from El Vergonzoso en Palacio

We present this work in honor of the 375th anniversary of the poet’s death.

Tirso de Molina
1579 – 1648


Have you told your lady of your love? – I have not dared to. – So she has never found out? – I don’t doubt that she’s seen the flame of love in my infatuated eyes, which cry out in silence. – The tongue should perform that task; otherwise it may as well be a foreign jargon. Has she not given you occasion to declare yourself? – So much so, that my shyness amazes me. – Speak, then. Any delay can only hurt your love. – I’m afraid to lose by speaking what I enjoy by keeping quiet. – That’s just foolish. A wise man once compared a mute lover to a Flemish painting that’s always kept rolled up. The painter won’t get very far unless he shows his paintings to the public, so they can admire and buy them. The court is no place for reticence. Unroll your painting so it may be sold. No one can cure you if you won’t tell them what’s wrong. – Yes, my lady. But the inequality between us holds me back. – Isn’t love a god? – Yes, my lady. – Well then, speak, for the laws of the god are absolute, toppling the mightiest monarchs and leveling crowns and clogs. Tell me who you love, and I’ll be your go-between. – I don’t dare. – Why not? Am I not fit to be your messenger? – No, but I’m afraid… Oh, god! – What if I say her name? Would you tell me if she is, by any chance… me? – My lady, yes. – Let me finish! And you are jealous of the Count of Vasconcelos, right? – It’s hopeless. He is your equal, my lady, and the heir of Braganza. – Equality and likeness don’t come down to whether a lover is noble, humble or poor, but to an affinity of soul and will. Make yourself clear from now on, don Dionís, I urge you. When it comes to games of love, it’s better to go over than to undershoot the mark. For a long time now I’ve preferred you to the Count of Vasconcelos.

Translation by Ben Sachs-Hamilton

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