Tessera caerulea — commentariolum. Numeri cum lineis subscriptis — notae textuales in quinque comoediae lineas. Tessera viridis — translatio.
ACTUS V, SCENE i
SMER. Oh unhappy me! Oh our harsh fortune! Of what should I complain first? You, Cassander? Or you, Lavinia? He is in exile by decree of the judge, she of her own free will. The more I turn this thing over in my mind, the more piteous it becomes.
RUP. Jupiter above, you have saved me and brought me the greatest praise, since it is by my help and by my auspices that my master is going to be recalled to his native land. Make way for me while I perform my office. I forbid anybody to stand in my way. Clear the road, lest in my running I hurt anybody with my elbow or my breast. Now it has suddenly become my purpose that Lavinia should hear this news from me first, and I hope that by delivering it I shall win her eternal gratitude.
SMER. Is this Rupertus whom I see from afar to be running? Why this haste? I can’t sufficiently marvel.
RUP. At length the gods are smiling on our household. Bah, Elenchio, you are ruined. Evil torments await you.
SMER. Look this way, Rupertus. What news do you bring?
RUP. Well met, Smeralda. Call Lavinia outside. I need to see her quickly.
SMER. Ah, Rupertus, when first you told her about Cassander’s exile, she couldn’t stand the sorrow and the delay and she betook herself out of the house in flight. She has gone off in search of Cassander, intending to be the partner in his exile.
SMER. That is so. She broke out through the garden gate, and left me as the sole guardian of the house and nurse for her children.
RUP. I’ll follow them both and when I meet them I’ll make them happier than happiness itself.
SMER. Tell me what’s happened.
RUP. I haven’t the time to give you an account. The entire city is filled with word of this thing. Farewell.
SMER. But before you go, Rupertus, there’s one thing you should know. Listen.
RUP. Tell me quickly.
SMER. But this thing requires discreet ears. For it is unbecoming.
RUP. So whisper it in my ear.
SMER. Lavinia’s wonderful love, her wonderful deeds —
RUP. I understand everything. I’m going to the harbor and I’ll quickly board ship. Farewell.
SMER. Farewell, Rupertus. My the gods bring you all back safe and sound.
ACT V, SCENE ii
CASS. I am driven away from Venice, and yet I shall live at Venice. The contact with my native soil is sweet. Apollo played the shepherd, and Cassander acts the fisherman. Lest someone recognize me, I am dressed in these offcast clothes. For it is reasonable to cleave to sorrow and to filth. Alas, this exile is base, for me it is worse than death. If Fortune is a goddess, why does she oppress the innocent? Rather, she is crueler than the Furies, and hence she begrudges an undeserving man. Fortune, you have brought me to the outer limits of misery. I do not dread your outcry, nor your frown. You may grow mad, you may assault me, you may threaten me, I care nothing for your bloody self. He who lies on the ground has nowhere to fall. From me you have stolen my wife’s love and her fidelity, from me you have stolen the liberty of my native land, you have stolen my children. Inflict another misfortune, if you can. Steal my life. Come, deploy your deadly weapons, for I loathe this life.
GRIP. Well done, it’s my pleasure to have extended my assistance to these knights. My wife is cleansing their wounds within and staunching their blood, there’s no doubt they’ll enjoy a quick recovery.
ACT V, SCENE iii
CONGRIO, GRIPUS, CASSANDER
CONG. If we go fishing how, I’ll use a stick of wood to cook whatever we catch. For, as you can see, the sea is swollen and heaving now that the north wind is blowing. I believe that a bad omen comes from the south. Therefore let’s be on guard, master, lest we feed the fish on the high seas.
GRIP. You sluggard, the only thing dear to your heart is snoring away in a kitchen, eating and drinking. This is your calling, therefore you rail at the wind. Unless you abandon this laziness I’ll take you to sea bound hand and foot, you whipping-stock.
CASS. See, I see some fishermen here. Now I know what manners to assume, and so I’ll sling this net over my shoulder.
LOR. Who’s this elegant fisherman standing nearby?
GRIP. I don’t recognize his face. Nevertheless, I’ll talk to him. Hey you, where are you bound?
CASS. I’m walking straight from the city, heading to the sea.
GRIP. Ha, he, he. What do you hope to catch with that little net?
CASS. I’ve already captured Sirens, now I’m hunting for whales.
GRIP. Sirens? What kind of fish is that?
CASS. A comely woman above, it ends in a scaly fish below.
GRIP. What a monstrous creature!
CASS. That’s the way it is with all women.
GRIP. Have you ever caught a Siren?
CASS. I recall having caught one, and after catching her I married her. She was ripe and handsome enough, for ten year we lived as one, and she presented me with sons and daughters.
CONG. What’s he babbling about, master? These things are pure foolishness. This silly chatterbox is poking fun at us.
CASS. This Siren was Lavinia, who enchanted me in my gullibility. Our bedchamber was the sea in which I was wretchedly sunk.
GRIP. You hear? Pray continue and finish your story.
CASS. Afterwards two Tritons, trumpet-players of Neptune, seduced my Siren into unchastity.
CONG. You can build a furnace and bake me like hot bread before I believe this.
CASS. You were a Triton, Valerius, and also you, Ascanius.
GRIP. What happened next?
CASS. Afterwards this very lustful woman prostituted herself to a sea-procurer in her greed for pleasure, and so I disowned her, tainted by the blot of whoredom.
CONG. It would appear that these Sirens are very wanton.
CASS. And that sea-wolf was Cerberinus, who him Lavinia, that Siren of Sirens, indentured herself.
GRIP. So now you’re going to hunt for a new Siren?
CASS. Not at all, just for urchins, oysters, conches, and mussels. I detest Sirens, for they are evil beasts.
GRIP. Want to set sail together with me?
CASS. I like that.
GRIP. What’s your name?
GRIP. Your name is ill-omened, yet here’s my hand. Your companionship will be welcome to me. Let’s be off. (Exeunt.)
ACT V, SCENE iv
LUDOVICUS, GLORIANUS, CERBERINUS, BIBERIA, AURELIA, TALANTA
BIB. Cover this table with a tablecloth and fetch some tidbits. Here’s an common amphora to fill their glasses, I appoint you as butler for our guests. Bring pepperwort and chairs. Hurry up, I’ll arrange for our lovers to have an elegant reception. Oh my Venus, how many laughs we’ll have today, how many pleasures, dances, jokes, and capers!
CERB. Is everything in readiness, Biberia?
BIB. Very finely.
CERB. Take your seats, noble sirs. You take the upper chair, Ludovicus, your hoary locks lay claim on that place.
LUD. Come, my sweetness, sit with me, don’t refuse.
CERB. You take this place, Glorianus.
GLOR. No, it will be given to Aurelia. Ladies first.
LUD. Sound advice So you take this chair, Talanta.
CERB. Do oblige them and take your seats. Let happy cups of mulled wine be quaffed, let Bacchus crown Ceres, and Ceres crown Bacchus. Let us pass this day in mirth.
LUD. All this is for you, Talanta.
TAL. I don’t care for wine.
LUD. By Hercules, you must drink. Take it and quaff it down.
GLOR. I drink your health, Aurelia, and the health of all the girls at court, and all the queens and ladies of foreign lands. It’s not right for me to forget my patroness, the Duchess of Saxony, and my lady Panephaea, ruler of Poland. So good health to you and all those women. Drink, Aurelia. Why this reluctance. By this right hand of mine, you will drink.
CERB. Would you care to be given these roots of sea holly, Ludovicus?
LUD. I have no need of stimulants. I’m hot enough.
ACT V, SCENE v
ELENCHIO with the rest
ELEN. I come in good time. May it go ill for everybody who begrudges you your happiness.
LUD. Elenchio, I hoped you’d come. What’s going on in the market-place?
ELEN. A rumor is circulating throughout the city that Ascanius and Valerius are dead thanks to mutually-inflicted wounds.
AUR. You hear that, Talanta?
TAL. I hear, and my mind is amazed. They are atoning for their faithlessness, and yet I feel sorry for them.
ELEN. Give me room to sit, for I’m hungry.
LUD. What was the reason for their fight.
ELEN. Their love of Lavinia. Give me a goblet, Biberia, I’m very thirsty.
CERB. Lavinia is my merchandise. But where in the world is that foreigner, Elenchio?
ELEN. He’s busy, he’ll be here tomorrow Pray give me something to seat. You are delaying me with your talk. I’ll speak about those people later, right now please let’s do this. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a drink. Where are you, Biberia?
LUD. Grant me a kiss while he drinks, my darling. If you don’t, you’ll be fined one cup. Oh, pure honey drips from your lips!
GLOR. Strike up some lewd song, Elenchio, and we’ll sing along with you.
ELEN. Fine. But before singing, let’s do this. Lodivicus, Glorianus, Talanta, Aurelia, here’s a memorable toast to you. You give one yourselves, each in due order.
LUD. But first, pray, let’s hear a song.
ELEN. We can drink. Drink now.
GLOR. I’m bloated with wine. Let’s dance a little while.
ELEN. Dancing on a full stomach is not good.
LUD. Let’s get up, take this stuff inside. A banquet is worthless without dancing and kissing. You’ll dance with me, Talanta.
GLOR. And you with me, Aurelia.
ELEN. I don’t want to be the odd man out. Join me, Biberia?
CERB. I’ll be the judge and award a crown to the best dancer.
LUD. Come, musicians, strike up an almain. . (Music plays and they dance.) Enough dancing, let’s go inside now.
ELEN. Hey, Biberia, before you go away I’ll pledge you one undying toast.
ELEN. I hereby offer a toast to all procurers, bawds, whores, buggers, and parasites. Come, drink, such a little bit won’t do you harm.
BIB. Even if this goblet were deeper than the Acheron, I’d drain it dry, Elenchio.
CONST. See here. What’s this household? Look here, I see the the ringleader of this crime on his knees, drinking.
ADR. Oh, well done! You can immediately consign him to torture and manacles.
CONST. Hey, good sir, you damnable rascal with your tricks, come here.
ELEN. As you wish. Tell me what you want.
CONST. Come, lictors, bind this man immediately.
BIB. My mind foresees some evil. I won’t linger here any more.
ELEN. What’s this business? What have I deserved?
ADR. You ask, you contriver of evildoing? You have destroyed Ascanius.
FERD. You have destroyed Valerius.
CONST. You have destroyed Cassander and Lavinia. Your wiles, previously concealed, now stand revealed.
ELEN. I’m ruined. If my wrongdoings are brought to light I am destroyed root and branch.
CONST. Where’s that foul physician?
ELEN. He’s departed for Florence.
CONST. And furthermore, Rufinus painted a very lifelike portrait of Lavinia.
ELEN. I admit I have committed these crimes, but at the instigation of Valerius and Ascanius. Don’t make me smart for it.
ADR. This is the result of brothels and illicit love. There’s no hope, and the wishes of their fathers count for nothing, unless young men heed their parents’ admonitions. If Ascanius had paid any attention me, he would not have suddenly died as the result of his own evil ways. Has this not always been on my lips, that Elenchio here has corrupted our sons? It has been, Ferdinandus, it has. Now we are wise too late.
FERD. Valerius his died before his day, and in him all of my hope has been destroyed. I had expected he would be the consolation of my old age, but, alas, he has died like a flower that withers in the springtime.
CONST. By heavens, I regret that your sons have died so unhappily. This also pains me, that it was by their auspices that such great harm has been done to Cassander and Lavinia. But, upon my life, Elenchio will pay me forfeits. Is this were that unclean procurer dwells who prostitutes whores and sullies the youth of this city? Let us explore his household. You, lictor, escort him to prison and there you must put him in chains. Exeunt.
ELEN. How there’s no way of explaining away my swindles nor any escape from my wrongdoings. Everything has come to light. But I have no idea how this happened.
LICT. Follow me. (Exeunt.)
GRIP. By Hercules, it was with a lucky omen that we went fishing today. Otherwise this helpless exile would have perished amidst the waves. My young sir, you ought to thank Neptune for having gotten out of Nereus’ blue acres safe and sound.
LAV. I give Neptune and yourself your due thanks.
GRIP. Come with me to the fire, if you want. For your clothes are soaking wet.
LAV. You treat me with kindness and benevolence.
GRIP. I’ve made up my mind to give a meal to my guests today. For we’ve caught some dainty fish. You, Congruo, scale and bone them.
CONG. I’ll do so. I’d prefer to be a chef rather than a fisherman. It’s always fair weather in a kitchen.
CASS. Hey, before you depart, young man, I want to question you.
LAV. Do as you wish.
CASS. Where are you from?
LAV. From Sicily.
CASS. Freeman or slave?
LAV. I am in service.
CASS. Where were you bound?
LAV. Straight to Sicily. My master, who has perished, sailed from port with light winds.
RUP. Everybody says my master has gone off to the harbor. So I have been single-minded about not passing by him anywhere, yet I have never found him. Has anybody seen him? Hey you, fisherman, answer me. Have you seen Cassander at the harbor?
CASS. (Aside.) But, but — this is Rupertus. I know he doesn’t recognize me.
RUP. What do you want? Please tell me.
CASS. I have no idea what Cassander you are talking about.
RUP. Come here, young man. Don’t hide from me.
LAV. I am a stranger, I don’t know Cassander’s face. Let me go, unhand me, don’t cause me trouble.
RUP. Heavens, you’re good-looking! It’s a wonder this is not Lavinia’s brother, thus they resemble each other in voice and in their faces.
LAV. (Aside.) Now I’m quite destroyed?
RUP. Why should I say you are shunning my sight, young man?
LAV. Am I not allowed to go about my business without having you for a supervisor?
RUP. Indeed this is she. For Smeralda told me Lavinia had left the house disguised in this fashion. Please come here, I want words with you.
LAV. Why, pray, do you follow me about as if you were my shadow? What business have you with me?
RUP. Does my touch disturb you? Wow, you’re very downcast.
LAV. So tell me what you want.
RUP. I don’t care to have someone hear what I have to say, retire over here. Now I’m asking you seriously, tell me, are you not Lavinia?
LAV. Me? I have no idea why you suspect that. For my name is Dionysius, I’m a Sicilian by nationality.
RUP. Come, come, don’t deny it. Smeralda has told me everything, I mean that you left for the harbor in disguise. Moreover, I know from your face that you are nobody but Lavinia.
LAV. I can’t conceal myself. I’m the unhappiest of women.
RUP. Don’t be gloomy.
LAV. Why shouldn’t I be unhappy and mourn, when Cassander is being separated from Venice, and I from Cassander? Rupertus, I swear by Lucina, patroness of the sacred marriage-bed, that I have always been innocent and blameless.
RUP. By Hercules, I know that what you say is most true. Just hear me, I’m bringing you great joy.
CASS. What in the world is it which Rupertus is telling this lad in such a familiar way? He is ticking off the business on his fingers, while the boy is wondering with an astonished expression on his face, and both of them are shuddering.
LAV. Oh, this is an Age of Iron, men are now Furies!
RUP. But hear the rest.
CASS. I know these things are being said about me. But what are they to this young man? It would be strange if no evils have been arising for me.
LAV. You are telling me wonderful things, that don’t create confidence.
RUP. Those who hear speak of what they have heard. Those who have seen know them for a fact. I have been a witness with my very own eyes.
LAV. The gods assist the innocent.
CASS. Their faces express happiness.
RUP. Now I have freed your body of all marks of sorrow, Lavinia.
LAV. My tears are flowing out of joy.
CASS. I seem to myself to be hearing the name of Lavinia. I want to put this to the test. Young man, I’m very keen to hear the news. What is this happiness you have been so happily dispensing?
RUP. If you would have the kindness to give me a hearing, I have the friendliness to do the telling. An excellent man named Cassander lived in this city, who has a wife named Lavinia, and I don’t know whether I should say she is more upright or more beautiful. Nevertheless, her over-jealous husband accused her of adultery because two rivals were in love with her against her will, Valerius and Ascanius. And he, aware of their love, upset their plans, worming his way into their company disguised as a servant. Eager for revenge, they consulted with Elenchio, a perjuring parasite, and to oblige them he manufactured wonderful contrivances against Cassander. With the help of Trapula, going under the false name of a slave, he delivered a portrait of Lavinia to a procurer, to drive Cassander to the height of jealousy. This foul deed was successful. Cassander saw this, raging and roaring.
LAV. Ah, how much time that ingrate Cassander has devoted to insulting my undeserving self!
CASS. Why are you weeping, young man? These things have nothing to do with you. (Aside.) The closer I look at this fellow, the more he strikes me as being Lavinia her very own self, if I am not very much mistaken. (Aloud.) Continue.
RUP. Then Elenchio convinced Ferdinandus and Adrianus that Cassander had conspired with the physician for their murder. So they haled him into court where that supposed physician Trapula lodged his accusation and Cassander was undone by this perjury. He is banished the city, and has departed Venice as an exile.
LAV. Alas, that’s what torments me!
CASS. You’re very emotional if you cry over a stranger. (Aside.) Surely this voice sounds like Lavinia.
RUP. In Cassander’s absence the rivals Ascanius and Valerius went a-flying to his house. They encountered each other, fell into an argument, fought, and each was felled by the other’s blows. Finally, half-alive, they voluntarily confessed their misdeeds to me and begged forgiveness, cursing Elenchio’s clever schemes.
CASS. What happened next?
RUP. Having heard these things, I hastily hastened to the Constable to tell him these things in their due order. The Constable went happily running to the judge, the judge revoked his edict of exile and is consigning the parasite to imprisonment and torture
CASS. Can this be? Can anybody believe this? By heaven, I pity Cassander and also Lavinia. So what are you going to do next?
RUP. I’ll board ship and seek Cassander the whole world over. Farewell.
LAV. You won’t go without me for a companion, Rupertus. Farewell, fisherman.
CASS. I don’t want to keep myself hidden any longer. Stop, stop, Rupertus. Stop, Lavinia.
LAV. How did this fellow learn my name, Rupertus?
RUP. Oh the lucky day! Have a look, Lavinia. I’m looking at my master, I didn’t recognize him.
CASS. I want to speak, Lavinia, but I can’t. Happiness is paralyzing my tongue. Come to my embrace. Now I’m sorry and ashamed about my suspicion.
LAV. Oh Cassander, I didn’t deserve it.
CASS. I know, I believe you. Don’t reopen old wounds. Why are you crying, my life? It is my duty to cry tears for you, let me wipe away yours.
LAV. I pray I may die, Cassander, before that unblemished chastity which is my ornament and the source of my reputation perishes.
CASS. Don’t touch that ulcer again, my wife. May I be destroyed if I don’t trust you.
RUP. I rejoice at your reconciliation, and henceforth may Hymenaeus be favorable to your marriage.
GRIP. It is a source of pleasure to me that you have recuperated thanks to my help. But be careful not to walk too much while your wounds are healing.
ASC. We both give you well-deserved thanks.
VAL. Now let our hatred, rivalry, and illicit love come to an end, Ascanius. Let us renew our old friendship, our old affection. You should go back to Talanta, and I to Aurelia. Farewell and adieu to Lavinia.
ASC. Valerius, we have deserved condemnation for our faithlessness and ingratitude. For we have violated our faith, we have both broken our word.
RUP. Behold, master, Valerius and Ascanius, whom I had imagined to be dead. What’s this? They are leaning on each other’s shoulders, as friends do. I fancy they have renewed their friendship, at length forgetting their rivalry.
VAL. Is this Cassander’s Rupertus?
ASC. His very self.
VAL. Give me your hand, Rupertus. What’s happening with Cassander? Has he returned?
ASC. And how fares Lavinia, that noble star of decorum?
RUP. See, those people you drove to the limits of misery are present.
VAL. These people are they? I am wholly blushing at their sight, Ascanius.
ASC. Why is Lavinia wearing a disguise?
RUP. To that she could accompany her husband in his exile.
ASC. Wonderful constancy!
VAL. Wonderful faithfulness!
ASC. Lavinia’s wonderful love!
VAL. O Apelles, o Zeuxis, why are you dead? Here you could be painting a lifelike portrait of love and virtue.
ASC. In comparison to her Cynthia herself grows dim.
VAL. By heaven, Rupertus, I was born with a malevolent character, and no man deserves more to have the gods destroy him.
ASC. I’d happily speak with them, but my sense of shame forbids. Nevertheless, let’s approach them. Cassander —
VAL. Lavinia —
ASC. Is innocent —
VAL. Is virtuous. It’s our fault —
ASC. — that your exile —
VAL. — and your ill repute —
ASC. Now we are ashamed of what we have done. I beg and beseech you, pray forgive our uncontrollable youth.
CASS. You know how I always abhor vengefulness. For I have a gentle and peaceful character. So I’ll dismiss your ingratitude from my mind. I have learned to suffer injuries, now I must learn to forgive them. This act of virtue will be beloved to a virtue–loving man. Come, shake hands. Perish the past, something we must not repeat. For me, it suffices that you repent your deed.
CONST. Bind her hands tightly.
BIB. Hey, aren’t you ashamed to treat an upright and honest woman so unkindly?
CONST. I understand you but I don’t understand you. If you persist in this double-talk, you wicked woman, I’ll arrange for your vile tongue to be cut out.
BIB. I have no idea what you want me to confess. I’m innocent and have always shunned all wrongdoing. Right up to my present old age, my life has been virtuous and free of evil. I call all my neighbors to bear witness.
CONST. I’ve never seen a bawd more abandoned. Take her out of my sight, straight to jail.
BIB. By Hercules, this is an act of force to be pushed and pulled at the same time! Ah, is the violence with which you treat a pregnant woman? You aren’t men, but rather cruel tigers. For it would have been fair to spare a woman with child. Ah, my belly hurts!
CONST. You pregnant, you deceiver?
BIB. What am I supposed to say in my misery?
CONST. Where did Cerberinus kidnap those maidens who Cerberinus has prostituted against their wills?
BIB. Command me to be freed and I’ll humor you.
CONST. Free her.
CASS, What’s this nearby commotion, Valerius?
VAL. I see the Constable in front of the procurer’s house. I wonder what it could be, and why Biberia is with lictors.
ASC. And see your father and mine are coming outside, Valerius, and Cerberinus and Elenchio are coming with them.
VAL. Why is he in chains?
RUP. As I see, he is about to receive a dressing-down for his schemes. For his tricks are known to the Constable.
CASS. And who are those men coming out with the girls.
RUP. The one is Ludovicus, and the other Glorianus.
VAL. Perhaps they are courting our darlings, Ascanius.
CONST. I’ve never heard of such a stubborn woman, Ferdinandus.
ADR. She’s like her master. Does this rascal call us bald old coots and heap us with insults?
CERB. Why shouldn’t I be self-confident when I’ve deserved no evil?
FERD. Look to the right, Adrianus. I see Valerius and Ascanius, whom I thought to be dead.
ADR. For sure?
FERD. See for yourself.
ASC. Our fathers are coming this way, Valerius.
FERD. I deservedly owe Jove and all the gods great thanks for rescuing me from my miseries by returning you to your father alive. I was wholeheartedly grieving for your sake, my son, and I tortured myself with tears when Pantaleo reported that you had been killed.
VAL. Father, I have deserved your anger. I know you are aware what a great misdeed I have committed for love’s sake.
FERD. I am aware, I’ve heard everything. And hear me, there’s something else. Come here, Talanta. You have pledged this girl your faith. I want you to marry her and rescue from her servitude to the bawd. You broke your word, so she can reproach you for infidelity. This deed is a disgrace both to you and to myself, Valerius.
VAL. May you always love me as long as you live, father, it vehemently grieves me to have committed this wrong. Talanta, my delight, I beg you not to hold this against me.
TAL. I always hoped you’d be more faithful to me.
FERD. You work this thing out between yourselves.
LUD. What kind of agreement is this? Valerius, I paid money, you are not allowed to speak to her except in my presence. For she is mine, merchandise rented out by the procurer.
ADR. Is this true, Ascanius? You have reconciled with Cassander and begged his forgiveness?
ASC. That’s been done, father.
ADR. So in the future beware of married women, beware of brothels. For I know how they corrupt young men. Procurers are blood-suckers. They offer their enticements with a certain elegance, but nevertheless with their stings they drink your blood like leeches. You need to bear this in mind, Ascanius.
ASC. Good day, Aurelia.
AUR. You bid me have a good day, when you have caused me such agony?
ASC. But at length I am here to apply a cure for your disease.
AUR. You have always given me fine words. But your actions never match your what you say.
GLOR. You get my dander up, Ascanius. What’s this discussion you’re having with her? By my titles as a knight and nobleman, I do not allow it. For I’ve paid the procurer thirty minae, and so I’ll let no strange lover be admitted to her presence.
CONST. These things are false, Cerberinus. The names of her parents, whom I know quite well, guarantee that both of these women are freeborn, whom you have kidnapped. They dwell at Ferrara, and their father Claudius is a friend and familiar of mine. Should you have prostituted them, you sacrilegious fellow?
CERB. Woe, woe to this witch thrice over, who has spilled all the beans. Biberia has destroyed me. For if Claudius should arrive here and take these girls out of my hands, I am quite ruined.
ELEN. Let him come, Cerberinus. The gallows is an honorable form of burial That’s where your father, your grandfather, and your great-grandfather are buried and snoring away. Let this man take his is punishment, you can pay him with your neck, as if you were a porter.
CERB. If I live, today I’ll rip out his eyes, you great villain.
ADR. It’s as I told you, Ferdinandus. Who do I see standing nearby? It’s Lavinia, wearing a costume. Ascanius told me the whole story.
FERD. Why these changes of costume?
ADR. He did so in order to live at Venice secretly, and she so that she in disguise she might more safely follow her husband.
FERD. I understand, and I applaud the fidelity of them both. I want to go up to them and offer my congratulations, Adrianus. I want to approach them and speak.
ADR. Fine by me, let’s go.
FERD. Hello, Cassander.
CASS. Hello, Ferdinandus.
FERD. Do me this favor for a moment, I want to have a few words with you about a matter of common concern to us both. I admit that Ascanius and Valerius have earned your great dislike. We have heard and both of us regret it.
CASS. What’s been done cannot now be undone, Ferdinandus. But if it grieves you, I believe I am satisfied. I consent, and for my part I would beg you that you forgive your sons, for by now they rue their deed. So please allow me to ask for their pardon.
FERD. We shall comply and we beg you, Cassander, that all the quarrels, suits and feuds which have so long troubled our families might at length be put to rest. For peace and affection are dear to my heart. What do you say, Adrianus?
ADR. It is reasonable that friendliness be repaid with friendliness. With his affability and mercy this man has erased all dislike from my mind. Let’s shake hands, Cassander.
CONST. With whom are you two speaking?
ADR. With Cassander.
ADR. Step aside with me a moment and I’ll explain to you what has happened.
BIB. Woe to my shoulder-blades! Cerberinus, I know full well that he will be angry at me, so I don’t know what to do.
GLOR. Ludovicus, Aurelia has rejected me.
LUD. And Talanta has done the same to me. So whoever trusts these whores is a madman. My money has gone for nought. What do you think we should do?
GLOR. Let’s quickly hale the procurer into court.
CONST. Cassander, I admit that a conspicuous injury has been done to you. For Elenchio’s artifices stand revealed at last, and the result of this is that the freedom of your nation is granted you and torture and scourging are appointed for Elenchio. I give into your hands the man responsible for this crime, bound. You may punish him as you choose. Lictors, fetch Elenchio.
CASS. Most grave Constable, Nemesis and bloody scourgings are not to my liking, nor are revenge, torture, or whips. Whatever evil he has committed was done at the instigation of others, not on his own initiative.
ELEN. Cassander, I beg you —
CASS. Get off your knees, Elenchio. I’ll readily take no notice of this injury and forgive you, on condition that you refrain from your trickery, lest more serious evils beset you to your cost.
CONST. Well then, you may go, and you should feel particular gratitude towards this man forever. If you commit any further felony, Elenchio, then I will take severe vengeance on both this one and that.
ELEN. This unexpected mercy has made a deep impression on my mind. I pray I might die by evil torment if I contrive any further artifices in the future, or if I do not always praise you for this act of grace.
CONST. So remove the shackles from this man.
ADR. Ascanius, have I no ability to make you comply with my prohibitions? What new business do you have with this whore? Let her go, I tell you. I shall not permit your youth to be corrupted.
FERD. Adrianus, you’re being too harsh if Ascanius does love her. Let him be obedient to your will by marrying her.
ADR. My son marry a whore? Your request is unreasonable.
FERD. Valerius is doing the same, for he adores her sister.
[A speech by Talanta is missing from the mss.]
VAL. Oh my very agreeable father, do you hear what Talanta has to say?
ADR. I will not renounce what I have already decided. So I desire Ascanius to obey my instructions in taking a wife.
ASC. Father, I beg that I be permitted to marry this woman. She is a freeborn citizen.
ADR. How can this be, when she is the slave of that unclean procurer?
CONST. Adrianus, there’s no reason why you should be over-harsh in condemning this girl. For, as Biberia has told me, Cerberinus kidnapped these two from Ferrara in their childhood. Their father is Claudius, a nobleman of senatorial rank.
ADR. You have assailed me so stubbornly that I can hardly refuse you. So listen, I shall grant my son his wish on this condition. A letter must be written to Claudius concerning this matter. If he comes to Venice, confirms who she is and acknowledges her as his daughter, then the marriage will occur. Otherwise you shall have wasted your effort.
ASC. May the gods always grant you all your wishes!
CONST. This is to my liking. Agreed, let them live with me at home. I’ll keep them safe and sound until these things are announced to Claudius.
LUD. Cerberinus, either give me back my money or I’ll draw up an indictment. For I refuse to be cheated.
CERB. I’m ruined, I’ve lost my profit, I am entirely killed. By heaven, I think that procurers are hated by all the gods.
GLOR. Give me my money, procurer, don’t shilly-shally. Come on, come on.
CERB. You’ll get it, you get it. In the meantime pay your bill.
GLOR. How much is it?
CERB. The wine you drank comes to ten gold minae. Dainties, tidbits, sea holly and sixteen kisses add up to twenty minae, and my singing cost you fifteen talents.
LUD. Expensive kisses!
GLOR. By the light of day, I’ll get very sweet kisses at court for free.
LUD. If all this should be given you, all of us idle men about town would become laughing-stocks.
CONST. What are you squabbling about?
LUD. This perjuring procurer took our money so that Aurelia and Talanta would belong to us night and day for an entire year. Now that this is impossible, he refuses to refund what we paid him.
CERB. If he entered into a contract, it will be given to you.
GLOR. In addition, for her own benefit this woman here cheated me out of a hat, gold and jewelry, and likewise bracelets, twenty minae, and a ring which Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, had given me. If these aren’t returned, Biberia, I’ll take you to court too.
CONST. Cerberinus and Biberia, let me settle this dispute. I’ll put you in jail if these things aren’t quickly given back. And you too, as is fair, must pay this man’s bill.
LUD. It shall be done as you decide.
CERB. On this condition I promise to give you a refund. Follow me. (Exeunt.)
MAR Hear me, procurer, As soon as Claudius has arrived, we’ll look into your situation. Meantime I’ll take these girls to my own house.
CASS. Why stay here any longer. I invite you all to dinner. Pray don’t begrudge me this. For today is appointed for a new wedding of Lavinia and myself. Now, having been stunted by protracted evils, my heart abandons its gnawing cares. Let hatred, that attendant of suspicion, disappear, as well as quarrels and consuming labor, and let quiet peace and sweet love be present. Let this be the epilogue to jealousy and the prologue to Hymenaeus, that patron of marriage.