The Magnificent Lovers
ARISTIONE, IPHICRATES, TIMOCLES, ERIPHYLE, ANAXARCHUS,
ARI. We must always repeat the same words. We have always to exclaim: This is
admirable! Wonderful! It is beyond all that has ever been seen.
TIM. You bestow too much praise on these trifles, Madam.
ARI. Such trifles may agreeably engage the thoughts of the most serious people. Indeed,
my daughter, you have cause to be thankful to these princes, and you can never repay all
the trouble they take for you.
ERI. I am deeply grateful for it, Madam.
ARI. And yet you make them languish a long time for what they expect from you. I have
promised not to constrain you; but their love claims from you a declaration that you
should not put off any longer the reward of their attentions. I had asked Sostratus to
sound your heart, but I do not know if he has begun to acquit himself of his commission.
ERI. Yes, Madam, he has. But it seems to me that I cannot put off too long the decision
which is asked of me, and that I could not give it without incurring some blame. I feel
equally thankful for the love, attentions, and homage of these two princes, and I think it a
great injustice to show myself ungrateful either to the one or to the other by the refusal I
must make of one in preference to his rival.
IPH. We should call this, Madam, a very pretty way of refusing us both.
ARI. This scruple, daughter, should not stop you; and those two princes have both long
since agreed to submit to the preference you show.
ERI. Our inclinations easily deceive us, Madam, and disinterested hearts are more able to
make a right choice.
ARI. You know that I have engaged my word to give no opinion upon this matter, and
you cannot make a bad choice when you have to choose between these two princes.
ERI. In order not to do violence either to your promise or to my scruples, Madam, pray
agree to what I shall propose.
ARI. And what is that, my daughter?
ERI. I should like Sostratus to decide for me. You chose him to try to discover the secret
of my heart; suffer me to choose him to end the perplexity I am in.