(No hay burlas con el amor)
Pedro Calderón de la Barca

translated by Vern G. Williamsen
(copyright March 17, 1986)



Locale :  A room in Don Alonso's house in Madrid
             DON ALONSO and a downhearted MOSCATEL enter  
ALONSO:            God damn it, what's the matter?
               For days you've gone around
               aimlessly, with your head in a cloud.
               Every question gets a silly answer.
                  You're never here on time.                    
               and everything you do is wrong,
               if I don't call, you come; 
               if I do, you seem to hide.
                  What's going on?
MOSCATEL:                           Oh, woe!
               All I can do is to sigh.                        
ALONSO:        Sigh? You rascals have the right
               to do that? 
MOSCATEL:                    We do have souls!
ALONSO:           I guess...  Enough to feel
               and report, even if crudely,
               the nature of your basest misery,               
               but not enough --Can't you see?--
                  to react with an open sigh.
               A sigh denotes a noble passion.
MOSCATEL:      Who can deny my reaction?
               Is love forbidden to me?  Why I...              
ALONSO:           You are crazy!
MOSCATEL:                          Please, sir,
               is there anything nobler than love?
ALONSO:        I could say "yes", for fun,
               but "no" if only to defer
                  to your benefit. 
MOSCATEL:                          It's no?                    
               Then, if love is what I feel,
               my passion is noble and real.
ALONSO:        You?  In love?
MOSCATEL:                       I just said so.
ALONSO:           How natural it is for me
               to laugh at your despair                        
               since the problem's rooted there,
               than it is at your frivolity.
MOSCATEL:         It's as if you'd never known
               the feel of true love's passion.
               You've given too much attention                 
               to your freedom and being your own.
                  You only use words of adoration
               to obtain an occasional pleasure
               robbing a maiden's treasure,
               and cause her father consternation.             
                  You laugh at me now that I feel
               the pangs of a love that's true.
ALONSO:        I won't have a servant like you...
               in love.  You're fired!  Now leave!
MOSCATEL:         Look here...
ALONSO:                         There's nothing to see.        
MOSCATEL:      But...
ALONSO:                What are you trying to say?
MOSCATEL:      This scene's going the wrong way.
               The servant is usually free;
                  yours is the role of a man who's free.
               It's not my fault, this change of plot,         
               but if we're to play it as it's not,
               I'll be the lover, against the fashion,
                  and you play the role of libertine.
ALONSO:        Get out of here now!  Step aside!
MOSCATEL:      So soon?  Give me some time                     
               to find a new job.  One day to see...
ALONSO:           Not one!  Right now, you must leave!
                        DON JUAN enters 
JUAN:          What's going on?
ALONSO:                           This silly rogue
               just committed the greatest hoax,
               the worst, the foulest deed                     
                  ever conceived by human mind.
               Open treason!
JUAN:                         What has he done?
ALONSO:        He claims he's fallen in love!
               Clearly now, I'm in the right
                  to complain and get rid of him.              
               There's no lower treason,
               no fouler act, no greater deception
               than willingly to become victim
                  of that corrupt, attractive lure.
JUAN:          But doesn't love make a man                               
               liberal, wise, even gallant?
               Especially when his love is pure.                     
ALONSO:           Don't believe such trumped up stuff.
               There's no more contemptible deceit
               about love's power than Mira's piece           
               so aptly named The Miracles of Love.
                  Love itself is enough to make
               anyone completely miserable.
               It causes the most fearless and able
               to act the coward, to quiver and shake.        
JUAN:             What's that you're trying to say?
ALONSO:        Listen now and pay attention.
               I'll prove that feeling any affection,
               is cause enough for great dismay.
                  When that rascal Cupid has him caught,     
               all a hard-working man acquires
               he spends on the lady he desires.
               Never giving the fleetest thought
                  to helping a servant or friend.
               Everything goes for his own pleasure.          
               Any man who would use his treasure
               that way, cares only for himself.
                  Obviously, no one ever claimed
               self-indulgence as a virtue.
               So none is more sinful, in truth,              
               than a man whom love has maimed.
JUAN:             Don Alonso, I won't respond
               to your sophistry or exacerbate
               the pangs of my love.  A debate
               with you would force me beyond                
                  the point of losing, I'm afraid.
               And I don't want to fritter away
               a victory I should easily gain.
              I came looking for you today
                  to consult you about the distress          
               I feel, but --Dear Lord above!--
               if my problem is born of love,
               I hardly dare approach the mess.
                  I'm right, I'm sure, to fear a man
               who'd punish a servant severely               
               for such a minor fault.  Clearly
               he'd think a friend were mad.
ALONSO:           On the contrary, I'd listen well.
               It's not at all the same, Don Juan,
               for you to be the one who has gone            
               overboard, victim of a lady's spell.
                  This is my servant, the knave!
               You're gallant, rich and discreet;
               love is something you can feel.
               How can love make a servant rave?             
                  As you will certainly see,
               I always deal evenhandedly
               with truth and with trickery.
               You, Don Juan, can count on me.
                              To MOSCATEL 
                  You, Moscatel, get out of here.            
JUAN:          Let him stay, if only because
               I need you both to help my cause.
ALONSO:        Go ahead.
JUAN:                    Listen and you'll hear:
                  Alonso, I have already fallen
               prisoner to love's constraints.               
               That's something you ought to know.
               Venus won without complaint.
               Her victory was never so easy.
               At first I wondered which would fail
               her desire for battle or mine to give in.    
               As it happened, I lost the game.
                  You also know that my excuse
               for suffering glorious defeat
               is the beauty of the lady:
               Leonor Enríquez.  And she,                  
               the younger daughter of Don Pedro,
               she, that gracious prodigy,
               that miracle of pulchritude,
               is the only fortune I seek.
                  I have never been so lucky                
               as to have enjoyed her favor.
               I would be discourteous
               in claiming reward for my labor.
               Still, I have received from her
               something that I may savor.                   
               Still, a gift is one thing;
               deserving it is another.
                  Coaxed and delighted by night,
               wafted on the wings of desire,
               prodded by silence, goaded by the dark,      
               I approached and she set me afire.
               I lived in the light of her beauty 
               knowing that I must expire.
                  Once I had declared my love,
               I felt it possible I could dare              
               to ask her father for her hand,
               with never a doubt or care,
               that he might refuse.  In wealth
               and station we are paired
               and once I had her consent,                   
               all problems should be spared.
                  Now comes the terrible price, 
               I paid for this encounter:
               why I can't ask for her hand.
               She has an older sister                       
               and since it wouldn't be wise
               to marry off a second daughter,
               first, if I asked for one of them
               when I approached their father,
               --I couldn't tell him which I want--          
               he'd offer the hand of the other.
                  If I said I preferred Leonor
               after he'd offered Beatriz,
               he'd have a right to suspect,
               to think and wonder about me.                 
               It could arouse some malice
               still lying in heavy sleep
               and I'd lose my right, as a cousin,
               to visit as long as I'm free.
                  If I've not already lost it                
               because of what happened last night:
               the reason that I'm talking to you,
               the cause of my pain and my fright.
               Listen now, pay close attention
               while I explain my plight.                    
                  Leonor's sister is the strangest
               creature Madrid has ever seen.
               In spite of a fine education
               and a beauty that is extreme,
               Beatriz is notoriously vain.                  
               She really seems to believe
               that if she looked at any man
               he'd die and fall at her feet.
               She's so intelligent and studious
               that, just in order to keep                   
               her mind occupied, she learned Latin
               and the art of Spanish poetry;
               she's so conceited she adopts
               every new style of the elite,
               regardless of how it suits her.               
               She constantly primps and preens,
               combing and dressing her hair,
               but it never seems to please.
               The Extravagant Lady of Lope's play,
               the subject of satire keen,                   
               is nothing at all compared to her
               as odd as that may seem.
               And if all that were not enough, 
               her worst defect is her speech.
                  Her words are completely affected,         
               colored by poets she's read.
               She paraphrases every word,
               and adds abstruse epithets.
               Without an adequate explication,
               she's impossible to comprehend.               
               The open flattery she receives
               from the fools in her environment
               has so greatly affected her pride,
               has made her so insolent,
               that just to spite the god of love,           
               she's decided she must rebel.
                  Harping on the theme every hour,
               fretting on it all the time,
               she's become a hateful witch.
               No sisters could be more unalike.                 
               The parlor's become a battlefield
               for carrying on open strife.
               Zealously, she refuses
               to leave her sister's side.
               Every moment she's right there                
               to question and to pry
               into every move she makes.
               No matter how hard Leonor tries, 
               Beatriz is there, a looming shadow
               cast by her sister's light.                   
                  I went to visit late last night
               carefully and unseen.
               I signalled at their balcony
               where Leonor meets with me.
               As is usual she opened the window.            
               I came closer to speak.
               I hardly mouthed the words I'd planned,
               unable to restrain the conceit,
               when Beatriz, with notable clamor,
               took her away from me.                        
               She uttered a thousand silly words
               in that style requiring a key.
               If I understood what it was about,
               I think it was to the effect that she
               would report this to their father:            
               that Leonor was talking with me.
                  I'm not sure she knows who I am
               therefore, I'm equally afraid
               to know, as not, how it all turned out:
               if her father is irate.                       
               I'm only sure that I must go
               because, if such is our fate
               and if her father has found us out,
               Leonor's life is at stake.
               Our love is undoubtedly in peril              
               whether I go or I stay,
               so I've chosen a middle position:
               asking you for your help, if I may.
                  This is a letter to be delivered.          
               So one could ever know,                       
               it's not even written in my hand.
               I'd like Moscatel to go
               and take it using all his wiles,
               and give it to the maid he knows.
               Because he's your servant, not mine,          
               he's free to be quite bold.
               Give him permission to do as I ask,
               please, friend,... Alonso.
                  You come with me to wait outside.
               If there's trouble for Leonor,                
               we can manage to go to her rescue
               to save her, I give my word.
               I came to ask you for your help,
               for your backing and your valor.
               As your friend, Alonso, I know well           
               I can count on you and your sword.
ALONSO:           Moscatel, take the letter and go
               to the house of Pedro Enríquez.
               Use whatever means you can,
               to give it, as Don Juan has said,             
               to the maid.
JUAN:                       You agree?  Right now?
ALONSO:        If not now, tell me when.
               Would there ever be a better time?
               Take it and go, Moscatel.
MOSCATEL:      (Although there really is no danger           
               since the woman I love is Inez,
               the maid they want me to see,
               Cupid, I pray for your help.)
ALONSO:        Now, Don Juan, show us the way.
JUAN:          Indeed, you are a friend.                     
ALONSO:           (What a damned vexation Cupid is!
               I don't care if Love heard or didn't.
               I'll be blessed!  I'd never risk
               myself in love.  I couldn't!
               Not me!  On visiting a lady,                  
               I hereby resolve, --who wouldn't?--
               to do things as I've always done 
               when visiting a woman who isn't:
               knock loudly and speak straight out.
               whether she accepts or she doesn't            
               depends on one thing alone:
               I have the money or I haven't.)
                 ALONSO, JUAN, and MOSCATEL all leave 

Locale :  The street in front of Pedro Enríquez's house
                       ALONSO, JUAN, and MOSCATEL enter 
JUAN:          This is her street.  We won't be seen                
               hiding in this open door.
ALONSO:        A good idea!
       LUIS and DIEGO enter, cross the street and remove their hats 
                            Who is that?  He seems             
               to be looking for someone.
JUAN:          The closer one is Luis Osorio.
               He's here too often.   I feel
               he's interested in Leonor too.
               His frequent presence on this street           
               is beginning to bother me.
ALONSO:                                   We'd bother him
               if it were left up to me.
JUAN:          Pay no attention.  It's not the right time
               for swordplay, if you please.
               Give them room rather than a fight.                 
ALONSO:        If you wish, but I'd like to see
               if they're real men.
                              To MOSCATEL 
JUAN:                                You come here     
               after you've seen her.
MOSCATEL:                              Who, me?
JUAN:          We're here.  There's nothing to fear.
               But fast!  Let's not be seen.                 
                     ALONSO, JUAN, and MOSCATEL leave 
LUIS:               This grand yet truncate heavenly sphere
               is the abode wherein dwells
               the most gorgeous deity of the planet,
               one the daytime sun has never met
               on its pass from birth in the fiery gulf      
               toward resplendent, flaming death
               in undulating, silver-spiked billows, 
               and darkened icy depths.
               Her beauty's so great she'd still attract
               even having a good bit less;                  
               if she were plain, she still could charm
               with her mighty intelligence. 
DIEGO:         Do you want to marry a lady like that? 
               You're here with that intent?
LUIS:          I'm here to court a befitting love            
               and, already, to that effect
               my family is preparing the proposal.
DIEGO:         You really want what you would get?
LUIS:          Why not?  I find in her great virtue,
               nobility, valor, and wealth,                  
               all combined with the greatest beauty 
               and the finest of common sense?
DIEGO:         She's far too much.  I wouldn't want
               --of this you may be certain--
               a woman who knows a bit more than I.          
               I'd rather she know even less.
LUIS:          Since when has education been an evil?
DIEGO:         Whenever it may offend!
               A woman must learn to spin and to weave,
               to sew, embroider, and mend.                  
               She certainly has no need to know
               grammar or how to be a poet.
LUIS:          But for one with ability as great as hers
               there's no such thing as excess.
DIEGO:         You haven't convinced me that's true.         
               The rigor and lack of respect
               she shows toward you makes me believe
               it's had the opposite effect.
LUIS:          I adore her disdain.  Let's go and walk
               around the block again.                       
               I still wonder about that other pair
               and what they were doing.
DIEGO:                                  Go then!
LUIS:          Oh, heavenly sphere of the sun I adore,
               I'll soon return to your presence.

                         LUIS and DIEGO leave 
Locale :  A room in Don Pedro's house
                         LEONOR and INEZ enter 
LEONOR:           Is my sister getting dressed?              
INEZ:          She was just combing her hair
               and since I couldn't bear
               how proudly she studied that mess,
                  again and again, asking advice
               from the mirror, I left her alone.            
LEONOR:        The mirror seems to be as prone                   
               to stupidity as she is to her vice.
INEZ:             Stupidity?
LEONOR:                       What else can it be
               if the mirror won't give an answer
               and doesn't know the advice to hand her            
               after being asked repeatedly?
                  Well, if Beatriz asks its advice
               and continues to do so every day,
               stubbornly continuing her play,
               and the mirror never replies,                 
                  it must be dumb.
INEZ:                               I'm concerned
               that she has you upset.
LEONOR:                                 Who me?
INEZ:          You can't understand what she means.
               Her language is too hard to learn.
                  You two can talk all day long              
               speaking but not comprehending.
LEONOR:        I'd gladly be more understanding
               if that were all that were wrong.
                  I'm living now in deadly fear
               that she, the prude, my censor,               
               has threatened to tell father
               about what she learned out here
                  on the balcony last night. 
INEZ:                                        I suppose
               since he left so early today
               we still have time to find a way,                  
               to see that he never knows.
                  There's been no time, as you know,
               for her to tell.  If we're able,
               we may overcome her malicious fable
               with a small invention of our own.            
LEONOR:           My mind has already been at work
               but I still haven't found
               a story that would prove sound,
               or how to explain that quirk
                  of fate.  It was she who saw               
               Don Juan.
INEZ:                     You can surely deny
               any report made by that spy.
               After all there is a law           
                  that says that a thing not seen
               by one's own eyes, it's clear                 
               another may refute without fear.
LEONOR:        Inez, I know just what you mean.
                  Still, the only solution in my head
               is to tell her about my love
               and my hope, but --Dear Lord above!--         
               she could take everything I said
                  in secret and make me a jail.
               That's what happens, you know,
               when you tell a secret.  Oh!
               What can I do?  I mustn't fail.               
                  Still, Inez, to tell the truth
               is all that occurs to me.
        BEATRIZ enters carrying a mirror and removing her manto 
BEATRIZ:       Hello!  No handmaiden do I see!
INEZ:          Can I help you?
BEATRIZ:                         Please remove
                  from my dextrous hand this pellucid        
               enchantress, and my gauntlets convey.
INEZ:          What are gauntlets?
BEATRIZ:                           Gloves you might say.
               Do I need, in order to be lucid,
                  to be vulgar?
INEZ:                            I'll remember next time.
               Here they are.
BEATRIZ:                       How one litigates             
               with these ignorant initiates!
INEZ:                 Yes, ma'am.
BEATRIZ:                           Please extradite
               Ovid from my library for me,
               not the Metamorphoses, no,
               nor the Ars amandi, so--                      
               his Remedio amoris, you see,
                  is the work I would investigate.
INEZ:          How can you expect me to know
               one book from another in the row
               if can't even read a date                                  
                  or title on the billboards?
BEATRIZ:       You idiotic, obscurescent laic,
               aren't you enlightened every day        
               by the example my concomitance affords?
LEONOR:           (That's my cue!)  Dear sister, I...        
BEATRIZ:       Who is that talking to me?
LEONOR:        One who is here at your feet.
               One who is about to die.
BEATRIZ:          Stop right there!  Approach me not!
               My shining purity you'll besmirch,            
               desecrate the altar of honor's church,
               my being, untouched by evil thought.
                  Any woman who puts her faith                    
               in the night time's adumbration,
               who despises daylight's illumination,              
               with contempt chaotic for her fate,
                  any who accepts a love nocturnal,
               dare not approach my chastity, to stain
               it with a look, nor my ears profane
               with her petitions infernal.                  
                  Though human in form, she's a viper
               spitting venom, naturally contagious.
LEONOR:        You are discreet and also gorgeous
               but, Beatriz, you are also my sister...
BEATRIZ:          Never!  It isn't possible, I ween,         
               for a sister of mine to be so libidinous.
LEONOR:        Beatriz, not a single one of us
               even knows what "libidinous" means.
BEATRIZ:          A sister who'd defiantly abrogate
               her safety to the viceroy solar,              
               that tremulous lighthouse lunar,
               in order to intimately communicate,
                  gives reason for Venus to speak,
               as well as for a satellite's silence,         
               but I'll minimize my abhorrence
               of the deed by going to seek
                  a paternal audience to recount
               the sacrilege done to family integrity.
               Last night I beheld a devotee...              
LEONOR:        Do you know who?
BEATRIZ:                          What fount
                  of knowledge have I of such things?
               What masculine creature have I met?
LEONOR:        Well I will tell you, to set  
               things straight, what intention he brings     
                  to my window, who he is that spoke...
BEATRIZ:       What defiance!  Such an insult!  You dare?
LEONOR:        Even though you may not care,
               you must listen because it's no joke
                  when you question my repute                
               and with your silly interrogation
               fall victim to your own persuasion:
               that I'm easy.  My honor will refute...
BEATRIZ:          Your honor?
LEONOR:                        Stop!
BEATRIZ:                               I'll not concede
               your voice access to my ear.                  
LEONOR:        Whether you do or not, hear
               what I have to say of my need.
BEATRIZ:          Perforce your error clandestine
               has come to my notice.  I'll not allow
               it to continue.
LEONOR:                         I'm talking now.             
BEATRIZ:       An asp has no ears.  I'll not listen.
                            BEATRIZ leaves 
LEONOR:           Stop!  But who just came in?
INEZ:          Someone looking for your father.
LEONOR:        You find out who.  (Why do I bother
               going after that wild barbarian?)             
          LEONOR leaves.  MOSCATEL enters from the opposite side 
MOSCATEL:          (Love, how cowardly I feel
               in spite of your aid.  I claim
               safe conduct in the name
               of your ambassador and his seal).
INEZ:             Moscatel, can you possibly
               have the daring, the audacity...?
MOSCATEL:      You don't know either my capacity,
               or why I'm here.  That's probably
                  the cause for your anger with me.
INEZ:          Coming here isn't cause enough?               
MOSCATEL:      Maybe.
INEZ:                  Don't give me that guff.
               Just tell me what you mean.
MOSCATEL:         No, since you don't know why;
               yes, since you're angry with me.
               No, because soon you will see;                
               yes, because it'll take me a while.    
                  And, although I could have come
               answering the call of your beauty,
               I came here now to do my duty,
               not what I'd rather have done.                
                  I'm here to give you a letter
               Don Juan has written and sent.
               I brought it, feeling quite confident
               it'd get to Leonor.  Even better,
                  since nobody knows our connection          
               and I've never been his servant,
               I took the mission without comment.
               He mustn't know of our affection.
                  Still, it wouldn't matter
               if he knew of my feeling                      
               because his love has him reeling.
               He'd understand our chatter.
INEZ:             Well, tell him you gave it to me
               and I'll deliver it to Leonor.
               Then get going out that door.                 
               I'm afraid Beatriz will see...
MOSCATEL:         I'll go, all right, instantly,
               although I adore your presence.
               Love demands my obedience
               and I obey him constantly.                    
                  I'll conquer your insolence
               at the cost of your severity;
               I'll earn your civility
               by suffering your indifference.
INEZ:             I might very well reply                    
               I haven't been as hard on you
               as it may seem.  Tell me who,
               feeling as afraid as I,...
                 ... because you are here, you sot,...
               would postpone their comments?                
               Get going!  Leave my presence!
               Good Lord!  The master!  I'm caught!
                  He's coming up the stairway.
               He can't find me here and see
               that you have been talking with me!           
MOSCATEL:      Listen!  Stop!  Wait!  Please stay!
INEZ exits. DON PEDRO enters
PEDRO: Who has to stay and wait? Who should stop and stay? MOSCATEL: Anyone with something to say, or who'll listen to me prate. PEDRO: What're you doing? MOSCATEL: Nothing beyond what I should. Can't you see? PEDRO: Can't you say? MOSCATEL: Is that up to me? I was thinking of how to respond. PEDRO What are you looking for? MOSCATEL: (My mind). I'm looking for someone to kill me... PEDRO: Why is that? MOSCATEL: ...because what I seek in life, I can't seem to find. PEDRO: Who are you? MOSCATEL: A good question! You've put it in the right way. I'm an honorable servant, if today there is one of that complexion. PEDRO: Tell me whose. MOSCATEL: I don't serve even though I am an attendant. PEDRO: Why not? MOSCATEL: My master's the servant since he serves me as I deserve. PEDRO: To speak to me in that manner, is far too much, you knave. Your failure to respond and behave makes me angry at your chatter. MOSCATEL: (Good God! This is not going well! If he should hit me with that here, it's almost certain to kill. I fear those two might as well be in Hell!) PEDRO: You'll have to tell me who you are, what you want, what you're looking for, and why you came through that door, or else die. You've gone too far. MOSCATEL: Because you've already decreed my death, saying, "Do it now," I'm Moscatel, a servant, I vow, to Alonso de Luna. (Lord help me!) DON JUAN and DON ALONSO at the door JUAN: Moscatel must still be inside, Don Pedro has entered, too. Let's do what we came to do. ALONSO: I'm ready whatever the tide. I'll go now to guard the door. DON ALONSO leaves PEDRO: Go on! DON JUAN comes closer JUAN: What's happening, sir? MOSCATEL: (Just what I need!) PEDRO: (Under pressure I'll be on my guard even more.) I found this man here in the house. Why he came, I don't yet know. JUAN: No? Well he'll tell us or,... So! He'll die by the sword right now. To MOSCATEL (Moscatel, make up a good lie. It's very important you do.) MOSCATEL: (A real help!) To tell the truth, I came looking for a man, and I, not finding any who'd answer, from one doorway to the next, one step at a time I pressed until I arrived at this chamber, where at last I found a maid. (The truth in its place is a relief.) She, thinking that I was a thief, ran away. It was to her that I said, "Please stop, listen, wait." JUAN: It sounds like he's telling it right. PEDRO: (Although I'm not really satisfied that he`s got his story straight, it'd be foolish and unwise for me to rely on my sword and let Don Juan know, of course, that I suspected otherwise. I'll pretend, since it's suitable, to have believed his excuse. He'll drop his guard when he's loose. I'll follow him as soon as possible. Once I know his master's name, there'll be an end to my worry.) If that was behind your hurry, why were you upset when I came? MOSCATEL: Because you carry a sword and I am easily shaken, too. JUAN: Go now, in peace. MOSCATEL: May God keep you. To MOSCATEL JUAN: (Give Don Alonso the word he should get away from there.) MOSCATEL leaves PEDRO: I'll be right back. You wait. JUAN: Where are you off to? PEDRO: To locate some letters I lost somewhere JUAN: But you can't go out alone. I'd be glad to keep you company. PEDRO: (It looks like he was able to see through, to the anger I've shown. I must set him off the track.) Come along. JUAN: (Things are going right for a change: Not suspecting, as he might, what's been happening behind his back.) DON JUAN and DON PEDRO leave. INEZ enters INEZ: I'm confused. He was so severe with Moscatel, but then controlled his anger and let him go. Now he's following him out of here! What could he possibly have seen? I wonder what's going to happen. LEONOR enters talking to BEATRIZ off-stage LEONOR: Good Lord above! What a woman! Have you always been so mean? INEZ: Madam, tell me what has happened? What's the cause of your anger? LEONOR: Beatriz won't listen to me. She's as impertinent as ever, acting more proud than usual. She says she'll tell our father what went on. How tiresome! INEZ: Well, I must say that I never!... It seems that troubles always come one on the heels of the other so closely tied they form a chain. The first one's hardly a bother, when the second begins to be felt. Difficulties come twisted together! That man who got here just before you left so that I could see who he was, was looking for you. This letter he gave to me is from Don Juan. He sent the man, the servant of a friend, you see, to avoid the risk of being known. I took it and we were free almost... when your father came in --as if heaven felt the need-- and caught the man standing here. Don Juan entered and, heeding my plea, got him to make some stupid excuse. to cover up who he'd come to see. Your father made a wild attempt to hide what was going on, but he couldn't quite make it work, and now they're following him up the street. LEONOR: They're right when they say about evils that if one exists, others follow. As happens in the legend of the Phoenix, the nest where one dies in sorrow is cradle for the next to be born. Victory is always so hollow! Give me some paper because I want to answer the letter right now telling Don Juan of the danger. INEZ: Don't put it away. Read it now. It may have some important news or even tell you about how... LEONOR: You're right! You're right! I'll open it. There's nothing to lose, I vow. LEONOR reads the letter "How hard it is, my dearest love, to say just what I feel..." INEZ: Your sister's coming! LEONOR: Good Lord above! What else could I possibly need? BEATRIZ enters BEATRIZ: What idiomatic missive is that you're shamelessly hiding from me? LEONOR: Me? BEATRIZ: You! LEONOR: I don't understand what you say or what you mean. BEATRIZ: With naught but the most vulgar excuse, twice you've behaved obstinately. The tarnished paper you are holding, on which the quills from some geese have inscribed with liquor Ethiopian a few brief lines, I must see. LEONOR: It's useless for you to try to see it. To let you would be doubly stupid on my part. You refused to hear it from me when I tried to tell you all. But now I have a secret to keep, and you have no right to know... BEATRIZ: As a sibling I'll pay no heed to what it is you want to say. Your actions, you must agree, are a different sort of thing. The latter reflect reality; the former could be a lie. Thus, in cases of urgency, I must know what you've done but refuse to hear your need. LEONOR: If I don't want you to know, how will you find out? BEATRIZ: This way! BEATRIZ grabs for the letter and they fight over it Give me that epistle! INEZ: Epistle? That's the Gospel. LEONOR: Try as you may, you tyrant, you'll never get to see what it is! BEATRIZ; That paper liberate!
DON PEDRO enters just as they rip the paper in two, each retaining one half
PEDRO: What? Why are you two fighting? INEZ: My God in heaven, what a waste! PEDRO: You, give me that piece of paper. And you, too, do just as I say. LEONOR: Love, give me the wisdom I need.) BEATRIZ: The fragment you appropriate from my tender hands, dear sir, certain reproaches will designate against your respect and your honor. LEONOR: (I wonder what it contains?) Sir, the paper you have in your hand, since Beatriz knows what it says, must be hers. She was reading it when I arrived... BEATRIZ: Me? To DOÑA BEATRIZ PEDRO: I pray, be quiet. LEONOR: And then when she saw me, she hid it with great care. Naturally, I wanted to read it. When I tried to take it, she tried to keep it. You mustn't think for a minute that was daring of me, because ever since I found out she had a suitor, and that he was writing her, coming by night to her window in order to speak, my virtue has given me the daring the excuse if there were a need, although I am the younger sister, to treat her as you have seen. INEZ: (Leonor won that hand, all right, she had the winning cards.) PEDRO: Indeed, Beatriz! BEATRIZ: Utterly astounded, I know not to answer the charge. She constructed her utterance so as to do the most harm: an edifice made of fire and ice, that'll melt as soon as it's warm. Everything she accused me of in specie, is her own crime. LEONOR: Inez was here. Let her tell what has happened this time. BEATRIZ: Let's be precise, Inez was present she'll apprise us of which is right. INEZ: I am, after all, the only witness to all that occurred tonight. PEDRO: (What can I do? I've been caught between evil on every side. Whatever I do can turn out badly. they're both out after my hide. If I should find out, --How sad!-- which wants to end my life, I'm still the one who'll suffer. I'll never have peace of mind. I'm therefore besieged by pain, harassed by my own bad luck, surrounded by misfortune. If I must--dear Lord--, if I must, I'll die, but I intend to know the cause and whom to trust.) Get out of here, Beatriz, go! And you, Leonor, you go too. BEATRIZ: But, sir, I... PEDRO: Don't say a word. LEONOR: (I hope the letter doesn't say who it's for.) BEATRIZ: Sister, prevaricator, the fault belongs to you. BEATRIZ and LEONOR both exit,P. PEDRO: Inez. INEZ: (Now my turn has come.) PEDRO: Stop! INEZ: (I am who I am.) PEDRO: Since you were the only witness, who first had the paper in hand? INEZ: (I'm not free to break the rules, but I will do what I can.) PEDRO: Why hesitate? What do you fear? Tell me where it began. INEZ: (My job as a servant is to help the one who's telling the lie.) I arrived here shortly before you, and no matter how I tried, I never found out who had the letter. Each had a piece on her side. That is the truth, so help me God! I swear to this, as is my right, as any servant would have done given what happened here tonight. PEDRO: Why must I continue to suffer? All relief to me is denied. Inez, you may leave now. INEZ: ( I hope, as winner, I enjoy a long life!) INEZ leaves PEDRO: This paper may well make clear what the two of them would deny. I'll join together the pieces of this serpent, this viper, deceit. Its poisonous dose is not yet fatal since it isn't in one piece. PEDRO reads from the letter "How hard it is, my dearest love, to say just what I feel, I've been worrying about your sister and if she heard us speak. Let me know, as soon as you can, if she tells your father about me so I can arrange your rescue." The letter fits either, I see, and this only makes it all the harder. If I knew with which it deals, I'd know the daughter at fault and which had acted virtuously. My troubles would be tempered. Now I don't know which to believe. Heaven must have decided to make them both seem guilty to me. I did run into some servant here; and he was disturbed it seems. Don Juan came in to interrupt and so I was forced to leave. I tried to follow but lost him; and so came home, only to meet even greater worry and confusion. These events indicate a deep need for wisdom and for prudence. I know who he seemed to be, that is if he told me the truth. I must know who it is that he serves: Don Alonso de Luna? I'll soon find out who that can be, why he's here, what he intends. It appears that I must achieve justice or vengeance on my own. Help me, Lord, help me please.


There is no Trifling with Love, Act II

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

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Most recent update: 28 Jun 2002