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THE HONORABLE DECEPTION

A comedy once performed at Cambridge,
By Master Stubbe, a Fellow of Trinity College

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

CLEOMACHUS or Charilaus, an old man
DIODORUS a physician, friend to Charilaus
CALLIDAMUS a lover, son of Charilaus
ERGASILUS servant to Callidamus
PERILLUS servant to Diodorus
CHRYSOPHILUS an old man, greedy and deaf
CUCULUS Chrysophilus’ uncouth son
ONOBARUS an elderly dimwit
NITELLA Onobarus’ shrewish wife
FIORETTA Onobarus’ daughter, Callidamus’ beloved
MISOGAMUS eager for the monastic life
CANIDIA a blind old nun
THREE WATCHMEN
SIX BOYS
CHORUS OF SINGERS

 

CHARACTERS ONLY MENTIONED

ALFONSO, ALBERTO Dukes of Florence
FABRIZIO Callanthia’s father

The setting is Florence.

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PROLOGUE

spacerspacerGreat greetings, oh you very flourishing Florentines. And, oh you merry souls, whatever we produce here in our Honorable Deception requires that your censure be mild. How I could wish that you could enjoy the Rosciuses blue of old! But they, once the ornaments of this witty theater, have disappeared and their modern descendants take the stage. I beg you have no expectations. Then, I hope that, should we disappoint, in all respects our deception will be an honorable one.

 

ACT I, SCENE i blue
CLEOMACHUS, CHRYSOPHILUS, ERGASILUS

spacer CLEO. Having taken the auspices, at length I return to this house, once so well known to me. But, good gods, how different everything looks after fifteen years! Florence isn’t Florence. But this is the way of all mortal things. Here is the house of Chrysophilus, with whom I left my son Callidamus as I took my departure. Oh you gods of this household! If you have kept him safe and sound for me on my return, I will not regret having survived even all the evils of war. And indeed, if memory serves, this is the very man whom I see coming out. [Enter Chrysophilus.]
spacerCHRYS. By Hercules, Ergasilus, I’m amazed by the effrontery of your master Callidamus.
spacerCLEO. He’s speaking of Callidamus. May the gods confirm this omen! I’ll approach the fellow. May I have a few words with you, my fine old gentleman?
spacerCHRYS. I won’t give him Floretta, nor indeed the money.
spacerERG. Who’s that foreigner?
spacerCLEO. I say, if it’s no trouble I’d like to speak to you.
spacerCHRYS. I don’t hear you.
spacerCLEO. Hang it! I have a question for you.
spacerCHRYS. Good-bye.
spacerCLEO. What’s this rudeness? For a foreigner to be so ill handled! By the gods, answer me, unless you wish to be silenced forever.
spacerCHRYS. Help me, Ergasilus.
spacerERG. Whoever you are, please do your best to murder this man. He who does this is my friend.
spacerCLEO. For heaven’s sake, the villain deserves to be punished for his bad manners. I address him quite loudly, but he doesn’t give a word in reply.
spacerERG. Forgive the gentleman, kind guest. Although you speak loudly, he doesn’t hear you. He’s deaf.
spacerCLEO. I’d prefer he have the ears of a donkey, he disturbs me so.
spacerCHRYS. As far as I can see, this man is mad. Hey, Ergasilus, come to me.
spacerCLEO. He doesn’t recognize me. Let me eavesdrop on them.
spacerCHRYS. Tell this to your master, that I don’t like the marriage he’s aiming at.
spacerERG. May great Jupiter destroy you.
spacerCLEO. Oh how cleverly this naughty servant mocks this deaf gentleman!
spacerCHRYS. I don’t approve of his soft character, he indulges in love excessively.
spacerERG. Go away and hang yourself, you sinner.
spacerCHRYS. At your age I was in the army.
spacerERG. You who are the basest of men.
spacer CHRYS. He scorns my advice about his love life.
spacerERG. As you deserve, you whipping-post.
spacerCHRYS. He wants no mistress other than Floretta, whom I love desperately.
spacerERG. Gods damn you and your amours.
spacerCHRYS. She’s my sole delight. I’m about to go back inside and write her a love letter.
spacerERG. To the gallows with you, you villain, for opposing my master so.
spacerCLEO. Hey, young man, are you quite familiar with this old man?
spacerERG. Would that I weren’t!. I think he was born to give my master trouble.
spacerCLEO. Who should I call your master?
spacerERG. Callidamus.
spacerCLEO. Oh kind gods! Just the man I would choose to meet.
spacerERG. And just now you can do so opportunely, because today he’s come to this very place to celebrate solemn rites in honor of his deceased darling. Hear them singing. And here he is himself. Callidamus appears with a solemn procession and sad hymn, and performs certain rites alongside Callanthia’s lake. Cleomachus and Ergasilus remain onstage.

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ACT I, SCENE ii blue
CALLIDAMUS, CLEOMACHUS, ERGASILUS

spacerCALL. That’s all. Go home, my grieving companions. And you, oh shade of Callanthia, rest in peace, you for whom I perform these sad last rites.
spacerCLEO. My friendly young man, whom on the basis of this solemn celebration I judge to be noble and pious, there’s a subject on which I’d have a few words with you, unless no other business summons you.
spacerCALL. Behold, I’m at your disposal. But whom should I call you, you whose politeness obliges me, stranger though you are?
spacerCLEO. I’m called Cleomachus, I’m no more of a stranger to you than I was once a friend of your father Charilaus.
spacerCALL. This word bespeaks life and sweetness for Charilaus my father. But pray tell me, is he alive or am I a dead man forever?
spacerCLEO. He’s just as much alive as I am myself, as I tell you so.
spacerCALL. You know him well enough?
spacerCLEO. Nobody knows him better, for he’s always been very close to me. We have always shared a single heart and mind, for I have long campaigned with him against the barbarian Turks, and never departed his side. My affection for him was the reason why I undertook such a lengthy journeyto visit you, the single son of Charilaus.
spacerCALL. Most welcome guest, since Charilaus is your friend it’s impossible for you not to be dear to me.
spacerCLEO. And to me he who has Charilaus for a father will always be like a son.
spacerCALL. Such is your kindness? But pray, dearest friend (for such I have the confidence to call you), what harsh destiny has for such a long time taken my father away from me, to my ill fortune?
spacerCLEO. If you pay close heed, you’ll hear. Fifteen years ago when that civil war broke out between Alfonso and Duke Alberto of Florence — I shudder to mention it— in this republic, so wretchedly torn apart, every man chose which side to take. Your father Charilaus and his close friend Fabrizio fought vigorously for his nation and for Alfonzo, who had the best claim on the dukedom. But in the end, as often happens, it was the greater power that prevailed, rather than the cause of justice. The victory fell to Alberto, but not without great bloodshed, in which slaughter this friend of Charilaus, Fabrizio, fell. Dying, he entrusted his single daughter Callanthia to my paternal care.
spacer CALL. Good God, Callanthia!
spacerCLEO. And I had great need of your father’s advice. For, since all tyrants always hate the adherents of opposing parties, this cruel Alberto sentenced Charilaus and his entire family to perpetual exile.
spacerCALL. Oh the impious duke!
spacerERG. How very cruel!
spacerCLEO. Why say more? Together with his wife Theodosia, your father Charilaus quickly made preparations to flee. But you, his son, together with Callanthia, were still infants and unfit for the hardship of travel, so they gave you to Chrysophilus to be reared, together with a thousand pieces of gold which they appointed to be given to you (if the gods thus saw fit) upon your marriage. An agreement was made. Then Charilaus and Theodosia immediately took ship. But (I believe because the gods were angry) a great storm arose and they suffered shipwreck. Here your mother died and became food for the fish.
spacerCALL. What unhappy news!
spacerCLEO. But your father Charilaus, whom the merciless mercy of heaven wanted to be spared for greater woes, swam to Dalmatia, on the other side of the Adriatic, where he fought against the savage Turks down to this day.
spacerCALL. Why didn’t he finally come home?
spacerCLEO. As long as Alberto lived, it would have cost him his life had he ever materialized, but wherever he is, he is with you. I know full well how much joy your life and safety give him.
spacerCALL. But as far as I am concerned, all joy, life and safety are out of tune since the time I lost Callanthia. She — oh, the sorrow! — for whom no death would have been opportune, died long before her time.
spacerCLEO. By Hercules, I grieve.
spacerCALL. If the gods had kept her alive for me! I would not have traded her for a thousand bushels of gold pieces.
spacerCLEO. So you were devoted to her?
spacerCALL. As much as an poor boy could be to a little girl. O how I remember our innocent embraces! The kisses which delighted me with their very coldness, at a time when there was love without suspicion, laughter without fear, trust without deceit, and delight without sorrow.
spacerCLEO. Elegant little lovers!
spacerCALL. How charming it would have been to see a weaponless Cupid playing with a chaste Venus!
spacerCLEO. A nice prelude to love!
spacerCALL. In the end— ah, too quickly —  I cannot speak.
spacerCLEO. What finally happened?
spacer CALL. [To Ergasilus.] You relate the rest.
spacerERG. In her greed for this money Lupina, I mean the unholy wife of this Chrysophilus, drowned the little girl in these nearby waters.
spacerCLEO. A horrendous crime!
spacerCALL. Oh, would that the impious woman had chosen either to spare or to destroy us both!
spacerCLEO. I’m surprised she didn’t destroy you both, since you both had the money coming to you.
spacerERG. But it was not to be paid out to anyone but their spouses.
spacerCLEO. Did she commit this sin with impunity?
spacerERG. By no means. She cunningly concealed it, but not for long, since she was guilt-ridden and terrified by her dreams, and so unwillingly betrayed the thing.
spacerCLEO. Oh, heaven’s justice! Was she truly punished?
spacerERG. She herself did that well enough.
spacerCALL. Not well enough, the villainess.
spacerERG. I mean that she had received a summons to stand her trial but forestalled the sentence of the law by committing herself to those same waters.
spacerCLEO. Oh me, unhappy in every respect!
spacerERG. And, just about to die, she wrote these verses on this column here: In these same waters in which Callanthia undeservedly drowned, I, the doer of the deed, drown deservedly. Hence my master pays an annual visit to this lagoon and renews his mourning with these rites. And today is the very day.
spacerCALL. Yet, oh my Cleomachus, this is the final day in my succession of woes. For me, a different fire blazes forth from these waters. But it’s a long story.
spacerCLEO. Tell it briefly.
spacerCALL. In a word. Three years ago, some of us lads and lasses assembled at this very spot to celebrate these same rites, and in this way were making an exhibition of our inmost grief. But, above all the other girls, there was a single one, Floretta (oh, how sweet to breathe forth her name!), on whose face sat a delectable sadness, and whose sweet tears surpassed all joy. So for me a new Venus rose up from this sea of her tears, whose lovely breast offered a refuge for my much-improved disposition. And this was the wonderfi; thing, that she was the best daughter of the worst parents one could possibly imagine.
spacer CLEO. Did her parents stand in the way of your suit?
spacerCALL. Ah me!
spacerERG. Hence his heartache. Floretta’s evil mother Nitella wants her to marry Chrysophilus because he abounds in wealth, but her noble daughter scorns the decrepit old man. Nor does that skinflint sincerely love he’s only interested in preventing my master from marrying her, since he dreads having to pay his spouse her money.
spacerCLEO. I understand. But I’d like to learn whether she is in love with Callidamus.
spacerCALL. I’d be happy to learn that myself.
spacerCLEO. Haven’t you tested her?
spacerCALL. I have a dear friend named Diodorus, you see, who has taken me into his household since I have been wretchedly excluded by Chrysophilus, and I cannot ever sufficiently tell you how greatly I stand in his debt. And he has always been a close friend to Floretta. I have been using him as an intermediate, and just now I am awaiting his return from her. But I fear I have been a bother by wearing out your ears, and I beg your pardon. Perhaps you are wearied by your voyage. Please go inside and stretch out your weary limbs on a couch for a little while.
spacerCLEO. I like your offer.
spacerCALL. I’m calling out my Diodorus, and I promise I’ll return to you presently. Ergasilus, you be diligent in taking care of this man. But I see Diodorus himself.

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ACT I, SCENE iii
CALLIDAMUS, DIODORUS, PERILLUS

spacerCALL. Diodorus, I say. Well met. How fares my Floretta? Does she send me her greetings?
spacerDIO. If only she would.
spacerCALL. You mean her mother forbids her, so as to give her to Chrysophilus?
spacerDIO. There’s another thing too.
spacerCALL. Does she threaten Floretta with the cloister unless she marries the old man? That’s her usual procedure.
spacerDIO. There’s more.
spacerCALL. She doesn’t love me?
spacerDIO. And something else too.
spacerCALL. Gods above, there can’t be anything worse.
spacerDIO. I’m embarrassed to mention this, oh my dearest friend. Forgive me, for she’s in love with me.
spacerCALL. What do you mean, she’s in love with you? So suddenly?
spacerDIO. She’s loved me for a long time.
spacerCALL. What? You’ve not told me.
spacerDIO. How could I, when I didn’t know it? Don’t be amazed or distrust the good faith of a man who has always been steadfast towards you, without any deception. I’ll wander the world as an exile rather than stand in your way. Good-bye.
spacerCALL. This is worse yet. In my unhappiness I am dying twice over, my sweetest Diodorus. So does our mutual affection bind us so tightly that now it must separate us forever? Do you imagine I have a tongue with which I can bid you farewell for all time?
spacerDIO. It’s necessary that this flight I am preparing turns out well for you. You have no idea how hard it is for me to be torn away from my Callidamus, as long as I can do anything to help advance your suit. I call all the gods to witness how happy I was to have you as a companion. Now, since I have been made your rival, I am leaving. You may have your Floretta. Now enjoy her by yourself, but remember your Diodorus. He who can do no more to help you does not wish to harm you any longer.
spacerCALL. Are love’s laws so harsh that I cannot enjoy Floretta unless Diodorus goes into exile?
spacerDIO. Cupid’s a tyrant and suffers no partner in power. But don’t grieve. No man goes into exile willingly.
spacerCALL. Oh this gem, unmatched by any provided by either of the Indies, which I have discovered even as I am losing it!
spacer DIO. You are not truly losing it, Callidamus, since you always lie close in my heart. And once something is destined to occur, it is best for it to happen quickly. So I bequeath you this house, and I hope its household spirits will be kindly to you. I shall travel the world searching for a livelihood, even by means of this healing art I profess. Just as it sometimes restores life to others, it will keep mine safe and sound.
spacerCALL. You speak of a blessed art, which has already discovered a remedy for our love.
spacerDIO. And I want you, my Perillus, to serve this man in his amours.
spacerPER. I could be nowhere more gladly, since I can be of use to you, Callidamus, and since my master commands it, although it may go hard on me that Diodorus is abandoning me.
spacerDIO. I am not abandoning you, as long as you keep what is entrusted to you secret in your heart until I return.
spacerPER. It will be so.
spacerDIO. Farewell now, Callidamus, farewell, and receive this embrace as a token of our undying friendship. [Exit.]
spacerCALL. Farewell, oh you single greatest example of friendship ever witnessed by the sun. Forget Damon and Pythias, Orestes and Pylades, and such other trifling examples of friends. Rather, I command that henceforth all such old wives’ takes be erased from the pages of history.
spacerPER. But, Callidamus, soon your Floretta will be handed over to Chrysophilus or the cloister, unless you take counsel swiftly.
spacerCALL. You keep watch here a little while while I tell these things to Cleomachus. Oh you wonderful councils of the gods, who have taken away one friend and given me another! [Exit.]

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ACT I, SCENE iv
PERILLUS, CUCULUS, ERGASILUS

spacerPER. Woof, who do I see? Chrysophilus’ son Cuculus? He’s a laughing-stock for all this city, and we mock him daily.
spacerCUC. To Floretta, to Floretta, to Floretta.
spacerPER. What in the world’s going on, Cuculus?
spacerCUC. Business, business.
spacerPER. What business, dammit? Why the great hurry?
spacerCUC. Because unless I go to, to — By Hercules, I’ve forgotten. To, to — Oh my head!
spacerPER. Do you want it to be pounded loose from your brain? Let me refresh your memory.
spacerCUC. To that daughter of Onobarus and Nitella.
spacerPER. You mean Floretta.
spacerCUC. Floretta, Floretta. I remember well enough, but I forgot. I’m carrying a love letter to her from my father Chrysophilus.
spacerPER. Indeed you are an outstanding donkey for bearing a letter of this kind from a decrepit old man to Floretta. You’re a handsome young fellow and you should be finding yourself a girl friend.
spacerCUC. Ha ha he. But the naughty girls laugh at me.
spacerPER. This is the fault of your bashfulness. You’re handsome, look at those arms and feet.
spacerCUC. Hah, I’m certainly well endowed with these, but they say my face is less attractive.
spacerPER. Oh Aesculapius, as I if I haven’t a remedy for that ill. For what other purpose am I Perillus, the skilled servant of that distinguished physician Diodorus? [Aside.] Ergasilus, fetch me that vial from the window. With it I’ll play a neat trick on the fool.
spacerERG. Take it. [Aside.] By Hercules, it’s vinegar. I’d be amazed if this rascal of a boy is planning anything good for Cuculus.
spacerPER. Ah, Cuculus mine, you have no concept of the virtue of this little bottle.
spacerCUC. I most certainly don’t.
spacerERG. No, you most certainly don’t. I am present as his assistant.
spacerCUC. But, Perillus, I beg you explain this bottle’s virtue.
spacerPER. By Hercules, I can’t.
spacerERG. I think you can.
spacerPER. Stimulate the heart, rarefying the blood, engendering spirits, and making one’s face glow. Do you think these to be great things?
spacerCUC. Very much so.
spacer PER. They are without value, if you consider this water. For all of a sudden it makes men so handsome and adorable. It’s the same water which restored Floretta’s fair and unblemished visage after it had been disfigured by leprosy. I can’t easily tell you how much more valuable it is than all the pharmacies of the city.
spacerERG. Nor can anybody else.
spacerCUC. And if you give me a supply —
spacerPER. As if I’d deny you anything.
spacerERG. Here it is.
spacerPER. But be careful not to swallow the whole thing. If you were to do so, almost all the girls who laid an eye on you would immediately go mad. And see, the rascal has gulped it all down.
spacerCUC. Hah hah.
spacerPER. How quickly his countenance has changed!
spacerCUC. Hah hah.
spacerPER. Oh, the comely face!
spacerCUC. Aha.
spacerPER. What ruddy cheeks! What a majestic countenance! How visible it is far and wide!
spacerCUC. Fah ah ah ah. To my unhappiness I’ve taken poison.
spacerPER. By Hercules, all love is poisonous.
spacerERG. [As if newly arrived.} Greetings, Perillus. To what nobleman or courtier are you speaking?
spacerPER. Oh the miraculous philtre! The man doesn’t recognize him, this is Cuculus.
spacerCUC. As if you don’t know.
spacerERG. Why this zeal to impose on me with your lies?
spacerPER. Ha ha he.
spacerCUC. Hello, Ergasilus.
spacerERG. May the gods preserve you, whoever you are, for addressing a humble servant in such a pleasant and friendly manner.
spacerCUC. Ha ha he. You’re joking. Don’t you recognize Cuculus?
spacerERG. That donkey, that toadstool, that fool? I know him more than well enough.
spacerCUC. For heaven’s sake, I’m he.
spacerERG. Hah, I recognize your clothes.
spacerPER. Ergasilus, see what art can accomplish.
spacerERG. The hell with your art, you impostor whom I regard as false and cozening. I am just as familiar with Cuculus as you are, he of the gaping mouth, the six-foot nose, and the cadaverous, weasel-colored face.
spacer CUC. They’re not mocking me. Hm, I know this for sure, that I am who I am and nobody else.
spacerPER. But, Ergasilus, since you choose to be mulish, what will you bet in this argument?
spacerERG. Anything you care to name.
spacerPER. So be it. Let’s go home, and make your master Callidamus the judge.
spacerERG. I agree. But see, here comes Nitella. Let’s go inside right away.
spacerCUC. But I have a letter I must deliver.
spacerERG. By no means, until sentence has been pronounced.
spacerPER. By no means.

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ACT I, SCENE v blue
ONOBARUS, NITELLA

spacerNIT. Onobarus. Onobarus, I say.
spacerON. My wife.
spacerNIT. “My wife?“ [Slaps him.] You’re not listening. Where have you misplaced your ears, you gallows-bait?
spacerON. Would that you hadn’t found them just now!
spacerNIT. Are you babbling, whipping-stock?
spacerON. I beg you, Nitella —
spacerNIT. No need to beg. Take this, even if you don’t want it. [Slaps him.]
spacerON. Oh, my good wife!
spacerNIT. Begging again?
spacerON. Not that. I wanted something else.
spacerNIT. Here’s another. [Slaps him.] Now can you be silent?
spacerON. I’m silent.
spacerNIT. Are you ready for my orders? I want you to visit Canidia the nun . Tell her that I am about to send my daughter Floretta to a cloister, as I promised, because she so haughtily disdains Chrysophilus as a husband. Upon my life, I’ll teach that wicked girl what it is to disobey her mother. Are you standing there, you stone? Get going, blockhead. Are you still muttering? Do you want me to cut out your tongue or gouge your eyes?
spacerON. For sure I’m fated to be a stone or a block, if you deprive me of my tongue and eyes.
spacerNIT. You’re still looking around?
spacerON. I have no idea where I should go. When you box my ears so much you beat out all my intelligence and memory.
spacerNIT. Done without any trouble. So go to Canidia, rascal.
spacerON. Oh, Canidia. I’ll gladly visit her, but my shoulder blades disapprove my going, thanks to your whipping.
spacerNIT. I perceive they’re itching for another beating.
spacerON. I’m going to Canidia right now. But what should I say when I get there?
spacerNIT. Bah, you sluggard. Tell her that your a crazy, tongue-tied fool.
spacerON. I certainly don’t want to call myself tongue-tied, lest I be a liar.
spacerNIT. Wow, how wittily wise you are! So you should say you have been well-endowed with slaps, and I’ll bring it about that you’re no liar.
spacerON. Oh please, my wife, I could easily say this too, even if you weren’t to assault me.
spacerNIT. So you want to tell lies? Now you must receive a well-deserved thrashing for that. [Hits him.]
spacerON. Oh.
spacerNIT. Off with you, lest you become cheerful once more. And bear in mind what I have commanded you. Tell Canidia I’m on the verge of getting rid of Floretta.
spacerON. I believe I have been born for nothing but enduring hardships, since my worthless wife gives me nothing but beatings and scourgings.

ACTUS I, SCENA vj
ONOBARUS, CALLIDAMUS

spacerCALL. I’m coming now, my darling. I see Onobarus. [To himself.] Bah, him for a father-in-law? But it scarcely matters. Gems of the greatest worth often grow in barbarian soil. [Aloud.] Callidamus wishes happiness for his father-in-law.
spacerON. In vain on both scores. I’m neither happy nor your father-in-law.
spacerCALL. Why not? What’s the reason?
spacerON. Nitella, that worst of wives, who has just despatched me to Canidia so Floretta may be entered into the cloister.
spacerCALL. Pray be in no haste to do that.
spacerON. Pray be in no haste to entreat me. For, besides the fact that I justly dislike that “pray,” which has cost me a slap just now, I cannot and I dare not. I am not opposed to you, and yet my wife’s regime weighs on me more heavily.
spacerCALL. So I beg you to entreat Nitella on my behalf.
spacerON. No, I beg you to entreat her on my behalf, my affairs are in a worse condition than yours. You court a girl as if you were a bridegroom, while I do the same to my wife, and in vain at that. I swear I haven’t slept with her for these past seven years.
spacerCALL. But I’ll show you how you can do me a favor, if only you lend me your ears.
spacerON. Lend you my ears? Just now I lent them to Nitella quite sufficiently.
spacerCALL. By Hercules, if you walk away I’m a dead man.
spacerON. By Hercules, if I stay I can’t survive. But do you want to heed me, a foolish fellow, about something that is very greatly in your interest?
spacerCALL. What’s that, pray?
spacerON. Stop loving the girl.
spacerCALL. Oh you fellow, as dense as lead!
spacerON. I know no other cure. Good-bye.
spacerCALL. Go away, you toadstool, a husband in every way most deserving to have Nitella as your wife.

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ACT I, SCENE vii blue
CALLIDAMUS, FLORETTA from a window

spacerCALL. In what a slippery place my affairs stand! What am I to do? I’m approaching the window of the light of my life. I’ll find the cure of this evil here or nowhere in the world. Floretta, my Floretta!
spacerFLOR. Who’s calling? Good health, Callidamus.
spacerCALL. Ah, my honey, how can I not be healthy when my salvation is at hand?
spacerFLOR. Is that how you are going on? Good-bye.
spacerCALL. How can I be healthy when my salvation is not at hand?
spacerFLOR. But Salvation herself cannot save me. In vain you ask health from a girl who is her own downfall.
spacerCALL. May supreme Jupiter forbid!
spacerFLOR. But how does that affect me, since I am an unhappy girl who deserves her woes? You, my Diodorus, be happy wherever on earth you are going to pass your exile, and enjoy the angry gods. I vow myself to the cloister.
spacerCALL. Is it thus that you, my dawn, are going to be clouded over with cloisters and darkness?
spacerFLOR. Why not, since squalor, darkness and perpetual night suit me.?
spacerCALL. What light is absent when my Floretta is present?
spacerFLOR. What good does that do when my Diodorus is absent?
spacerCALL. The hell with Diodorus.
spacerFLOR. Be careful what you say. He is the friend who loves you the most.
spacerCALL. I admit it. But have regard for Callidamus, who loves you like no other.
spacerFLOR. I certainly don’t hate you, and, next to Diodorus, you are the one I desire the most.
spacerCALL. Thank you, my delight.
spacerFLOR. But are all your fires for Callanthia extinguished, quenched in the waters?
spacerCALL. Even though they are ashes, they feed other fires.
spacerFLOR. Fires covered by ashes ought to be trifling ones.
spacerCALL. No, those covered by ashes blaze up as strong ones.
spacerFLOR. Perhaps your fires for Callanthia, to whom you made your first vows.
spacerCALL. He who vows rashly violates them as he makes them.
spacerFLOR. But he who swears by the gods sins when he violates them.
spacerCALL. But Eros, who releases men from their vows, is a god. But pray come downstairs, my love, and leave with me.
spacerFLOR. But, I pray you, this is not allowed. And, if it were, what advantage would I gain?
spacerCALL. Your freedom.
spacerFLOR. In vain you free a girl who is bound by love. Without Diodorus, all this world is a prison, and heaven is a working-house.
spacerCALL. At liberty, you perhaps might find him {aside], gods forbid. [Aloud.] Here you never can.
spacerFLOR. On that condition, I would range the whole world, and my love would never be chilled by the sea or the icy pole.
spacerCALL. So if I free you will you escape with me?
spacer FLOR. Gladly, but only if you swear always to preserve my chaste virginity.
spacerCALL. I solemnly swear — unless you choose otherwise.
spacerFLOR. I trust you.
spacerCALL. You must create a slight delay so you don’t depart, and ex[ect either sudden help for yourself, or sure destruction for me.
spacerFLOR. In the meantime, farewell.
spacerCALL. Farewell, my dear heart. [Exit.]
spacerFLOR. And do you hear me? Bear in mind my Diodorus, to whose love I always owe my first attachment, and my second to you friendship.

bar

ACT I, SCENE viii
CALLIDAMUS alone

spacerCALL. Hah, bear in mind your Diodorus! Would that you could forget him, as I cannot! Oh me, both blessed and cursed! No man has a more faithful friend or a fairer beloved. Diodorus has gone away so that he may be closer, she has approached so that she may be more distant. Should I search for him or abandon her? Should I do both or neither? Either he whom I shun should be sought out, or she whom I love avoided. If I do not find my friend and gain my beloved, I have destroyed myself. But some decision must be made. So farewell to Diodorus, and I pray he may fare well. I am planning your liberation, my sweet darling, for if I only see you disentangled from these evils, I am not wholly ruined. The sight of you is the food of love, let hope and good fortune provide the rest.

Go to Act II


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