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Pierre-de-Touche. Viens vite, ma chère Audrey; je vais chercher tes chèvres, Audrey! Eh bien! Audrey! suis-je toujours l'homme qu'il te faut? ma physionomie simple te convient-elle ?

Audrey. Votre physionomic? Dieu vous bénisse! quelle physionomie !

Pierre-de-Touche. Je suis ici, avec toi et tes chèvres, au milieu des fagots, comme le plus capricieux des poëtes, Ovide, était au milieu des Goths. * * * Quand un homme voit que ses vers ne sont pas compris, que son esprit n'est pas secondé par cet enfant précoce qu'on nomme l'intelligence, c'est pour lui un coup plus mortel qu'un gros mémoire pour une maigre chère.—Franchement, je regrette que les dieux ne t'aient


faite poétique. Audrey. Je ne sais pas ce que c'est que poétique. Ce mot veut-il dire honnête en actions et en paroles ? Exprime-t-il la sincérité ?

Pierre-de-Touche. Non, certes; car la poésie ne vit que de fictions, et les amants sont adonnés à la poésie; et ce qu'ils jurent comme poëtes, on peut dire que comme amants ils ne le pensent pas.

Audrey. Et vous regrettez que les dieux ne m'aient pas faite poétique ? Pierre-de-Touche. Oui, vraiment; car tu me jures que tu es honnête :

si tu étais poëte, je pourrais espérer que tu ne dis pas la vérité. Audrey. Voudriez-vous donc que je ne fusse pas honnête ?

Pierre-de-Touche. Certainement, à moins qu'en même temps tu ne fusses laide; car l'honnêteté unie à la beauté, c'est du sucre accommodé avec une sauce au miel.

Audrey. Je ne suis pas jolie: aussi je prie les dieux de me rendre honnête.

Pierre-de-Touche. En vérité, c'est un meurtre de donner de l'honnêteté à une laideron; c'est servir un excellent mets dans un plat malpropre.

Audrey. Je ne suis pas une laideron, quoique je ne sois pas belle, ce dont je remercie le ciel.

Pierre-de-Touche. Que les dieux soient loués pour ton manque de beauté! le reste pourra venir ensuite. Mais, à tout événement, je veux me marier avec toi; dans ce but, j'ai vu messire Olivier Sermon, vicaire du village voisin, qui m'a promis de venir me trouver dans cet endroit de la forêt, et de nous unir.

Audrey. Eh bien ! que les dieux nous accordent bonheur et joie !

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Or not my

O, but dear sir,
Your resolution cannot hold, when 'tis
Oppos’d, as it must be, by the power o' the king.

Thou dearest Perdita,
With these forc'd thoughts, I pr’ythee, darken not
The mirth o' the feast; or I'll be thine, my fair,

father's ; for I cannot be
Mine own, nor anything to any, if

I be not thine. The Winter's Tale gives some pleasing pictures, and powerful contrasts. In some of the scenes, court life, in all its pleasures and deceits, is represented; and, anon, we are suddenly led into the rustic simplicity of the village and the homestead.

The first act presents to us LEONTES, the king of Sicilia, and HERMIONE, his wife, hospitably entertaining POLIXENES, the king of Bohemia. LEONTES suddenly becomes jealous of his guest, who therefore hastily departs from the court, accompanied by Camillo, a Sicilian lord. PAULINA, a lady attendant on HERMIONE, vainly tries to assuage the king's rage, which, however, results in the trial and condemnation of the queen, and, apparently, in her death. The king has induced ANTIGONUS, one of his lords, and husband of PAULINA, to take the youngest child, a daughter of HERMIONE, to a distant shore, and there desert it to its fate. Having landed, ANTIGONUS leaves the child; and, returning to his vessel, loses his life by shipwreck.

The child is picked up by an old shepherd, who takes it to his house, together with some tokens of its high birth, which he carefully keeps by him. He gives the child the name of PERDITA, by which she is known amongst his friends and neighbours. PERDITA charms every one with her grace and beauty, as she grows up; and, by accident, the son of POLIXENES, FLORIZEL, falls in love with her. His father, hearing of this, determines to disguise himself, and so detect his son. Taking with him CAMILLO, who had fled from Sicily to avoid the anger of LEONTES, they visit a village merry-making, in which PERDITA, Mopsa, and others, were to take part. Mopsa is introduced to us as a merry little creature, deeply in love with a clown, the son of the reputed father of PERDITA.

FLORIZEL, being disguised, takes part in the games; but PERDITA, constantly fearing that his father will find him, and sever the ties of their affection, warns him of his imprudence. Her fears are realised; for, in the midst of the feast, POLIXENES and CAMILLO appear in disguise; and after leading FLORIZEL to boldly confess his love for PERDITA, they discover themselves, to the confusion of the lovers.

CAMILLO becomes the friend of FLORIZEL, and advises him to fly with PERDITA to the court of LEONTES, where he is heartily welcomed. POLIXENES determines to follow his son, and sends a messenger, desiring LEONTES to disown FLORIZEL, for having run away with the daughter of a shepherd. But the old man, who had brought PERDITA up, now produces the tokens of her rank, which he had obtained when he found her; and the joy of her father is unbounded, on finding his daugliter restored. Paulina adds still further to their happiness; for, on pretence of showing them a statue of HERMIONE, she produces hier alive. LEONTES thus has restored to him his wife and daughter; and POLIXENES rejoices with them in the marriage of his son to the child of his earliest friend. To show his thankfulness for the honour and fidelity of PAULINA, and to acknowledge the debt of kindness he is under to CAMILLO, LEONTES urges their marriage, and thus compensates her for the loss of ANTIGONUS.

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