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GAUDENTIUS an old man, father of Philander
PHILANDER a young man
DROMO servant to Gaudentius
MAARTEN old man, father to Musonius
MUSONIUS a young man, in love with Celia
NEBBIA a boy
A MUTE, OR FAUSTINA OR LYDIA servant to Musonius, daughter of Gaudentius
ACHERON a pimp
LAVERNA a bawd
SCARABAEUS servant to the pimp
CAELIA daughter of Maarten, handmaid of Laverna
LOYOLA A Jesuit
JOOST a Franciscan friar
MOUNSIEUR MICHEL a French merchant
CAPTAIN VANDER PONS Captain of the Guard
CHORUS OF JESUITS
CHORUS OF JESUIT VIRTUES
THE INDEX EXPURGATORIUS
CHORUS OF MONKS
CHARACTERS ONLY MENTIONED
BAUCIA a widow who keeps a tavern
ROGER a deacon and a tanner
The play is set at Amsterdam. Everything is transacted between one evening and the next.
THE PROLOGUE SPOKEN BEFORE THE ACADEMIC AUDIENCE AT THIS COMEDY’S FIRST PERFORMANCE, FEB. 28, 1622
Whoever it was who called comedy a mirror held up to life meant to insinuate that fortune is slippery and that a play, like a mirror, is fragile when it shines, being decked out at great expense and effort. A play is easily shattered by harsh criticism, or, no matter how bright and clear it may be, it is fogged over by an inattentive audience. You very distinguished gentlemen, you flourishing academics, we desire a theatergoer who is friendly and well-disposed. We do not wish those with something else on their minds, and we eject those who are envious. We embrace that jolly fellow who very much wants to laugh at home and be wise when he goes abroad.
THE PROLOGUE AND PRELUDE SPOKEN BEFORE THE RIGHT SERENE AND AUGUST KING JAMES, MARCH 12, 1622 A. D.
MAARTEN, TWO BAILIFFS, THE PROLOGUE
MAART. Lead the way, bailiffs, or rather follow me. This establishes our order of precedence (something about which Amsterdam is indifferent). Oh city most excellent for your disorder, you have never allowed yourself to serve as a setting for actors.
BAIL. What has inspired these performers, worthless men as they are, to locate a play in this city?
MAART. I command that this stage-set and all this gear be trampled underfoot. [To the audience.] All of you who have gathered here, get up and go away as quick as you can. Somebody must rip up this Somebody must rip up this capital-letter document. To whom am I speaking, since you do not immediately obey me? Put out the lamps and torches. Listen here, my fellow countrymen, is it not better for the flower of our womanhood and our maidens to be kissed in the dark, than to attend a well-lighted comedy?
BAIL. Alas, Maarten, now we must buck up our courage, we require your leadership. That rascal has entered the stage whom the profane folk call the Prologue.
MAART. The Prologue? What does that mean? I suppose the man who introduces the play. Go away, you fool, go away with that eloquence of yours. Do not try to win my good-will, I despise acting.
PROL. Spare your insults, you grim censor of tomfoolery. He who takes away laughter and joking takes Man out of the world.
MAART. You philosophize too, you bold-faced fellow? Philosophy is a witch, and acting a whore. In what city do you imagine yourselves to be?
PROL. Tonight we’re at Amsterdam, tomorrow at the university.
MAART. Are you aware of who’s speaking to you?
PROL. Maarten, an alderman of Amsterdam.
MAART. So why, since you know me and this city, with its purity and lofty disdain of comedy, have you made up your mind to spew forth this play, thereby gaining my hatred?
PROL. Where in the world could a more various assortment of characters be represented than in this jumble of many nations? But I pray you not to be excessively peevish against our troupe. Look at the title we have affixed to our play. Perhaps you’ll allow yourself a grin, since it is a Jesuit who is being pricked by the sallies of our wit.
MAART. Actor, I bid you not to forget my nature in the future. I was never schooled in reading or writing secular stuff.
PROL. So tell me, what has Loyola earned from you, that you do not permit him to receive a thrashing?
BAIL. Jesuits are not allowed to set foot in this city.
PROL. We are representing those times when it was allowed.
MAART. My good sir, you are sending me away a changed man from what I was when I came. Show me a Jesuit stripped bare of his clever dodges, and I promise that Amsterdam will receive you with its good will and enthusiasm.
BAIL. Fie, fie, who are you trusting now? When are you going to steer clear of defilement? My family and I will decamp for America.
PROL. Goodbye and good luck.
MAART. Bah, bailiff, you are so mulish.
PROL. Look around you, Maarten Do you see that sacred and venerable gentleman? Is any man such a barbarian that he would not consent to endure anything rather than allow anything bad to befall such a merciful sovereign?
MAART. Oh, we often pretend to do much for his sake, and we’ll give our assent to the advantage of the common weal. Good luck and begin, actor. I’ll myself give a sign of how enthusiastically I support this effort. Maarten will be part and parcel of your drama.
PROL. Come then, let opposites fight each other fiercely, but shine forth all the brighter.
Let the Muses greatly rejoice, let literature go a-dancing. Today all erudition is eager to turn into comedy, so as to rally the greatest patron of Minerva and her olive with pleasant and very elegant turns of wit. Come forth, you play, you who used to be devoid of resources. Now this spectator will make you noble and well-kempt. In the presence of such a sage and learned sovereign, Loyola does not dare enter into disputations, but he will have a laugh.
GAUD. I’ve made a sacrifice for my happiness and good health. I’ve purchased two large barrels of French wine and sack. Dromo, make sure they’re cellared immediately. Here are fifteen guilders. Pish! Let them go to waste, this is how it should be. Old age is a second childhood, and wine is an old man’s milk. Thank you, Gaudentius, for looking out for Gaudentius’ welfare.
PHIL. Has father returned? I’ll go and meet him, so as to learn what new thing the fine old gentleman brings with him. Greetings, father.
GAUD. Philander, my darling, pray what have you been doing this afternoon? Have you remained at home, sober as I I would greatly desire? Or have you been somewhere else in the city?
PHIL. I’ve not set foot outside the door, except for just now.
GAUD. You behave as you should. Continue delighting me in your old age with that manly modesty. For, as young as you are, you are in the habit of daily consorting with shavepate friars and austere priests.
PHIL. [Aside.] Ah, the fox licks itself where it hurts the most!
GAUD. Philander, today I attended a meeting of the town council, and I don’t know if you will like what the city fathers voted.
PHIL. Father, I’m all ears as you describe what was done.
GAUD. We’ve drained the cesspool, we’ve forbidden this city to the Jesuit Order.
PHIL. Forever, if you please?
GAUD. Forever, which greatly pleases me.
PHIL. ’Pon my life, that uncouth donkey Maarten was the moving force and ringleader in this matter.
GAUD. Why does it matter to you who made the motion? Ah, Philander, I understand you, I have discovered the secrets of your heart. I invented this in order to test you. As soon as I mentioned it, you became disturbed.
PHIL. [Aside.] Where is this stick-in-the-mud going with this?
GAUD. I’ll make myself clearer. Yesterday, the day before yesterday, never skipping a day or even a night, you have been spending your time with Loyola and Frater Joost. I clearly perceive you are caught in their snares, and I await the day when you abandon your father and start wearing the gown of a Jesuit. Pish! Enjoy your madness, I’ll name my lute or my cittharn as my heir rather than die intestate. You darling of the hegowned crew, your reverence will never wring a tear from me.
PHIL. Pray tell father, are you seriously accusing me of foolishness?
GAUD. You admit your folly? For of how many and how great advantages are the shavepate order depriving you? There’s your father’s wealth, thanks to which you lead a life of luxury. Nobody is more heedless of higher education, for which I thank God. And, by God, if Gaudentius is your father you can’t forego a sweet wife. I know you’ll come running back. Your general will grant you indulgence when you become a monk. Rather, if you heed me as your bishop, plunge yourself in Ignatius’ pit: to thrive is to live, and there’s no devil but gloom.
PHIL. Were I to commit this folly, I admit that whatever can be said against a blockhead or a dunce would apply to myself.7
GAUD. Clear yourself, my cheerful butcher, clear yourself of these suspicions, and I will mock my own wisdom.
PHIL. I’m inspired to hope for your support. So listen. I have never made a secret of my association with Loyola and Joost. When I was still a tyro, they lured me to the luxuries in which the carousers instructed meat the establishment of a certain widow named Baucia.
GAUD. Hah! Luxuries and the widow Baucia! These things are human.
PHIL. Right, Father. Than Loyola starting wheedling me with his flatteries and working on my nature, so as to ingratiate the Jesuit Order with me.
GAUD. Didn’t I predict this? That thief three times over could not keep his kite’s claws away from this rich prize. Now act your part. With what words did you fend off the fellow?
PHIL. I seriously made up my mind. Sooner would Galileo make him Pope of the lunar sphere than anybody would see me a novitiate amidst that gang, those clowns, those barbaric regicides.! But I pretend to be of doubtful mind, hesitant at the crossroads. This is perhaps a silly plan, but you may correct me with a word, if you choose.
GAUD. You deceive Loyola with your pretence? A mere beginner deceive a Jesuit? This is an amusing crime. Explain your reasons.
PHIL. Father, I’m embarrassed.
GAUD. Your hesitation is excessive. Be bold, I command you.
PHIL. In accordance with my youthful heat, I have set my mind on a girl.
GAUD. Name, please.
PHIL. Bah, I’m looking for a girl friend, but not just any particular one. [Aside.] I almost mentioned Celia. [Aloud.] I have no experience at finding mistresses. [Aside.] What would my companions say? [Aloud.] Loyola and Brother Joost — Nobody is quicker at paving the way to venery, being as both are confessors, just as they are the most depraved good-for-nothings, and fish for nothing so much as for making young ladies lustful. Why say more? Not to beat around the bush about it, to my very great advantage I make use of their scurvy criminal behavior. It’s sweet to fall in love, but sweeter to possess somebody.
GAUD. Whew, Philander, you’re boasting, as if these things were games. Who restrains himself from beating cement with a stick?
PHIL. I see nothing wrong. Sweet father mine, this was your oracular pronouncement just now, “he who has Gaudentius for his father can’t forego a sweet wife.”
GAUD. Really? Come here, darling. Philander, I love you. Enjoy your minor peccadilloes for a little whole, but carefully, carefully, my butcher, and return to upright ways at the beginning of Lent.
PHIL. Heavens, Father, hang me if I don’t place obeying you before enjoying a queen or the entire female sex.
GAUD. That’s kind of you. If you beguile this Loyola with your shrewd schemes, no actor, no song could make me laugh harder. Ha, ha. Oh my loins and sides! There’s no devil but gloom.
PHIL. Farewell, my jolly Greekling. Death will never create heirs for you, since happiness is such a friend to you. [Enter Loyola and Joost.] But who do I see?
LOY. Philander, I am your saving Jupiter.
JO. And out of all living creatures I am your Joost.
PHIL. Greetings, my very merry men. But what is my Celia doing? Pull down that house, Loyola, make that pimp roll in the mud. Let us free dainty little Celia from that disgraceful house.
LOY. This thing should not be accomplished entitavely by breaking down the door, but modally by stealing the girl, as the Schoolmen say. So pax. You have assured me that you have not just now fallen in love with this Acheron’s Celia —
PHIL. Fallen in love?
LOY. — but to be fired by her beauty, and yet not according to the letter but rather allegorically.
JO. Pray tell me, Loyola, what means this “allegorically?”
LOY. Get away, you ill-educated brute. She has not fallen for you. Nor, if she were to fall for you, would you be permitted to enjoy this neglected, brothel-bred serving-girl because of your father Gaudentius. There are six hundred impediments.
PHIL. Don’t speak unkindly. She’s pretty, chaste, mild-mannered, and there are thrice six hundred reasons for planting Cupid’s entire quiverful of darts in this humble breast of mine.
LOY. So who in the world will gain this girl friend for you? What reward will he receive?
PHIL. It’s with good reason that I love you, Loyola. Heaven’s father help me, I refuse you no reward, if only you bring this to pass.
LOY. As my payment I require you yourself. Unless you swear in advance that you will become a Jesuit, if you gain this girl with my help —
JO. Rather if you swear you will become a Franciscan monk, I shall make the bawd a member of your conspiracy.
PHIL. I am torn between your enthusiasms. Split Philander apart, my friends. Were that I were cut in two for your sakes!
LOY. Get away! “Franciscan” and “fool”are interchangeable terms. This whipping-post is toying with you. He promised me his help. Rather, allow yourself to be called ours and tonight you’ll be sleeping alongside Celia.
PHIL. I beg your pardon, tonight? And now, when it’s already dusk?
JO. All the easier.
PHIL. If you can provide this you’ll have won me over completely, so that I’m entirely yours.
LOY. Nobody has ever regretted taking our gown. You want greater enticements? I have assembled the great Jesuit virtues into a masque. I am waiting for night to fall, then we’ll be present in this very place. They will display themselves to you, if not in reality (if I may speak profoundly), but objectively and according to their semblance.
JO. For they profess those virtues not in reality, but according to their semblance.
PHIL. Loyola, you could make a rock adore you. But suppose I become a Jesuit, I want to behave the same as you do. Then I would be the mortal farthest removed from Celia.
LOY. You would, you speaker of nonsense. You are permitted to know her carnally, although not uxoriously. This is our logic“ to connect the subject and its predicate without any conjunction.
PHIL. You mean I’m not forbidden a mistress, only a wife?
JO. You’re not even forbidden a wife, as long as she belongs to someone else.
LOY. Sh., perhaps Celia used to be a nun, stealthily abducted by the pimp. It would be monstrous if you unwittingly married a nun. And furthermore, there are considerable ups and downs in marriage. And it is vain to do a thing in many steps that can be accomplished in a few, as the Schoolmen say.
PHIL. Good heavens, you are an elegant counsellor! I’m quite satisfied to possess her as a mistress.
LOY. You’ll swear?
PHIL. By my love for Celia.
LOY. Without any equivocation?
PHIL. With no deceit in my heart.
LOY. Indeed, once you are a full Jesuit you will have plenty of occasion for equivocating. It is exclusively permitted for our Fathers to lie, in accordance with an invisible charter from Beelzebub.
JO. Ha ha he.
LOY. Why do you laugh?
JO. Why do I laugh? Because I’m thinking how I we sent the pimp Acheron off on a pilgrimage, together with Laverna and Scarabaeus, for their sins.
LOY. That trick took the palm, and at this very moment it will unite Philander and Celia.
PHIL. Hey, how confidently spoken!
LOY. Silence. Acheron and Laverna, the very savage Persephone of this brothel, recently came to Joost here and to myself to confess their secret sins. We took advantage of the opportunity.
JO. And banished the both of them beyond the fifth milestone from the city.
LOY. So as to adore some relics or other to make amends.
JO. Then we joined to them their servant Scarabaeus, a petty thief.
PHIL. If nobody at all is at home other than Celia, why are we standing at the doorway?
LOY. Because the door is locked. But you see this ladder, Philander? Here I’ll display myself magnificently. I’ll climb up to Pergamum and bring down Helen.
PHIL. There’s great danger in a ladder, I’ll lend my shoulders for your feet. But I am unlovely and inelegant. Unless you tell her that Musonius is awaiting her, Celia will never come out.
LOY. Be of good cheer. This lie is easy and a cinch. Where are my battalions? Joost, keep this alley under observation, lest somebody come by unexpectedly. Philander, I’ll climb on your shoulders, just as the Pope bestrides emperors.
JO. (Aside, contemplating them.) Ha ha! With what sweaty exertion they go about their nonsense! Under the seal of Confession the pimp Acheron has frankly revealed to me this secret: Celia is a man. Climb, climb, you donkey. Celia has balls and could be the Pope. Would that this fussy Loyola would break his back, he’s the leader in every kind of crime, myself excepted. Oh the devil, do I see the pimp’s servant Scarabaeus nearby? It’s him, we’re ruined. [Aloud.] Get down, Loyola, or you’re a dead man.
PHIL. Why are you interrupting our crime, you evil man?
JO. Why are you standing in front of the house? Take to your heels, I pray you.
LOY. Let them who have feet do so. I have broken my leg, simply and categorically..
JO. So get away on this man’s shoulders like the Pope, or Scarabaeus will ruin you.
LOY. Where is he?
JO. At the door.
LOY. Couldn’t you have warned us in a more gentle and modest way, gallows-bird?
JO. I was dumbstruck by his arrival and don’t know what I did.
LOY. You’ll stay here, blockhead. — oh my leg! — and issue threats against this villain, who came home contrary to the bishop’s command. Meanwhile, Philander, we’ll go to Baucia so that I may arrange the masque.
PHIL. No, I’d prefer to murder this evil genius Scarabaeus rather than be removed from this window.
LOY. Do as I tell you, I say. This isn’t working, I’ll try another device. Fallacious eceptions are either primary or derivatives, as the Schoolmen say.
SCAR. Henceforth I’ll have to walk about with my hands clasped behind my back. If I extend this thieving left one, it immediately snatches something. Just now I touched this rabbit with my fingertips and it choose to follow me. Oh what a fine dinner! But what if Joost our priest should catch me?
JO. Joost would call you a thief —
SCAR. What are you telling me, my conscience?
JO. — and a very rapacious servant.
SCAR. A servant? My master is not at home, and when his throne is vacant I’m the master of this household. After three months, my master should drop dead, and then three days thereafter I ought to enter into a marriage with my mistress Laverna.
JO. But first you need to kneel before your confessor.
SCAR. Oh, some stiffness has suddenly seized upon this knee, I can’t kneel!
JO. Is that how little you value my supervision? I forbid you from licking butter.
SCAR. Oh, a heavy punishment!
JO. You should not chew garlic, nor taste pork or a drop of wine. Speak up and tell me why, after I imposed a penalty of making a long journey by night for your sins, you have hidden yourself in a corner without setting foot outside the city?
SCAR. Father mine, a pilgrimage is wont to instill prudence in those who travel. On my journey I wisely learned this one thing, that, when I was unsure of my way, I should go home when it was growing dark. You are an illiterate little priestling, I realize, and could not match me in my wit, layman though I may be.
JO. Oh my very unhappy son! You have made me weep, you scamp. Where have you stolen this fat, fresh rabbit?
SCAR. What are you calling a rabbit?
JO. Yes, that fat rabbit.
SCAR. It’s not a rabbit, my excellent professor, so you’re mistaken.
JO. Am I not using my eyes and my nose?
SCAR. Then I’d hand it over to you entire, if it turns out to be a rabbit.
JO. Oh, you will hand it over, Scarabaeus. You’re happy with your promise?
SCAR. By thunder, it’s yours, Father. But on the small condition that you indulge me garlic and butter.
JO. I swear.
SCAR. And in future won’t trouble my conscience with your bulls and censures?
JO. I swear.
SCAR. Take it.
JO. Hold off a minute. Have you acquired this rabbit by unsavory arts?
SCAR. What if I did?
JO. It would be a great sin for a holy monk to touch something polluted.
SCAR. Wisdom is well bought at any price. Forget this tainted thing, Joost, and freeze as you go hungry.
JO. Not at all. Put it in my hood and it will never pollute me.
SCAR. Oh you rascal, if you put me in charge of your confessions, you would bring to light a hundred thousand misdeeds. But so that you may taste lavishly of my good will, I’ll go inside, fetch two loaves of bread, and wrap this rabbit in linen. Thus this evildoing will taint neither your hand nor your hood.
JO. Very skillfully done. But make sure that the swallow be no swifter than yourself. I’ll pick off the daintiest bits and drink full bumpers, laughing until the arrival of the daystar. Oh, this is my hearth and home!
SCAR. Get your hood ready. [To the audience.] I’ve kept back the rabbit and substituted a scruffy cat in its place. [Aloud.] Here it is. To your good health, Joost, to your good health. Remember me as you eat. And particularly show good faith in giving me back the napkin, and when my mistress Laverna is married to me you’ll be my domestic chaplain.
JO. Oh sweetest Scarabaeus!
SCAR. Oh learned friar!
JO. Oh my patron!
SCAR. Oh my chaplain!
JO. A fond farewell. [Exit.]
SCAR. Assuredly, Joost, this is no rabbit I’m giving you now. If it were in good condition, I’d hand it over to you entire. But here’s a little creature that’sfierce when it comes to driving away mice.
ACH. I hear Scarabaeus’ voice? Is nobody else here?
LAV. We’re safe. I see nothing here other than night and silence.
ACH. Cancer take our confessors who have sent us on a long journey on this stormy night so we might kiss relics. I adore none of those save for the leftovers of my dinner.
LAV. Ha ha he. Chance’s are that I’ll never enter into an agreement with a petty little priest without being deceived. That nosey Loyola never ceased until he became the superintendent of my confessions.
ACH. Ha, he, he has a great desire that the dirty laundry of our people be exposed, and likewise the mysteries of our brothel. Sooner he’ll beat a retreat walking backwards and splash the street with his brains.
LAV. Today he thundered dire threats and invoked the Devil, so that I’d sell Celia. So as to give him a slap and quench his goatish lust, I made up a story that she had been a French nun abducted from her convent. By this trick I fended off this flesh-eating blowfly from Celia.
ACH. You are a very wise heart, my wagtail.
SCAR. I have a hunch he was once a monk or an abbot.
ACH. By thunder, in the same way I’ve put one over on Joost, For, lest he make an attempt on Celia’s chastity by either force or guile, while speaking to him under the seal of Confession I planted the idea that there is nothing womanly about her except for her costume, and that otherwise she’s a man.
SCAR. A man?
ACH. A fine representation for bringing guests her way! Bah! Now these two witless toadstools are walking around with drooping ears! But, Laverna, my little sparrow, when and to whom are you going to marry off this girl, so as to turn a profit?
LAV. For heaven’s sake, Acheron, Musonius is particularly enamored of her, but he’s a lump of lead, virtually a Dead Sea. He has nothing to offer save his tears and sighs.
ACH. Let him sigh and groan, since his resources are dead.
LAV. Then again, Philander is a well-groomed, elegant lover. But his father Gaudentius expects a dowry for his son.
ACH. A dowry? More likely a halter.
LAV. But Old Man Maarten, a leading light of the Amsterdam presbytery, presses a powerful suit with much wealth, he’ll take Celia.
ACH. Maarten the Huguenot? You mention him to me, witch?
LAV. Why this sudden peevishness. He’ll win her hand, I tell you.
ACH. Is your palsied tongue always wagging, you bold-faced woman?
SCAR. [To the audience.] Now a storm’s a-brewing.
ACH. Faith, if you keep nattering on about Maarten I’ll cut your throat.
LAV. Pshaw, as if I werent’ aware you are in love with this little slut, an idle itch. But I’ll protect her, don’t doubt it.
ACH. By God, I’ll rip you apart unless you quickly —
LAV. You hear that, Scarabaeus?
SCAR. This is precisely why I’m annoyed at you, master.
ACH. Hah, then I have to beware of your anger!
SCAR. Don’t lay a finger on her, unless you want your head to be bashed in by these militant fists.
ACH. Is this what you have to say to me your master, you beast?
SCAR. Avoid this quarrel, you beast, unless you have the spare time to receive a thrashing.
SCAR. You win, I quit. You may possess the kingdom, and Scarabaeus can be the tribune of our household?
SCAR. A tribune? And a beast?
ACH. Pray hush, wife. Give me a dinner from your larder and I’ll go away.
LAV. Oh, if you would humor me! Stay here Scarabaeus, set the table and fill our glasses. I’ll be right back. If you insult Maarten once more, I’ll have him put you in the stocks or in jail. But he himself is making an opportune entrance.
MAART. I had a dream (and may Salvation make the reality conform to the dream!), in truth I had a dream that this Laverna here had some plump chicks, especially a white, dainty hen which laid an egg in my charcoal furnace. I feel for sure that this is a forecast of my marriage to Celia. Ha, ha.
ACH. The head demon over them all won’t gain her, let alone this charcoaller.
LAV. Better to keep your mouth shut. Rather, you should watch me. I’ll play up to this dry, sober old gentleman, as if I were a sister in his congregation. Warm greetings, Maarten.
MAART. Laverna, are you alone with your husband, just as I would wish? This indeed is no dream, but rather my usual good fortune is assisting me.
LAV. Surely your pallor and emaciation are symptoms of some disease? Are you enjoying good health these days?
MAART. Ah, that good-for-nothing boy Nebbia. Today I delivered three sermons to my nephew, until I was awash with sweat.
LAV. Wow, your outstanding devotion!
MAART. From which I took a chill. Atchoo.
LAV. Bless you. I pray for your health.
MAART. Ah, my head aches. Atchoo.
LAV. Bless you once more.
MAART. Alas, the foolishness!
ACH. (Aside.) Rather curse you, and may it be your death. This is more appropriately said.
MAART. My great-grandfather Maarten, who was born in England, taught us this lesson, that it is just as silly to wish anybody good health when he sneezes as when he farts.
ACH. Saving your reverence.
MAART. I hold no person in esteem save only Celia. Oh my dove!
LAV. Oh your rose!
MAART. My darling!
LAV. Your holiday.
MAART. What are you saying, woman? I despise holidays.
ACH. And I loathe holy days and gloomy fasts.
MAART. Laverna, I have some questions about your Celia. My oration is divided into eighteen parts, the first of which has five subsections.
ACH. Nobody has the time to listen, dinner is barking at us from the frying pan. We must take care lest it is ruined, let’s go.
LAV. I’ll summarize everything, Maarten: you love her.
MAART. Without any prurience of the flesh, but rather so that many little Maartens might be bred for Amsterdam, to fight against Spinola.
ACH. (Aside.) “Apelles the Jew may believe that!”
LAV. She’s lovely and bashful, nobody has done her violence or corrupted her.
MAART. Heavens! You’re assaulting my head with this affirmation.
LAV. It was unexpected, I admit.
MAART. Who were her parents?
LAV. They’re long dead. She was born in Switzerland.
MAART. In a city famous for its religiosity.
LAV. But I’d prefer to have money rather than this fine citizeness, I’d accept two hundred guilders just as easily as I’d have a drink of wine. When you’ve given me a hundred, you may place Celia in your bed, and I money in my purse.
MAART. That’s a great sum.
ACH. Perhaps you might more properly put it to pious uses and forget Celia.
MAART. The brothers of our pious Separation tear down more than they build up. Nor do they acknowledge any pious uses save moneylending.
LAV. She’s indeed a virgin, as you see, and is not to be sold at a cheaper price. She can sing, keep a neat house, dance, and paint.
MAART. What evil’s this? Painting? All images are forbidden. I’ve seen profane little girls dress up their dolls in linens and silks. Oh, the profanity! This is an art devised to decorate images. Tell me, can she weave?
MAART. And cook pork?
MAART. And make a bed?
LAV. And lie in a bed.
MAART. I’m well satisfied, my passion is fired. Ha, it is fired as if with an ardor for procreation. Here’s a kiss, Laverna. Assuredly, Acheron, this is not a wanton kiss but rather a token of my benevolence. Tomorrow, before seven o’clock (or rather a little after seven, since first I must eat my breakfast for my health’s sake) I’ll pay you a hundred guilders, and one more in addition.
LAV. You’ll be acting kindly.
MAART. There’s no need for paying anybody else. This is unbecoming, but prior to the wedding I’ll give you a guilder for a ring. I hate the ring, this is a pagan, unclean symbol.
ACH. [Aside.] Cancro malgrado, if I don’t disrupt this marriage. (Enter Scarabaeus.)
SCAR. Master, a calf’s head awaits you on its serving-dish. Why are we idly delaying?
LAV. Good advice. Pray bid your friends be present tomorrow. Hire cooks, prepare a wedding banquet, and your bride Celia will wear a fine dress. [Exeunt Laverna and Acheron.]
MAART. Peace be to you all, and felicity to Celia. I perceive somebody’s opening my door.
NEB. Fa, la, fa, la!
MAART. Who’s coming out?
NEB. Oh, rotten luck! I don’t know which way to turn. Uncle’s come back, and Loyola has sent me to summon him. Hm, I’ve invented a ruse. I must wander all over the city to fetch Uncle home. I’m very troubled over where he may be, lest he’s had a fall and broken something.
MAART. Stop right there, Nebbia.
NEB. I’m of course thrilled, being freed of my great anxiety.
MAART. But, nephew mine, just now I heard you singing a profane tune.
NEB. Impossible, because this evening I’ve been glum because I’ve missed you. No, there was some monkey singing in the street.
MAART. A monkey?
NEB. A midget, I mean.
MAART. Ah, you villain. Nebbia, do you call God’s creatures monkeys?
NEB. I was so foolish as to believe monkeys were God’s creations.
MAART. Come here. Lower your arms, as a polite lad should. Lift up your head. Well enough, good. First of all see to it that you get a haircut. And your eyebrows are bushier than is proper, I’m afraid they’ll grow to be a scandal, so shave them off. Now, I know you’re acquainted with that very choice virgin Celia — Whew! Her very name revives my spirit — who’s going to be my wife tomorrow.
NEB. Oh, the craziness! They say she’s a whore.
MAART. You be sure to receive your mistress at home with all dispatch and duty. As long as you’re a little boy, you will devote yourself entirely to the service of your mistress. When your adolescence begins, perhaps I’ll castrate you.
NEB. Oh my little belly! Blind obedience is much crueller.
MAART. But, Nebbia, what if your balls are the ceremonies of the body? Then they must be abolished. But do you know Roger the Deacon, that holy, faithful tanner?
NEB. As well as I know you, if it please you.
MAART. Just so. Warn the man that he must make his appearance tomorrow before eight o’clock. He is a deacon belonging to our pious Separation, and he’ll marry me to Celia without a ring. [Exit.]
NEB. He’s gone inside? Ah, the brain-stricken dunce. I’ve never met anybody with whom I’d sooner part company. No doubt Roger the Deacon is not at home, and the barber is otherwise employed. Pish! I’ll come home when I choose.
JO. Where did you disappear to, Loyola?
LOY. From the part anterior. Nebbia, my little bird, today I’ll give you plums, and plums tomorrow, and plums forever.
NEB. A generous promise. Have you prepared no show with which to give me such pleasure?
LOY. The show for which I used to train you. Put on this costume. How it suits you! I hope that you’ll become a Jesuit when you have left your youth behind you. Joost, I appoint you the Head Acolyte in this masque.
JO. How papal of you!
LOY. Wipe your eyes, Philander. The cardinal Jesuit virtues will be entering the arena as if in a handsome parade, and when you catch sight of them you’ll venerate them so much that you’ll be borne into their camp as if on a chariot of desire.
PHIL. Whatever delight you purvey me, I’ll maintain my silence and obedience.
JO. Would that could display your vices on such a tiny stage.
LOY. Now let that pillar of our fellowship come forth, NICOLO MACHIAVELLI, that great forerunner of our father Ignatius. He was a scorner of the gods, a hater of agreements and good faith, a prophet of the Underworld, who forecast our republic a long time ago and with his brain laid the foundations of our greatness. Come forth now, Machiavelli’s brood with your Jesuit champions.
Behold the choirmaster of our virtues, BLIND OBEDIENCE, begotten by the founder of our world, IGNATIUS LOYOLA. In view of its author, perhaps he would better be called Lame Obedience. He has more wisdom standing on one foot than Apollo standing on three.
Greetings, BOGUS MIRACLE, begotten of FRANCIS XAVIER. From this come sweating statues, deceptions involving straw, weeping stones, the exorcism of demons, cures of diseases, plagues of lice, and lying prophecies. A thousand, thousand deceptions fight under your banner.
Hello! Here’s a menacing, athletic virtue, namely REGICIDE, spewed forth into the world by MARIANA, that Tribune of the Devil. If you bid a ruler be carried off furtively, as Pluto’s Ganymede he mixes the poison. If it is expedient to shed blood, he carries a dagger. Or if you must resort to magic, he knows the art of necromancy. You want everything to be enveloped in ancient chaos? This sinister fellow has a full store of gunpowder.
Hooray! Its the INDEX EXPURGATORIUS and CLAUDIO ACQUAVIVA! Or rather call him ACQUAFORTIS, a man of strong waters which obliterate and erase letters. Now the Fathers are Fathers no more. We have pronounced some of them obsolete, and castrated others. They can produce no point of doctrine damaging to the Pope. Oh how much crime sleeps under this little shadow!
I’ll moo while I poo. Unless this sight deceives me, ROBERT PERSONS, alias Robert Cowbuck, enters together with you, EQUIVOCATION. He’ll swear his oath, he’ll forswear his oath. He’s always had a nasty ulcer on his tongue, namely mendacity, but mendacity officious [dutiful] rather than malicious, as the Schoolmen say.
Make way for EDMUND CAMPION, the captain of the noose-wearing crew, bringing up the rear together with ARROGANCE. My Protagoras, my thundering sophist, there are ten reasons I should spit this epithet in your face, you puffed-up throat-clearer. No helpless athlete has ever made a braver show of himself.
LOY. Now I’ve won over your mind, Philander. Why aren’t you amazed. These are the honey-bees in our Jesuit swarm.
PHIL. Innocent of the art, I was expecting the Cardinal Virtues, Loyola.
LOY. No way in the world. None of these gentlemen was a Cardinal. Give us a red biretta and we’ll profess the Cardinal Virtues. My boon companions and all you choir of our virtues, let us hasten to Baucia’s tavern, where our dessert awaits us.
JO. Hang on a minute. I’ll make my contribution to the banquet. In my hood you will find a rabbit and two loaves of bread, of which I relieved Scarabaeus in exchange for my absolution/
LOY. [Reaching in the hood and taking out the cat.] Meow, pussy! Where was your genius hunting that it caught this Indian rabbit? Away with you, you dumb Franciscans, who are a laughingstock wherever you are.
JO. Patience. But unless Scarabaeus and you, Loyola, get what’s coming to you — I’ll bite my nails.
LOY. Nebbia, I promised you plums, no?
NEB. Plums forever.
LOY. But they produce wind, Nebbia, they produce wind. Take this cat instead as the reward for your effort. It’s a playful animal.
NEB. Thank you. Oh, what shall I do? This witch scratches and bites.
LOY. Lead the way, Philander. We’ll follow with our troupe of masquers, either organically or inorganically, as the Schoolmen say.