from "LíÉTOURDI" - I.1&2from "THE IDIOT" - I
Molièretrans. Ranjit Bolt
LÉLIE (seule)
Hé bien! Léandre, hé bien! il faudra contester:
Nous verrons de nous deux qui pourra l'emporter,
Qui dans nos soins communs pour ce jeune miracle,
Aux voeux de son rival portera plus d'obstacle.
Préparez vos efforts, et vous défendez bien,
Sûr que de mon côté je n'épargnerai rien.

(MASCARILLE vient.)


LÉLIE
Ah! Mascarille.


MASCARILLE
Quoi?


LÉLIE
Voici bien des affaires;
J'ai dans ma passion toutes choses contraires:
Léandre aime Célie, et par un trait fatal,
Malgré mon changement, est encor mon rival.





MASCARILLE
Léandre aime Célie!

LÉLIE
Il l'adore, te dis-je.

MASCARILLE
Tant pis.

LÉLIE
Hé! oui, tant pis, c'est là ce qui m'afflige.
Toutefois j'aurais tort de me désespérer;
Puisque j'ai ton secours, je dois me rassurer:
Je sais que ton esprit, en intrigues fertile,
N'a jamais rien trouvé qui lui fût difficile,
Qu'on te peut appeler le roi des serviteurs,
Et qu'en toute la terre.






MASCARILLE
Hé! trêve de douceurs.
Quand nous faisons besoin, nous autres misérables,
Nous sommes les chéris et les incomparables;
Et dans un autre temps, dès le moindre courroux,
Nous sommes les coquins, qu'il faut rouer de coups.

LÉLIE
Ma foi, tu me fais tort avec cette invective.
Mais enfin discourons de l'aimable captive;
Dis si les plus cruels et plus durs sentiments
Ont rien d'impénétrable à des traits si charmants:
Pour moi, dans ses discours, comme dans son visage,
Je vois pour sa naissance un noble témoignage,
Et je crois que le Ciel dedans un rang si bas
Cache son origine, et ne l'en tire pas.










............
............
LELIE (alone)
Léandre, for one heart we both vie -
You love Célie and so do I -
We're victims of the same allure.
Well, we can't share her, that's for sure
We're going to have fight it out.
Your love, or mine, is up the spout.
And let me warn you, here and now:
I mean to win, I don't care how,
It's do or die, the gloves are off,
And your gloves I suggest you doff.
The die is cast... Ah! Mascarille.

(Enter MASCARILLE.)

MASCARILLE
What's up?

LELIE
A fresh catastrophe:
My amorous plans have gone awry
A second blinking time, and why?
Léandre again! He loves Célie!
No sooner have I changed, than he,
The bloody fool, has followed suit!
It's Hell! My stars have brought me
They seem to have it in for me.

MASCARILLE
Léandre loves Célie? I see!

LELIE
He's hopelessly in love with her.

MASCARILLE
Oh, dear! That is a pity, sir.

LELIE
You can say that abloodygain!
I'm in complete despair. But then
I shouldn't give up hope just yet
With you to aid and to abet,
Devise some ruse, or set some snare,
There must be chances, mustn't there?
It's not the nightmare that it seems.
You're always thinking up new schemes,
Your ingenuity is rare,
As servants go, beyond compare,
You're probably the cleverest one
In the whole country...

MASCARILLE
Steady on!
I hate you flattering me, sir,
It makes me nervous. I prefer
The insults and the threats I get
When you are angry or upset.

LELIE
That isn't fair, as well you know.
I'd rather change the subject, though:
My slave girl, my divine Célie -
She's perfect, wouldn't you agree?
She's made to melt the hardest heart -
I really don't know where to start,
Which of her many marvellous traits
Deserves the first and highest praise:
Not only does she look sublime,
I keep discovering, all the time,
In chance remarks that she lets fall
A wisdom that is not at all
Consistent with her lowly rank.
For that she has bad luck to thank -
Yes, it is Fate that's brought her low
And now perversely keeps her so,
Conceals her birth with servile chains.

............
............

Trans. Copyright © Ranjit Bolt 2001 - publ. Oberon Books


...buy this book
next
index
translator's next