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FER. Aye, I am a man born to misery, who have lost my only son so quickly. Oh unkindly Fates! Farewell, my Erophilus. But I’ll nevertheless bear this, as a wise man should. Tears neither call him back nor console me. I had one son, Erophilus, I sent him here to Padua so that he might cultivate his soul, not lose his body, he who I hoped would be my future consolation. Oh vain thoughts and fragile human hopes, which, when they seem to be sailing into harbor, are sunk in the sea by unforeseen misfortune. But is it certain that he has died, more than you have told me, Pantaleo?
PANTA. There’s nothing further, Master. I’ll tell you the truth, this very night he secretly entered the house (for, as you’ve heard, he was in love with Julia). A little later he was taken out, dead, and placed in this chest you see, but not even Julia herself (which surpasses all belief) knew by what mischance he died, but when she had mourned him with many tears she said her last and final farewell.
FER. Immortal gods, what am I to make of this? My son is dead, nor can I find out how. I undertook the journey here today that I might discover the cause and the manner of his death. So I want to investigate this first, and afterwards I want to give him an honorable burial too. To this end I have come here dressed as I am. Go, Pantaleo, call somebody outdoors who can him her I wish to meet her.
PANTA. I’m going. But see, here’s Alphonsus’ servant Sannio.
SAN. And, whoever you are, by Hercules I admit I am he.
FER. So pray tell your master that somebody’s here who would gladly meet with him.
SAN. This I’ll do for you ungrudgingly.
FER. I’m very surprised what he’ll answer me. Will he deny it? How can he? Will he admit it? Not without harm to himself.
PANTA. I don’t think you ought to inform him that Erophilus was in this house, Master. Thus you’ll ruin Julia if you make the thing public. (Enter Alphonsus.)
FER. What’s Julia to me in comparison with Erophilus, Pantaleo? But see, he’s coming outdoors at last.


FER. Greetings, Alphonsus, for so I hear you are called.
ALPH. And you in turn, whatever name you are called by.
FER. I am Ferdinandus, a highborn native of Venice.
ALPH. I did not recognize you, but if you are he, many men say many good things about. Heavens, you have a good reputation.
FER. No in truth, a bad one.
ALPH. How, pray?
FER. Because I’ve heard the repute that my son Erophilus has died.
ALPH. You are Erophilus’ father, pray?
FER. I am not, but I was.
ALPH. (Aside.) Now I regret having banished him from my house, for nobody at Venice is reckoned to be more powerful. (Aloud.) But you say your son has died? Perhaps you meant to say that he was dying with love for some girl.
FER. No, truly, I say he’s dead.
ALPH. Why dead? I of course mourn this out of humanity. But why pray does it pertain to me in particular?
FER. You’ll hear. He was carried out of your house dead.
ALPH. Many people say you’re wise, Ferdinandus, and held in great esteem at Venice. Don’t rashly load my house with this blame. This is human nature nowadays, nothing is spread abroad more widely than slander. So watch what you say, while you have the time. Once hurled, an accusation is recalled too late.
FER. I’ve not come here to accuse you, Alphonsus, nor do I wish to say you are guilty of this crime. But I say that he was dead in your house, and that he was carried out of Julia’s bedchamber.
ALPH. What? He was carried from here out of Julia’s bedchamber? Who is so audacious as to claim this?
FER. Behold Pantaleo, my son’s servant.
ALPH. Then you saw him being carried out?
PANTA. Indeed, Alphonsus, and placed in this chest.
ALPH. So who did the placing?
PANTA. Amerina, Julia, and I.
ALPH. And where did he die?
PANTA. In Julia’s chamber.
ALPH. I am exceedingly miserable, if this man’s telling the truth, for having a daughter endowed with that character. Hey you, order Julia to be called outside. I know she’ll confess to me, whatever it is. (Enter Julia.) Julia, there’s something I would ask you. Beware lest you answer falsely.
JUL. I was not raised so as to answer you falsely.
ALPH. Did you see Erophilus in this house last night? Why are you crying?
IUL. I saw him, Father.
ALPH. Now with that word she’s torn out my guts. So he died in my house?
JUL. I admit it.
ALPH. Alas, where have I been brought in my misery? Oh house, once free of reproach, now full of crime, collapse at last on me. But I want to know how he died.
JUL. Why, father, should I tell you of his enduring love, with which in life he cultivated me alone?
He thus loved me as befitted an upright young man, and I loved him in return, as befits a maiden. Why say more? I promised I would be his wife. He came to me last night. When first he entered my chamber, when he saw some rosewater in my window he said he was thirsty, and straightway drank it down. Then he seemed to slumber sweetly, and never woke again. Now, Father, I am the cause of this misfortune, and I refuse or deprecate no punishment. Indeed I freely desire to pay the penalty for his death.
FER. Could rosewater snatch away his life?
JUL. By Castor, I had nothing else.
FER. You tell something very strange, and surpassing all belief.
JUL. So demand punishment of me. I am exceedingly miserable, being the cause of such a dire evil.
ALPH. And I am more exceedingly miserable, having begotten such a daughter.
FER. But I am most exceedingly miserable, having lost my only son.
ALPH. Go inside, you bane and disgrace of your family.
FER. But I beg you, Alphonsus, to diligently discover the cause of is death. You see what she confesses.
PANTA. By highest Jupiter, pray save me! For what monstrosity am I seeing, Master? (Enter Erophilus.)
FER. Why are you shouting, dolt?
PANTA. I’m seeing Erophilus’ evil genius, Master. Master, take care of yourself, there are many wizards here at Padua.
FER. Good advice indeed.
ALPH. But do you two imagine he’s Erophilus’ evil genius? I think you’re crazy, since, see, he’s talking to someone else I recognize him well enough, the constable.
FER. I’m saved, I think it’s Erophilus.
ALPH. And I’m saved, and so is Julia, who I hope is now freed from all danger. Let’s overhear their conversation a bit.


CONST. Can’t I chisel the truth out of you today, so that you tell me what you were doing in this house? Unless you tell me the whole thing, you’ll hope for help from me in vain. For you are accused of murder by those men, or at least, as far as I can guess, you appear to be an accomplice in that theft.
FER. Pray what theft is he speaking of? But is this man not my Erophilus, Pantaleo, whom you’ve already said you saw dead?
PANTA. I don’t think so. Be careful not to go near him. He is much paler, if you look at him carefully. And see how dull his eyes are. I imagine he’ll give you something bad, if you approach.
FER. But see, I see him speaking with somebody else. Nothing’s hurting that fellow, how will it hurt me?
PANTA. Go to him by yourself, I’ll observe from a distance. If it goes well with you, I’ll come up.
FER. With the gods’ help let’s approach if you want, Alphonsus.
ALPH. I’ll accompany you.
FER. I give you many greetings, excellent man.
ERO. Oh much unhappiness, do I see Ferdinandus? I’m both tired of living and ashamed to be seen by him.
FER. Erophilus, don’t be ashamed, I rejoice to see you alive. I thought you were dead, and so I came here to perform your funeral rites. But what has my son done just now?
CONST. You’ll hear. While I was searching for some thieves last night, I caught this man in their chamber. They claim that he had come to murder them, and for the stolen goods they had in their possession then. And he makes no answer for himself at all, so if he doesn’t take good care of himself a punishment by death awaits him within three days.
FER. What’s this I hear about you, Erophilus? What were you looking for in somebody else’s house, you madman? Have I treated you so meanly and harshly that you had need for someone else’s goods?
ERO. No.
FER. So what were you looking for?
ERO. Nothing.
FER. Who let you into that house?
ERO. Nobody.
FER. Where had you come from when you went there?
ERO. No idea.
FER. Why do you answer me thus?
ERO. I want to die.
CONST. Indeed he always answers me in this manner, and if he continues to defend himself thus, punishment awaits him soon. For although I desire to be mild and merciful, I can only do this if I can do it fairly.
FER. Oh me, twice a wretch! I believed my son to have died and come back to life. Now see, he’s dead again, or the next thing to dead, with great shame.
ALPH. I’m not only surprised but stupefied, thus all my senses are shaken.
PANTO. Heavens, Alphonsus, a notable insult is befalling me. Amerina tells me the water I have her for safekeeping is all poured out, though the vial is preserved. I barely compounded it at a cost of ten crowns, Alphonsus.
ALPH. What water are you talking about, Pantomagus?
PANTO. The water I brought here after you had said you wished to be operated upon, opiated water, a soporific to put you to sleep while you were being cut. She said she put it in Julia’s chamber, and afterwards that she drank it when she was thirsty. The stupid girl is mocking me. For if she had drunken it as she says, of necessity she would have lost her senses and her life.
ALPH. Pray, Pantomagus, call Amerina outdoors, and Julia too.
PANTA. Master and Alphonsus, what am I hearing?
FER. Why, Pantaleo.
PANTA. I hope I’ve found something to free you of your sorrow, and you of your shame.
ALPH. How, pray tell?
PANTA. I’ve discovered the way in which Erophilus died.
FER. How?
PANTA. The physician says he that he gave to Amerina for safekeeping a water which creates a sleep like unto death.
FER. Assuredly.
PANTA. Julia confessed just now that she had given Erophilus rosewater to drink.
ALPH. I don’t deny it.
PANTA. Slay me if she didn’t unwittingly give him the physician’s water, which he drank, so that he seemed to be dead.
ALPH. Indeed the more I consider the matter, there seems to be something in what this Pantaleo says. But they’re coming outdoors.
JUL. Pray support me.
ALPH. Immortal gods, what am I to think this is? Amerina, where is the water which Pantomagus gave you for safekeeping?
AME. I don’t know, Master.
ALPH. But I want you to tell me the truth.
AME. I put it in the window in Julia’s chamber amongst several vials of rosewater, but in the morning it alone was found to be empty, and I think Erophilus drank it.
ALPH. So produce the vial quickly, so that I can have a look at it.
PANTA. You’re rescued, Master.
FER. Nearly so, as I hope.
PANTO. But this can’t be, Alphonsus. He would have immediately lost his sense and his life.
PANTA. And he lost them. For we three carried him out as if dead, pale, stiff, not breathing, unfeeling, and entirely cold. Pray what’s the difference between that and death, physician?
PANTO. What’s the difference, you ask? The same as between an intelligent man and a fool.
CONST. I hope I’ve nearly found a way to free you of all danger of death.
ERO. Whatever Fortune brings, I’ll bear it as a brave man should. He who sets a small value on his life thinks nothing is great.
AME. But look at the vial.
PANTO. I recognize it, that’s the one. Who was able to drink the water in it?
JUL. Thinking it to be rosewater, of which I always keep a large supply, because Amerina had given me no warning, I gave it to him to drink. When he had consumed it, he fell like a dead man. So, fearing lest great shame awaited us, we carried him out as a dead man. An, lest there be an immediate investigation of his death, we placed him in a chest by Lucius’ door. What happened to him afterwards I know not.
CONST. Did you assuredly place him in it, Julia?
JUL. Most assuredly.
CONST. Good, everything adds up.
PANTO. But where did Erophilus drink this water?
JUL. In my bedchamber.
PANTO. Hm, what are you saying, in your bedchamber? Then indeed Gothrio told me the truth, that I’m a Capricorn. I bid you all farewell, I’m leaving. Shall I return? Not if you beg me. Hey come out, follow me, Gothrio.
FER. Why is he so greatly angry, Alphonsus?
ALPH. I have no idea, he’s acting in his usual way. You go inside, I wish nothing more of you, and Pantaleo too, if he wants. I’m happy that your son is alive for you, and that my daughter is safe.
FER. But I want him freed from the peril of death.
CONST. But if Julia told the truth, I’ll arrange that.
FER. Immortals, and you excellent gentleman, I shall give you thanks, and remember this kindness as long as I live.
CONST. These women say they carried this man out dead.
FER They say so.
CONST. And that he was placed in this chest.
FER. Quite so.
CONST. While searching for nocturnal thieves I found this chest in the innkeeper’s house. I asked where they got it, and they admitted to me they had carried it from Lucius’ door, and that it seemed useful for carrying the wares they had stolen. Thinking it empty they hastily tossed the wares in it, and bore it off to their chamber.
FER. Gods preserve me! What am I hearing?
CONST. Erophilus was found in their chamber, and he leapt out of this chest, as they say. Terrified by this sudden occurrence they leapt up and ran about when they desired to catch him. Hence there arose a great uproar in the house, they burst forth, I arrested them all. Now I’m happy that the whole business is revealed, and that I have here sufficient witnesses. In their presence I hand over to you your son.
FER. I accept this beloved gift from a dear hand, and I promise I shall be mindful as long as I live.
CONST. And now, Ferdinandus, farewell, and farewell to you, Alphonsus.
BOTH And may the gods favor you always.


ALPH. Immortal gods, in what a line the Fates go a-running? What commotions the physician’s water gave here! I’m happy you have found yourself your son, Ferdinand, and that Julia is freed of the shame of murder. And I beg you, as often as you come to Padua, that you gladly visit my house. A great friendship often arises from an ill beginning.
FER. Even if great sorrow oppressed me at first, but now I admit I owe you much.
ALPH. Nothing at all, but one thing I take amiss, that Erophilus wants to sneak into my house, especially to corrupt my daughter.
ERO. I pray you forgive me this, Alphonsus. Love compelled me, whose power no man avoids. But I call these people to bear witness to my love, that on my part it was as chaste as if she were my sister, unless a bit less chaste in respect of the kissing. For when I first went into her chamber, I drank the wine and went to sleep immediately, nor did I awaken until I had come to the innkeeper’s house.
ALPH. By Pollux, my Julia has always loved you. For as often as I speak to her of marriage she goes pale, she goes red, she sighs, she says nothing, so that I can easily see where she’s set her mind.
ERO. Ah, don’t say too much, but I don’t hate her either.
ALPH. I know.
FER. So hear me, Alphonsus. Now, if you choose, if you betroth your daughter to my Erophilus, since I see they are in love with each other, I neither ask for nor desire any dowry. Thanks be to the gods, I have enough in abundance, from which to honorably bestow food and clothing upon them. He is my only son, to whom I bequeath all that I possess.
ALPH. Indeed, Ferdinandus, since you seem to deal with me lavishly, I won’t part the lovers. I’ll betroth my daughter to you, if she wants.
ERO. Ah, I know she wants.
ALPH. So let it be, Erophilus. But I don’t want to give her undowered, ask any dowry of me you wish.
ERO. She’s enough of a dowry for me, she has all the endowments.
FER. You do well, Alphonsus. By heaven, I’m grateful.
ALPH. Let’s go inside, there the wedding will take place.

ERO. At length Phoebus has shone forth, the clouds banished. In the house Julia is readied as a wife for me, she whom I have found by undergoing many woes. And I pray all of you who favor this wedding to give a sign of your will, loudly applaud.