then performed at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, on 4 November 1661. In 1661, Molière’s troupe was la troupe de Monsieur, frère unique du Roi. The play’s main source is Horace‘s Satires. Les Fâcheux is a divertissement.

Love to everyone 💕


Provided to YouTube by CDBaby Courante De Mr. Lully · David Rogers, Joanna Blendulf & Laura Zaerr ℗ 2014 Daniel Stephens Released on: 2014-01-01 Auto-generated by YouTube.

Les facheux par F. Boucher

Les Fâcheux par François Boucher (dessin) (

© Micheline Walker
12 December 2019

Merciless Fatality


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Dom Garcie de Navarre (

A Long Absence

I am not writing a post today. During the month of November, I had no access to a computer and could not read your posts. I ordered a new computer, but after waiting for nearly a month, I cancelled my purchase. For the time being, I am using my older and restored computer. It was returned to the company and contains my complete files. A knowledgeable person will help me choose a new computer.

In short, I had no access to a computer during most of the month of November and did not read posts. I will now try to make up for this long absence.

A Last Quotation

I added, discretely, a quotation to my Dom Garcie posts. Quoting Molière in both French and English can be confusing. This quotation is confirmation on the part of Dom Garcie himself that, due to a “merciless fatality,” he is his own “worst enemy.” Given the innerness of his plight, he can no more combat his jealousy than Elvire can repress her love. Were she not in love, Donna Elvira would walk out on Dom Garcie.

In Act Four, Dom Garcie says to Dom Alvar that he, Dom Garcie, is his worst enemy:

Ah! Dom Alvar, je vois que vous avez raison,
Mais l’enfer dans mon cœur a soufflé son poison;
Et par un trait fatal d’une rigueur extrême,
1485 Mon plus grand ennemi se rencontre en moi-même.
Dom Garcie à Dom Alvar (IV.  ix)
[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.]
Dom Garcie to Dom Alvar (IV. 9)

Dom Garcie de Navarre ou le Prince jaloux may have been a failure when it was first performed, but I consider it essential reading for moliéristes.

Love to everyone 💕


Michel LambertMa Bergère est tendre et fidelle
Stephan van Dyck
Musica Favola (a Belgian group)


© Micheline Walker
8 December 2019

Dom Garcie de Navarre, details


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dom_garcie_moliere (2)

Dom Garcie de Navarre (my collection)

Jealousy as a Tragic Flaw

A long conclusion to Dom Garcie de Navarre is not necessary, not for our purposes. But there is more to say. Dom Garcie’s jealousy is not quite the same as that of a man who fears cuckolding. Dom Garcie truly loves Done Elvire and his feelings are reciprocated. I mentioned three events, two of which are the letters. Done Elvire is offended, but she forgives Dom Garcie. At the very beginning of the play, he tells her that he cannot repress his feelings.

Ah! Madame, il est vrai, quelque effort que je fasse,/ Qu’un peu de jalousie en mon cœur trouve place,/ 265 Et qu’un rival absent de vos divins appas/ Au repos de ce cœur vient livrer des combats.
Dom Garcie à Done Elvire (I. iii)
[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.]
Dom Garcie to Elvira (I. 3)

Molière wrote a comédie héroïque, but Dom Garcie’s jealousy is a tragic flaw. Pity plays a role in Dom Garcie, and we know it does as soon as the curtain lifts.


At the beginning of Act Four, before our third event, the disguise, Dom Alvar says to Donna Elvira:

1096 Madame, il fait pitié, jamais cœur que je pense,/ Par un plus vif remords n’expia son offense;/ Et si dans sa douleur vous le considériez,/ Il toucherait votre âme, et vous l’excuseriez.
Dom Alvar à Done Elvire (IV. i)
[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.]
Don Alvarez to Elvira (IV. 1)

Dom Alvar also mentions Dom Garcie’s age. Age is a factor in Molière. We have seen it in Dom Juan:

Non, c’est qu’il est jeune encore, et qu’il n’a pas le courage.
Sganarelle à Gusman (I. i)
[No, but he is still young, and does not have the heart ….]
Sganarelle to Gusman (I. 1)

At first, Dom Alvar’s words do not appease Done Elvire:

Ah! c’est trop en souffrir, et mon cœur irrité/ Ne doit plus conserver une sotte bonté;/ Abandonnons l’ingrat à son propre caprice,/ Et puisqu’il veut périr, consentons qu’il périsse;/ 1430 Élise… À cet éclat vous voulez me forcer,/ Mais je vous apprendrai que c’est trop m’offenser.
Done Elvira to Élise (IV.  viii)
[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.
Done Elvira to Élise (IV. 8)

The Anagnorisis: forgiveness

But Elvire forgives. The play features a redeeming anagnorisis or recognition. Done Elvire is Dom Alphonse’s sister:

Un éclatant arrêt de ma gloire outragée,/ À jamais n’être à lui me tenait engagée;/ Mais quand par les destins il est exécuté,/ J’y vois pour son amour trop de sévérité;
Et le triste succès de tout ce qu’il m’adresse/ 1565 M’efface son offense, et lui rend ma tendresse./ Oui, mon cœur trop vengé par de si rudes coups, Laisse à leur cruauté désarmer son courroux,/ Et cherche maintenant par un soin pitoyable/ À consoler le sort d’un amant misérable;/ 1570 Et je crois que sa flamme a bien pu mériter/ Cette compassion que je lui veux prêter.
Done Elvire  (V. ii)
[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.]
Done Elvire (V. 2)

At first sight, this change of heart may seem artificial on Done Elvire’s part, but it isn’t, except that comedy has its rules. Done Elvire is the King’s sister, so her love will be sisterly and Dom Alphonse’s brotherly. Dom Alphonse/Silve will marry Donna Ignès. She was his first love and by Done Elvire’s own standards, one marries one’s first love. Dom Garcie is Elvire’s first love. Failing to marry him would a “crime.”

In fact, the degree to which Dom Garcie’s jealousy frustrates and angers her could be looked upon as proportionate to her love. She is the King’s sister and could dismiss him. As for Dom Garcie, he fails in his mission to kill Mauregat, after which, had he been successful, he planned to die. He sees himself as dishonoured. It is as though Dom Silve and Dom Garcie fought a duel as rivals for Done Elvire’s affection. But the duel was an interior conflict, which Dom Alvar recognizes and, ultimately, Dom Garcie himself.

In Act Four, Dom Garcie says to Dom Alvar that he, Dom Garcie, is his worst enemy:

Ah! Dom Alvar, je vois que vous avez raison,
Mais l’enfer dans mon cœur a soufflé son poison;
Et par un trait fatal d’une rigueur extrême,
1485 Mon plus grand ennemi se rencontre en moi-même.
Dom Garcie à Dom Alvar (IV.  ix)
[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.]
Dom Garcie to Dom Alvar (IV. 9)

But in Done Elvire’s eyes, both she and Dom Garcie have public interests. These are her words, not Dom Garcie’s.

Mais, enfin, vous savez comme nos destinées,/ Aux intérêts publics sont toujours enchaînées,/ Et que l’ordre des Cieux pour disposer de moi,/ 1595 Dans mon frère qui vient, me va montrer mon roi.
Done Elvire à Dom Garcie (V. iii)
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.
Done Elvire to Don Garcia (V. 3)

Done Elvire has shown pity previously and will do so again. Moreover, jealousy has harmed Dom Garcie. In no way does Done Elvire perceive jealousy as a sign a love. On the contrary. She vowed not to marry Dom Garcie. However, she loves him.

La Carte de Tendre


Carte du pays de Tendre or The Map of Tendre par François Chauveau (Wikipedia)

In the case of Dom Garcie, a brief look at Madeleine de Scudéry‘s “map of Tendre” is useful. Tendre is the country of love.

The Carte de Tendre is included in Mademoiselle de Scudéry’s Clélie, histoire romaine. It was engraved by François Chauveau. Madeleine de Scudéry, an indefatigable writer, had a Salon. She had attended Catherine de Rambouillet‘s salon, the Chambre bleue d’Arthénice (an anagram of Catherine), but as Catherine de Vivonne grew older, Sappho opened her own salon. Gatherings took place every Saturday. These are referred to as les Samedis de Sappho or La Société du Samedi.

The Map of Tendre consists of three rivers: Inclination, Estime, and the river Reconnaissance. Lovers descending the river Inclination (attraction) had fallen in love. Those descending Estime admire the lover they had chosen. As for the river Reconnaissance, it represents gratitude. Done Elvire’s love for Dom Garcie includes all three rivers. The little villages are steps to love, such as Billet Doux, love letters. All lead to a dangerous sea, une mer dangereuse, but in the salons of the middle to late 17th century, one had accepted that love was dangerous, but that to love and to be loved, was, by and large, worth the risks. Love was the greater good. It was a fact of life, but husbands were galants hommes. They were the Prince d’Ithaque. As of the Princesse d’Élide fewer ladies woke early to go hunting and kill a boar, which is how Sostrate may marry Ériphile (Les Amants magnifiques).

Molière has juxtaposed a prince and jealousy, which in Dom Garcie alienates Done Elvire, were it not, first that an anagnorisis reveals that only sisterly or brotherly love is possible between Elvira and her King. Dom Alphonse will marry his first love, and so will Done Elvire, in whose eyes, Dom Garcie has not been dishonoured. In fact, Dom Alphonse is pleased to serve Dom Garcie’s love.

Mon cœur, grâces au Ciel, après un long martyre,
1845 Seigneur, sans vous rien prendre à tout ce qu’il désire,
Et goûte d’autant mieux son bonheur en ce jour,
Qu’il se voit en état de servir votre amour.
Dom Alphonse à Dom Garcie (V. ii)
[My heart, thank Heaven, after a long torture, has all that it can desire, and deprives you of nothing, my Lord. I am so much the happier, because I am able to forward your love.]
Dom Alphonse to Dom Garcie (V. 6)

As for Donna Elvira, she shares Dom Alvar’s opinion. She sees Dom Garcie’s as pitiable and his jealousy, as an illness.

Et votre maladie est digne de pitié./ Je vois, Prince, je vois, qu’on doit quelque indulgence,/ Aux défauts, où du Ciel fait pencher l’influence,/ 1870 Et pour tout dire, enfin, jaloux, ou non jaloux;/ Mon roi sans me gêner peut me donner à vous.
Done Elvire à Dom Garcie (V. ii)
[… and your malady deserves to be pitied. Since Heaven is the cause of your faults, some indulgence ought to be allowed to them; in one word, jealous or not jealous, my King will have no compulsion to employ when he gives me to you.] (V. 6)

Dom Garcie de Navarre was a failure. It is very long and analytical. Critic René Bray views Dom Garcie as héroïque, but it is his opinion that “preciosity is all the same, something other, and more complex, than the taste for moral analysis.”

La préciosité est tout de même autre chose, et plus complexe, que le goût de l’analyse morale.[1]

He quotes Francis Baumal[2]:

Il se peut après tout que Molière, sauf peut-être dans les Écoles, n’ait point marqué ses préférences et se soit contenté de peindre la société de son temps telle qu’il la voyait.[3]

“It could be after all that Molière, except maybe in his Écoles, did not emphasize his preferences and that he was content to depict the society of his time as he saw it.”


Sources and Resources

The Misanthrope is a Wikisource publication EN
Dom Garcie de Navarre is a publication FR
Dom Garcie de Navarre is Gutenberg’s [EBook #6740] EN
René Bray’s La Préciosité et les Précieux is an publication
Images belong to the BnF, but the source of the image featured at the top of his post has been lost.
Bold characters are mine.
I translated Bray and Baumal.

[1] René Bray, La Préciosité et les Précieux (Paris: Nizet, 1960 [1948]), pp. 222 – 223.
[2] Francis Baumal, Molière auteur précieux (Paris: La Renaissance du livre, 1925).
[3] René Bray, La Préciosité et les Précieux, loc. cit.

Kind regards to everyone. 💕


Claire Lefilliâtre, Brice Duisit, Isabelle Druet,
Le Poème Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre

don garcie 4

Dom Garcie de Navarre (théâtre-documentation)

© Micheline Walker
7 December 2019



Molière’s “Dom Garcie de Navarre ou le Prince jaloux”


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Dom Garcie de Navarre ou le Prince jaloux (théâtre-documentation

Dom Garcie de Navarre ou le Prince jaloux (The Happy Jealousy of Prince Rodrigo) was written shortly after Molière’s return to Paris. The company he founded in 1643, l’Illustre Théâtre, went into bankruptcy in the spring of 1645. Molière was imprisoned briefly in August 1645 and after his release, he left Paris for several years, nearly fifteen years. Molière’s father paid the bulk of Molière’s debts.

The collapse of l’Illustre Théâtre was due, in part, to Molière’s inability to play tragic or serious roles. He did not have the right looks, nor did he have the right voice. However, he could not resist writing Dom Garcie de Navarre ou le Prince Jaloux and gave himself Dom Garcie’s role, a serious role. The play was performed on 4 February 1661, at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, and it closed after 7 performances. It was a failure. The play was not published during Molière’s lifetime, but it was included in the 1682 publication of Molière’s works. In 1661, Molière’s company was la troupe de Monsieur Frère Unique du Roi. Monsieur was Philippe d’Orléans and Louis XIV’s only brother (frère unique).


Molière’s source was the Gelosie fortunata del principe Rodrigo (The Fortunate Jealousy of Prince Rodrigo), by Italian dramatist Cicognini, a play published in Perugia, in 1654. Prince Rodrigo is very jealous, but he succeeds in marrying the lady he loves. Similarly, Done Elvire will marry Dom Garcie, whom she loves. It will be discovered that Dom Sylve is the rightful heir to the throne of Léon and her brother. She had rejected Dom Sylve as a lover and favoured a marriage between Dom Sylve and Done Ignès, who loves him, but is Done Ignès who was captured by Mauregat, a usurper.

Cicognini may have found his material in a Spanish play. Baumal[1] writes that according to Riccoboni, there was a Spanish source. There may well have been a Spanish source, but unless there were two dramatists named Riccoboni, Riccoboni could not have reported Spanish ancestry to Molière’s Dom Garcie de Navarre. Moreover, Riccoboni was born in 1707, which means that he was ten years old in 1717, when he staged a Dom Garcie in Paris. Yet, a Spanish source is altogether possible. One recognizes the Spanish pun d’honor and remembers Pierre Corneille‘s Cid (1637).


DON GARCIA, Prince of Navarre, in love with Elvira. (Molière’s role)
DON ALPHONSO, Prince of Leon, thought to be Prince of
Castile, under the name of Don Silvio (Sylve).
DON ALVAREZ, confidant of Don Garcia, in love with Eliza (Alvar).
DON LOPEZ, another confidant of Don Garcia, in love with Eliza.
DON PEDRO, gentleman-usher to Inez (Ignès).
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.

Plot and Themes

  • Jealousy
  • A love question
  • the Salons

As noted in an introductory paragraph, written on 29 November 2019, although Dom Garcie features young lovers who are about to marry, the main theme of the play is jealousy and the comédie is a comédie héroïque (heroic comedy). However, Molière interiorizes the conflict, or agon, between the alazṓn, a senex iratus or miles gloriosus, and the eirôn. Dom Garcie is so jealous that he offends Done Elvire and jeopardizes his own marriage. He is both the young lover and the blocking-character. This he will realize.


In 17th-century salons and Précieux milieux, love questions were discussed. One of these was whether jealousy was a sign of love or a source of constant and humiliating suspicion and recriminations that could prevent, or destroy, a marriage. In Dom Garcie de Navarre ou le Prince jaloux, Done Elvire rejects Dom Garcie.


  • Destiny: “ces chaînes du ciel
  • Jealousy as a sign of love
  • Jealousy as dreadful


Done Elvire has been courted by Dom Sylve and Dom Garcie. Dom Garcie extremely jealous, which offends Done Elvire, but he has saved her life. However, what we hear first is that Done Elvire loves Dom Garcie de Navarre, as destiny (ces chaînes du ciel) willed.

Si le mérite seul prenait droit sur un cœur./ Mais ces chaînes du ciel, qui tombent sur nos âmes,/ Décidèrent en moi le destin de leurs flammes;/ Et toute mon estime égale entre les deux,/ Laissa vers Dom Garcie entraîner tous mes vœux.
Done Elvire à Élise (I. i)
[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.]
Done Elvire to Élise (I. 1)

But Élise sees matters differently. Jealousy is a manifestation of love.

Enfin, si les soupçons de cet illustre amant,/ 90 Puisque vous le voulez n’ont point de fondement;/ Pour le moins font-ils foi d’une âme bien atteinte,/ Et d’autres chériraient ce qui fait votre plainte./ De jaloux mouvements doivent être odieux,/ S’ils partent d’un amour qui déplaise à nos yeux./ Mais tout ce qu’un amant nous peut montrer d’alarmes,/Doit lorsque nous l’aimons, avoir pour nous des charmes;/ C’est par là que son feu se peut mieux exprimer,/ Et plus il est jaloux, plus nous devons l’aimer;/ Ainsi puisqu’en votre âme un prince magnanime…
Elise à Elvire (I. i)
[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… ]
Élise to Elvire (I. 1)

Done Elvire’s response is unambiguous:

Ah! ne m’avancez point cette étrange maxime/ Partout la jalousie est un monstre odieux,/ Rien n’en peut adoucir les traits injurieux;/ Et plus l’amour est cher, qui lui donne naissance/ Plus on doit ressentir les coups de cette offense.
Done Elvire à Élise  (I. i)
[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.]
Elvira to Élise (I. 1)

Yet, although Done Elvire loves Dom Garcie de Navarre destiny (ces chaînes du ciel) has spoken and destiny is inescapable. The role destiny plays in our lives is often expressed in Molière, but seldom so vigorously as it does in Dom Garcie de Navarre.

Si le mérite seul prenait droit sur un cœur./ Mais ces chaînes du ciel, qui tombent sur nos âmes,/ Décidèrent en moi le destin de leurs flammes;/ Et toute mon estime égale entre les deux,/ Laissa vers Dom Garcie entraîner tous mes vœux.
Elvire to Élise (I. i)
[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.]
Elvire to Élise (I. 1)

Done Elvire also seems to know that her brother is returning. Her brother is the rightful heir to the Kingdom of Léon. She doesn’t know, however, that Dom Sylve is Dom Alphonse and her brother. Dom Sylve, who first loved Done Ignés, is rejected by Done Elvire, but not harshly. Destiny is also tied to public interest. Rumour has it that Don Alphonse is returning:

Et si les bruits communs ne sont pas des bruits vains;/ Si la bonté du Ciel nous ramène mon frère,/ Les vœux les plus ardents, que mon cœur puisse faire;/ C’est que son bras encor, sur un perfide sang/ Puisse aider à ce frère, à reprendre son rang.
Elvire to Élise (I. i)
[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…]
Elvire to Élise (I. 1)


In Scene Two, Alvar (Alvarez), a confident to Dom Garcie, confirms rumours that the rightful heir, Dom Alphonse, is returning. Jealousy, destiny, and public interest are intertwined in Dom Garcie de Navarre. In Scene Three, Done Elvire says to Dom Garcie that she will tell whether she loves when he knows how to love, which is when he will cease suspecting rivals, but destiny may and will support Dom Garcie, even at the desperate point, as the play closes, when her brother returns. Done Elvire points out that one can hear what one wants to hear. A jealous mind will expect support for his accusations. Done Elvire’s statement is consistent with the current theory of information: expectations may change and, occasionally, distort a message.

239 Souvent on entend mal, ce qu’on croit bien entendre, Et par trop de chaleur, Prince, on se peut méprendre./ Mais puisqu’il faut parler, désirez-vous savoir,/ Quand vous pourrez me plaire, et prendre quelque espoir?
Elvire à Dom Garcie (I. iii)
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?
Elvire to Dom Garcie (I. 3)
Ce me sera, Madame, une faveur extrême.
Dom Garcie à Elvire (I. iii)
[I should consider this, Madam, a very great favour.]
Dom Garcie to Elvire (I. 3)
Quand vous saurez m’aimer, comme il faut que l’on aime.
Dom Garcie à Elvire (I. iii)
[When you know how to love as you ought.]
Elvire to Dom Garcie (I. 3)

Dom Garcie tells Done Elvire that he cannot control his jealousy.

Ah! Madame, il est vrai, quelque effort que je fasse, Qu’un peu de jalousie en mon cœur trouve place, 265 Et qu’un rival absent de vos divins appas/ Au repos de ce cœur vient livrer des combats./ Soit caprice, ou raison, j’ai toujours la croyance/ Que votre âme en ces lieux souffre de son absence;/ Et que malgré mes soins, vos soupirs amoureux/ 270 Vont trouver à tous coups ce rival trop heureux.
Dom Garcie à Elvire (I. iii)
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.
Dom Garcie to Elvira (I. 3)

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Dom Garcie de Navarre par Louis Leloir (théâtre-documentation)

The Letters


Elvire then receives a letter (un billet). The letter is from Done Ignès who bemoans Mauregat’s violence and his wish for Done Elvire to marry his son. Dom Garcie is not appeased until he sees the letter.

Malgré l’effort d’un long mépris,/ Le tyran toujours m’aime, et depuis votre absence,/ 365 Vers moi pour me porter au dessein qu’il a pris,/Il semble avoir tourné toute la violence, Dont il poursuivait l’alliance/ De vous et de son fils./ Ceux qui sur moi peuvent avoir empire/370 Par de lâches motifs qu’un faux honneur inspire,/ Approuvent tous cet indigne lien;/J’ignore encor par où finira mon martyre;/ Mais je mourrai plutôt que de consentir rien./Puissiez-vous jouir, belle Elvire,/375 D’un destin plus doux que le mien.
«Done Ignès.»
Done Ignès to Done Elvire (I. iii)
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.]


  • Dom Élise and Dom Lope (rejected)
  • The Kind of Navarre has chosen a leader for the Kingdom of Léon.
  • The second letter

In Scene One, Élise is speaking to Dom Lope. He has, at times, told Garcie about possible rivals. Élise has parted with Dom Lope. She has chosen Dom Alvar who enters the stage in Scene Two announcing that the King of Navarre has declared his support for the Prince of Léon. Public interest surfaces briefly.

Enfin, nous apprenons que le roi de Navarre/ Pour les désirs du Prince, aujourd’hui se déclare;/ 470 Et qu’un nouveau renfort de troupes nous attend/ Pour le fameux service, où son amour prétend. / Je suis surpris pour moi, qu’avec tant de vitesse,/ On ait fait avancer… Mais…
Dom Alvar à Élise (II.ii)
[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…]
Don Alvarez to Élise (II. 2)


In Scene Three, Dom Garcie returns wishing to know what Done Elvire is doing. Élise says that Done Elvire has been writing letters.

Quelques lettres, Seigneur, je le présume ainsi;/ 475 Mais elle va savoir que vous êtes ici.
Élise à Dom Garcie (II. iii)
[I think, my Lord, she is writing some letters; but I shall let her know that you are here.]
Élise to Dom Garcie (II. 2)

Dom Garcie is alarmed.

The letter gets separated when Dom Lope picks it up and Léonor grabs half of the letter. One half of the letter belies the other half. Ironically the letter is addressed to a rival, but it tells that Done Elvire has chosen Garcie over Dom Sylvie.

« Quoique votre rival, Prince, alarme votre âme,/ 615 Vous devez toutefois vous craindre plus que lui,/ Et vous avez en vous à détruire aujourd’hui/ L’obstacle le plus grand que trouve votre flamme./ « Je chéris tendrement ce qu’a fait Dom Garcie,/ Pour me tirer des mains de nos fiers ravisseurs,/ 620 Son amour, ses devoirs ont pour moi des douceurs; / Mais il m’est odieux avec sa jalousie./ « Otez donc à vos feux, ce qu’ils en font paraître,/ Méritez les regards que l’on jette sur eux;/ Et lorsqu’on vous oblige à vous tenir heureux,/ 625 Ne vous obstinez point à ne pas vouloir l’être. »
Done Elvire à Dom Sylve (II. vi)
[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.]
Done Elvire’ letter to Dom Sylve (II. 6) 


In the First Scene of Act Three, Élise and Elvire discuss the episode of the second letter. Done Elvire has forgiven Dom Garcie and regrets a gesture she sees as une faiblesse, a weakness. Done Élise’s attitude remains unchanged. Jealousy is a proof of love.

In Scene Two, Dom Sylve visits Done Elvire, seeking her love. She has chosen Dom Garcie. She reminds Dom Sylve that his first choice was “l’aimable comtesse,”  Done Ignès, who is now fighting Mauregat’s “violence.” She believes it is a crime to leave one’s first love:

Oui, Seigneur, c’est un crime, et les premières flammes,/ Ont des droits si sacrés sur les illustres âmes,/ Qu’il faut perdre grandeurs, et renoncer au jour,/ 915 Plutôt que de pencher vers un second amour.
Done Elvire à Dom Sylve (III. ii)
[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.]
Elvira to Dom Sylve (III. 2)

If leaving Done Ignès, Dom Sylve’s first love, was a crime, Elvire should not marry Dom Garcie, her first love. It would be a crime. However, Dom Sylve’s sentiments give Dom Garcie a rival.

Ah! Madame, à mes yeux n’offrez point son mérite,/ Il n’est que trop présent à l’ingrat qui la quitte;/ 930 Et si mon cœur vous dit, ce que pour elle il sent,/ J’ai peur qu’il ne soit pas envers vous innocent.
Dom Sylve à Done Elvire (III. 2)
[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.]
Dom Sylve to Elvira (III. 2)

Dom Garcie arrives and sees a rival in Dom Sylve. He despises Dom Sylve and threatens him. He will prevent Done Elvire from ever marrying Dom Sylve.

Si l’ingrate à mes yeux pour flatter votre flamme,/ À jamais n’être à moi, vient d’engager son âme;/ Je saurai bien trouver dans mon juste courroux/ Les moyens d’empêcher qu’elle ne soit à vous.
Dom Garcie à Dom Sylve (III. iv)
[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.]
Don Garcia to Don Sylvio (III. 4)

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Dom Garcie de Navarre par François Boucher (dessin) (théâtre-documentation)


Jealousy reaches a peak in Act Four. Wishing to escape her tyrant, Mauregat, Ignès comes to Done Elvire’s home dressed as a man. She has made believe that she is dead and she is seeking a refuge. The door is ajar. In Scene Seven, Dom Garcie sees Done Elvire embracing Ignès dressed as a man. He believes Done Elvire is embracing a man, which tears him apart. Dom Garcie:

J’ai vu ce que mon âme a peine à concevoir, Et le renversement de toute la nature/ Ne m’étonnerait pas comme cette aventure;/ C’en est fait… le destin… je ne saurais parler.
Dom Garcie à Dom Alvar (IV. vii)
[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.]
Dom Garcie to Don Alvarez (IV. 7)
Ah! tout est ruiné,/ Je suis, je suis trahi, je suis assassiné;/ 1240 Un homme, sans mourir te le puis-je bien dire,/ Un homme dans les bras de l’infidèle Elvire?
Dom Garcie à Dom Alvar (IV. vii)
[Alas! Everything is undone. I am betrayed, I am murdered! A man, (can I say it and still live) a man in the arms of the faithless Elvira!]
Dom Garcie to Don Alvarez (IV. 7)

Done Elvire returns and faces unacceptable reproaches. She tries to “reason” with Dom Garcie, but unsuccessfully. Dom Garcie did see a man, but this man was Ignès dressed as a man. Done Elvire rejects Dom Garcie despite Dom Alvar’s opinion that Dom Garcie is to be pitied.

Mais il vous faut de moi détacher à l’instant,/ À mes vœux pour jamais renoncer de vous-même,/ 1385 Et j’atteste du Ciel la puissance suprême,/ Que quoi que le destin puisse ordonner de nous,/ Je choisirai plutôt d’être à la mort qu’à vous;/ Voilà dans ces deux choix de quoi vous satisfaire,/ Avisez maintenant celui qui peut vous plaire.
Elvire à Dom Garcie (IV. viii)
[B]ut 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.
Elvira to Dim Garcie (IV. 8)

(Élise entre.)
Faites un peu sortir la personne chérie…
Allez, vous m’entendez, dites que je l’en prie.
Elvire à Élise (IV. vii )
[Let out, briefly, the beloved person…
Go, you hear me, and say that I beg to see her.]
Elvira to Élise
Prenez garde qu’au moins cette noble colère,/ Dans la même fierté, jusqu’au bout persévère;/ Et surtout désormais songez bien à quel prix/ Vous avez voulu voir vos soupçons éclaircis./ 1440 Voici, grâces au Ciel, ce qui les a fait naître,/ Ces soupçons obligeants que l’on me fait paraître,/ Voyez bien ce visage, et si de Done Ignès,/ Vos yeux au même instant n’y connaissent les traits.
Elvire à Dom Garcie (IV. viii)
[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 (To Don Garcia). 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.]
Elvire to Dom Garcie (IV.  9 & 10)

Ô Ciel!
Dom Garcie (IV. x)
O Heavens!
Dom Garcie (IV. 10)

Dom Garcie knows that jealousy left him no time to reflect. He will continue to see what his jealous mind compels him to see: a rival.

In Act Four, Dom Garcie says to Dom Alvar that he, Dom Garcie, is his worst enemy:

Ah! Dom Alvar, je vois que vous avez raison,
Mais l’enfer dans mon cœur a soufflé son poison;
Et par un trait fatal d’une rigueur extrême,
1485 Mon plus grand ennemi se rencontre en moi-même.
Dom Garcie à Dom Alvar (IV.  ix)
[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.]
Dom Garcie to Dom Alvar (IV.  9)

His despair is such that Dom Garcie feels only his death can wash away the injurious humiliating rage to which he subjected Done Elvire, but he intends to die killing the usurper Mauregat. Dom Sylve kills Mauregat.

Il faut que de ma main un illustre attentat/ Porte une mort trop due au sein de Mauregat,/ Que j’aille prévenir par une belle audace,/ Le coup, dont la Castille avec bruit le menace,/ 1510 Et j’aurai des douceurs dans mon instant fatal,/ De ravir cette gloire, à l’espoir d’un rival.
Dom Garcie à Dom Alvar (IV. ix)
[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.]
Dom Garcie to Don Alvarez (IV. 11)


In Act Five, Scene One, Alvar tells Élise, the woman he loves, that Dom Sylve killed Mauregat and that Mauregat’s death will force the rightful heir, Dom Alphonse, to tell who he is. The rightful heir is about to visit his sister, Done Elvire. He is the one who will give his sister’s hand in marriage. Done Elvire still wishes to marry Dom Garcie.

Her destiny and Dom Garcie’s destiny are tied to the well-being of the state.

Mais, enfin, vous savez comme nos destinées,/ Aux intérêts publics sont toujours enchaînées,/ Et que l’ordre des Cieux pour disposer de moi,/ 1595 Dans mon frère qui vient, me va montrer mon roi./ Cédez comme moi, Prince, à cette violence,/ Où la grandeur soumet celles de ma naissance[.]
Done Elvire à Dom Garcie (V. iii)
[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.]
Elvira to Dom Garcie (V. 3)

But the king she expects to meet is Dom Sylvie/Dom Alphonse, her brother. A mariage is not possible.

Vous attendez un frère, et Léon son vrai maître,/ 1745 À vos yeux maintenant le Ciel le fait paraître./ Oui, je suis Dom Alphonse, et mon sort conservé,/ Et sous le nom du sang de Castille élevé,/ Est un fameux effet de l’amitié sincère,/ Qui fut entre son Prince, et le Roi notre père.
Dom Sylve/Alphonse à Done Elvire (V. v)
[You expect a brother, and Leon its true master; Heaven now presents him before you. Yes, I am Don Alphonso; I was brought up and educated under the name of Prince of Castile; this clearly proves the sincere friendship that existed between Don Louis and the King, my father.]
Dom Sylve/Alphonse to Done Elvire (V. 5)

In Scene Six, Done Elvire tells Dom Garcie that she will marry him. She loves him and state interests weigh heavily in favour of her marriage to Dom Garcie, whom she had vowed not to marry. Moreover, she has realized that Dom Garcie cannot help feeling jealous.

Non, non, de ce transport le soumis mouvement,/ Prince, jette en mon âme un plus doux sentiment,/ Par lui de mes serments je me sens détachée,/ 1865 Vos plaintes, vos respects, vos douleurs m’ont touchée,/ J’y vois partout briller un excès d’amitié,/ Et votre maladie est digne de pitié./ Je vois, Prince, je vois, qu’on doit quelque indulgence,/ Aux défauts, où du Ciel fait pencher l’influence,/  1870 Et pour tout dire, enfin, jaloux, ou non jaloux/ Mon roi sans me gêner peut me donner à vous.
Done Elvire à Dom Garcie (V. vi)
[No, no, Prince, your submissive attitude brings more tender feelings into my heart; I feel that the oath I took is no longer binding on me; your complaints, your respect, your grief has moved me to compassion; I see an excess of love in all your actions, and your malady deserves to be pitied. Since Heaven is the cause of your faults, some indulgence ought to be allowed to them; in one word, jealous or not jealous, my King will have no compulsion to employ when he gives me to you.]
Done Elvire to Dom Garcie (V. 6)
Ciel! dans l’excès des biens que cet aveu m’octroie,
Rends capable mon cœur de supporter sa joie.
Dom Garcie à Done Elvire  (V. vi)
Heaven! enable me to bear the excess of joy which this confession produces.
Dom Garcia to Elvire (V. 6)

And all leave to enjoy the return of Léon’s true prince and the marriage(s) that take place at the end of a comedy.


  • three episodes
  • jealousy is not a sign a love
  • an anagnorisis or recognition
  • Done Elvire still loves Dom Garcie

So Dom Garcie de Navarre ou le Prince jaloux contains three episodes causing Dom Garcie to be literally sick with jealousy. The first two are letters and the third is finding Done Elvire kissing a person looking like a man. In Dom Garcie de Navarre, fits of jealousy so harm Dom Garcie that we cannot conclude the jealousy is a sign of love. This discussion will be continued.

Sources and Resources

Dom Garcie de Navarre is a publication
Dom Garcie de Navarre is Gutenberg’s [EBook #6740]
Images belong to the BnF.
Bold letters are mine.

[1] Francis Baumal, Molière auteur précieux (Paris: La Renaissance du livre, 1925), pp. 86-87.

Love to everyone and apologies for the length of this post. Bilingual posts are lengthy and preparing them may confuse the writer. 💕

Marin MaraisL’Arabesque
from Tous les matins du monde (film)

don garcie 4

© Micheline Walker
4 December 2019

Belaud (2008 – 2019)


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Belaud in 2009

Belaud (2008 – 2019)

I’m about to work again, but life changed drastically today (29 November). I took my cat Belaud to his vet. Cancer was diagnosed. Dr de Vette (that is his real name) thought the only humane thing to do was euthanasia. Belaud was the French chartreux who was my constant and beloved companion since 2008.

He had stopped eating several days ago, drank smaller and smaller amounts of fresh water, and he wouldn’t eat his treats. The last two nights, he didn’t sleep on the bed. This was unusual because he was always as close to me as possible.

I took him to the vet’s knowing what I would be told, yet hoping I was wrong.


Dom Garcie de Navarre and Les Fâcheux have both been considered Précieux plays and both are a discussion on jealousy. Is jealousy a sign of love or is it destructive? The question was discussed in Salons, one of France’s major cultural and social institutions.  Salons have now closed. In French seventeenth-century salons, questions d’amour were dissected by men and women. Topics discussed in salons changed from century to century and, to some extent, from salon to salon. In earlier posts, we have seen la carte du Tendre, the map of love. It appeared in Clélie, Histoire romaine, a novel by Madeleine de Scudéry.  The Map of Tendre was engraved by François Chauveau. In Dom Garcie de Navarre, jealousy is as we have seen it in Molière’s Amphitryon. The seventeenth-century masterpiece on the subject of jealousy is Madame de La Fayette‘s Princesse de Clèves, published in 1678.


I’m so sorry my little Belaud has left us. He was affectionate, quiet, friendly, and always happy. He had been with me since he was old enough to be adopted and ran my life in a manner that suited us both. Belaud was named after Joachim du Bellay‘s Belaud, also a chartreux.


Swedish lutenist Jonas Nordberg performs the Prélude and Allemande from the Suite in a minor for theorbo by Robert de Visée.

Joachim du Bellay

© Micheline Walker
29 November 2019

Le Bourgeois gentilhomme: “Je languis…”


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My computer doesn’t work. It needs a new keyboard and my connection to Microsoft stopped when two-step verification was installed. My keyboard will be replaced and I will also purchase a new computer. I knew this computer was still alive, but the new computer will be better. I cannot post easily using the on-screen keyboard.

Sources and Resources

gutenberg [eBook #2992]

© Micheline Walker
23 October 2019

However, here is music from Le Bourgeois gentilhomme:

Je languis nuit et jour, et mon mal est extrême,
Depuis qu’à vos rigueurs vos beaux yeux m’ont soumis : 
Si vous traitez ainsi, belle Iris, qui vous aime,
Hélas ! que pourriez-vous faire à vos ennemis ?

[(Singing) I languish night and day, my suffering is extreme/ Since to your control your lovely eyes subjected me;/ If you thus treat, fair Iris, those you love,/ Alas, how would you treat an enemy?]

Act One, Scene One

Le Bourgeois gentilhomme par Ed. Héd.

Le Bourgeois gentilhomme par Edmond Hédouin

The Princesse d’Élide’s Récit de l’Aurore


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Dom Garcie de Navarre ou le Prince jaloux par François Boucher, dessin, et Laurent Cars, gravure

Our next play is Dom Garcie de Navarre. It was not a success, but it is a fine discourse on jealousy.

I must also mention that Molière’s Princesse d’Élide is not entirely rooted in Agustín Moreto‘ El Desdén, con el desdén, (Scorn for Scorn). I forgot to mention that Molière was also influenced by Rabelais′ Gargantua and Pantagruel, the Third of Five Books [eBook #1200]. Panurge wonders whether he should marry. (See Chapter Three of the Third Book of Gargantua and Pantagruel.)

Moreover, before leaving la Princesse d’Élide, a comédie galante, the word galant should be investigated. Although Italy’s Baldassare Castiglione wrote Il Cortegiano, France is the birthplace of both l’honnête homme and le galant homme. As I have noted in an earlier post, sprezzatura is not associated with l’honnête homme because “honnêteté” is not a stance. L’honnête homme had to be virtuous.

I should also note that the term ‘galant,’ overrides disciplines. I know the word ‘galant’ mainly from musicology classes. Johann Sebastian Bach’s son, Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach, was a founder of the galant style in music and, according to the Wikipedia entry on galant music, Johann Christian Bach took it further. Galant music is less complex than Baroque music.

However, the term galant originates in France where the galant homme was a close relative of l’honnête homme. The birth of l’honnête homme can be traced back to Baldassare Castiglione. But l‘honnête homme was not a “dandy.” 


 Quand l’amour à vos yeux offre un choix agréable,
Jeunes beautés laissez-vous enflammer:
Moquez-vous d’affecter cet orgueil indomptable,
Dont on vous dit qu’il est beau de s’armer:
Dans l’âge où l’on est aimable
Rien n’est si beau que d’aimer.

[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.]

Soupirez librement pour un amant fidèle,
Et bravez ceux qui voudraient vous blâmer;
Un cœur tendre est aimable, et le nom de cruelle
N’est pas un nom à se faire estimer:

↵ Dans l’âge 

Dans le temps où l’on est belle,
Rien n’est si beau que d’aimer.

  [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.]


Love to everyone 💕


Panurge by Albrecht Dürer (BnF)

© Micheline Walker
19 October 2019

Lully’s “Dormez, dormez …”


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Les Amants magnifiques, Interlude Lully / Molière

Dormez, dormez,” is part of an “interlude” in Molière-Lully’s Les Amants magnifiques, a comédie-ballet and divertissement royal.
Tirsis, Lycaste and Ménandre sing together while Caliste sleeps.

(Tirsis, Lycaste and Ménandre)
Dormez, dormez, beaux yeux, adorables vainqueurs,
Et goûtez le repos que vous ôtez aux cœurs,
Dormez, dormez, beaux yeux.
[Sleep on, sleep on, fair eyes, lovely conquerors; And taste that peace which you wrest from all hearts; Sleep on, sleep on, fair eyes.]

Silence, petits oiseaux,

Vents, n’agitez nulle chose,
Coulez doucement, ruisseaux,
C’est Caliste qui repose.
Intermède (III. iv, p. 19)
[Now silence keep, ye little birds;/ Ye winds, stir nought around;/ Ye stream, run sweetly on:/ For Caliste is slumbering.]


Sources and Resources

I thought I would separate this interlude from a post on Les Amants magnifiques. Musical interludes are best heard and seen. This segment is a Pastoral. So, the characters are shepherds and shepherdesses.

Jean-Baptiste Lully – “Les Amants magnifiques” (LWV 42), comédie en cinq actes de Molière, mêlée de musique et d’entrées de ballet, créée à Saint-Germain-en-Laye devant le roi le 4 février 1670 dans le cadre du “Divertissement Royal”. Troisième intermède, scène 4 (Tircis, Lycaste et Ménandre)  (YouTube)

Dormez, beaux yeux
Jean-François Lombard, ténor
Jérôme Billy, ténor
Virgile Ancely, basse

© Micheline Walker
17 October 2019



Comments on “La Princesse d’Élide”


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shepherd-and-shepherdess-reposing-1761 (2)

Shepherd and Shepherdess Reposing par François Boucher, 1761 (


My last post did not contain a conclusion, but an earlier post did. I noted two themes to which I will add a third.

  1. love as jealousy.
  2. marriage as enslavement and death.
  3. galanterie.

Molière knew the condition of women and expressed it in a very direct yet discrete manner in his Amants magnifiques and Princesse d’Élide.

The manner in which Molière describes the condition of women does not separate men from women. Iphitas, the princess’ father reassures his daughter. He will not force her to marry a man she does not love. He wants her to marry a man she loves and to be happy. Could one of the three princes he has invited to Élide be the man she loves?

Both the princess and Euryale fall in love the moment they meet, before Act One. However, Euryale tricks her into discovering that she loves him. If he were too direct, he would lose her. The stratagems he uses are feigned indifference and jealousy. That’s marivaudage, but it is not rude; it is refined. When he discovers that she loves him, he tells her how much he loves her and that he is ready to wait, which is not a stratagem, but galanterie, the art of love, and finesse. She must learn that he can be trusted and that he will protect her.

Making love will be consensual and it will not always lead to a pregnancy. Fear of yet another pregnancy can easily end a woman’s wish to engage in sexual intercourse. What is there for a man to gain? And if there is pregnancy, he should be with her. That’s galanterie.

Molière did not write books on galanterie. But the topic has been discussed since Greco-Roman antiquity. Latin poet Catullus (c. 84 – c. 54 BCE) wrote erotic poetry and inspired poet Ovid, the author of an Ars Amatoria, (The Art of Love, pdf) as well as Virgil. We must also mention Petrarch’s Laura. Moreover, who does not know Tristan et Yseult, Arthurian romances, Knights in shining armour, Héloïse and Abélard. Courtly love, troubadours and trouvères, Pierre de Ronsard‘s Sonnets pour Hélène, and its carpe diem, as well as various love poems, sonnets in particular. Sorel’s Loix de la galanterie (1664), Mademoiselle de Scudéry‘s Carte de Tendre, a map of love, and other works.

We now entering Watteau‘s fêtes galantes, galanterie, and marivaudage, refinement cultivated in the salons of the seventeenth century, une préciosité nouvelle.


Love to everyone 💕

Boucher - Bergere

Bergère rêvant par François Boucher

© Micheline Walker
16 October 2019








Molière’s “La Princesse d’Élide”


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la princesse d'Elide2

La Princesse d’Élide par François Boucher, dessin, et Laurent Cars, gravure (Pinterest)

La princesse d'Élide (3)

La Princesse d’Élide par Maurice Sand [1] (

La Princesse d’Élide (The Princess of Elis) was first performed on 8 May 1664 during Louis XIV’s 1664 divertissement royal, known as Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée (The Pleasures of the Enchanted Island). The comedy was one of Louis XIV’s divertissements, gatherings of courtiers and comedians, entertainers, which usually took place at Saint-Germain-en Laye, or another royal castle located outside Paris. Louis XIV was entertaining Mlle de La Vallière, a reluctant mistress, and the Queens, Louis’ mother, Anne of Austria, and his wife, Maria Theresa of Spain. The festivities took place between 7 and 13 May 1664. However, in 1664, the King was also celebrating a relatively early stage in the building of Versailles. The play was later performed at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal, in Paris.

Molière’s play is rooted in a Spanish comedy, El Desdén, con el desdén, (Scorn for Scorn) by Agustín Moreto. Desdén means disdain. La Princesse d’Élide is one of four plays Molière contributed to Louis’ lavish Versailles divertissement, two of which had been produced earlier: Les Fâcheux (The Bores; 1661) and Le Mariage forcé (The Forced Marriage; 29 January 1664). Tartuffe (12 May 1664) and La Princesse d’Élide (8 May 1664) premièred at Versailles’ fête. Tartuffe angered la cabale des dévôts.

Interludes consisting of ballets and music, sometimes performed by courtiers, are inserted between the five acts of the comedy. Moreover the comedy is a component of Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée. It is therefore embedded, in a somewhat loose form of “théâtre dans le théâtre,” a device explored recently by Georges Forestier and, earlier, by Swiss critic Jean Rousset, among others. The “play within the play,” un enchassement, is a frequently-used device which has prompted many fruitful reflections. However, our translator, Mr. Henri van Laun, looks upon the Princess of Elis as a lesser play compared to other plays by Molière. ‟…the genius of the adapter was cramped, and The Princess of Elis is certainly not one of his happiest efforts.” (Henri van Laun, p. 3.)

Molière’s genius was “cramped.” The beginning of La Princesse d’Elide’s Act One was written in verse, but Molière switched to prose before Act Two. He also shortened acts because of pressing engagements. The King needed him. Moreover, at times, the comedy, the interludes, and Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée, the entire festivity, tend to overlap, which makes for coherence as well as confusion. I will simplify matters by suggesting that spectators and readers of La Princesse d’Élide cannot always see the forest for the trees, but that the comedy is nevertheless a bijou, a jewel.

The statistics for the Princesse d’Élide are:

  • Versailles (location)
  • Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée
  • (divertissement royal)
  • five acts and six interludes
  • verse, nearly one act, and prose
  • 8 May 1664
  • Comédie galante
  • Comédie-ballet
  • Jean-Baptiste Lully (composer)
  • fine scenic effects by Carlo Vigarini


La Princesse d'Elide par Ed. Héd. (3)

La Princesse d’Élide par Edmond Hédouin (

La Princesse d'Elide par Lalauze

La Princesse d’Élide par Adophe Lalauze (

Our dramatis personæ is:

AGLANTE, cousine de la Princesse Mlle Du Parc
CYNTHIE, cousine de la Princesse Mlle de Brie
PHILIS, suivante de la Princesse Mlle Béjart
IPHITAS, père de la Princesse Le sieur Hubert
EURYALE , ou le prince d’Ithaque Le sieur de La Grange
ARISTOMÈNE, ou le prince de Messène Le sieur du Croisy
THÉOCLE, ou le prince de Pyle Le sieur Béjart
ARBATE, gouverneur du prince d’Ithaque Le sieur de la Thorillière
MORON, plaisant de la Princesse Le sieur de Molière
UN SUIVANT Le sieur Prévost.

The Comedy

First Interlude (intermède)

Morning, personified as Aurora, dogs, and gentlemen are waking people up because of a hunt. Lyciscas, one Molière’s two roles, does not wish to rise. Molière also plays Moron, a “plaisant,” or court jester, or fool.

We have already discussed the plot of La Princesse d’Élide. As you know, it is outlined before each act in a text called the argument. Was this the way in which Molière wrote his comedies? At any rate, the argument for Act One is that a father, Iphitas, prince d’Élide, has invited three princes to his court, la cour d’Élide, in the hope that his daughter, la princesse d’Élide, will fall in love with one of the princes: Euryale, Théocle, and Aristomène.

Interestingly, the princes and princesses, la princesse dÉlide and her cousins, Aglante and Cynthie, meet before Scene One. The princesse d’Élide and Euryale, prince d’Ithaque, fall in love at first sight. However, Euryale is a “loner” and the Princesse views marriage as debasing and no less than a form of death. To a large extent, the play is a debate between nature and nurture, or nature and culture. Will la princesse d’Élide overcome a view of marriage that precludes marrying, which would, most unusually, defeat nature?

La princesse d’Élide does not have jealous sisters, but she has two fine cousins: Aglante and Cynthie. A mere glimpse at the dramatis personæ reveals that three distinguished princes may each marry one of three lovely young princesses. Not only is it unlikely that the princesse will not fall in love, but la princesse d’Élide and Euryale fall in love before Act One. Moron will be our go-between. He is a bouffon, a king’s fool, but very clever, and he wishes for la princesse to marry Euryale, prince d’Ithaque. It remains to be seen whether she will overcome her view of marriage as crude and the death of a woman. Moron, a role played by Molière, is described as clever.

Ce choix t’étonne un peu;/ Par son titre de fou tu crois le bien connaître:/ Mais sache qu’il [Moron] l’est moins qu’il ne le veut paraître,/  Et que malgré l’emploi qu’il exerce aujourd’hui/ Il a plus de bon sens que tel qui rit de lui:/ La Princesse se plaît à ses bouffonneries,/  Il s’en est fait aimer par cent plaisanteries,/155 Et peut dans cet accès dire et persuader/ Ce que d’autres que lui n’oseraient hasarder(.)
Euryale à Arbate (I. i, p. 10)
[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. The Princess amuses herself with his buffooneries: he has obtained her favour by a hundred jests, and can thus say, and persuade her to, what others dare not hazard.]
Euryale, prince d’Ithaque, to Arbate, his governor (I. 1)

(Euryale prince d’Ithaque & Arbate, his governor)

In Scene One, Euryale, prince d’Ithaque, tells Arbate, his governor, that he has fallen in love with la Princesse d’Élide. Love is a feeling he has always avoided.

Si de l’amour un temps j’ai bravé la puissance,
Hélas! mon cher Arbate, il en prend bien vengeance!
Euryale à Arbate (I. i, p. 7)
[If, for a time, I defied the power of love, alas! my dear Arbates, it takes ample vengeance for it now.]
Euryale to Arbate (I. 1)

Destiny, he says, has brought them together:

Où le Ciel en naissant a destiné nos âmes.
Euryale à Arbate (I. i, p. 7)
[Heaven at our birth destined our souls.]
Euryale to Arbate (I. 1)

Knowing that she scorns marriage, le prince d’Ithaque has not told the princesse that he has fallen in love with her, which surprises Arbate, but le prince d’Ithaque knew she would turn him down. However, Moron has told the princesse that Euryale, le prince d’Ithaque, has fallen in love with her.

Cette chasse où, pour fuir la foule qui l’adore,/ Tu sais qu’elle est allée au lever de l’aurore, Est le temps dont Moron pour déclarer mon feu, a pris …
Euryale (Prince d’Ithaque) à Arbate (I. i, p. 10)
[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 passion.]
Euryale to Arbate (I. 1)

We will learn, later, that the princesse d’Élide also fell in love the moment she saw Euryale. But, given her opinion of marriage, can anyone expect that love would make her change her mind. The suspense Molière creates in La Princesse d’Élide stems largely from our wondering whether love will cause the princesse to change her views on marriage.

(Moron, Arbate, Euriyale)

In Scene Two, Moron, a court jester, un bouffon, a court jester and a close friend of the princesse rushes in fearing he is followed by a boar, un sanglier. Later, the animal pursuing Moron will be a bear. At any rate, Moron tells Euryale that the princess prides herself in refusing to marry.

Le discours de vos feux est un peu délicat, 240Et c’est chez la Princesse une affaire d’Etat;/ Vous savez de quel titre elle se glorifie, / qu’elle a dans la tête une philosophie/ Qui déclare la guerre au conjugal lien,/ Et vous traite l’Amour de déité de rien.
Moron au prince (I. ii, p. 15)
[To talk of your flame is a delicate 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.]
Moron to the prince (I. 2)


In Scene Three, the princesse, Euryale, Arbate and Moron are joined by Aristomène and Théocle, two of the three princes who were invited to visit le prince d’Élide. She was attacked by a boar and the two princes believe they saved her. She is thankful, but she says that she could have saved herself. They cannot understand, so she thanks them and says she will tell her father about their kindness and their love.

Je rends de tout mon cœur grâce à ce grand secours,/305 Et je vais de ce pas au Prince pour lui dire/ Les bontés que pour moi votre amour vous inspire.
La Princesse à tous (I. iii, p.17)
[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 inform him of the kindness with which your love has inspired you for me.]
The Princess to all (I. 3)

Moron would like to help prince Euryale, but an idea has come the prince‘s mind, which  reveals that galanterie will play a great role in this comedy.

Second interlude

A short intermèdeargument follows. It contains two scenes: a praise of Philis and the tale about the bear. Moron is attacked by a bear and rescued by various courtiers.


(La princesse, Aglante, Cynthie)

La Princesse, Aglante, and Cynthie discuss love. Cynthie believes that one cannot live if one does not love.

Est-il rien de plus beau que l’innocente flamme/ Qu’un mérite éclatant allume dans une âme?/ Et serait-ce un bonheur de respirer le jour/ Si d’entre les mortels on bannissait l’amour?/ 365 Non, non tous les plaisirs se goûtent à le suivre,/ Et vivre sans aimer n’est pas proprement vivre.
Cynthie à Aglante et à la Princesse (II. i, p. 22)
[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 without loving is, properly speaking, not to live at all.]
Cynthie to Aglante and the princess (II. 1)

Molière switches to prose. He is obeying the King.

Aglante shares Cynthie’s view:

Pour moi je tiens que cette passion est la plus agréable affaire de la vie, qu’il est nécessaire d’aimer pour vivre heureusement, et que tous les plaisirs sont fades s’il ne s’y mêle un peu d’amour.
Aglante à la Princesse et à Cynthie (II. i, p. 23)
[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.]
Aglante to the Princess and Cynthie (II. 1)


Moron is asked by the princesses to defend love. Moron loves Philis.

The Prince is coming with the princes. The Princesse is afraid.

Ô Ciel! que prétend-il faire en me les amenant? Aurait-il résolu ma perte, et
voudrait-il bien me forcer au choix de quelqu’un d’eux?
La Princesse (II. iii, pp. 24-25)
[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?]
The Princess (II. 3)

(Iphitas, Euryale, Aristomène, Théocle, Cynthia, Philis, Moron)

The princesse is extremely afraid as she hears her father approaching.

Seigneur, je vous demande la licence de prévenir par deux paroles la déclaration des pensées que vous pouvez avoir. Il y a deux vérités, Seigneur, aussi constantes l’une que l’autre, et dont je puis vous assurer également: l’une que vous avez un absolu pouvoir sur moi, et que vous ne sauriez m’ordonner rien où je ne réponde aussitôt par une obéissance aveugle. L’autre que je regarde l’hyménée ainsi que le trépas, et qu’il m’est impossible de forcer cette aversion naturelle: me donner un mari, et me donner la mort c’est une même chose; mais votre volonté va la première, et mon obéissance m’est bien plus chère que ma vie: après cela parlez, Seigneur, prononcez librement ce que vous voulez.
La Princesse à son père (II. iv, p. 25)
[My lord, I beg you to give me leave to prevent,[1] 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 precedence, and my obedience is dearer to me than life. After this, my lord, speak; say freely what you desire.]
The Princess to her father (II. 5)

Third Interlude

An interlude separates ACT TWO from ACT THREE

It features Moron, Philis and a Satyr. It is a praise of love.


In the “argument,” we are told avout races, songs and dances. The Princesse excelled, but the prince of Ithaque did not praise her, which she resents. The Prince of Ithaque tells Moron the following :

… elle en fit de grandes plaintes à la princesse sa parente; elle en parla à Moron, qui fit passer cet insensible pour un brutal: et enfin le voyant arriver lui-même, elle ne put s’empêcher de lui en toucher fort sérieusement quelque chose: il lui répondit ingénument qu’il n’aimait rien, et qu’hors l’amour de sa liberté, et les plaisirs qu’elle trouvait si agréables de la solitude et de la chasse rien ne le touchait.
[… 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 delights.]

(The Princess, Aglante, Cynthie, Philis)

Cynthie notes that the Euryale, who is speaking with the Prince, is very skilled.

(Euryale, Moron, Arbate)

Euryale is smitten:

Ah! Moron, je te l’avoue, j’ai été enchanté, et jamais tant de charmes n’ont frappé tout ensemble mes yeux et mes oreilles. Elle est adorable en tout temps, il est vrai: mais ce moment l’a emporté sur tous les autres, et des grâces nouvelles ont redoublé l’éclat de ses beautés.
Euryale à Moron (III. ii, p. 30)
[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 moment more so than ever. 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 moment more so than ever.]
Euryale to Moron (III. 2)

(La Princesse, Moron)

Moron tells the princess that she will not get anywhere with Euryale. Nothing will touch him. No, he has not praised her. The Princess has seen Moron speaking with the prince d’Ithaque. Believing that they know one another, she asks Moron to tell the prince that she wants to see him.

(La Princesse, Euryale, Moron, Arbate)

He’s a loner, she says to Euryale, prince of Ithaque, prompting him to say that others are loners and that these “others” may be found nearby. She goes on to explain that men and women are different. Women do not want to marry, but they want to be loved. This statement is puzzling because she ignores men. She is at odds with herself.

Il y a grande différence, et ce qui sied bien à un sexe, ne sied pas bien à l’autre. Il est beau qu’une femme soit insensible, et conserve son cœur exempt des flammes de l’amour; mais ce qui est vertu en elle, devient un crime dans un homme. Et comme la beauté est le partage de notre sexe, vous ne sauriez ne nous point aimer, sans nous dérober les hommages qui nous sont dus, et commettre une offense dont nous devons toutes nous ressentir.
La Princesse à Euryale (III. iv, p. 33)
[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.]
The Princess to Euryale (III. 4)

Je ne vois pas, Madame, que celles qui ne veulent point aimer, doivent prendre aucun intérêt à ces sortes d’offenses.
Euryale à la Princesse (III. iv, p. 33)
[I do not see, madam, that those who will not love should take any interest in offences of this kind.]
Euryale to the Princess (III. 4)

Ce n’est pas une raison, Seigneur, et sans vouloir aimer, on est toujours bien aise d’être aimée.
La Princesse à Euryale (III. iv, p. 33)
[That is no reason, my lord; for although we will not love, yet we are always glad to be loved.]
The Princess to Euryale (III. 4)

Non! Madame, rien n’est capable de toucher mon cœur, ma liberté est la seule maîtresse à qui je consacre mes vœux, et quand le Ciel emploierait ses soins à composer une beauté parfaite, quand il assemblerait en elle tous les dons les plus merveilleux, et du corps et de l’âme. Enfin quand il exposerait à mes yeux un miracle d’esprit, d’adresse et de beauté, et que cette personne m’aimerait avec toutes les tendresses imaginables, je vous l’avoue franchement, je ne l’aimerais pas.
Euryale à la Princesse (III. iv, p. 33)
[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.]
Euryale to the Princess (III. 4)

The Princesse then seeks Moron’s help. She wants Euryale to love her, and she thinks Moron can help. Moron tells the princesse that Euryale will never yield.

Si faut-il pourtant tenter toute chose, et éprouver si son âme est entièrement insensible. Allons, je veux lui parler, et suivre une pensée qui vient de me venir.
La princesse à Moron (III. v. 35)
[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.]
La princesse to Moron (III. 5)

Fourth Interlude
A fourth interlude featuring Moron, Tircis and Philis follows Act Three.



In Act Four, Scene One, the princesse wants Euryale to tell her which of the three princes he thinks she would choose. He cannot tell, so she says that the Prince of Messène would be her choice. So, jealousy will now move the action forward. Moron encourages both the Princesse and the Prince to continue using their strategy, i.e. feigned indifference, that will lead to jealousy on her part. The Prince strikes back and says he has chosen Aglante, her cousin as a future bride. The play has reached its apex.

In Scene Two, Moron hears the princesse unveiling her despair. In Scene Three, she goes to Aglante and tells her not to accept the prince d’Ithaque. In Scene Four, Aristomène is delighted to the tell all that the princesse will marry him. Everyone is disoriented.

This is marivaudage, or games lovers play. It can be considered a form of galanterie. Servants would normally play an important role in bringing lovers together. In other words, in La Princesse d’Élide, Molière lets the lovers fare for themselves. Moron watches amused. He wants the Princesse to marry le Prince d’Ithaque, but thinks this confusion will make the lovers yield. We are now on the battlefield of love. The lovers are hunting and there are boars and bears.

The princesse says the prince is an étourdi. But in Scene Five, la princesse reminds Aglante that she must refuse the prince d’Ithaque. But Moron, the clever buffoon, tells the princesse that if the prince d’Ithaque loved her, she would refuse him, like the dog in a manger, yet she does not want him to love another person, Aglante.

Mais, Madame, s’il vous aimait vous n’en voudriez point, et cependant vous ne voulez pas qu’il soit à une autre. C’est faire justement comme le chien du jardinier.
Moron à la princesse (IV. iv, p. 42)
[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.]
Moron to the princess (IV. 5)

In Scene Six, the princesse reflects on her behaviour.

J’ai méprisé tous ceux qui m’ont aimée, et j’aimerais le seul qui me méprise? Non, non, je sais bien que je ne l’aime pas. Il n’y a pas de raison à cela: mais si ce n’est pas de l’amour que ce que je sens maintenant, qu’est-ce donc que ce peut être? et d’où vient ce poison qui me court par toutes les veines, et ne me laisse point en repos avec moi-même? Sors de mon cœur, qui que tu sois, ennemi qui te caches, attaque-moi visiblement, et deviens à mes yeux la plus affreuse bête de tous nos bois, afin que mon dard et mes flèches me puissent défaire de toi.
La Princesse, seule (IV. vi, p. 43)
[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.]
The princesse alone, soliloquy (IV. 7)

Fifth Interlude

In the Fifth interlude Philis says:

Si de tant de tourments il accable les cœurs,/ D’où vient qu’on aime à lui rendre les armes?
[If it fills every heart with so much pain/ Whence comes it that we like to yield to it ?]
Philis to Clymène
Si sa flamme, Philis, est si pleine de charmes,/ Pourquoi nous défend-on d’en goûter les douceurs?
[If, Phillis, its flame is so full of charms/ Why forbid us its pleasures to enjoy?]

Molière has blended a reflection of love and acceptance of its pleasures that overrides the comédie, the interludes and Les Plaisirs de l’Île enchantée. Despite the division into acts and interludes, the Princesse d’Élide offers continuity and coherence.


Prince Iphitas, the Prince of Élide is with the Prince d’Ithaque. The Princesse is hurt (jealous) because she feels he has sought someone else’s love. She says she has been scorned.

Il m’a méprisée.
La Princesse à Iphitas, son père (V. ii, p. 47)
[He has despised me.]
La Princesse to Iphitas, her father (V. 2)

Yet, the princesse wants her father to prevent the prince d’Ithaque from marrying Aglante. Under such circumstances, the princesse’s father cannot deny Aglante a husband. The princesse, his daughter, cannot refuse the prince.

Mais afin d’empêcher qu’il ne puisse être jamais à elle, il faut que tu le prennes pour toi.
Iphitas to his daughter, the princesse (V. ii, p. 48)
But to prevent his ever being hers, you must take him for yourself.
Iphitas to his daughter (V. 2)

The prince d’Ithaque seems to have heard enough. He will speak for himself. Euryale, prince d’Ithaque has asked the prince d’Élide, Iphitas, to marry his daughter. The princesse has not quite recovered from the confusion that was created to elicit the truth. She loves Euryale, the prince d’Ithaque. However, she is not ready to marry.

As for Euryale, the prince d’Ithaque, he is ready to wait. Truth be told, if they married immediately, they would not have befriended one another and could not trust each other. For instance, the princesse is a friend of Moron and trusts him. The Prince d’Ithaque is not expressing an unrealistic endeavour. They may have fallen in love, but  they barely know one another. In this play, galanterie is an imperative. Galanterie may involve feigned scorn, a stratagem than triggers jealousy. When Euryale says he has chosen Aglante, the Princess experiences the pain of unrequited love and calls on Moron to fetch Euryale. He will wait because he must wait.

Je l’attendrai tant qu’il vous plaira, Madame, cet arrêt de ma destinée, et s’il me condamne à la mort, je le suivrai sans murmure.
Euryale à Iphitas et à la princesse (V. ii. p. 48)
[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.]
Euryale to the princess (V. 2)

In Scene Three, Iphitas, le prince d’Élide, tells the two other suitors that he will not marry one of them to his daughter, but they may be happy to marry the princesse’s cousins who look forward to marriage.

In Scene Four

Philis tells everyone that Venus has announced a change of heart in the princesse d’Élide.

Sixth Interlude
a Pastoral


This post is much too long but it is a school for love. The story has been told. Next, we comment.


Sources and Resources

[1] Illustrations by Maurice Sand and Edmond Geffroy may be quite similar.

[2] In seventeenth-century French, prévenir meant to come before. I believe Mr. van Laun may be using an archaic English meaning of “to prevent” which would be “to come before,” rather than “empêcher de” (to prevent)  or “avertir (to tell about or to warn).

Love to everyone

Jean-Baptiste Lully

Boucher - Bergere

Bergère rêvant par François Boucher

© Micheline Walker
14 October 2019