Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Lovers
By Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600–1681)
From ‘The Secret in Words’: Translation of Denis Florence Mac Carthy
  [Flerida, the Duchess of Parma, is in love with her secretary Frederick. He loves her lady, Laura. Both Frederick and Laura are trying to keep their secret from the Duchess.]

FREDERICK—Has Flerida questioned you
Aught about my love?
  Fabio—                        No, surely;
But I have made up my mind
That you are the prince of dunces,
Not to understand her wish.        5
  Frederick—Said she something, then, about me?
  Fabio—Ay, enough.
  Frederick—            Thou liest, knave!
Wouldst thou make me think her beauty,
Proud and gentle though it be,
Which might soar e’en like the heron        10
To the sovereign sun itself,
Could descend with coward pinions
At a lowly falcon’s call?
  Fabio—Well, my lord, just make the trial
For a day or two; pretend        15
That you love her, and—
  Frederick—                        Supposing
That there were the slightest ground
For this false, malicious fancy
You have formed, there’s not a chink
In my heart where it might enter,—        20
Since a love, if not more blest,
Far more equal than the other
Holds entire possession there.
  Fabio—Then you never loved this woman
At one time?
  Frederick—            No!
  Fabio—                Then avow—
  Fabio—        That you were very lazy.
  Frederick—That is falsehood, and not love.
  Fabio—The more the merrier!
  Frederick—                        In two places
How could one man love?
  Fabio—                    Why, thus:—
Near the town of Ratisbon        30
Two conspicuous hamlets lay,—
One of them called Ageré,
The other called Mascárandón.
These two villages one priest,
An humble man of God, ’tis stated,        35
Served; and therefore celebrated
Mass in each on every feast.
And so one day it came to pass,
A native of Mascárandón
Who to Ageré had gone        40
About the middle of the mass,
Heard the priest in solemn tone
Say, as he the Preface read,
“Gratias ageré,” but said
Nothing of Mascárandón.        45
To the priest this worthy made
His angry plaint without delay:
“You give best thanks for Ageré,
As if your tithes we had not paid!”
When this sapient reason reached        50
The noble Mascárandónese,
They stopped their hopeless pastor’s fees,
Nor paid for what he prayed or preached;
He asked his sacristan the cause,
Who told him wherefore and because.        55
From that day forth when he would sing
The Preface, he took care t’intone,
Not in a smothered or weak way,
“Tibi semper et ubique
Gratias—Mascárandón!”        60
If from love,—that god so blind,—
Two parishes thou holdest, you
Are bound to gratify the two;
And after a few days you’ll find,
If you do so, soon upon        65
You and me will fall good things,
When your Lordship sweetly sings
Flerída et Mascárandón.
  Frederick—Think you I have heard your folly?
  Fabio—If you listened, why not so?        70
  Frederick—No: my mind can only know
Its one call of melancholy.
  Fabio—Since you stick to Ageré
And reject Mascárandón,
Every hope, I fear, is gone,        75
That love his generous dues will pay.

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