Act 3. Scene 1. The ducal palace
Enter Cardenio and Rodrigo
Rodrigo. Here is the money for my brother's choice
Of horses as he wished.
Cardenio. I thank you as himself.
Rodrigo. Hold. Is Fernando your good friend as yet?
Cardenio. Yes, I would fight against thick hordes of steel
Who dare to say my friend and I are not.
Rodrigo. Remain at court.
Cardenio. Why, my good lord?
Rodrigo. Some matters much pertaining to his case,
Like a physician seeking blood to find
Whether the patient is amendable,
You may discover, for his weal and mine.
Cardenio. I serve your pleasure as I would my own.
Exit Rodrigo and enter Fabian
My uncle sweating in unseemly haste!
Fabian. A message from your love.
Fabian. I hope a Spanish lover has not two.
Fabian. When from the window she cried out my name,
New passions shook her voice, while from her eyes
Distraction wildly shot her random bolts,
Bespeaking news above a common grief.
O treacherous and damned Fernando! Friend?
Yes, as a scorpion when the locust sings.
Fabian. Some hardier patience, nephew, when you cry.
Cardenio. Is there a treachery akin to this
Recorded anywhere? I'll tear the book.
It is itself its very parallel,
Drawn by a false geometer professed.
Did I say friendship? I say nothing yet,
A sound heard growling fierce among the beasts,
The emptiest tigers holding amity
Together while confronting evil man.
Fabian. Resigned upbraidings cool the broth of time.
Cardenio. I'm counseled.
Fabian. To wild employments take me, any course
That's honest, though unsafe. With violent deeds,
I'll give you cause to say an uncle lives.
Cardenio. No more than this, kind uncle: go to her
To say Cardenio will become Cardenio,
Postpone a wedding blessed by maddened priests,
Most happily spoil wine-cups of his lust,
All good events ensuing. Let me crave
One minute with Rodrigo, then disguise
The lover as the predator of man,
To yield me to my love, unmarked and sure.
Fabian. You will not lack my help in anything.
Cardenio. Luscinda, bear on boulders rudest shocks,
Hold out your breath against desire's assault
From one of widest harm. Our services
Will be devoted to repay such constancy.
Exeunt Cardenio and Fabian
Act 3. Scene 2. Inside a church
Enter Fernando and Giraldo
Fernando. I could not penetrate, but reached so far,
Attempting to in vain, that to becalm
The angry-hopeful dad, I was forced to
Propose that woman's hope called marriage rites.
Giraldo. How, to be wedded now?
Fernando. Come, never stare, I will find ways or die
Preventing man's disaster.
Giraldo. Otherwise you are another, not Fernando.
Fernando. Though both expect me married in this place,
I will find ways to thwart the entreprise.
Giraldo. And we, except the principals, convened to enjoy the spectacle.
Fernando. Behold and learn.
Giraldo. I do, both for myself and my uncertain progeniture.
Fernando. Through this door for bolder planning.
Giraldo. I follow.
Exeunt Fernando and Giraldo, enter Luscinda in a wedding dress and Ancianada
Luscinda. Were you discharged from your former place?
Ancianada. I was, through no fault of my own.
Luscinda. I'm told you played the bawd.
Ancianada. The unfortunate result of an absurd and cruel misunderstanding between myself and my former mistress.
Luscinda. Having lost Florinda, I take you.
Ancianada. My mistress!
Luscinda. I hope, to the last sweaty minute hope,
He'll come. Cardenio has not yet received
My note, or else some other faces have
Repealed his changing eye, for what excuse
Explains a tardiness so wilful? None.
It is no business. - No, no! Ah, that note!
Ancianada. Man will be trusted more than woman is.
Luscinda. Not yet delivered, or the man is sick,
Or- pale suggestion, will you frighten me?-
Cardenio with Fernando plan and wink
On plotted purposes to yield me up,
Expecting many other mistresses.
Presumption can make powerful this point:
His own protraction, that friend left behind-
His strain lacks jealousy and therefore love.
As surely as life pukes into death,
This new surmise seems boldest revelation.
Fernando would not, dares not thus infringe
The law of friendship, to provoke a man
Who holds a sword and bears the flag of youth
As fresh as he- dares not- contrivances,
Gross daubing between men.- I'm overheard.
Luscinda. Go, Ancianada, prove you are my own
By keeping off my father for a time.
Ancianada. You speak to one born for such tricks.
Cardenio. Luscinda, has this happy veil of love,
Unhappy to me, lost me to all knowledge here?
Luscinda. O my Cardenio! Save me from myself.
Your sad voice batters down debates of doubt,
And cures me of a thousand heartsick fears
Sprung from blank absence, yet awakes a mist
Of other sleeping terrors.- Do you weep?
Cardenio. Luscinda, no, or if I do, it is
The substance of my eye. Could I but weep!
For then my eye would melt against my heart,
And kill the conflagration raging there.
Luscinda. You are possessed in full how things go here.
First, welcome heartily to my last hour.
Now maiden springtime bliss is almost done,
My briefest lease of life almost expired.
Cardenio. Not so, Luscinda.
Luscinda. Cardenio, yes. An everlasting wolf
Broods in my house, which I cannot close out.
I cannot moan and weep in further talk.
Thus it is: your brief absence yields down births
Of what my note aborted, at this time
Almost on the effecting-
(Bells are heard
Hear music breathing on my catafalque,
Now, now, a-tuning, which must celebrate
A business too discordant! Tell me, then,
What you will do.
Cardenio. I do not know. Advise me in this case.
I'll kill the traitor.
Luscinda. Take instant heed: his death, though much deserved,
Can better no known cause. No killing here.
Cardenio. My blood stands stiller, all my faculties
Are by enchantments stopped. Your gracious force,
The guardian of sworn faith and suffering,
Inspires prevention of this dreaded way
The moment it is uttered. Hurry out,
To fly this instant from the house of woe.
Luscinda. Alas, impossible! My steps are watched.
No exit in my scene, or in your own.
Cardenio. To see you wedding-ravished to my nose?
I'll force our passage. Do I wear a sword?
On man's thigh never sharper if I see
The faithless actor play his part; if not,
I will lead you to honor. Should he take,
Call me a tame pale coward, as when mice
Affright the owl in barns. Give it to men.
Luscinda. Cardenio, peace, and trust on only love.
I have forethought somewhat a choicer way
To disappoint my nuptials.- Hark again.
(Bells are heard
Those are the bells that knoll for us. The lights
Move all our way and groan. Behind that door
Take up your secret stand. No more disputes:
There you may mark the passages of hell,
Yet, more: I charge you by our dearest ties,
Whatever you behold, or hear, or feel,
In your concealment rest a silent grave.
Come, hide, discerning I am Amazon-armed
(showing a dagger
To fall, a dark-faced dripping sacrifice
Before the Christian world.
(thrusting Cardenio behind a door
I dare not tell most of my purposes,
Lest they wrap you in very agonies
A manly love could never understand.
Enter Bernardo and re-enter Fernando
Fernando. Luscinda, will you in such darkened gloom
My triumph darken, suffering dismay
And wan displeasure to subdue that cheek
Where love should lie enthroned? Behold your slave-
No, do not frown, for each hour of our life
Will task me to your service, till by marks
Of candid love I blot your low-born love
From every loving parchment.
Luscinda. With such a pen, my pages will be stained.
The counsel is corrupt.
Fernando. Come, you will change, and change, and change again.
Luscinda. Why make your wife's breasts of such stones as these
So liable to change? This strategem
Still speaks against itself, and vilifies
The purest of our judgment. For birth's sake,
I will not heap my hoarded curses yet,
Or give my meanings language. For the love
Of all good things together, yet take heed,
And spurn the tempter back.
Bernardo. Perverse and foolish wretch!
Luscinda. How may a woman be obedient and
Wise? My obedience cannot strip my love,
Nor can I then be wise. Grace against grace!
Ungracious if I disobey a father's fad,
More perjured if I do! My lord, reflect,
Not yet too late, should ever knots be tied,
Some violence damnable is often used,
No fashion to dissever but with whoring.
You wed an empty body, not my own,
No part of my affection. Sound it well,
Cardenio's love is not Fernando's wife:
Have you one nerve inside of ears for that?
Fernando. No shot of reason can come near the place
Where love reigns fortified. The day will come
When you will chide this backwardness,
And bless the fervor of our violent course.
Luscinda. Never, Fernando, never, never, friend.
When you will find what prophet you appear,
You'll speak with untamed madmen all day long.
Bernardo. No more of talking in a darksome fog.
If you will knit to your obedience, good;
If not, unbolt the portal and be gone,
My blessing far behind meek insolence.
Luscinda. Your pardon, father, as I love true words,
I will not swerve from duty and respect,
Though costing dead reales of our Spanish blood.
Bernardo. Well, to the point at last. We'll finish this.
Give me your hand.- My honored lord, receive
My daughter of me - come, no dragging back
Except with curses- whom I yield to you,
And wish you joy and honor on this day.
Luscinda. His is the elder claim, his, his, his, his.
Bernardo. Ha! Who are you?
Luscinda. One almost sinking in my knowledge, piked
Right through like soldiers with man's injuries.
Fernando. Is it Cardenio speaking? Hear at once:
Is he not sent by our commands at court,
Awaiting our dismissal? Will he dare,
Our vassal merely ours, to sneak away
Unpriviledged, alone, and secretly,
To leave my business unaccomplished?
Luscinda. Ungenerous lord! Circumstance of things
Should stop the tongue of question. You wrong me,
Twit me so basely in so dear a point
As stains the cheek of honor with dark blood,
All bonds of service cancel, bid respect
Shog off, throw wildly all alliances
In eminence, and, in their awful stead,
Fill up a panting heart with just defiance.
If you have sense of shame or justice, then
Forego this sad intent, or with your sword,
As if I were a man, cut me. I'll thank.
Cardenio dead, Luscinda may be yours,
But, living, far too rich a prize for lords.
Fernando. Vain girl! The present hour is fraught with gears
Of richer moment. Love will first be served.
Should courage hold my claim to take you here,
I may have leisure to chastise these dares.
Luscinda. I'll seize my right.
Bernardo. What, here, a brawl? Man with a woman tugged?
I'll turn each sworder boisterously away,
And see none live to mar our joys today.
Fernando. She dies.
Bernardo. Ha! Are you glad?- No, give her air. Away!
Fernando. My hopeful mind misdoubts my sanity.-
What paper falls from her? Let us see that.
Bernardo. Lift her head. Darkness will recover her.
The handwriting is hers.
She will do violence to herself, alone
Or in the church, which nature has prevented here.
What dagger does she mean? Search her out well.
Bernardo. Here is the dagger. O the stubborn sex,
Rash even to cold pits of madnesses!
Fernando. Life flows in her again. I knew it would.-
Giraldo, bear her to her chamber door,
And tend her as you would your mother's corpse.
Exit Giraldo bearing Luscinda
Bernardo, these tumults will soon decline,
The cause removed, and all return to love.
In women, passions show as brief a spark
As they are cannon-potent in effect.
Bernardo. Our curate waits.
Fernando. Let every priest nod off on prayer-books.
Come, let us go. My soul is all on fire,
And burns impatient at a fool's delay.
Exeunt Fernando and Bernardo
Act 3. Scene 3. A street
Enter Rodrigo and Camillo
Rodrigo. Cardenio's quittance suddenly and a
No-brother's perdurated absences,
Warm only for a stranger woman's needs,
Who cannot couple but my father howls
Almost to madness, thrust me to suspicions
And sleep-preventing dreams- no, worse than those:
Snuff out the recreations sex demands
At candle-light. So like a whirlwind's might
They snatch me off, away from my own self.
Perforce I know my brother, yet, old sir,
Rejoiced to meet you in resolving mists
In this kin's compounds, as if dirtying
The glass in chemical experiments
That appertain to me. Say what ails you.
Rodrigo. Come. Is it possible old men forget
Their friends as well as where their houses are?
Rodrigo. A being who loves others for an hour.
Camillo. None of those, should you be like other lords.
Rodrigo. I am Rodrigo, as I rarely lie,
Yet I protest I love you very well.
Camillo. You love my son too very well, I think,
One who believes too suddenly court-creed.
Rodrigo. All is not well, but do not rail as yet
Before I know your troubles or my own.
Camillo. All lords behave dishonorably still.
Rodrigo. I am so far from understanding wrongs
That I know nothing of your discontents.
Camillo. You do not know yet, on my conscience, how
Your brother, noble Lord Fernando- heap
Rots on dissemblers!- under masks and shades
Of buying coursers, from his plighted faith
Displaced Cardenio. Is this honoring?
Do you befriend such an inconstant friend?
Rodrigo. I dare not say so.
Camillo. Now that you filch him of his love, take all:
Complete your malice by dispatching life,
Both his and mine together in an hour.
Rodrigo. If you regard, I'll speak a little more.
Camillo. The duke your father- more such men, O world!-
Would have been scissored in three pieces ere
Committing treachery. By Venus' shell,
Had he but dreamt Fernando had resolved
To prick apart a man and woman thus-
I lose what I am saying-
Rodrigo. More of a father's madness, I can guess.
Camillo. Done, done. I ease my spleen, that's all. Now talk.
Rodrigo. As second son of a duke, hear my plea,
A feint for no man and no woman. I
Am so far from guilt of the least suspicion
Of what you mean that, fearing the reports
On your Cardenio and my brother may
Bemonster gorgons fit to startle me,
I travel here to know the truth from you.-
Camillo. Can there be one so near in blood as you
To that Fernando speaking honestly?
Rodrigo. When he is good, my nearness I confess,
But since his fall, he's nothing, sand on stones,
A stranger's face I glanced at yesterday
And as soon lost to mind.
Camillo. This changes me. Forgive old fools, my lord,
I never knew your goodness till this hour.
Rodrigo. No harm as yet.
Camillo. Yet is it possible you never heard
Of brawls between Luscinda, virgin-proof
Against assaults of man's incontinence,
And your persisting brother?
Rodrigo. No, nothing of all this.
Camillo. My brother?
Fabian. I bear you tidings, brother, I wish by
Some other tongue delivered than my own.
Camillo. From where, I pray?
Fabian. From your son.
Camillo. Where is he?
Fabian. Much more than I can tell or hope to find.
But this I can assure you: he has left
The city raging mad. May nature send
Him comfort! To that cursed marriage he
Stepped forth to interrupt, but never did.
Instead, some citizens reveal, he ran,
His collar torn, away to darksome glens
With ravished looks, wild, more like human beasts
Than man condemned.
Camillo. I pray, call priests to bid the knoll for me.
Go, go, my friend. Your news deserve no thanks.
What does your lordship say to this new tale?
Rodrigo. Nothing, except all will be well, nothing.
Camillo. It must, though we live in a crooked world.
Farewell, Cardenio! Do you even live?
Bernardo. Such harms arise from forcing women where
They hate. Thus, thus, old fools rewarded still!
Behold an aged oak, alone and shorn,
Bare for all tempests. I should weep again,
Though almost with vexations dried to death.
Lord, what a heavy prisoner I hold
Within, against my will, detested, dead.
Camillo. Has worse ill weathers dashed you stupidly?
Bernardo. Luscinda, were I with you grovelling!
Camillo. You come to mock?
Camillo. Do not dissemble: you may find a knave
As bad as you, undoing you of life.
I hope to see that day before I die.
Bernardo. No need, Camillo, I can die alone,
A fool sufficient to himself. Rail loud,
As bitterly as thought-dreams wing aloft,
For I deserve much worse. Luscinda's gone,
To forests, caves, I know not where or how.
Camillo. She has a blessing being far away
From you. I was too poor a brother for
Ambition, to be grafted into stocks
Of rising nobleness. My state was mocked
And my alliance scorned. Because of you,
I lose a son, which must not be excused.
(taking out a sword
Rodrigo. Hold off. Be counseled. Fear yet worse from fate.
Both equal in your losses, urge no more.
To son and daughter's full recovery,
My foot stands foremost.
Bernardo. Camillo, hear unhappy pleas near death,
Do not for charity deny your love.
Permit this lord to make two brothers of
Us, whom misfortune never joined. What I
Have been, forget; what I intend to be,
Believe and feed. Give me your trembling hand.
Camillo. May heaven make you honest! I cannot.
Rodrigo. Done like good men! Before we part in quest
Of friends, attendants over wildest rocks
Will ease our search. Tomorrow may we meet
To tell the happy fortunes of our day.
Exeunt Rodrigo, Camillo, and Bernardo, enter Violante and re-renter Fabian
Violante. Rodrigo, hear my silent voice of woe,
I wish your brother had such care and scope!
Yet there remains some little nest of hope
To chirp me to some patience. A bad match
Is crossed, the parties separate, and I
May see again the man who has betrayed,
To wound his conscience sharply. Home again
I will not go, wherever fortune guides,
Though every step I take I trample on
Black snakes as fearful as a man becomes.
Hear, my Fernando, I will follow you
Wherever day appears. Time may beget
More wonders.- Are you here again? What news?
Fabian. None but the worst. Your father loudly makes
Some offers by a crier so that men
May bring you home again.
Violante. Are you corrupted?
Fabian. I hope you do not fear me.
Violante. I cannot yet. When you deceive, take heed,
Cursed of all heaven's creatures.
Fabian. I'll hang instead.
Violante. Bless nature for that end. I heard a man
Say more than this, and yet that man is false.
You will not be so.
Fabian. No, by my life-
Violante. I credit you. But yet I pray you hear:
Take heed, do not fail: I do not doubt you,
Yet I have trusted such a serious face
And been abused more evilly than most.
Fabian. If I fail in your trust-
Violante. I do you wrong to hold your honesty
At distance thus. You will know my intents.
Get me a goatherd's habit.
Fabian. Done certainly within an hour. What else?
Violante. Wait for me in the evening, when I say
You'll see my strangest ends. Take heed once more.
Fabian. Do I behold the wretched common case
Of an abandoned woman hurrying
To catch her mate?
Violante. You do, but to what purpose is unknown.
I hate myself much more than I hate him,
For honorable women always find
One word to stamp out hornet lusts before
The head appears above the virgin wall.
This only as a counsel: life and death
I proffer equally into your hand:
Let no reward or hope aside from mine
Be cast into a scale to plummet faith.
Be honest but for virtue's sake, that's all:
He who kneels on that treasure cannot fall.
Exeunt Violante and Fabian