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Scioppes and Becanuses? Ass-gazers and drunken professors? Oh our times! Oh our morals! To what a height of impudence have we come? I don’t imagine it will be a long time before monkeys are campaigning for the scarlet. If I catch you there, Kaspar with your conceited titles, or you, Martin with your quotations, grasping for this (as popular rumor now says you are), so help me my Cretan Jupiter and Ignatius, more Jove-like than Jove, I’ll hand you over to misfortune. Although this degree of credibility adheres to them, I for my part think they ought to be made pubic laughing-stocks. But, as if this competition were a pleasant one of eating ourselves stupid, you are deserting to the enemy, having made the rash choice to depart the confines of Brabant and hasten to this business. But while I’ve been over-heated the day has been burned to a crisp. Now I am hastening to investigate this matter. But what manner of man has come here?
ACT III, SCENE ii
EUDAEMON, PRINTER (Coming from the Forum Romanum with holy water)
EUD. It behooves me to rest here until he’s passed.
PRINTER Now I’ve filched my patron’s name, I’m Tortus, since I’m sick at heart because of my daily torments. Fears fret me and torture me with their agonies. For while I prepared my flight on foot, having a care for my household, an evil spirit travelling at breakneck speed has taken a shortcut and arrived here before me. There my wife has completely ruined my life, having dared enter into a devil’s bargain and accepting that for publication. A vice of a great part of womankind is that they fear nothing as long as they turn a profit.
EUD. Printer Politanus’ wife is giving him trouble, I hear. I’ll give him my support.
PRINTER Had you been with me in my printshop no hour would have past in which that unclean imp failed to serve as an evil omen by being present, urging, pressing, railing at my workmen, throwing everything else into confusion, and constantly terrifying my darling. He had scarcely ended this effort when he snatched that pamphlet from my printing press, as soon as I had finished it, and flew off.
EUD. [Overhearing.] Oh, I understand why it’s going ill for him, because my tutor the cardinal has just now explained to me within about his dear little Matthaeus Tortus.
PRINTER Alas, I’m reduced to nothingness. As I think, my limbs tremble, my heart is still sweating with fear, I am quite undone by sickness and sorrow. I am being punished in lieu of that apologist of equivocation. I would hardly accept the papacy as payment for doing this thing again.
EUD. Wow, how foolishly superstitious the common run of mankind is, in my opinion!
PRINTER But am I sane, being remiss in performing this holy office? This dousing banishes all demons from my sight.
EUD. What do you mean, printer?
TYP. Ah. Is the demon still here? I’ll drench him some more. (Pours the entire bucket over him.)
EUD. Still so headstrong, you old codger? Look here, rascal, did I strike you as being on fire?
PRINTER Woe’s me, I can never get away from misfortune. I pray you forgive me, master. My free will did not drive me to do this. Out of fear, I was not my proper self.
EUD. So what’s happening?
PRINTER A blessing is being conferred.
EUD. Possibly. But ill betide the man who does not allow me to stay dry for a little while, as I eat my dinner.
PRINTER Oh Eudaemon, no matter how holy a father you may be, I dread to speak your name.
PRINTER Because the demon who did me such great harm constitutes a part of it.
EUD. But now you’ve cheated him of this, and washed the demon out of my name with your lustral water.
PRINTER But, my Hercules, there’s no loss now. Plenty of your name is left for you, thanks be to the gods: Andreas Johannes Cydonius, which shares the names of two saints, if it is not the devil who divides them.
EUD. Oh your appeasing drivel! It accrues to my glory that the words daemon (which I thus sanctify) and good (which inspires fear and the urge to flee in my enemies) combine in this third one Eudaemon The gods of heaven and the Underworld are fighting equally on my behalf.
PRINTER But they’re equally ill-disposed towards me. Unless my patron, at whose behest I am returning here, can extricate me, I am quite at the loosest of ends.
EUD. Keep up your spirits. Just as as you know I’ve been born to do, I’ll manage your protection, if the cardinal cannot.
PRINTER Oh if you could!
EUD. ’Pon my faith I swear it.. Come, you may walk in security.
PRINTER I clasp your knees. (Exit to the Forum Romanum.)
EUD. That fool delayed me for too long a while. I fear lest the scarlet hold this against me. Now I shall consecrate myself to it. So now you excellent, holy scarlet, you hope of mortals and envy of the gods, you glory of this world, you most sacred robe, around which hovers opulence and abounding abundance, in whose wake comes pleasure, followed by peace and leisure, you which delight and wealth, a robe which happiness together with licence, revelry, sweetness and pomp do not leave in the lurch, you I worship and adore, and I humbly beg your divine aid. If you should be favorable and take me unto yourself, I should straightway bid adieu to every other source of salvation, every good fortune, light, pleasure, faith and religion, and whatever else might appertain to the gods.
ACT III, SCENE iii
IMP. Have I spotted the man I’m looking for?
EUD. (Continuing his speech.) By your brilliance I beseech you, let your propitious grace now be present —
IMP. This is the very fellow. And he is being led by his own character to do by himself that for which I have come here.
EUD. — and I earnestly beseech you not to disown your dependent.
IMP. But, unless impudence has wrongly given me my name, I should visit him and keep driving him onwards.
EUD. Thus you will henceforth obtain me as a fighter for your cause, being neither timid nor careless of your majesty.
IMP. Or I vow on his behalf, he’s a man of steadfast fidelity if you make him such.
EUD. For the rest, I shall make things clean and undefiled forever. Then those men whom you have now discovered to be acting in scurvy vile way will neither assault you nor mistreat you, vilely causing you distress.
IMP. You’re well-disposed and speak good words, you’ll easily gain your wishes.
EUD. Damn, who’s interrupting me?
IMP. A man who does not wish you the worst.
EUD. But why have you come, you whipping-stock?
IMP. So that it will go well for your person.
IMP. Our noble triumvirate, Ignatius, Lucifer and Paul V, —
EUD. What am I hearing? What about them?
IMP. — who are called the threefold column of our family and the bulwark of our order, have sent me here to aid you.
EUD. To aid me? How so?
IMP. By fighting your English battles alongside yourself, so that they might be noble and memorable, and worth their weight in scarlet.
EUD. Thus far I like the omen, and I’m forever in their debt. But you must continue speaking about your help.
IMP. Take these scrolls (Gives him oblong scrolls with which he subsequently beats him.)
EUD. I see them.
IMP. Do they strike you as sufficient for the universal defeat of the English?
EUD. By Hercules, I fail to understand what evil will befall them from these rolls of paper. They’ll blow down these flimsy legions with a single puff.
IMP. And yet in fact only a little of the road remains for them, they are terribly winded. But you must publish these screeds quickly, lest they grow moth-eaten. Just add the fabric of your genius and they’re invincible.
EUD. Perhaps. What then?
IMP. I am come as your helper, so that you may get this and purchase the scarlet at the price of this work.
EUD. Spare me this favor. He clearly is undeserving who shares half his labor with somebody else, and if this is allowed to someone, it is very unjust.
IMP. Hooray, I prase your spirit. But the difficulty of this effort will prove to be very great, if you undertake it by yourself.
EUD. How so?
IMP. Because, in addition to the path of writing men normally follow, you have to lead your army to this victory through uncharted tracts of novel arts.
EUD. By the gods I ask you, what are these?
IMP. First you must sail far beyond the Sea of Shame.
EUD. I understand.
IMP. And when you’ve landed there you must take a turn to the right and pass on to the Factories of Falsehood, that’s your second task.
EUD. You’re telling me about my native land.
IMP. Afterwards you must cross the Straits of Good Faith, and next sail by the Cape of Good Hope, and then the Harbor of Good Repute.
EUD. I know that route just as was as the one to the knocking-shops at Rome.
IMP. And finally, when you have sailed out into the deep, you must set sail to those infamous islands which lie scattered in the Gulf of Desperation.
EUD. You are teaching somebody already well-instructed. Those ten islands are more familiar to me than the Decalogue: Self-Confidence, Distortion, Criticism, Calumny, Contumely, Fraudulence, Slander, Rage, Malice, and Perfidy. How about this? Do I strike you as the only man who is familiar with this route?
IMP. As well as I am.
EUD. I don’t need you as a pilot to all these places. I myself can navigate this work well enough.
IMP. So what will become of me?
EUD. If you’re smart you’ll look elsewhere for somebody who needs your help.
IMP. Why so?
EUD. Because now I can no longer unwillingly tolerate being wearied by your bold-facedness.
IMP. What do you mean?
EUD. I mean that by remaining you would pay the penalty to me of being equally wearied.
IMP. Penalty? Remarkable!
EUD. I am telling you what I have decided. But before giving you a thrashing there’s something I would ask you. Come, you who claim to be my instructor and guide along the way, have you given any thought to what kind of man a Jesuit ought to be?
IMP. By Hercules, a villain, if he’s your twin.
EUD. Unless he’s not a good one, he’ll never need to beg anything from a vegetable-monger. He has all the crimes he needs at home in his own garden, and doesn’t borrow from elsewhere.
IMP. Oh yes, they’re upright, just as you say.
EUD. And so you owe me these forfeits for the conspicuous insult you are inflicting on the Jesuits.
IMP. How so?
EUD. By imagining that their efforts are so slothful or so utterly without thought that they require an assistant.
IMP. Being human, perhaps they require other’s support to indulge their malice. But I’m aware how likewise it once befell Socrates to have a daemon for an advisor. I come to you from my home in Acheron.
EUD. Off with you! Now I hold you red-handed for a double crime. A daemon come to me? Receive the offering of a century of sturdy stripes on your shoulder blades.
IMP. No. You receive this act of whipping, my Hecate.
EUD. I suppose there is no daemon among the Jesuits? My name is Eudaemon. You’re defeated, I win by a syllable.
IMP. [ . . . ]
EUD. I possess a daemon, I’m far more aware of this than you are. (Aside.) To do facetiously what must be done — (Aloud.) Do you want to bet against me?
IMP. For what end.
EUD. To discover which of the two of us is more demonic, the Jesuit who earnestly performs those things which pertain to his daemon or the familiar of Orcus?
IMP. To Hell with this example!
EUD. No, I want to put it to the test. (The demon receives a beating.). Behold, I’m handing out the first helping of your reward.
IMP. I’ll appeal to Lucifer if you don’t hold your hand.
EUD. Lucifer? He won’t come.
IMP. Why not?
EUD. Because Ignatius has already informed him what in the world a Jesuit is, so he won’t want to receive a beating in your place.
IMP. Oh, strange! I am familiar with his nationality, he is a Cretan excretion. Where in the world did he find these fierce spirits?
EUD. They belong to the Society, I tell you. In future you should not hold them in such low esteem. Do you understand what I’m trying to teach you? (He is beaten once more.)
IMP. Woe’s my poor self. He’s called Eudaemon for the same reason we speak of the Eumenides, he’s very like them. When Loyola, who sent me here, finds this out —
EUD. He’ll praise me, I know. When he discovers that among his followers is a man who understands him and is punctually obedient to him, he’ll decide that person is deserving of the scarlet.
IMP. I’ll return and tell him so.
EUD. Wait here. For it is right that you first become submissive to me and apologize for yourself, lest you receive any further thrashing.
IMP. But our kind is submissive only to Lucifer.
EUD. And to worthy Jesuits, unless you prefer more of this.
IMP. By no means. Rather, I humble myself, since you compel me.
EUD. So come here. I want this scarlet to claim you. Now touch it. Are you being irreverent, you scoundrel? Come, just touch its hem, and do so with reverence.
IMP. As you please.
EUD. You must swear by this scarlet.
IMP. What am I to swear?
EUD. As I command.
IMP. Tell me what you want.
EUD. Swear that after today you will never again touch it.
IMP. It shall be so
EUD. Nor that you will ever consider the Jesuits inferior to yourself. Go ahead.
IMP. Holy scarlet, I call you to be witness, if I should touch you a second time, even together with Lucifer, I shall not be showing reverence to the Jesuits’ Luciferocity.
EUD. “Next I say to this Jesuit Andreas Eudaemon Johannes Cydonius (and he is touching me with [...]” —
IMP. ”Then I say to this Eudaemon — ” (etcetera, which I understand I now have engraved on my back). What else do you want?
EUD. “And when he comes to us in Tartarus — ”
IMP. “And when he comes to us in Tartarus — ”
EUD. “— I shall enter his service forthwith.”
IMP. “— I shall enter his service forthwith.”
EUD. And if this man ever sins against you, scarlet, as I adore you I swear I shall utterly destroy him, wherever in the world he may be, reducing him to dust with a whipping. I must withdraw a little while and attend to Master Writing. I shall quickly complete that and return here so that I may grant you the use of my shoulders forever. (Exit to the Forum Romanum.)
IMP. Is he gone now? Oh Styx, how very obviously we demons are worthless, since the sons of Loyola surpass us so! Now, if ever, the jig is up for our pillar of improbity, we must call into question the supreme citadel of our evildoing, with the result that I must be mindful to take Eudaemon into consideration, a man to whom nobody in Orcus is equal or even comes in second. But what thing am I doing now? Should I go to the Pope and swear that a disciple [...} has been appointed to me? Bah, that makes even Impudence ashamed! Or am I to go home empty-handed, there to complain of my defeat? That embarrasses me even more. For I must dread Ignatius, lest I be punished. Or should I help this fellow under compulsion, is this now my lot, to my frustration? I shall lurk here, keeping quiet in this corner until someone comes along to whom I may offer my help. If this happens, then before that man departs I’ll bring it about that I’m telling the pope no lie. [Enter Bartolus Pacenius and Sycophancy.]
ACT III, SCENE iv
PACENIUS, SYCOPHANCY, IMPUDENCE
BOTH (Singing.) We worship you, Paean, Paean, Paul, Paean. Now is the time for drinking, now is the time to toast Paulo Borgese with a great drinking-bout.
That it might go happily and well for Sycophancy, he has introduced to the scarlet a bottomless drinking-horn.
We worship you, Paean, Paean, Paul, Paean. Adieu, self-discipline, adieu, wineless libation. Greetings, tavern. and you bacchanals. This spirit has decided to quit Tartarus and dwell with my Pacenius. We worship you, Paean, Paean, Paul, Paean.
SYC. Thus, thus it is reasonable for a future heir to the scarlet to crow in triumph.
PAC. Stop now and let me climb down. And since you are doing such a fine job of carrying me, you’ll be my mule when I’m a cardinal.
SYC. Me? On festal days I’m a nobody.
PAC. But what do you say?
SYC. All is good, as are now your affairs.
PAC. But are not those evil English accustomed to speak ill of the pope?
SYC. Most ill indeed. But regarding what?
PAC. When they call him a lazy dimwit and say that Paul’s supremacy is so feeble that it amounts to naught, unless he absorbs some short item in his reading.
SYC. Scandalous! A man who understands outrageously well!
PAC. Do you imagine any man ever discovered something more clever than what he invented at that time, which served as the foundation for my entire book?
SYC. Your book about the author of that letter of admonition published in the king’s name?
PAC. That’s what I mean.
SYC. It’s taken for granted that it was not written by the king himself. In all my life I’ve never heard anything more divine.
PAC. And what was the pope’s point?
SYC. Oh Jupiter, a very shrewd one.
PAC. Because it is thought the king could scarcely understand it.
SYC. You grasp that aright.
PAC. And all the rest by memory, so that as long as I live I’ll never believe he got his argument from Bellarmine or anybody else. Is that your opinion? Tell me.
SYC. No, no. He who admonished us was a trifler. With these very eyes I clearly observed how he produced each point out of his brain in its turn.
PAC. But when it came to describing the author of that letter of admonition, were not the pope and I in excellent accord in our exchange of opinions?
SYC. The Greek Muses were never more eloquent.
PAC. In the first place, the author struck me as insolent.
SYC. (Consulting his notes, where this was written down.). And then, as I see, he was seditious.
PAC. Ha ha he, pray continue with your recitation.
SYC. In the second, you called him a blockhead, and the pope thought him uncouth.
PAC. Ha ha he.
SYC. You called him brainless, the pope said he was shameless.
PAC. Ha ha he.
SYC. Next you described him as most worthless clown, he regarded him as a blind fool.
PAC. Ha ha he. How well our good minds breathed as one!
SYC. The both of you acted quite alike, to a wonderful extent.
PAC. Ha ha he. But I have noted in that in criminal falsehoods I have outdone him just as much as he has surpassed me in elegant Latin style.
SYC. Certainly, in exercising your great genius you both came close to barbarous use of language. But there was one thing, if I can now reminisce about it, regarding which I could scarcely refrain from laughter.
PAC. What? That I bade princes expect more punctual obedience from the powerful?
SYC. That too was witty, but I mean something else.
PAC. Ah, I have it now, because I blamed the king for refusing to defer a little bit to papal authority (from which nothing not well-considered emanates), until the reasons for his breves could be set forth.
SYC. Assuredly that too is not silly. But there still remains something else, and right now it’s poised on the tip of my tongue.
PAC. What are you spitting out?
SYC. Hm, now I remember. It belonged to your name.
PAC. Because I’m was named Pacenius?
SYC. Not at all. It was because you chose to prattle on about the law and pretending that you were skilled at jurisprudence.
PAC. That’s most funny, it’s a fine joke.
SYC. Because you have assumed the name of some old legalist, whom neither these folk nor the pope himself could remember for very long.
PAC. You speak the truth. The whole business was all but wasted.
SYC. If you hadn’t issued me that imperious edict that I hold my tongue about whatever it was and keep it to myself forever, I had six hundred moulders of the law right at my fingertips.
PAC. Let me see. (Snatches the scrolls.) How’s this? Bartolus? Fine. But pray who was this Bartolus fellow?
SYC. Ah, now you are too slow. You should be caught by correption, great Bartolus.
PAC. It makes no great difference whether he’s pronounced with a long a or a short. Tell me who this Bartolus was.
SYC. A man nowadays on the lips of everyone who pursues the law, a very famous legislator.
PAC. I like this all the more.
SYC. So now let my scarlet-clad master make me his equal, and let something else match that for me.
PAC. What’s that?
SYC. I’d greatly like it if you were told me your name is German.
PAC. I have no German name.
SYC. I’m speaking of the name your parents gave you on the day you were born.
PAC. So you should have spoken of my Scottish one, you idiot. But I put it and my nationality behind me long ago, I’ve brought nothing of my own along here, save for those fine insults you have in your scrolls.
SYC. So beginning at that time what name did you assume?
PAC. You mean in Westphalia, where I lived for a long time?
SYC. I do.
PAC. But I don’t want to tell you.
PAC. I don’t want to, I tell you. Let it suffice for you that now I’m Bartolus Pacenius.
SYC. But that won’t suffice, either for me nor for yourself.
PAC. No? Why, you sorry wretch?
SYC. Because we both expect it to be enhanced by a cardinalate any day now.
PAC. By Jove that’s clever. Here, allow me to embrace your little genius, my charming imp.
SYC. My lovely cardinal.
PAC. But let’s go now and quickly write down what we’ve been saying.
SYC. What’s the need for hurry? This is the business of a single small hour.
PAC. But afterwards it must be sent to the printer.
SYC. Where does he live?
PAC. Among the hills of the Rhine Palatinate. His name is Adam Gallus.
SYC. Come, leave it to me, it will be in his hands before cock-crow. (Exeunt to the Forum Exoticum.)
IMPUDENCE (Coming out of concealment.) It’s no wonder I’ve kept myself in concealment. They would surely have caught me if I had come out. For I’m nobody to be fooled by this Pacenius: I recognize him to be a Jesuit, no matter what he pretends to be, and so I’ve stayed hidden. I don’t want any further dealings with Jesuits, to whom I vow always to do something worse than they themselves are. But see, here’s an opportunity, I think it wants to rescue me. Somebody else is coming. (Goes back into hiding.)
ACT III, SCENE v
EMPTINESS, COQUAEUS, IMPUDENCE (Coquaeus, seated, continues to write)
EMPT. What if you stop here and be satisfied, isn’t that enough?
COQ. Enough? My tome is not halfway near to finis.
IMP. This is a fine thing! I judge by this man’s leather belt that he’s a minorite Augustinian friar. For these men come down to us in Tartarus in droves, and I am thoroughly familiar with their ways.
COQ. Give a fellow a sharper pen, this one is making my letters too large.
EMPT. Here you are. For as long as there are so many geese in France, you’ll never lack quills for writing.
COQ. That’s good.
IMP. (Aside.) I’ll speak louder now so he can hear what I’m saying. (Aloud.) Immortal gods! Where can I find the man?
COQ. What does this fellow want? I’ll listen.
IMP. (Aside.) That’s enough, he sees me. I’ll continue. (Aloud.) I’ve arrived here now from Ethiopia (which is south of Egypt and where there are many Augustinian hermits).
COQ. He’s talking about our order.
IMP. I am by no means being allowed to meet the man I want.
COQ. Good goods, what good thing is he bringing?
EMPT. My lord Coquaeus, this pen is as sharp as a tooth, but that makes it all the more useful for your present business.
COQ. (To himself, as he temporarily exits.) I’d like it if your teeth would bite off your chattering tongue.
IMP. (Aside.) This is opportune, I’ve discovered his name. He’s Coquaeus, I’ll turn this to my advantage. But I’ll speak more by way of preamble. (Aloud.) If I am fruitless in my inquiry today, then it’s immediately “farewell, scarlet.” But if I encounter him, it’s a stroke of luck.
COQ. Who in the world do you mean?
IMP. The man I perceive I’m talking to, who bears your image, great Coquaeus.
COQ. Saint Augustine! How did you recognize me?
IMP. You have to ask? Pope Paul, by whose command I have come, showed me every portrait of you.
EMPT. (Returning.) Here, I’ve prepared seven polished ones for you. What? Impudence? How are you faring?
IMP. Excellently. But I hope it will turn out badly for you.
COQ. But, whoever you are, you should not predict anything bad for my beloved Emptiness.
IMP. By your leave, I’m going.
EMPT. You have my permission.
COQ. No, first I want to know why you have come.
IMP. I haven’t the time to obey you.
EMPT. That’s true.
COQ. Keep still, he has the time.
IMP. You shouldn’t believe my words.
EMPT. If he’s wise.
COQ. Have no fear, I say. Tell me what it is.
IMP. As you wish, but watch what you’re doing.
COQ. Go ahead.
IMP. The pope was at his dinner when he sent me here to you.
COQ. He did well. A man to whom every responsibility is entrusted must perform them punctually.
IMP. I had the opportunity for a discussion. He told me he had already sent Emptiness to cook this up for you.
COQ. He was sweet to wish this, so that my book might be completed.
EMPT. And now it’s on the boil. We are doing our job responsibility.
IMP. But the pope said now he feared Emptiness is a bad cook, unless something better prepared can be produced within nine days.
EMPT. Are you going to tolerate this insult, Coquaeus?
COQ. It takes time to come to a boil. Why so?
IMP. Because it needs to be spiced more quickly.
EMPT. Why so?
IMP. Because while you are being slow the opportunity is being frittered away, and the scarlet is going to waste.
COQ. The scarlet? What’s this? Do you think we are tiny snails, who are manufacturing purple dye in Neptune’s meadows?
EMPT. So join the Carthusians, who live on seafood.
IMP. Upon my faith! Thus far Emptiness has concealed this thing from you.
COQ. What thing.
IMP. Has he not told you of the destiny that awaits you?
COQ. He has spoken of an episcopacy that will soon lie vacant, which Coeffetaeus vainly hopes to acquire for himself, and which I can readily gain as a reward if I combat the King of England in my writing. This he has told me about.
IMP. And anything further?
COQ. Nothing at all.
IMP. So will you join me in assaulting this man? Why not give him a thrashing? Attack him with your fists and your heels.
COQ. So they might beat my darling, you lunatic?
IMP. Hit him, I tell you.
IMP. Hit him and I’ll tell you.
COQ. Only after you’ve told me.
IMP. You give me your word?
COQ. My word as an Augustinian, if he’s deserved it.
IMP. How could he not have thoroughly deserved it, when today he’s misled you in unworthy ways, a traitor caught red-handed?
COQ. How so?
IMP. You ask? He has done a bad job of swindling you, since he secretly knew that a scarlet cardinalate awaits you at Rome?
COQ. Good God, what about it?!
EMPT. He means a fine one at Rome.
IMP. Of course. Now you remember it, you rascal?
EMPT. Keep away from this good-for-nothing.
COQ. Of course. For what does it pertain to me or my business if there is fine scarlet at Rome?
IMP. Because it would have been yours long ago, if you knew about it.
EMPT. What was he supposed to know about, liar?
IMP. That you’re terrible, evil, and empty of virtue.
COQ. Don’t berate him, but tell me the truth.
IMP. You’ll hear in a word. When Roman affairs started to be mistreated tyrannically in England, Pope Paul published an announcement arousing writers.
COQ. I’m aware.
EMPT. Why not rather tell him what he does not know?
IMP. And first of all he added to this thing a statementthat that nobody who engaged in this would go away unrewarded.
EMPT. That was what I was informed about the vacant bishopric. You’re talking trash.
IMP. And then that the man who wrote most powerfully and surpassed the others would receive a biretta and surpass the rest with the scarlet.
COQ. Well done. May it turn out well for the fellow, whoever he may be.
IMP. Namely to you.
COQ. Hm, are you accusing me of such silly ambitions?
IMP. Great Leonardus, I am telling you of whatever this sacrilegious fellow has concealed from you in your old age.
COQ. From me?
IMP. This is so, why are you amazed? Why not sacrifice this fellow as your firstfruits offering? Then give yourself to me.
COQ. I do, although I can’t seem to believe this.
IMP. But I swear it to you. For the work of the rest, so much of it as exists, is written with Laconic brevity as if it were a disturbance of the peace and a crime, and is contained in threepenny pamphlets or remains lurking in shallow and avoiding the light.
COQ. So what is going on?
IMP. When we came to understand that the Jesuits were beginning to fail in their courage, then we undertook a survey of all the other orders what fight on behalf of the papacy.
COQ. That is well.
IMP. At that time the Augustinians were thought to be in the best shape out of all that number.
COQ. The Augustinians? How so?
IMP. We found our evidence in the history books.
COQ. Which ones?
IMP. For when they first came from Italy and set foot in England, a great, unheard-off plague arose at the same time and hideously ravaged the English.
COQ. What you remember is true. In England we have a monument to that reputation of ours.
IMP. And then they were adjudged the best for confronting the king.
COQ. For what reason?
IMP. Because their banishment was once decreed England for this reason, that they dared to undermine loyalty to the sovereign with frequent seditious sermons delivered in public. And they said that Richard III was worthy to rule, more than the royal children.
COQ. I remember reading about that.
IMP. And so, after this matter was decided concerning the Augustinians, we immediately turned our eyes and our minds to you. We heard that, the gods being favorable, you were working on a regular tome, and are publishing volumes designed for the immediate destruction of our enemies.
COQ. Behold it. This manuscript has now been revised five hundred times.
IMP. What a marvel of genius! Five hundred times!
COQ. And I’m going to count up to five hundred twice more. (Attends to his book in the manuscript.)
IMP. You mean after you become a cardinal.
EMPT. (Aside.) Oho! The monk is being overwhelmed by his words. I fear for myself.
IMP. But you can’t right now, for this villain has detained you far too long. Come, make haste. (Gathers Coquaeus’ belongings.)
COQ. Pray why are you commanding this?
IMP. So that you will immediately do two things at the same time. Hey, why are you loitering?
COQ. What two things?
IMP. First that you send away this man of one letter.
COQ. My Emptiness?
COQ. But he supplied me with everything written here.
IMP. He did? Look here, now at last you must get rid of this flagrant thief. He furtively stole from you the aids he furnished, he restored your very own property to you. Why not get rid of him?
COQ. What’s the need?
IMP. There’s none, but I’m leaving.
COQ. You’re indeed acting impolitely.
IMP. You have now been given this option: choose which of us you prefer.
COQ. I beg you, if Emptiness removes himself I’m nobody.
IMP. Then be what you are. As far as I’m concerned you may fare well. (Coquaeus restrains him as he’s about to depart.)
COQ. Come here, Emptiness. Hold him by his knees.
IMP. Keep away your hand.
COQ. Hold him, I say, unless you want to go a-roving. I pray you remain present, don’t let him separate you.
IMP. I’m not listening.
COQ. Since the fact is established, reconcile me a little to this Cardinal Coquaeus.
IMP. You are ruining both me and yourself with this delaying. But come, since nothing is happening by my urging, I’ll see what I can do with my compulsion. Tell me, even if the choice is against your will, would you prefer to have the scarlet or Emptiness?. Answer me.
COQ. By Hercules, I’d rather have both.
IMP. By the gods, you can’t.
COQ. Then, if necessity compels, I prefer the scarlet.
IMP. So take it, it’s accomplished, if you get moving. (To Emptiness.) And do you prefer safety or your association with Coquaeus?
EMPT. Safety is to be ranked second to nothing.
IMP. So take to your wings and fly off to safety, or I’ll blow you into nothingness right now. (By both puffing and threatening he drives him off to the Forum Exoticum.) Good. Now let Emptiness travel through the void, and, just as I want, you are now freed for my guidance.
IMP. What? Don’t be afraid. I, Impudence, am your guide, be confident. Now just add the last chapter to your tome, then I’ll add weight of my own, and a cardinalate will supply your hoped-for reward.
COQ. By Hercules, thanks to you I’m confident. Lead me where you choose and I’ll follow.
IMP. Inside until you’re finished, and then to the scarlet.
Go to Act IV