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SCENE I.--ERIPHYLE, CLITIDAS.
CLI. Where shall I go? which way shall I turn? Where am I likely to find the Princess Eriphyle? It is no small pleasure to be the first to bring news. Ah! here she is! Madam, I come to tell you that heaven has just now given you the husband it reserved for you.
ERI. Alas! leave me, Clitidas, to my gloomy sorrow.
CLI. Madam, I beg your pardon, I thought I did well to come and tell you that heaven has given you Sostratus for a husband; but, since it is unpleasant to you, I will pocket my news, and go back just as I came.
ERI. Clitidas! I say, Clitidas!
CLI. I leave you, Madam, to your gloomy melancholy.
ERI. Stay, I tell you; come here. What is it you say?
CLI. Nothing, Madam. One is sometimes too hasty in coming to tell great people things they don't care about, and I pray you to excuse me.
ERI. How cruel you are!
CLI. Another time I will take care not to come and interrupt you.
ERI. Keep me no longer in suspense; say what it is you came to tell me.
CLI. An insignificant thing about Sostratus, Madam, which I will tell you another time when you are less engaged.
ERI. Keep me no longer in suspense, and tell me the news.
CLI. You wish to know it, Madam?
ERI. Yes, be quick. What is it about Sostratus?
CLI. A wonderful adventure which nobody expected.
ERI. Tell it me at once.
CLI. Will it not trouble you, Madam, in your gloomy melancholy?
ERI. Ah! Speak, I say.
CLI. I must tell you, then, Madam, that the princess your mother was going almost alone through the forest by those little paths which are so pleasant, when a frightful boar--those ugly boars are always doing mischief, and should be banished from civilised forests--when a hideous boar, I say, driven to bay, I believe, by some huntsmen, came right across the path where we were. I ought, perhaps, to adorn my account with an elaborate description of this said boar; but you must try and do without it, if you please, and be satisfied to know that it was a terribly ugly brute. It was going on its way, and it would have been as well not to disturb it; but the princess wished to show her skill, and with her dart, which, if I may say so, she launched somewhat unseasonably, inflicted a slight wound just above the ear. The ill-bred boar turned impertinently upon us. We were then two or three wretches who became pale with fright; each gained his tree, and the princess was left alone, exposed to the fury of the beast, when Sostratus appeared, just in time, as if the very gods had sent him.
ERI. And so, Clitidas?
CLI. If this account wearies you, Madam, I can put off the remainder for another occasion.
ERI. End it quickly.
CLI. It is, indeed, quickly that I shall end, for a grain of cowardice prevented me from seeing the details of the struggle, and all that I can tell you is that, when we came back to the spot, we found the boar dead and bleeding, and the princess full of joy, and proclaiming Sostratus her deliverer and your husband, according to the words spoken by the gods. When I heard this, I did not stop to hear any more, and I ran in search of you to bring you this piece of news.
ERI. Ah! Clitidas, you could never have given me a more welcome one.
CLI. Oh! here they are coming to find you.
SCENE II.--ARISTIONE, SOSTRATUS, ERIPHYLE, CLITIDAS.
ARI. I perceive, my daughter, that you already know everything which we are coming to tell you. You see that the gods have explained themselves sooner than we expected. The danger I have just run has told us what their will is, and it is easy to see that the choice comes from them, since merit alone shines in the selection they have made. Will it be repugnant to you to recompense with the gift of your heart the one to whom I owe my life, and will you refuse to accept Sostratus for your husband?
ERI. Both from the hands of the gods and from yours, Madam, I could receive no gift that would be disagreeable to me.
SOS. Is not this a glorious dream with which the gods wish to flatter me? Am I not to expect some dreadful awakenings which will plunge me back into all the baseness of my former fortune?
SCENE III.--ARISTIONE, ERIPHYLE, SOSTRATUS, CLEONICE, CLITIDAS.
CLEON. Madam, I am come to tell you that Anaxarchus had till now deceived both the princes, with the hope of favouring the choice upon which their souls were bent; and that, hearing what has taken place, they have both given way to their resentment against him, and things growing worse, he has received several wounds, from which it is impossible to say what may happen. But here they are both coming.
SCENE IV.--ARISTIONE, ERIPHYLE, IPHICRATES, TIMOCLES, SOSTRATUS, CLEONICE, CLITIDAS.
ARI. Princes, you are very quick in avenging yourselves; if Anaxarchus offended you, I was here to do you justice.
IPH. And what justice can you have done us, Madam, when you do so little to our rank in the choice you have made?
ARI. Had you not both agreed to submit to what the order of the gods or my daughter's inclination might decide in this matter? and of what consequence can the interests of a rival be to you?
TIM. Yes, Madam; we were ready to submit to a choice between the Prince Iphicrates and myself, but not to find ourselves both repulsed. It were some consolation to see the choice fall on an equal, but your blindness is something terrible.
ARI. Prince, I have no wish to fall out with one who has had the kindness to praise me so much; and I beg of you, in all sincerity, to base your sorrow upon better foundation. Try and remember, I pray, that Sostratus' merit is known throughout Greece, and that by the rank to which the gods raise him to-day the distance between you and him disappears.
IPH. Yes, we shall remember it, Madam. But, perhaps, you will be pleased also to remember that two insulted princes may be enemies to be feared.
TIM. You may not have long to enjoy the contempt in which you hold us.
ARI. I forgive all these threats for the sake of the sorrow of a love which thinks itself insulted; and we will none the less go and see the Pythian Games in all peace. Let us go at once, and let us crown by the glorious spectacle this wonderful day.
The scene represents a great hall in the form of an amphitheatre, with a grand open arcade at the farther end, above which is a tribune, closed by a curtain, and in the distance is seen an altar prepared for the sacrifice. Six men, dressed as if they were almost naked, each carrying an axe on his shoulder, like executioners of the sacrifice, enter by the portico, to the sound of violins, and are followed by two sacrificers who play, by a priestess, also playing, and by their suite.
BALLET AND DIVERTISSEMENT.
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