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Act II

[Scene 4]

Enter Don Ambrosio

Don Ambrosio For you, beautiful virgin, the poor peasant,1150
in spite of the sky’s menacing severity,
happily scatters the rich grain
between the furrows of the soil he has worked.
For you the merchant ploughs the waters
of the ancient sea in a fragile sailing ship,1155
and in the harshness of the sun and snow
the soldier contentedly treads peaks and prairies.
For you so many times,
when he who seeks and pleads has lost his strength,
victory has been promised and demanded.1160
For you, the sturdy staff of life,
perhaps one aspires to the impossible,
and desire arrives at the gates of glory.
Oh famous Hope, you raise our flagging spirits,
although they may be entombed in misery.1165

Enter Cristina

Cristina [aside] There will be a fiesta and rejoicing,
and no doubt all the relations
will come to the wedding.

Don Ambrosio [aside] I spy my guiding light!
[to Cri.] Oh sweet Cristina!1170

Cristina [aside] I must be made of icing sugar!

Don Ambrosio Tribunal that will reveal
what love determines
to my detriment or my benefit.

Cristina What a strange greeting!1175

Don Ambrosio The voice of reason
draws it from my breast.
but, coming to the point,
how fares my hope?
Will it live or die?1180
Must I assume I’ll perish?
Is our plan encountering problems?

Cristina Slow down, señor!
Your questions come thick and fast.

Don Ambrosio Not as fast as love’s living flame consumes me!1185

Cristina Your suffering can be summarised
in just one sentence:
Marcela is as good as married.
She is no longer yours.
She has already been given to someone1190
who will know how to cherish her.

Don Ambrosio You need not tell me the husbnad’s name.
It must be Don Antonio.

Cristina With his sister?
Such false accusations1195
are beyond the pale!

Don Ambrosio What’s this Cristina?
An attempt to cover up
some evil-doing?

Cristina She is going to marry her cousin!1200

Don Ambrosio Heavens above! What is going on?
He who was a brother yesterday
is a cousin today!
Can a man transform himself so quickly?

Cristina It is a pilgrim, her cousin from Peru,1205
some moneybags who came here from the Indies.
The sea consumed, like a dose of salts,
more than ten thousand gold-pieces
belonging to this new pilgrim,
who is not so very far away,1210
because look where he comes!

Don Ambrosio Who would have thought it possible!

Cristina Although before marrying
I understand he has to go to Rome.

Enter Cardenio, Torrente and Muñoz

Don Ambrosio Trickster and Peruvian peacock!1215
You are both bold and insolent!
Why act as if related
to the life for which I would die?

Torrente [aside] Our virgin plan has been deflowered!
We are finished!1220

Muñoz [aside] This is bad
The plan has fallen apart
at the very first stage.

Cardenio Señor, I do not understand you,
Nor can I imagine why1225
you so precipitously vent your spleen
on a noble pilgrim.

Muñoz Whoever says I gave a list
to anyone is lying,
however many times he says it.1230
Just let them try
making allegations against me.
The castles that I build
are in no way badly defended.

Torrente [aside] Before making sure1235
this one has to spill the beans!
Just as I said: a lot of hot air!

Don Ambrosio By the heavens that direct us
If you should persist
in your planned deception,1240
death by a thousand cuts
will be the settling of your score
before you succeed.
Go back to your goldmines in Potosí
and let my persistence succeed!1245

Cardenio [to Tor.] He is raving!

Torrente [to Car.] I agree.

Cristina [aside] It is Don Francisco and my master!
Time to take to my heels!

Exit Cristina

Enter Don Francisco and Don Antonio

Don Francisco [to D. Ant.] That may well be the case.1250
The strictness of a zealot,
if he is a man of honour
like Marcela’s father,
demands an even sterner course of action.

Don Ambrosio This is the one who warped the weft1255
that cost me so dear.
What harshness of the stars was it,
señor Antonio,
that turned your mercy into cruelty?
And who is this pilgrim,1260
well-measured to your plan,
whose happiness you wish to cost my life.
Marcela is mine,
if heaven and you desire it.
Your ingenuity can cure all my ills.1265
My lineage is not inferior to his,
and I do not believe
her father will be affronted
by a marriage among equals.
If he hid her in your house1270
to take her from me then see,
if perhaps you are a lover too,
how my soul suffers by this absence.

Don Francisco [aside to D. Ant.] This man is talking
about Marcela Osorio,1275
not your sister.

Don Antonio [aside to D. Fra.] That much is obvious.
My soul fears the worst.
[to D. Amb] Your own eyes must duly satisfy you
that your presumption was vain1280
and your fantasy ill-founded.
Come with me, and you will see
how you have deceived yourself.

Don Ambrosio If you take me to Marcela
you will take me to heaven!1285

Exeunt Don Antonio, Don Francisco and Don Ambrosio

Muñoz, Torrente and Cardenio remain onstage

Cardenio Oh Muñoz, you trembled
at the drop of a hat.

Muñoz I am scared of being bashed
and beaten to a pulp.
I fear that my schemes,1290
my tricks and fabrications,
will send me to the galleys,
which won’t be very good for these old bones.

Torrente You confess without the screws being turned!
That is a very bad sign.1295

Muñoz Thinking of the possible consequences
is what makes me afraid.
But from now on
I intend to be a martyr,
paying tribute to guilt1300
through constant anxiety.
I wish that list hadn’t been written by my hand.
My well-founded fears
are draining all the strength from me.

Torrente I wonder where this disastrous plan will lead us.1305

Muñoz Heaven will never provide
the flannel and the tailor!

Exeunt Muñoz, Torrente and Cardenio.

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