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but not the consonants,)-or in consonantes or complete rhymes, (the first line rhyming with the fourth, and the second with the third.) These are occasionally varied by the introduction of other forms of versification, many of a very intricate and complex nature. Even the sonnet is frequently employed in soliloquies, or in those effusions of gallantry which are so frequent in the Spanish drama. After many experiments, we feel satisfied that the assonance, as used on the Spanish stage, is undistinguishable in English, while the principle which requires that the same assonance, if once begun, shall be continued throughout the scene,
though consisting of several hundred lines, would render its adoption too irksome to be practicable in English poetry. We have therefore substituted, for the assonances of the original, unrhymed trochaics as the nearest approach to the effect of the Spanish;
the other forms of versification which occur in the original, we have endeavoured to transfer to our translation.
A few words of explanation, added to the names of the characters, will be sufficient to give an idea of their position at the commencement of the play: after which the development of the action proceeds simply and rapidly. The personages of the play are,
(in love, without knowing her, with)
(a young widow, the sister, and living in the house of) (the friend and former companion in arms of DON MANUEL, and the brother of)
(in love, but without success, with) —
(the cousin and friend of ANGELA-in love with Don Juan,
(the servant of DONA ANGELA.)
The opening of the play affords a good instance of the skill with which Calderon at once introduces the reader into the action of the play, and excites, from the first moment, an interest in the fortunes of his personages, which goes on increasing to the last. The scene is a Street in Madrid; the time November 1623, being the baptismal day of the Infante Balthazar, the son of Philip IV.
DON MANUEL and his servant CosME appear in travelling dresses.
Cosm. Well, since we have miss'd the revels
By an hour, let us endeavour
Not to miss our quarters next
By an hour; for says the proverb,
Even the Moor Abindarraez,
Knocking late without must bait.
And I'm dying till I see
This same friend, that thus receives you
Loverlike, at bed and board,
Without knowing how or wherefore
D. Man. 'Tis Don Juan de Toledo,
He became my ensign; then
Dwell not on such obligations.
Through the town, my path enquiring.
Mules and baggage, forth I fared
Stopp'd a while to learn the reason,
Enter hastily DONA ANGELA and her servant ISABEL veiled. D. Ang. If, as your look announces,
Cavalier, you bear within you
Knightly gifts, and noble bearing,
From misusage, from exposure;
[The women hurry out.
What mean you,
D. Man. First, by some device to stay him :But, if that be unavailing,
Then by force to stop pursuit,
Still from him the cause concealing.
Cosm. Some device! Then I'm your man. One suggests itself already.
See, this note of introduction
From a friend, shall serve our purpose.
[DON MANUEL retires to the background.
DON LUIS and his servant RODRIGO enter. D. Luis. This veil'd fair I must discover, Were it only that she strives
With such effort to escape me.
Rod. Follow, and you'll soon detect her.
Cosm. (coming forward and addressing DON LUIS.)
Señor, though of this intrusion
I'm ashamed, perhaps your highness
Would be kind enough to read me
How this letter is directed.
D. Luis. Hence-I have not leisure now.
I have leisure in abundance,
Quite enough to spare for both.
D. Luis. Hence, my patience is exhausted.
D. Man. (Aside.) No longer
D. Luis. I answer neither
I have yet to learn. Farewell.
[Drives him to one side.
D. Man. Señor, if my honour needed
Even your arrogance may trust me
When I ask'd how he had injured,
Wrong'd, or troubled you, the question
Courtesy in courts should harbour
Give not yours so poor a name,
That a stranger's tongue must teach you
Lessons ye yourselves should know.
D. Luis. Who shall say I could not better Teach that lesson ?
Rod. (To Cosm.) Draw your sword too!
Venture from its virgin scabbard!
Till drawn forth by marriage license.
DON JUAN appears at the door of one of the houses in the street. DONA BEATRICE endeavouring to detain him. D. Juan. Beatrice, unhand me!
Times I wish the hurt were mine!
Cos. Bless us, what a courteous quarrel!
D. Juan. Come, and let your wound be look'd to. You, Don Luis, must remain.
D. Luis. (aside.) How provoking That my efforts to discover
This veiled fair are all in vain!
Cos. (aside.) Oh! how richly does my master Merit what he got, to teach him
Not to play Don Quixote here.
[Exit, following his Master.
DONA BEATRICE and CLARA re-enter from the house.
D. Luis. Lady, now the storm is over,
Let the roses of your beauty
Bloom again, which lay so lately
Of a swoon.
It is not Don Juan: were it
He that had been hurt, I should not
Stand so patiently beside you.
Calm these terrors: 'twere unjust,
Since my brother is uninjured,
That your breast with anxious fears
Mine with grief-should thus be haunted:
Grief, for such it is, to see you
So distress'd, so overmaster'd,
By the imaginary fears
Which so idly cloud your mind.
Beat. Well you know, Señor Don Luis,
That I value your attentions
Justly, both as proofs of love,
And because they come from you;