Escena:  En Nápoles y sus inmediaciones.



rey de Nápoles, padre de Fadrique (En realidad hermano de Fadrique.)


bravo, preso italiano, traidor


pretendiente, gobernador de Amberia, italiano


gracioso, criado de D. Juan, lacayo, palafrenero mayor


pretendiente, embajador de Roma, italiano


dama-criada (sirve a Isabela), italiana, cásase con D. Luis

D. Fadrique

rey de Nápoles


rey de Nápoles, hermano mayor de Fadrique (En realidad fue sobrino de Fadrique.)

Gil Bermejo

pastor italiano


conde italiano, preso, traidor

Da. Inés de Aragón

noble, hermana del Duque de Segorbe


infanta, hermana de D. Fadrique, cásase con D. Juan

D. Juan de Cardona

caballero catalán, privado, Marqués de Manfredonia después, Barón de Castelmar y Monsanto después, Conde de Oberisel después, Duque de Capua después, Príncipe de Taranto después, mayordomo mayor, gran canciller, caballerizo mayor, hermano de Leonora


dama catalana, Duquesa de Amalfi después cásase con Fadrique, reina después

D. Luis de Moncada

mayordomo mayor, caballero

Marco Antonio

cambista italiano


dama-criada (sirve a Isabela), italiana


pretendiente, general de las galeras, italiano

D. Pedro de Cardona

noble catalán, privado, padre de D. Juan y Leonor


preso, traidor italiano

Segorbe, Duque de


P. anón.:  5 enmascarados (374c, acot. 1; R III, 1079a, acot. 2; hablan 3, 347c; 1079a, b); 3 pastores (hablan todos 348a, 1080a; uno se llama Gil Bermejo); acompañamiento de la Infanta (348c, acot.; 1082a, acot. 1; no habla); pretendientes (351b, acot. 2; 1088a, acot. 2; no hablan); acompañamiento del rey (362c, acot. 1; 1115a, acot. 1; no habla); un paje (habla 363a; 1115b).


The King of Naples, Don Fadrique, is out hunting when he meets Leonora, who is the sister of Don Juan de Cardona.  Overwhelmed by her beauty, he tells her that he loves her.  She rejects him at first but when she learns that he is the king, she tells him that she and her brother live here in the country, away from the court, because their father had been a privado of the king's father, but he fell out of favor and, saddened by this experience, resolved to raise his children with no ambitions for courtly life.

Elsewhere, Don Juan tells his friend, Don Luis, how he saw a beautiful young woman swimming nude in the river and took one of her garters as a remembrance.  Luis guesses that Juan saw the Infanta Isabel, Fadrique's sister, but Juan disagrees, thinking that it must have been one of her ladies.  He is madly in love with her, whoever she is.  As they talk, Calvo, Juan's lackey, runs in seeking help for the King, who has been attacked by Antonelo and five masked men.  Juan saves the King's life by throwing himself on top of the King and taking a blow that was destined for the King.  Luis is badly wounded during the fracas.  The grateful King takes Juan with him to the palace.

At the palace Isabel sees Juan wearing a sling for his arm made from the garter he stole from her. They talk and he discovers that she was the person he saw at the river.  She decides not to have him killed, even though her honor requires it, but makes him swear to say nothing of this and to tell Luis that it was one of her ladies that he saw.  The King makes Juan his privado and bestows all sorts of honors upon him, but the latter asks to be permitted to go back to his quiet life in the country, because he knows that kings are changeable and he remembers his father's warnings.  The King says that he is that kind of king and refuses to let Juan leave the court, so Juan will be a favorite against his will (privar contra su gusto).  The King, of course, has an additional reason to keep Juan at his court, because in this way, Leonora will stay there too.


People are asking favors of Juan as an intercessor with the King.  Clavela gives him a memorial letter whose message is confusing, saying that Clavela knows that Isabel has told him to love someone who loves him, adding that love profits from silence.  Meanwhile, Leonora confides to Juan that the King loves her and is coming to talk to her on the terrace that night, all of which leads Juan to the conclusion that the King plans to dishonor Leonora and that the King has made him his privado partially in order to have Leonora nearby.  Juan tells Luis, who is now feeling much better, that he has learned that the lady of the river is one of the palace ladies and that he has burned the garter, since it would grieve a friend of his if he did not forget that lady.  Luis assumes that Juan is referring to Clavela, whom he (Luis) loves.  Suspicious, he gets another garter like the first one and puts it around his neck as a sling.  When Isabel sees him with the garter, she thinks that Juan has told Luis everything, because Luis tells her that Juan said enough for him to know who the lady is.  Isabel says that Juan should not lie and damage her reputation like that, further stating that the lady in question was really Clavela and that Luis should avenge her (Isabel) by killing Juan, or else she will take matters into her own hands.  Luis now reasons that Juan loved Clavela previously but now loves Isabel.

Fadrique wants to keep Leonora in Italy by marrying her to an Italian nobleman, but Juan petitions him to send her back to Spain to marry the Duke of Segorbe in Aragon.  The King refuses his request, believing that Juan wants to return to Spain himself because of his reluctance to be the King's privado.  Isabel tells Clavela that Juan has said that he saw her (Clavela) at the river and that she (Clavela) is in love with him, but he cannot love her because of his friendship with Luis.  Hearing this, Clavela believes Juan to be a liar.  Isabel, too, is angry with Juan because she thinks that he has told Luis that she (Isabel) was really the dama that he saw at the river.  Leonora, in turn, complains of the treatment her brother is giving her, after hearing from Luis that Juan is trying to marry her off to the Duke of Segorbe in Aragón so that he can marry the Duke's sister, Dona Inés.  He informs her that Fadrique really wants to marry her, but Juan does not want her to know this because of his own selfish interest in the marriage in Aragón.  Even Calvo is out of humor with Juan, because the latter forbids him to accept a job and other favors from Isabel.  They all make complaints to Juan, who is quite confused and cannot understand why everyone is angry with him.

The King locks Juan in his room telling him to write several letters, so that Juan will be out of the way, thus giving the monarch the opportunity to see Leonora.  Fortunately for Juan, however, the King has forgotten that Juan has already written the letters.  Thus Juan goes out through a window, and on the terrace where the King is to meet Leonora, he overhears Rugero and Horacia, who support the Count of Anjou in his struggle against Fadrique, plotting to kill the King by blowing up his rooms.  When Juan reveals his presence they flee, followed by Juan, who captures them and has them locked up.

Meanwhile, the King arrives at the terrace and is soon joined by Juan, who is embozado and has disguised his voice by putting a bullet in his mouth.  Abetted by the darkness, he is able to conceal his true identity from the King.  Juan converses with Fadrique about all his political and personal secrets (which he knows from the letters he has written) and tells him that he has captured two traitors who planned to kill him.  He also gives the King a key to the room where Horacio and Rugero are held prisoner and explains that in his chambers, the King will find six kegs of gunpowder that were to be used to blow him up.  Questioned by the King, Juan refuses to reveal his identity.  Before departing, however, he does require three things of the King:  that the King forget Leonora if he is not going to marry her, that he not bestow so many favors on Juan, and that he make Luis his mayordomo mayor.  The King agrees to these conditions, and Juan leaves, promising to return the next night.  The King wonders if the unknown "guardian angel" might be Juan, since the latter would know the contents of the letters, but observes that the voice did not sound like Juan's.  He decides to hurry to Juan's quarters to see if he has finished writing the letters yet.  If he has not, the King will know it was Juan; if he has, he will know it was not Juan because he would have been writing the letters during that time.


The King returns to Juan's room, but the latter is already there and pretends to have just finished the letters.  Still suspicious, the King asks his advice about making Luis the majordomo, to which Juan replies in the negative, offering the opinion that that would cause his own reputation and influence to suffer.  The King is thereby convinced that Juan was not the "guardian angel" or "saint" of the terrace.  The King tells everyone about the embozado and about the capture of Rugero and Horacio, as well as the discovery of the six kegs of gunpowder.  He admits that he still feels as if he were dreaming, and they are mystified as to whether the embozado is a spirit, a human being, a saint, or what.  For their own reasons, the others are all still angry with Juan, of course.

Clavela explains to Luis that she does not know anything about all this talk of her and Juan.  Luis, confused, thinks that perhaps Isabel tried to blame Clavela in an effort to divert suspicion from herself.

After selling off all his own property Juan pays off the King's debts and goes to the terrace disguised as the "angel" for his appointment with the King.  Calvo, Isabel, and Luis all appear.  Isabel asks him to avenge her on Juan; Luis learns that he misunderstood what Juan said about the dama of the river and that it had nothing to do with Clavela; but Calvo does not get a chance to speak to the "angel."  He is confused after hearing the latter's conversations with Isabel (in which he swore vengeance on Juan) and with Luis (in which he defended Juan).

The King arrives for his meeting with the "angel" and reports that Juan has fled. Clavela confirms that he has taken all of his possessions and is rumored to have gone to join the Count of Anjou.  The King does not believe this, and Leonora suggests that he has gone to Aragon to marry a lady she has heard about.  A page brings a note from Juan saying that he has sold everything and paid the King's creditors.  Isabel and Clavela still maintain that he has gone to Anjou but the King continues to deny this.  Finally Juan reveals himself and says his position as favorite has brought him only trouble.  He asks to be left in peace and quiet.  The King assures Juan that he should continue as the privado and not doubt his royal constancy, and gives Isabel to Juan in marriage in order to confirm his words.  He also announces that he will marry Leonora.  Juan says, in the King's behalf, that Luis and Clavela are to marry. Luis explains to Isabel that Juan did not betray her secret nor give him the garter but that it was just a misunderstanding.  Calvo is to be the chief equerry for the King.  Thus, Juan, who was a reluctant favorite, will be a willing favorite now that he realizes that Fadrique is a loyal friend and monarch.


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