The Magnificent Lovers
SCENE I.--ARISTIONE, ERIPHYLE.
ARI. Nothing can be more gallant or better contrived. My daughter, I wished to come
alone here with you, so that we may have a little quiet talk together; and I hope that you
will in nothing hide the truth from me. Have you in your heart no secret inclination which
you are unwilling to reveal to me?
ERI. I, Madam?
ARI. Speak openly, daughter; what I have done for you well deserves that you should be
frank and open with me. To make you the sole object of all my thoughts, to prefer you
above all things, to shut my ears, in the position I am in, to all the propositions that a
hundred princesses might decently listen to in my place--all that ought to tell you that I
am a kind mother, and that I am not likely to receive with severity the confidences your
heart may have to make.
ERI. If I had so badly followed your example as to have allowed an inclination I had
reason to conceal to enter my soul, I should have power enough over myself to impose
silence on such a love, and to do nothing unworthy of your name.
ARI. No, no, daughter; I had rather you laid bare your feelings to me. I have not limited
your choice to the two princes; you may extend it to whomsoever you please; merit
stands so high in my estimation that I think it equal to any rank; and if you tell me frankly
how things are, you will see me subscribe without repugnance to the choice you have
ERI. You are so kind and indulgent towards me that I can never be thankful enough for
it; but I will not put your kindness to the test on such a subject, and all I ask of you is to
allow me not to hurry a marriage about which I am not decided as yet.
ARI. Till now I have left everything to your decision; and the impatience of the princes
your lovers.... But what means this noise? Ah! daughter, what spectacle is this? Some
deity descends; it is the goddess Venus who seems about to speak to us.
SCENE II.--VENUS (in the air, accompanied by four CUPIDS), ARISTIONE,
VEN. (to ARISTIONE). Princess, in you shines a glorious example, which the immortals
mean to recompense; and that you may have a son-in-law both great and happy, they will
guide you in the choice you should make. They announce by my voice the great and
glorious fame which will come to your house by this choice. Therefore, put an end to
your perplexities, and give your daughter to him who shall save your life.