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Escena: En una ciudad de Flandes, inmediata al mar



archiduque flamenco


duque flamenco, hermano de Diana


Duque de Cleves, flamenco


conde, elector del Imperio, tudesco, alemán, palatino del Rin, pretendiente


¿noble?, dama flamenca, hija de Liberio, hermana de Otón


lacayo (sirve a D. Rodrigo), criado, gracioso, ¿soldado?, ¿capitán?


condesa de Oberisel, viuda, flamenca, cásase con Casimiro


difunto hermano de Pinabel, flamenco


categoría desconocida


caballero-criado (sirve a Casimiro), ¿tudesco? ¿alemán?


noble, prima de Diana, flamenca, cásase con Pinabel


caballero flamenco


viejo, ¿noble?, gobernador, flamenco


caballero italiano, gentil-hombre, nombre fingido de D. Rodrigo


criada (sirve a Liberio y a Clavela), flamenca


noble, secretario (sirve a la Condesa), capitán (sirve a la Condesa), flamenco, hijo de Liberio, nombre fingido de D. Rodrigo


noble flamenco, hijo de Liberio


¿noble?, caballero, ¿capitán?, alcaide de Albareal, flamenco


¿caballero flamenco?

D. Rodrigo Girón


P. anón.: acompañamiento de la Condesa (76a, acot. 3; R I, 689b, acot. 1; 554a, acot. 1; no habla); soldados (78a, acot. 1; 649a, acot. 4; 558a, acot. 5; no hablan); acompañamiento de la Condesa (89a, acot. 1; 721a, acot. 1; 548b, acot.; no habla).


Don Rodrigo and Chinchilla have just arrived in Flanders from Spain. Since Rodrigo is the second son in his family, he has no inheritance and so is poor, but he has a letter of introduction to the Archduke, who, unfortunately, is not at home at the moment. They are debating what to do when Roberto appears and, seeing Rodrigo, mistakes him for Liberio's son, Otón, who has been gone for three years. Roberto summons Liberio and his daughter, Clavela, who comes and greets Rodrigo as Otón. Rodrigo is confused, but Chinchilla tells him to pretend to be Otón. Chinchilla learns from a servant, Lucrecia, that Otón had to flee because he killed a favorite of the Duke of Cleves. The Duke is now dead, though, and his widow Diana, the Condesa de Oberisel, is in charge now and Otón has nothing to fear. Pinabel, the dead mean's brother, has forgiven Otón because he is in love with Clavela.

Casimiro, meantime, has come to the Condesa, sent by her brother, who wants her to marry Casimiro. She tells him, however, that it is too soon after her husband's death for her to marry, that she is still in mourning. In fact, she uses this as a pretext because she does not want to marry.

Pinabel asks the Condesa to intercede for him with Liberio and asks him to marry Clavela and Pinabel. She agrees, and they call Liberio and Clavela and tell them of Pinabel's request. Liberio proposes to let Otón (Rodrigo) decide since he has returned. Pinabel talks to Otón (Rodrigo), who says he has a friend in Spain named Rodrigo who loves Clavela because of having heard so much about her and that he promised to wait a year before letting her marry so that Rodrigo could meet her. He promises to write Rodrigo, though, to see if he's still interested. Actually Otón (Rodrigo) is interested in Clavela himself and makes all this up in order to put Pinabel off.

At this point Casimiro attacks the Condesa's palace. Since she won't marry him willingly he has decided to carry her off by force, as Paris did Helen. During this upheaval Otón (Rodrigo) meets the Condesa and is quite taken by her. Chinchilla says that perhaps he should have let Pinabel marry Clavela, after all.


Both the Condesa and Clavela are attracted to Otón (Rodrigo), although Clavela still thinks he's her brother. During a conversation with Clavela, the Condesa nearly lets her feelings for Otón (Rodrigo) slip out, but she covers it over by saying that Otón is really her salvation because if Casimiro surrenders to him and returns with him she'll surrender to Casimiro. She says she loves Casimiro, but that he shouldn't have tried to win her by force.

Otón (Rodrigo) returns and tells them that Casimiro has been defeated and that Pinabel proved to be a valiant leader in the battle against Casimiro.

Rodrigo (Otón) really likes the Condesa, but he decides that if he can't win her he'll settle for Clavela. He goes to a window of the palace at night, looking for the Condesa, but Clavela is there instead. She pretends to be the Condesa and tells him that she really loves Casimiro, but that she didn't want to be forced by him. Casimiro and Floro happen to overhear this conversation and Casimiro is delighted, of course to learn that the "Condesa" loves him. Otón (Rodrigo) on the other hand, is equally sad.

Shortly thereafter Otón (Rodrigo), who is still out in the street, hears Casimiro talking inside the palace about his joy at the prospect of soon being the master of the Condesa's palaces. When Chinchilla tells Otón (Rodrigo) that Casimiro was outside the Condesa's window a few minutes before, Otón (Rodrigo) is sure that the Condesa and Casimiro had planned to meet at the window, but that he had disrupted their plans by arriving first. At this point the Condesa comes to the window, complaining that she cannot sleep. Upon seeing her, Otón (Rodrigo) speaks to her, referring to just having talked to her moments before. Filled with jealousy, she wonders to whom he spoke previously, and decides to pretend to be Clavela in order to see what she can find out. As Clavela, she tells him she's waiting at the window for Pinabel, whom she loves very much. Believing that the time has come to tell her the truth, Rodrigo reveals that he is not her brother. He tells her his true identity and the story of how he had to leave Spain because his older brother was unfair to him. They had quarreled and he wounded his brother. Still believing she is Clavela, he says he loves her, but since she loves Pinabel, he will return to Spain. She stops him and tells him she really loves him, now that she knows he's not her brother. The Condesa says all of this merely as a ploy to keep him from going back to Spain.


Both the Condesa and Clavela have been kept awake thinking of love, and they encounter each other early in the morning. The Condesa tells Clavela that she (Clavela) is to marry Pinabel that very day because it is not fair to keep him any longer. Left alone, Clavela says she prefers death to marrying Pinabel.

Rodrigo and the Condesa have a conversation during which she surmises that Clavela has told him that she (the Condesa) loves Casimiro and Rodrigo thinks that Clavela has told her who he really is, because she accuses him of being jealous of Pinabel's affection for Clavela.

There follows a scene between the Condesa and Rodrigo where she talks in enigmas and leaves him completely confused. She tries to put on a glove that is too small and says it can be stretched to fit -- an analogy with the idea of his rising to her rank -- but he isn't sure of her meaning. She thinks if he is clever he will see that she loves him, although she still believes that he loves Clavela.

Casimiro hopes to win, defeated, what he could not accomplish in war; however, the Condesa is not happy to see him again. Meanwhile, Pinabel, growing impatient with Otón's (Rodrigo's) insistence that Pinabel and Clavela cannot marry until he hears from "Rodrigo" in Spain, tells Casimiro that Otón (Rodrigo) is trying to usurp his position with the Condesa, a piece of news that prompts Casimiro to swear to kill Otón (Rodrigo).

The Condesa dictates a letter to Otón (Rodrigo) to be delivered to the person who loves her "more than himself," telling him to meet her in the garden at twelve o'clock. He hesitates about to whom to deliver the message, and finally decides that it is intended for him. At that moment, however, Casimiro comes along and says that he has heard that Otón was a witness to the Condesa's saying that she loves him. He then says, "I love him more than myself." Rodrigo thinks that his saying this is significant, and so he gives him the letter with instructions to meet the Condesa at twelve.

After Casimiro leaves, Rodrigo realizes that it was a mistake to give him the letter because the Condesa had no need to send him a letter since they are to marry the next afternoon when her brother comes to give her to Casimiro. He therefore decides to go on to meet the Condesa, although it is only ten o'clock, but he learns from Chinchilla that Casimiro has beat him there and thus he has lost the Condesa. He shouts out his anguish, attracting the Condesa and all the other occupants of the palace. The Condesa asks him why he didn't keep the letter for himself and he replies, "I thought that it was for him" ("Pensé que era para él"). She chides him calling him "the man of the 'I thought that'" ("¿Hombre érades de penséque?").

The Condesa marries Casimiro and gives Clavela to Rodrigo, at the same time telling the others the real Otón is coming with her brother and that Pinabel will marry her cousin, Laura. Chinchilla and Clavela's maid Lucrecia are also to marry. Rodrigo and Clavela will return to Spain to get away from the punishment of the "I thought that" (el castigo del penséque). Rodrigo warns others not to share in the punishment of the "I thought that" by making such a foolish mistake as he did.


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