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FID. The perfection of my revenge lacks this one thing. For if she should die and not know the cause of her demise, the sharpness of her sorrow will not be so great. But if she finds out I’m responsible for her death, she’d be tortured by a twofold pain.
VIRG. It’s a fine thing that, after travelling throughout the city, I’ve found you at last.
FID. I see
Virginia. How fares your hateful mistress? Is she alone or enjoying love’s delights? Or perhaps she’s working some evil again?
VIRG. She’s not alone, but she’s alone in the company of her tears. But in her name I humbly beseech you that you come to her, who is about to die, as soon as you can.
FID. If my arrival could torture her, I’d come gladly.
VIRG. That was too cruel. But come, listen to her, then do as you please.
FID. Tell her I’m coming. If the bitterness of words can hurt her, let her expect the stings of my words.


FID. I see that Fortune is favoring my plans, since she gives me new ways to torture the woman. But here she is herself. What provokes you again that you bring me new troubles?
VICT. I summoned you so that, before I depart this life, I can please you as much as I may.
FID. New arts, new tricks.
VICT. I give you my undying thanks, my Fidelis, because you accused me before my husband. This accusation would bring me swift death, unless the bitterness of my pain carries me off first. I am thankful, I say, because, dying by your effort, in dying I shall put an end to my infinite sorrows, unless in adoring you my mind plunges my soul into eternal miseries. But I would wish to pray you, by our pact of love and lovers’ joys, and by these my final tears, that you do not publish this crime or sin of mine, that I have offended you, but contain it in your silent breast. What I did, your departure made me do, which seemed to me a sign of your fading love. If you do this, I shall not say I am indebted to you, because there is nothing with which I can repay you save the dust of a death-bound body. But if my soul, flying from its corporeal prison and escaping the power of death should have the power to achieve anything, I shall say I am very greatly in your debt, as I ought, because then I shall have hope of repaying what I owe.
FID. With this speech you have so disturbed my heart that I regret having listened.
VICT. Do not regret it, Fidelis. For I do not desire to arouse your pity, or sway you from your cruel intent. I only want this, that you agree to conceal my error. Life is hateful to me, nor is death troublesome or a misery, death which I gladly go to meet with an eager and ready mind, that I may abandon my miseries along with my life.
FID. When with just grief you are thinking of vengeance, it’s foolish for you to lend an ear to a woman’s words.
VICT. If it annoys you that I do not die more quickly, lo, I cast myself at your feet, lo, here is my breast, that prison of grief and sorrow. Pierce it, stab it, run it through as much as you will. For I crave to wash away my sin with my blood.
FID. There is nothing that can calm a raging mind more swiftly than for an enemy to place himself in your power. With your words you have pierced my mind, and would you had done so in the first place! The thing would never have come to this pass. But raise yourself up, I forgive you, and I’ll make it so your husband forgives you.
VICT. But this remedy of yours is too late, Fidelis.
FID. But not so late as there’s no time left.
VICT. There was the time, but it has flown by.
FID. My Victoria, what are you doing? Don’t be irresolute. What’s this strange thing? Don’t destroy yourself, Victoria, nor commit that thing. How the fear of death has more power than death! Why are you prostrate? Answer me. Oh the sorrow, she’s quickly growing cold. Ah my Victoria, do you recognize me? Speak, Victoria. But she is not breathing, she’s issued forth her final breath, it is certain. With poison Cornelius has murdered her. Oh poor me, who was led astray by the impulse of my anger, so that reasons rule was cast aside! Ah sweet Victoria, by my departure I did this, the fault is mine alone, the punishment is owed to me, not to you. Can I live with you dead? With you dead live? Why do you sink down thus to the ground? Why do you not look at Fidelis? Open those eyes, let those eyes, once so welcome to me, not be extinguished by sorrow’s swift shadows. Open your eyes, I say, and behold your weeping Fidelis. Either live, that I may live, or abandon life together with me. If I cannot live with you, I do not wish to live without you. And oh would, would that according to the laws of the Fates my death might be my Victoria’s life. But what help in pouring forth a flood of tears. The laws of the Fates are preserved by immutable necessity. And so I shall die. You shall will not live, and yet I shall die, that with my body I may at last celebrate the funeral rites of Victoria. For it is just that those whom love first joined together, and hatred has sundered, death should join together again with its eternal bond. But, Victoria, once my life and my salvation, I pray that, no matter how much this happened by my doing, yet you will not scorn these your final death-honors. And, if an afflicted heart should deserve mercy, have pity on my afflicted breast. Nor let it displease you that this tongue of mine, near to failing, has so often called out “Victoria.” Now it will make an ending to its plaints, and in the last extremity gather the final remains of your countenance, albeit dead, yet most serene, the remains of your lips, once most sweet to me, the remains of your eyes, which once pierced my heart. Take now these final kisses from Fidelis, these final tears shed for your sake, these final sighs taken for the love of you. [She stirs.] Oh, her spirit is still in her body!
VICT. Alas.
FID. Do not thus despair. Breathe and live, Victoria.
VICT. Ah let me die.
FID. But I want you to live. I must grieve for both of us, for this has occurred by my doing.
VICT. Help me, I pray.
FID. Has your mind’s anxiety passed?
VICT. It has passed, Fidelis.
FID. See that you care for yourself. I’ll meet with Cornelius. Have no fear, he’ll forgive you, Victoria.
VICT. For this I am in your debt. [Exit Fidelis.]


VICT. Virgina, come out.
VIRG. Did you send Attilia away from the house?
VICT. Not at all.
VIRG. Assuredly she’s fled. For her room’s empty and she’s not at home.
VICT. As she wants, it doesn’t matter. But do you know what I did? While I pretended to be dead, while I poured out false tears, I so moved him that he decided to die together with me.
VIRG. As the gods love me I rejoice, mistress.
VICT. So hurry as fast as you can to meet Frangipetra, and tell him that he should by no means do as I instructed. You know what I want
VIRG. I suppose that Fidelis not be placed in danger.


WATCH. 1 You can’t blame anybody but yourself. You confessed the whole thing before the judge.
ON. Fear compelled me to say that about myself, though I hardly did it.
WATCH 2 Come on, move along.
ON. Whither, why, and how long are you dragging me thus?
WATCH. 1 To the dungeon, so that tomorrow you may pay the penalty in the place where you committed the theft.
ON. Please allow, good sirs, that I be permitted to say a few words by way of preface before I depart this life.
WATCH. 2 If you get them over with quickly.
ON. Thus I shall do, at least if a short oration gets through to you.
He groaned, and stretching the palms of his two hands skyward
He said with such a voice:
O mighty Fortune, how variable!
O savage Fortune, how intractable.

O Fortune’s chance, why are you not the same to all men?
I, Onophrius, coryphaeus of lyricists, amplifier of Calepini, corrector of the Cornucopia, annotator of Ovid, censor of Vergil, preceptor of Fidelis, teacher of youth, am being dragged through villages, through cities, through towns, having suffered jail, having suffered pains, about to suffer the gallows, about to suffer woundings. Why do I lack the steel to run my breast through? Fairer to die with dignity than live without praise. As our Vergil says: “They wish to suffer death for praise.”
WATCH.2 You ought to be ashamed of yourself, you ought to finish.
ON. Oh pity me, oh you pity me, my friends, I beseech you. For, by the faith of gods and men, what but prayers remain.
We who have existence worldly
In a cess of sins and vices
Have now suffered shipwreck.
Glorious saint from o’er the mountains
Bring us to the port of safety
Where there’s peace and glory.


FID. So far I can’t find Cornelius. I’ve decided to wait for him until he returns home.
ON. Ah master Fidelis, rescue me, free me from iniquitous men.
FID. Why are you wearing that costume, you evil thing, and what do these gentlemen want?
ON. Cato says to “interleave pleasures with your cares.” So, after I changed my clothes for the sake of recreation, and I wandered about last night plunged deep in thought, these men arrested me as a thief and threatened to beat me with rods as a robber. You yourself know that I am a man of upright life, innocent of crime.
VIRG. (Returning from Frangipetra.) Mistress, the robber and Attilia were arrested together.
FID. What has he stolen?
WATCH. 1 Some clothes.
FID. This is a man of demonstrated probity, and I won’t suffer that violence be done to him.
ON. Continue as you have begun, great-minded Fidelis. Don’t tolerate it that he who gave you instructions in belles lettres should be visited with such a notable insult.
VICT. This man stole the clothes from me, Fidelis, but because he’s your friend I gladly forgive him.
FID. But he didn’t steal anything, Victoria. Now I’ll explain the truth of the matter. Meanwhile, why have you arrested her?
WATCH. 2 We found her wandering around with those rags, which we would assume she has stolen from somewhere unless her mistress would have it otherwise.
FID. First of all, Victoria, learn this from me. When my Narcissus fell in love with your Attilia and could not possess her, he made an attempt on her by art. Wearing these clothes, he begged food at your door. She opened it up, he got in, I don’t know what they did afterwards. This is enough, that at Marcellus’ arrival he took fright and fled like a thief, in order to keep Attilia safe.
VICT. Really, you whipping-post, did you introduce some man into my house to pollute it with such a foul stain of crime? You’ll get what you deserve.
ATT. I did this with a good intention, mistress. He asked for food, I took pity on a pauper, as I always do, but as soon as he got in he shut the door and used violence on me. When I wanted to scream, he swore that the business would become public.
VICT. An honorable excuse!
ATT. He plighted me his troth.
VICT. What? That he’d marry you?
ATT. Yes. He’s my man, and my husband. And when that Onophrius knocked on our door I, thinking him to be Narcissus, brought out all that I own to flee with him.
FID. This is less wicked than I had thought. So to be less troublesome, Victoria, go inside. The clothing will be given back to you, and I’ll easily ward off what you hope I will. You know what I mean. But forgive her. (He speaks of Attilia.)
VICT. Let her go free.
WATCH. 1 Let her, indeed.
VICT. But pray be mindful of me, Fidelis.
FID. I’ll do it, and I’ll accomplish it.
VICT. So let us go, Virginia. But what about the thing I commanded you?
VIRG. He ran off somewhere or other, nor did he dare attempt anything.
FID. Unless I’m mistaken, you have witnessed the man’s uprightness. So free him.
WATCH. 2 He confessed to his crime before the judge, who bade us lock up in the dungeon.
ON. Fear of torment made me speak (“torment,” so-called because it gives you mental torture).
FID. Now I want you to understand this, Onophrius, I’ve forgiven Victoria and become reconciled with her, and at the same time I’m going to bring it about that Cornelius forgives her too. So it shouldn’t seem strange if I take care of you, for I’m free from that frenzy of anger which blinded my eyes so that I didn’t like your advice. But you, good sirs, take him back to the judge. Explain the whole matter, and ask him in my name to let this man off, an honorable fellow and quite upright.


BARB. (In the house.) Oh the crime, oh the fates! Sancta, come here. Pray help me.

Medusa and Fortunius exit, Octavius follows, wearing a tunic, holding a sword, Sancta a lamp, Pamphila a spit, etc.

WATCH. 1 What’s this noise that fills my ears?
SANCTA (In the house.) Open the door, rascal.
BARB. Woe for unhappy me!
OCT. Bring help, bring help!
FID. I’ll move away a bit.
WATCH. 2 Grab him tight. What’s new? What have these people stolen from you?
OCT. I’ve no idea at all. I was in bed. What happened to you, Barbara?
BARB. Nothing worse could happen.
OCT. What’s that?
BARB. This criminal got in with this bad girl’s help, and raped me.
OCT. You’ll play the price with your blood.
WATCH. 2 But watch out, Octavianus. Make haste slowly.
OCT. Ah traitress, is this how you display your loyalty to me?
MED. Don’t wax angry at me thus, Octavianus. The young man persuaded me that Barbara was joined to him by tacit agreement and a secret pact of love. So, as best I could, I did that which would be welcome to both of them, and got him inside.
BARB. I know of no agreement, nor of any pact of love, nor have I ever seen him in my life before today.
FORT. But that’s not true, don’t say that, Barbara.
FID. You did this, Fortunius?
OCT. Is this how you are in the habit of treating your friends, Fortunius? Take him to jail, I say.
FID. Now I can repay you tit for tat, Fortunius.
FORT. But what are you doing? We conspired between ourselves.
FID. Octavianus, if it’s no trouble, pray listen to me. What’s done cannot be undone. If you endanger Fortunius’ life, what advantage will there be? And this won’t wash the blot from your daughter. But come over here a bit. [Aside to Octavianus.] Fortunius’ money and wealth, his breeding and ancestry far surpass yours.
OCT. I don’t deny it.
FID. So it will turn out quite conveniently if he marries the girl.
OCT. I’m quite willing, if Fortunius would agree.
FID. I’ll take care of it. [Aloud.] Think to yourself about these things carefully, Fortunius. You committed an act of violence. You’ve been caught, as you see. It’s necessary that either punishment or death be inflicted on you, if the thing comes before a judge. So I think it’s best if you take her as your wife. Thus you will be taking excellent heed both for your own life and for her shame.
FORT. Since the thing’s come down to this, I agree with you. But I fear she might not agree.
FID. But have no fear of this. Barbara, you see what happened to you, you see the broken bonds of our love. Therefore don’t spurn this noble young Fortunius. Thus you’ll free your father’s mind from this troubles, remove the danger from Fortunius himself, and wash away this blot you’ve accidentally acquired. And you will have done me a great favor.
BARB. Since this pleases you, Fidelis, yes, let it be. I have no tongue with which to deny you whatever you ask.
FID. You have my thanks. So now, so that it will be happy and propitious, embrace each other.
FORT. I promise you this, I shall always hold you dear. But I would not want you to place the love you have shown for Fidelis to come before my honor and your duty.
BARB. If I could have loved him, who always rejected me, far more will I love my lover and my husband.
OCT. My sons, thanks be to the gods that the matter has turned out so happily. Let’s go inside. For the chill and the night bother me. Farewell, Fidelis.
FID. And you too, Octavianus.
FORT. Since this has happen to us thanks to your effort, you’ll stay with us tonight, Medusa, and afterwards never. Thank you, Fidelis.
FID. Let your undertaking prosper, Fortunius.
MED. Time will show what I have achieved, and make me far more dear to you.
WATCH. 1 And we have been waiting for some reward.
FID. Farewell. (Gives them money.)


FID. How does this thing strike you, Narcissus?
NARC. I admire the excellence of your nature, master, that you not only forgive your enemies, but even have a thought for their safety and dignity. And you have scorned Barbara, so very loving of you, lest you break faith with that faithless woman. I wouldn’t do this, I’d sling Fortunius in jail and possess Barbara by myself.
FID. But I have no doubt about Barbara, Narcissus. She has him as a husband, me as her lover. Rather, this is done so I may clear Victoria.
NARC. That truly befits a magnanimous man. But why this sudden change of sentiment?
FID. She sent for me. On the point of death, she fell at my feet, asked for forgiveness, and obtained it.
NARC. Great is the power of a woman, which can soften steel and provoke the placid!
FID. I often feel this is true in my own case. But to disentangle Victoria, what if I tell the thing in the order it was done? For your theft is revealed, and Attilia is claiming you as her own.
NARC. Excellent. But we must do this thing so that Cornelius doesn’t find out.
FID. I know what you mean, he won’t find out. I’ll approach him astutely.
NARC. But hey, master, he’s here. Act so that your facial expressions match my words.
FID. And shouldn’t I have known about this beforehand, Narcissus?
NARC. I had no suspicion that it would turn out badly.
FID. Alas, the commotions you’ve stirred up, you scoundrel!
NARC. I’m very earnestly sorry.
CORN. Fidelis is angry at his servant. What’s new?
FID. She’ll die undeservedly, and Cornelius will justly hound me with his hatred, because he’s lost his chaste and modest Victoria. Alas poor me, and alas much poorer you who told me these things.
CORN. Unless I’m mistaken, they’re talking about my affair, nor has my Victoria deserved anything.
NARC. Master, if I’d known this beforehand I’d have died before I went to see her. But since what’s past cannot be recalled, we should take precautions lest what’s in the future doesn’t come to pass.
FID. And what opportunity is left me for precautions?
NARC. That you explain the entire business to Cornelius.
CORN. I’ll draw nearer.
FID. But he won’t believe me.
CORN. What are you doing here, Fidelis?
FID. Something or other of no consequence.
CORN. Why are you so sad and gloomy?
FID. Why do I strike you that way, Cornelius?
CORN. Why? Because your expression betrays sorrow.
FID. There are two people who turn not just me, but the whole world topsy-turvy, Fortune and Love. He’s a blind boy, she a headstrong woman.
CORN. Very much like my wife.
FID. Would that she were, then the world would be less wordly. But what’s that you have in your hands?
CORN. This is poison, which will do away with my Victoria.
FID. But your wife, Cornelius, is modest and most deserving of life.
CORN. What? Doesn’t she deserve death for what she has committed?
FID. She has committed nothing. It’s my mistake, not hers.
CORN. So what have you to say about the man who went out of my house?
FID. He was my servant Narcissus who, since he loved your Attilia, went to meet her, and whom we observed coming out of the house in that way.
CORN. But how could you have discovered this?
FID. From Attilia herself, of course.
CORN. Where is this Narcissus. Let me confront the fellow.
FID. Narcissus, come closer.
NARC. Forgive me, Cornelius, I beg you.
CORN. Tell me in a word how the matter stood.
NARC. I loved Attilia. I came at the appointed hour. The job completed, I left.
CORN. But when you were leaving my house did you say nothing?
NARC. As far as I know, nothing.
CORN. So why did you call out the name of my wife Victoria?
FID [Aside.] Everything’s ruined.
NARC. Oh now I remember that when I was leaving I said “Oh victory, far most delightful victory, who this night have loaded me down with so many joys.” For since I campaigned long in Love’s army, yet was unable to possess Attilia, when at last she complied with my wishes, I seemed to myself to have won a most delightful victory. So, because I was the victor in love’s battle, I said “victory,” not because I was calling to your wife, Cornelius.
CORN. Attilia, come out. I’ll see what monster they’re nourishing.
FID. [Aside.] By your effort I’m rescued.
NARC. [Aside.] If Victoria had any other name, I’d have been ruined completely.
ATT. Why do you want me, master?
CORN. Do you know this man?
ATT. How couldn’t I know him, since he’s my husband?
CORN. But how did you celebrate the nuptials with me unawares?
ATT. He told me of his love, he seized me with his hand, he promised I’d be his wife if I held my silence.
NARC. I came to you, I admit, but as to a whore, Attilia. I never promised you anything except my love.
ATT. Don’t you remember, good sir, when I began to scream so as to get rid of you, you promised me a marriage if I held my silence?
NARC. By Hercules, you’re not considering your interests well, Attilia. For this is certain, if I marry you, you must supply me with clothing, food, and even money at your expense. As you see, I carry everything I own with me. Therefore —
ATT. Why “therefore”?
NARC. Therefore you will have to work and work some more, Attilia.
ATT. As if I’m a habitual lady of leisure!
NARC. So be mine, if so you wish. I’m not resisting.
CORN. How often human judgment fails!
FID. But it’s best that the business becomes public.
CORN. So since you, Narcissus, brought this matter to light, no matter how notable an injury you did me, I forgive you, but upon this condition, that you take Attilia as your wife.
NARC. I take her gladly, and my thanks to you.


ON. But we should rejoice.
FID. Onophrius, I rejoice, as the gods should love me, that you escaped their clutches.
ON. I give thanks to your amplitude, Fidelis. For I am unable to give infinite thanks. But what’s this? What have you do with these humans (both of the masculine and feminine gender) beneath Jove’s cold sky? If it is well with you, then I fare well too.
FID. Now, Onophrius, we are celebrating the wedding of my Narcissus with his Attilia.
ON. I congratulate you, I rejoice to myself.
CORN. Since it’s happened that Onophrius has arrived so opportunely, would that he would celebrate this new wedding with a festive poem.
FID. Good advice. Allow me to pray you, Onophrius, that would compose an epithalamium for us.
ON. An epithalamium? Oh, you want me to perform the office of a bridal attendant? Yes, gladly. But, in that I may not only satisfy every duty, or rather gesture of piety towards you in all other points, but also have consideration for my honor and reputation, grant me time and space for cogitation. For I must employ choice words, not common ones, in evoking Thallasius and Hymenaeus. But this vile costume of mine is more suitable for invoking the Furies (let there be no omen in my word) than the marriage-god. But at your request, Fidelis and Cornelius, this night I shall stay awake until cock-crow in poring over the pages of Zwingerus. If you would come back tomorrow, good spectators, by your good leave you will hear Onophrius’ epithalamium. But in the meanwhile, live, thrive, and applaud.