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REPARATUS, OR THE DOWN-PAYMENT
REPARATUS’ GUARDIAN ANGEL
AMARANTHUS an elderly foreigner
PHILENUS a shepherd
REPARATUS a robber-chief
THE DEVIL accompanied by apparitions
ORIANUS a young man
POLIANDER, APISTIUS robbers
CACUS an advocate of the Gnostic sect
THE BISHOP OF SARDIS
BEATRIX Reparatus’ mother
CARINUS a young man
POLYPUS a political old gentleman
AIO a parasite, Polypus’ servant
SOPHRONIA Polypus’ wife
BAILIFF with attendants
When some curtains are drawn, Reparatus’ guardian angel shows angels and saints in heaven and devils on earth, waiting to see what becomes of Reparatus The angel describes his previous life, and then, so as better to aid him, adopts the guise of Echo, so as to baffle the Devil, who is thinking of doing the same.
ANG. A great thing is being enacted today. On one side, the gates of Hell are open and countless myriads of demons are lurking within these shadows. Acheron has filled the fountains, lakes, rivers, flowing waters, earth, and the expanse of the air. On the other, a legion of angels, supported by the stars, sit on glittering thrones and a throng of heavenly beings keeps watch on that forest. The globe of the lesser world provides our theater, and Asia furnishes the setting. This mountain of Tmolus, once a ridge fertile with vines, has been made into a home for robbery, and hides countless bands of robbers in the hollow dens of its cliffs and forests, under the command of Reparatus. This fierce-minded young fellow abandoned the way of piety in the flowering of his better youth and, polluted by every manner of crime, became a companion of evil fellows, and then their leader, and has defiled Asia with his murder and debaucheries. Now he rages in these shadows, suffering the pangs of his conscience. That city there is called Sardis, where he previously served as a soldier of Christ, and where as a boy he learned the rudiments of the Faith and received the salubrious water of baptism. Once he was entrusted to the bishop of that place for his education by the hand of the apostle John. Here his mother laments her son’s miseries and her own poverty. Alas, how often have I, to whose faithful care his salvation has been given, wanted to sway him by pious chagrin and recall him to this proper mind by holy admonitions! How often have I vainly sought to retrieve his step when it was all but fallen into death and the infernal Lake! In vain. Thus far my effort has been fruitless. Now the final moment is at hand. God, Who moves the world with a lift of His eyebrow and sets the stars a-spinning, has confronted him with the final day for death or eternal salvation, and both regions are awaiting the outcome of this thing. The saints struggle with their prayers, and Hell with its wiles, to win this soul. I suffer from extraordinary emotion. So I shall take on the ethereal body of the nymph who faithfully repeats your final words with her sound, and I shall not abandon this young man as a trusty interpreter of the good, by repeating true prophecies at those points where I might counter the Devil, who sits in the opposite dale, hidden under the water of a fountain, where he may utter false words to a stranger and provoke Reparatus with his voice, so that he might hasten on his doom by death and hurl himself into the Styx in his despair. God has hidden the eventual outcome of this story in the dark of mist. Amaranthus enters, dragging along his body, enfeebled by a recent injury. In his mind he nurses a yet greater evil, because of the loss of his wife and children. The shepherd Philenus accompanies him as a companion. Pay attention, this day will be represented for your benefit.
ACT I, SCENE i
Amaranthus, an elderly stranger, who has been cured of the wounds he recently received from the robbers by the shepherd Philenus, tells Philenus the story of his life: how he had previously lost his wife and son in a shipwreck, and recently his virgin daughter with another companion. Philenus, who has been given permission to visit the robbers occasionally, decides to approach Reparatus with some gifts, to find out what has happened to the virgin.
AMAR. Philenus, my sweet host and faithful shepherd of your snow-white flock, oh how greatly my life differs from your good things! You live out your untroubled days singing beneath a tree, free of worries, and intersperse your carefree time with sports, spending your summer in shade and your winter at your hearth. I have fled the sweet fields of my ancestral soil. I have been compelled to abandon my native shores and the company of my friends, I obeyed the whim of the south wind on a runaway ship in tracts of unknown seas, seeking the doldrums of exile in another world. Now outstretched under a mountain-ash, now under the hospitality of green ivy, you challenge the forest with a song. Now you follow along the bank of a winding river leading your obedient sheep to happy pastures, or, singing beneath a shady willow at your ease, you console sad realms with your sweet sound. What a golden life it is to grow old on one’s ancestral soil!
PHIL. Every man struggles too hard to escape that which is his own, Amaranthus, while praising other men’s goods. That’s our human lot, that no man rests content with his own lot, although I won’t deny that the greatest peace exists in the countryside, if a man understands how to enjoy it with a serene mind. Here there is no room for crime, no ambition troubles the heart, nobody bursts the seat of his passions with swollen pride. Here hunger for profit does not trouble greedy minds and teach a bold to ship to run through Thetis’ roiling waves. No fear saddens troubled hearts, no criminal guilt burns them with its avenging torch. Rather, simple virtue protects country folk, and security protects innocent homes. But since we have now returned to the very place where robbers recently stretched you out on the grassy bed of this field, unconscious and all but dead of your wounds, tell me from the beginning the story of your catastrophe and the reasons for your harsh suffering.
AMAR. Although horror throws my mind into confusion, my tongue shrinks at repeating its misfortunes, sobbing impedes my voice, and I speak against my will, I shall nevertheless comply with your entreaties, for it was thanks to your piety that I linger in the living air. When Titus died and the world came under the controlling hand of Domitian, I was living at Athens, born to a noble station, supported by distinguished wealth, a wife, goods, and two children. They were of different sexes, but of the same age and comeliness. Six fruitful autumns had filled the land with new crops and plants with their foliage, and this was their year of doom. There was a rumor, that spread into the homes of either world, announcing that the unknown God Whom. in their ignorance, the Athenians had previously worshipped as an act of faith, had entered the world, and, as a God born from a Virgin, was called a man and condemned to death so He might might remove sin from the world and give life to those who believed. He was king on earth, and there was no limit on His realm, but He went to the stars after having triumphed over the Styx. When these things had often been proclaimed by Paul, I took them deeply into my mind. Caesar could not tolerate this lessening of Jupiter’s honor, nor of his own dominion over the earth. He feigned that he himself was a virgin-born god on earth, and he bade his subjects acknowledge this; should they refuse, he commanded their exile or death. This was the source of my evils, my woe and exile. For, although I was not yet initiated into the Christian sacraments, I nevertheless shrank from pledging my oath to the emperor, and condemned his crime by my facial expression and the very tone of my voice. The governor burned with anger and, seeing me to be unmoved by threats or entreaties, ordered that I be banished far from the city, after having been despoiled of my goods.
PHIL. Alas, how greedy the hands of tyrants become, when they imagine that their subjects’ bodies, lives, and goods are objects for savagery rather than justice! They do not want men to be free, but rather slaves, and they strive to rule their hearts as well as their minds, and strip God of His government. But continue and tell me the story of your misfortunes.
AMAR. Wretchedly banished from my city, my kinsmen, and my home, taking along my wife and also my small children, I was dispatched to a remote corner of the world. I was taken aboard a leaky ship, lacking oars, masts, and a pilot. On the eighth day of my sad wandering, a calm wind was bearing my boat along with its rustling, many fish swam about me playfully, as if I were being challenged to continue my voyage, and Phoebus was sinking towards the western sea, his horses grown weary, when he was swallowed up in a dark cloud and disappeared from sight, and a pitch-black storm, the companion of dark night, cast shadows more fearsome than the Styx. Why waste many words? Wind, lightning, balls of fire, night, water, sky, the Underworld, they all fell upon the sea. What was my frame of mind, my horror, my sensations? What a great vision of death hovered before my eyes! While the damaged ship supported my uncertain steps and drunkenly rushed wherever the madness of the sea or wind carried about, alas, how I was moved by my wife’s complaints and the wailing of my children! Then tears flowed down my unwilling checks, then I wept for my misfortunes. Directing my eyes and hands skyward, what deities did I not call upon? To what stars, to what god did I not pray? The wanton winds snatched away my pointless prayers. Final destruction was at hand. For a violent gale, roiling the water, dashed the ship’s side against a rock. Its beams were shattered, our wooden home was agape, and, falling apart, the ship disintegrated into a mass of floating debris. Sitting in the prow I kept a tight grip on my little daughter. But the prow was wrenched apart and we were pitched headlong into the flood. I did not relax my hold on her, but I was born on the water half-alive, holding on to a great plank, dragging along my daughter, who clung to my breast. Ah the sorrow! From that day I have lost my wife and son, my eyes have seen no trace of them, and I do not know whether the sea is carrying them, unburied, or whether the sand lies upon their graves.
PHIL. An unhappy catastrophe! But my mind is eager to learn the ways by which you saved your life.
AMAR. That’s enough, Philenus, ah, that’s enough. What point is there to continue in telling how my virgin girl’s life was saved, or my own, since I know for that, of my children, the boy was lost in the waves, and the girl among wild beasts? For I lament your loss in the forest, my daughter, whether you have become prey for treacherous robbers or food for birds, and that I am enjoying a living death, with the better part of myself lost,
PHIL. Being mindful of piety, abandon these vain complaints, and wind up the thread of the account you have started. Trust the rest to God.
AMAR. As we rode aboard our plank, carried far away on the ocean, a flying gale chanced to deposit us on the shore of the Cretan sea amidst seaweed and mossy rocks, at a place where a cliff had been hollowed out by human hand in the manner of an arched cave, inhabited by two residents of this sandy home who were accustomed to hunt marine-beasts and denizens of the deep with their skill. When they saw a prize gradually floating towards the shore they came a-running, and brought this ship’s hulk to dry land. Then they gently chafed my limbs to revive me, until I regained my former strength. Now Aurora had brought the day by bashfully showing her face, warning us in advance that Phoebus’ torch was near at hand in our sky. I sent men familiar with the curving beach to nearby places, to see with their own eyes whether chance had brought any of my comrades there. Their effort was in vain. Why say more? For fifteen years I dwelt on Crete, concealing myself in a humble hut and eking out a livelihood with my own hands, while enjoying the sweet conversation of the little girl who was my companion. Finally, moved by rumor of what was going on in Asia, and chasing after the report that there were Christians there, I abandoned Crete and set sail across the Myrtoan Sea, following the winds on a huge-bellied ship. At length. exhausted by winds and sea, I set foot on the shore of Asia’s Ionia. Then in the company of my daughter and a young fellow of proven trustworthiness (he was the son of an old man who had brought us back to life after we had all but drowned), I came to this forest. But as soon as night fell, although I sought to flee with the girl and our comrade, robbers left me, lying in this grassy countryside place, lifeless with fear and swooning with a hole in my side. Here you found me lying and nursed me at your bosom when I was ailing from my wounds, allowing me to enjoy the light of life.
PHIL. You are telling me of a bitter fate, of the horrendous and ruinous results of your lamentable downfall. But you should not despair of Fortune’s goods. If you do not know how to hope, reason teaches you. So don’t lose a hopeful disposition, but rather regain your courage, which depends on God’s eternal will, and believe that an improved fate will give you a turn for the better. So understand what you need do. In this forest a dwells a great band of armed robbers under a fierce leader, and its ranks are growing to the point that they infest our fields like so many grains of sand. It matches an army in its strength of numbers and power. and surpasses wild beasts with its murderousness. Terror of this great evil has filled Asia as it visits its theft and plundering on all places, so that one’s belief is stunned in hearing of all their crimes, and rumor has to struggle to report such great evil. Amidst these troubles, my one consolation is that an adequate fortune has bestowed on me unenviable poverty and a humble lot in life. Hence I have the liberty to visit them and return home in the forest glades and their hidden haunts. Indeed, I am sometimes allowed to visit their leader, bearing some small gift, and see his home, located in a rocky cave. So I shall take a pretty little lamb from my teeming flock and take it as a gift to that wild young fellow, keeping a watchful eye on those places and giving an ear to what he has to say. By this device I’ll learn if anything serious has befallen your friends, whom flight snatched away from you.
AMAR. You surpass the beings of heaven in your piety, and mankind in your sense of duty. [Exeunt. Enter Reparatus.]
ACT I, SCENE ii
Reparatus is tormented by the memory of his crimes.
REP. You chattering shadows, and you forest homes, once the happy haunts of sweet repose, but now parties to my crimes and witnesses to my felonies, hear the prayers of Reparatus as he consecrates himself and his grim personage to the deep Styx, because of his harmful deeds, which were harder for you to watch than for me to commit. Ah, how often a river of human blood flowed through your meadows because of my misdeeds, when I outdid the beasts in my cruelty and Hell in my criminal deceits! But tell me, you lairs of beasts and monstrous caverns, if you have produced monstrosities more fearful than Reparatus? Tell me if any more accursed plague infests the world, any wilder beasts in the wood? And, if there is any drop of piety remaining in these deaf stony places, let be dried by hearing my words, and let no rock dare weep in your caves. And you, you frightening names, you lions, you wolves, you breeding tigresses, learn by my example to be fiercer and more savage than is your wont. What Procustes or Cacus dwelling in his reeking cave can surpass me in his bold deceit? Diomedes fed his bloodthirsty horses on human flesh, Busiris stained his altars with human gore, but these were trifling evils in comparison with mine. I have inundated Asia with a sea of blood, I have filled the world with crime, I have abandoned the Faith, outraged God, trampled on laws. I have abando0ned my nature and assumed the sensibility of the very beasts, of rocks and fire, and indeed of the Underworld and its Styx. Oh, you dark spirits of deep Avernus! You denizens of the shadows and you throng that dwell in the world below! Come forth, come forth, you legion of devils, hateful to the earth and take me, consecrated to Hell, a friend of your night, and an exile from the sky and the world. If you remember any cruel, atrocious crime which as eluded my grasp, tell me and it will be done. But I know there’s none. They are silent. Now prepare your triumphant chariots for me. Behold, I shall enter death’s home as a new Caesar. Acheron with its pitchy whirlpool will not receive a man lacking in guilt. Taking in a robber, a greedy man, an adulterer, a murder is a trifle, and acquiring an apostate is nothing. So claiming Reparatus will be sufficient. With a single voice whatever earth, sky or sea produces proclaims the sinfulness of Reparatus.
ACT I, SCENE iii
REPARATUS, ANGEL, THE DEVIL
In his state of despair, he is urged to kill himself by a devil, but restrained by an angel.
<REP.> And so, Reparatus, must you despair forever about the manner of your salvation?
ANG. No, with elation.
REP. Ah, you urge my hopes to elevate?
DEVIL Too late.
REP. To late to extricate myself from these ills? Who’d believe?
ANG. Don’t leave.
REP. I’ve no wish to leave, but heaven forbids.
DEV. You’ll wish you did.
REP. Pray for better. Heaven forfend!
DEV. This is your end.
REP. Let my guilty self be spared from Hell, let me return.
DEV. You’ll burn.
REP. Is my doom heaven-decreed?
REP. And all my hope on this is pinned?
DEV. You’ve sinned.
REP. So what remains but to choose to walk this sinful path?
DEV. God’s wrath.
REP. And where shall I finally disappear?
DEV. Right here.
REP. And so I shall. But when will this transpire?
DEV. The time is nigh.
REP. So I must die soon? But tell me by what mean.? In this countryside, I hope?
DEV. By a rope.
REP. A cruel wrong, and quite a disgrace, upon my word.
DEV. By the sword.
REP. A nicer way I crave.
DEV. Among the waves.
REP. So by drowning I should go?
DEV. Just so.
REP. I must die. So I shall drown my sins?
DEV. Jump in.
REP. Human life, adieu.
ANG. Stop. you.
REP. How am I being held back? Amidst this life’s woes must I stay?
ANG. You must pray.
REP. But come, since I can’t face heaven, to whom should I address my words?
ANG. The Lord.
REP. What can I say, since in sin I’m clearly hardened?
ANG. Beg for pardon.
REP. Ah, I can’t. It’s pointless for pardon to apply.
ANG. Just try.
REP. Vain advice. It would be easier for me to turn the stars back in their courses than to accomplish this. I understand my doom full well. So I shall add new felonies to my crimes and outdo myself, although I surpass wild beasts in my savagery, until the Styx is swept aside and the ground yawns wide and Orcus gathers me into its ample bosom for being too heavy a burden on the earth. But what young man do I see hastening into these shadows? What does he dread? He’s afraid some great evil is hanging over him, and he’s not wrong. When I am present, every kind of evil is to be feared.
ACT I, SCENE iv
Orianus, a young man, who has lost his friends and hidden in the forest for a long time, encounters Reparatus. They ask each other for death. But when Orianus finally collapses from hunger and sorrow, Reparatus leaves in search of food.
OR. While I’m panting from my swift-winged escape, what whirlwind will snatch me up in the air and deposit me far from here, under the sky of Scythia, where the fields lie sluggish under arctic snow and the sea bristles with perpetual ice, forbidding passage to ships, and where the land is free of settlers? What are you fleeing, poor Orianus? Death? Robbers bring death. If you are trying to escape wild beasts, this forest harbors monsters worse than them, men who are inhumane. Would that I had been the prostrated prey of a lion, or a wolf had snatched my limbs in his cruel mouth while I still breathed! I would not be suffering these fears. I would not have lived to endure these ills. Now I’m compelled to bewail my friends’ misfortunes, but I cannot comprehend my own. Doom is denied to wretched men, but oppresses those who are happy. Oh death, the one relief in our extremities, where are you? With what words can Orianus gain you as you flee? Here there are robbers, I admit. They will grant me death, but an unhappy and shameful one. You can hang from this wooden branch and flee the light of life, but piety holds you back. See how that mountain ridge rises up to approach the stars: you can bring about your run by plunging from its peak. But God forbids. There are fires at your disposal, and waters, and noxious plants, and a thousand ways to die, but none is secure. Oh the harsh ways of death! I see you have so many servants, but none of them is pious.
REP. [Overhearing him.] You will find a pious one. This pious task requires my hand. To be called pious, I want to use this hand to spill fresh blood, since I have deserved to be called impious by so many cruel deeds in the past. With new bloodshed I’ll atone for old, crime will be redeemed by crime. The poor fellow has no need to call down fire from heaven or seek for water or plants, or to look for the perils of rocks or of trees that serve as home for birds, or mountain-tops that ride the fickle winds. By himself, Reparatus will answer all these calls. I shall serve as his waters, mountains, plants, and trees: when summoned, I’ll supply the pious office of death.
OR. What’s the point of having saved my life by flight so often, if I am compelled to suffer evils worse than death? Now, when I am a wanderer, there’s no place to which I can return, and I have no companion on my way. There’s no man to take my vagabond self into his home and protect me with his hospitality. I have lost all my friends, all help and goods. For a whole month now I have been ranging amidst these shadows, enjoying the hospitality of the forest and crossing the abandoned thresholds of wild beasts’ dens. The ground provides me with my bed, the fruits of trees my food, and friendly water dispels my thirst. And while I am living among the very beasts, none of them is so savage, or rather so kind, as to rend me with its fang when I crave to die. Oh my wishes, slow to be fulfilled! Where shall I look for trusty death to take away my fears? [He starts to go.]
REP. Stay, young man, I’ll satisfy your desires. Behold, you see before you a trusty supplier of the death you seek. Why do you shrink? Do you shudder at this blood-stained hand? You can’t stand my cruel face and eyes? You refuse death? You shun the pious assassin for whom you sought? Trust me, there has never existed an executioner more dependable for you, or for himself when the need arises. Don’t run away. For this hand is not destined to be pious, if it does not do your bidding.
OR. Whoever you are who are lending an ear to my complaints and offering an unhappy man his final doom with your pious hand, making his funeral preparations, don’t imagine that it is the fear of the death by which I am gripped. For wretched folk, death is life. But on your face sits some kind of horror which troubles my senses, and makes death all the more fearsome than life has been. I am trying to die, I admit it. But I dread dying by your hands, since your face bears some mark of terror, or rather of affection.
REP. Don’t imagine that pious affection has found a home in this heart or face. The laws of piety, and faith towards God and Man have departed far away. But if any report of great evil has stirred your senses, if rumor has reported any crime savage to hear about and wrong to mention, it is stored up in this heart of mine. That’s the place where crime has set up its workshop, where a thousand Cyclopes remain, doing greater work than they usually do with their tools of Etna.
OR. You speak of strange things, which are scarcely credible.
REP. If you don’t believe me, I’m the robber-chief.
OR. I need to know your name.
REP. Fame calls me Reparatus.
OR. Good. I’m eager to encounter the death that’s prepared for me. You’ve stolen my best friends in the world, take the rest of me. It’s the result of your handiwork that I’m miserable, so use your hand to make me happy. With my knees on the ground and with my humble prayer, with a sobbing voice and with these tears, I ask you for my death.
REP. I have never spared a man who shrank from death, so do you imagine I’ll refuse a man who seeks it? Have no fear, you’ll get your hoped-for death, and if such a dire playwright can furnish you with a happy ending, it will be granted by this hand. [He tries to kill him, but fails. He speaks in an aside.] What horror is holding back my hand? Where’s my old-time strength? Where has it gone? My hand weakens, its sinews fail. Are you frightened by a single murder, you who have committed so many? Why are you idle, my hand? Why hesitate, my mind? A shaking has come over my entire body. What god or demon has filled me with horror? What’s happened to my old strength? What Medea has paralyzed my benumbed limbs with her magic charm? Now I realize the work I’m doing is accursed, and that I should not be shedding sacred blood with this dire hand of mine. [Aloud.] Get up from the ground, you’re free, my handsome young man. You can travel about the forest and among the wild beasts’ lairs with safe steps. Nor will heaven-sent fire harm you, water won’t drown you, beasts won’t savage you, No runaway Indian or Cyclops can stay you in your wandering. After me, all future evils will shun you. Men who have been denied their doom at the hands of Reparatus may go where they will in safety.
OR. For what destiny am I being reserved? To what misfortune am I being left in my misery? See how I lose everything. He shudders to destroy me, his fierce hand shrinks from performing the ultimate service of granting me my wishes. Now that death is denied to me, where shall I flee? Or what’s the point of living when all my companions have been killed? The Fates would not have prevented you from dying by such a friendly hand for any other reason than that you should endure fears worse than death. I know that this is the Fates’ way: those they refuse to destroy by death, they oppress in life.
REP. Come now, to heap your triumph yet higher, and so that the world may shudder less when I have been defeated, take this weapon, young man. Strike this savage breast. Let him who refused to strike you receive a fatal blow. On bended knee I ask for this ultimate gift, the world asks for no less from your hands. See how this is everyone’s desire. Thus a lengthy parade and a chariot will bear you to the stars as you celebrate your triumph. Thus heaven will cheer you and, having been defended, Asia will vote perpetual divine honors and altars to your name. The smiling people will come thronging to applaud you. Old men, young ones, and girls will come a-running to congratulate you., folk I have deprived of their kinsmen, their fathers, sons, and husbands, and made to burn with eternal hatred against my person for my crimes, my murders, my debaucheries. Why do you shudder? Why waste tears on those pious cheeks of yours? This is a situation that calls for blood, not tears. I beg you, in the name of the fates of your kinsmen, their gaunt and pallid faces, in the name of your friends, dearer to you than your life, who were dispatched to an undeserved death by my fury, and in the name of the whole world’s wishes, have pity and banish delay from your mind.
OR. Behold, just as when a swan, lying in the grass alongside the river Cayster, pours forth its plaints from its busy throat when death summons, singing tunes on the verge of death that it never sang in life, issuing sweet sounds with its final breath, and the water is amazed, the air resounds with its tones, both chattering banks weep at its tuneful sobs, and the wind groans in an unusual way, so your speech, as you call for death and final destruction, fills my heart and benumbed senses with a sense of piety, so that you seem less deserving of death the more you ask for it. Should I wound this breast with a blood-stained hand? Am I supposed to bury in the dark cave of eternal night a character deserving of a better ending? Am I supposed to wound these limbs? I am I to cast the shadow of iron sleep, these heavy shadows on these cheeks? Suppose I wished to. I cannot. Suppose I could. Piety forbids. Ah, spare me these savage entreaties. You are asking me for something at which my mind blanches, which my reluctant hand refuses to do. Even if you were more savage in striking me, even if you were harder than heedless adamant, I would not strike you. For a man who repents his crimes, continued life is the supreme punishment. Why do you require my hands? I was enthusiastic to gain death from you, not to give it to you. If I cannot die by your doing, why do you hope for it from me? Whatever you do to me in my misery, you do to yourself. Behold how your faithful and humble servant Orianus takes refuge with you on his knees, with dutiful humility subjecting himself to your will. If I am not permitted to enjoy the place of a friend, I can occupy that of a servant, since I have no home left, no remaining place in the world to receive hospitality.
REP. You come running back to me? Thus a timid hare asks the help of a hunting-hound, thus an innocent lamb entrusts its life to a wild wolf, and a gentle dove calls on a hawk. Did I not rescue you sufficiently, when you had no place in all the world? You come running back to me? Do you fancy you will find escape from your evils in this same place where you suffered evils, and ask that everything you lost by this hand be restored? You weary me with your entreaties and desire to be my servant? God, what kind of monstrosity is this? How am I being mocked? What evil has this piety arisen to mediate? I suppose so that unhappy men will come a-running to this place to do me service, after I have destroyed them by my crime and weapons, so that every damaged fellow will seek his assassin and my hand will refuse to commit his murder. But these monstrosities should abandon your mind. They aren’t consistent with themselves, not even in my eyes.
OR. Would that I were already a shade sent from the kingdom of the Styx, deprived of the gift of life as I stood in this place, displaying the image and semblance of Erebus! But thus far the frail breath of life still governs these limbs of mine, shaking albeit they are and doomed soon to collapse to the ground. My breathing spirit still makes my soul stand firm and supports my body, close to death though it is. Now grief and hunger overwhelm me. I perceive that God is kind. My languor is serves as a forewarning that my death is at hand, and hunger hastens to make an end to my unhappiness, something robbers cannot do. This wretched mass prepares for its downfall, the tree-trunk falls to ground. The words I spoke in life did move you. Believe me as I die, and do not refuse my ashes a place, although you refused me a small place of refuge in life.
REP. Thus far I have put off learning what a tear is, or what it is to die an innocent man. But in this situation I am learning both, and also that unhappy people are to be pitied with pious sorrow and that men are overcome by tears. What’s this, my mind? Who taught your cheeks to weep? Who will deny that stones or the Caucasus can be moved by human tears, if he saw this little drop pouring forth from my eyes? I am compelled to make a pious pause and weep at the death of this pious lad. When I could not be so harsh as to kill him with my hand, I condemned him to die, broken by the weight of his grief and overcome by starvation. A character worthy of a robber! A worthy crime and misdeed for a shameful man! So will he die? Won’t I come to the aid of his final groans? Ah, where am I being turned? Do even other men’s woes touch me? Piety, you are late in giving me instruction. Once I should have been pious, when I could. Now I should too. Reason, what limit do you impose? See how this barren place refuses its help. Should I return home and search for food? But it’s a long way off. Should I remain? There’s no point. Should I flee? That would be a wrong. Why so? You used to adore wrongs. You must flee. Stay. Beasts will harm you. Let it be so, you taught the beasts. Birds will devour you, they are preparing to serve as your tomb. Where, ah where am I being drawn by my mind’s uncertain impulse? I must do something. I shall visit neighboring parts. I shall see if chance offers any food. I want to cultivate piety, even under compulsion. [Exit.]
ACT I, SCENE v
Oh the verge of death, Orianus bids the world adieu.
OR. Why do you hesitate, my soul? Hasten to depart your bodily home. Why are you afraid? Are you doubtful whether to die? No longer will you be compelled to suffer woes. The chills of arctic climes injure you no more, the heat of the summer sun will do you no more harm. You will not be terrified by the threatening threats of the sea, nor ever dread heaven’s booming thunder or the whistle of the south wind. Disease will not make your cheeks pallid, gaping starvation will not consume you, nor will robbers attack you by deceitful stealth. Just learn to keep your silence, my voice. And you too, my eyes, must shut the windows to the light of day and open the doors to my carnal death. Oh God, with divine favor receive me as I come to You, and place my soul in heaven after so many heavy woes and the doubtful fears of my wearied life. Farewell, you forests who are privy to my cares. Farewell sky, stars, world, air, voice, sensation, and time: I only await death’s arrival. [Enter Orianus.]
ACT I, SCENE vi
Philenus the shepherd, intending to bring wine and food to Reparatus, uses these to succor Orianus, and takes him into the inner part of the forest.
PHIL. A thorny question occupies my doubtful mind, and fixes my attention amidst my doubtful cares: whether Fortune is more heavy-handed in oppressing the human heart when she smiles or when she rages against you. For, if I ponder the sad vicissitudes of this human flesh, I condemn her harsh aspect, and think nothing worse. But if the criminal life of that robber Reparatus, and happy lot with which he campaigns with good success, come to mind, I absolve ill fortune of its charge of being the harsher, and condemn good fortune, always cheered by friendly applause, always accompanied by successful crime, busily attending it with proud steps. I have come here to provide trifling gifts and a humble meal for the young man, but at the same time I have a different motivation. I shall keep an ear open to learn what has happened to the virgin and young man who were scattered in flight, and vigilantly pursue every whisper. Likewise I am all eyes everywhere. [Seeing Orianus.] But what’s this? I see a moribund young man lying on the ground. As he groans, his breathing wracks his frame and, if I am not deceived by the bloodless hue of his face, he is suffering from starvation. See how that marble pallor sits on his cheeks, and death’s rigor has gradually benumbed his limbs. Philenus, God has called you here so that you might help this wretch stay alive. Let him first have a taste of wine. How eagerly he gulps it down, undiluted! He’s fallen still, the beverage has robbed him of his wits. Now he’s revived, see how the ruddiness returns to his face. Let him consume some food. How avidly he gobbles it! His appetite is quickly doing its work. At one moment, like a spendthrift, he squanders his strength in his enthusiasm. At another, like a miser, inspired by the luxury of great wealth, he suffers hunger in the midst of his meal. Now that he has regained his senses, does he abhor food, then avidly consume to it, then shun it once more? His fear repels him, but then his hunger struggles against that. What a miserable conflict! What’s he groaning to himself?
OR. Alas, I’ve revived.
PHIL. He regrets that his life has returned.
OR. What god or man compels me to return to my old fears once more?
PHIL. He escaped fear when he did not die. Now you can forget your cares, your hunger has disappeared. What do you dread?
PHIL. What evil does life offer you?
PHIL. Short-lived ones. Death is a source of misery.
OR. The final one.
PHIL. But a long series of punishments awaits those who are over-hasty in dying. Why do you shun the light of day?
OR. I’m a wretch.
PHIL. God forbids wretches to die of their own volition.
OR. Fear compels me.
PHIL. Trust in Him.
OR. This fear prevents me.
PHIL. It’s a passing thing.
OR. It overwhelms men.
PHIL. Flee it.
OR. It follows me.
OR. It comes to me.
PHIL. Drive it away.
OR. It returns.
PHIL. Go away.
OR. It goes along as my companion.
PHIL. It’s nothing.
OR. It threatens me.
PHIL. Strike at it.
OR. It will prevail.
PHIL. Over sluggards.
OR. Even over lions.
PHIL. Those whom reason abandons.
OR. And also over men.
PHIL. Small-minded ones.
OR. I’m convinced, oh whoever you are who conquers my mind with reason. See, I submit to God’s will.
PHIL. So come, get a good grip on my shoulder. Let us search for a suitable place in that forest so you may rest a little and gain new strength. Meanwhile, take care for your body by being sparing in your speech. Talking saps your strength.
Go to Act II