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TO THAT MOST NOBLE, MOST ILLUSTRIOUS DOMINUS, AND EXCELLENT MAECENAS, PHILIP SIDNEY, GREETINGS

Lately my mind was gripped by great sorrow, the ardor of my gasping body was great. Neither is my body hale, nor is the mind in my body healthy. Care oppresses my mind, fever grips my body. Comic ideas flourish in a mind at peace, my days are beclouded with tragic ills. If this comedy is not comic, the cause is to be attributed, not to myself, but to these tragic ills.

Most devoted to your greatness,
ABRAHAM FRAUNCE

PERSONAE

FIDELIS a lover
NARCISSUS his servant
ONOPHRIUS a poet, preceptor of Fidelis
PEGASUS Onophrius’ boy
FORTUNIUS a lover
GALLULUS Fortunius’ servant
CORNELIUS Victoria’s husband
VICTORIA his wife
MARCELLUS their servant
VIRGINIA, ATTILIA Victoria’s maids
BARBARA a maiden, daughter of Octavianus
OCTAVIANUS Barbara’s father
SANCTA Barbara’s nurse
PAMPHILA Barbara’s maid
MEDUSA a witch
TWO CONSTABLES
FRANGIPETRA a soldier
PYRGOPOLINICES, TERRAPONTIGONUS vagabonds

Four houses are to be constructed, namely those of 1.) Fidelis, 2.) Fortunius, 3.) Cornelius, 4.) Octavianus. And also a certain chapel is to be built, in which is to be placed a certain Cardinal’s tomb, thus constructed that it can be opened and closed. And in the chapel is to be placed a burning lamp.

`

PROLOGUE

Fidelis loves Victoria, Victoria loves Fortunius, Fortunius loves Barbara, Barbara loves Fidelis. This is the business, and here’s how it’s transacted. Fidelis loves Cornelius’ wife Victoria, and possesses her. Then he goes to Spain, so that, all his affairs put in order there, he might more readily give his attention to his mistress. Meanwhile, she grows forgetful of absent Fidelis, becomes involved in new amours, and falls in love with Fortunius. Fidelis returns home to unfaithful Victoria. Angry, he reveals the whole matter to Cornelius. And when he has decided to kill his wife with poison, Fidelis dissuades him from his intention. Thus “lovers’ anger is love’s renewal,” thus Fidelis loves Victoria and Victoria Fidelis, thus Fortunius loves Barbara and Barbara Fortunius, thus everything is concluded with a happy ending.

ACT I, SCENE i
GALLULUSalone

I know not what I ought to say about Fortune, the mistress of fools. But I know this full well, I’m the slave of a master far from intelligent, of the kind who has no vigor in him, no strength, nothing which could entice women to love him. So what should I imagine the reason to be why Fortune adores him madly, why she wafts him over love’s ocean with a favorable wind to his goal with no shoals, to harbor with no harm? This hasn’t befallen my master because of his merits, not because of his comeliness or reputation, but because of the folly of women who, when the best is offered them, pursue the worst. And this is my one solace in my unhappiness when I see women injudicious in their choosing, when they disdain my youth. But see, here he is. I’ll fill his ears with gentle words so that his fecklessness may serve my turn. Thus servants act who shrewdly look out for their own interests.

ACT I, SCENE ii
FORTUNIUS,
GALLULUS

FORT. What are you saying to yourself, Gallulus?
GAL. When I’m alone I always think about how felicitously and fortunately Fortunatus has fared. When I ponder his pleasant phiz, the grace of his frame, it’s wont to strike me as quite miraculous that all Venus is thus encompassed in a single body.
FORT. These are trifles. Now it’s time to speak of other and more secret things, and certainly most serious ones.
GAL. You can say what you want in safety, master. You know, I trust, my loyalty and close-mouthedness. I was taught this once, how to keep quiet and maintain excellent discretion.
FORT. Victoria, whom you know, has just looked me over, a woman of right noble countenance and ripe age. She thus cast her eyes and mind on me, that she came to adore me madly. Therefore she wrote to me and revealed her hidden love, and lovingly urged that I love her in return. I agreed, we loved, we plucked love’s fruit. Now Fidelis has come home, a new arrival but an old lover, who both adored her alone in the past, and now loves her only. When I see how fickle women’s minds are, I’m afraid lest she’ll abandon me and fall in love with Fidelis again, either bound by a sense of duty, or rebounding out of longing, or because perhaps she delights in new love-affairs.
GAL. Even if it’s as useless as a pig trying to give instruction to Minerva, nevertheless I’ll truly say what I think, if you please. Don’t torment yourself, master, be of good cheer. For since she freely gave her all to you, if she foolishly takes away what she fondly gave, it’ll be a source of pain for her rather than for you, since she lacks that which she had required in the first place.
FORT. Oh Gallulus, one’s daily habit changes into one’s nature. Things which have been truly established by nature’s laws do not easily go according to our will. By daily habit I’ve long ago made her mine, and I can’t be unmoved by her departure.
GAL. How can it be, master, that you either fear Fidelis or desire Victoria, since you disdain women? I don’t see how these things can hang together.
FORT. Fear, not love, is scorching my mind, lest, if she shows herself faithful to Fidelis, my pleasure might perish at the same time, which I’m in the habit of enjoying greatly, since I see women swooning with desire for me. For let him cultivate these cares who wishes to, I don’t.
GAL. So I don’t understand why you’re tormenting yourself, master. For if she had given herself to you for money, there’d perhaps have been a reason for your feeling sorry, since you’d both lose the use of her and waste your money. But since she plopped in your lap gratis, if she passes from your hands into those of another, there’s no reason to take it hard. Let her go, let her live, let her fare well. As many stars as has the sky, so many girls as has this place. And when you begin to feel sated, change places. If Victoria should desire Fidelis, you take Barbara.
GAL. There’s something in what you say, but not everything. Now do what you have in hand and fetch that lute back home from the Forum. Maybe it will ease my distress.

ACT I, SCENE iii
ONOPHRIUS alone

When I, a poet, applied my mind to loving, I imagined that my only task was that my invented fables might please my mistress. I imprudently thought the Cupid was a toy and a joke, and that his mother Venus was kind and gentle. But whoever said it said well that “love conquers all and to love we must yield.” He has transformed Jove, Neptune, and other divinities into the persons of beasts. So there’s no reason that learned, upright men should marvel if I, a personage now rather more advanced in years, and who boast my name to exist among the number of the poets, who have of late applied myself to the study of music, and who inculcate young men with morals and educate them in letters, if, I say, I illuminate Victoria in the beams of my love, if I, removed from the injuries of my rivals, from effort and labor, and from the musical art, for recreation’s sake should veer towards venery. For none is so savage that he cannot grow gentle, if only he lends a patient ear to culture. But although I, because of the splendor of the poetic tribe, and because of that appearance which befits government, ought to appear most loving to my Victoria, who contended with those three goddesses for the victory (for Paris saw three divinities on Iliac Ida), yet, because the god endowed woman with the abilities of deceiving, grieving, and weaving, am fearful lest either my disciple Fidelis, being well schooled in my figures and tropes, remove me by syncope (for syncope carries something off from the middle), or while he interposes some figures of speech or other between my desire and his love, might make an elision of my miserable self. But now she appears to be more ill-disposed towards Fidelis than before he went to Spain. Hence a great hope possesses me that, when the forces of my merits are fully deployed on a most capacious battlefield, and when they have joined battle and begun to fight with him, I shall defeat him, I shall shatter him, I shall overthrow him, I shall gain Victoria. And though Fidelis may be my friend, and though he gave me these ideas, yet “Truth is my greater friend, Victoria is my greater friend,” and “He is wise in vain who is not wise for his own advantage,” and “He who is good is self-loving,” and “I am always nearest to myself.” And (if I may state it more briefly than such a great thing can be stated), when you will be present, always be nearest to thyself. When you will be elsewhere, be nearest to thyself. But the wolf’s in the tale. See, here he is, look here. I’ll greet him in a manner Ciceronian, most familiar to Remus and by Romulus. Hail, Fidelis, I give you greatest greetings. This is, according to my understanding,
As many as the hairs in donkey’s hides,
I give thus many greetings, and more besides.

Why wrack
yourself with grief?

ACT I, SCENE iv
FIDELIS,
ONOPHRIUS

FID. You left my house today without my knowledge, and so I, for whom nothing in life is better than converse with yourself, crept throughout the whole town vainly seeking for you.
ON. Had I known this in advance, today I wouldn’t have set foot outside the house. My fortune gives me nothing greater than that I can give, nor my nature anything better than that I desire to give, wholesome advice to well-born young men. But come, tell me why you’re torturing yourself thus? For from the time you have returned from Hesperian shores, you strike me as much sadder than before.
FID. Love, and lover’s inbred suspicion, have cast me into these waves of woes. Both because your authority counts for much in my eyes, as do you yourself for the elegance of your doctrine, I desire your advice in this matter, and require your aid.
ON. Indeed I desire to do what will be welcome and pleasing to you. But this you should first consider: he who does not grow better ceases to be good. For in the race-course of virtue, not to progress is to regress. So when you stand in the presence of your preceptor, a venerable personage, with your head covered, believe me, you save strayed far from the highway of good manners.
FID. Thus sorrow pricks and presses me, so that I remember neither myself nor my duty.
ON. But nevertheless, Fidelis, I congratulate both you and myself that, when you were imploring me for my aid and assistance, you demonstrated that the light of your intellect was undimmed (which has shone out among the others of your generation like the brilliant sun among the lesser stars), and since in seeking my aid you have made progress in the rhetors’ methodology, you have captured the benevolence of your auditory, that is, of my personage. Which while you praise for being cultivated with learning’s elegance, Fidelis, your opinion of me does not deceive you. For how expert I may be in Cato’s moralizing and in Ovid on the subject of facial adornment let others judge. Certainly, if I am not able to equal others in imitating the great excellence of their genius, yet in my willingness I have come as close as I can. Now say something worthy of silence, so you may gain my attention.
FID. Once I fastened my mind on a certain young girl, I adored her, I loved her, earnestly I sought to obtain her. And by my effort and industry I achieved this, that what I had first sought for I ultimately caught. Oh what a heap of pleasures befell me! What great troubles I banished from my mind! For, as then we both had the same desire, the same will, and most similar enthusiasms, an equal love, and shared thoughts, I thus thought our faithfulness would be eternal. Then the Fates compelled me to visit Spain. I came to Victoria (she is distinguished by this name), she wept at my departure, as friendly as possible. Why should I recall those profuse tears? Why those words uttered in sweet tones? It’s easier to leave these things in my secret thoughts than to put them in my distressed speech. After I was separated from her in place, I both thought of her while awake and dreamt of her while asleep, and never did her image vanish from my heart. So I returned home as soon as I could with scarce four months then gone by, hoping to enjoy my mistress’ longed-for embrace. She scorned me, nor did that because of my deserts. I think she’s gotten a new lover. This is the worm that gnaws my vitals, which eats up my heart, nor lets me rest. What occurs to you, Onophrius?
ON. I subscribe to and approve of your sentiment. I think she’s gotten herself a new lover. For, since the exclusion of one is the inclusion of another, if her first love should fade, it will be permissible by a necessary induction to conclude that, yourself disdained, she has betaken herself to another who shall possess her and knock you off your perch. So if you will listen to me and heed what I say, you should abandon these trifling, foolish amours, and employ yourself in the study of belles lettres, which in every thing, in every place, at every time, will imbue you with the greatest pleasure without satiation; which things can swim away from a shattered ship together with their master, which cannot be snatched away or stolen, or are lost in fire or shipwreck. Hence the poet.
And in addition, bear in mind that to have acquired the liberal arts
Diligently softens ones manners and does not allow us to be fierce.

Now, truly, female beauty is momentary, and more transitory than a creature that lives but briefly, which dies on the very day it is born, not much different from the nocturnal flower which, though it appears fair in the darkness, loses its bloom when comes the daylight. Hence that bard uttered that thing of which they talk a thousand times,
Gather ye rosebuds while you may, girl, while the bloom is fresh and fresh is the summer,
And be mindful that your life thus hastens by.

And (to omit the other evils which exist in love), familiarity makes men complaisant, women cheat men, they rob them, they despoil them, they strip them, they leave a man bare, nor is there any limit to their screaming “Give me” and “Bring me.” Furthermore they thus debilitate our strength, they thus drain our bodies, they thus weaken our sinews in the exercises of Venus, that a wretched lover is dissolved into thin air, and last, like an impotent, is shown the door. Therefore,
Think on supernal things, your heart up in the sky,
Happy, happy is the man who Woman can deny.
Her love’s no whit less volatile
Than potter’s vases are fragile.

FID. I cannot be brought to think this, that so great a love can be extinguished in so little time. For since she was afire with love for me, some little spark will remain from the conflagration, lurking in her inflamed heart, which, if I fan it with new attentions, will be able to break forth again in flames.
ONON If she loved you, she’d exhibit this fire herself. For we perceive inward things from outward traits. But she’s never shown this. Therefore she’s not in love. Indeed, what’s more, if she doesn’t love you she quite hates you. For a woman either loves or hates, there’s no third thing.
FID. Speak as you please, yet you’ll never make me believe that love has so FID turned to hatred.
ON. I’ve proven this adequately, and the rule says that what’s clearly obvious requires no demonstration. And since I am of the opinion that good deeds misplaced are deeds done ill, I regret, I am ashamed, I rue, I vehemently grieve that thus I have wasted my oil and my effort. The teacher reads but you ignore him. Fidelis, you’ve studied under Onophrius for a year now, and you ought to have abounded in precepts and philosophical maxims, and not thus go home unschooled, disgracing the authority of your city and of your instructor. But a right good author has not badly said,
“A grown-up youth at length, his tutor removed, is wax that turns to vice,
Harsh on those who would advise him.”

You cannot reach the heights by sleep, by study you attain the peak. (Exit in a snit.)
FID. Amidst so many and so great love-difficulties, I see that this one is by far the bitterest, when we wretches remember past delights. If these things could be entombed in eternal silence, life would be, if not sufficiently peaceful, at least less unhappy. But to be cast from the highest pinnacle of happiness into cruel pain’s horrendous pit, and this not so much by my fault as by Fortune’s malice, and to recall the happy estate of my previous life, when with my glance I fed on my mistress’ eyes and revived my failing spirits, this inflicts such a deep wound on my heart that I crave death, that would free me from so great hardships. Nor can that time vanish from my mind in which, throwing my arms on my mistress’ longed-for neck, I did not envy even the souls of the blessed departed, whose pleasure surpassed mine in this one thing, that theirs would be eternal, constant, and stable, but my glory brief, fragile, and perishable.

ACT I, SCENE v
VICTORIA, FIDELIS

VICT. Oh poor Victoria, placing yourself in the window from which you were often wont to catch sight of your sweet Fortunius, once the breath of your soul, now the death of your unhappy life.
FID. Oh love, a passion truly insatiable, who, the more you are suppressed, the higher you are raised, why do you destroy me thus, an unhappy lover?
VICT. Who would have believed that Fortune would be so iron-hearted as he would have small pity for languishing Victoria, when I all but breathed forth my soul with frequent sighs, or at least drowned it with my profuse tears?
FID. Have my words and sayings have had so little effect? Do my sad, bitter tears accomplish such a nothing? Are my outbreathed sighs of such little consequence that they cannot melt this frost and ice with which her harsh heart is oppressed?
VICT. At least the welcome remembrance of our embraces and the thousand kisses we shared at parting, our voices broken with sobbing and sighs, and the tears which, welling from my eyes, he lovingly received upon his lips, ought to have fanned the buried embers of his love.
FID. Nothing very ardent can long endure, so I clung to her with fear of losing her. Her great and vehement love for me was a harbinger of my future calamity. But see, there’s the cruel woman whom I always held in my delights, dearer to me (oh the sorrow) as my soul and eyes.
VICT. Poor me, I see that enemy of mine at leisure, he whom I shun more than disease and death.
FID. Unhappy Fidelis, who are rushing to a voluntary death, and knowingly and wittingly hurl yourself into the flame!
VICT. I shall try to get rid of him in some manner, and with a false accusation to anticipate his rebuke, lest he be troublesome to me in to the future. Greetings, Fidelis.
FID. May that god who made you fairest of all women likewise make you the most fortunate, and may either Venus make you more loving, or death make me less afflicted.
VICT. There is some great reason, please the gods, when you chide her who has never sinned, save that she has always loved you exceedingly. Perhaps you are manufacturing reasons to cast me of, and that sad face of yours shows that you are in love with someone new.
FID. Oh happy me if I’m not more tortured by love of you than of others! But these things accord with each other wondrously, that you love me as a joke, but deceive me in seriousness.
VICT. See how he wounds me with his words’ stings! Did all those dutiful displays of my love earn me this?
FID. There are many merits of your love towards me, but they conceal within themselves the seeds of sorrows, and they have been gained by so much effort and suffering on my part that they cannot keep me in their bondage. But of my own free will it pleases me to be held and bound.
VICT. I always loved you greatly, and even now I love you. Which if you would do too, love would exist in us both, undefiled until our last breath.
FID. Did I endure such great hardships for your sake that now my faith should be called in doubt? That piety and kindness of yours is paltry, if I must die to prove my faith.
VICT. If you loved me, you’d never depart from me against my will. Didn’t I warn you long ago that the beginning of your departure would be my life’s ending?
FID. You said that.
VICT. So why should you depart from me. Why do you want me in my unhappiness to die of love?
FID. I departed so that, my business there once completed, I might better serve you and your needs. Since this pleased you then, you should not rebuke me.
VICT. Since I could not stand in the way of your wishes, I said it pleased me, although it pleased me not at all.
FID. And why do you bar me thus from your company?
VICT. Because I took it on myself to go and sin no more.
FID. If you promised this, why did you not keep your promise? Why not cruelly kill me alone, who am wholly transformed into you? But you are also laying violent hands on yourself, who I always carry around in my heart. Perhaps this cannot seem a sin to you.
VICT. This will at length be a sin, when you have spoken the truth. But these are invented figures of speech, so that your declaration will seem lamentable and piteous. Yet I am not so averse to kindness that I would not free you from your evils, were it in my power.
FID. So bring it about that I might enjoy your long hoped-for company. Thus you will wash away my pain and free me from fear.
VICT. Let it be so, since it can in some way come to pass. So when the sun has yielded to the darkness, return again. (She goes away.)
FID. I shall come, my Victoria, and I shall come gladly. What monstrosity am I to think this is? When the thing is offered, when hope is shown, alas, my mind is done in by death-dealing sorrow. Amidst my happiness and joy I tremble and shudder, lest some poison lie hidden within this honey. May the gods make it such that this fear which disturbs me is vain!

ACT I, SCENE vi
PAMPHILA, NARCISSUS

PAM. He who first enters onto love’s ways has undertaken the labors of Hercules, and when I see my mistress’ madness I can’t help lamenting.
NARC. Whom are you seeking?
PAM. Fidelis.
NARC. He’s gone off to the Forum. What do you wish?
PAM. I want to speak a few words with him. I’ll go to find him.
NARC. But you won’t find him. For he’s at home now, yet he will not be at home.

ACT I, SCENE vii 
VIRGINIA,
PAMPHILA

VIRG. I must go, I must go away, and then I must go back. She says so, she denies it, she wants, she doesn’t want, the woman’s decided nothing for sure, she’s fickle, and most constant only in her fickleness.
PAM. Where are you going so quickly, Virginia?
VIRG. A certain witch is to be brought to my mistress. For, please the gods, she’s in love with Fortunius.
PAM. What need for witches?
VIRG. To win his loves by her charms. And where are you going alone at this time of night? Aren’t you Barbara’s maid?
PAM. Indeed I am. And I come to speak to Fidelis, so that he might talk to her.
VIRG. Perhaps your mistress loves him.
PAM. And she loves him so that for love’s sake she drenches her whole face with tears. But that cruel fellow cheats this loving girl.
VIRG. This a common evil in love, that people shun a lover and love a shunner. My Victoria does this too. She’s in love with Fortunius, Fortunius spurns her. She spurns Fidelis, Fidelis loves her.
PAM. Ah the naive woman, how she she’s entirely gone astray! Let her love both. Let her be dear to herself and consult her own advantage. Let her be a mistress to lovers, not their servant. When those hairs which are now golden turn white, when her eyes sink deeper in her head, when old age’s wrinkles shrivel her face, then at length she’ll grow wise and acknowledge her error, that she went without the daily amours of many men so she might give herself entirely to a single lover
.
VIRG. You’re wise, Pamphila. Nothing more dangerous than to hold a ship by a single anchor. There’s a common saying, “Unity does not make Number.” And what’s more pleasurable than variety in food? If my lover should desert me, I am not gnawed by sorrow. If this one deserts me, I have that one and that one. Thus I console myself, thus it pleases me to look at things.
PAM. Trust me, blessed are those woman, and to be counted among the number of the goddesses, who are of such light nature and loving mind that they do not let men perish miserably of love, but easily succumb to their arguments and reasonings.
VIRG. Those noble matrons and high-born ladies wish to seem so modest, to be regarded as so grave, that their shame keeps them from consulting their own advantage. But we, who see all their peccadilloes well enough, know that they are women just like ourselves, and subject to the power of Venus and the moon.
PAM. Oh how tranquilly they could enjoy their delights, if they would bring their amours to speedier conclusions! But they, when once they have perceived themselves to be loved, lose the fruit while they weave their little garlands, which quickly wither after two or three days. They rejoice to keep their lovers long in suspense, so that they always dance in attendance, suspended between hope and fear. They think this a fair saying, and exceedingly honorable, “This one is in love with that girl, that man with this one, he loves her, that one adores the other one.” While this man, that man, and the other man pleases this one, that one, or this man’s wife, they are so far removed from love’s goal that this man, this man, and the other man figure out each detail and furtive love’s pacts are betrayed, while wretched lovers hang around the household, while they come today, while they return tomorrow. If they wanted to get the whole business over promptly, which nobody could see, nobody would reprehend, isn’t it enough if a single lover serves for a single month?
VIRG. A week is enough and more. She’s unfair who asks for more and he’s a fool who grants it. When some young man catches my fancy, I get the thing over with in one or two days.
PAM. Nothing’s more fair or important than faith. What need is there to make promises, entreaties, and finally oaths? It’s enough if one says this single thing, “I love you.” For, trust me, Virgina, we must believe this if we want others put their trust in us. We must be meek and mild, companionable and catholic, and deserve well of zealous youth, we must receive our guests with great kindness, treat them with greater, and send them packing with the greatest.
VIRG. But enough of these things. Now time calls us away.
PAM. Be nearest to yourself, Virginia, and remember this: a woman without a lover is like a vine without an elm to cling to.
VIRG. But see, here’s my Gallulus. I wonder why he’s so happy? I want to listen to him for a bit.

ACT I, SCENE viii 
GALLULUS, VIRGINIA, ONOPHRIUS

GAL. Here’s my master’s medicine, here’s the lute. But how can music’s harmony benefit him if he doesn’t harmonize with himself? So take this lute for yourself, Gallulus, nor leave the lyre for him, who’s so delirious. Let him feel sorry for himself, let him shed tears if he wants. Meanwhile I’ll give myself consolation with so la ti. But who’s lurking there in hiding? Hercules, it’s my Virginia! I’ll speak as if I didn’t see her, and I’ll heap her with purposely false praises. (He sings.)

Wholly male, at every hour
I beg Virginia and implore her
For her patronage.

Strum it, strum it, with full effort
Of breast and mouth, with voice and heart.
Hail, girl, full of grace.

Hail, most learned, hail divine,
Hail, most pious, hail, most kind,
Hail, girl, full of blessing.

Hail, o rose of beauteous aspect,
Hail, o note that lacks all
dissonance,
Virginia so heroic,

Virtue’s vessel, way of morals,
Flower of scent and scent most floral,
Protect and guard me, and then guide me
To your parents’ palace. (Dances with the lute.)

Come now, feet, do thy stuff. But this seems to me much safer, that before I begin to dance I put down the instrument. For it’s possible that the instrument might slip from my hands and that, falling to the ground, the instrument might shatter, and “I can’t swallow and blow at the same time,” which means, as I interpret it, dance and lutenize. (Dances.) Thus passes the glory of the world. I’m merry and cheerful, Master’s gloomy and troubled. Immortal gods, how does one man surpass another, what’s the difference between a servant and his master?
VIRG. It’s unfair to disturb him, yet time compels me to interrupt. Greetings, my darling Gallulus. (Enter Onophrius, and, hiding, overhears.)
GAL. Were you here, Virginia? If I were your darling, more often you would ease my afflicted soul and satisfy my wish.
ON. That’s the woman, I say, that’s the very woman. But it’s better to listen to their talk here. Perhaps I’ll learn something to my advantage.
VIRG. Ah, Gallulus, what thing have you not gained which you demanded from me even in jest? Or don’t you understand that I am a servant, so that I’m not always able to please you? So see that you come here tonight at the usual hour, but you must change your clothes so nobody recognizes you. (Exit.)
ON. I’ve found a haven, greetings, Hope and Fortune!
GAL. Indeed it will cost you no small sum, Virginia, to possess so great a man. If you don’t have anything of your own to give me, it’s necessary that you steal from your masters.
ON. Oh the impudent Thraso, oh the vaunting soldier (I mean this in a pejorative sense, for it can be said in either way).
GAL. I’ve pretended to love her to increase her madness. Let her wait for me, but this will be a pointless wait. For if she desires me, she needs to make a lavish expenditure. Were Victoria my mistress she could hardly stand the expense, let alone you, Victoria’s maid.
ON. Really, you rogue?
GAL. I brought the lute, I’ll meet my master. (Exit.)
ON. “Disembarking, the Trojans gained the hoped-for shore.” What could happen more in accordance with my desire? I have perceived his stratagem, and hers. Since Gallulus has denied he will appear, with my clothes changed I’ll come to her at night, and, thinking me to be Gallulus, she’ll open her door for me. Then (since love does not occur save for the sake of copulation) thus I’ll inflame her with my loquacious eloquence that she will do my bidding, to which, oh ye stars, be favorable, so that what I heartily began I may happily conclude, and in the end possess haughty Victoria. Then that day will be a holiday, the school of letters will be closed, and every year I shall celebrate the memory of such an honor.

 

ACT I, SCENE ix
MEDUSA, VIRGINA, VICTORIA

MED. (Knocking at the door.) I have what you want.
VIRG. But remember this, it’s needful that you help her.
MED. I’ll take care of that.
VIRG. Here she is, mistress, who is able to give you aid, I’ve already told her the whole thing from the beginning.
VICT. Oh my Medusa, with my arms I embrace you, I pray you save me.
MED. I declare that this art alone can assist lovers.
VICT. And I’ll heap you with rewards worthy of your art.
MED. So listen while I disclose the mysteries of my art, and explain their occult powers. I’ll suggest many things, select what you want. This is the egg of a black hen, this the feather of a crow, and he who writes certain letters on the egg will compel a person to love. What about it? Is this to your liking, or no?
VIRG. My mistress wants to be loved and something even more, for she cannot drain dry the pleasure from love pure and simple.
MED. This is a vial full of milk, that of a mother and her daughter, and when it mixed with flour make it into bread, gradually baked on slow coals. In one part you must write CUPID AND VENUS, and on another the name of the man upon whom you dote. As soon as you give it to him for the eating, he will be bound with such a tight bond that it cannot be dissolved.
VIRG. What profit to bind a man in chains? I prefer one who is loose and free.
VICT. Bah, you don’t understand, She won’t bind him hand and foot, but bind him with love’s eternal chain. But you, Medusa, if you have anything better, bring it forth.
MED. There are many things, Victoria, which induce men to love. But because they cannot be suitably accomplished save on a Friday or a Wednesday when the moon is growing, and at a fixed time when the sun has set, you must use the things I produced.
VICT. But pray invent something else. You’ll receive whatever price you want.
MED. This is an image formed from virgin wax. If you prick it and warm it gradually, your lover will come and enjoy your embraces.
VICT. This pleases me uniquely. Ah, let me kiss you!
MED. But it seems safer to make ready these things in the house, so that, all things done in due order, the desired result will ensue.
VICT. Let us go.

Go to Act II