Act 1. Scene I. The ducal palace
Enter the duke of Osuna and Rodrigo
Rodrigo. My gracious father, these unwonted strains
Of death can visit saddest hearts with tears.
Osuna. To make my death familiar to my tongue
Perhaps will make it pleasanter to all the rest
Of my shrunk body. Garlands in my life
I have worn long, unwithered on my brow,
Though never green most worthy of the man.
Who better than yourself, a son of pride,
Can better glories with my dukedom's charge?
Not to be known, unless your brother dies.
Rodrigo. Such praise, my pride and sadness, covers me
With tears that seem like blushes.
Osuna. To flatter young ones in these gaudy times,
When painted tinsel is accounted gold
And old men to be dropped off like their hair,
Much savors of designed senility.
Let leaden weights of old love counterpoise
My noble judgment. Like that Holland glass
Which turns milk-drops into a thousand stars,
Your love resolves the virtues of my youth,
Makes sluggish-lazy blood increase its pace,
Like wearied soldiers seeing from afar
Their welcome in the smoking chimney, while
Your blood-clot of a brother, stirring but
In frolics, drinkings, escapades of lusts,
A truant to my wishes and his birth,
Makes hearts like mine murmur erratically,
Sends credits of our fame to bankruptcy,
His arms of wildness thrashing all about
To hurt our glassy honor silken-wrapped.
Rodrigo. Fernando, I trust, will by ventages
Of wisdom cool the hot escapes of youth.
Osuna. Like two demented prophets backward-wise,
Both you and I interpret but the past.
Fernando leaves our court to fornicate,
In used holes spurting Guadalhorce streams
More plenteously, as I must always hear,
Than tears of my physicians when I die.
How is this seemly as my son and heir?
Rodrigo. I have his letters of a modern date,
In which Cardenio, old Camillo's son,
His true bordello -friend in Paris met,
Is hotly sent here for obtaining gold
To buy six jennets pleasing him too well.
Osuna. Pay him, Rodrigo. In return, attempt
To use Cardenio as our honest spy
On loose Fernando's riots. To our court
Bring friend-Cardenio, let him stay as long
As we might wish.
Rodrigo. I'll write to his much sighing father now.
Exeunt Osuna and Rodrigo
Act 1. Scene 2. Camillo's house
Enter Camillo and Fabian
Camillo. My son, noticed by the duke! He'll have Cardenio in his palace, and I to send him on view of this letter.
Fabian. By which capacity?
Camillo. Horsemanship! What horsemanship has Cardenio? To my certain knowledge, he gallops in a coach when his coachmen are commanded to hurry, unless he practiced riding with you in France.
Camillo. No matter in such a case. The duke has spoken and we must hear.
Fabian. A visitation likely to bring much honor to your house!
Camillo. I believe so, should Cardenio think so.
Fabian. Have you reason to fear your son incapable of gilding our name in great men's houses?
Camillo. No, unless desire of advancement lags behind love-pursuits.
Fabian. He has noticed, I hear, Luscinda, neighbor Bernardo's daughter.
Camillo. He has more than noticed her.
Fabian. So do we.
Camillo. Not with the eye of youth that will have more of her. I violently suspect my son will request me to use violence on Bernardo till obtaining Luscinda as his wife.
Fabian. Is the father so averse to this marriage?
Camillo. Just so-so, enough to desesperate Cardenio.
Fabian. That mellow evening proposition must fade before the bright new morning of the duke's commands.
Camillo. Great men are absolute, doing as they wish in anything, even in what they cannot do.
O, come, Cardenio, read this letter, no more ado, but read at once. It must not be answered by my hand or yours but by your complete person. Read aloud for your uncle's sake.
Cardenio. Should it please you, let me first overlook the paper alone.
Camillo. Here with a darting eye, Cardenio. I was this other day in hot anger against precocious love-suits, which, I now think, have found the tailor fitting them to the honor of our house, too dusty next to a duke's palace.
Cardenio. Hum! To court? Which is better, to serve a mistress or great ones? I must beg be the duke's slave, or Luscinda's.
Fabian. Friendship with Lord Fernando serves you entirely with the father. I find your horsemanship much praised in his house. How is this?
Cardenio. I have ridden well with Fernando above various mistresses, that's true. Commended for a seat because of those, or mocked!
Camillo. If you compare promotions in the world, every third's a mockery. Do not therefore wait in affection till you are better praised next time but go. Here is an ounce of entreaty mixed with a pound of command. No denying puissance in a hurry! Go, peremptorily at your slowest pace, when a duke's suggestion enforces.
Cardenio. What fortune howsoever my going encounters, it cannot be good, for what I part with unseasons any other dish.
Camillo. He rather orders than asks, I think.
Cardenio. Love-suits lie cold this summer.
Camillo. Why do you speak of love now?
Fabian. Sun-flowers grow on poorer grounds than ours:
There may be honor in your going now.
Cardenio. What should I do when a woman expects to be solicited this very day?
Camillo. Who thinks of women now?- I hope, brother, that those scattered pieces of mettle in Cardenio can be soldered together and varnished at court.
Fabian. No doubt.
Cardenio. Too slightly, unmannerly, foolishly, or dishonestly carried out on the part of any type of so-called lover! A father's consent can be requested with no loss of precious honor.
Camillo. A father's consent you already have, unless I fail to understand myself. Have you read the letter over?
Cardenio. I have.
Fabian. And considered it with your brain?
Cardenio. As I can.
Camillo. So courted by good fortune, speedily
Away without another word of text!
Cardenio. Should it please you, already far away.
Camillo. By any means tomorrow at the latest, the limit of his request, no?
Cardenio. It is.
Camillo. I must think of superfluities, necessary no doubt at court, without which a young man seems unfurnished. Further supplies will at my convenience follow. Come to my room later in the afternoon, for more in the way of a father's tearful recommendations to his departing son.
Exeunt Camillo and Fabian, enter Luscinda
Cardenio. See how bright beauties evermore enrich
Our foil! Add but the soundings of your tongue,
The music-box of love, to make me think
I live in artificial paradise.
Luscinda. What does your father say to marriage, sir?
Cardenio. Hum, hah! I have not pressed that question yet.
Luscinda. Why then, do not, Cardenio.
Cardenio. I was about to seek love as you came,
To chide her coldness.
Cardenio. I do not see that virgin-seeming heat
Which youth and love should kindle. You consent
To feed without the edge of appetite,
Revealing your content like coyer ones,
Who subtly make love-words their only wards,
Thus keeping open passion farther off.
Your affectation plays, like coward swords
Too loudly martial, to break off untouched.
Your love lies frosty in the bud all night,
While mine, a clime beneath Hyperion's eye
Burns in one constant place. Your own command
Desired my father's will should ratify
With many mounds of earth our garden loves.
Luscinda. Perhaps it did, but now my mind seems changed.
You seek to purchase at too dear a rate
When wooing maidens and your father, too.
Besides, some say he does not like my face.
If so, a son's obedience must discharge
A girl from fancy. That will prove to be
My shame and sorrow, knowing what I lose,
To wear the willow in my prime of youth.
Cardenio. Do not rack love with heretic misdoubts,
Or think, because age freezes ancient breasts,
He can put out love's flame. He has no eyes,
Or counts gold in the dark. You always wrong
Your beauties. Venus-favored fame must frown
If you disprize her gifts, enough to make
A frozen curate leap out from his cell
And burn his beads to kiss them oftener:
Eyes, nothing less than more continual births
Of new desires than we can fondle, ears,
Much like the shell of Venus when she first
Saw her light brightening the seas of love.
Luscinda. Why should I think as you do, stupidly,
When you without a father dare not choose,
Or, if so, dare not show me as your own?
If you dare not, though you have eyes and mouth,
Should I sit satisfied, daydreaming that
My lover likes but dares not say he likes?
Cardenio. Urge no suspicion of what cannot be.
You deal unkindly or misbecomingly,
Because the man I wish to be depends
On you, both graced and gracing evermore.
Impediments can never hold my wish,
But our delays press patience to the ground
Almost to death, so that sex-passion's edge,
Too blunt as yet, must rather whet his tongue
To murder them for us.
Luscinda. Cold patience is asleep and takes our place
In bed. You are in love with her, not me.
Thus, my flames waver in the flint, choked off.
I'll lose a husband if I weep too loud,
Never to get one. When I cry for bonds,
Let freedom quit me, though I weep much more.
Cardenio. From which tomb does this inexistent ghost
Arise? I now perceive you have no care
For me. Duke, I obey your summons here,
Whether of war or peace, tomorrow march
As soldiers do. If to waste silken hours
At court, as fashion's slave with willing soul
I will embrace my lazy banishment,
Since my Luscinda's spirit dooms our love.
Luscinda. What do you mean? Why do you speak of dukes,
Of war, or court, or brainless banishment?
Cardenio. How new notes from forgotten instruments
Strike at our ears I do not care to know,
But yet the duke commands me to his court.
Luscinda. I now perceive the spring-time of your stop
And go, your hesitations and delays,
Why pale Luscinda is invisible.
To court? I understand. There you will seek
Past any doubt some choicer beauty, rich
In being new, trained in the arts of love,
What is considered so at palaces,
To prompt you into bolder hardiness,
Enough to say: "Should it please you, dear dad,
I choose at last a mistress of my own."
Cardenio. Mistaken still! As a slave I protest
I will arrive and leave. No mistress ink
Can blot me from your page, for all I know
The sea and land inherits in our world.
Luscinda. When do you go?
Cardenio. Tomorrow, sweet: so resonates the duke,
Our farewell kisses almost choking off
Before we think of parting. Interchange
Of far more than a thousand vows must hold,
By courrier haste cut short, though lovers' speech
Contains far heavier subjects of debate
Than dreaming statesmen, knowing little that
They dream, for ceremonies always wait
On Venus' throne.- Was that a sigh I heard
Or winds on grasses of forgotten tombs?
Luscinda. Cardenio, let me ponder lucidly
What, but for parting, I should blush to tell:
My heart beats thick with fears, lest richer scenes,
The splendors of a court, should from your breast
And mine my image banish, murdering
Your interest in me, or yours in mine,
And I be left the scoff of maidens, with
A widow's tear for our departed faith.
Cardenio. No, let assurance, as strong as words bind,
Tell your pleased soul I will be faithful still,
As true as sunlight in its lines of beams,
As shade to darkness, as desire to love.
Thus, if I swerve, let wretchedness take me,
As deep as dungeons falsehood ever found.
Luscinda. Enough. I'm satisfied, remaining yours,
Untired in constancy. But, truest love,
Do not delay: old men say yes and no,
Swayed more by interest than promises.
Should fresher offers like battalions come,
I may be pressed to something I dislike,
A father's faith in my obedience racked
Because of you.
Cardenio. With swiftest bulls of time I'll labor till
I turn again this way. Meantime, missed one,
My noble friend, our very honored guest,
Fernando, on whom I build trust on top
Of trust, will, for our sake, if you agree,
Hang heavily against your father's ear
With many hints of love, securing me
Above all marriage-vows you may obtain.
Here is Fernando, lending us to love
And happiness. Say, best of friends, can you
Replace Cardenio in a father's ear,
Fulfilling my hopes in her as you would
Your very own?
Fernando. Say that I am remiss if I fail to
Advance love's progress in her moistest cell,
Especially for your Luscinda, prize
Unseen since Paris's choice of goddesses
Among all women I have ever known.
Cardenio. And thereby breathes my terrors in the night,
Reflecting others may look as you do.
Fernando. No doubt some will. I'll wait for you outside,
To lend you for a while to your best self,
Till riding post-haste to my father's court.
Luscinda. Is there no instance of a friend turned false?
No love by proxy, my Cardenio.
Cardenio. I kiss such fears away.
Luscinda. My father!
Bernardo. What, Cardenio, in public?
Cardenio. But not yet in pubis, Don Bernardo.
Bernardo. A wooing much too urgent, nevertheless! Is your father yet apprised of your suit, the prime unfolder of love's contract?
Cardenio. I have not yet in full informed that man
I call my father, whom my services
Should follow all my days but not the nights,
Except to promulgate I chase a wife.
Bernardo. Let chase alone. You may stumble after the girl whom you profess to pursue, and yet catch her, but not unless a father lets you slip.- To be briefer than I wish, because my opinion is in Luscinda's view the eyes and feet of her obedience, I desire you to proceed no farther, till, as formerly said, Camillo makes known to me whether his liking marches along with ours, which, but once breathed, all is done, till which time, our business has no life, or the end cannot find its beginning.
Cardenio. I will once know his mind before I dream
Of sleep, and thus I take my leave.- My love,
Repose in all your beauties, sealed in hope.
Once more, adieu. I have your promises:
Remember, and be faithful.
Bernardo. The father is as unsettled as the son is wayward. If I thought Cardenio's temper unmended by his mother's sense, I would suffer somewhat under the effects of an old man's folly in giving my consent to this match. To yield you tardily some snatches of truth, if eyes direct the mind, I could look in this city on twenty men of a more refulgent aspect. I do not say this to unbend your affections altogether away from his desire, my meaning being that you should set such a price on yourself as many more men, perhaps choicer, may be inclined to buy, reckoning your virtues at the rate of its rareness in society, to which if father and son do not come up, you remain available for a more favorable mart.
Luscinda. Am I your merchandise?- How, startled, sir?
Recall what I once said. I do not dream
To be reported as so many girls
We grievingly hear of in Spanish streets:
Bold mouths in looser petticoats, but yet
Consider I have always loved your mind
Because you have respected mine. Do I
Bear judgment in this matter as you have
Allowed in others? Show it now, but know,
In any case, my dear obedience's sway
Is chained against the post of your advice.
Bernardo. Well said and wisely, female Machiavel. Your lover may be a little folly-tainted, I fear, which shortly after it proves so, you will repent.
Luscinda. I confess I approve of him more hotly than all the men I know, but that liking tastes tartly, till seasoned by your consent.
Bernardo. We'll soon hear what his father does, and so proceed accordingly. I have no great heart in this business, but neither do I with violence oppose it, leaving it to those powers ruling women's conjunctions, which philosophers since Socrates must despair of understanding. In regard to a more important matter: food, let us haste homeward, girl.
Exeunt Bernardo and Luscinda
Act 1. Scene 3. Before Violante's house at night
Enter Fernando and Giraldo with a torch and a lute
Fernando. Bear your light low. Where is your music, fool?
Giraldo. Here, at your elbow, never in your voice.
Fernando. After your tune, let no one near her house.
Giraldo. No, not her father.
Fernando. This Violante, my own Violante-
Can man love names before once meeting them?-
For whom my sighs ride hot on nightime's breath,
Is born too lowly, though she is as fair
As nature's richest mold which skill creates,
Improved with my imagination's force.
But what of that? Obscurenesses of birth
Cannot eclipse the heaven in her eyes,
Which make her all one light.- Strike up, fond slave.
In touching strings with a religious hand,
Teach sound to languish through a virgin ear,
Till melancholy startles from her bed,
And carelessness converts to love's repose.
She drives me into wonder. I sometimes
Hear glad replies from Violante where
She never can be found, of whose report
I guess how she may lie, still raving on,
As if with seven reigns she slanders time.
When she discourses on her country state,
Health, virtue, plainness, and simplicity,
On beauties true in title, false in art,
Her freedom to do and to think assured,
My head grows sick of birth and rank, and I
Become in mind a rutting villager.
Play on; she sleeps too soundly.- Vanish, slave.
A gleam like hope most sudden on her door,
Her taper graced by heaven's midnight hand!
Exit Giraldo, enter Violante and Ancianada above
Violante. What man woos at this late hour? Who are you?
Fernando. One who composes one part of your dreams.
Violante. Who let you in?- Not Ancianada, ha?
Ancianada. Somewhat, girl.
Violante. Once more, who are you, sir? Fernando, or
The ear deceives as men most often do.
You have your answer, sir, before I speak.
Acteon boldy entering at night
And I without a hound to punish him!
Ancianada. Unless duennas may aptly termed
Dogs of your honor.
Violante. I dare not, Ancianada.- To you, sir.
Befriend your virtues better, give me leave,
Securing reputation, not to know
What pangs a lover suffers. Labor lost
On dirt and stones it is when lovers seek
To plant their rose-affections in my shade,
Not least for them to grow there.
Fernando. Why, Violante?
Violante. Alas! There are such reasons, numberless,
To bar your aims. Be warned to love or hope
More wholesomely at virgin-clearer hours
Than these watched-for in vain. I have read tales-
I fear, too true- how many rakish lords,
Besing their way in houses, rhyme their hearts
In gross abuse of things divine, set down
Plain girls as idols of their worshipped fane,
Then leave them to bewail their easy faith,
And stand alone against the world's contempt.
Fernando. Your memory, too faithful to the wrongs
Of willing women, makes fear general.
Violante. Let women's faces rest more homely chaste,
Attracting lords demurely, venting speech
Like breathing, not with open laughing mouths,
But crediting their oaths with such a tune
As you profess them: thus, no party's trust
Bemoans a losing bargain. Home, my lord.
What you should say is too unseasonable
And absonant. Moreover, your perfume,
Too near my nose, does not rejoice the sense
Like freshest violets in a loved one's grave.
Fernando. A harsh rebuke invites.
Violante. Men of your temper, I regret to see,
Make everything their brambles. But I wrong
The place I am preserving, virgin's cell,
To hold so long a speech. May virtues guide
You to some nobler purposes tonight.
Fernando. Stay, stay. By leaving, you attract me more.
Abandon lovers later with some hope.-
She's gone.- Who am I, frothing, too contemned?
The first son of a duke? Hum, what of that?
Our greater birth forbids us to descend
To low alliances: the self-same stuff
Knits up our shirts and coats, but clay like hers
Is pure, and takes away my title, got
Not by myself, but heaped by fortune's sway,
Or by the merit of some ancestor
Of unknown quality. Her face and mind
Inherit virtues to outweigh my own,
So that I need to stoop to win her here,
Throw all my gay comparisons aside,
And turn my proud additions out of pay,
Rather than keep them to become their slave.
The dignities we wear seem gifts of pride,
Much laughed at by the wise as mere outside.
I itch with lust.- No, keep away, far, far.
I tingle to the very tip of it.
No word, or else I use two swords tonight.
Exit Fernando inside the house and re-enter Giraldo
Giraldo. So, is she won at last?
Ancianada. Not in the way I hoped. O Virgin, help!
Giraldo. A maquarella prays, when she laid out
The sheets her startled mistress must bleed on.
Ancianada. Life's first syllable is woe.
Giraldo. Hot deeds are stirring. I hear their sounds, but this can in no fashion be called love. I barely contain myself to play with myself.
Ancianada. Salacious-lolling cur, wriggling weasel, will you remove your ear from the door?
Giraldo. I do, involuntary bawd. What he is doing now no one should attempt to know about.
Ancianada. What have I done? Sacrificed my mistress to ribaldry and loathsomeness! For what? Mere coins, vanished tomorrow for an ear-ring!
Giraldo. Console your mountain breasts by letting me share a little in the pile, best reward of filthy stratagems.
Ancianada. Your gold for sinning well.
Giraldo. The world's most common way, old remonstrance! Thank your hypocrisy for our riches.
Exeunt Ancianada and Giraldo