Texto completo

Escena:  Nápoles y sus cercanías



marqués italiano

D. Fernando I

rey de Nápoles


lacayo (de D. Iñigo), gracioso, criado


caballero italiano

D. Hugo de Aragón


D. Iñigo de Avalos


D. Jaime de Moncada



dama italiana, hermana de Rugero, presa, cásase con Próspero


¿criado? italiano

Leonelo de San Severino

príncipe de Salerno, italiano, padre de Matilde


caballero italiano


princesa de Salerno, italiana, Condesa de Valdeflor después, cásase con D. Iñigo de Avalos


príncipe de Taranto, italiano, capitán-general

Rojano, Duque de

duque italiano, primo de Matilde; cásase con la Infanta, hermana del rey


dama (difunta) italiana


Príncipe de Salerno, italiano, Conde de Celano después, traidor, preso, privado


dama, hermana de D. Iñigo, cásase con D. Fernando I, reina después


caballero italiano

P. anón.:  voces dentro (*7b, R I, *1305b, *1183a); un criado (habla 17c, 1330b, 1208b); acompañamiento del Duque de Rojano (18b, acot. 4; 1231b, acot. 3; 1210a, acot. 3; no habla; 19c acot. 2; 1334b, acot 3; 1213a, acot. 4; no habla); acompañamiento del Rey (19c, acot. 2; 1334b, acot. 3; 1213a, acot. 4; no habla).


The action of this play takes place during the reign of King Ferdinand I of Naples, at a time when the French Count of Anjou is waging war against the kingdom of Naples.  The Prince of Salerno has died, leaving his daughter, Matilde, and his nephew, Rugero, to compete for control of his estate.  Rugero has taken possession of Salerno by force and therefore believes that he has earned the right to govern there.  The Council of Naples, however, has refused to recognize Rugero as the rightful Prince of Salerno and has returned the property, along with the title of Princess, to Matilde. Matilde loves Próspero, Prince of Taranto, but he pretends to be jealous and to doubt her love, accusing her of loving Don Iñigo, a poor Spanish nobleman.  She assures him that he is mistaken and, taking a feather from his elegant clothing, tells him that she values it more than anything Iñigo can do for her. Meanwhile Rugero is plotting against Matilde by informing the King that she is a traitor against Naples and is aiding the French in the war.  The King promises to reward him if he can prove that his accusations are true.

Iñigo has been very successful in a sortija that he ran in Matilde's street, after having put up a notice of it on her door so that all would know.  He carried away six rings, but in spite of this he is depressed, because he realizes that his great love for Matilde goes unrequited.  During the course of the games he knocked Próspero off his horse, whereupon he dismounted and helped Próspero up to the place from which Matilde was watching.  She, however, was angry with him, blaming him for her misfortune because of Próspero's injury and ordering the games to cease.

Gallardo points out to Iñigo and his sister, Sirena, that Matilde and six other young women are out on the water in a boat.  While they are watching, Próspero comes to see Iñigo and tells him that Matilde really loves him (Próspero) and adds that Iñigo is too poor to compete for Matilde's hand.  Iñigo replies that although he is poor he is noble, being the son of Ruy López de Avalos, who fought bravely in Italy for King Alfonso I, father of the present king.  They argue and are about to draw their swords when Sirena interrupts with the news that Matilde's skiff has capsized.  Iñigo goes to help her, leaving Próspero protesting that he would like to aid them but he cannot swim.  Iñigo saves Matilde and they put her to bed to recuperate at his house.  He leaves so as not to embarrass her at finding herself in a man's house.

When Rugero hears that Iñigo has saved Matilde he is furious.  He wishes she had drowned so that he could get possession of Salerno.  He is still plotting to accomplish this, through treachery if need be.  Finally he sets fire to Iñigo's house while Matilde is still there, hoping to kill her that way.  When the fire breaks out Matilde and Próspero are caught in it, and he tries to save himself first, not her.  Iñigo, who was outside, rushes in and carries Matilde to safety.


Rugero has convinced the King that Matilde is a traitor.  The King returns Salerno to Rugero and orders Matilde out of the kingdom.  Próspero then asks the King for Rugero's sister, Laura, as a wife and the King agrees.  Matilde tells Próspero that she is innocent; he says he would like to help her, but he does not want to put his loyalty to the King in question.  He tells her he can aid her better by not jeopardizing his favor with the King, and he promises to send a message to his relative, the Marqués of Mantria, to ask if he can take Matilde in.    

After the fire Iñigo is left penniless.  He is going to hunt and sell what he kills, and Gallardo, his lackey, is planning to sell buttons, pins, toothpicks and the like.  When Matilde comes along and tells him of her plight, Iñigo wants to sell his coat and give her the money, but Gallardo convinces him he can sell some of his wares instead.

In the meantime Sirena is with Lauro, who is in love with Iñigo.  Gallardo comes selling his toothpicks and buttons, and Laura gives him money to help him and Iñigo.  The King appears at Laura's home after Gallardo's departure, sees Sirena, and falls in love with her.  The King has come to tell Laura that she is to marry Próspero, but she tells him that she loves Iñigo, so he agrees to make Iñigo a general and let Laura and Iñigo marry.

Gallardo returns to Iñigo.  At first he pretends to have brought nothing, but then he gives Iñigo the provisions he has bought, telling him that Laura gave him the money because she loves Iñigo and hopes he will forget Matilde.  Iñigo refuses to accept the money under those circumstances, so Gallardo convinces him that Sirena really gave him the money.  Rugero and Teodoro come, looking for Iñigo to tell him to go to the court because he has been made a general and is to marry Laura.  After they leave, Iñigo exclaims that he cannot waiver in his love for Matilde, but she overhears him and tells him he should go.  She plans to go to Milan to stay with her cousin, the Duke of Milan.  Iñigo, however, tells Gallardo that they will leave immediately to escort Matilde to Milan.  She will ride the mount, really a pack animal, that Gallardo brought, and they will eat along the way.


The King and Próspero are out at night, when they see Sirena and Laura at a window and they stop to talk.  The King professes his love to Sirena, who does not take what he says seriously.  She thinks he talks that way to all the young women.  Rugero and Teodoro come along, and the King overhears Rugero tell Teodoro that he is to go to the Duke of Rojano with a letter on which the King's signature has been forged.  In the falsified letter the King offers the Duke his sister in marriage if he will kill Matilde or have her killed.  Rugero then goes to get another letter of assurance for the Duke, and in his absence the King and Próspero advance on Teodoro, who flees, pursued by Próspero.  In the dark the King, pretending to be Teodoro, takes the two letters from Rugero.  He now knows that Matilde is innocent and that the accusations against her were all a part of Rugero's plot to get Salerno back.

Iñigo and Gallardo have returned after taking Matilde to Milan, but they did not enter the Duke's palace, much to Gallardo's disgust, because Iñigo says it would be acting against the King's orders for him to do so.  Liseno comes bearing the news that the King is on his way to meet Matilde and the Duke, who are coming to Naples, now that Matilde's innocence has been established.  Iñigo gives Liseno his shotgun, his last possession, as a reward for the good news.

The Duke, Próspero and Matilde appear.  Matilde says that Próspero is all words and no action.  Iñigo then reappears, and Matilde tells him that she is supposed to marry, but that she does not intend to do so without him.  He misunderstands and interprets this to mean that she wants him to attend the wedding as a spectator, thereby entirely missing her point.  Even after she repeats what she has said he still misinterprets her meaning and, desperate, plans to go to the wedding and to die there.

At the palace the King pardons Matilde and gives permission for the Duke to marry his sister.  He makes Próspero a captain-general and sends him off to fight the French.  Matilde then returns Próspero's feather to him, telling him that words and feathers don't have much substance (and are easily carried away by the wind) and that she wishes to marry Iñigo, who has proved his love with deeds, not words.  The King consents and announces that he and Sirena also are to marry.  Sirena asks for Laura's freedom, because she has been unjustly imprisoned for being Rugero's sister.  The King grants her request and says that Laura will marry Próspero and become Marquesa del Ferro.  At Matilde's request the King frees Rugero, on the condition that he leave the kingdom.  The play ends with Iñigo’s giving Gallardo his quinta to use as a factory for making buttons and toothpicks, plus a thousand ducats of income.


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