Gil Perez, The Gallician Monologue
|Gil Perez, The Gallician Monologue by Pedro Calderón de la Barca|
- MANUEL: Listen, Gil.
- You, I am sure, remember (time and absence
- Cannot have washed so much from memory)
- The pleasant time when you were last at Lisbon,
- And graced my house by making it your home.
- I need not tell of all we did and talk'd,
- Save what concerns me now; of the fair lady
- You knew me then enamour'd of, (how deeply
- I need not say--being a Portuguese,
- Which saying, all is said)--Donna Juana,
- At whose mere name I tremble, as some seer
- Smit with the sudden presence of his God.
- Two years we lived in the security
- Of mutual love, with so much jealousy
- (Without which love is scarcely love at all)
- As served to freshen up its sleeping surface,
- But not to stir its depths. Ah, dangerous
- To warm the viper, or, for idle sport,
- Trust to the treacherous sea--sooner or later
- They turn upon us; so these jealousies
- I liked to toy with first turn'd upon me;
- When suddenly a rich young cavalier,
- Well graced with all that does and ought to please,
- (For I would not revenge me with my tongue
- Upon his name, but with my sword in 's blood,)
- Demanded her in marriage of her father;
- Who being poor, and bargains quickly made
- 'Twixt avarice and wealth, quickly agreed.
- The wedding day drew nigh that was to be
- The day of funeral too--mixed dance and dirge,
- And grave the bridal chamber both in one.
- The guests were met; already night began
- Loose the full tide of noisy merriment,
- When I strode in; straight through the wedding throng
- Up to the bride and bridegroom where they were,
- And, seizing her with one hand, with the other
- Struck him a corpse; and daring all, to die
- Fighting, or fighting carry off my prize,
- Carried her off; lifted her on a horse
- I had outside; struck spur; and lightning-like
- Away, until we reach'd the boundary
- Of Portugal, and, safe on Spanish ground,
- At last drew breath and bridle. Then on hither,
- Where I was sure of refuge in the arms
- Of my old friend Gil Perez; whom I pray
- Not so much on the score of an old friendship,
- So long and warm, but as a fugitive
- Asking protection at his generous hands--
- A plea the noble never hear in vain.
- Nor for myself alone, but for my lady
- Who comes with me, and whom I just have left
- Under the poplars by the river-side,
- Till I had told my news, and heard your answer.
- A servant whom we met with on the way,
- Pointed your house out--whither, travel-tired,
- Press'd for my life, and deep in love with her
- I bring, as curst by those I left behind,
- And trusting him I come to.
Credits: Reprinted from Eight Dramas of Calderon. Trans. Edward Fitzgerald. London: Macmillan & Co., 1906.