CLEANTHIS, MERCURY (Mercury turns to go away)
So? Is it thus you quit me?
What would you have? Do you wish me not to do my duty, and
follow in Amphitryon's footsteps?
To separate from me so rudely as this, you villain!
It is a fine subject to make a fuss about! We have still
plenty of time to live together!
But to go in such a churlish manner, without saying a single
kind word to cheer me!
Where the deuce shall I dig up silly compliments? Fifteen
years of married life exhaust nonsense; we said all we had to say to
each other a long time ago.
Look at Amphitryon, you rascal; see how his ardour burns for
Alcmene; and then blush for the little passion that you show your wife.
But, gracious me! Cleanthis, they are still lovers. There
comes a certain age when all this passes away; what suits them well
in these early days would look ridiculous in us, old married people.
It would be it fine sight to see us embracing each other, and saying
Oh! You perfidious wretch, must I give up hope that a heart sighs for me?
No, I should be sorry to say that; but I have too long a beard
to dare to sigh; I should make you die of laughter.
You brute, do you deserve the good fortune of having a virtuous
woman for your wife?
Good Heavens! You are but too virtuous; this fine virtue is
not worth anything to me. Do not be quite so honest a woman, and
don't bother me so much.
What? Do you blame me for being too honest?
A woman's gentleness is what charms me most: your virtue makes
a clatter that never ceases to deafen me.
You care for hearts full of false tenderness, for those women
with the laudable and fine talent of knowing how to smother their
husbands with caresses in order to make them oblivious of the
existence of lovers.
Well! Shall I tell you what I think? An imaginary evil
concerns fools only; my device should be: 'Less honour and more peace.'
Would you, without any repugnance, suffer me openly to love a gallant?
Yes, if I were no longer worried by your tongue, and if it
changed your temper and your goings-on. I prefer a convenient vice,
to a fatiguing virtue. Adieu, Cleanthis, my dear soul; I must follow
Amphitryon. (He goes away.)
CLE Why has not my heart sufficient resolution to punish this
infamous scoundrel? Ah, how it maddens me, now, that I am an honest woman!