Félix Lope de Vega y Carpio, El castigo sin venganza

Punishment Without Revenge





Texto utilizado para esta edición digital:
Traducción inédita de Elizabeth Power, realizada para EMOTHE, 2014.
Adaptación digital para EMOTHE:
  • García Reidy, Alejandro (Dicat)

Elenco

The Duke of Ferrara
Count Federico
Albano
Rutilio
Floro
Lucindo
Marquis Gonzaga
Casandra
Aurora
Lucrecia
Batín
Cintia
Febo
Ricardo

Act I

ACT I

The Duke of Ferrara, at night; Febo and Ricardo, servants

RICARDO
Endecasílabos sueltos (tirada)
That was some mimicry!

FEBO
Indeed it was,
But who’d believe ‘twas the Duke of Ferrara?

DUKE
I am afraid I will be recognised.

RICARDO
Because it is disguise, all is permitted;
5
Even the heavens can conceal themselves
By sometimes resorting to camouflage.
What do you think’s the veil that night conceals?
An ornamented cape that hides the heavens,
And, so as to shed some light, the stars it holds
10
Are silver ornaments; the moon, a cross.

DUKE
How can you say such foolery already?

FEBO
The poet member of the latest sect
Who deem themselves divine has not so thought.

RICARDO
If I employ their licence, don’t blame me,
15
I know of one who called the moon a cheese.

DUKE
Well, do not think it wrong that poetry
Has reached a state so very miserable
That it has become a conjuror now
–Much sleight of hand and little cognizance–
20
Who can spit out many-coloured gay ribbons.
But let us set aside to other ends
These jaded themes: that dame is no eyesore.

RICARDO
Eyesore, you say? She is in truth a seraph.
But there’s an obstacle to overcome.

DUKE
25
What obstacle is that?

RICARDO
A certain spouse
Who accepts favours but will offer none.

FEBO
He fancies to safeguard appearances.

DUKE
Such has e’er been the cruellest pedigree
Of those who dwell in this community.

FEBO
30
May he who accepts garments and bijous
Have pity on the one who purchased them,
For, should his wife’s demise come before his,
Half will be his according to the law.

RICARDO
It’s true that such people lack charity,
35
Speak devilish tongues and garble words at will.

DUKE
These cunning men are cousins of the devil,
Who makes them give consent but stalls their acts.

RICARDO
Here I could knock but there’s a lot to say.

DUKE
How’s that?

RICARDO
A devout bawd with two young girls
40
‘Twixt tender fruit and vines, one pearl, one plate.

DUKE
I never trust their outward appearance.

RICARDO
Nearby there dwells a lady sweet as pie
Fair and dark-skinned.

DUKE
But what about her spirit?

RICARDO
The one who picks her clothes and lives with her
45
Does ruminate, downhearted, visitors.

FEBO
‘Twas always oxen that would chew the cud.

RICARDO
Nearby I’ve seen a woman whose opinion
Would make one think she held a law degree.

DUKE
Let’s go.

RICARDO
She will not open at this hour.

DUKE
50
Won’t she? And if I tell her who I am?

RICARDO
In that case, she’ll be sure to open up.

DUKE
Knock on her door without any more fuss!

RICARDO
She was expecting someone, for out she sped.

Cintia, from above

CINTIA
Who goes there at this hour?

RICARDO
It is but I.

CINTIA
55
Who, may I ask, is “I”?

RICARDO
A friend, Cintia.
Pray open up, the Duke is here with me,
Attracted by the praise I sang of you.

CINTIA
The Duke, you say?

RICARDO
You doubt my word?

CINTIA
I don’t
Doubt that the duke may have come here with you,
60
But the fact that such an important lord
Should come to visit me at this late hour.

RICARDO
He comes disguised to see a great lady.

CINTIA
Ricardo, if but last month you had said
What now you say to me about the Duke
65
You’d have persuaded me he’s at my door.
For all his youth he’s lived unworthily,
And all his immoral licentiousness
Is known to every common man and girl.
And since he has not married, to pursue
70
Still this lecherous way of life of his,
Not minding whether it is a disgrace
To have a bastard heir –though Federico
Is quite a worthy youth– well, I’d believe
The Duke had come to visit me himself.
75
But now he’s acting as a gentleman
And has left his wanton ways to be betrothed,
And sent his son to Mantua for Casandra,
His wife, he cannot still be running wild
While waiting for her to come at any time.
80
And if t’were wantonness in Federico
What would it be then in the Duke’s own case?
And were you faithful, though he gave you grounds,
You would not dare to slur his reputation,
For now the Duke, your lord, is fast asleep;
85
And so I close my window, ‘cause I know
‘Twas an excuse to engage in conversation.
Adieu, farewell, and come again tomorrow.

Exit

DUKE
To what house of repute you have brought me!

RICARDO
I, sir? I’m not to blame.

DUKE
‘Twas a mistake
90
To leave her unrebuked until tomorrow.

FEBO
I’ll knock the door down should you so desire.

DUKE
I heard you say it!

FEBO
It’s Ricardo’s fault.
But if you want to know the current state
Of those who are in power, my lord, whether
95
Feared or beloved, forget the smooth-tongued words
Of your obsequious man, and clothed by night
In simple garments or in a charabanc,
Go forth to know their worth. This stratagem
Was known to work for many an emperor.

DUKE
100
Listeners don’t hear any good of themselves,
And they were, although you speak up for them,
Overparticular philosophers,
Because the common people are not fit
To judge the truth, and it is an error
105
Of ignorant minds to trust the good opinion
Of the fickle and the unreliable,
Whose premises defeat all laws of reason.
A whiner or a discontent will lie
To commoners eager for novelties,
110
Whose lowliness will oft impede the news
From reaching them, and they have no access
To palaces and so can hear no rumours.
I say I have lived wanton and unwed,
Preferring not to be restrained, and thinking
115
Federico, although a bastard, is my heir;
But since I now await Casandra’s coming,
Who hies from Mantua in company of my son,
I shall forget all else for the time being.

FEBO
‘Twill do you well to marry.

RICARDO
If you want
120
Some entertainment, listen at this door.

DUKE
Are they singing?

RICARDO
Can you not tell?

DUKE
But who
Is it lives here?

RICARDO
It is a dramatist.

FEBO
And he’s the best in Italy, what’s more.

DUKE
They do sing well!
And does he write good plays?

RICARDO
125
It all depends on whether you’re foe or friend:
His friends exalt them with their loud applause
His enemies have no good word to say.

FEBO
They cannot all be good.

DUKE
For my wedding,
Febo, prepare the best rooms and comedies;
130
For I would not like you to commission
Anything but the very best of plays.

FEBO
We shall put on those praised by wits and lords.

DUKE
Are they rehearsing?

RICARDO
A lady is speaking.

DUKE
If it is Andrelina, she’s well known.
135
What acting! What passion! And what feeling!
From inside the house
Away, my thoughts! No more, no more memory
That my past glory turns into torment,
And I don’t want to recall this distress,
I want not memory, I seek oblivion,
140
For these are sad reflections of lost joys
Although you claim they mitigate my pain.

DUKE
Nice acting!

FEBO
Yes, it’s very nice indeed!

DUKE
I’d listen to some more but I am tired.
I’m off to bed.

RICARDO
So early? It’s just ten.

DUKE
145
I find it dull.

RICARDO
But she is quite unique!

DUKE
I am afraid she’ll have something to say.

RICARDO
Something to do with you? How could that be?

DUKE
You well know, Ricardo, that comedy’s
A mirror where the foolish and the wise,
150
The young, the strong, the brave and monarchs all,
And governors, maidens, married women too
Are used as an example of life and name,
To show our customs, be they loose or pure,
By mixing fiction with reality,
155
Delightfulness with disillusionment.
May it suffice to say that once I heard
One prima donna speak quite ill of me.
And now you would persuade me to stay on
And hear what this one has to say of me.
160
You should remember that to hear such truths
Is not what every gentleman would choose.

Exeunt
Federico, dressed in his walking clothes, and Batín, a servant

BATÍN
I don’t know what it is you wish to do.
Why do you stop among these trees, Federico,
When you have such important things at hand?

FEDERICO
165
Because I feel so very out of sorts,
I am unable, although I would wish,
To proceed fast and more attentively.
Instead I leave my people in this place
And, prey to many thoughts, I stand right here
170
Under the shelter of these trees, whose crowns,
Adorning them with apparel of green,
Watch o’er the sleeping waves of this river,
So musical and cold and crystal clear.
I wish I could escape from being myself
175
For I am tired of hearing all about
My father’s marriage, when I was quite sure
That I would be his rightful heir one day.
And though I put a brave face on the act,
As is expected, it’s with heavy heart
180
That I am off to Mantua against my will
To bring back my stepmother as I’m bid.

BATÍN
Despite your father’s vicious way of life,
So criticised by all and sundry here,
He did fall victim of a virtuous maid
185
And, to assuage his need, must marry her.
A vassal, as a gift to the French king,
Presented him with an untamed wild horse
Endowed with extraordinary grace.
Swan was its name, in honour of its coat
190
Of snowy white and of its curly mane,
That from the neck that held its dainty head
Fell to the ground. Its nature was so wrought
As though its model was a lovely girl,
But so disdainful in its violence
195
That no horse tamer e’er could harness it.
On seeing such beauty and such wild fury,
The king had placed a lion in a den
And there he put the horse, whose vital spirit
Was so intimidated that its mane stood up
200
Around its head, like a white sphere of spears
Or a porcupine, whose every spine oozed ice,
And the proud steed became so tame and calm
That it allowed a tiny dwarf to put
A saddle on its back, and from that day
205
It never caused a worry to its grooms.

FEDERICO
Batín, I know the best solution for
My shameless father would be a marriage,
But I cannot help feeling very sad
For having harboured these false hopes so long.
210
I know the haughty and the most phlegmatic
Can fall under the spell of a lady,
And that quite soon this lion proud and brave
Will hold within his arms the first-born babe
That with its tenderness and babbling words
215
Shall let it take him by his manly beard.
Not even a rough and ready farmer looks
Upon his crops the way a married man
Will look upon his breed, and thus renounce
His every act of immorality.
220
But what is it to me if my father
Should find a quiet life and leave behind
His life of vice, if his offspring inherit
His worldly goods, while I, a lowly serf,
Must carry in a lion that will destroy me?

BATÍN
225
My lord, all sensible and discreet men,
When subject to evils they can’t avoid,
Will clothe themselves in patience and good will,
Put on a happy face and do their best
To show no sign of envy or revenge.

FEDERICO
230
And shall I have to bear a stepmother?

BATÍN
No more than you have consented till now
All of the Duke’s former conquests. And now
You only will have one: a great lady.

FEDERICO
What is that din of voices that I hear?

BATÍN
235
There are some people at the river ford.

FEDERICO
They’re women. I shall go and see.

BATÍN
Stop there!

FEDERICO
Don’t be a coward, it’s the right thing to do.

Exit

BATÍN
It’s brave indeed to face predicaments.
Come Lucindo, Albano and Floro!

Exeunt

LUCINDO
240
The count is calling.

ALBANO
Where is Federico?

FLORO
I wonder if he’s asking for his horses.

BATÍN
The cries of a lady took him away,
Dim-witted and quite firm of foot indeed
While I follow him close upon his footsteps,
245
Call the others.

Exit

LUCINDO
Where are you going? Wait!

ALBANO
I think it is a sham.

FLORO
And so do I,
Although I certainly can hear the voices
Of people walking down by the river.

LUCINDO
Federico seems ill disposed to obey
250
His new mistress, although he’s going for her.

ALBANO
It’s clear for all to see how sad he feels.

Federico enters with Casandra in his arms

FEDERICO
I trust you’ll give me leave to carry you here.

CASANDRA
I thank you for such courtesy, kind sir.

FEDERICO
And I thank my luck for bringing me here
255
To this recondite and secluded copse.

CASANDRA
And who, my lord, I pray, are these good folk?

FEDERICO
They are the servants who accompany me.
Fear not, fair lady, for they’ll serve you too.

Batín enters with the maid Lucrecia in his arms

BATÍN
Tell me, good woman, how you weigh so much
260
When everybody says you are so light?

LUCRECIA
Kind sir, please tell me where you’re taking me.

BATÍN
At least I’ll get you out of all this mud
The river concentrates upon its banks.
I think it played a trick to overturn
265
Your coach as it passed by, so as to have
Such gorgeous nymphs within its view.
And should it not have been so near dry land
You might have found yourselves in grave danger.

FEDERICO
Milady, so that I may address you
270
With all of the respect that is your due
Please tell me who you are.

CASANDRA
Indeed, my lord,
There is no reason why I should not do so.
I am Casandra, Duchess of Ferrara,
The daughter of the Duke of Mantua.

FEDERICO
275
How can your highness travel quite alone?

CASANDRA
I’m not alone, for such could never be.
Not far from here awaits Marquis Gonzaga,
Whom I implored to leave me on the path
And let me cross the river on my own
280
Under this sweltering afternoon sunshine
For I believed the shore to be protected
By leafy trees, but found it was all wet.
‘Twas not so wet that Fortune chose to drown me
But wet enough to stop the carriage wheels.
285
Pray tell me, lord, who you may be, although
Your presence warrants courtesy and valour,
Not I alone would thank you for this favour,
But the Marquis and my father would also
Be very grateful for you kind rescue.

FEDERICO
290
Once you have given me your sweet hand to kiss,
Your Highness will be told just who I am.

CASANDRA
You kneel? It is too much! It is not fair
That I should let you show such high regard.

FEDERICO
Milady, it is fair and it is right,
295
Because I have to tell you I’m your son.

CASANDRA
In faith I’ve been quite foolish not to know you.
Who else but you would save me from my plight?
Embrace me then.

FEDERICO
I kiss your hand instead.

CASANDRA
It’s not enough.
My arms should pay their debt,
300
Federico, kind sir and son-in-law.

FEDERICO
I thank you in my soul for your kindness.

They speak to each other in low voices and Batín speaks

BATÍN
Since we have had such luck that this lady
Is the person we were to seek in Mantua,
All that I need to know is if I’ll call you
305
Your grace, your excellence or milady
So that I can adjust my words full well
To the honour warranted by your merits.

LUCRECIA
Since I was but a child I am, my friend,
A servant to the Duchess, her lady’s maid.

BATÍN
310
Are you a maid-in-waiting then?

LUCRECIA
I’m not.

BATÍN
You’ll be a would-be maid-in waiting then,
That was about to be but never made it.
Sometimes the nobles have what you tell me:
A kind of wild card, between maids and servants,
315
Who are everything and yet nothing to them.
What is your name?

LUCRECIA
It is Lucrecia.

BATÍN
From Rome?

LUCRECIA
From somewhere much closer than that.

BATÍN
I thank the Lord that I ran into you!
Since I have heard your story, my head’s full
320
Of forced restraint and unjust consequence.
Did you see Tarquin?

LUCRECIA
I?

BATÍN
And if you saw him
What would you do?

LUCRECIA
Well, do you have a wife?

BATÍN
Why do you ask?

LUCRECIA
So I can seek her counsel.

BATÍN
Your words offend me. Do you know who I am?

LUCRECIA
325
And how could I? What are you renowned for?

BATÍN
I can’t believe my fame has not reached Mantua.

LUCRECIA
What are your merits? But you must be like
Those fools who think they’re famous the world over
Though hardly anybody knows their name.

BATÍN
330
May God forbid that such should be my case
Or that I envy virtues not my own.
I said it out of verve and not because
I wish to show off or from arrogance.
The truth is that I wish I were well-known
335
Among wise men of science and the arts;
Because in common ignorance one’s fame
Is just the consequence of foolish acts,
For one reaps what one sows, I do declare.

CASANDRA
You can’t believe how glad I am to meet you.
340
I little heard to equal what I see:
The speech, the manners form the character,
My son and lord, in such a way that shows
In these your deeds what a huge soul you have
That lies within your breast and makes you great.
345
What luck that I got lost on my way here,
For it was thanks to that bad luck I met you.
As in the angry sea after the tempest
You see the beautiful St Elmo’s fire,
So was my error night, the river sea,
350
The carriage ship, I pilot, you my star.
As from today your mother I shall be,
My lord Count Federico, and I beg
That you will honour me as such today.
I am so happy with you, and my soul
355
Salutes you as a very fond loved one
And I’m content to have you for my son
More than for being Duchess of Ferrara.

FEDERICO
To see you, lovely lady, is enough
To fill my heart with reverence for you;
360
I trust your kindness will not hinder me
From corresponding to your graciousness.
Today the Duke, my lord, cuts me in two,
For my first body has been born again
So that my soul could occupy its place.
365
For these two births, milady, you’re to blame,
I would be born of you to gain my soul;
Which, though a gift from God, before you came
I knew not where it was; you’ve fashioned me
Anew, who hereto lived without a soul.
370
From this you can deduce, that as I wish
To be the child you carry, I’ll be the son
The Duke expects that you will give birth to.
And it is no chimera that I wish
To be born as a grown man, and my excuse
375
Is that the eye of heaven that’s the sun
Is six thousand years old, and born each day.

Marquis Gonzaga, Rutilio & servants

RUTILIO
And this is where I left them, sir.

MARQUIS
It would
Have been a great misfortune if this man,
This cavalier, had not come to her aid.

RUTILIO
380
He sent me off for snow, for his intent
Was to cool the bright water, and to bathe
Her pure white feet in its precious pearl drops;
And thus I was unable to rescue her
So the Duchess emerged within his arms;
385
But when I saw them safe on the river bank
I ran to call you.

MARQUIS
I see the carriage there
Between the water and the silvery sand.

RUTILIO
Those willow trees impeded seeing her.
But there she is among the gentleman’s crew.

CASANDRA
390
Here come my people!

MARQUIS
Milady!

CASANDRA
Marquis!

MARQUIS
Your Highness had us all in quite a state
Until this moment. Thank God you are safe.

CASANDRA
For that you must thank this gentleman too:
His kindly arms rescued me from the fall.

MARQUIS
395
Dear Count, who else could be the one to favour
Her who is about to be your mother?

FEDERICO
Good Marquis, I would I were a Jupiter
That I might become that imperial eagle,
Although my feathers were scorched by such sun;
400
Like Phaeton I would have sealed my fate
With the Toison clutched in my golden claws,
And in my arms I would have borne the treasure
Into the arms of her enamoured Duke.

MARQUIS
The heavens, Lord, dispose these deeds you see
405
So that Casandra’ll be indebted to you
For such courage; and from this moment on
The affection ‘twixt the mother and the son
Will be renowned all over Italy:
For two such enemies can show their truce
410
And even be like two peas in a pod.

The two go on speaking and Casandra and Lucrecia speak in an aside

CASANDRA
While these two go on talking, tell me please,
Lucrecia, what you think of Federico.

LUCRECIA
Milady, if you give me your permission,
I shall be glad to give you my opinion.

CASANDRA
415
Although I fear what I’m about to hear,
I give you my permission.

LUCRECIA
Well I say…

CASANDRA
So say it.

LUCRECIA
Your luck would be much greater
If the tables were turned.

CASANDRA
You’re right, Lucrecia,
And yet the die is cast; and even if
420
With some pretext I should go back to Mantua,
I’m sure my father would order me killed,
And my folly would be news in all Italy
Besides the fact I could not wed Federico.
And so it is not right that I return
425
To Mantua, but must go to Ferrara,
Wherein I am awaited by the Duke,
Whose wanton ways and lecherous customs
Come to my ears in detail without fail.

MARQUIS
Well! Round up our people and let’s be off
430
Let’s leave this dangerous and barbaric spot.
Go on ahead to Ferrara, Rutilio,
And tell the Duke all about the event,
In case the happy news does not precede us
For mishaps travel faster than good news.
435
Let’s go, milady. Prepare the Count’s horse!

FLORO
May the grooms get the Count’s horse ready!

CASANDRA
Your excellence should travel in my carriage.

FEDERICO
Whatever Your Highness ordains I’ll do.

The Marquis leads Casandra out by the hand and Federico and Batín remain

BATÍN
The Duchess is pretty!

FEDERICO
You think so, Batín?

BATÍN
440
I think she is a lily asking dawn
With the four candid tongues that are her petals
To give her pearls of dew to slake her thirst.
I’ve never seen so fair a gentlewoman.
By God, my lord, if this were but the moment
445
To tell you…
But they’re mounting the carriage.

FEDERICO
Say nothing, for your quick intelligence
Has seen my soul’s desire and flatters me.

BATÍN
Is not this fresh young bud, this orange blossom,
This bunch of flowers, this amber sugar icing,
450
This Venus, this Helen of Troy, the best for you?
I curse all worldly laws that ban her from you!

FEDERICO
Let’s go, don’t give them reason to suspect.
I’m not the first stepson to fall in love
With such a beautiful stepmother.

BATÍN
455
But all you need is patience then, my lord,
For after a stormy exchange or two
You may well find her anything but fair.

Exeunt
Enter the Duke of Ferrara and Aurora, his niece

DUKE
Federico will meet her on her way
If he departed when they say he did.

AURORA
460
He was quite wrong to go because he should
Have waited to accompany Your Grace.

DUKE
I fear some sadness may’ve delayed his parting
For Federico was convinced he’d be
My only heir; ‘twas natural he’d think so
465
Because I really do love Federico
And my consent to marry was betrayal.
It was my vassals who persuaded me
To treat him this inconsiderately,
Although they said they liked him as their lord
470
Was it because they knew the love I felt
For him or they felt that same love themselves?
They say those others with a right to claim
To be my legal heirs will litigate
Or might decide to take up arms against us
475
And if they can’t be otherwise contented
Will lay waste to these lands, for vassals pay
The highest price for wars in every case.
For that reason I gave them my compliance
To wed. I felt unable to refuse.

AURORA
480
My lord, you are forgiven; t’was Fortune’s way,
But the sad melancholy of the Count
Will be alleviated so his trust
May be relieved by patience and endurance;
Although I’ll give you one word of advice
485
In this confusion, in part to assuage
His disappointment and show him your love.
Forgive my boldness, but I shall proceed
To give you my opinion, for I know
Your fondness for me will allow me to.
490
I am, dear Duke, your niece, the daughter of
Your brother, whom inexorable death
Reaped at an early age, but twenty-five
As almond blossom is oft crushed by wind.
You reared me in your house, for very soon,
495
My mother too I lost; and I had only you
As my dear father, who did guide me through
The terrible blind maze of my misfortune.
You gave me Federico as a brother,
My cousin, whose honest trust and sweet nature
500
During my education, I returned
With equal honest fondness and respect.
We loved each other throughout all those years
And lived what was a single life together.
One law, one love, one will, one faith direct us,
505
Which in wedlock will last forever more,
When I am Federico’s and he mine.
Not even death will dare to cut those ties.
Since my beloved father left this world
My patrimony has greatly increased;
510
There is no marriage in all Italy
To bring such affluence and prominence;
And I, as a grandee, don’t look to Spain
Nor do I need to set a pike in Flanders.
If you will wed him to me, do not fear
515
That he will worry should you have an heir.
Although Casandra bears a child, I’ll be
The guarantor and safeguard of his wealth.
I trust my words will bring you solace now
And you will find but comfort in this way.

DUKE
520
Come to my arms, Aurora, for you bring
Great light to me; in honour of your name
You brighten up the sky with your splendour
And sweep away my worries and disquiet.
Today you offer me a way, and your advice
525
I see as solving all my doubts and worries.
You save my life and honour in this way
And so, if he returns your honest love
In kind, of course I’ll wed you to the Count;
I think you’re right to offer him your hand
530
And I am sure your virtue deserves more.
And so if you are both agreed to it
We’ll celebrate our marriages together.
As soon as the Count comes to Ferrara
We’ll have a day of happy celebration.

AURORA
535
I am your daughter and your slave; rest easy
For I shall do your bidding every time.

Enter Batín

BATÍN
My lord, the law would have you give out bounties
To him who brings good news; either to me
Or to the wind, which spreads such good tidings.
540
I know not which of us arrived the sooner
I on the wind or it upon my heels.
The Duchess, my lady, is safe and sound;
And if it got about that the wild river
With foolish daring overturned her coach,
545
The whole event amounted to a scare
Because the Count was there to succour her
And take her from the water in his arms,
Putting an end to that common belief
That stepmothers and stepsons never agree
550
But always hate each other from the start.
They looked so happy after the mishap
They seemed much more like real mother and son.

DUKE
I thank you, friend Batín, for this good news,
Which is not only good but a surprise.
555
God willing, Federico and Casandra
Will get on well and understand each other.
Well then, they’ve met, and it was at a time
When he could be of service to my bride.

BATÍN
I swear, my lord, they both were satisfied.

AURORA
560
I want you to bring news to me as well.

BATÍN
The heavens have given you a name, Aurora,
That merits telling you all kinds of ready wit.
What is it that you wish to ask me then?

AURORA
I really want to know if it is true
565
Casandra is so very beautiful.

BATÍN
That wish to know befits much more the Duke
Than milady, but I think you’re both aware
I’ll say no more, for they are almost here.

DUKE
Batín, please put this chain around your neck.

Enter among a great crowd Rutilio, Floro, Albano, Lucindo, Marquis Gonzaga, Federico, Casandra and Lucrecia

FEDERICO
570
You are to stay, milady, in some chambers
Here, in this orchard. Meanwhile Ferrara
Is being decked out by the Duke to greet you,
Far less than you deserve, but even so
More grandly than all Italy has known.

CASANDRA
575
Well, Federico, this silence made me sad.

FEDERICO
It is because your coming’s unprepared.

FLORO
But here’s the Duke with Aurora to greet you.

DUKE
May heaven guard you, my fair Casandra,
The lady to whom I offer up these states,
580
That you may long enjoy and honour them.

CASANDRA
I have come here to be Your Grace’s slave,
Which only brings more honour to my name.
My father, honour, motherland and glory
I trust will have such merits as to be
585
Worthy of your illustrious lineage.

DUKE
Come to my arms, dear Marquis, on this day
For it’s to you I owe this precious token.

MARQUIS
In her name I’ll accept, and for the part
I’ve played in setting up this union;
590
Until the marriage has been consummated
I’ll have to hold you to your promises.

AURORA
I’m Aurora; so glad to meet Casandra.

CASANDRA
Among the pleasures I expect to gain
From this my happy fate, I hope that one
595
Of them will be sweet Aurora’s friendship.

AURORA
I’ll be so pleased to serve you and to love you
That’s all I’m able to respond to you.
Oh, Casandra, how lucky is Ferrara
To have you as a jewel in its crown!

CASANDRA
600
I am so well received from the beginning
That all bodes well for my good fortune here.

DUKE
Sit down so that my family and serfs
May get to know you.

CASANDRA
I shall not reply;
Your every wish is an order for me.

The Duke, Casandra, the Marquis and Aurora sit under a canopy

CASANDRA
605
The Count will not be seated?

FEDERICO
No, indeed,
For I shall be the first to kiss your hand.

CASANDRA
Forgive me, I can’t bear such servitude.

FEDERICO
It is an insult to my love; if not,
It would go against my obedience.

CASANDRA
610
Not that.

FEDERICO
(I can’t stop trembling here!)

CASANDRA
Please stop.

FEDERICO
Don’t tell me so. Three times I kiss your hand,
Milady; one for you, with which I pledge
I will be yours as long as I’m alive;
The second for the Duke, my lord, to whom
615
I owe obedience; and the third for me,
Because, not having any obligation,
It is my wish, milady, to assure you
That true obedience is that which comes
Straight from the soul without all influence.

CASANDRA
620
My arms will gladly take the form of chains
To hang around such an obedient neck.

DUKE
Federico is indeed intelligent.

MARQUIS
Your fame precedes you, beautiful Aurora,
For some time I’ve yearned to set eyes on you,
625
And luck would have it that you stand by me
So I can tell you in my own true words
That you’re so fair I long to wait on you.

AURORA
Kind Marquis, I thank you for your esteem.
I was familiar with you for your deeds,
630
But did not know you were a gallant man,
Although it’s fitting that a brave soldier
Be gallant, brave and chivalrous besides.

MARQUIS
Well, since you honour me with your favour
From this day on I do appoint myself
635
Your servant, and I promise to sustain
Before all those who’ve come to Ferrara
For these tournaments that I am the one
Defending the most beautiful of all.

DUKE
It’s fitting that you rest yourself a while.
640
I think it foolish that you waste your time
And twice as foolish that I waste the time
That I can spend with you and disregard
My luck at having time for one I love.

Exit all with great courtesy and Federico and Batín remain

FEDERICO
What foolish thoughts!

BATÍN
Why foolish? What is wrong?

FEDERICO
645
They are right when they say that life’s a dream
For all’s a dream; and not only in sleep
But in his waking hours a man imagines
That it’s impossible to understand
The frenzy of a very feverish man.

BATÍN
650
You are quite right: I often find myself
Among a crowd of gentlemen and then
I get a sudden urge to slap one’s face
Or bite one on the nape of his fat neck.
If I’m on someone’s balcony I fear
655
That I am going to fall and break my neck.
If I’m in church attending to the sermon
I fear I’ll tell the priest it’s plagiary.
I feel the need to laugh at funerals
And if two fellows there are having fun
660
I’ll often throw a candlestick at them.
If they sing I feel inclined to sing as well,
And if I catch sight of some fair lady,
In my wild fancy, I will oft attempt
To take her by the hair, and I will blush
665
As though I had really done all these things.

FEDERICO
Good God! I can’t believe what you are saying.
What wild ideas or daydreams come to you!
“I fancy this, dream that, think otherwise,
Promise one thing, say that, invent another!”
670
This madness you must not commit again!

BATÍN
Well, don’t you keep your things secret from me?

FEDERICO
I’ve done nothing so nothing do I hide;
Imaginings are spirits of the body.
What has not been nor is to be are things
675
So false that why should I hide them from you?

BATÍN
And if I tell you mine, will you refuse me?

FEDERICO
Before you can imagine it there’ll be
Flowers in the sky and in the garden, stars.

BATÍN
I’m right to say you fancy your stepmother
680
And that is why you say these things to me.

FEDERICO
Don’t say it! It’s true but I’m not to blame
If my imagination runs its course.

BATÍN
Your flights of fancy are a true reflection
As in a mirror of immortality.

FEDERICO
685
How lucky is the Duke!

BATÍN
Indeed he is.

FEDERICO
What’s out of bounds for me I envy him.

BATÍN
And well you might, if you could presuppose
That Casandra was really meant for you.

FEDERICO
Thus I can die from my impossible love
690
And suffer from my possible jealousy.


Act II

ACT II

Casandra and Lucrecia

LUCRECIA
Your Highness has made me feel quite amazed.

CASANDRA
No highnesses are sad, and less the lowly.
But I would rather be a commoner
Who wakes up next a farmer every day
695
And not a lord in fine accoutrements.
I wish to God I had been born a peasant
So I might find someone who’d cherish me
For my own merits and return my love.
In that low background as in royalty
700
One savours pleasures that are just as great
As those enjoyed by those of lofty birth
If love’s effects each night are tantamount.
The sun does not shine on a married pair
Through stained-glass windows at first light of dawn
705
Embraced with greater love, nor more refreshed
Because they lie at rest in marble halls.
But the sun’s rays perhaps peeped in at dawn
Through broken or cracked walls to shine upon
Two bodies that together formed one soul.
710
How lucky she who does not feel disdain
But rises happily beside her man;
And in the first fountain she comes upon
Looks at her image and with both her hands
Washes her face instead of drying tears
715
Because her husband is a faithless man
However much a duke he claims to be.
Only one night I held him in my arms
In a whole month; I saw him many more
But he had no desire to come to me.
720
Well how can I complain about my lot
When I well knew before of his repute?
And he would not consent to change his ways
Although he went to live in other lands.
A man who arrives home at break of day
725
Having done anything that gives him pleasure
Is taken for a man who lives quite free;
Who is entitled then to clip his wings?
But treating his good wife with such disdain,
Forgetting all about his marriage vows,
730
Either he makes a point of tempting fate
Or he is nothing but an imbecile.
The Duke must be of the opinion then
That, after tying tight the wedding knot,
The wife must be kept like a jewel at home
735
To decorate and beautify the house
As though she were a table or a chair.
But this is something that I don’t condone
For if the husband is exemplary
The wife will always be his loyal slave.
740
A woman who behaves with rectitude
Wants to be deemed a housewife in her home
And not just an old piece of furniture.
Suffice it for him not to be beholden
Without the need to show discourtesy,
745
And he should give no reason for complaint
Rather than later offer remedy.

LUCRECIA
Your speech has made me pity you indeed
For I can see you have just cause for woe.
Who would have thought that after wedding you
750
The Duke would be so vicious, or that he
Would show you no respect or gallantry?
If we were speaking of a paramour,
You could perhaps provoke his jealousy
To stimulate again his interest in you:
755
You might show interest in another man
To try to win him over once again.
But who needs to win over her own spouse?
Have you written to your father of your ills?

CASANDRA
No, Lucrecia, no other knows my plight.

LUCRECIA
760
According to nature and reason both,
It would be better if you’d wooed the Count
So, wed to you, the Duke might have no doubt
That his grandson would be his rightful heir.
The melancholy suffered by the Count
765
Is more than justified, I fear, milady.

CASANDRA
It is not his envy for me, Lucrecia,
For I shall not be giving him siblings;
So Federico can calmly rest assured
That I am not the reason for his ills:
770
It is indeed misfortune for us both.

The Duke, Federico and Batín

DUKE
If I had known that it would make you sad, Count,
I’d never have decided to be wed.

FEDERICO
My lord, it was quite foolish on my part
To feel upset because of your union.
775
I have no doubt at all that you love me.
You’re wise enough to know that if your marriage
Upset me, I’d be sure to cover up.
You can see I am suffering from ill health,
But you can’t see what has brought it about.

DUKE
780
Our physicians in Mantua and Ferrara
Agree that marriage is the remedy
For those affected by melancholy.

FEDERICO
It was considered remedy for maidens
But not for gentlemen of my esteem.

CASANDRA
785
(The Duke has barely looked at me today.
What lack of courtesy and etiquette!

LUCRECIA
You cannot blame him if he hasn’t seen you.

CASANDRA
Pretending not to see me is despotic.
Come on, Lucrecia, one day he’ll be sorry
790
For having treated me with such disdain.)

Exeunt Casandra and Lucrecia

DUKE
Although I realise I am mistaken
Regarding the reason for your poor health,
I still believe that the ideal solution
Is that you marry the one I propose.

FEDERICO
795
Do you by any chance mean Aurora?

DUKE
You’ve taken the words right out of my mouth,
As though you had the very same intention.
I’ve spoken to the assembly of sages,
And they agree it would relieve your woe.

FEDERICO
800
Indeed they know but little of my heart!
They vainly do believe I feel dejected
But think I am offended for no cause.
They know I never disapproved your marriage,
But wanted it for your deliverance.

DUKE
805
So I believe and always have believed it,
And pay for that obedience, Federico,
By feeling self-reproach for having wed.

FEDERICO
My lord, so that you will not think me angered
For something that’s so easy to explain,
810
To pay you for the love that you profess me
I need to know my cousin’s sentiments;
And gladly I shall then obey your order
For otherwise it would be quite unfair.

DUKE
I heard in her own words that she’d be willing.

FEDERICO
815
I know for certain there’s a novelty:
And it is that the Marquis of Ferrara
Has stayed on in this place to pay her court.

DUKE
But what is that to you, my Federico?

FEDERICO
One who is due to wed his heart’s desire
820
After another man has paid her court,
Can be adjudged to write a palimpsest.

DUKE
If men are willing to believe a rumour
And lock up womenfolk in castles
Only to shelter them from spying eyes;
825
The purest looking glass will become tarnished
With your breath if you wish to see yourself,
What does it matter if you look with care?
For then it can be cleaned and made like new
As faultless as it was before you looked.

FEDERICO
830
Your words and wit indeed encourage me.
My Lord, when sparkling rays fly forth
From someone’s forge and the blacksmith attempts
To extinguish the flames that are so caused,
He’ll sprinkle water on the raging fire;
835
The flames will rise again rebelliously
And the blaze will soon devour the damp surrounds.
And thus a spouse who’s not at all aware
Of the existence of a previous lover
May fan the flames and stimulate desire
840
But only manage to revive the fire.
And so I must be wary of a lover
For I have no desire to be the water
That burns my honour and befouls my name.

DUKE
I find you very dull and disrespectful,
845
Dear Count. You speak about Aurora in a way
That smacks of rudeness and indecency.

FEDERICO
Pray, stay!

DUKE
What for?

Exit

FEDERICO
Please wait, my lord, I pray.

BATÍN
How cleverly you have gained the Duke’s favour!

FEDERICO
I expect nothing but his enmity
850
Because I want to be quite miserable;
My desperation has reached such a peak,
That nought can save me but my timely death.
And should I die, I’d nothing loath come back
To die a thousand times each new life gained.
855
I feel so bad that I don’t dare to live
Or die, because I’d see that coming back
To life was only just to die once more.
And if I’m not inclined to kill myself
It is because I am so sick at heart
860
That death means less than life can mean to me.

BATÍN
According to your words, my dearest Count,
You neither want to live nor yet to die;
For you are rather a hermaphrodite
Not knowing whether to choose life or death:
865
Just as a hermaphrodite is a blend
Of two sexes; you’re one of life and death.
But, God Almighty knows that your despair
Obliges me to ask you why you’re sad
Or give me leave to go away and moan
870
Because I am condemned for being loyal.
Please give me your hand so I may kiss it.

FEDERICO
Batín, if I could tell you what is wrong,
I might be able to put an end to it;
But my unhappiness is not cerebral,
875
And only has relation with my sense.
When I attempt to talk to comfort me
I’m given pause each time I realise
From tongue to soul there’s such a great distance.
Be off, if you so wish, and leave me here
880
For there is no sign of relief for me.

Enter Casandra and Aurora

CASANDRA
What is the reason for your tears, my dear?

AURORA
Your Grace, do you not think it cause enough
That I am spurned and ignored by the Count?
He says I am in love with the Marquis,
885
That I’m in love with Carlos Gonzaga.
Me? How? But no, I know what it’s about:
He wants to go to Spain in his disgust
At seeing his father’s marriage to Casandra.
Before I was the apple of his eye
890
But now his eye shows nothing but dislike.
What new auroras brought with them the day
When the Count stopped inquiring for Aurora?
In what garden or at what fresh fountain
Did he not speak to me of his desire?
895
Were not my lips and brow bright flowers to him?
When did he start to move away from me?
What instant did he feel alive without me?
How could he live should I not hearten him?
Living day after day makes love stronger
900
Between two souls that love has made as one.
This has been going on since we were young,
This love he now has killed with his betrayals.
So strong was his desire for his lost legacy!

CASANDRA
I’m sorry I’m to blame for this, Aurora,
905
But try to harness your disquietude
While I talk to him; although I must say
It is not easy to assuage jealousy.

AURORA
Jealousy?

CASANDRA
With the Marquis, so says the Duke.

AURORA
Your Grace, you must believe that melancholy
910
Is neither caused by love nor jealousy.

Exit Aurora

CASANDRA
Federico!

FEDERICO
It is I, milady,
Give me your hand so that your slave may kiss it.

CASANDRA
Down on your knees? Dear Count, don’t bow so low
For I indeed shall call you Excellency.

FEDERICO
915
Thus you would mortify my love for you;
I will not rise till you give me your hand.

CASANDRA
Here are my arms. What’s wrong with you today?
Whatever is it that you’ve seen in me?
You’re trembling! Do you know how I love you?

FEDERICO
920
My soul informed my heart, and then my heart
Informed my face, which caused the blush you see.

CASANDRA
Will you leave us alone a while, Batín?
I’d like to have a few words with the Count.

BATÍN
(The Count is addled and I wonder why
925
Casandra wishes to hold forth with him alone!)

Exit

FEDERICO
(Oh, Heavens! As I die like a phoenix,
Put out the flames at once or I shall have
To suffer another life just like this one.)

CASANDRA
Federico, although I know the words
930
Aurora said about your fervent care,
After the arrival in Ferrara of
Marquis Carlos, the reason you’ll not wed,
I can hardly believe you make so little
Of your merits, which are, as wise men say,
935
Mistrust and envy; he is more soldierly,
Although the Marquis is gallant indeed,
Than a chivalrous courtier. It so happens
That I believe your sadness and reserve,
The consequence of the Duke’s marrying me,
940
Taking away from you your every right,
As soon as I give birth, to his estate,
Makes me the cause of all your misfortune.
Right here and now I’ll set your mind at rest,
For you can rest assured you’ll have no siblings
945
Because the Duke has only married me
To make his subjects happy; his libido
—I cannot call it by another name—
One single night did bring him to my bed
—Which satisfied his needs for many years—
950
And our bodies came together in love.
And now he has returned to past delights
With more frenzy than ever after me.
As a runaway horse avoids drumbeat,
Because I want to use a tasteful term,
955
And leaves bits of his trappings all around:
Thus pieces of his bit become scattered
Spreading around him drops of foamy spittle,
Here are the reins and there the snaffle strap,
Here the crownpiece and there the snaffle bit;
960
So goes the Duke, his marriage vows infringed,
With common whores spreading his seed about.
There go his fame, trophies, triumphal arches,
His titles and ancestors’ reputation.
There go valour, good health and time wasted
965
Turning nights into days with foul lechery.
So it is clear that you can rest assured
That you will still inherit his estate,
Or I shall write a letter to my father
Saying that more than spouse he is a tyrant
970
And he will come and free me from this cell
That is his palace, if death does not come
And put an end to all these outrages.

FEDERICO
Your Grace did start off by berating me
But then you finished off your speech in tears
975
And causing even a heart of stone great grief.
What’s this? No doubt you see me as the son
Of him who has given you so much pain;
But I will have you know I’m not his son
As far as his behaviour is concerned.
980
If you believe the words that I have spoken
I am surprised you still think my anguish
Is caused by such unworthy lucubrations.
Does Federico need wealth to be himself?
Will not my cousin, if I marry her,
985
Also provide me with a rich estate?
Or if I should decide to take my sword
Against some prince and oust him from our land
Would I not gain the spoils I take from him?
My sadness is not caused by interest
990
And though it takes me longer than it should
I’d have you know, milady, that my life
Is sadder far than any human being’s
Since Cupid put his arrows in his bow.
I’m dying now without a remedy;
995
My life is ending slowly like a candle
And I beg death in vain that it not wait
Until the wax has totally been spent,
But show some mercy to me and blow out
The flame and extinguish quickly my life.

CASANDRA
1000
Please dry your tears, gracious Federico,
God has not endowed men with tears but spirits.
Nature associates weeping with women
As their birthright, because they lack backbone.
Not so with men, who in one case may cry
1005
And that is when they’ve relinquished their honour
While they are wreaking vengeance on their foe.
I curse Aurora and her jealousy,
For she has brought a valiant, prudent man,
So sweet and full of dignity, to such
1010
A sorry state.

FEDERICO
It’s not true it’s Aurora.

CASANDRA
Well then, who is it?

FEDERICO
It’s the sun itself,
Auroras I see at every light of day.

CASANDRA
It’s not Aurora?

FEDERICO
My sights are set higher.

CASANDRA
A woman who’s seen and spoken to you
1015
And you’ve declared your love to her outright
Cannot be cruel enough to disdain you!
Don’t you see that’s the opposite effect
That seems impossible for such a cause?

FEDERICO
If you knew the impossible you’d say
1020
I’m made of marble, because I survive
Though my survival is a miracle.
Did Phaethon not dare to confront the sun
With his chariot of gold? And what about
That other who stuck feathers on his back
1025
Which were soon scattered by the wind and heat
And sent him tumbling to his doom below?
What Bellerophon saw when he was mounted
Upon his steed Pegasus, made the world
Look like a dot among the other stars.
1030
The Greek Synon employed a pregnant horse
Filled with armed enemies to enter Troy,
Which was the cause of its downfall at last.
And Jason tried to be the first to cross
Reckless the sea aboard Argus’ vessel?
1035
Can any of these equal my madness?

CASANDRA
Good Count, are you in love with a bronze statue
An alabaster nymph or goddess then?
The souls of women do not wear cold jasper;
A thin light curtain covers human thoughts.
1040
Love never called to any soul with such
Great qualities that it did not respond:
“Here I am, but please enter gingerly.”
Declare your love, and be she who she may,
For the Greeks had good reason to depict
1045
Venus enamoured of a satyr or faun.
The moon is higher, but for Endymion
She often came down from her silver seat
To Mount Latmus to visit him asleep.
Take my advice, dear Count, speak up at once
1050
Don’t hold your tongue, for the purest fortress
Of all has entrances made out of wax.

FEDERICO
The hunter cleverly kindles a fire
Around the nest of a large pelican,
And he, beating his wings with wild abandon,
1055
Climbs down the tree to rescue his offspring;
But by beating his wings he fans the flames
Instead of quenching it as he had wished;
And finally his wings are sorely burnt
So he is captured quickly on the ground
1060
Because he cannot fly up in the air.
My thoughts, which are the offspring of my love,
Which I maintain within the nest of silence,
Are being burnt, milady, without fail;
My love tries beating wings to rescue them,
1065
The fire grows and devours him entirely.
You deceive me and I am burnt alive;
You lead me on and I forget myself;
You hearten me and I rush off in fright;
You exhort me and I escape confused;
1070
You free me and I manacle myself;
You take me off but I remain behind;
You teach me but I am afraid to act,
Because I feel I’m in such grave danger
That I consider that the lesser evil
1075
Would be for me to die –for die I must–
Still suffering and saying not a word.

Exit Federico

CASANDRA
Neither heaven nor earth can ever see
A matter of greater complexity
Than worries caused by man’s imagination.
1080
It turns fire into ice and shifts the image
Of desire, where war and peace and tempest
And tranquillity are waged, and is a thing
That, more than inform the soul, deceives it.
These obscure attempts, these clear confusions,
1085
Rather than clarify my doubts with reasons
Have left me submerged in a quandary.
What tempests do winds move that are more changing
Than these forced truths in an imagination?
Because the worst tempests in all the world
1090
Are those that take their course within the soul.
When I’m inclined to fancy I’m the object
Of what the Count desires with all his heart,
The same deceit tells me what I imagine
Is nothing but impossibility.
1095
My cruel fate shows me my matrimony
And I accept these feelings that I have
For there is nothing so impossible
That the eyes of the conscience can’t peruse.
So many things are happening together,
1100
This loves comes after an unfaithful spouse,
I think all this has come to drive me mad.
The impossible seems easy so I think
That I’m avenging infidelity;
But as this is such an unfair error
1105
I am afraid my love for Federico
Will be avenged yet by my husband’s sword.
The Count has many natural virtues,
But I should be quite mad if I gave in
Without restraint to such a wild passion.
1110
I want no more of this foolish confusion!
Oh holy heavens, come to my defence,
Although it would be justice to believe
That in the world there’d be no man of honour
If t’were offence to imagine offence.
1115
Thus far neither mi honour nor my thoughts
Have betrayed me; all that I consented
Was but a figment of imagination.
It is a misdemeanour, not dishonour,
Before God to consent to imagine.
1120
God sees and judges all our mental process
But our honour cannot be compromised
Unless it comes into the public eye.

Enter Aurora

AURORA
Your Grace and the Count had a lengthy talk,
What did he say?

CASANDRA
He’s grateful for your love.
1125
Rest assured, Aurora, and don’t be jealous.

Exit Casandra

AURORA
What scant comfort you give my ardent wishes!
How can one who adored my very thoughts
Now feel so very much disheartened
Because he’s lost the possibility
1130
Of inheriting the name of Ferrara?
Love is powerful; the soul takes little notice
Of life and honour, but seeks you alone.
And Federico, who once loved me well,
Is maddened by the sadness he imagines
1135
About Casandra’s future progeny.
But he faked jealousy to cover up
The truth, and it is wont to stimulate
Recondite love, so I shall try to make him
Jealous by faking love for the Marquis.

Enter Rutilio and Marquis

RUTILIO
1140
With a rival such as this your crazy hopes
Will never manage to attain their purpose.

MARQUIS
Do hold your tongue, Rutilio, here’s Aurora.

RUTILIO
And you’re beside yourself despite such change.

Exit

MARQUIS
Aurora, since the bright day my eyes gave you,
1145
With my soul as your spoils, my liberty;
Aurora, sent by the sun when night-time falls
Upon my misery; who paints with bright colours
All the pretty flowers that come into bloom,
Dawn comes with pearls and roses from your lips.
1150
Since the day I came here from Mantua,
Unluckily I fell for your beauty,
Which no mortal man can ever resist.
How badly did I predispose my sham
Although my soul adores you, milady,
1155
But it only makes you quickly tire of me
So that I may find sadness within you
When I so eager sigh for you, Aurora.
It was not sadness that I should see you,
For brightness never could be without cheer,
1160
But that my love should cause you to forget.
I’ve organised my parting as the answer;
Escaping from your cruelty, I shall seek
Resistance in the miracles of absence
And in the vengeance of another love.
1165
Give me your hand and let me go away.

AURORA
A lover or a courtesan who takes
So much to heart the first repudiation
Will not die of melancholy, Marquis.
Favours are not the stuff of early loves
1170
But first the lovers must learn to love well.
You little love, you little suffer then;
But in this inequality, as freely
As you request permission to depart
I order you to stay and not to leave.

MARQUIS
1175
Milady, you tell me with much bounty
To wait, although it seems like cruelty,
Not the ten years the Greek beleaguered Troy,
Nor yet the seven Laban promised Rachel,
But never-ending centuries I’ll wait
1180
Like Tantalus, torn between doubt and faith.
I will request rewards for my high hopes.

AURORA
One must gain merits to achieve one’s goal.

Enter Duke, Federico and Batín

DUKE
The Pope’s epistle summons me to Rome.

FEDERICO
And does he name the reason in his letter?

DUKE
1185
That my reply be, Count, to leave at once.

FEDERICO
If you don’t want to say, sir, I’ll not ask.

DUKE
When do I fail to tell you all, dear Count?
I can just say I suspect, with the wars
Waging now in Italy, he may want me
1190
To be a general of the Church to lead
The large army he intends to gather;
I think as well that he would like me to
Contribute money to the cause, unless
He changes his mind about appointing me.

FEDERICO
1195
I’m not surprised you hid the facts from me
If you intended to depart without me;
A more loyal soldier you would never have
To accompany you than your only son.

DUKE
That cannot be, for it would not be fair
1200
To leave my house unattended, dear Count.
No one can care for it like you, so you
Must stay; that is my reason and my wish.

FEDERICO
I do not want to disobey you, father,
But what will Italy think if I don’t go?

DUKE
1205
That this is the proper way to reign supreme
And that I cannot count on my son’s aid.

FEDERICO
A sign of prudence is my obedience!

Exit Duke

BATÍN
While you were talking to the Duke awhile
I saw Aurora talk to the Marquis
1210
Without paying any attention to you.

FEDERICO
To the Marquis?

BATÍN
Why yes, my lord, to him.

FEDERICO
And do you think it matters very much?

AURORA
This sash is a sure token of first favour.

MARQUIS
’Twill be a chain around my neck, milady,
1215
A handcuff on my arm never to leave it.
If you would but request me to wear it
The favour would be doubly accepted.

AURORA
(Although it is a paramour’s vengeance,
It seems just like an insult to my love.)
1220
Because its proprietor is much better,
I beg of you to wear it all the time.

BATÍN
A marvellous invention of nature was
To make women fickle, because if they were not
–Just some of them, I say, and not them all–
1225
The men who love them would idolise them.
Can you not see the sash?

FEDERICO
What sash is that?

BATÍN
What sash? That is a funny thing indeed!
A sash that once was hers, the graceful one,
Planets revolving round the morning sun;
1230
And now, as in an eclipse, the Marquis
Is wearing that token over his shoulder.
I recall it was the apple of discord,
When Paris stood before the three goddesses.

FEDERICO
But those were different times from this, Batín.

AURORA
1235
Come, I beg you enter the garden with me.

Exeunt both [Aurora and Marquis]

BATÍN
How freely does he take her hand in his!

FEDERICO
But what do you expect if they’re soul mates?

BATÍN
Is that your answer?

FEDERICO
What would you have me say?

BATÍN
If one swan cannot contend with another
1240
But flies off with its sash to distant waters;
Should a cock surprise a rival with its hens,
It’ll tear the crest of its crown with its beak,
And fluffing up its own crest and its wattle,
Will try to vanquish it in the night’s singing.
1245
How then can you bear it that the Marquis
Is ready to rob you of your amour?

FEDERICO
Because the best vengeance against fair maids
Who provoke men is just to let them be,
For he who risks his honour may lose it.

BATÍN
1250
Give me, I beg, a copy of this code
Of honour and behaviour for young men,
Because I’d like to learn it off by heart.
No, Count, your patience is a mystery;
Your thoughts of love are jugs in a chain well:
1255
The first one leaves the water that the second
Takes up as soon as it is left inside.
You have a new love to replace Aurora;
If there’s too much water, how can it be
That one can still attend another jug?

FEDERICO
1260
You’re being quite impertinent, Batín,
Because with cautious force you dare to know
What I myself don’t understand about me.
Go in and find out what the Duke is doing
And ask him all about his travel plans.

BATÍN
1265
You call me foolish without cause enough
Because it is more foolish still by far
To give you cause to feel more anguish now.

Exit

FEDERICO
What are you after, impossible thought?
What do you want, what do you lead me to?
1270
Why do you strip me of my senseless life
Up there where you are really out of place?
Hold still the wandering movement that pursues
The death of both; just let me rest awhile
And do not let this glorious hope end sadly.
1275
No vanquished thought can grow without an aim,
But if you give it hope it will endure.
For him who loves and tries all is possible
And only you appeared before my eyes
As something forever impossible.

Enter Casandra

CASANDRA
1280
Between affronts and vengeance love’s desirous
After such fickleness that has aroused
Ill-born expectations against my honour.
Love tries to bring close the inaccessible,
But joy cannot be based on the impossible.
1285
In this my inclination towards betrayal
Caused by the Duke’s blatant debauchery,
I speculate with every kind of madness
To wreak a just revenge upon my spouse.
I’ll have the gallant Count, his son and heir,
1290
To be the instrument of my revenge,
For so much indiscriminate wantonness
Can best be paid with total secrecy.
I saw he was embarrassed when he spoke
And even hesitant to speak his mind
1295
Although, is it a greater insolence
For a man to speak without using words?
My soul rejoiced so much at his dilemma
Because I feel inside me if it’s love
It’s not betrayal after the Duke’s affairs,
1300
And in my desperation I’ll not be
The last enamoured or the first unchaste.
Fathers have had relations with their daughters
And brothers have lain with their sisters too;
Therefore my wishes are not so abnormal
1305
And my decision is not culpable.
But it is no excuse for such an offence
That I should mention others similar;
Because to sin it’s not legitimate
To follow examples that are also crimes.
1310
Ah, here’s the Count, alas! But what’s my fear
Now that my mind has been made up at last?

FEDERICO
Here comes the naked blade that stole my life.
Oh, what divine beauty!

CASANDRA
Are you still sad,
Federico?

FEDERICO
I must answer Your Grace
1315
That haplessly my sadness is immortal.

CASANDRA
Your health will suffer from melancholy.

FEDERICO
I have some foolish ailments, milady,
That I can only say are mine alone.

CASANDRA
If I can be of help, please count on me:
1320
My love for you is greater still than yours.

FEDERICO
I’d count on you but I’m afraid to do so.

CASANDRA
You told me that love was your malady.

FEDERICO
My joy and misery are the consequence.

CASANDRA
I’ll tell you an old story; it will prove
1325
That love requires a lot of gallantry.
When with his step-mother he fell in love,
Antiochus fell gravely sad and ill.

FEDERICO
If he was wise he’d have laid down and died
For I am more disconsolate than he.

CASANDRA
1330
The king, his father, quite preoccupied,
Sent for as many doctors as he could
But it was all in vain, because the cause
Was not a single woman from the court.
But Erasistratus, wiser than Galen
1335
And Hippocrates, examined the prince,
And found out that his malady was lodged
In some place between his heart and his lips.
He took his pulse and made all the ladies
In palace walk before him one by one.

FEDERICO
1340
Milady, I suppose some spirit spoke.

CASANDRA
When the stepmother came into the room
The doctor noticed that she was the cause
Because his pulse began to race wildly.

FEDERICO
What a strange way to act!

CASANDRA
That’s what they say!

FEDERICO
1345
And did they find a remedy for him?

CASANDRA
Do not deny, Count, you show the same signs.

FEDERICO
And are you angry then?

CASANDRA
I am not, sir.

FEDERICO
But do you feel pity for me?

CASANDRA
I do.

FEDERICO
Well, milady, I’ve got to such a stage
1350
Where I no longer fear God or the Duke,
For my impossible infatuation
Has brought me to a state of desperation.
And finally, milady, I am left
Without me, without you and without God:
1355
Without God because I so desire you;
Without me because I am without you,
Without you because I don’t possess you.
And just in case you do not understand,
I’ll make a speech explaining my reasons
1360
So that you may discover you’re to blame
For making me a victim of such passion.
Although, Your Grace, to cease to be they say
Is a great ill, I’d rather cease to be
Than see myself in such a sorry state
1365
As I see myself reduced because of you.
I find myself in this predicament:
With no desire to see if I still am
The same one as I was before, though I’ve
No mortal wish to see myself at all,
1370
Thus finally, milady, I am left.
I dare not say I am the one I am,
And I am now enduring such a state
That still I don’t remember any more
That I owe God the life I give to you.
1375
We’re both to blame for my state of non-being
Because forgotten by yourself I am
Without me, without you and without God.
Without me is not much, for there’s no life
If you don’t pray for it to God for me,
1380
But without God, what life can my love have?
If I continue wanting you and He says
I should renounce the beauty I see in you,
It’s more than clear that I shall find myself
Without God because I so desire you.
1385
What awful madness it is to conserve
One’s life at such a great profundity
When a man can no longer live his life
In you, in God Almighty or himself!
What are we two to do in consequence
1390
Since I lost God for you, for you’re my god;
Without my God, because you are within me,
Without me because I am without you?
I’ll suffer anything to favour you.
I feel love, you feel only disdain;
1395
So much so, I can say without restraint
Look who you’re with and look who you’re without!
Without you and without me I contend
With very little confidence, I fear,
Without me, ’cause in you I see no hope
1400
Without you because I don’t possess you.

CASANDRA
When I imagine, Count, God and the Duke,
I must confess I tremble in some panic
For I see human power and divine
Joined together to form excessiveness;
1405
But seeing that love is pardoned in the world,
I feel less guilty, for such just pardon
Makes culpability seem so much less.
I’ve been given a great deal of examples
That were considered serious misdeeds,
1410
Because all those who wished to leave the path
Always take as their models those who sinned
And never those others who felt remorse.
If there can be a remedy for this
It is not to attempt to see and talk,
1415
Or otherwise our lives will have to end
Or our love will have to be overpowered.
Run far away from me, for I don’t know
If I’ll succeed in running far from you
Or this will lead me to my suicide.

FEDERICO
1420
Milady, I shall die: it is the best
That I can do for me. I want no life;
Already I’m a body without a soul
So I shall be off now to seek my death,
Although I do not think I’ll find it yet
1425
Because of the pleasure I indulge in.
All I ask is that you give me your hand;
To give me the poison that has killed me.

CASANDRA
I condemn any principle if I ignite
The gunpowder, my good Federico.
1430
Go with God.

FEDERICO
What cruel betrayal this is!

CASANDRA
I was quite determined, but it is wise
To warn a hand takes venom to the heart.

FEDERICO
You were a mermaid to me, Casandra,
You sang your song so as to allure me
1435
Into the sea where you put me to death.

CASANDRA
I must go fast away from here! Honour,
Take care! My good name, resist all temptations!

FEDERICO
I’m scarcely able to walk away from here.

CASANDRA
I’ve lost my soul and all my senses too.

FEDERICO
1440
Oh, this is strange and dreadful derangement!

CASANDRA
I’m dying of love for you while I leave here.

FEDERICO
I’m not, because I am already dead.

CASANDRA
Beloved Count, you’ll be the death of me.

FEDERICO
And yet, although I’m dead, I’m glad to say,
1445
That even though I’m losing you forever,
My soul’s immortal and will always love you.


Act III

ACTO III

Aurora and the Marquis

AURORA
What I have told you is the honest truth.

MARQUIS
There is no way that you can persuade me.
Make sure we can’t be heard: watch what you say.

AURORA
1450
I wished to give you this sad news, Marquis,
So as to ask you for your kind advice.

MARQUIS
In what predicament was it you saw
Casandra and Federico?

AURORA
Hear me.
I do confess I loved the Count myself
1455
And I can assure you that he loved me,
But he betrayed me like the Greek Ulysses.
In time our love increased; plans were being made
For our wedding when Casandra was brought here,
Trusting in given words, if men’s promises
1460
Are to be trusted among their equals.
Federico went off to bring her here
And he came back so sad that when the Duke
Wanted to know his ills, and I told him
Our straits, he said he was jealous of you;
1465
And as love permits one to cause mistrust
When things are going badly, I did try
To make him jealous of you, dear Carlos.
But my attempt had just the same effect
As on a diamond, because jealousy
1470
Makes no mark when the subject’s not in love.
Well, seeing myself repudiated so
And Federico not in love with me,
I sought to find out what had been the cause
And, as jealousy has very keen eyes
1475
That can even see through walls, I found it out.
Casandra’s dressing table is adorned
With portraits, ornaments and mirrors too
Along with two strongboxes in her chamber.
With my suspicions silently I went
1480
And saw, oh, horror! there before my eyes
Reflected in a glass, how my false Count
Was kissing Casandra upon the lips.
This made me run to weep for my heartache
And also that of the two blind lovers,
1485
Who seem to be competing in their love
And their disdain in absence of the Duke
And there they show for every eye to see
The greatest shamelessness upon this earth.
I thought the looking glass that showed their kiss
1490
Darkened the image to conceal such lust;
But since love is a deal more curious,
Their infamous affair continues still
Much to the discredit of the poor Duke.
They say he returns victorious from the fray
1495
With laurel branches adorning his brow
For the most glorious of feats of arms
With which the Pope puts down the enemy.
Do please tell me what course I am to take
In such a case. I suffer from suspicions
1500
Of worse harm still, if what you say is true
And you sincerely love me, I’m afraid
You’ll imitate the Count and leave me too.

MARQUIS
Aurora, only death cannot be vanquished
And although many Phoenixes revive
1505
Because they say they do not die at all
Those who live only for their own repute.
Go tell the Duke to marry us and if
He says yes we’ll be off to Mantua,
Where you will be completely out of danger.
1510
If a tiger throws itself into the sea
Unable to withstand the dreadful pain
Of having hunters murder its offspring,
What will not do Achilles of Ferrara
To preserve both his honour and good name?
1515
How do you think he’ll wipe that ugly stain
Forever more unless he seeks bloodshed,
If heaven does not first chastise his sins
By having forks of lightning strike him down?
So this is the advice I give to you.

AURORA
1520
My troubled mind is glad to accept it.

MARQUIS
The glass mirror will be Medusa’s shield
In which this new Circe saw the vile kiss.

Federico and Batín

FEDERICO
He didn’t want to wait for a reception?

BATÍN
As soon as he saw the outskirts of Mantua,
1525
He left his people and rode in alone,
Not even wanting you to be alerted;
Love finds it hard to check his need to see you
There is no greater love for the Duchess.
You are indeed the sunshine of his eye
1530
And his patience has known four months’ eclipse.
Dear Count, prepare the triumphal parade
For everyone who enters, for the troops
Shall come adorned with myriad trophies.

FEDERICO
I always see Aurora with the Marquis.

AURORA
1535
How dashing he is!!

FEDERICO
With such mild disdain
Do you attempt to calm my discontent?

AURORA
The Marquis taunted you successfully:
You seem to waken from four months of sleep!

MARQUIS
Good Count, I am afraid I did not know
1540
You felt the way you tell me now you do.
I’ve courted Aurora in the belief
That there was no competitor but me,
But had I known that my rival was you
I’d have been loath to match myself with you.
1545
You know I never saw you pursue her,
But if it is your wish I’ll leave her to you
Because your merits greatly outstrip mine.

Exit Marquis

AURORA
What is it that you are trying to do?
What frenzy has possessed you without love?
1550
How often have you seen the Marquis with me
Since you became so sad and long after,
And yet you did not deign to look at me,
And much less did you deign to woo me?
And now you show your jealousy to me
1555
When I’m about to wed the one I love?
Dear Count, that’s quite enough of this nonsense.
Let me be married and please realise
That I shall die before I shall pretend.
Go back to being sad again, dear Count,
1560
Go back to your previous tranquillity,
For I have suffered very profoundly
For the cruel way in which you treated me.
I have such sentiments for you no longer.
God spare me from deceit and sophistry!
1565
Upon your life, it’s too late now to use me!

Exit Aurora

BATÍN
What have you done?

FEDERICO
Good Lord, I do not know!

BATÍN
You remind me of Emperor Tiberius
If you’ve no reason to split up this pair.
After he had his wife assassinated
1570
He called her to sit down and eat with him.
And Messalla Corvinus was a Roman general
Who was unable to recall his name.

FEDERICO
And I cannot recall that I’m a man.

BATÍN
Or you are like that peasant who, after
1575
Two years of wedlock with his country lass,
Came out and told her: “What black eyes you have!”

FEDERICO
Alas, Batín, it is my poor memory.

BATÍN
You’re like the Basque who left his mule harnessed
And wondered why it didn’t want to eat;
1580
And while he stroked and patted the mule’s mane,
He had an animal doctor examine it.
And when this veterinarian saw the bit,
He sent the Basque man out and on his own
Took off the bit; and when the man came back
1585
The mule had eaten every bite of fodder
And, after that, it ate the manger too.
“Good vet, I swear to God you are a doctor
And from now on I want you to cure me
As well as my poor mule and my family!”
1590
What bit is it that you have in your mouth
That will not let you eat, if I’m your doctor?
Please let me know what you are waiting for.

FEDERICO
Batín, I really am in a sad state.

BATÍN
Well, don’t eat any fodder and say nothing.

Enter Casandra and Lucrecia

CASANDRA
1595
Is he coming now?

LUCRECIA
He is, milady.

CASANDRA
And how so fast?

LUCRECIA
He left them all to see you.

CASANDRA
Don’t believe it. I’d rather see my death.
Well then, kind sir, where is the Duke, my lord?

FEDERICO
They say he is now very close to here;
1600
A sure sign of the love he feels for you.

CASANDRA
Aside
It kills me every time I realise
That I’ll no longer see you as I used to.

FEDERICO
My love could hope for no more cruel death
Than the arrival of the Duke, my sire.

CASANDRA
1605
I am afraid, dear Count, I lose my senses.

FEDERICO
Not I, because I have already lost them.

CASANDRA
I am without a soul.

FEDERICO
I without life.

CASANDRA
So what are we to do?

FEDERICO
We are to die.

CASANDRA
Is there no other remedy than that?

FEDERICO
1610
There’s not, for if I lose you, what reason
Shall I have to go on living this life?

CASANDRA
Is that why you are going to lose me then?

FEDERICO
My plan is to pretend from this day forth
That I’m in love with Aurora and serve her,
1615
I’ll even ask the Duke to give me her hand,
In order to deceive him and the palace,
Where I know they do not speak well of us.

CASANDRA
Affronts? Will not mere jealousy suffice?
And marry her? Are you in your right mind?

FEDERICO
1620
The danger we are in obliges me.

CASANDRA
What? I swear to God that if you laugh at me
When you have been the cause of such distress,
I shall reveal –or else you don’t know me–
Your perfidy and my unfaithfulness.

FEDERICO
1625
But milady…

CASANDRA
There’s no more to be said.

FEDERICO
But they will hear you.

CASANDRA
Don’t try to stop me!
The Duke may have me killed ten times over
But I shall not consent to your marriage.

Enter Floro, Febo, Ricardo, Albano. Lucindo, the Duke behind, gallantly dressed in soldier’s uniform

RICARDO
They were all getting ready to receive you.

DUKE
1630
It was wise to come early for love’s sake.

CASANDRA
How is it, Lord, that you could be persuaded
To come to Ferrara without warning?

FEDERICO
And if milady has reason to complain
It seems my love’s to blame for her anguish.

DUKE
1635
My son, a father’s love, which knows no rest
In devotion for its own flesh and blood,
Was what brought forward the time of my trip;
For neither weariness nor exertion
Can make one with a wish to see his own
1640
Put up with a long wait before returning.
And you, milady, do not take umbrage
If I should love the Count as much as you.

CASANDRA
Your blood and his virtue, my lord, set right
The favour that you show, and I thank you
1645
Because your merit is no less than his.

DUKE
I know the two of you do love me well
And I am so obliged to both of you
That I shall gladly show it when the time comes.
I know that Federico ruled my state,
1650
While I was absent, so well that no subject
Has had the slightest reason to complain.
While in the midst of battle I confess
That I imagined him running the land
As the most perfect senator of all.
1655
Thank God that with dishonourable flight
The enemies of the good Pope of Rome
Respect him in my absence like myself!
With laurel crown upon my brow I kissed
His hand while Rome applauded my triumph
1660
As though I were the Spanish consul Trajan.
And so I do intend from here on forth
To change vice into virtue for my name
To be not only praised for my conquests
But to be celebrated for my worth.
1665
When a man rises to such heights as these
It is not right that he be more acclaimed
For his weaknesses than for his virtues.

RICARDO
Here come Carlos and Aurora, my lord.

Enter Carlos and Aurora

AURORA
Your lordship is most welcome here today
1670
And she who adores you waits anxiously.

MARQUIS
Give good Carlos your hand; he wants his love
To be known.

DUKE
May the arms pay the soul’s debts
Of one who loves so well and passionately.
Although love suffers from long absences
1675
It is repaid upon the happy day
That it enjoys the honey of its bliss.
Herewith, my dear loved ones, I wish to rest
After my long journey and, since it’s late,
You’ll celebrate my coming later on.

FEDERICO
1680
May heaven guard you, sir, a hundred years.

Exeunt all with the Duke, and Batín and Ricardo remain

BATÍN
My friend Ricardo!

RICARDO
My good friend Batín!

BATÍN
How did you fare in those so cruel wars?

RICARDO
All went according as justice would have it
With heaven on our side for our defence.
1685
Lombardy has been freed and the enemy
Has fled most shamefully because the Duke,
The lion of the church, with one sole roar
Defeated them and made them down their arms.
The Duke has made his name in Italy;
1690
For if Saul killed a thousand men one day
And maidens sang his glory, David killed
One hundred thousand men; and now the Duke
Has done a deed that’s tantamount to his.
There are no ladies, no more dinners now,
1695
There are no shields and neither are there swords,
He thinks of nothing now but Casandra;
There is no other love but that professed
For the Count, his son, and the Duchess, his wife:
The Duke has now become quite sanctified.

BATÍN
1700
What’s this I hear? What are you telling me?

RICARDO
While honours make some people proud and cruel,
And hold a poor opinion of everyone,
Thinking themselves immortal as the gods,
The Duke has turned quite humble and modest
1705
And seems to disdain the laurels of success;
The flapping of flags has not turned his head.

BATÍN
Let’s pray to God after these humble ways
He’ll not become like in that tale by Aesop
Where, after plaguing Venus with petitions,
1710
A Dominican cat, all black and white,
Was turned into a woman. Then one day,
All dressed up in her fine clothes and jewels,
She saw pass by one of those animals
That chew on paper like the best of poets
1715
And made a leap to catch the little mouse
Showing that nature rules that once a cat
Always a cat, in secula seculorum.

RICARDO
Don’t be afraid the Duke, in consequence,
Will go back to his youth and his old ways
1720
Especially if he begets offspring,
Whose little hands can soften an old heart.

BATÍN
I’d be so glad if that were to be true.

RICARDO
Goodbye, Batín.

BATÍN
But where are you off to?

RICARDO
I’m off to see my Fabia, who’s waiting.

Exit Ricardo
Enter Duke with some papers

DUKE
1725
Is there some servant here?

BATÍN
Your humblest one.

DUKE
Batín!

BATÍN
God bless you. You are most welcome.
Give me your hand.

DUKE
What were you doing here?

BATÍN
Ricardo was telling me about your deeds,
Comparing you to Hector of Italy.

DUKE
1730
How did the Count rule while I was absent?

BATÍN
My lord, indeed I could say that, in peace,
He equalled your exploits on the battlefield.

DUKE
And did he get on well with Casandra?

BATÍN
I think there is no better stepmother
1735
In all the world; she is extremely wise
The soul of virtue and of holiness.

DUKE
There is nothing I can acknowledge more
Than that she was kind to my son the Count:
And as the Count is the one I most love
1740
Who was so sad when I went off to war
I am extremely pleased to hear you say
Casandra behaved with such kindness to him,
That they are friends and get on famously,
Which is just what my soul wants most badly
1745
Of all the things I could ask heaven for.
Thus in my home there are two victories:
The one I bring from battle and the one
Of fair Casandra conquering Federico.
I think that that she will be my only love
1750
Because of her behaviour towards my son
And I’ll abandon all my wanton ways
As I am tired of my lubricious youth.

BATÍN
The Pope has worked a miracle, my lord,
By sending the Duke of Ferrara to war
1755
And making him come back a virtuous hermit.
By God, you might start up a monastery!

DUKE
I hope my subjects know I’m a changed man.

BATÍN
Why did Your Grace take such a short respite?

DUKE
Because when I was entering the palace
1760
Some men were waiting for me on the steps
To give me these papers, and I preferred
To see what they were before going to rest
In case it happened that they were complaints.
Go now and I shall stay here on my own
1765
For it’s a matter for rulers to see.

BATÍN
The heavens, which remunerate those men
Who give priority to public welfare,
Will shower you with laurels and with fame.

Exit

DUKE
This paper says:
Reads
“My lord, I am Eustacio,
1770
I work in palace gardens and, while teaching
Others to lay fine lawns and plant fair flowers,
I had six sons: I beg you to employ
The two eldest of these…” That is enough!
I’ll take more care of whom I recompense.
Reads
1775
“Lucinda says she’s left without her spouse
Captain Arnaldo…” She requests redress.
Reads
“Albano, six years here…” A new request.
Reads
“Julio Camilo, imprisoned…” Another!
Reads
“Paula de San Germán, an honest maid…”
1780
Well, if she’s honest, she needs nothing else
Unless she wants me to find her a spouse.
This one was sealed, and he who gave it to me
Looked so upset and so disconsolate
That I would like to have found out some more.
Reads
1785
“My Lord, I wish to give you some sad news,
The Count and Duchess, while you were away…”
My thoughts did not deceive me: patience, then!
Reads
“Dared to offend your honour and your bed.”
How shall I overcome such shamelessness?
Reads
1790
“If you watch out, you’ll see it for yourself.”
But what is this I read? Can it be true?
You know I am the father of this man
Who you declare to be cuckolding me!
It is a lie! This viciousness is false!
1795
How could my sweet Casandra offend me?
Do you not know that the Count is my son?
But this paper says they’re woman and man.
What dreadful words and how they injure me!
But you will say there are no evil deeds
1800
That are not to be found in humankind.
The anger of the Lord must fall on them!
This was the curse that Nathan placed on David;
I’m reviled too: my son is Absalom.
But it is sad if God chastises me
1805
For concubines when Casandra’s my wife.
My libidinous ways as a young man
Have brought upon me now this punishment,
Although I did not lie with Bathsheba
Nor did I cause the death of Uriah.
1810
Oh, my perfidious son, if it is true!
Because I don’t believe that any other
Would dare to commit such a heinous sin.
But if you have betrayed me, I do pray
That after I have brought about your death
1815
I might bring back your life eternally
So as to have you killed over again
Every time I engender you afresh.
What great disloyalty! What violence!
Oh, absence, it is truly certified
1820
That even a father cannot trust his son
If he’s away from home for a long time!
How can I know for sure the witnesses
I call to testify won’t slander me?
So what’s the point in checking out the facts?
1825
No one would speak like this of someone’s son
If it were not true that he had betrayed him.
To punish him is not to wreak revenge,
He who punishes is not a revenger
And the news does not make me take revenge,
1830
For damage to one’s honour does not need
Revenge: it is enough to make it known.

Enter Federico

FEDERICO
I know you are not resting, so I have come
To talk to you.

DUKE
May the heavens guard you.

FEDERICO
And I come to ask a favour of you too.

DUKE
1835
My love will grant you anything you ask.

FEDERICO
When you bade me to wed my cousin Aurora,
My lord, I was inclined to do your will;
But Carlos was extremely jealous of me
Which made me decide not to obey you.
1840
But then you went away and then I knew
That my great love had caused such illusions
That were indeed to blame for my confusion.
So we made peace and I promised, my lord,
That, to put right what I had said before,
1845
I’d get married as soon as you allowed
After you’d given up your soldiering.
So that is what I come to beg you for.

DUKE
You couldn’t make me happier, dear Count.
Go now that I may tell it to your mother,
1850
For it is only fair that she should know,
And it is not right that you are to wed
Without her knowledge; and she must give you
Her kind blessing, just as your father does.

FEDERICO
Aurora not being of her flesh and blood,
1855
Why does Your Grace wish to inform Casandra?

DUKE
What does it matter that she’s not related
Seeing that your mother is Casandra?

FEDERICO
For many a years my mother Laurencia
Lies dead and buried in her hallowed grave.

DUKE
1860
Do you not like it that I call her mother?
They say that all the time I was away
You got on very well, I’m glad to say.

FEDERICO
God knows that it’s not so, I promise you,
Though I’ve no reason to complain, I know
1865
Your Grace loves her so much and rightly so,
That although they all thought her an angel
She did not act like an angel to me.

DUKE
I’m sorry they deceive me when they say
There is no one Casandra favours more.

FEDERICO
1870
Sometimes she favours me and other times
She makes it clear that sons of other mothers
Can never be the same as one’s own sons.

DUKE
You speak the truth and I believe your words
And she could do me a great good by loving
1875
You rather than loving me, for in that way
She would be sure of peace. May God guard you.

FEDERICO
And may God bless you too.

Exit

DUKE
I don’t know how
I could peruse the Count’s most guileful face.
What a hypocrite! What a shameless cad!
1880
He uses the false story about Aurora
So that I won’t believe he cuckolds me!
What makes me confident of his betrayal
Is what he has to say about Casandra
Behaving badly towards him in my absence.
1885
He thinks the best way to hush up his crime
Is to cover it up when it’s flagrant.
He does not like to have me call her mother
Because his father’s wife is his own lover
And it’s not right for him to call her mother.
1890
But how can I believe this case so easily?
Couldn’t it be that one of the Count’s foes
Has made up this story with perfidy
In order that I will chastise the Count
And in this way will be himself avenged?
1895
If I believe I’m not avenged but hurt.

Enter Casandra and Aurora

AURORA
My life depends on you, milady, now.

CASANDRA
You’ve made a wise choice indeed, Aurora.

AURORA
Here is the Duke.

CASANDRA
My Lord, you’re working still?

DUKE
I owe my state these signs of my esteem
1900
To compensate for my prolonged absence.
Although I know the Count and you have ruled
Most skilfully and I am grateful to you.
The praise of both of you’s on every lip.

CASANDRA
It is the Count whom you must thank, not me,
1905
I do not flatter him when I confirm
That he is chivalrous in all his acts,
As self-assured as he is talented:
He is the very image of yourself.

DUKE
I know that he has acted so like me
1910
In all his acts that I might have been here.
I promise you, milady, recompense.

CASANDRA
I have a new request to make of you,
It is about Aurora: Carlos loves her
And wants to beg her hand; she loves him too
1915
And I would be so pleased if you would grant it.

DUKE
I think that you have come too late to ask me:
The Count has just made me the same request.

CASANDRA
The Count has asked if he may marry her?

DUKE
That’s so, Casandra.

CASANDRA
The Count, you say?

DUKE
Yes.

CASANDRA
1920
I’d doubt the truth from any other source.

DUKE
I have already given my permission
The two of them are to be wed tomorrow.

CASANDRA
It shall be as Aurora disposes.

AURORA
Forgive me, sire, I’ll not marry the Count.

DUKE
1925
(Oh, why should I wait any longer now?)
Aurora, is the Count not superior
To the Marquis in gallantry, in reason
And in valour?

AURORA
Well, that I cannot say.
When I wanted so badly to wed him
1930
And I begged him, he only turned me down;
So now that he’s the one who desires me
It’s only fair that I should turn him down.

DUKE
But do it for my sake if not for his.

AURORA
Marriage must be with one that deserves love
1935
And I now have no feelings for the Count.

Exit Aurora

DUKE
It is a strange decision that she’s made.

CASANDRA
Aurora’s right, although impertinent.

DUKE
She is not right, and marry him she shall!

CASANDRA
My Lord, don’t use your power in this case
1940
For love needs to be free and not imposed.
Exit Duke
Alas, the faithless Count has tired of me!

Enter Count

FEDERICO
I thought I heard my father here with you.

CASANDRA
Federico, what lying scheme has brought you?
I know you’ve asked the Duke for Aurora’s hand.

FEDERICO
1945
Be careful now, milady: you’re in danger.

CASANDRA
How can I be in danger, hypocrite,
When I’m beside myself?

FEDERICO
Why are you shouting?

Enter Duke, stealthily

DUKE
(I seek testimony. I’ll eavesdrop here;
Although they say eavesdroppers hear no good
1950
About themselves, I need to know it all.)

FEDERICO
Listen, milady, try to save your name.

CASANDRA
What cowardly man in all the world would leave me
After giving such tokens of his love?

FEDERICO
Milady, I am not betrothed yet.
1955
I strove to reassure the Duke to save us,
For our life cannot continue this way.
The Duke is not just any man at all
Who can support to have his name debased.
Suffice the time when our love turned us blind.

CASANDRA
1960
Oh, what a coward, what a shameless man!
The tears and pleas with which you drive us mad
To steal our honour –few of us escape
Undamaged from your wiles– are cowardliness?
Well, you’ve destroyed my soul, you chickenheart!

DUKE
1965
(If I stay here in silence, I’m of stone.
What are you waiting for, my misery?
They have confessed without torturing them,
But it is they who have tormented me.
I need no further evidence than this:
1970
They have confessed it all quite openly.
My honour has to judge, sentence and punish.
But I must do all this in such a way
That it will never sully my good name,
Because in public it cannot be cleared.
1975
And it is not fitting that any man
Should know that I have been so dishonoured
So I shall now attempt to cover it up
As though this thing had never come to pass.
For although satisfaction may avenge
1980
The cuckoldry, the stain cannot be cleaned.)

Exit

CASANDRA
Alas, poor women! Ah, false, faithless men!

FEDERICO
I promise, love, I’ll do whatever you please:
You have my word.

CASANDRA
Is this true?

FEDERICO
Yes, indeed.

CASANDRA
Well then no love is ever impossible.
1985
I have been yours and yours I still shall be.
We’re sure to find a way to be together.

FEDERICO
So go, milady, and to be discreet
Pretend you feel great pleasure with the Duke.

CASANDRA
Well, so I shall and I know you’ll not suffer
1990
Because I know that pretence is not pleasure.

Exeunt. Enter Aurora and Batín

BATÍN
I have been told, oh beautiful Aurora,
You are to wed the Marquis or have done so,
And that you’re off to Mantua, milady:
I’ve come to beg you to take me with you.

AURORA
1995
Batín, I am amazed to hear your words.
Why do you wish to leave the Count, your lord?

BATÍN
Not to be recompensed for serving well
Is something even the most wise and sane
Find very hard to bear; it drives them mad.
2000
I’ll favour you today, but not tomorrow
Maybe some other day. What is this maybe?
Apart from this, the Count is as possessed.
I do not know what is the matter with him:
One minute sad, one minute elated,
2005
One minute sane and the next demented.
The Duchess also has her ups and downs,
So where they’re all in such an awful state
How do you expect me to be all right?
The Duke spends all his time pretending
2010
And speaking to himself like a madman,
He wanders all around as though he’s searching
For some valuable thing that he has lost.
They are all mad in that house, I tell you,
So I’ll away to Mantua with you.

AURORA
2015
If I have the good fortune I desire
And the Duke gives me Carlos, I’ll take you.

BATÍN
I humbly kiss your feet a thousand times
And now I’ll go and speak to the Marquis.

Exit. Enter Duke

DUKE
(Oh, honour, what an enemy you are!
2020
Who was the first on earth to plant your code,
And leave it in the hands of womankind
So that man can do nothing to guard it?
For without blame he who is most honest
Can lose his honour any time at all.
2025
The legislator who imposed this law
Was certainly not an instructed man.
But if he left it to us, it must be
That he was cuckolded by his own wife.)
Aurora!

AURORA
Are you calling me, my lord?

DUKE
2030
I think the Duchess wishes that you marry
The Marquis, and I shall concede her plea.
I thus prefer to make my wife content
Than leave that pleasure to my son, the Count.

CASANDRA
I am eternally obliged to you.

DUKE
2035
Tell Carlos he may write to his uncle,
The Duke of Mantua, to tell him so.

AURORA
I’ll go to where the Marquis is awaiting
And surprise him with this most happy news.

Exit

DUKE
My house today will see just punishment.
2040
Raise high, oh heavens, your divine gavel!
It’s not revenge for the wrong I was done,
For I don’t seek revenge in your offense
And in a son it was a barbarous deed.
This punishment must be wreaked by gods alone
2045
For only heaven may dispense forgiveness
With moderation and not severity.
I shall be father and not husband here
Assigning holy justice to a sin
Committed in such a licentious way
2050
A punishment without any revenge.
Thus shall the laws of honour be well served
Avoiding recognition of my shame
Which would only serve to double my disgrace.
One who punishes in public does so twice,
2055
For he not only recognises his loss
But shows his disrepute to all the world.
Unfaithful Casandra I tied hand and foot
And covered her body with a thick veil,
And so as not to hear her discontent
2060
I had a gag put on her pretty mouth
For when I told her she’s so much to blame
In my disgrace, she fell into a swoon.
Offended, human piety can bear this
But what heart will not be dispirited
2065
By giving death to his own flesh and blood?
The very thought of it, oh! woe is me,
Will make my body tremble, my soul dismay,
The blood in my veins freeze and my eyes weep,
My breast not breathe, my mind fall powerless,
2070
My memory fail and my willpower malfunction;
Just like a stream that holds the long night’s ice,
From heart to mouth words cause unbearable pain.
What do you expect, love? Do you not see
That God bids children to honour their parents
2075
And the Count has broken this commandment?
Allow me, love, to punish him who sinned
Against this holy law to do his father wrong
Because it’s clear to me that if today
He takes my honour from me, tomorrow
2080
He may just as easily take my life.
Artaxerxes had fifty killed for less
And Darius’, Torquatus’ and Brutus’ swords
Obeyed the laws of justice without revenge.
Forgive me, love, do not reject the right
2085
To punishment when honour is the sin
For which the sentence must be delivered.
The truth has verified the prosecution,
And culpability is clear to see.
Lawyers are there to defend love and blood
2090
But that does not suffice: the other party
Has to support discredit and disgrace.
It is the law of God that tells the blame
And it is his conscience that writes it down.
But why do I feel guilty? Here he comes.
2095
Oh, heavens, please help me to have courage.

Enter Count

FEDERICO
It’s common news around the palace, sire,
That you have instructed Aurora to wed
Marquis Gonzaga and be off to Mantua.
But am I to believe that this is so?

DUKE
2100
I know not what they say, Count, nor have I
Given the Marquis permission to marry.
My mind is occupied with higher things.

FEDERICO
There’s no rest for those who govern a state.
What is it that preoccupies your mind?

DUKE
2105
My son, a nobleman from Ferrara
With other companions was conspiring
Against me; he confided in a woman
And she came and revealed it all to me.
He who trusts women is indeed a fool,
2110
And he who praises them is a wise man!
I called upon the traitor with the pretext
Of doing important business with him,
And then I locked him up inside a barn
And when I told him I knew all about it,
2115
He was so shocked he fell into a faint.
So it was easy to tie him to the chair
And cover him so that the one who comes
To kill him will not see his face
And spread the news all over Italy.
2120
You are the first to come and it is fair
For you to do the deed so no one knows.
Take out your sword, good Count, and take his life.
I want to see from the door of the barn
How valiantly you give death to my foe.

FEDERICO
2125
Is this a test for me or is it true
That they conspired against you, these two men?

DUKE
When a father gives an order to his son,
Whether the order be just or unjust,
Does the son dare to question that order?
2130
Begone, you coward, I’ll do it myself.

FEDERICO
Hold your sword and wait for me here; I’m not
Afraid, for you say he is well tied up.
But I don’t know what has come over me
To make me tremble so from head to foot.

DUKE
2135
Stay here then, you coward!

FEDERICO
No, I shall go,
It is enough for me that you ordain it.
But for the love of God…

DUKE
Oh, you scoundrel!

FEDERICO
I’m going now, stop there, and if I find
The emperor himself for you I shall
2140
Stab him a thousand times, so help me God!

Exit Federico

DUKE
I shall see him from here: there he is now,
He’s stabbing her with the tip of his sword.
He who has executed my disgrace
Has also executed justice for me.
2145
Captains! Good folk! All you who are on duty!
Good gentlemen and servants all, come quick!

Enter Marquis, Aurora, Batín, Ricardo and all the other characters

MARQUIS
Why are you calling us aloud, your grace?

DUKE
Can so much evil be? The Count has killed
Casandra, because she was his stepmother
2150
And said she had a better child inside her
To be my son and heir. Kill him! Kill him!

MARQUIS
Casandra?

DUKE
That is correct, good Marquis.

MARQUIS
I’ll not return to Mantua until
I’ve taken this traitor’s miserable life.

DUKE
2155
Here comes the traitor now with bloody sword.

Enter the Count with drawn sword

FEDERICO
What is all this? When I was just about
To see the face of who you told me was
A traitor, I found…

DUKE
Stop there! Say no more!
Hold your tongue! Kill him! Kill him!

MARQUIS
You die!

FEDERICO
2160
Oh, father, pray, why are they killing me?

The Marquis goes after Federico and kills him

DUKE
In God’s tribunal you will hear the reason,
Traitor. With this example, Aurora,
Be off to Mantua with your Carlos,
For he deserves you and I am willing.

AURORA
2165
I’m so perplexed I know not what to say.

BATÍN
Say yes, Aurora, there’s cause for what you see.

AURORA
My Lord, I’ll give you my reply tomorrow.

Enter Marquis

MARQUIS
The Count is dead.

DUKE
In such unhappiness
I still want to see him dead with Casandra.

He uncovers the bodies

MARQUIS
2170
See again punishment without revenge.

DUKE
It’s not revenge when justice is observed.
No tears must fall and we must be valiant:
He paid for what he did to be my heir.

BATÍN
Here ends, dear public, this great tragedy
2175
Of punishment without revenge, which is
The cause of much astonishment in Italy
And is an example for all in Spain.