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PRINCESS OF FRANCE.
Princess. Amaz'd, my lord! Why looks your highness sad? Rosaline. Help, hold his brows! he'll swoon! Why look you pale?
Sea-sick, I think, coming from Muscovy.
Biron. Thus pour the stars down plagues for perjury.
Can any face of brass hold longer out?—
Here stand I, lady; dart thy skill at me;
Bruise me with scorn, confound me with a flout;
Thrust thy sharp wit quite through my ignorance;
O! never will I trust to speeches penn'd,
Nor to the motion of a schoolboy's tongue;
Nor never come in visor to my friend;
Nor woo in rhyme like a blind harper's song;
Taffeta phrases, silken terms precise,
Three pil'd hyperboles, spruce affectation,
Figures pedantical; these summer flies
Have blown me full of maggot ostentation:
I do forswear them, and I here protest,
By this white glove, (how white the hand, God knows!) Henceforth my wooing mind shall be express'd
In russet yeas, and honest kersey noes:
And, to begin, wench,—so God help me, la !—
LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST.-Act V. Scene II.
LA PRINCESSE DE FRANCE.
La Princesse. Pourquoi cet air stupéfait, monseigneur? pourquoi vois-je votre front se rembrunir?
Rosaline. Du secours? qu'on le soutienne! il va perdre connaissance. Pourquoi cette pâleur ?-venus de Moscovie, ils ont sans doute encore le mal de mer!
Biron. Voilà les malédictions qui pleuvent sur le parjure! quel front d'airain y résisterait plus longtemps?-Madame, me voilà devant vous; je m'offre en but à vos traits; brisez-moi sous vos mépris; accablez-moi de sarcasmes; que votre esprit perce de part en part mon ignorance; que le tranchant acéré de vos railleries me coupe en morceaux; je vous promets de ne plus vous inviter à danser, de ne plus me présenter à vous en habit russe. Oh! je ne me fierai plus aux harangues apprises par cœur, ni à la mémoire d'un page; je ne visiterai plus mes amis en masque; je ne ferai plus l'amour en vers rivalisant d'élégance avec ceux de la complainte d'un aveugle. Les phrases de taffetas, le style prétentieux et musqué, les hyperboles à triple étage, l'affectation, la recherche, les métaphores pédantesques, m'ont rempli de leur souffle et m'ont gonflé d'une ridicule ostentation; j'y renonce à jamais; et j'en jure par ce gant éclatant de blancheur (Dieu sait combien est plus blanche encore la main qui le porte!) désormais les sentiments de mon cœur seront exprimés par un oui loyal ou par un non tout uni; et pour commencer, jeune beauté, je prends Dieu à témoin que mon amour est pur, sans défaut ni alliage.
PEINES D'AMOUR PERDUES.-Acte V. Scène II.
MIRANDA interests us chiefly, amongst the Heroines, on account of the unaffected simplicity and purity of her character. A prisoner, with her father, in the island to which they were driven when she was but three years old, the dramatist paints her as a woman developed by Nature's hand alone, unblemished by the contagious influence of surrounding examples.
The even tenor of her life, however, is at last broken by a storm, which wrecks a ship on the island in which she dwells. The tempest had been raised by her father PROSPERO, who, by deep study, has become master of the art of magic; and he thereby gets into his power, ALONZO, king of Naples, and ANTONIO, his own brother, who had usurped the dukedom of Milan, once held by PROSPERO. Amongst the followers of the king is his son FERDINAND, who, whilst mourned as lost by ALONZO, is grieving for the supposed death of his father, in another part of the island.
PROSPERO employs ARIEL, his "slave of the air," to direct the footsteps of FERDINAND towards his cell. During his approach, FERDINAND is surprised by seeing MIRANDA; and she, having scarcely seen the form of man but in her father, exclaims, in admiration:
Her father, however, undeceives her, and her own heart soon convinces her that more than a spirit appears. To the joy of PROSPERO, FERDINAND and MIRANDA are speedily wrapt in mutual affection.
To check their haste, PROSPERO treats FERDINAND harshly, and puts him to hard labour. MIRANDA, burning with deep affection, in vain remonstrates with her parent at his seeming cruelty; and, failing to influence him, she tries to alleviate the sorrows of FERDINAND:
"Alas! now, pray you,
Work not so hard; I would the lightning had
Burnt up those logs that you are enjoined to pile !
A pretty love-scene follows, which ends in the interchange of pledges between these youthful lovers.
The object of PROSPERO is thus being accomplished; but, to secure all his intents, ARIEL is employed to watch over and protect ALONZO, and his attendants, in a distant part of the isle. Having arranged a beautiful fairy scene for the entertainment of the two lovers, and to impress them with a sense of his power, he dispatches ARIEL for the king and those with him. Presenting themselves in his cell, PROSPERO discovers himself, and shows them FERDINAND and MIRANDA, who are seen playing at chess together. ALONZO, delighted at again seeing his son, whom he had supposed as dead, readily agrees to his marriage; and, by the aid of ARIEL, who refits the wrecked ship, they all, at last, set out on a prosperous voyage to Naples, where FERDINAND and MIRANDA are to be united.