A sitting room in Don ALONSO's house. Count Don CARLOS and Leonor
CARLOS:     I have a certain matter to discuss.
LEONOR:     With me?  Do tell.  Well, that would be just fine
            If I were someone else and you had said,
            "I think I love you now, at least a little."
CARLOS:     I admit that you are justified to feel
            That way, but as you see I have no time
            And if I do not use it well and talk
            With you, I miss the opportunities
            I think will help you reach your goals as well.
            You know, the second half of that old line,
            "I think I love you now," as you recall,
            Is "But let me tell you afterwards."  
            And that for us inappropriate.
LEONOR:     You could not chose a worse time if you tried.
            I work for Don Alonso and he is there,
            In the living room, beyond that wall,
            Together with his daughter and Don Pedro.
            And Pedro will become his son-in-law, 
            Though yesterday that seemed impossible. 
            They are drawing up their contract this very minute.
            Don Alonso's niece is there as well,
            And relatives from their two families.        
            They all have come to serve as witnesses.  
            As you can see, it now is twelve o'clock.
            They arrived at ten today, two hours ago.
CARLOS silently puts a purse of coins into the sleeve of LEONOR's dress
LEONOR: Well, my goodness! What is that sound in my sleeve? CARLOS: Now do be calm; although they weigh a lot, They will not burden you or break your back. Nor should they be a stumbling block for you. LEONOR: What then? CARLOS: A few doubloons to help you make Some dreams come true. A lady should always do Whatever is in her best interest. Agreed? LEONOR: The currency has just been minted again In copper coins. And you give gold doubloons! By paving the way with gold, you will advance Your cause with more success than Genoa Has ever done in Spain. I see you know How to get a girl to lend a hand, Like all good men who are inclined to love. I never thought that I would come to see The end of any rainbows. You bring me hope, Which should only come after the flood recedes. A golden bough with golden fruit, a cypress For the dead! Do you love Ana, or Elisa? CARLOS: Before I tell you who it is I love, I must be be sure that you know who I am, Since my success in love depends on you. Have you heard them speak of Count Don Carlos?
LEONOR: So you are Conde Claros of ballad fame. Well, then your deeds must be just like your name, So clear, so pure, that gold is not your gift, But Heaven itself with its eternal stars. I have heard some people praise a certain Carlos, Sir, a neighbor who can conquer, or so they say, Just like a Roman emperor and win Men's hearts just like a king. CARLOS: For you I will Fulfill whatever hope you trust me with. Do as I ask and if we do succeed You need not worry about your future years Or about a dowry, which you must desire. LEONOR: I do not know how I can ever thank you. Give me your hand. I will do what I can. CARLOS: Then listen to what I have got to say. Tonight, a friend of ours spoke wildly to me About a lady he has come to love. He raved about her beauty at such length That I could not believe all that he said. I was astounded. I was curious. He was beside himself and when he left He had not even told me who she is. My envy completed the image I formed of her. Anything new gives birth to admiration, And admiration makes a way for desire. Imagine how desire took hold of me. Desire overcame my sense of loyalty And I obeyed its every cruel command. I had a servant dog his every step. He saw him come to Doņa Ana's house. I thought of course that she was the one he loved. Her beauty almost won me 'til I learned Don Juan adores not Ana but Elisa: When he left Ana's house he was quite mad: He ranted at his servants for a while, About how women's change of heart, disdain, Forgetfulness and lack of gratitude In concert can almost bring a man to madness. His servant would not let him go inside; He recognized the peril and blocked his way. But his servant could not hold him back for long. I then saw how he drew his knife and walked Into the house about two hours ago. He has not come back out. And you can tell me Where he is since he confides in you. Before I knew for certain who I loved, Fierce jealousy had struck. I did not know If I should wait outside or enter in, To follow the command of my jealous rage Or to heed the advice of common courtesy. I realized how wrong it was to offend The peace of mind of the one I had come to love. Nor should I commit an outrage against don Miguel, Don Pedro's father, Ana, and other friends Who are there now to sign the wedding contract And to wish the bride and groom great happiness. I did go in by posing as a servant. I reached the rooms where Doņa Elisa lives. I saw that Don Juan had not come even close To describing just how beautiful she is. Don Juan did not have the words to paint her well. Leonor, I think I am mad with love for her. As my chance for winning her grows less, it seems My love for her increases. I must have her. If I cannot, my life shall fade away Just like a flower severed from its stem. You can help me; you can keep my years Stopped in their month of May as I am now. Elisa would be better as a countess, You will agree. She merits that title, Leonor, far more than a mere ladyship. If you will do one thing on my behalf Then she will owe to you the honors I bring. And I will owe you everything I love. LEONOR: All you need to do is ask, Don Carlos. By the Gospel of Saint John I swear to you, The coins you placed here in this sleeve are as good As fern seed: I touched them and I loved you. CARLOS: Five hundred coins are yours the day you wed. Now listen: Don Pedro, Elisa and her father Are signing an agreement, my death I saw in Elisa's face how sad she is. She never could conceal her feelings well. I believe Don Juan is making her unhappy. Before they sign the contracts and witness them, Speak to them on my behalf and say The wedding can not occur because you know That Elisa promised me that she would marry. She must not break a sacred vow Just because she fears her father's wrath. Say that if you do not speak, you, too, Would break a promise you had made to God. Do not allow them to complete their plans. If you can stop them, you will give me hope, The hope I need to try to live again. What is more, you will win me as a friend. And also spare Elisa sorrow and pain. LEONOR: I see your gift of gold will cost a lot, Much more than I had ever though it could. What if her father turns on me instead? He will strike me down instead of killing her. Who is going to help me if he does? CARLOS: I will be there, close by, Leonor, Wherever you can hide me, far from view. I will be there as witness and as judge. LEONOR: Words are not enough. I may need deeds. Advice, when born of fear, is cowardice. Hide in there, in my bedroom, and pay attention. Your ears will tell you all you need to know. (I think Don Juan is in that other room. Aside This month, the plots have come to me in pairs! I am a woman; Carlos is a count. His gold bewitched my judgement and my will.) Won't you go in? CARLOS: I make your fortune. LEONOR: One final thing: pray that God be with me.
Don ALONSO, Don PEDRO, Doņa ANA, ELISA, guests. Later, LEONOR
ALONSO: Elisa, do not cast doubts on your reputation. Your evasions will not do you any good. I will not allow anything to disturb That man who really loves you in good faith; You willingly agreed you two would marry. ANA: Cousin, if you really love Don Pedro, And this is not a stubborn act of will, Why must you delay another day? They say that to give quickly is to give twice. ELISA: You are not yet gray and yet you preach to me. What do you gain if I marry against my will? I know how good a match Don Pedro is. I recognize also that he loves me. But I have promised to our patron saint, The Virgin of Atocha, a novena, And that is why I ask for this delay. ALONSO: Fulfill your promise after you are married! When you are calm and there is less to do! We all know that religious vows are sacred, But youth is privileged to forget sometimes. Do not persist in working on my patience And sign the contract now or you will find Your refusal takes you to a convent house In Lerma where your aunts will quickly teach you The meaning of the word cooperation. ELISA: Since you have left the choice to me alone I choose to live behind the convent gates, And not as a slave to a man I do not love. Granted, both are paths to subjugation, But the nobler path is within the convent walls: It is by far the better thing to do To be a slave in God's eternal name. And so that you believe all that I say, That I accept the punishment you give, I herewith tear this contract into pieces...
ELISA tears up the contract
For this is how to sign an adverse clause.
ALONSO: Now stop right there! Do not be such a fool. Or rage will tempt me to take you life like this.
He draws his knife
LEONOR: Please stop! Have you completely lost your mind? This lady is a Christian. (Now is my chance.) Aside Do all of you presume to make a fool Of the husband she now has by marrying her To another man as if all of you were Moors? ALONSO: What are you saying? PEDRO: What do you mean? ELISA: Leonor, Just what is going on? LEONOR: I have not lost My mind as you might think. Gentlemen: Let me explain. My lady is a lady. But in the truest meaning of the word. A count has pledged his love to her as his wife, She is our contessa since yesterday. He offered her his hand most courteously And I was there as witness and as priest.
LEONOR and ELISA speak aside
ELISA: What are you doing? Are you mad? LEONOR: Just take My lead so we can pull this off. Do not stop! ELISA: How could you think that you are helping me? Don Juan is listening to your lies right there And he will think that what you say is true! LEONOR: You can not stop me now. It's much too late.
LEONOR speaks to all
My conscience will not let me keep it back. We know your husband is the Count Don Carlos.
Now take my lead and you will fool them all! ALONSO: What Count? What foolishness is this? Speak up! LEONOR: Know now that they were wed before my eyes. Why should you be surprised? You know quite well That there are many counts at court these days. Just beyond these walls he swears to you That he will win you favor with our king, And thus improve the lives of all who live here. Is it so strange that I would like to see This family's fortune return to what it was? ALONSO: You dare to speak like that in front of me? It does not matter if you are mad or not, I am going to see your filthy blood....
He starts to strike her
LEONOR: Oh, Lord! Help me! Sir Count! Come help me! Now!
Count CARLOS enters
CARLOS: Gentlemen: Since Heaven made our will To be free from the imposition of human law, You have no right to try to force Elisa. Elisa ...her beauty is the Elysian fields Since there is where delight and joy reside, While here, to love her is my very life. Elisa, as I say, accepted me ...Or my soul's respect with all due piety. Had I a thousand souls, they would be hers! One month ago, she brought the Prado life When like the Sun she rode along its paths And turned November into May again. She dressed In rose and green and shamed the sun. I told her how I loved her and would try To win her love as she had mine with words And actions those which love employs so well. She answered me most gently since she saw That I am a man who always keeps his word. On New Year's Eve, the wheel was spun again, And fate chose me to be the one she loves. Last night she agreed that I would be her husband And as we joined hands our souls became as one. She told me you had tried to force her will. Gentlemen: take note that she is mine, She truly is my wife. If you oppose us You know my duty is to die here fighting, To defend her and my actions and my name. ALONSO: Carlos, Sir. We all know generous men Who, to serve their peers, must bend the law And hide their face from the light of day. Elisa almost equals you in rank... And social standing. So, if just as you say, You love her and have done so for a month, Why, since you could come to ask her hand And be assured that I would not object, Did you come at night and disregard Those ancient customs all good men would keep? Tell me why you acted in such a way To make the hope of honest men seem vain? PEDRO: Let common men attempt to bring a title To their house through such villainous means. Among them such a deed could be forgiven. But for you to act less than nobly Is hateful and deserves a harsh reproof. ALONSO: Don Pedro, this restraint, which you can see In spite of your offense and my outrage, An outrage justified in all men's eyes, Let this restraint inspire your choice of a wife, Of the woman who will live with you forever. Do try to please the people gathered here. Then if you ever regret the choice you made, Your wife cannot complain of your disregard. ELISA: What madness is this, gentlemen, which works So patiently to destroy good men's minds? Did I encourage you or accept your love? Don Carlos, did you mention love to me? I never saw you or ever heard you speak!
Aside to ELISA
LEONOR: You are going to ruin everything! (Oh, dear!) The Count is trying to protect You from your father and Don Pedro' threats!
If you can act your part, Don Juan is yours!
Just tell them that the Count and you are married! ELISA: (I think this illusion is too thinly veiled! Aside They are going to see right through every effort.)
LEONOR: Now, Doņa Ana, you must help me here! The only thing that matters here to you Is that she marry Carlos!
Elisa, help! (What Leonor suggests is simply perfect! Aside Love, though you are blind, defend your cause! If you can keep Elisa and Juan apart Then I will watch while all my hopes come true.) Gentlemen: not speaking now is wrong. To oppose the will of Heaven, foolish pride, For I as well as Leonor affirm That all the Count has said was known to me. He offered her his hand, she answered, "Yes." Their stars gave them one chord to sing that night; Let Pedro blame the fates for his misfortune; Let this house accept that joy which comes From welcoming a new and worthy head. ALONSO: How could you turn my honor into shame! You ill-advised, silly, frivolous girl! What do you have to say? Come! Answer me! ELISA: That I can not conceal the light of truth. I followed the advice of Doņa Ana But could not bring myself to love Don Pedro; The Count Don Carlos lives here in my heart.
Don JUAN enters, opening the door with a bang. All the others remain on stage
JUAN: To listen any more would be an outrage.
I must now lift this weight from off my chest! My words might spare another man this shame. To think that grief can suffer silently Atrocious, anguished torment and not cry out Is to try to stop the hurricane at the edge Of an abyss. I accuse all of you. I accuse everyone who has done me harm: An old man blind with greed, a treacherous friend And most of all myself for having failed To see what was about to happen here. And Elisa, whom I allowed to touch my life, Forgetting she can change just like the wind: Shadows, flowers, feathers, dreams, illusion, These things and less comprise a woman's word. An hour ago, she calmly swore to me To overcome what seemed impossible: Things disdained on my behalf as trifles; A mere half hour ago, she also swore To be as pure and flawless and as strong As any diamond. And just a moment ago, She destroyed my every hope. Just look how much A woman changes in an hour, how much In thirty minutes she forgets, how much She can do in a moment. I am mad with pain. Since you persist in persecuting me, I have begun to hate. Do prove me wrong. I challenge you, if my words move you at all. Let any fool speak after me and say That a man who loves is not in misery, That love does not his kingdom curse with lies, And that beauty keeps good faith with loving men.
PEDRO: Don Juan! You must hear what I have to say! There is a way for me to solve all this! If I act in haste and not forgive you, I lose. I can tell you all you need to know. Then those who know of my offense can judge How I did wisely make amends for it Or whether I left you standing in the dark. Elisa, your precautions were discreet, Without a doubt. You seem to have more suitors Than necessary! One in every room! Now surely you can choose among us three! This house need never fear a lack of men, A lack so many houses suffer from While on the verge of ruin just because No men are there to live in them. But three! How could you hide so many secret guests? Your will is something I have never seen. How could you find there room enough for three! Though I have heard your call, do not choose me! You know that I have lived in Talavera; You will find me there should you have need of me. But remember... there, like here, crockery And women break exactly the same way! (Exit.) CARLOS: Ma'am, I now must stop from happening The very thing I wanted to occur. I, for one, doubt the implications Of the insult we just heard, but still... Don Juan... here, in your house, at this late hour? The rights all men concede to those in love Have been exceeded. I do not blame you But I do fear what other men think and say.
LEONOR: (Well, now, I am afraid and ought to leave. Aside Because someone will have to pay for this And without a doubt it will be me. I took this chance for Carlos. I will go For help to him. And if that does not work, I need not be afraid. I know the game. I have a well-known trade, as you might say. One that lets me earn my daily bread.
ANA: Well, cousin, I did try to help you marry A count, to see you bring your family honor. But luck appears to rule the game of love. And you were just unlucky or could not play. Since your Don Juan was the angriest of the three, It seems that he had almost made you fall! We do get nothing when we want it all!
Exit. Enter ELISA and Don ALONSO, who is so disturbed that he can hardly speak. All the guests stand looking on in astonished silence
ELISA What is my father going to do to me? He is angry and can not decide if he Will punish or forgive what I have done. His restless indecision destroys my hopes. What a storm of jealousy we had! I only hope that fortune keeps the waves So high, the storm will shelter me from view And that my ship, if swamped by them, will sink ... unless Don Juan makes safe my voyage home Like Saint Anselm with his fatuous nighttime fire.
Exeunt. Enter Doņa ANA and LEONOR
LEONOR: And that is everything that happened there. ANA: Oh, really. You are the one who hid Don Carlos? LEONOR: I hid him in your house just for you. And now, for you, I have to get away. ANA: As long as I can place my trust in you Your rights here are the same as I enjoy. And if Don Juan still cares what others think And loves me with a love as true as mine, I will owe my happiness to you and the fruits Of our deception. LEONOR: Rest assured, no one In all Madrid could make you more unhappy. They hitched the mules they use for longer trips And stationed them at his front door. I assume Her father has decided it is time To take her secretly away from here. ANA: Love keep me from the storm and bring me joy!
Enter Don JUAN
JUAN: I am sorry I have not found you alone. Leonor, go inside. LEONOR: (I do not like Aside The way he is looking at the nag at all. The love he had has taken a different turn. There is something strange I do not understand.)
Exit. Enter Doņa ANA and Don JUAN
JUAN: I need your help and your advice, Ana. I left Don Carlos wounded in the street! His crimes had caught him by surprise outside Where I was waiting for him to leave his house. Since I was in the right, I had more steel Than necessary to get the best of him. But he is a strong and powerful enemy. And my being there at all was dangerous. If I can get away from so much power... There is no choice for me but to run away. I am grateful for everything you did And I admit that I am in your debt. But what has happened will not, for a while Allow me to show my gratitude to you. The danger I am in means I must leave. Elisa's lies have made me come to hate her. ANA: The stars must not want me to lose you, Juan. All I can say is Heaven is angry with me, Made happy then so sad on the same day. As soon as I have won you back, you leave. The Count will never find where you are hiding. As long as you remain here in my house Until this storm has finally blown over. There is a way you can escape his violence. This room and balcony must be your prison. Since I love you so much more than you do me, I will use the rooms on the floor above. JUAN: Where kindness reigns and courtesy has triumphed And where the warden is so beautiful, What you have called a prison will be freedom. But I suspect Leonor saw me come in. ANA: Do not concern yourself with her because She thinks she owes me many, many favors. Besides, Leonor will make your love come true. JUAN: You have taken care of everything so well That I am yours twice over, Ana, dear. I see that you have planned my future well. ANA: Here are books to keep you entertained And all you need to write poems to Elisa. Leonor will make your bed and bring your meals. JUAN: Dawn has spilled its seed pearls on the lawns. It is too late to rest. ANA: There is nothing to do. All men in prison sleep throughout the day. JUAN: Love keeps men awake and I am in love. ANA: I am afraid that you will run away. I have to lock the door. JUAN: Trust Coral If he should come to look for me. He is loyal. ANA: Although you are my captive, only speak And I obey. Good-bye for now, Don Juan.
She exits while looking at him
JUAN: For love, I have to take an awful chance Then happily I will live near the one who died.
To LEONOR who is within
CORAL: Give me the key and go about your work, Did you ever do the good Lord's work, Leonor? JUAN: Coral! How glad I am to see you here! CORAL: Coral I am, and here I am for you; I come to put an end to your sad thoughts. Now let me lock the door. Let's go in...
He locks it
Where no one else will hear what we might say. Right after you ran out into the ring They wounded you with the lance of jealousy, --If not exactly like a bull, just like A calf who knocks about because he is wild, A red-faced, curly haired and awkward calf. I envied what they wrote there on the walls. I wanted to become those very words, Knowing I would be a fool's notebook, Composed to mock my reader, a mindless farce. Well, after you had left, your rivals tried As best they could to give your girl the slip. They were beside themselves with jealous rage. Your lady and her father were left there. You should have seen how they reacted then! Just like a mouse between a cat's sharp claws! Elisa told them that she loved just you. That your courtesy and valour had no peer; And that your love was a pure and honest love But that jealousy had ruled your every passion, That her concern with honor, what her guests Might think, prompted her to hide you and at once; That she hated Pedro more the owls hate light, Than greed a generous man, than thieves the law. She swore as loudly as a Catalonian That she did not know who had hidden the Count; A man she did not know or think about, A man who never saw her look his way; But Doņa Ana, who said she was your friend And with a trick that she had just devised Could set you free from all these difficulties, Persuaded her to give her trick a chance, At the risk of her life to make the deception work. Elisa's father heard her testify In defense of what she did and then he said That he would take her to Lerma before dawn, Before the sun enflamed the eastern sky. Elisa went inside to prepare to go. Her father told two men to prepare the coach. Now listen to the best thing ever heard Or ever written for posterity. Were I a playwright, this one device would make More than one director rich for life And I would not have to steal my plots! As I was just about to say...meanwhile, Alonso sent for a relative he trusted, For one who cared about their family name; When he had come he said straight out to him, "I am determined, Alvaro, to honor My heirs with the royal blood of a count, at least. So we must try to make Elisa change Her love for Don Juan into indifference... ...One might as well attempt to stop the May From bursting into flower every spring.... But time with wise delays can change our hearts. I have pretended that I will take Elisa To Lerma where a convent waits to teach her Just what rebellion means and change her ways, And so become a little more cooperative. Alvarado, Dorotea, and I, Are going to take her far away from here And not discuss or tell a soul we are leaving, Or even let the sun see us leave. The curtains of the coach will all be closed, And the people of the town will never know. We expect to arrive at one or two o'clock, Then rest a while at the inn in Torrejon. Her to room will be away from all the rest And the night will cloak the world in horror. Then to carry out our lie, I will say to her As we make our way back home again to Madrid: I will try to make her think I am resolved To have her live in hiding in Illescas, The town where you will be expecting her. The two of you shall live there for a while Until everyone forgets what has transpired, And our family name will be free of all dishonor. Our pace will be quite slow. When we arrive, The town will be so still she will not suspect How I have tricked her and brought her to Madrid. And you, Don Alvaro, my trusted friend, Must strip this room of everthing I bought: Of paintings, desks and chairs, of tapestries, Of tables, beds, the dais, all furniture So no one can recognize this room again. Then you will ask my agent, Luis de Toledo, To decorate it all so beautifully, And change it so I will not know it either. Elisa will remain locked here inside. The skylight will be her only light. She will never think that she is here at court Since she will not see anyone but you. Don Juan will try to steal her love away. And the Count thought the worst with her refusal! But I will have him learn that she is pure, Through a go-between whom he respects a lot. If he still loves her, I will succeed." And that is what in fear I overheard, While listening at the keyhole to her door. Don Alvaro did promise to comply And left Alonso there to start the work. I crept along the hall and down the stairs And went out to the patio; from there I found the corral and jumped down from the wall. It was then I learned the count received a wound. My loyalty told me that you were here. And then Doņa Ana let me in. Elisa returns to her room tomorrow night... the room next door...if your love is strong... A wall between you, Pyramus and Thisbe. But instead of window grates, balconies! You can speak to one another in good conscience. God forbid it otherwise! My plan Will make me an architect of balconies! And will surprise surprise itself. You know I can. My wit loves deceptions, and I love you both. You must not think. Just let your mind o'ercome Its indecision. Sleep and then decide. Just leave it up to me to make it work. JUAN: Coral, you tell me things, important news, Which have a strange effect on me, I swear.
From within
ANA: All the rest are there on stage, you see. I know that Leonor will soon be here; But our Don Juan must have his dinner now. JUAN: Open the door right now, Coral.
He opens. ANA enters
ANA: Well, sir! Tell me how life in jail is treating you. JUAN: I will dine with you, Ana; is it too late For us to have our dinner? ANA: This is lunch. First eat and then just sleep all day.
JUAN: Oh, no. For I would rather talk about Elisa! CORAL: Leave it to me and do not be concerned. JUAN: If you can make my love for her come true All I will ever own belongs to you.


The Balconies of Madrid, Act III

Electronic text by Vern G. Williamsen and J T Abraham
Additional formatting by Matthew D. Stroud

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Association for Hispanic Classical Theater, Inc.

Latest update: 06/28/2002