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60 French Pierre Corneille (1606–84) From Le Cid Cast of Characters don fernand, first King of Castile doña urraque, Infanta of Castile don diègue, Father of Don Rodrigue don gomes, Count of Gormas, father of Chimène don rodrigue, in love with Chimène; her beloved don sanche, in love with Chimène don arias, Castilian noble don alonse, Castilian noble chimène, daughter of Don Gomes léonor, the Infanta’s lady in waiting elvire, Chimène’s lady in waiting a page Act II, Scene 3 infanta Chimène, my dear, don’t grieve and suffer so; Don’t let yourself be shattered by this blow. Calm will return soon, after this little squall; A passing cloud has dimmed your bliss, that’s all, And you’ll lose nothing by a brief delay. chimène My heart has lost all hope in its dismay. The sudden storm that shook my calm has made Me certain of our shipwreck, and afraid That we shall founder in the port, indeed. I loved, was loved, our fathers were agreed, And I was giving you that happy word Pierre Corneille 61  Just at the moment when their quarrel occurred.— Which, when the news was brought you, made it plain That all sweet expectations were in vain. Cursèd ambition, lunacy which rules In noblest hearts, and turns men into fools! Honor, which wrests from me my dearest prize, What shall you cost me now in tears and sighs! infanta Their quarrel’s nothing to be troubled by: ’Twas a moment’s flare-up, and as soon will die. It’s made a stir that quickly will be ended. The King already bids the breach be mended; And you well know that I, who feel your grief, Will spare no pains to bring your heart relief. chimène Such things won’t vanish at the King’s behest, A mortal insult cannot be redressed. Neither to force nor reason will men yield; Only in semblance can the wound be healed. The hatred that men’s hearts contrive to hide Grows hotter still for being kept inside. infanta Your sacred tie with Don Rodrigue will be The solvent of your fathers’ enmity, And you will feel your love the stronger for Its power to make them harbor hate no more. chimène I wish for that, yet doubt it can be so. Don Diègue’s too proud; my father’s mind I know. 62 French I can’t hold back these tears of grief I shed. I mourn the past; the future’s full of dread. infanta Is it a frail old man’s revenge you fear? chimène Rodrigue’s courageous. infanta He’s too young, my dear. chimène Brave men, at any age, are always such. infanta You mustn’t fret about Rodrigue too much. He loves you, and he’ll do as you require. A word from you, and he’ll suppress his ire. chimène How crushed I’d be, if he did not obey! And if he obeyed me, what would people say? Would a good son suffer such indignity? Whether he heeded or resisted me, I’d either be ashamed of his compliance Or deeply troubled by his just defiance. infanta Your soul, Chimène, is noble, and in spite Of your own interest, sees with honest sight. But, till the quarrel’s settled, what if I were To make your perfect knight my prisoner, Pierre Corneille 63  And stand between his courage and his foe? Would you be happy if I acted so? chimène Oh, Madam! I would then be free of fear. Act II, Scene 7 don alonse Sire, the Count is dead. Don Diègue has taken vengeance through his son. don fernand I feared this outcome when the wrong was done, And bade the Count make peace then with Don Diègue. don alonse Chimène is coming here in tears to beg For justice, Sire, and clasp your royal knees. don fernand Though in her grief she has my sympathies, What the Count did seems richly to deserve This just chastisement of his pride and nerve. And yet, however just his death may be, I grieve to lose a champion such as he. After the loyal, long career he led, And all the blood that for my throne he shed, Though he was arrogant, his passing yet Weakens my power and fills me with regret. Act III...


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