« AnteriorContinua »
When I said,
“ May God preserve thee," was it not polite?
Now thou so loudly vauntest all thou art,
And spurnest my salute ; another time
I'll say, “ May God preserve thee not." 2nd Servant.
Though thou treat’st all, as one born from the rocks ;
Yet still Astolfo merits more respect.
Sigismund. He wearied me, speaking in such high phrase ;
Besides, he puts his hat on. 2nd Servant.
He is great.
Sigismund. But I am greater.
Nay, but it is well
To show him more respect than all the rest.
Sigismund. And who gave thee the right to interfere ?
Estrella. Welcome, your Highness, welcome to the throne
Which longed for thee, and joyously receives thee.
Here, in despite of every artifice,
May'st thou live in all splendour: may thy life
Be reckoned, not by years, but centuries.
Sigismund (to CLARIN). Here tell me-quick-who is this sovereign
This human goddess, at whose feet divine
The heavens have cast their glory? Who is she ?
Clarin. Estrella, thy fair cousin, good my lord.
Sigismund. Estrella! Thou shouldst rather say, the sun.*
(To Estrella). Although 'tis well that thou shouldst give me joy
Of the felicity that I have gained,
I only can admit a gratulation
For seeing thee ; and thus that I attain
A joy I have deserved not, I accept
Right heartily thy welcome. Oh, bright star,
That dawnest, dimming the most shining light,
Say, what is left for the poor sun to do,
When with the day thou risest? I would kiss
Thy lovely hand, whence from a cup of snow
The morn drinks brightness.
Thou art courteous, sir. Astolfo (aside). If he should take her hand, then I am lost. 2nd Servant (aside). I know Astolfo's thoughts; and will prevent him. (To SIGISMUND). Pr'ythee, my lord, observe it is not right
To take these freedoms, when Astolfo
* That is, rather than a "star," which the word “ Estrella” signifies.
I told thee not to interfere with me.
2nd Servant. I tell thee what is right.
And I tell thee,
That this annoys me; and that nought seems right
That is against my will.
2nd Servant. Yet thou hast said, my lord, in a just cause,
Obedience is but right.
And I said, too,
That from the balcony I'll hurl the man
That seeks to trouble me. 2nd Servant.
A man, like me,
Such lot can ne'er befal.
Nay, can it not?
By heav'ns I'll try it!
(Seizes him, and goes off with the rest, except Astolfo and
ESTRELLA; they presently return with him.)
What is this I see?
Estrella. Prevent him.
He has fallen from the window
Into the sea.—'Twas very possible.
Astolfo. Select a wider space for thy wild actions-
A man has that relation to a brute
There is between a palace and wild mountain. Sigismund. Thou, by the use of such discourteous phrase,
Mayst want a head to wear thy hat upon.
Basilio. What is all this?
Oh, nought of consequence ;
Only a man that troubled me, I flung
From off the balcony.
Clarin (to SIGISMUND).
This is the king. Basilio. What,-has thy coming cost a life already? Sigismund. He told me 'twas impossible ; but I,
Methinks, have won the wager.
Basilio. It grieves me, Prince, that when I come to see thee,
Hoping to find thee triumph o'er the fates,
I should behold this reckless cruelty,
And that thy first act is a homicide.
How can I now extend my arms to thee,
Knowing that thy embrace has learned to kill ?
Who ever looked upon a naked knife
That has struck mortally, and has not trembled?
Who ever gazed upon the blood-stained spot
Where murder has been done, without a pang ?
Even the boldest must obey his nature.
And thus, when in thine arms I can behold
An instrument of death, and also see
The blood-stained spot, I e'en must shrink from thee;
And though I thought, with tenderest embrace,
To clasp thy neck, I must avoid it now.
There's fear within thine arms.
Well, be it so ;
I need not thy embrace; I've been content
Without it hitherto. A sire like thee,
That dealt against me such great cruelty,
Banishing me so coldly from thy presence,
Treating me as I were some monstrous beast,-
Attempting, too, my life, -oh, little worth
Are thy embraces, as thou didst deprive me
Of my existence as a man,
I would I ne'er had given it thee, nor heard
Thy voice, nor seen thy reckless wickedness.
Sigismund. Hadst thou ne'er given it, I should not complain.
It is, that having given, thou takest it from me.
I know that giving is a glorious act,
But giving, and then taking back again,
Is so much more the base.
These are fine thanks
For raising thee-a humble prisoner-
Unto a prince's station.
Why should I thank thee, tyrant of my will ?
Thou now art old and weak; and by thy death,
What dost thou give that was not mine before?
Thou art my father and my king; and therefore
Hath Nature given me all this majesty
By right of her own law; though I am raised
To this estate, I owe no thanks to thee.
Rather should I ask reckoning of the time
In which thou took’st my freedom-honour-life.
Thou shouldst thank me that I seek no redress,
Although thou art my debtor.
Basilio. Thou art a wild barbarian ; well the Heav'ns
Have proved their words by thee; and by those Heav'ns,
Thou art puff'd up with empty vanity;
And though at last thou knowest who thou art,
Having dispelled all error-and although
Thou standest where thou art the first of all,
Yet mark my warning-be of humbler mood :-
Perchance thou dream'st, although thou seem'st awake.
Sigismund. Perchance I dream, although I seem awake?
I do not dream.-Well do I feel and know,
Both what I was, and what I am. In vain
Dost thou repent at last : sigh as thou wilt,
Thou canst not take away my right by birth
To wear thy crown ; and if thou saw'st me first
Yield to my dungeon, this was the sole cause-
I knew not who I was. I know it now
I am a compound of the man and brute.
Enter ROSAURA, in a woman's dress.
Rosaura. I come to seek Estrella, but I fear
Lest I should meet Astolfo ; for Clotaldo
Desires he should not recognize me bere,
Saying, that this imports niy honour much.
I trust Clotaldo, for to him I owe
The boon of life and honour granted here.
Clarin (to SIGISMUND). Of all that thou hast seen, what pleased thee
Sigismund. Being prepared for all, at nought I wondered.
But is there anything in all the world
I can admire, 'tis woman's loveliness.
I read once in the books that I possessed,
That God displayed his greatest skill in man,
Being a world in little; but I doubt
It was in woman, being a little heav'n,
Surpassing man in beauty, full as much
As are the heavens placed above the earth;
And most of all, the one that I see here.
Rosaura. It is the prince, I will retire.
Combine not thus thy rising with thy setting,
Flying at once ; for if thou joinest thus
Thy setting and thy rising-light and shade
Thou wilt omit the daylight altogether."
But who is this I see?
I scarce believe
What I behold.
I must have seen this beauty.
Rosaura. This pomp-this grandeur, I have seen confined
Within a prison.
I have found my life!
Woman,- for that's the dearest epithet
That man can utter, *_tell me who thou art.
Had I not seen thee, still I had admired;
Knowing that I have seen thee, thou art mine.
Who art thou, lovely one?
I must dissemble.
I am a maiden of Estrella's suite,
And a most hapless one.
Nay, say not so:
Say, rather, thou’rt the sun, by whose bright Aame
That star exists,t taking from thee her light.
In the sweet realm of odours I have seen
How, among all the company of flow'rs,
The rose presided as a deity,
Being their empress, as most beautiful.
Among the precious stones, too, I have seen
How, in the wise academy of mines,
The diamond has been far above the rest,
Being their emp'ror, for its greater lustre.
And I have seen, too, in the brilliant court,
Held in the restless country of the stars,
How the bright morning-star is king of all.
And I have seen, where in more perfect spheres,
The sun has called the planets to his court,
How he has reigned o'er all-day's oracle.
If then, the fairest amid flow'rs and stones,
Planets and constellations, reign supreme,
How is it thou canst serve inferior beauty,
Being from thine own loveliness the sun,
The rose, the diamond, and the morning-star ?1
Clotaldo enters, and remains apart. Clotaldo (aside). I still have hopes of taming Sigismund.
'Twas I that brought him up. What do I see? Rosaura. This kindness I esteem, my lord, and silence
Will be in me an eloquent reply.
For when the reason's slow, he speaks the best,
Who knows to hold his peace.
Still do not go ; Why would'st thou leave my sense in darkness thus? Rosaura. I beg this favour of your Highness.
* There is a fine rugged energy in this expression
"Muger, que aquesto nombre
Es el mejor requiebro para el bombre."--J. O. † “ That star" is Estrella, the old quibble being repeated.-J. 0.
It is in speeches like this, when, instead of being a mere display of frigid ingenuity, a rapid fancy becomes the organ of real warmth, that Calderon appears mcontestably great.-J. O. VOL. XCVI.