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ACT II, SCENE i
LUDWIG, SULTANA, HERMANN CARLOMAN
LUD. Greetings, my native land, greetings. Hail my ancestral spirits! How happy I am to see you after such an immense time, after these thousand troubles, after these thousand toils.
SUL. My heart exults with so many delights now that I have finally finished the efforts and toils of so many and such lengthy travels and so many immense worries with you, my life, my light, my sunshine, my glory, my prize, my happy day!
LUD. How weary I am, now that I hail my ancestral home!
SUL. I too am totally exhausted after our long sea voyage. I feel seasick even now.
LUD. I forever give eternal thanks to our Omnipotent Lord, and rightly will I always give such thanks while the breath moves in my body, since everything has turned out according to our wishes.
SUL. By heaven I offer everlasting thanks to God, because under your leadership, he led me from darkness into light.
LUD. You, my beloved dearest Saracen lady, are solidly fixed in my heart and will remain forever mine. Indeed, I would rather leave my soul and even my life itself, rather than ever forget you and your kindness to me. I will love you forever, Sultana, because you, Sultana, are my life.
SUL. Come, consider my situation now that you have gained such success. I am handing myself, my love, and my reputation to you. You are my guide; see to it that you do nothing worthy of blame. I alone freed you. I will preserve you, now that you are free.
LUD. I will always be your servant, because you restored me to real life with your kindness.
SUL. By Castor, I will soon discover how greatly you value me as your wife.
HERM. [aside] By God, what do I hear? The count has married her!
LUD. It is enough for you if there is no other woman whom I love as ardently as you.
HERM. By the faith of gods and men, what am I hearing? How is it that the count, against all our laws, has married this Saracen woman even though the countess is still alive?
SUL. Oh, my Ludwig, do not drive me away in my poverty and want. I do not have what is usually considered a dowry. I consider my dowry to be chastity, modesty, and well-controlled emotions, as well as my reverence for God, my love for my husband, my obedience to you, my generosity and beneficence towards good people, and whatever else which virtue prompts.
LUD. Can you hush now? I would abandon myself rather than harm you even by a small joke. I was a prisoner for so many years, wearing heavy chains on my legs, in prison under guard at night, during the day digging in the fields, intent on dirty, peasant work. You not only freed me, but married me once freed, and preferred your new spouse to your wealthy parents. Preferring me, you followed me over land and sea, through mountains, rocky places, blazing lands, and at last made me a resident again of my native land, without any merit on my part. All this surpasses any dowry, any treasure.
SUL. I will never regret doing these services as long as I live. But the greater part of mankind have this perverse habit: until they get what they wish for, they are high-minded, but when they finally acquire the thing, instead of high-minded they become wicked and deceitful.
LUD. You will never see me wavering in my promises or my fidelity to you.
SUL. Nor will you ever see me entertain any doubts about you, my excellent husband.
LUD. Now, dear Sultana, I ask one thing.
SUL. Whatever it is, you will get it.
LUD. If it is not trouble, wait here for some time while I go inside.
SUL. I will gladly do that.
LUD. It is only right that speak to my first wife at this time so that she may not be frightened.
SUL. Rightly said.
LUD. Hermann, see to it that you take this Saracen girl into this neighboring house, along with her maid Falerna.
HERM. I obey. Follow me this way.
SUL. We are following.
LUD. Carloman, you will come with me.
CARL. Master, I will do as you say.
LUD. [to himself] Now, what approach should I use to my wife? What shall I say? Shall I tell her exactly how the situation stands? Shall I plead with my wife? Shall I say that the girl is a captured servant? By heaven I really don't know what approach, what a story I should use with my other wife. Every moment my mind shifts from one to the other, and I don't know how I should begin the matter.
CARL. My Lord.
LUD. What is it?
CARL. Who is coming here?
CARL. Look there to the right.
LUD. Oh, my wife is coming to meet me with our children.
ACT II, SCENE ii
COUNTESS. SIGISMUND, LITTLE LUDWIG, COUNT LUDWIG, CARLOMAN
COUNT. Now let us go to meet your Lord Father.
SIG. As you wish, dear mother.
L. L. O dearest mother!
COUNT .Little Ludwig, why are you shouting?
L. L. Look, who are these men who are approaching with strange foreign dress, with long beards?
SIG. Look, they are staring at us.
COUNT. Oh, hold me up, I beg you!
SIG. Please tell me, what's the matter?
COUNT. I'm fainting away.
SIG. I'm done for! Mother, why are you frozen here?
COUNT. Do I see my husband or don't I? Do I see my spouse?
LUD. I will call my wife. Hail, wife, my dear, a thousand hellos!
COUNT. Who calls my name?
LUD. One who longs to meet you.
COUNT. You do not long for it more than I do.
LUD. O my love, met just in time, O longed-for light, I greet you.
COUNT. Hail! I rejoice that you have arrived safely. Give me your hand, the source of my hopes! Talk to me, I beg you by Hercules.
LUD. Speak, I beg you, the source of all my hopes!
SIG. Greetings, my long-awaited father.
LUD. Greetings. How gladly I hug you!
L. L. Greetings, Father.
LUD. Greetings. Is this not my Little Ludwig?
COUNT. . Greetings to you, unhoped-for these many years. Now I behold you.
LUD. Greetings to you too, whom I have been long seeking with many toilsome efforts. I rejoice that I have found you. I feel that I have been reborn, now that I behold you.
COUNT. How my tears are welling up for sheer joy!
LUD. O what joy in meeting! Why are you hugging me so often?
COUNT. O, let me hug you, my soul, my beloved Ludwig.
LUD. What's the matter?
COUNT. A shadow is coming over my eyes; my knees fail from joy.
LUD. Too much joy, I think.
COUNT. Support me, hold me, I beg.
SIG. Please, hold my mother up, so that she does not fall to the ground.
L. L. Please!
CARL. See how pale she is!
LUD. Give her a chair where she can sit down and a pitcher with some water! Won't you hurry!
COUNT. I can scarcely breathe.
LUD. Do you want some water? Carloman, go inside and bring us some water.
SIG. I will fan you a while, mother.
COUNT.. O, please tell me, what man have I been embracing? Have I died, or am I in my right mind?
LUD. Shall we support you and take you indoors in your swoon, my honey-sweet wife?
COUNT. As you wish, my darling Ludwig, my chief delight.
ACT II, SCENE iij
I took the Saracen girl inside this neighboring house, as the Count had ordered me. But, why are they supporting the Countess and taking her inside? By heaven I do not know what's happening. I'll go inside to see what disturbance has arisen.
Go to Act III