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CLARINDA, FIDELIO, CALLIPAREA (Calliparea clutching Homer’s Iliad.)

CLAR. But, my Fidelio, didn’t Alexander, the conqueror of the world, always carry with himself Homer’s Iliad?
FID. That’s most true: at home, abroad, in peace, in war, while at work, while at leisure. In fact, he didn’t sleep unless the book were next to his pillow.
CLAR. The wonderful harmony of the Greek language! How fitly the words fall! Calliparea —
CAL. I’m here.
CLAR. Take care that the borders are edged with gold, that the wool is dyed with Tyrian purple, and also the neck-cloth.
CAL. Let it be as you wish. (Exit.)
CLAR. A sweet, obedient serving-girl. But now, my teacher, to our reading. The lovable harmony of the words! How the music of the verse captivates me!
FID. So explain it.
CLAR. I’ve forgotten.
FID. I’ll explain.
CLAR. Come, then. Μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω ᾿Αχιλῆος.
FID. Θεὰ, “goddess Clarinda,” ἄειδε “love,” ᾿Αχιλῆος, “Antonius,” μῆνιν Πηληϊάδεω, a truly lovable hermit.”
CLAR. This is the construction? Where’s the verb?
FID. Ἄειδε, “love.”
CLAR. Really? Where’s the noun?
FID. ᾿Αχιλῆος, “Antonius.”
CLAR. Sweet words! But I’ll explain it myself. Μῆνιν, “servant,” ἄειδε, “tell me,”  θεὰ, “are you,” Πηληϊάδεω ᾿Αχιλῆος, “conscious of my love”?
FID. Throw away the book, you’re educated enough. I confess that I, wretched I, have heard Antonius’ groans, sighs, and mournful sounds. He is enjoying both life and love, and I pray the gods that he always enjoy them. I beg your forgiveness, whatever wrong I have done. Henceforth my loyalty will make up for it.
CLAR. Wrong? Perish the word! But what shall I do? Poor Clarinda, whom fortune has placed on the summit of desire and happy life, but that I might tumble down by a greater fall!
FID. Don’t be upset. If my art has any power, there’s no reason for you to despair.
CLAR. Ah, what am I to do? I’m bound to be Morosus’ bride soon.
FID. If you’ll just do as I want —
CLAR. Into your hands I entrust myself, my fortunes, my life, even Antonius. What would I not dare, if only I had hope for my life?
FID. Certain hope serves for a remedy. Look at my face. A thousand of beauty’s deceits lurk here, a thousand of comeliness, and, like a mole, I move by a hidden path and wander through deception’s meandering ways.
CLAR. And may you always be a happy servant of deception.
FID. Of honorable deceit, that is: I know no evil. When you come to Morosus, pretend you’re indisposed (which no doubt you can do), and beg his pardon. This will happen with Calliparea’s help. Then bid him return, and to come to your window late at night. Meanwhile we can make our escape, and our marriage can take place secretly. Then, when he has come to your window, my plan is to attack Morosus dressed as ghosts, and we’ll doubtless come away the victors, without bloodshed or harm.
CLAR. I’ll attend to it, and it won’t be hard to pretend I’m indisposed. How wearied my limbs are by their own burden, how tired my neck is because of my head’s weight! Even my eyes seem stricken!
FID. There’s no need for words. Attend to it diligently!


Where am I being borne, caught in the deviousness of my paths? This one provides difficult approaches. The malign deceits which this one hides, that one reveals. Meander, you do not wander with such crosscurrents, nor does so much of deception seize upon the house of Daedalus. What hour do I pass without lamentations? What day without a cloud of sorrow? Indeed, what night in which I enjoy tears instead of repose? It rains all night, but in the morning the brightness returns. We see the sun bury its head in the clouds. Soon the day returns, happier with its peaceful countenance. But, oh my harsh lot, which plunges the sun of my love in dark, perpetual mist, like the Hydra, my sorrow busily gives birth to itself. Something must be done. What lies upon the ground has nowhere to fall. (Exit.)


DOL. So you laugh at my love, Gelaxius? You who once held me dearer than your eyes? I’ll make you regret that someday.
FID. But that should never happen.
DOL. Never, you devil? How so?
FID. Never, you ghost, you specter, you dunghill.
DOL Why a dunghill, you disgrace?
FID. Why a disgrace, you cadaver? You see, you this year’s cheese?
DOL. Do you see, villain? Clarinda will find out about you.
FID. I use this the better to deceive you, you weasel.
DOL. Go hang, you little fox.
FID. Why so angry, Dollabella? I’ll make the ending of your sorrow ripe.
DOL. More likely you’ll make it a rope.
FID. That’s amusing. But I swear by the gods, I’ll procure you a handsome, wealthy lover.
DOL. And I’ll take you into my favor.
FID. Nothing more, you devil? Go away, but don’t go to Hell, you villain.
DOL. Hardly.
FID. Confirm it with an oath.
DOL. By all the gods above, below, of water, fire, earth, and air.
FID. That’s enough.
DOL. By Hercules, I’m very old indeed, and I have no doubt it should be all over for me.
FID. It should be: let him immediately rush into your embraces. Do you know Morosus?
DOL. That dullard? More than sufficiently.
FID. I’ll arrange for him to be your bridegroom. Hey, you little old lady!
DOL. More likely you’ll arrange an executioner.
FID. Why don’t you be smart?
DOL. Why don’t you be smart? Me marry a fool?
FID. A fool? Would you do as your mind pleases? Women who marry stupid men are happy. They live according their own whim, they hold the reins of the household.
DOL. Good advice, but how can this happen?
FID. Don’t you worry. Let’s go. (Exeunt.)

MOROSUS, BUBULO (They knock on Clarinda’s door ), CALLIPAREA (From the window)

CAL. Who’s knocking at the door? Has it come to such a pitch of impudence that neither sleeping or awake I have time for my own affairs?
MOR. Again, Bubulo. (Bubulo knocks.)
CAL. Who’s knocking, I say?
MOR. A man who lacks a tongue.
CAL. You would have more rightly said a brain.
BUB. Oh, a capital crime! If I catch you —
MOR. Donkey! Silence, donkey.
CAL. Morosus.
MOR. She recognizes my voice. Yes, it is your Morosus.
CAL. He mine? Ha, ha, ha.
MOR. You laugh, you good-for-nothing woman?
CAL. I am Calliparea.
MOR. Oh Calliparea, the star nearest my moon. How fares my life? When, ah when will I hide my head in my darling girl’s bosom?
CAL. The hour is not far distant.
MOR Woe is me, that delay hinders. “Is distant.”
CAL. But soon it will be at hand.
MOR. You have made me happy. Pray continue.
CAL. I know this window is familiar enough to you. Come here when you see the sky’s black face, and you know what follows. Farewell.
MOR. Beyond my hope! Oh Hymen, Hymen! Hear my prayers and I vow to your altars a candle as great as I am myself. (Exeunt.)


CAL. What good thing makes you smile to yourself so sweetly?
FID. I am observing your amours.
CAL. Are you so harsh? Why not love me in return?
FID. I, an Ethiopian, should love a beautiful woman?
CAL. No more beautiful than lovable
FID. But the difference of our natures denies this.
CAL. But love makes them equal.
FID. You speak of something absurd.
CAL. I speak of something very true.
FID. The handsome day does not adore the night.
CAL. But the handsome day hides in the night.
FID. And besides, when we join in a kiss —
CAL. The sun undergoes an equal eclipse, I tell you.
FID. When we cling in mutual embraces —
CAL. Thus I presume the sun follows its shadow.
FID. Your splendor has enchanted my eyes.
CAL. Love of you has rent my heart entire.
FID. Does it not shame you to speak more?
CAL. Don’t you blush to deny me more?
FID. But I am too scorched by the rays of the sun.
CAL. But I am too scorched by the flame of love.
FID. But your beauty’s brief bloom will fade.
CAL. But my love’s ardor never.
FID. I am a pauper, and needy, and love grows chill when it is not granted a place.
CAL. As long as you are wealthy in love alone, I seek nothing else.
FID. I seek nothing else.
CAL. So what then? A happy day!
FID. I wish nothing else.
CAL. Now you have blessed poor Calliparea.
FID. Tonight the marriage of Clarinda and Morosus is being celebrated. Let Juno likewise join us happy two. Meanwhile you must remove yourself.
CAL. Words fail me for happiness. (Exeunt.)


DOL. Where are the assassins?
FIRST ASS. We’re here.
HERM. Only with a light wound —
FIRST ASS. That’s enough.
SECOND ASS. Leave the rest to us. (Fidelio and Calliparea enter, also dressed as ghosts.)
FID. Shh, Dollabella! How do you do, thin shade?
DOL. Very well. But I’m sick with anticipation.
FID. Oh, you’ll recuperate soon.
HERM. Where’s a jar, so my voice may resonate in it and sound more lugubrious?
CAL. It’s at hand.
HERM. That suffices.
FID. Shh, shh, I heard a voice. They’re coming, they’re coming. Assassin! Now do your duty with care.
FIRST ASS. Not a word. (Enter Morosus and Bubulo, with a torch.)
MOR. Bubulo! They say that ghosts, goblins, and things of that kind walk around late at night not far from Clarinda’s window.
BUB. Gods forbid! What will become of me?
MOR. And that they often confront lovers. Are you panic-stricken, Bubulo?
BUB. Me? Let them assemble in throngs, I’ll drive them away just with the smell of my breath.
MOR. But, Bubulo, if they should happen to come, what will become of us?
BUB. As long as they don’t come up on you from behind, as timid people are wont to do, there’s no reason for you to be afraid.
MOR. At what hour?
BUB. At midnight.
MOR. They say, Bubulo, that Time is very afflicted by old age.
BUB. True, and this is what keeps the tortoises going.
MOR. And he has a long beard.
BUB. Yes.
MOR. If I catch his beard I’ll make him remember me and this delay. This is the hour and the time, here’s the window.
FIRST ASS. This is the hour and the time, here’s the assassin.
MOR. Oh, oh, I’m murdered, Bubulo, I’m murdered!
BUB. What are you doing, master? Ah, you wicked hand!
SECOND ASS. You chatter, you whipping-post? Take this.
BUB. Oh thieves, thieves, murder, thieves! (The assassins escape. Gryphus arrives.)
GRY. What dire voice is talking about murder? What’s a crowd doing in this strange place? You gods who protect old age, spare my soul. (Hearing his voice, Bubulo flees.) Who are you? Stop, assassin, or I’ll hand you over to Charon.
BUB. Who are you? Yes, who are you who gave my master over to death? Gryphus?
GRY. The very man. Bubulo?
BUB. Oh why weren’t you here sooner, unhappy Gryphus? See where he’s lying, alas, the flower of this age.
MOR. Oh uncle, are you here? Farewell, I die, oh I die. Farewell, pleasures of my youth. Farewell, Bubulo.
BUB. Ah master?
MOR. Farewell, puppy, my cheerful puppy. See any blood?
BUB. Ah master, blood!
MOR. Is it red?
BUB. It is red.
MOR. Yes, it’s red. Oh, it’s red, oh, farewell, I die. Thus Morosus falls before his day. (Gryphus tears his garments, and immediately goes mad.)
GRY. They say snails live on their own slime. Ho, ho, ho, a wolf! The beast has seized a lamb from my fold. I’ll follow. (Exit.)
BUB. What will become of me now? Morosus is dead, Gryphus is crazy. I’m alone. What if the assassins return? I have it. I’ll wash my hands, buy a rope, and look for Morosus in the Underworld. (Exit.)
FIRST ASS. Pst, Fidelio, hermit.
FID. Our magnificent heroes are here. Ah you clowns, how royally everything has been accomplished!
SECOND ASS. I ask the fee for our effort.
HERM. See, here are pieces of gold — take them — more. You too.
SECOND ASS. Thank you.
FIRST ASS. But you should hear what you don’t know. He’s sound asleep
HERM. But he’s not dead?
FIRST ASS. Not at all. We dipped our swords in poison.
FID. Poison?
FIRST ASS. But in a mild one, which took away not only his life but also the signs of his life. No sooner did the sword let his blood than stupor and sleep overcame his limbs.
FID. But we’ll see him revived?
FIRST ASS. And his blood quickly flows back, his veins are swelling by a similar fate, and the stupefying liquid will immediately evaporate.
HERM. A miracle of fraud! But let’s remove the body as the time requires, that we may conclude this scene with genuine rejoicing. (They lift up the body and exit.)

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