Dorante is a young law student who has just arrived in Paris, intent upon going to war and finding
- Do you imagine that it would improve
- My chances if I said to her: “Madame.
- My fate is in your hands -- what’s more, I am
- A qualified lawyer -- if you need advice
- It’s yours for free. I’ve mastered all the nice
- Distinctions between Digests Old and New,
- And quite a lot of jurisprudence too.
- My legal prowess is at your disposal.”
- Of course, she’d be enthralled by that proposal!
- These proud, disdainful beauties secretly
- Long for a lover with a law degree!
- Some learned languishing, that’s what they want:
- The Prince of Precedents -- what a gallant!
- Don’t make me laugh, Cliton -- a martial manner
- Is what’s required: just slip in, when you can, a
- Grimace or two, a daring oath, a lie,
- A little jargon, the odd victory,
- A fortress with a funny-sounding name --
- To fascinate and thrill should be your aim.
- Watchtowers and trenches, battle plans, designs,
- Earthworks and counterscarps, angles, and lines --
- Mix it all up and throw it in the pot,
- And though she might be baffled, like as not
- She’ll think you’re a resourceful sort of chap,
- And count your love a feather in her cap.
Corneille, Pierre. Two Plays: The Liar, The Illusion. trans. Ranjit Bolt. Absolute Classics, Bath, England. 1989. p. 20.