|In the month of May 1664, Louis XIV. entertained the Queen-mother, Anne of Austria, and his own wife, Maria Theresa, with a brilliant and sumptuous fete at Versailles. It began on the 7th, and lasted a whole week. The duke de Saint-Aignan was commissioned to superintend the arrangements; and the plan he adopted was suggested by the materials which he discovered in the 6th and 7th cantos of Ariosto's epic poem, Orlando Furioso, which describe the sojourn of Rogero in the isle and palace of the enchantress Alcina. The king was Rogero, whilst the princes and courtiers personified the other characters mentioned in the poem. We shall give a description of this fete farther on.
In this fete, the second day was distinguished by the representation of The Princess of Elis; and subsequent days saw the production of The Bores, The Forced Marriage, and the first three acts of Tartuffe. For their services on this occasion, Moliere's troupe received the sum of 4,000 livres.
The Princess of Elis, a comedy-ballet, was intended to represent the struggle between the affections of the male and female sex,—a struggle in which victory often remains with the one who seems the farthest from obtaining it.
Moliere's play formed part of the court entertainment, and was published in 1665.