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ACTUS III, SCENE i
ERG. What’s this assault of the Fates? Of what dire aspect of the planets or baleful influence of the moon should I speak? Today, I think, all human old age is crazed by love. Now it’s clear why that naughty boy Cupid should lack his eyes. For, were he not blind, he would never have stricken those cadavers Chrysophilus and Canidia with his arrows, who are afire with this post mortem love. They are to be kept at a farther distance from us because they do so much to obstruct our schemes, and this is what we have been pondering. With them put out of the way, Floretta will be free at last. I’ve just passed this note through the window to Floretta, so that she might learn our plan of action. For the message indicates that she should come to us about midnight, if possible in disguise. Hah, now it’s growing dark. She’s ours now, if she doesn’t come out too early. But I see a man I can cross-examine.
ACT III, SCENE ii
ERG. I must find out about Canidia. Good sir, have you not seen some pretty little girl coming outdoors?
ERG. What say?
ERG. What’s your answer?
MIS. Namely that which Bias once gave to a certain young man, “you are asking about things which do not concern you.” You’re interested in a pretty little girl, you scurvy lowly servant?
ERG. Wow, mockery! I’m only asking this, has she come out or hasn’t she?
MIS. Thus I answer, as once did Socrates, “I know nothing but that I know nothing.”
ERG. Bah, go hang, you sheep. Other concerns await me, which I think I must attend to without being bored by you.
MIS. And so I repeat to you what the same Bias once said, “the two greatest enemies of good counsel are anger and haste.”
ERG. Hang it! You’re a greater enemy. Please leave.
MIS. No. I came to ask you about Canidia.
MIS. What’s your answer?
ERG. Nothing. As Bias once said, “you are asking about things which do not concern you.” Of all the women —
MIS. No, no, no. Not a woman but rather a nun.
ERG. Thus I answer, as once did Socrates, “I know nothing but that I know nothing.”
MIS. Hah, so I’m cut with my own sword. But I respond —
MIS. — with what once Anaximander said to an inquirer —
ERG. I pray that neither Anaximander had been born nor yourself, and would wish that nobody had ever asked anybody anything, as long as I hadn’t come across you today. Good-bye.
MIS. By Hercules, you try to depart in vain unless you have told me Canidia’s whereabouts.
ERG. What, villain? You want Canidia?
MIS. I want her help so that I might enter a monastery.
ERG. She’s a nun, not a monk.
MIS. But there’s always great familiarity between them and monks.
ERG. Perhaps too much.
MIS. With whom they have dealings, and frequent intercourse.
MIS. So she’ll easily obtain this for me.
ERG. [To himself.] Hm. What if I can use this donkey in removing Canidia? Thus I can drive out one nail by means of another. Misogamus, you’re the sort of fellow who besieges us overmuch with your apothegms. But I can’t help but gladly do you a favor, as long as you don’t act this way in the future. What would you say if I bring it about that you meet Canidia in this very place?
MIS. I’d say to you what Cleobulus once —
ERG. Oh, I’ll make this happen, as long as you don’t.
MIS. I’ll humor you.
ERG. But we need to take counsel so that this might be accomplished shrewdly. There is a certain Callidamus, my master, who assuredly is Canidia’s sole lover. Of you promise to bring him to her, I’ll immediately summon her outside by promising he’ll come along with you, and by doing me this favor you’ll oblige me greatly.
MIS. I’m quite grateful. As Ausonius once said to Gratian —
ERG. Again? Pray forget about Ausonius, Gratian, or in all gratitude I’ll silence you gratis.
ERG. And this “yes” was one word more than what was necessary to say.
ACT III, SCENE iii
MISOGAMUS, ERGASILUS, CANIDIA, NITELLA
MIS. Tic toc.
NIT. (Within.) Who’s out there?
ERG. A man coming from Callidamus who wants Canidia. [She opens the door.] You don’t seem a bit like her.
CAN. What representative of Callidamus wants me?
ERG. His servant Ergasilus.
CAN. What happened to him? Did he abandon his stubbornness?
ERG. Very much so.
CAN. Is he here?
ERG. No, by Hercules. Rather, he asks that you come to him, so as to better conceal the business from Floretta. He’s concerned lest she gets wind of it.
CAN. It’s all the same to me.
ERG. So he sent his friend along with me to escort you to himself.
CAN. Oh Venus, handsomely done! Chick.
ERG. Misogamus, this is the Canidia whom Callidamus wished to be fetched.
CAN. A faithful, upright servant, by heaven!
ERG. That’s my job.
CAN. But keep me in mind.
ERG. Hang on. My master also earnestly requests that afterwards, if you can, you extend your assistance to this friend of his in entering a monastery.
CAN. Yes, yes, and anything else you want.
MIS. In later times you can call me heedful and grateful.
ERG. Sh. Make your way to the nearest inn.
MIS. The Sign of the Bull?
ERG. The very place. Wait there a little while and Callidamus will quickly appear.
CAN. Hey, I am growing younger out of happiness. How do I strike you?
MIS. As a fine old lady.
CAN. Old lady? Hang it.
MIS. I meant a matron.
CAN. Nor a matron. I’m not such a hag as you imagine. But Callidamus is already awaiting us.
MIS. No doubt. And, as once said by —
ERG. Bah, you blockhead!
CAN. What did he once say?
ERG. Nothing at all. I tell you he’s awaiting you now.
CAN. What did he once say?
MIS. Nothing at all.
CAN. Really? He said nothing? Didn’t he say he was coming.
ERG. Oh, the devil!
MIS. I mean Periander the philosopher said nothing. But Callidamus said he’d be here.
CAN. What have I to do with Periander the philosopher? Something should have been at stake, I don’t care to be hoodwinked. He, tell him the that I’m keeping the girl safe within while I go outside for a little while.
ERG. Damn and blast! Ah, you whipping-post!
CAN. I don’t want to be cheated. Can’t you tell me the truth?
ERG. That’s the very truth.
CAN. Callidamus is actually going to appear?
ERG. I swear by all the gods above, below, and in between, he said he’d appear, and soon he will.
CAN. I believe you.
ERG. For he’ll quickly be here in this very place.
CAN. Let’s go. [Exit.]
ERG. Disappear, you evil beast, and never come back. Thus far some god has been looking out for us.
ACT III, SCENE iv
CLEO. What are you up to, Ergasilus? How artistically everything’s going!
ERG. I’ve gotten rid of Canidia, so she’ll give you no more trouble. Now I’ll give Floretta the note.
CLEO. See how her window is conveniently open for your mischief-making.
ERG. I like the omen.
CLEO. You can easily toss it in. Excellent, excellent.
ERG. Now, if Floretta comes to us at midnight, as requested in the note, we’re safe.
CLEO. If not, where tricks are not successful, brute force will be added. Let us break down the door, matters have now come to that.
ERG. No, now we must entreat Chrysophilus by appealing to his virtues.
CLEO. Woe to you, skinflint, for whom our schemes are now readied. I’ll make you sleep tonight as a chilly lover. And then you’ll give us the money with interest, you gallows-bait.
ERG. But he won’t long be absent, for he said he was about to come together with Cuculus.
CLEO. So we must make up our minds what we’re doing. I’ll tie him up tightly, and you must emerge from the lagoon like a ghost called up from the Underworld, the unhappy shade of his wife Lupina. Then you’ll terrify him with your dire voice.
ERG. Chrysophilus, Chrysophilus.
CLEO. Very adroit!
ERG. I’ll play my part with vigor, don’t you doubt it. But is Perillus ready too?
CLEO. Very much so. Like some ghost, he’ll act the role of Callanthia.
ERG. Where in the world will he get a woman’s clothes?
CLEO. He’s already attended to that well enough. There are some neighborhood girls who will act as a choir of Naiads tonight, who will supply him with a costume and their assistance.
ERG. Heavens, an excellent device!
CLEO. And a particularly fitting one. For when Callanthia is drowned, Perillus will bob up from the lagoon among these nymphs, as if he were rescued from the water by their intervention. Nothing could be better.
ERG. But now it’s timely for us to go inside.
CLEO. Very timely. The other side provides a view of the opposite bank.
ERG. I think so.
CLEO. No father is so harsh as not to assist his son in honorable amours.
ERG. But the door has creaked. We should immediately go do our part. blue
ACTUS III, SCENE v
CHRYS. And do you hear, Cuculus? You must go first and delay Floretta a little while. Perhaps she’d depart before I make myself neat and natty. I’ll follow immediately. [Exit.]
CUC. Have no doubt that I’ll delay her, [but never for your benefit. Nowadays I’m wiser than usual. By Hercules, if Chrysophilus is my father (which is true, as far as I know), I’ll never betray my own love-affairs for his benefit. So now I’ll go to Floretta, and with my face, my voice, and these love-tokens I’ll immediately win her over so that she pays no more attention to the old man. But what if you prepare yourself, Cuculus? Before you go to her you need to muster all your witty speech and charms. Indeed, to as to be all the readier you should thus practise yourself. Ah, how valuable is prudence! So imagine this post standing before the doorway to be your Floretta. It is a trifle difficult, but just imagine it. With what bearing, with what words would you approach her? First bow your head three times. Then make a congé thrice. And at last, ah, greet her with a kiss. Certainly those lips of hers are a bit hard in comparison with my soft ones. But the nature of my lips is beside the point, it’s sufficient for the both of us. Oh my beloved, what should I say first? What last? How stiff you are and what an erect posture! Pray come closer. Hm, no? But that’s right, I don’t want a girl who’s too eager to comply. See, she’s not moving at all. How constant and steadfast!. Bah, how I loathe these pliable women! Why do you stand still in amazement? Hah, she’s thunderstruck, she’s amazed, the poor girl has nothing to say in reply. Hah, the girl’s modesty — By Hercules, a woman’s silence shouldn’t be held against her. Her silence indicates her consent. Hey, I’m the only lad in this city who can render girls speechless.
CHRYS. [Reentering.] Chick. How I make my entrance now as a well-groomed suitor, how ornate in all respects!
CUC. But I hear my father.
CHRYS. Cuculus, why are you shilly-shallying, you evil person? As far as you’re concerned, Floretta’s free to disappear, you’re so sluggish.
CUC. Rather you should hasten to her, who I know doesn’t love you.
CHRYS. But I say you’re ignorant, fool.
CUC. By this hair of Venus, by this feather of Cupid, I know full well.
CHRYS. To Hell with your tricks. By heaven, these are horse hairs and the down of a capon.
CUC. Possibly. Perhaps Eros has transformed himself into a rooster, he who first visited Leda as a swam.
CHRYS. And yourself into a goose.
CUC. Then too, Io changed into a heifer, so why not Venus into a horse?
CHRYS. And Cuculus into a donkey? But why am I wasting time in a debate? Unless Floretta is granted me now, I’m a dead man.
ACT III, SCENE vi
CLEOMACHUS, CHRYSOPHILUS, CALLIDAMUS, CUCULUS
CLEO. Now we can act in safety. Night and silence are helping us.
CALL. And they are here right on time. Let’s assault them immediately.
CLEO. Hey, stop in your tracks, unless you’ve made up your minds never to move again.
CUC. Oh, I pray you .
CALL. Want to keep your tongue, gallows-bait?
CLEO. And I’ll shut your mouth if you even mutter. I know full well that you’ve got money.
CHRYS. Oh, I can’t hear, I can’t hear. I’m a deaf man, assuredly I can’t hear anything.
CUC. By Hercules, I’ve only three farthings, and brass ones at that.
CALL. But now we require gold.
CLEO. By Hercules, if I gather aright, this is Chrysophilus, that extremely wealthy, stingy old man.
CALL. That rotten miser who cheated Callidamus out of a thousand pieces of gold? If you take something from him, that will be justice, not theft.
CLEO. So hand over your wallet, skinflint.
CHRYS. By Hercules, I can’t hear anything. If you want my wallet, as I gather from your gestures, here it is, take it.
CLEO. Hah. Here’s something for you. Tiff toff. Take it. Is this an empty wallet?
CHRYS. Please, I haven’t even a groat, I came here empty-handed.
CLEO. But I’ll keep you from going home empty-handed. Here’s some more. Tiff toff. I’ll load you down with blows so you won’t go back empty-handed.
CLEO. Still crying out? Woe to you if you wake up the neighborhood.
CALL. You’ll get water out of a stone quicker than you can extract a single shilling from these two.
CLEO. So let’s tie them up in order that they don’t betray us.
CALL. Right. Give me your stockings right away, or I’ll —
CALL. Don’t say a single bit.
CLEO. And yours too. Quickly, quickly.
CHRYS. I still can’t hear.
CLEO. I’ll make you understand by sign language.
CHRYS. Oh, enough, I get the point.
CALL. You tie up their feet.
CLEO. And you help him. Lie down, beast. Do this quickly unless you want some more sign language.
CALL. How grudgingly you act! Of a truth, nothing’s a favor that is done unwillingly.
CLEO. You’re tying them too loosely, I want them trussed up more tightly.
CALL. Gods’ and men’s faith! The bonds between a father and his son ought to be extremely close.
CLEO. And now I’ll tie up your hands too.
CALL. And I’ll do yours, lest you manage to get loose.
CLEO. Now I bid you be peaceful and silent.
CALL. Now we’ll be in the open here. So if you utter a shout or a single word —
CLEO. — I swear by Mars you’ll die a thousand deaths.
CHRYS. I’m dead already.
CUC. And I’m the deadest of all living men. Oh.
CLEO. You cry out, beast? I’ll gag your mouth with this handkerchief. Now if you even groan, I swear by a thousand Marses you’ll never groan again.
CALL. What time is it now?
CALL. That sluggish beast of a clock! Oh, if Floretta would rush into my arms now!
CLEO. That will happen in good time, have no doubt. But Ergasilus is a little bit late.
CALL. Sh, he’s here.
ACT III, SCENE vi i
CHRYSOPHILUS, CLEOMACHUS, CALLIDAMUS, ERGASILUS
Now putting on a mask of the dead Lupina, Ergasilus raises his head from the lagoon and, after a dirge-like song, and a mournful sound, between sobs, sighs and gasps speaks out in a clear, sad voice Chrysophilus, Chrysophilus.
CHRYS. What dire voice calls for Chrysophilus?
ERG. The voice of Lupina, your former wife.
CHRYS. What do you want, unhappy soul?
ERG. From the dark shades I have come hither to be the sad, truthful messenger of your crime.
CHRYS. Of what crime, pray?
ERG. You ask, you impious mortal who has cheated Callidamus of a thousand pieces of gold? I, who devised Callanthia’s death, paid the price in these waters. You live and add crime to crime, and also feign deafness so as to work your deceptions.
CHRYS. Oh me, I don’t know how to deny this.
ERG. I therefore announce this punishment for you: previously you have pretended to be a deaf, but now you will be such in truth, nor hear anything again ever. Farewell.
ERG. Oh ruler of the gods, what does this mean that I shall never hear anything again? I’m completely ruined. Cuculus, Cuculus. Cuculus, I say.
CALL. How excellent!
CLEO. Let’s increase his delusion and give him more trouble.
CALL. He doesn’t know you. You may take off your mask and approach him.
CHRYS. Oh poor me! But who do I see approaching in the shadows? Help me, pray. (Cleomachus gesticulates as if he has said something.)
CHRYS. Pray speak up, I don’t catch your voice.
CHRYS. In truth I don’t know what you’re saying. What in the world am I? Now I’m truly a deaf man. Oh me, unluckiest of men! Now I regret my crime. Now I’d do anything in the world to escape these woes. I ought to pay out the money, down to the last penny.
CALL. Hah, pay out the money? Let’s take advantage of this opportunity.
CLEO. Now’s the right time, Ergasilus. Sh.
ERG. Chrysophilus, Chrysophilus.
CHRYS. What do you say, sad soul?
ERG. I return here from Aeacus, Minos and Rhadamanthus, whom I have persuaded to return your hearing.
CHRYS. Oh you good wife!
ERG. But only on condition that you now repent your crime.
CHRYS. Most monstrous.
ERG. — and give Callidamus back his money.
CHRYS. It’s hard, but I’ll gladly return it, that’s for sure. But Callanthia, to whom it is also due, has long been dead.
ERG. She’s not. She lives.
CHRYS. She lives? She who was drowned in those waters?
ERG. She was not drowned, but rather those divinities of the waters, the Naiads, have kept her safe and sound down to this very day.
ERG. You’ll soon see that this has occurred. If you restore the money to her, you’ll be happy; if not, the most unfortunate of all men. Good-bye.
CHRYS. A heavy requirement. But, as I experience these things in my misery, a light one.
CLEO. That’s good.
CLEO. Perillus is here. We should go inside, lest their torches betray us.
ACT III, SCENE viii
Perillus disguised as Callanthia emerges from the lagoon as the Naiads sing Hurray for the returned Callanthia. Go home on happy feet.
PER. Where am I being taken? Where am I? How sweet the air smells on every side! How happier than the regions beneath the dark caverns!
CHRYS. Are you here, Callanthia? Oh, the wonderful stroke of fate!
PER. Chrysophilus! You the one to whom I have come this day, to relieve you of a thousand griefs and a thousand pieces of gold.
CHRYS. Sweet Callanthia, with a cheerful mind I’d pay you two hundred.
PER. I want all of the money or none of it. You yourself must see whether you have more use for the money.
CHRYS. Three hundred, pray.
PER. You’re talking in vain.
CHRYS. Five hundred.
PER. You’re trifling. Either give me your keys so I may immediately take what I ask, or I’m going.
CHRYS. My keys! This is very grave.
PER. But necessary, or you’ll accomplish nothing more.
CHRYS. Take them, but I pray you take only what is yours, and free me from these bonds.
PER. No way in the world, before I you give me the money. But this will be swiftly done when I come back. [Exit.]
CHRYS. So come back quickly or I’ll freeze to death. Oh me. Do I thus lose all that money? Will my ears never delight me with the sound of bells? But I’d prefer to be be deaf a hundred times over. Even if I were blind and held on to that which is dearer to me than these eyes of mind, I would not be entirely dead.
ACT III, SCENE ix
CHRYSOPHILUS., MISOGAMUS, ONOBARUS, PERILLUS, CUCULUS
MIS. To Hell with you, Canidia, you bold-faced whore. I’ve locked you up in the bedroom.
CHRYS. Oh, do I hear yet more ghosts, demons, or Demogorgons?
MIS. Poor me, what do I hear?
CHRYS. Lupina, Lupina. Speak up, you sad shade, speak up.
MIS. Are female ghosts here too? I’m soaked with fear.
CHRYS. Who are you who speaks?
MIS. Ah, I’m nobody.
CHRYS. Who, I say?
MIS. The greatest of nobodies.
NITELLA (within.) Outside, whipping-stock.
ON.. I beg you, my wife, is this how you should thrust me out? And at night?
CHRYS. How much more? Who do I hear complaining?
ON. I am Onobarus, whom Nitella has locked out of her house because I wanted to spend the night with her, wretch that I am.
CHRYS. Oh, Onobarus! If you only you would spend the night with me! In my fear and this cold I’ve all but turned to marble. I beg you untie these bonds.
ON.. Who are you?
ON.. Who tied you up, or what has happened that makes you, a deaf man, hear my talking?
CHRYS. It’s a complicated story, you’ll hear it later.
MIS. Am I here or in the Underworld? And what’s this I’m tripping over? By Hercules, it’s a cloak and it’ll be very useful to me, because I’m freezing all over.
CHRYS. What are you doing here, you villain? Be quicker in helping me. [Onobarus unties him.] Thanks, Onobarus. Now let’s likewise free Cuculus. How I feared lest he was dead! Cuculus —
ON.. If I’m not mistaken I’ve found a cap. I like this because my worthless wife locked me out hatless.
CHRYS. I just stumbled over these feet of yours I’ve untied. Oh, a ghost!
ON.. Oh the devil!
MIS. Where should I flee in my ruined condition?
CHRYS. Lupina, you pallid shade, once more you should depart with your remains and grant me peace. Why shake your hoary head? What are you trying to say with your nodding?
CUC. Uh, uh.
ON.. Please help me, I’m a dead man. Where are you, Misogamus?
MIS. I’m not in my right mind.
CUC. Um. um. [Removes his gag.]
MIS. Oh good devil, don’t attack me with your horn. I’m more than dead enough already.
CUC. And I have no evil intentions. I only wanted to remove this binding from my head. Don’t be afraid, I’m Cuculus.
CHRYS. Why didn’t you tell us that before, you rascal?
ON.. This at least ought to have been said.
CUC. How could I, you fool?
MIS. Are we safe? My heavens, as Anacharsis once said about sailors, “we are three fingers removed from death.”
CHRYS. But, oh you rascal, that’s my cloak. Seize the thief. And you, you rascal, come along inside with us together with those sententiae of yours.
MIS. Rather I say to you, you whipping-stock, that which Socrates once said to his slave, “you must be scourged to prevent me from growing angry.” Me a thief?
CUC. By Hercules, that’s my cap. And also my feather. Seize the other thief.
ON.. I don’t know what you mean?
CHRYS. You’ll soon learn indoors.
PER. Oh Mercury, what am I seeing? In my unhappiness what am I hearing? They’re about to overwhelm me and there’s no gleam of hope.
CUC. These are very men who treated us so unkindly today with their words and their whipping.
CHRYS. Now I have men who can restore my money if I lose it.
PER. I’ll creep away on the ground so they don’t see me.
CHRYS. But why are you delaying?
MIS. What’s this?
ON.. Assuredly —
CHRYS. Refrain from argumentation.
MIS. By whatever exists in the gods’ heaven —
CHRYS. You’ll not prevail. Let’s drag him away, Cuculus.
MIS. Oh you unhappy stump!
CUC. Oh you criminal block!
CHRYS. Unhappy darkness!
ON. In my unhappiness I’ve broken my back.
MIS. And I’ve spilled out my brains.
CUC. I’ve loosened my teeth and unhappily lost my nose.
CHRYS. Oh, my eyes are gouged out. Now I’ll be blind, I was deaf just now. But I pray you perish, you scurvy thieves, responsible for our encountering this great evil.
MIS. Now we’re dead enough.
CHRYS. Get inside, you sacrilegious fellows.
CUC. How I grieve for your sake, my Floretta. This face of mine, so lovely, is now disfigured.
PER. They’ve gone. Am I alive or am I truthfully a stump and a block? Indeed, I would deserve to be called both, were I to loiter here any more. Oh Salvation, how close everything came to being revealed! I all but died.
ACT III, SCENE x
CALLIDAMUS, PERILLUS, CLEOMACHUS, ERGASILUS
MIS. Now the awaited hour approaches.
PER. And I hear Callidamus. Ah, Callidamus, do you hear this uproar? Here’s your money, Callidamus.
CLEO. Such is the gods’ will. That’s a fleeting good, obtained by fraud and, once gained, kept by evildoing.
CALL. Ah, my cheerful clown. But what’s happened to Chrysophilus, and also to Cuculus?
PER. As it seems, Onobarus and that other toadstool Misogamus have released their bonds, and they immediately expressed their gratitude for the favor by arresting them as thieves.
CALL. Charming deed!
PER. I saw them and shuddered all over. Now I quietly crept along the ground, while meanwhile they attacked me in the dark and fell down together very gracefully.
CLEO. Ridiculous boldness!
CALL. An eternal source of slaughter!
ERG. Ha ha he.
PER. Woof, Lupina, you’re here too. What news from Hell, my darling?
ERG. What news from the Naiads, Callanthia? I glad you’re back safe and sound
PER. As matters stand, I likewise rejoice that I’m back safe and sound.
ERG. Let me nibble your dainty ear, darling.
CALL. See how this fine pair of foxes indulge in mutual congratulations. Hurray, you’ve played a neat trick and and, by heaven, if I live someday I’ll give you cause not to regret this deed.
BOTH. Thank you.
CLEO. But this place isn’t all that safe. When I think about, how I fear lest something not good may come out of that door! Why don’t we take the money and steal a march in departing? We’ll wait for you and your Floretta along the way.
CALL. Agreed. O gods of heaven, make her come out quickly. And see, here she is, I acknowledge the gods’ handiwork. You go off now and I’ll quickly follow.
ACT III, SCENE xi
CALL. Ah, my delight, how cleverly you’ve veiled your face and wear the disguise of Nitella! Thus it should be. The devices Eros invents, and what silent feet he moves! What are you signaling with your hand? Speak up, nobody is present, have no doubt of our security. Midnight looms. Where do you summon me with your nod? Into that house? By no means. It is from there that we are going abroad so that love might prevail without fear. O blessed night and hidden counsels of the gods. I do not begrudge you your torches or Cynthia herself, who has acquired blotches. This earthly Venus of yours outshines all the other stars. Now give me a barbaric Indian who worships the sun and stars. If he were once warmed by these rays of hers, or experienced the influence of a single kiss, I could change the faith of all India. But why do I allow this star to be clouded over? Away with this veil so that I might see, adore, and kiss her.
NIT. I’m revealed, I’m ruined.
CALL. Oh great Jupiter! Am I asleep or awake? I can’t believe what I am seeing with my eyes. The crime!.
NIT. In my misery what am I to do or to feign?
CALL. Pondering it, I am unable to decipher the meaning of these evil riddles.
NIT. In vain I muse on its causes. Do you want me to tell you the truth?
CALL. I am burning to find out.
NIT. I intercepted your letter. I hoped to pass this night in Floretta’s place.
CALL. You whorish slut, were you able to hope or dare this?
NIT, Cupid knows knows no fear and overcomes all difficulties. I hoped to bring you into my house.
CALL. Was that it, you witch thrice over?
NIT. What with this darkness and the way this disguise as Floretta was supposed to deceive you, I had hoped this could be done more safely. Why say more? Such was my decision. Hence within my breast I convened a council of schemes, audacity, and the whole woman.
CALL. Oh your impudence, you disgrace of womanhood!
NIT. What’s done cannot be undone.
CALL. But it can never be done again.
NIT. Oh me! Ah!
CALL. I restrain myself, so as not to sully this sword with a woman’s unclean blood.
ACT III, SCENE xii
CALLIDAMUS, NITELLA, THREE WATCHMEN
WATCHMAN 1 What’s this howling?
CALL. One evil after another.
WATCHMAN 2 Stop in you tracks, assassin, and hand over your sword.
WATCHMAN 3 What’s this uproar in the darkness?
NIT. Help me, fellow citizens, and free me from this man, who just now made an attempt on my chastity and my life.
CALL. Your chastity? You lie, you hussy.
WATCHMAN 1 Restrain this fury. Or if you continue to threaten us —
CALL. You trust this whore?
WATCHMAN 2 Nor you. We’re taking both of you to the magistrate.
CALL. Let me go, I beg of you.
WATCHMAN 3 Why are you awake at this time of night? Even if you were a prince, you need to obey us.
CALL. I appeal to whatever truth or humanity exists in you, don’t let an innocent lad go to his destruction.
WATCHMAN 2 Innocent? Why tell us you’re innocent? Will you come along with us or not?
CALL. Ah, men’s lies! Give me my sword. I swear I’ll chop you up into little bits if you don’t let me go.
WATCHMAN 2 Really? Before that, we’ll feed you to the crows, you whipping-post.
WATCHMAN 3 Let’s drag this fellow into this nearby house until we fetch reinforcements.
CALL. Hang it, into the house of Chrysophilus? I’d prefer to visit the magistrate.
WATCHMAN 1 You won’t get away that way. You wouldn’t fear this house without good reason.
WATCHMAN 2 Get inside, unless you would prefer to be bound up hand and foot.
CALL. Rather, kill me a thousand times over before that. Here’s my breast and throat.
WATCHMAN 3 Ah you clever rogue, thus you’d have us haled up before the magistrates, accused of your murder.
WATCHMAN 1 Henceforth you can never say you died at our hands.
CALL. No, I myself am a murderer, a thief, an unclean man.
WATCHMAN 2 So you admit it?
CALL. I’ve killed both my parents, I’ve betrayed my nation as well as all of you. Please punish me.
WATCHMAN 3 Have no fear, that will happen soon enough.
CALL. Monsters, barbarians (Exeunt to Chrysophilus’ house.)
Go to Act IV