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Act II

[Scene 6]

Enter Cristina

Torrente Is it possible, flower and fruit
of the beautiful tree of love,
that my soul must always mourn1530
because of your severity?
Is it possible that you cannot be captured
by this potent lover from the Indies,
and that Torrente’s gentleness
cannot conquer your hardness?1535
Enter Ocaña in breeches and a shirt, wearing an apron and carrying a sieve and currycomb, walking tentatively with his finger to his lips. He hides himself behind a tapestry so that only his feet can be seen.
Is it possible that you do not value
the mountains of fine gold,
and scorn a rich Peruvian
for an unworthy footman;
that you do not wish to be carried aloft1540
like an Inca chief;
that seeing yourself about to be crowned queen
makes you want to run away;
that you prefer the abundant faults of Spain
to the riches of my El Dorado;1545
that a footman has you so much under his sway
that for him you would give up everything
and take refuge in nothing;
and that you are subject to a drunk,
who tipples so liberally1550
that a gulp of wine to him
is like a squeeze of orange peel to you or me?
O women, you are like dung beetles!

Cristina Speak more softly Torrente,
if by any chance you can.1555
They say that sometimes
the walls have ears.

Torrente Yours are deaf to my pleas.
Leave that rogue who seeks your dishonour
and make your fortune1560
using your considerable discretion.

Cristina Am I so worthless as to love him?
Is there any chance
I would take heed of a drunk?

Torrente Keep your voice down, Cristina.1565
You don’t know who might be listening.
Act so that, with well-aimed prudence,
your humble fortune may be supported by mine,
and you’ll see yourself on the moon.

Cristina Such prosperity is not reserved for me.1570
I am an unworthy sinner,
a girl with a short cloak and slippers,
no good as a señora,
and, what is more, kept down
and gossiped about by Ocaña.1575

Torrente Your lament moves me to fury.
Ocaña will lose his life!

Cristina Just hit him half a dozen times with a stick
and I will throw myself at your feet.

Torrente That’s a very mild punishment1580
for such a guilty man.
The tongue that speaks loosely in your disfavour
should be cut out at the very least.

Cristina A few blows will suffice. Go in peace.

Torrente May God be with you.1585

Cristina Make sure you do what I say,
and be discreet and prudent.
Exit Torrente
[aside] O Jesus, who is this?
Woe is me, whose feet are these?

Ocaña comes out

Ocaña An Inca queen carried aloft1590
from Lima to Potosí
Look at me—I have been made
into a dummy target,
exposed to your terrible scorn
and Torrente’s blows.1595
Half a dozen is not many—
how merciful you are!
My guilt deserves the punishment
to be quadrupled.
But loving you is not a crime,1600
nor is advising you
to refrain from doing something
that might oblige you
to beg forgiveness.

Cristina I swear, my clever Spanish footmen,1605
that what we were plotting was a joke,
and a light-hearted test of your love for me—
I was going to warn you when I saw you.

Ocaña When all is said and done,
you will be on the moon,1610
on the sun, or even Mars,
and I, a miserable wretch,
will be beaten black and blue,
and laid out on this earth.

Cristina God forbid!1615

Ocaña You yourself condemned me!

Cristina I have already told you the truth.
I was joking. Let that be an end to it.

Ocaña Then why did you swear him to secrecy
and tell him to be prudent.1620

Cristina Because, having advised you
what we were planning,
and you having been alerted,
the joke would have been sure to work,
and much funnier.1625

Ocaña That might be so,
if your tears did not confirm
your true desire.

Cristina Then you don’t believe me.

Ocaña Yes I believe you,1630
but I am watching.

Cristina What are you watching?

Ocaña Your tears. I want to see
that the jokes are not fake amusements,
a secret code for cleaving1635
chopping up and killing.
But you go ahead and forge
your schemes in the furnace.
The world’ll see who can carry the cat to the water,
as the saying goes.1640
Go and fetch the oats.
No, give them to me later.
‘I will throw myself at your feet’!

Cristina Don’t you like that expression?
He’ll never see that promise kept!1645

Ocaña Why should I take your word for it
since you lied to him?

Cristina Don’t be so silly!
Give it here. I’ll be right back.
He gives her the sieve
[aside] In this way I‘ll rid myself1650
of two bothersome suitors!

Exit Cristina

Ocaña That a footman’s force, roughly shaped by toil,
should be conquered by a kitchen-maid’s mop,
is an unforeseen curse from Heaven.
Love took up his bow,1655
plucked an arrow from his gleaming quiver,
aimed at my breast and hit me with a dart
that captured my soul and pained my heart.
Thus vanquished, I’m forced to believe
all the lies of that cold-hearted strumpet,1660
who blithely reassures and wounds me.
What power Cupid’s antique strength and hardness
wields in the face of a kitchen-maid,
especially if the tasty little dish
is spiced with cruelty! 29 1665

End of Act II
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