Castelvines y Monteses (Cosens)/Act 1/Scene 1

Castelvines y Monteses  (1869)  by Lope de Vega, translated by F. W. Cosens
Act I, Scene I



Scene I.Street in Verona.

Anselmo, Roselo, and Marin.


THE house is all ablaze,
The noise of revel fast and furious.

Roselo. Some son or daughter weds, mayhap.

Anselmo. No doubt a wedding or betrothal feast.

Roselo. Marin, go, enter thou, and see thy looks
Be guarded, and thy tongue discreet.

Marin. And for my pains to clear the scraps
From off the dirty platters they have left,
Shall I go venture 'mid our deadliest foes,
That I may tattle of the sight?

Roselo. Who, thinkest thou, will ever care
To note thy entrance or thy exit there?

Marin. Dark deeds have ever witnesses at hand.
This hated house of Castelvin—

Roselo. Thy chicken's heart doth fail thee, then, Marin.

Marin. Bah! would that all Castelvin's brood were here,
And each with temper'd blade unsheathed!
I, with my cloak and rapier keen,
Would single-handed show
What deeds mine own good arm
Could compass at a stretch.
But to be trapp'd behind the closed doors
Seems but at best a currish misadventure.

Anselmo. If, then, thy fancy leads thee on
To look upon this wedding rout,
And join Castelvin and his merry guests,
Go, don thy mask, and enter boldly in,
As one who claims Castelvin blood or kin.

Roselo. Some risk of question—

Anselmo. Nay, nay! who'll seek to question thee,
Or care to know thy business there.

Roselo. Come, then, Anselmo! let us in.
I'd look upon these merry maids.

Anselmo. And find a paradise of fair women,
Where danger lurks for heart and life
I' the liquid motion of a lady's eye.
Thy father leader of the Montes is,
And will not brook within his walls
The name Castelvin or his kin,
Or he doth rage as one with crazéd tongue.
Antonio, in whose house this revel rings,
Is, as thou know'st, chief of Castelvin's band,
And a deep hater of the house of Montes.

Roselo. And yet is heaven passing just, to give
To Montes men the valour, while
Castelvin's women are so fair, you'd say
The die which seraphims did stamp
Had moulded each;—
These feuds, methinks, should end by wedding torch.
Then would Italia envious be
Of brave Verona's chivalry.

Marin. I, not only as Verona's son, but man,
Am troubled, bored, and plagued to see
The ills this cankered hatred breeds;
The very dogs do snarl and bite,
As, wandering up and down your streets,
They by Castelvin's or Monteses' men are held.
Each varlet struts with muzzled hound in leash,—
Free, and their teeth were swords,
What work they'd give the Alguazils!
Your cats with discords music hail,
Companions of the Montes' or Castelvins' kin;
Scratching in kitchens low, on house-flats high,
They spit and claw as they were flesh and blood.
Then come the cocks, who stately strut and crow
In rival bands, and ever live at war;
For let a cock of Montes' brood but crow,
Thirty Castelvines rush to dizzy heights,
And crack their throats in chorus.

Roselo. Thy tongue, Marin, scarce matches with thy wit;
And yet some wisdom holds thy nimble tongue.

Marin. Thy word and deed a match unseemly and unwise;
Thou seek'st to enter yonder palace gate: you know
There every man's thy sworn and deadly foe;
And will revenge upon our luckless heads
The ills they've ever known or thought.
Should my advice deter from such mad freak,
I'd say my words held wit and wisdom too.

Roselo. Thanks, good Marin, but I must even have
Mine own free fancy unmolested go,
Despising that which men call easy gain,
I'd climb a much more cragged path.
Anselmo, if thou think'st my fancy crazed,
Bear with me in my folly.
Annul for once thy humour sage,
And help me in my mad one.
I know thou think'st this freak most rash,
And one which courts both bloodshed and dismay;
But come, let's don our masks and cloaks,
And enter where the shadows thickest fall,
That so, unheeded, we may feast our eyes,
And note the blithsome dancers in disguise.

Anselmo. Our masks and dresses will good passports be.
Come, then; I see the storied beauty of the dames
Hath fired thy quick-pulsed blood.

Roselo. Seeing not, I fain would see,
So senseless folly thrusts on me.

Anselmo. I believe this folly fits thy fancy well.

Marin. Now I do wager ye will both return
With discontent upon your faces writ.

Roselo. Wishes are whetted by the dangers hid;
I long for pleasures prudence doth forbid.