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[Escena 1]

[Scene 1]

Enter Don Antonio

Don Antonio In bristling winter’s season
the tree, bare of flower and fruit,
exchanges the emerald of its soft raiments
for a rough, grey mourning suit.
But although time, nigh eternal, flies,1670
it returns to claim its tribute
and in the bare, withered tree,
finds signs of new growth.
Time past returns to the same moment:
it does not lay waste to everything1675
since the heavens assuage its rigour,
but this is not the case for lovers,
who must perish once jealousy’s
hellish fury passes through them.

Enter Don Francisco

Don Francisco Your passionate sighs1680
and the echoes of your lamenting
always seem to beat the winds,
my friend, whatever the season.

Don Antonio Whenever I wish to speak
with a happy voice1685
I feel my tongue sticking
to the roof of my mouth.
The heavens give no relief
to my anguish or my grief.
Jealousy knows no respite,1690
nor does absence consent to it.

Don Francisco There is no crisis that cannot be resolved.
In life only death has no remedy.
Nature designed human fortune
to be both good and bad,1695
as experience shows us.
I know it to be true,
though I dare not test it out,
that he who cried yesterday laughs today,
and he who laughed yesterday cries today.1700

Don Antonio Oh what a philospher you are
Don Francisco!

Don Francisco I confess that following the progress
of your changing fortune makes me so.
Give me your arms and my reward! 30 1705

Don Antonio Here are my arms.
You will carry off your prize,
if you so covet it,
but why do you claim it?

Don Francisco Because Love has responded to1710
the quality of your faith,
and because I wish to reward you
by delivering you to Marcela.

Don Antonio I know it is a joke,
and I’ll bear it with your pleasure and my sadness,1715
but I do not know what moves you
to mock a friend like me.

Don Francisco It is true! Listen, I’ll be brief:
Marcela’s father…

Don Antonio Oh how the names of Marcela1720
and her father warm my heart!

Don Francisco Listen—don’t be foolish!

Don Antonio I’m listening, foolishly.

Don Francisco This morning, leaving mass
in San Jerónimo,1725
I was taken by the hand…

Don Antonio Oh sweet touch!

Don Francisco How can the touch of an old man’s hand be sweet?
It is clear to me, my friend,
that your sanity is proportionate1730
to your attention!

Don Antonio So it was not Marcela who touched your hand?

Don Francisco No! It was her father!

Don Antonio I did not understand.
Go on, I’m all agog!1735

Don Francisco The peaceful olive groves
were trusty witnesses
to the words I wish to tell you.

Don Antonio Oh holiest celestial bodies,
directed, moved and governed1740
by supreme beings,
Let these words be true!
Let my ears, just this once, hear happy news!

Don Francisco Shhh…for Heavens sake!
Let me speak, or I’ll…!1745
The devil take lovers
for being such milksops!
That a man with a beard
and a sword at his side,
who can lift eleven crates of sardines,1750
should weep, groan, and grow meeker and humbler
than a Capuchine friar,
because of his fair lady’s disdain!

Don Antonio These digressions bear my soul
here, there and everywhere,1755
hanging on his every word.

Don Francisco Well, here’s another one:
a pasty-faced lover asked a kitchen-maid
to give him one of her mistress’s toothpicks,
and offered four doubloons for it,1760
and the stupid girl brought him
the toothpick of her master,
who was old and toothless.
He gave her what he’d promised,
and having gilded it, hung it from his neck,1765
as if it were the relic of some saint.
He groaned before it on bended knee,
and prayed to his dry old toothpick
to help him in his dubious enterprise.
And what about those vain men1770
who resort to witches’ tricks
involving sieves and beans,
and give firm credence to foolishness?
Heaven save us!
A man should always show1775
the courage and spirit
to reveal his manliness in any crisis.
Let him have no truck with celestial bodies
and devices of supreme beings.
He should wait, listen, and attend1780
to what his friends care to disclose,
whether it’s in his favour
or to his detriment.

Don Antonio I am waiting, listening and attending.

Don Francisco Then I can say that Don Pedro,1785
Marcela’s father,
told me the following…

Don Antonio Would you mind hurrying up your story?
My life depends on how it ends.

Don Francisco As I was saying, he told me…1790

Don Antonio This is killing me!

Don Francisco [aside] He’s very tetchy!

Don Antonio For Christ’s sake finish Don Francisco!
I’m hanging on your every word!

Don Francisco He said I should arrange—1795
since he knows nothing of such things—
for you to request
his daughter Marcela’s hand.

Don Antonio What am I hearing?
Are you making fun of me, my friend,1800
or do you wish to prolong
my suffering with false hope?

Don Francisco I’m not joking, I swear to God.
I’m telling you the truth

Don Antonio Give me your feet…1805

Don Antonio …and ask for my soul as your reward.
I would give it you
if I hadn’t already given it to Marcela.
But tell me, my dear friend,1810
did you, by any chance
touch Don Pedro’s body,
to see if he was a ghost or not?

Don Francisco You have lost your wits!

Don Antonio It was don Pedro Osorio,1815
Marcela’s father?

Don Francisco The very same.

Don Antonio The very same?

Don Francisco The very same! Why keep on?

Don Antonio My heart is so used to misfortune1820
that I can scarcely believe this happy news,
but what convinces me is that it comes from you,
my good friend, who is part of my soul.

Don Francisco Find don Pedro Osorio
and ask him for his daughter’s hand1825

Don Antonio Where is he keeping her?

Don Francisco He is holding her in Santa Cruz,
a holy monastery
of the order of Saint Francis,
very close to Torrejón and Cubas1830

Don Antonio Why cloister her there?

Don Francisco I did not bother with the finer points,
nor ask him anything.
I simply attended to his request
and came, as soon as possible, to give you1835
the sweet and happy tidings you have heard.

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