by , translated by Roscoe Mongan
ACT THE FIRST.
Scene I.--CHIMÈNE and ELVIRA.
Elvira, have you given me a really true report? Do you
conceal nothing that my father has said?
All my feelings within me are still delighted with it. He
esteems Rodrigo as much as you love him; and if I do not misread his
mind, he will command you to respond to his passion.
Tell me then, I beseech you, a second time, what makes you
believe that he approves of my choice; tell me anew what hope I ought to
entertain from it. A discourse so charming cannot be too often heard;
you cannot too forcibly promise to the fervor of our love the sweet
liberty of manifesting itself to the light of day. What answer has he
given regarding the secret suit which Don Sancho and Don Rodrigo are
paying to you? Have you not too clearly shown the disparity between the
two lovers which inclines me to the one side?
No; I have depicted your heart as filled with an
indifference which elates not either of them nor destroys hope, and,
without regarding them with too stern or too gentle an aspect, awaits the
commands of a father to choose a spouse. This respect has delighted
him--his lips and his countenance gave me at once a worthy testimony of
it; and, since I must again tell you the tale, this is what he hastened
to say to me of them and of you: 'She is in the right. Both are worthy
of her; both are sprung from a noble, valiant, and faithful lineage;
young but yet who show by their mien [_lit._ cause to easily be read
in their eyes] the brilliant valor of their brave ancestors. Don Rodrigo,
above all, has no feature in his face which is not the noble [_lit._
high] representative of a man of courage [_lit._ heart], and descends
from a house so prolific in warriors, that they enter into life [_lit._
take birth there] in the midst of laurels. The valor of his father, in
his time without an equal, as long as his strength endured, was
considered a marvel; the furrows on his brow bear witness to [_lit._
have engraved his] exploits, and tell us still what he formerly was. I
predict of the son what I have seen of the father, and my daughter, in
one word, may love him and please me.' He was going to the council, the
hour for which approaching, cut short this discourse, which he had
scarcely commenced; but from these few words, I believe that his mind
[_lit._ thoughts] is not quite decided between your two lovers. The king
is going to appoint an instructor for his son, and it is he for whom an
honor so great is designed. This choice is not doubtful, and his
unexampled valor cannot tolerate that we should fear any competition. As
his high exploits render him without an equal, in a hope so justifiable
he will be without a rival; and since Don Rodrigo has persuaded his
father, when going out from the council, to propose the affair. I leave
you to judge whether he will seize this opportunity [_lit._ whether he
will take his time well], and whether all your desires will soon be
It seems, however, that my agitated soul refuses this joy,
and finds itself overwhelmed by it. One moment gives to fate different
aspects, and in this great happiness I fear a great reverse.
You see this fear happily deceived.
Let us go, whatever it may be, to await the issue.
Scene II.--The INFANTA, LEONORA, and a PAGE.
_Infanta (to Page_). Page, go, tell Chimène from me, that to-day she is
rather long in coming to see me, and that my friendship complains of her
tardiness. [_Exit Page._]
Dear lady, each day the same desire urges you, and at your
interview with her, I see you every day ask her how her love proceeds.
It is not without reason. I have almost compelled her to
receive the arrows with which her soul is wounded. She loves Rodrigo,
and she holds him from my hand; and by means of me Don Rodrigo has
conquered her disdain. Thus, having forged the chains of these lovers, I
ought to take an interest in seeing their troubles at an end.
Dear lady, however, amidst their good fortune you exhibit a
grief which proceeds to excess. Does this love, which fills them both
with gladness, produce in this noble heart [of yours] profound sadness?
And does this great interest which you take in them render you unhappy,
whilst they are happy? But I proceed too far, and become indiscreet.
My sadness redoubles in keeping the secret. Listen, listen
at length, how I have struggled; listen what assaults my constancy
[_lit._ virtue or valor] yet braves. Love is a tyrant which spares no
one. This young cavalier, this lover which I give [her]--I love him.
You love him!
Place your hand upon my heart, and feel [_lit._ see] how it
throbs at the name of its conqueror! how it recognizes him!
Pardon me, dear lady, if I am wanting in respect in blaming
this passion; a noble princess to so far forget herself as to admit in
her heart a simple [_or_, humble] cavalier! And what would the King
say?--what would Castile say? Do you still remember of whom you are the
I remember it so well, that I would shed my blood rather than
degrade my rank. I might assuredly answer to thee, that, in noble souls,
worth alone ought to arouse passions; and, if my love sought to excuse
itself, a thousand famous examples might sanction it. But I will not
follow these--where my honor is concerned, the captivation of my
feelings does not abate my courage, and I say to myself always, that,
being the daughter of a king, all other than a monarch is unworthy of
me. When I saw that my heart could not protect itself, I myself gave
away that which I did not dare to take; and I put, in place of my self,
Chimène in its fetters, and I kindled their passions [_lit._ fires] in
order to extinguish my own. Be then no longer surprised if my troubled
soul with impatience awaits their bridal; thou seest that my happiness
[_lit._ repose] this day depends upon it. If love lives by hope, it
perishes with it; it is a fire which becomes extinguished for want of
fuel; and, in spite of the severity of my sad lot, if Chimène ever has
Rodrigo for a husband, my hope is dead and my spirit, is healed.
Meanwhile, I endure an incredible torture; even up to this bridal.
Rodrigo is dear to me; I strive to lose him, and I lose him with regret,
and hence my secret anxiety derives its origin. I see with sorrow that
love compels me to utter sighs for that [object] which [as a princess] I
must disdain. I feel my spirit divided into two portions; if my courage
is high, my heart is inflamed [with love]. This bridal is fatal to me, I
fear it, and [yet] I desire it; I dare to hope from it only an
incomplete joy; my honor and my love have for me such attractions, that
I [shall] die whether it be accomplished, or whether it be not
Dear lady, after that I have nothing more to say, except
that, with you, I sigh for your misfortunes; I blamed you a short time
since, now I pity you. But since in a misfortune [i.e. an ill-timed
love] so sweet and so painful, your noble spirit [_lit._ virtue]
contends against both its charm and its strength, and repulses its
assault and regrets its allurements, it will restore calmness to your
agitated feelings. Hope then every [good result] from it, and from the
assistance of time; hope everything from heaven; it is too just [_lit._
it has too much justice] to leave virtue in such a long continued
My sweetest hope is to lose hope.
(_The Page re-enters._)
_Page._ By your commands, Chimène comes to see you.
_Infanta_ (to _Leonora_). Go and converse with her in that gallery
Do you wish to continue in dreamland?
No, I wish, only, in spite of my grief, to compose myself
[_lit._ to put my features a little more at leisure]. I follow you.
[_Leonora goes out along with the Page._]
Scene III.--The INFANTA (alone).
Just heaven, from which I await my relief, put, at last, some limit to
the misfortune which is overcoming [_lit._ possesses] me; secure my
repose, secure my honor. In the happiness of others I seek my own. This
bridal is equally important to three [parties]; render its completion
more prompt, or my soul more enduring. To unite these two lovers with a
marriage-tie is to break all my chains and to end all my sorrows. But I
tarry a little too long; let us go to meet Chimène, and, by
conversation, to relieve our grief.
Scene IV.--COUNT DE GORMAS and DON DIEGO (meeting).
At last you have gained it [_or_, prevailed], and the favor of
a King raises you to a rank which was due only to myself; he makes you
Governor of the Prince of Castile.
This mark of distinction with which he distinguishes
[_lit._ which he puts into] my family shows to all that he is just, and
causes it to be sufficiently understood, that he knows how to recompense
However great kings may be, they are only men [_lit._ they are
that which we are]; they can make mistakes like other men, and this
choice serves as a proof to all courtiers that they know how to [_or_,
can] badly recompense present services.
Let us speak no more of a choice at which your mind
becomes exasperated. Favor may have been able to do as much as merit;
but we owe this respect to absolute power, to question nothing when a
king has wished it. To the honor which he has done me add another--let
us join by a sacred tie my house to yours. You have an only daughter,
and I have an only son; their marriage may render us for ever more than
friends. Grant us this favor, and accept, him as a son-in-law.
To higher alliances this precious son ought [_or_, is likely]
to aspire; and the new splendor of your dignity ought to inflate his
heart with another [higher] vanity. Exercise that [dignity], sir, and
instruct the prince. Show him how it is necessary to rule a province: to
make the people tremble everywhere under his law; to fill the good with
love, and the wicked with terror. Add to these virtues those of a
commander: show him how it is necessary to inure himself to fatigue; in
the profession of a warrior [_lit._ of Mars] to render himself without
an equal; to pass entire days and nights on horseback; to sleep
all-armed: to storm a rampart, and to owe to himself alone the winning
of a battle. Instruct him by example, and render him perfect, bringing
your lessons to his notice by carrying them into effect.
To instruct himself by example, in spite of your jealous
feelings, he shall read only the history of my life. There, in a long
succession of glorious deeds, he shall see how nations ought to be
subdued; to attack a fortress, to marshal an army, and on great exploits
to build his renown.
Living examples have a greater [_lit._ another] power. A
prince, in a book, learns his duty but badly [_or_, imperfectly]; and
what, after all, has this great number of years done which one of my
days cannot equal? If you have been valiant, I am so to-day, and this
arm is the strongest support of the kingdom. Granada and Arragon tremble
when this sword flashes; my name serves as a rampart to all Castile;
without me you would soon pass under other laws, and you would soon have
your enemies as [_lit._ for] kings. Each day, each moment, to increase
my glory, adds laurels to laurels, victory to victory. The prince, by my
side, would make the trial of his courage in the wars under the shadow
of my arm; he would learn to conquer by seeing me do so; and, to prove
speedily worthy of his high character, he would see----
I know it; you serve the king well. I have seen you fight
and command under me, when [old] age has caused its freezing currents to
flow within my nerves [i.e. "when the frosts of old age had numbed my
nerves"--_Jules Bue_], your unexampled [_lit._ rare] valor has worthily
[_lit._ well] supplied my place; in fine, to spare unnecessary words,
you are to-day what I used to be. You see, nevertheless, that in this
rivalry a monarch places some distinction between us.
That prize which I deserved you have carried off.
He who has gained that [advantage] over you has deserved it
He who can use it to the best advantage is the most worthy of
To be refused that prize [_lit._ it] is not a good sign.
You have gained it by intrigue, being an old courtier.
The brilliancy of my noble deeds was my only recommendation
Let us speak better of it [i.e. more plainly]: the king does
honor to your age.
The king, when he does it [i.e. that honor], gives it
[_lit._ measures it] to courage.
And for that reason this honor was due only to me [_lit._ my
He who has not been able to obtain it did not deserve it.
Did not deserve it? I!
Thy impudence, rash old man, shall have its recompense. [_He
gives him a slap on the face._] _Don Diego (drawing his sword [_lit._
putting the sword in his hand_]). Finish [this outrage], and take my
life after such an insult, the first for which my race has ever had
cause to blush [_lit._ has seen its brow grow red].
And what do you think you can do, weak us you are [_lit._ with
Oh, heaven! my exhausted strength fails me in this
Thy sword is mine; but thou wouldst be too vain if this
discreditable trophy had laden my hand [i.e. if I had carried away a
trophy so discreditable]. Farewell--adieu! Cause the prince to read, in
spite of jealous feelings, for his instruction, the history of thy life.
This just punishment of impertinent language will serve as no small
embellishment for it.
Scene V.--DON DIEGO.
O rage! O despair! O inimical old age! Have I then lived so long only
for this disgrace? And have I grown grey in warlike toils, only to see
in one day so many of my laurels wither? Does my arm [i.e. my valor],
which all Spain admires and looks up to [_lit._ with respect]--[does] my
arm, which has so often saved this empire, and so often strengthened
anew the throne of its king, now [_lit._ then] betray my cause, and do
nothing for me? O cruel remembrance of my bygone glory! O work of a
lifetime [_lit._ so many days] effaced in a day! new dignity fatal to my
happiness! lofty precipice from which mine honor falls! must I see the
count triumph over your splendor, and die without vengeance, or live in
shame? Count, be now the instructor of my prince! This high rank becomes
[_lit._ admits] no man without honor, and thy jealous pride, by this
foul [_lit._ remarkable] insult, in spite of the choice of the king, has
contrived [_lit._ has known how] to render me unworthy of it. And thou,
glorious instrument of my exploits, but yet a useless ornament of an
enfeebled body numbed by age [_lit._ all of ice], thou sword, hitherto
to be feared, and which in this insult has served me for show, and not
for defence, go, abandon henceforth the most dishonored [_lit._ the
last] of his race; pass, to avenge me, into better hands!
Scene VI.--DON DIEGO and DON RODRIGO.
Rodrigo, hast thou courage [_lit._ a heart]?
Any other than my father would have found that out
Welcome wrath! worthy resentment, most pleasing to my
grief! I recognize my blood in this noble rage; my youth revives in this
ardor so prompt. Come, my son, come, my blood, come to retrieve my
shame--come to avenge me!
Of an insult so cruel that it deals a deadly stroke
against the honor of us both--of a blow! The insolent [man] would have
lost his life for it, but my age deceived my noble ambition; and this
sword, which my arm can no longer wield, I give up to thine, to avenge
and punish. Go against this presumptuous man, and prove thy valor: it is
only in blood that one can wash away such an insult; die or slay.
Moreover, not to deceive thee, I give thee to fight a formidable
antagonist [_lit._ a man to be feared], I have seen him entirely covered
with blood and dust, carrying everywhere dismay through an entire army.
I have seen by his valor a hundred squadrons broken; and, to tell thee
still something more--more than brave soldier, more than great leader,
The father of Chimène.
Do not reply; I know thy love. But he who lives dishonored
is unworthy of life; the dearer the offender the greater the offence. In
short, thou knowest the insult, and thou holdest [in thy grasp the means
of] vengeance. I say no more to thee. Avenge me, avenge thyself! Show
thyself a son worthy of a father such as I [am]. Overwhelmed by
misfortunes to which destiny reduces me, I go to deplore them. Go, run,
fly, and avenge us!
Scene VII.--DON RODRIGO.
Pierced even to the depth [_or,_ bottom of the heart] by a blow
unexpected as well as deadly, pitiable avenger of a just quarrel and
unfortunate object of an unjust severity, I remain motionless, and my
dejected soul yields to the blow which is slaying me. So near seeing my
love requited! O heaven, the strange pang [_or,_ difficulty]! In this
insult my father is the person aggrieved, and the aggressor is the
father of Chimène!
What fierce conflicts [of feelings] I experience! My love is engaged
[_lit._ interests itself] against my own honor. I must avenge a father
and lose a mistress. The one stimulates my courage, the other restrains
my arm. Reduced to the sad choice of either betraying my love or of
living as a degraded [man], on both sides my situation is wretched
[_lit._ evil is infinite]. O heaven, the strange pang [_or,_
difficulty]! Must I leave an insult unavenged? Must I punish the father
Father, mistress, honor, love--noble and severe restraint--a bondage
still to be beloved [_lit._ beloved tyranny], all my pleasures are dead,
or my glory is sullied. The one renders me unhappy; the other unworthy
of life. Dear and cruel hope of a soul noble but still enamored, worthy
enemy of my greatest happiness, thou sword which causest my painful
anxiety, hast thou been given to me to avenge my honor? Hast thou been
given to me to lose Chimène?
It is better to rush [_lit._ run] to death. I owe [a duty] to my
mistress as well as to my father. I draw, in avenging myself, her hatred
and her rage; I draw upon myself his [i.e. my father's] contempt by
not avenging myself. To my sweetest hope the one [alternative] renders
me unfaithful, and the other [alternative] renders me unworthy of her.
My misfortune increases by seeking a remedy [_lit._ by wishing to cure
it]. All [supposed reliefs] redoubles my woes. Come then, my soul [or,
beloved sword], and, since I must die, let us die, at least, without
To die without obtaining satisfaction! To seek a death so fatal to my
fame! To endure that Spain should impute to my memory [the fact] of
having badly maintained the honor of my house! To respect a love of
which my distracted soul already sees the certain loss. Let us no more
listen to this insidious thought, which serves only to pain me [_or,_
contributes only to my painful position]. Come, mine arm [_or,_ sword],
let us save honor, at least, since, after all, we must lose Chimène.
Yes, my spirit was deceived. I owe all to my father before my mistress.
Whether I die in the combat or die of sadness, I shall yield up my blood
pure as I have received it. I already accuse myself of too much
negligence; let us haste to vengeance; and quite ashamed of having
wavered so much, let us no more be in painful suspense, since to-day my
father has been insulted, even though the offender is the father of
ACT THE SECOND.
Scene I.--COUNT DE GORMAS and DON ARIAS.
I acknowledge, between ourselves, [that] my blood, a little too
warm, became too excited at an expression, and has carried the matter
too far [_lit._ too high], but, since it is done, the deed is without
To the wishes of the King let this proud spirit yield; he
takes this much to heart, and his exasperated feelings [_lit._ heart]
will act against you with full authority. And, indeed, you have no
available defence. The [high] rank of the person offended, the greatness
of the offence, demand duties and submissions which require more than
The King can, at his pleasure, dispose of my life.
Your fault is followed by too much excitement. The King
still loves you; appease his wrath. He has said, "I desire it!"--will
Sir, to preserve all that esteem which I retain [_or,_ (other
reading), to preserve my glory and my esteem] to disobey in a slight
degree is not so great a crime, and, however great that [offence] may
be, my immediate services are more than sufficient to cancel it.
Although one perform glorious and important deeds, a King
is never beholden to his subject. You flatter yourself much, and you
ought to know that he who serves his King well only does his duty. You
will ruin yourself, sir, by this confidence.
I shall not believe you until I have experience of it [_lit._
until after experience of it].
You ought to dread the power of a King.
One day alone does not destroy a man such as I. Let all his
greatness arm itself for my punishment; all the state shall perish, if I
What! do you fear so little sovereign power----?
[The sovereign power] of a sceptre which, without me, would
fall from his hand. He himself has too much interest in my person, and
my head in falling would cause his crown to fall.
Permit reason to bring back your senses. Take good advice.
_Count_. The advice [_or,_ counsel] with regard to it is [already]
What shall I say, after all? I am obliged to give him an
account [of this interview].
[Say] that I can never consent to my own dishonor.
But think that kings will be absolute.
The die is cast, sir. Let us speak of the matter no more.
Adieu, then, sir, since in vain I try to persuade you.
Notwithstanding [_lit._ with] all your laurels, still dread the
I shall await it without fear.
But not without effect.
We shall see by that Don Diego satisfied. [_Exit Don Arias.]
[Alone]_ He who fears not death fears not threats. I have a heart
superior to the greatest misfortunes [_lit._ above the proudest
misfortunes]; and men may reduce me to live without happiness, but they
cannot compel me to live without honor.
Scene II.--The COUNT and DON RODRIGO.
Here, count, a word or two.
Relieve me from a doubt. Dost thou know Don Diego well?
Let us speak [in] low [tones]; listen. Dost thou know
that this old man was the very [essence of] virtue, valor, and honor in
his time? Dost thou know it?
This fire which I carry in mine eyes, knowest thou that
this is his blood? Dost thou know it?
What matters it to me?
Four paces hence I shall cause thee to know it.
Speak without exciting thyself. I am young, it is true;
but in souls nobly born valor does not depend upon age [_lit._ wait for
the number of years].
To measure thyself with me! Who [_or_, what] has rendered thee
so presumptuous--thou, whom men have never seen with a sword [_lit._
arms] in thine hand?
Men like me do not cause themselves to be known at a
second trial, and they wish [to perform] masterly strokes for their
Dost thou know well who I am?
Yes! Any other man except myself, at the mere mention of
thy name, might tremble with terror. The laurels with which I see thine
head so covered seem to bear written [upon them] the prediction of my
fall. I attack, like a rash man, an arm always victorious; but by
courage I shall overcome you [_lit._ I shall have too much strength in
possessing sufficient courage]. To him who avenges his father nothing is
impossible. Thine arm is unconquered, but not invincible.
This noble courage which appears in the language you hold has
shown itself each day by your eyes; and, believing that I saw in you the
honor of Castile, my soul with pleasure was destining for you my
daughter. I know thy passion, and I am delighted to see that all its
impulses yield to thy duty; that they have not weakened this magnanimous
ardor; that thy proud manliness merits my esteem; and that, desiring as
a son-in-law an accomplished cavalier, I was not deceived in the choice
which I had made. But I feel that for thee my compassion is touched. I
admire thy courage, and I pity thy youth. Seek not to make thy first
attempt [_or_, maiden-stroke] fatal. Release my valor from an unequal
conflict; too little honor for me would attend this victory. In
conquering without danger we triumph without glory. Men would always
believe that thou wert overpowered without an effort, and I should have
only regret for thy death.
Thy presumption is followed by a despicable [_lit._
unworthy] pity! The man who dares to deprive me of honor, fears to
deprive me of life!
Withdraw from this place.
Let us proceed without further parley.
Art thou so tired of life?
Hast thou such a dread of death?
Come, thou art doing thy duty, and the son becomes degenerate
who survives for one instant the honor of his father.
Scene III.--The INFANTA, CHIMÈNE and LEONORA.
Soothe, my Chimène, soothe thy grief; summon up thy firmness
in this sudden misfortune. Thou shalt see a calm again after this
short-lived [_lit._ feeble] storm. Thy happiness is overcast [_lit._
covered] only by a slight cloud, and thou hast lost nothing in seeing it
[i.e. thine happiness] delayed.
My heart, overwhelmed with sorrows, dares to hope for
nothing; a storm so sudden, which agitates a calm at sea, conveys to us
a threat of an inevitable [_lit._ certain] shipwreck. I cannot doubt it:
I am being shipwrecked [_lit._ I am perishing], even in harbor. I was
loving, I was beloved, and our fathers were consenting [_lit._ in
harmony], and I was recounting to you the delightful intelligence of
this at the fatal moment when this quarrel originated, the fatal recital
of which, as soon as it has been given to you, has ruined the effect of
such a dear [_lit._ sweet] expectation. Accursed ambition! hateful
madness! whose tyranny the most generous souls are suffering. O [sense
of] honor!-merciless to my dearest desires, how many tears and sighs art
thou going to cost me?
Thou hast, in their quarrel, no reason to be alarmed; one
moment has created it, one moment will extinguish it. It has made too
much noise not to be settled amicably, since already the king wishes to
reconcile them; and thou knowest that my zeal [_lit._ soul], keenly
alive to thy sorrows, will do its utmost [_lit._ impossibilities] to dry
up their source.
Reconciliations are not effected in such a feud [_or_, in
this manner]; such deadly insults are not [easily] repaired; in vain one
uses [_lit._ causes to act] force or prudence. If the evil be cured, it
is [cured] only in appearance; the hatred which hearts preserve within
feeds fires hidden, but so much the more ardent.
The sacred tie which will unite Don Rodrigo and Chimène will
dispel the hatred of their hostile sires, and we shall soon see the
stronger [feeling], love, by a happy bridal, extinguish this discord.
I desire it may be so, more than I expect it. Don Diego is
too proud, and I know my father. I feel tears flow, which I wish to
restrain; the past afflicts me, and I fear the future.
What dost thou fear? Is it the impotent weakness of an old
Rodrigo has courage.
He is too young.
Courageous men become so [i.e. courageous] at once.
You ought not, however, to dread him much. He is too much
enamored to wish to displease you, and two words from thy lips would
arrest his rage.
If he does not obey me, what a consummation of my sorrow!
And, if he can obey me, what will men say of him? being of such noble
birth, to endure such an insult! Whether he yields to, or resists the
passion which binds him to me, my mind can not be otherwise than either
ashamed of his too great deference, or shocked at a just refusal.
Chimène has a proud soul, and, though deeply interested, she
cannot endure one base [_lit._ low] thought. But, if up to the day of
reconciliation I make this model lover my prisoner, and I thus prevent
the effect of his courage, will thine enamored soul take no umbrage at
Ah! dear lady, in that case I have no more anxiety.
Scene IV.--The INFANTA, CHIMÈNE, LEONORA, and a PAGE.
Page, seek Rodrigo, and bring him hither.
_Page._ The Count de Gormas and he----
Good heavens! I tremble!
_Page._ From this palace have gone out together.
_Page._ Alone, and they seemed in low tones to be wrangling with each
Without doubt they are fighting; there is no further need of
speaking. Madame, forgive my haste [in thus departing]. [_Exeunt Chimène
Scene V.--The INFANTA and LEONORA.
Alas! what uneasiness I feel in my mind! I weep for her
sorrows, [yet still] her lover enthralls me; my calmness forsakes me,
and my passion revives. That which is going to separate Rodrigo from
Chimène rekindles at once my hope and my pain; and their separation,
which I see with regret, infuses a secret pleasure in mine enamored
This noble pride which reigns in your soul, does it so soon
surrender to this unworthy passion?
Call it not unworthy, since, seated in my heart, proud and
triumphant, it asserts its sway [_lit._ law] over me. Treat it with
respect, since it is so dear to me. My pride struggles against it, but,
in spite of myself--I hope; and my heart, imperfectly shielded against
such a vain expectation, flies after a lover whom Chimène has lost.
Do you thus let this noble resolution give way [_lit._ fall]?
And does reason in your mind thus lose its influence?
Ah! with how little effect do we listen to reason when the
heart is assailed by a poison so delicious, and when the sick man loves
his malady! We can hardly endure that any remedy should be applied to
Your hope beguiles you, your malady is pleasant to you; but,
in fact, this Rodrigo is unworthy of you.
I know it only too well; but if my pride yields, learn how
love flatters a heart which it possesses. If Rodrigo once [_or_, only]
comes forth from the combat as a conqueror, if this great warrior falls
beneath his valor, I may consider him worthy of me, and I may love him
without shame. What may he not do, if he can conquer the Count? I dare
to imagine that, as the least of his exploits, entire kingdoms will fall
beneath his laws; and my fond love is already persuaded that I behold
him seated on the throne of Granada, the vanquished Moors trembling
while paying him homage; Arragon receiving this new conqueror, Portugal
surrendering, and his victorious battles [_lit._ noble days] advancing
his proud destinies beyond the seas, laving his laurels with the blood
of Africans! In fine, all that is told of the most distinguished
warriors I expect from Rodrigo after this victory, and I make my love
for him the theme of my glory.
But, madam, see how far you carry his exploits [_lit._ arm]
in consequence of a combat which, perhaps, has no reality!
Rodrigo has been insulted; the Count has committed the
outrage; they have gone out together. Is there need of more?
Ah, well! they will fight, since you will have it so; but
will Rodrigo go so far as you are going?
Bear with me [_lit._ what do you mean]? I am mad, and my mind
wanders; thou seest by that what evils this love prepares for me. Come
into my private apartment to console my anxieties, and do not desert me
in the trouble I am in [at present].
Scene VI.--DON FERNANDO (the King), DON ARIAS, DON SANCHO, and DON
The Count is, then, so presumptuous and so little
accessible to reason? Does he still dare to believe his offence
Sire, in your name I have long conversed with him. I have
done my utmost, and I have obtained nothing.
Just heavens! Thus, then, a rash subject has so little
respect and anxiety to please me! He insults Don Diego, and despises his
King! He gives laws to me in the midst of my court! Brave warrior
though he be, great general though he be, I am well able [_lit._ I shall
know well how] to tame such a haughty spirit! Were he incarnate valor
[_lit._ valor itself], and the god of combats, he shall see what it is
not to obey! Whatever punishment such insolence may have deserved, I
wished at first to treat it [_or,_ him] without violence; but, since he
abuses my leniency, go instantly [_lit._ this very day], and, whether he
resists or not, secure his person. [_Exit Don Alonzo._]
Perhaps a little time will render him less rebellious;
they came upon him still boiling with rage, on account of his quarrel.
Sire, in the heat of a first impulse, so noble a heart yields with
difficulty. He sees that he has done wrong, but a soul so lofty is not
so soon induced to acknowledge its fault.
Don Sancho, be silent; and be warned that he who takes
his part renders himself criminal.
I obey, and am silent; but in pity, sire, [permit] two
words in his defence.
And what can you say?
That a soul accustomed to noble actions cannot lower
itself to apologies. It does not imagine any which can be expressed
without _shame;_ and it is that word alone that the Count resists. He
finds in his duty a little too much severity, and he would obey you if
he had less heart. Command that his arm, trained in war's dangers,
repair this injury at the point of the sword: he will give satisfaction,
sire; and, come what may, until he has been made aware of your decision,
here am I to answer for him.
You fail [_lit._ you are losing] in respect; but I
pardon youth, and I excuse enthusiasm in a young, courageous heart. A
king, whose prudence has better objects in view [than such quarrels],
is more sparing of the blood of his subjects. I watch over mine; my
[watchful] care protects them, as the head takes care of the limbs which
serve it. Thus your reasoning is not reasoning for me. You speak as a
soldier--I must act as a king; and whatever others may wish to say, or
he may presume to think, the Count will not part with [_lit._ cannot
lose] his glory by obeying me. Besides, the insult affects myself: he
has dishonored him whom I have made the instructor of my son. To impugn
my choice is to challenge me, and to make an attempt upon the supreme
power. Let us speak of it no more. And now, ten vessels of our old
enemies have been seen to hoist their flags; near the mouth of the river
they have dared to appear.
The Moors have by force [of arms] learned to know you, and,
so often vanquished, they have lost heart to risk their lives [_lit._
themselves] any more against so great a conqueror.
They will never, without a certain amount of jealousy,
behold my sceptre, in spite of them, ruling over Andalusia; and this
country, so beautiful, which they too long enjoyed, is always regarded
by them with an envious eye. This is the sole reason which has caused
us, for the last ten years, to place the Castilian throne in Seville, in
order to watch them more closely, and, by more prompt action,
immediately to overthrow whatever [design] they might undertake.
They know, at the cost of their noblest leaders [_lit._
most worthy heads], how much your presence secures your conquests; you
have nothing to fear.
And nothing to neglect--too much confidence brings on
danger; and you are not ignorant that, with very little difficulty, the
rising tide brings them hither. However, I should be wrong to cause a
panic in the hearts [of the citizens], the news being uncertain. The
dismay which this useless alarm might produce in the night, which is
approaching, might agitate the town too much. Cause the guards to be
doubled on the walls and at the fort; for this evening that is
Scene VII.--DON FERNANDO, DON ALONZO, DON SANCHO, and DON ARIAS.
Sire, the Count is dead. Don Diego, by his son, has
avenged his wrong.
As soon as I knew of the insult I foresaw the vengeance,
and from that moment I wished to avert this misfortune.
Chimène approaches to lay her grief at your feet [_lit._
brings to your knees her grief]; she comes all in tears to sue for
justice from you.
Much though my soul compassionates her sorrows, what the
Count has done seems to have deserved this just punishment of his
rashness. Yet, however just his penalty may be, I cannot lose such a
warrior without regret. After long service rendered to my state, after
his blood has been shed for me a thousand times, to whatever thoughts
his [stubborn] pride compels me, his loss enfeebles me, and his death
Scene VIII.--DON FERNANDO, DON DIEGO, CHIMÈNE, DON SANCHO, DON ARIAS,
and DON ALONZO.
Sire, sire, justice!
Ah, sire, hear us!
I cast myself at your feet!
I embrace your knees!
I demand justice.
Hear my defence.
Punish the presumption of an audacious youth: he has struck
down the support of your sceptre--he has slain my father!
He has avenged his own.
To the blood of his subjects a king owes justice.
For just vengeance there is no punishment.
Rise, both of you, and speak at leisure. Chimène, I
sympathize with your sorrow; with an equal grief I feel my own soul
afflicted. (_To Don Diego._) You shall speak afterwards; do not
interrupt her complaint.
Sire, my father is dead! My eyes have seen his blood gush
forth from his noble breast--that blood which has so often secured your
walls--that blood which has so often won your battles--that blood which,
though all outpoured, still fumes with rage at seeing itself shed for
any other than for you! Rodrigo, before your very palace, has just dyed
[_lit._ covered] the earth with that [blood] which in the midst of
dangers war did not dare to shed! Faint and pallid, I ran to the spot,
and I found him bereft of life. Pardon my grief, sire, but my voice
fails me at this terrible recital; my tears and my sighs will better
tell you the rest!
Take courage, my daughter, and know that from to-day thy
king will serve thee as a father instead of him.
Sire, my anguish is attended with too much [unavailing]
horror! I found him, I have already said, bereft of life; his breast was
pierced [_lit._ open], and his blood upon the [surrounding] dust
dictated [_lit._ wrote] my duty; or rather his valor, reduced to this
condition, spoke to me through his wound, and urged me to claim redress;
and to make itself heard by the most just of kings, by these sad lips,
it borrowed my voice. Sire, do not permit that, under your sway, such
license should reign before your [very] eyes; that the most valiant with
impunity should be exposed to the thrusts of rashness; that a
presumptuous youth should triumph over their glory, should imbrue
himself with their blood, and scoff at their memory! If the valiant
warrior who has just been torn from you be not avenged, the ardor for
serving you becomes extinguished. In fine, my father is dead, and I
demand vengeance more for your interest than for my consolation. You are
a loser in the death of a man of his position. Avenge it by another's,
and [have] blood for blood! Sacrifice [the victim] not to me, but to
your crown, to your greatness, to yourself! Sacrifice, I say, sire, to
the good of the state, all those whom such a daring deed would inflate
Don Diego, reply.
How worthy of envy is he who, in losing [life's] vigor,
loses life also! And how a long life brings to nobly minded men, at the
close of their career, an unhappy destiny! I, whose long labors have
gained such great renown--I, whom hitherto everywhere victory has
followed--I see myself to-day, in consequence of having lived too long,
receiving an insult, and living vanquished. That which never battle,
siege, or ambuscade could [do]--that which Arragon or Granada never
could [effect], nor all your enemies, nor all my jealous [rivals], the
Count has done in your palace, almost before your eyes, [being] jealous
of your choice, and proud of the advantage which the impotence of age
gave him over me. Sire, thus these hairs, grown grey in harness [i.e.
toils of war]--this blood, so often shed to serve you--this arm,
formerly the terror of a hostile army, would have sunk into the grave,
burdened with disgrace, if I had not begotten a son worthy of me, worthy
of his country, and worthy of his king! He has lent me his hand--he has
slain the Count--he has restored my honor--he has washed away my shame!
If the displaying of courage and resentment, if the avenging of a blow
deserves chastisement, upon me alone should fall the fury of the storm.
When the arm has failed, the head is punished for it. Whether men call
this a crime or not requires no discussion. Sire, I am the head, he is
the arm only. If Chimène complains that he has slain her father, he
never would have done that [deed] if I could have done it [myself].
Sacrifice, then, this head, which years will soon remove, and preserve
for yourself the arm which can serve you. At the cost of my blood
satisfy Chimène. I do not resist--I consent to my penalty, and, far from
murmuring at a rigorous decree, dying without dishonor, I shall die
The matter is of importance, and, calmly considered, it
deserves to be debated in full council. Don Sancho, re-conduct Chimène
to her abode. Don Diego shall have my palace and his word of honor as a
prison. Bring his son here to me. I will do you justice.
It is just, great king, that a murderer should die.
Take rest, my daughter, and calm thy sorrows.
To order me rest is to increase my misfortunes.
ACT THE THIRD.
Scene I.--DON RODRIGO and ELVIRA.
Rodrigo, what hast them done? Whence comest thou, unhappy man?
Here [i.e. to the house of Chimène], to follow out the
sad course of my miserable destiny.
Whence obtainest thou this audacity, and this new pride, of
appearing in places which thou hast filled with mourning? What! dost
thou come even here to defy the shade of the Count? Hast thou not slain
His existence was my shame; my honor required this deed
from my [reluctant] hand.
But to seek thy asylum in the house of the dead! Has ever a
murderer made such his refuge?
And I come here only to yield myself to my judge. Look no
more on me with astonishment [_lit._ an eye amazed]; I seek death after
having inflicted it. My love is my judge; my judge is my Chimène. I
deserve death for deserving her hatred, and I am come to receive, as a
supreme blessing, its decree from her lips, and its stroke from her
Fly rather from her sight, fly from her impetuosity; conceal
your presence from her first excitement. Go! do not expose yourself to
the first impulses which the fiery indignation of her resentment may
give vent to.
No, no. This beloved one, whom I [could] so displease,
cannot have too wrathful a desire for my punishment; and I avoid a
hundred deaths which are going to crush me if, by dying sooner, I can
redouble it [i.e. that wrath].
Chimène is at the palace, bathed in tears, and will return but
too well accompanied. Rodrigo, fly! for mercy's sake relieve me from my
uneasiness! What might not people say if they saw you here? Do you wish
that some slanderer, to crown her misery, should accuse her of
tolerating here the slayer of her father? She will return; she is
coming--I see her; at least, for the sake of _her_ honor, Rodrigo,
conceal thyself! [_Rodrigo conceals himself._]
Scene II.--DON SANCHO, CHIMÈNE, and ELVIRA.
Yes, lady, you require a victim [or revenge] steeped in
blood [_lit._ for you there is need of bleeding victims]; your wrath is
just and your tears legitimate, and I do not attempt, by dint of
speaking, either to soothe you or to console you. But, if I may be
capable of serving you, employ my sword to punish the guilty [one],
employ my love to revenge this death; under your commands my arm will be
[only] too strong.
Unhappy that I am!
I implore you, accept my services.
I should offend the King, who has promised me justice.
You know that justice [_lit._ it] proceeds with such
slowness, that very often crime escapes in consequence of its delay, its
slow and doubtful course causes us to lose too many tears. Permit that a
cavalier may avenge you by [force of] arms; that method is more certain
and more prompt in punishing.
It is the last remedy; and if it is necessary to have
recourse to it, and your pity for my misfortunes still continues, you
shall then be free to avenge my injury.
It is the sole happiness to which my soul aspires; and,
being able to hope for it, I depart too well contented.
Scene III.--CHIMÈNE and ELVIRA.
At last I see myself free, and I can, without constraint,
show thee the extent of my keen sorrows; I can give vent to my sad
sighs; I can unbosom to thee my soul and all my griefs. My father is
dead, Elvira; and the first sword with which Rodrigo armed himself has
cut his thread of life. Weep, weep, mine eyes, and dissolve yourselves
into tears! The one half of my life [i.e. Rodrigo] has laid the other
[half, i.e. my father] in the grave, and compels me to revenge, after
this fatal blow, that which I have no more [i.e. my father] on that
which still remains to me [i.e. Rodrigo].
Calm yourself, dear lady.
Ah! how unsuitably, in a misfortune so great, thou speakest
of calmness. By what means can my sorrow ever be appeased, if I cannot
hate the hand which has caused it? And what ought I to hope for but a
never-ending anguish if I follow up a crime, still loving the criminal.
He deprives you of a father, and you still love him?
It is too little to say love, Elvira; I adore him! My passion
opposes itself to my resentment; in mine enemy I find my lover, and I
feel that in spite of all my rage Rodrigo is still contending against my
sire in my heart. He attacks it, he besieges it; it yields, it defends
itself; at one time strong, at one time weak, at another triumphant. But
in this severe struggle between wrath and love, he rends my heart
without shaking my resolution, and although my love may have power over
me, I do not consult it [_or_, hesitate] to follow my duty. I speed on
[_lit._ run] without halting [_or_, weighing the consequences] where my
honor compels me. Rodrigo is very dear to me; the interest I feel in him
grieves me; my heart takes his part, but, in spite of its struggles, I
know what I am [i.e. a daughter], and that my father is dead.
Do you think of pursuing [_or_, persecuting] him?
Ah! cruel thought! and cruel pursuit to which I see myself
compelled. I demand his head [_or_, life] and I dread to obtain it; my
death will follow his, and [yet] I wish to punish him!
Abandon, abandon, dear lady, a design so tragic, and do not
impose on yourself such a tyrannical law.
What! my father being dead and almost in my arms--shall his
blood cry for revenge and I not obtain it? My heart, shamefully led away
by other spells, would believe that it owed him only ineffectual tears.
And can I endure that an insidious love, beneath a dastardly apathy,
should extinguish my resolution [_lit._ beneath a cowardly silence
extinguish my honor]?
Dear lady, believe me, you would be excusable in having less
wrath against an object so beloved, against a lover so dear; you have
done enough, you have seen the King; do not urge on the result [of that
interview]. Do not persist in this morbid [_lit._ strange] humor.
My honor is at stake; I must avenge myself; and, however the
desires of love may beguile us, all excuse [for not doing one's duty] is
disgraceful to [i.e. in the estimation of] noble-minded souls.
But you love Rodrigo--he cannot offend you.
I confess it.
After all, what then do you intend to do?
To preserve my honor and to end my sorrow; to pursue him, to
destroy him, and to die after him.
Scene IV.--DON RODRIGO, CHIMÈNE, and ELVIRA.
Well then, without giving you the trouble of pursuing me,
secure for yourself the honor of preventing me from living.
Elvira, where are we, and what do I see? Rodrigo in my house!
Rodrigo before me!
Spare not my blood; enjoy [_lit._ taste], without
resistance, the pleasure of my destruction and of your vengeance.
Listen to me.
I am dying.
Go, let me die!
Four words only; afterwards reply to me only with this
What! still imbrued with the blood of my father!
Remove from my sight this hateful object, which brings as a
reproach before mine eyes thy crime and thy existence.
Look on it rather to excite thy hatred, to increase thy
wrath and to hasten my doom.
It is dyed with my [father's] blood!
Plunge it in mine, and cause it thus to lose the
death-stain of thine own.
Ah! what cruelty, which all in one day slays the father by
the sword [itself], and the daughter by the sight of it! Remove this
object, I cannot endure it; thou wished me to listen to thee, and thou
causest me to die!
I do what thou wishest, but without abandoning the desire
of ending by thy hands my lamentable life; for, in fine, do not expect
[even] from my affection a dastardly repentance of a justifiable [_lit._
good] action. The irreparable effect of a too hasty excitement
dishonored my father and covered me with shame. Thou knowest how a blow
affects a man of courage. I shared in the insult, I sought out its
author, I saw him, I avenged my honor and my father; I would do it again
if I had it to do. Not that, indeed, my passion did not long struggle
for thee against my father and myself; judge of its power--under such an
insult, I was able to deliberate whether I should take vengeance for it!
Compelled to displease thee or to endure an affront, I thought that in
its turn my arm was too prompt [to strike]; I accused myself of too much
impetuosity, and thy loveliness, without doubt, would have turned the
scale [_or_, prevailed overall] had I not opposed to thy strongest
attractions the [thought] that a man without honor would not merit thee;
that, in spite of this share which I had in thy affections, she who
loved me noble would hate me shamed; that to listen to thy love, to obey
its voice, would be to render myself unworthy of it and to condemn thy
choice. I tell thee still, and although I sigh at it, even to my last
sigh I will assuredly repeat it, I have committed an offence against
thee, and I was driven to [_or_, bound to commit] it to efface my shame
and to merit thee; but discharged [from my duty] as regards honor, and
discharged [from duty] towards my father, it is now to thee that I come
to give satisfaction--it is to offer to thee my blood that thou seest
me in this place. I did my duty [_lit._ that which I ought to have done]
then, I still do it now. I know that a slain [_lit._ dead] father arms
thee against my offence; I have not wished to rob thee of thy victim;
sacrifice with courage to the blood he has lost he who constitutes his
glory in having shed it.
Ah, Rodrigo, it is true, although thine enemy, I cannot blame
thee for having shunned disgrace; and in whatever manner my griefs burst
forth I do not accuse [thee], I [only] lament my misfortunes. I know
what honor after such an insult demanded with ardor of a generous
courage; thou hast only done the duty of a man of honor, but also in
doing that [duty] thou hast taught me mine. Thy fatal valor has
instructed me by thy victory--it has avenged thy father and maintained
thy glory. The same care concerns me, and I have to add to my infliction
[_lit._ to afflict me] my fame to sustain and my father to avenge. Alas!
thy fate [_or_, your share] in this drives me to despair! If any other
misfortune had taken from me my father, my soul would have found in the
happiness of seeing thee the only relief which it could have received,
and in opposition to my grief I should have felt a fond delight [_lit._
charm or a magic soothing] when a hand so dear would have wiped away my
tears. But I must lose thee after having lost him. This struggle over my
passion is due to my honor, and this terrible duty, whose [imperious]
command is slaying me, compels me to exert myself [_lit._ labor or work]
for thy destruction. For, in fine, do not expect from my affection any
morbid [_lit._ cowardly] feelings as to thy punishment. However strongly
my love may plead in thy favor, my steadfast courage must respond to
thine. Even in offending me, thou hast proved thyself worthy of me; I
must, by thy death, prove myself worthy of thee.
Defer, then, no longer that which honor commands. It
demands my head [_or_, life], and I yield it to thee; make a sacrifice
of it to this noble duty; the [death] stroke will be welcome [_lit._
sweet], as well as the doom. To await, after my crime, a tardy justice,
is to defer thine honor as well as my punishment. I should die too happy
in dying by so delightful a [death] blow!
Go [i.e. no]; I am thy prosecutor, and not thy executioner.
If thou offerest me thine head, is it for me to take it; I ought to
attack it, but thou oughtest to defend it. It is from another than thee
that I must obtain it, and it is my duty [_lit._ I ought] to pursue
thee, but not to punish thee.
However in my favor our love may plead, thy steadfast
courage ought to correspond to mine; and to borrow other arms to avenge
a father is, believe me, my Chimène, not the [method of] responding to
it. My hand alone was fit [_lit._ has understood how] to avenge the
insult offered to _my_ father; thy hand alone ought to take vengeance
O cruel! for what reason shouldst thou persevere on this
point? Thou hast avenged thyself without aid, and dost thou wish to give
me thine [aid]? I shall follow thy example; and I have too much courage
to endure that my glory shall be divided with thee. My father and mine
honor shall owe nothing to the dictates of thy love and of thy despair.
O cruel resolution [_lit._ point of honor]! Alas!
whatever I may do, can I by no means obtain this concession [_or_,
favor]? In the name of a slain [_lit._ dead] father, or of our
friendship, punish me through revenge, or at least through compassion.
Thy unhappy lover will have far less pain in dying by thy hand than in
living with thy hatred.
Go; I do not hate thee.
Thou oughtest to do so.
Dost thou so little fear calumny, and so little [fear]
false reports? When people shall know my crime, and that thy passion
[for me] still continues, what will not envy and deception spread
abroad? Compel them to silence, and, without debating more, save thy
fair fame by causing me to die.
That [fair fame] shines far more gloriously [_lit._ better]
by leaving thee life; and I wish that the voice of the blackest slander
should raise to heaven my honor, and lament my griefs, knowing that I
worship thee, and that [still] I pursue thee [as a criminal]. Go, then;
present no more to my unbounded grief that which I [must] lose, although
I love it [him]! In the shades of night carefully conceal thy departure;
if they see thee going forth, my honor runs a risk. The only opportunity
which slander can have is to know that I have tolerated thy presence
here. Give it no opportunity to assail my honor.
Let me die.
Nay, leave me.
On what art thou resolved?
In spite of the glorious love-fires which impede [_lit._
trouble] my wrath, I will do my utmost to avenge my father; but, in
spite of the sternness of such a cruel duty, my sole desire is to be
able to accomplish nothing [against thee].
O wondrous love [_lit._ miracle of love]!
O accumulation of sorrows!
What misfortunes and tears will our fathers cost us!
Rodrigo, who would have believed----?
Chimène, who would have said----?
That our happiness was so near, and would so soon be ruined?
And that so near the haven, contrary to all appearances
[_or_, expectation], a storm so sudden should shatter our hopes?
O deadly griefs!
O vain regrets!
Go, then, again [I beseech thee]; I can listen to thee no
Adieu! I go to drag along a lingering life, until it be
torn from me by thy pursuit.
If I obtain my purpose, I pledge to thee my faith to exist
not a moment after thee. Adieu! Go hence, and, above all, take good care
that you are not observed. [_Exit Don Rodrigo._]
Dear lady, whatever sorrows heaven sends us----
Trouble me no more; let me sigh. I seek for silence and the
night in order to weep.
Scene V.--DON DIEGO.
Never do we experience [_lit._ taste] perfect joy. Our most fortunate
successes are mingled with sadness; always some cares, [even] in the
[successful] events, mar the serenity of our satisfaction. In the midst
of happiness my soul feels their pang: I float in joy, and I tremble
with fear. I have seen [lying] dead the enemy who had insulted me, yet I
am unable to find [_lit._ see] the hand which has avenged me. I exert
myself in vain, and with a useless anxiety. Feeble [_lit._ broken down;
_or_, shattered] though I am, I traverse all the city; this slight
degree of vigor, that my advanced years have left me, expends itself
fruitlessly in seeking this conqueror. At every moment, at all places,
in a night so dark, I think that I embrace him, and I embrace only a
shadow; and my love, beguiled by this deceitful object, forms for itself
suspicions which redouble my fear. I do not discover any traces of his
flight. I fear the dead Count's friends and retinue; their number
terrifies me, and confounds my reason. Rodrigo lives no more, or
breathes in prison! Just heavens! do I still deceive myself with a
shadow only [_lit._ an appearance], or do I see, at last, my only hope?
It is he; I doubt it no more. My prayers are heard, my fear is
dispelled, and my trouble ended.
Scene VI.--DON DIEGO and DON RODRIGO.
Rodrigo at last heaven permits that I should behold thee!
Mingle not sighs with my joy; let me take breath in order
to praise thee. My valor has no reason to disown thee; thou hast well
imitated it, and thy brilliant prowess causes the heroes of my race to
live again in thee! It is from them that thou descendest, it is from me
that thou art sprung. Thy first combat [_lit._ sword-stroke] equals all
of mine, and thy youth, fired with a splendid enthusiasm, by this great
proof equals [_or_, reaches to] my renown. Prop of mine age, and sum of
my happiness, touch these white hairs, to which thou restorest honor!
Come, kiss this cheek, and recognize the place on which was branded the
insult which thy courage effaces!
The honor of it belongs to you. I could not do less,
being sprung from you, and trained under your careful instruction
[_lit._ cares]. I consider myself too happy [at the result], and my soul
is delighted that my first combat [_or_, maiden-stroke] pleases him to
whom I owe existence. But, amidst your gladness, be not jealous if, in
my turn, I dare to satisfy myself after you. Permit that in freedom my
despair may burst forth; enough and for too long your discourse has
soothed it. I do not repent having served you; but give me back the
blessing which that [death] blow has deprived me of. My arms, in order
to serve you, battling against my passion, by this [otherwise] glorious
deed have deprived me of my love. Say no more to me: for you I have lost
all; what I owed you I have well repaid.
Carry, carry still higher the effect [_lit._ fruit] of thy
victory. I have given thee life, and thou restorest to me my honor; and
as much as honor is dearer to me than life, so much now I owe thee in
return. But spurn this weakness from a noble heart; we have but one
honor--there are many mistresses. Love is but a pleasure; honor is a
Ah! what do you say to me?
That which you ought to know.
My outraged honor takes vengeance on myself, and you dare
to urge me to the shame of inconstancy! Disgrace is the same, and
follows equally the soldier without courage and the faithless lover. Do
no wrong, then, to my fidelity; allow me [to be] brave without rendering
myself perfidious [perjured]. My bonds are too strong to be thus
broken--my faith still binds me, though I [may] hope no more; and, not
being able to leave nor to win Chimène, the death which I seek is my
most welcome [_lit._ sweeter] penalty.
It is not yet time to seek death; thy prince and thy
country have need of thine arm. The fleet, as was feared, having entered
this great river, hopes to surprise the city and to ravage the country.
The Moors are going to make a descent, and the tide and the night may,
within an hour, bring them noiselessly to our walls. The court is in
disorder, the people in dismay; we hear only cries, we see only tears.
In this public calamity, my good fortune has so willed it that I have
found [thronging] to my house five hundred of my friends, who, knowing
the insult offered to me, impelled by a similar zeal, came all to offer
themselves to avenge my quarrel. Thou hast anticipated them; but their
valiant hands will be more nobly steeped in the blood of Africans. Go,
march at their head where honor calls thee; it is thou whom their noble
band would have as a leader. Go, resist the advance of these ancient
enemies; there, if thou wishest to die, find a glorious death. Seize the
opportunity, since it is presented to thee; cause your King to owe his
safety to your loss; but rather return from that battle-field [_lit._
from it] with the laurels on thy brow. Limit not thy glory to the
avenging of an insult; advance that glory still further; urge by thy
valor this monarch to pardon, and Chimène to peace. If thou lovest her,
learn that to return as a conqueror is the sole means of regaining her
heart. But time is too precious to waste in words; I stop thee in thine
attempted answer, and desire that thou fly [to the rescue]. Come, follow
me; go to the combat, and show the King that what he loses in the Count
he regains in thee.
ACT THE FOURTH.
Scene I.--CHIMÈNE and ELVIRA.
Is it not a false report? Do you know for certain, Elvira?
You could never believe how every one admires him, and extols
to heaven, with one common voice, the glorious achievements of this
young hero. The Moors appeared before him only to their shame; their
approach was very rapid, their flight more rapid still. A three hours'
battle left to our warriors a complete victory, and two kings as
prisoners. The valor of their leader overcame every obstacle [_lit._
found no obstacles].
And the hand of Rodrigo has wrought all these wonders!
Of his gallant deeds these two kings are the reward; by his
hand they were conquered, and his hand captured them.
From whom couldst thou ascertain these strange tidings?
From the people, who everywhere sing his praises, [who] call
him the object and the author of their rejoicing, their guardian angel
and their deliverer.
And the King--with what an aspect does he look upon such
Rodrigo dares not yet appear in his presence, but Don Diego,
delighted, presents to him in chains, in the name of this conqueror,
these crowned captives, and asks as a favor from this generous prince
that he condescend to look upon the hand which has saved the kingdom
But is he not wounded?
I have learned nothing of it. You change color! Recover your
Let me recover then also my enfeebled resentment; caring for
him, must I forget my own feelings [_lit._ myself]? They boast of him,
they praise him, and my heart consents to it; my honor is mute, my duty
impotent. Down [_lit._ silence], O [treacherous] love! let my resentment
exert itself [_lit._ act]; although he has conquered two kings, he has
slain my father! These mourning robes in which I read my misfortune are
the first-fruits which his valor has produced; and although others may
tell of a heart so magnanimous, here all objects speak to me of his
crime. Ye who give strength to my feelings of resentment, veil, crape,
robes, dismal ornaments, funeral garb in which his first victory
enshrouds me, do you sustain effectually my honor in opposition to my
passion, and when my love shall gain too much power, remind my spirit of
my sad duty; attack, without fearing anything, a triumphant hand!
Calm this excitement; see--here comes the Infanta.
Scene II.--The INFANTA, CHIMÈNE, LEONORA, and ELVIRA.
I do not come here [vainly] to console thy sorrows; I come
rather to mingle my sighs with thy tears.
Far rather take part in the universal rejoicings, and taste
the happiness which heaven sends you, dear lady; no one but myself has a
right to sigh. The danger from which Rodrigo has been able to rescue
you, and the public safety which his arms restore to you, to me alone
to-day still permit tears; he has saved the city, he has served his
King, and his valiant arm is destructive only to myself.
My Chimène, it is true that he has wrought wonders.
Already this vexatious exclamation of joy [_lit._ noise] has
reached [_lit._ struck] my ears, and I hear him everywhere proclaimed
aloud as brave a warrior as he is an unfortunate lover.
What annoyance can the approving shouts of the people cause
thee? This youthful Mars whom they praise has hitherto been able to
please thee; he possessed thy heart; he lived under thy law; and to
praise his valor is to honor thy choice.
Every one [else] can praise it with some justice; but for me
his praise is a new punishment. They aggravate my grief by raising him
so high. I see what I lose, when I see what he is worth. Ah! cruel
tortures to the mind of a lover! The more I understand his worth, the
more my passion increases; yet my duty is always the stronger [passion],
and, in spite of my love, endeavors to accomplish his destruction
[_lit._ to pursue his death].
Yesterday, this duty placed thee in high estimation; the
struggle which thou didst make appeared so magnanimous, so worthy of a
noble heart, that everyone at the court admired thy resolution and
pitied thy love. But wilt thou believe in the advice of a faithful
Not to obey you would render me disloyal.
What was justifiable then is not so to-day. Rodrigo now is
our sole support, the hope and the idol [_lit._ love] of a people that
worships him! The prop of Castile and the terror of the Moor! The King
himself recognizes [_lit._ is in agreement with] this truth, that thy
father in him alone sees himself recalled to life: and if, in fine, thou
wishest that I should explain myself briefly [_lit._ in two words],
thou art seeking in his destruction the public ruin. What! to avenge a
father, is it ever lawful to surrender one's country into the hands of
enemies? Against us is thy revenge lawful? And must we be punished who
had no share in the crime? After all, it is only that thou shouldest
espouse the man whom a dead father compelled thee to accuse; I myself
would wish to relieve thee of that desire [_lit._ take the desire of
that from thee]; take from him thy love, but leave us his life.
Ah! it is not in me to have so much kindness; the duty which
excites me has no limit. Although my love pleads [_lit._ interests
itself] for this conqueror, although a nation worships him, and a King
praises him, although he be surrounded with the most valiant warriors, I
shall endeavor to crush his laurels beneath my [funereal] cypress.
It is a noble feeling when, to avenge a father, our duty
assails a head so dear; but it is duty of a still nobler order when ties
of blood are sacrificed to the public [advantage]. No, believe me, it is
enough to quench thy love; he will be too severely punished if he exists
no more in thy affections. Let the welfare of thy country impose upon
thee this law; and, besides, what dost thou think that the King will
He can refuse me, but I cannot keep silent.
Reflect well, my [dear] Chimène, on what thou wishest to do.
Adieu; [when] alone thou cans't think over this at thy leisure. [_Exit
Since my father is slain [_lit._ after my dead father], I
have no [alternative] to choose.
Scene III.--DON FERNANDO (the King), DON DIEGO, DON ARIAS, DON
RODRIGO, and DON SANCHO.
Worthy scion of a distinguished race, which has always
been the glory and the support of Castile! Thou descendant of so many
ancestors signalized by valor, whom the first attempt of thine own
[prowess] has so soon equalled; my ability to recompense thee is too
limited [_lit._ small], and I have less power than thou hast merit. The
country delivered from such a fierce enemy, my sceptre firmly placed in
my hand by thine own [hand], and the Moors defeated before, amid these
terrors, I could give orders for repulsing their arms; these are
brilliant services which leave not to thy King the means or the hope of
discharging his debt of gratitude [_lit._ acquitting himself] towards
thee. But the two kings, thy captives, shall be thy reward. Both of them
in my presence have named thee their Cid--since Cid, in their language,
is equivalent to lord, I shall not envy thee this glorious title of
distinction; be thou, henceforth, the Cid; to that great name let
everything yield; let it overwhelm with terror both Granada and Toledo,
and let it indicate to all those who live under my laws both how
valuable thou art to me [_lit._ that which thou art worth to me], and
that [deep obligation] which I owe thee.
Let your majesty, sire, spare my modesty. On such an
humble service your majesty [_lit._ it, referring to majesty] sets too
high a value, and compels me to blush [for shame] before so great a
King, at so little deserving the honor which I have received from him. I
know too well [the gifts] that I owe to the welfare of your empire, both
the blood which flows in my veins [_lit._ animates me] and the air which
I breathe, and even though I should lose them in such a glorious cause
[_lit._ for an object so worthy], I should only be doing the duty of a
All those whom that duty enlists in my service do not
discharge it with the same courage, and when [i.e. unless] valor
attains a high degree, it never produces such rare successes; allow us
then to praise thee, and tell me more at length the true history of this
Sire, you are aware that in this urgent danger, which
created in the city such a powerful alarm, a band of friends assembled
at the house of my father prevailed on my spirit, still much agitated.
But, sire, pardon my rashness if I dared to employ it without your
authority; the danger was approaching; their [valiant] band was ready;
by showing myself at the court I should have risked my life [_lit._
head], and, if I must lose it, it would have been far more delightful
for me to depart from life while fighting for you.
I pardon thy warmth in avenging the insult offered to
thee, and the kingdom shielded [from danger] pleads [_lit._ speaks to
me] in thy defence. Be assured that henceforth Chimène will speak in
vain, and I shall listen to her no more except to comfort her; but
Under me, then, this band advances, and bears in its
aspect a manly confidence. At setting out we were five hundred, but, by
a speedy reinforcement, we saw ourselves [augmented to] three thousand
on arriving at the port; so surely, on beholding us advance with such a
[determined] aspect, did the most dismayed recover their courage. Of
that brave host [_lit._ of it], as soon as we had arrived, I conceal
two-thirds in the holds of the ships which were found there; the rest,
whose numbers were increasing every hour, burning with impatience,
remain around me; they lie down on the ground, and, without making any
noise, they pass a considerable portion of so auspicious [_lit._
beautiful] a night. By my command the guard does the same, and keeping
themselves, concealed aid my stratagem, and I boldly pretended to have
received from you the order which they see me follow out, and which I
issue to all. This dim light which falls from the stars, at last with
the tide causes us to see thirty vessels [_lit._ sails]; the wave
[i.e. the water] swells beneath them, and, with a mutual effort, the
Moors and the sea advance even to the port. We let them pass; all seems
to them lulled in repose [_lit._ tranquil]. No soldiers at the port,
none on the walls of the city. Our deep silence deceiving their minds,
they no longer dare to doubt that they had taken us by surprise. They
land without fear, they cast anchor, they disembark and rush forward to
deliver themselves into the hands which are awaiting them. Then we
arise, and all at the same time utter towards heaven countless ringing
cheers [of defiance]. At these shouts our men from our ships answer [to
the signal]; they appear armed, the Moors are dismayed, terror seizes
those who had scarcely disembarked, before fighting they consider
themselves lost--they hastened to plunder and they meet with war. We
press them hard on the water, we press them hard on the land, and we
cause rivulets of their blood to run before any [of them] can resist or
regain his position. But soon, in spite of us, their princes rally them,
their courage revives, and their fears are forgotten. The disgrace of
dying without having fought rallies their disordered ranks [_lit._ stops
their disorder], and restores to them their valor. With firmly planted
feet they draw their scimitars against us, and cause a fearful
intermingling of our blood with theirs; and the land, and the wave, and
the fleet, and the port are fields of carnage where death is
triumphant. Oh! how many noble deeds, how many brilliant achievements,
were performed unnoticed [_lit._ have remained without renown] in the
midst of the gloom, in which each [warrior], sole witness of the
brilliant strokes which he gave, could not discern to which side fortune
inclined. I went in all directions to encourage our soldiers, to cause
some to advance, and to support others, to marshal those who were coming
up, to urge them forward in their turn, and I could not ascertain the
result [of the conflict] until the break of day. But at last the bright
dawn shows us our advantage. The Moor sees his loss and loses courage
suddenly, and, seeing a reinforcement which had come to assist us, the
ardor for conquest yields to the dread of death. They gain their ships,
they cut their cables, they utter even to heaven terrific cries, they
make their retreat in confusion and without reflecting whether their
kings can escape with them. Their fright is too strong to admit of this
duty. The incoming tide brought them here, the outgoing tide carries
them away. Meanwhile their kings, combating amongst us, and a few of
their [warriors] severely wounded by our blows, still fight valiantly
and sell their lives dearly. I myself in vain urge them to surrender;
scimitar in hand, they listen not to my entreaties, but seeing all their
soldiers falling at their feet, and that henceforward alone they defend
themselves in vain, they ask for the commander; I entitle myself as
such, and they surrender. I sent you them both at the same time, and the
combat ceased for want of combatants. It is in this manner that for your
Scene IV.--DON FERNANDO, DON DIEGO, DON RODRIGO, DON ARIAS, DON ALONZO,
and DON SANCHO.
Sire, Chimène comes to demand justice from you.
Vexatious news and unwelcome duty! Go [Rodrigo]; I do
not wish her to see thee. Instead of thanks I must drive thee away; but,
before departing, come, let thy King embrace thee!
[_Exit Don Rodrigo._]
Chimène pursues him, [yet] she wishes to save him.
They say that she loves him, and I am going to prove it.
Exhibit a more sorrowful countenance [_lit._ eye].
Scene V.--DON FERNANDO, DON DIEGO, DON ARIAS, DON SANCHO, DON ALONZO,
CHIMÈNE, and ELVIRA.
At last, be content, Chimène, success responds to your
wishes. Although Rodrigo has gained the advantage over our enemies, he
has died before our eyes of the wounds he has received; return thanks to
that heaven which has avenged you. (_To Don Diego._) See, how already
her color is changed!
But see! she swoons, and in this swoon, sire, observe the
effect of an overpowering [_lit._ perfect] love. Her grief has betrayed
the secrets of her soul, and no longer permits you to doubt her passion.
What, then! Is Rodrigo dead?
No, no, he still lives [_lit._ he sees the day]; and he
still preserves for you an unalterable affection; calm this sorrow which
takes such an interest in his favor.
Sire, we swoon from joy, as well as from grief; an excess of
pleasure renders us completely exhausted, and when it takes the mind by
surprise, it overpowers the senses.
Dost thou wish that in thy favor we should believe in
impossibilities? Chimène, thy grief appeared too clearly visible.
Well, sire! add this crown to my misfortune--call my swoon
the effect of my grief; a justifiable dissatisfaction reduced me to that
extremity; his death would have saved his head from my pursuit. If he
had died of wounds received for the benefit of his country, my revenge
would have been lost, and my designs betrayed; such a brilliant end [of
his existence] would have been too injurious to me. I demand his death,
but not a glorious one, not with a glory which raises him so high, not
on an honorable death-bed, but upon a scaffold. Let him die for my
father and not for his country; let his name be attainted and his memory
blighted. To die for one's country is not a sorrowful doom; it is to
immortalize one's self by a glorious death! I love then his victory, and
I can do so without criminality; it [the victory] secures the kingdom
and yields to me my victim. But ennobled, but illustrious amongst all
warriors, the chief crowned with laurels instead of flowers--and to say
in a word what I think--worthy of being sacrificed to the shade of my
father. Alas! by what [vain] hope do I allow myself to be carried away?
Rodrigo has nothing to dread from me; what can tears which are despised
avail against him? For him your whole empire is a sanctuary [_lit._ a
place of freedom]; there, under your power, everything is lawful for
him; he triumphs over me as [well as] over his enemies; justice stifled
in their blood that has been shed, serves as a new trophy for the crime
of the conqueror. We increase its pomp, and contempt of the law causes
us to follow his [triumphal] chariot between two kings.
My daughter, these transports are too violent [_lit._
have too much violence]. When justice is rendered, all is put in the
scale. Thy father has been slain, he was the aggressor; and justice
itself commands me [to have] mercy. Before accusing that [degree of
clemency] which I show, consult well thine heart; Rodrigo is master of
it; and thy love in secret returns thanks to thy King, whose favor
preserves such a lover for thee.
For me! my enemy! the object of my wrath! the author of my
misfortunes? the slayer of my father! To my just pursuit [of vengeance]
they pay so little attention, that they believe that they are conferring
a favor on me by not listening to it. Since you refuse justice to my
tears, sire, permit me to have recourse to arms; it is by that alone
that he has been able to injure me, and it is by that (means) also that
I ought to avenge myself. From all your knights I demand his head; yes,
let one of them bring it to me, and I will be his prize; let them fight
him, sire, and, the combat being finished, I [will] espouse the
conqueror, if Rodrigo is slain [_lit._ punished]. Under your authority,
permit this to be made public.
This ancient custom established in these places, under
the guise of punishing an unjust affront, weakens a kingdom [by
depriving it] of its best warriors; the deplorable success of this abuse
[of power] often crushes the innocent and shields the guilty. From this
[ordeal] I release Rodrigo; he is too precious to me to expose him to
the [death] blows of capricious fate; and whatever (offence) a heart so
magnanimous could commit, the Moors, in retreating, have carried away
What, sire, for him alone you reverse the laws, which all the
court has so often seen observed! What will your people think, and what
will envy say, if he screens his life beneath your shield and he makes
it a pretext not to appear [on a scene] where all men of honor seek a
noble death? Such favors would too deeply tarnish his glory; let him
enjoy [_lit._ taste] without shame [_lit._ blushing] the fruits of his
victory. The count had audacity, he was able to punish him for it; he
[i.e. Rodrigo] acted like a man of courage, and ought to maintain it
Since you wish it, I grant that he shall do so; but a
thousand others would take the place of a vanquished warrior, and the
reward which Chimène has promised to the conqueror would render all my
cavaliers his enemies; to oppose him alone to all would be too great an
injustice; it is enough, he shall enter the lists once only. Choose who
[what champion] you will, Chimène, and choose well; but after this
combat ask nothing more.
Release not by that those whom his valor [_lit._ arm]
terrifies; leave an open field which none will [dare to] enter. After
what Rodrigo has shown us to-day, what courage sufficiently presumptuous
would dare to contend with him? Who would risk his life against such an
opponent? Who will be this valiant, or rather this rash individual?
Open the lists, you see this assailant; I am this rash or
rather this valiant [champion]. Grant this favor to the zeal which urges
me on; dear lady, you know what your promise is.
Chimène, do you confide your quarrel to his hand?
Sire, I have promised it.
Be ready to-morrow.
No, sire, there is no need to defer the contest; a man is
always ready when he possesses courage.
[What!] To come forth from one battle and to (instantly)
enter the lists [_lit._ to fight]?
Rodrigo has regained breath in relating to you this [i.e.
the history of that battle].
I desire that he should rest at least an hour or two;
but, for fear that such a combat may be considered as a precedent, to
testify to all that I permit, with regret, a sanguinary ordeal which has
never pleased me, it shall not have the presence either of myself or of
my court. [_To Don Arias._] You alone shall judge of the valor of the
combatants. Take care that both act like men of honor [_lit._ courage],
and, the combat ended, bring the victor to me. Whoever he may be, the
same reward is gained by his exertions; I desire with my own hand to
present him to Chimène, and that, as a recompense, he may receive her
What, sire! [would you] impose on me so stern a law?
Thou complainest of it; but thy love, far from
acknowledging thy complaint, if Rodrigo be the conqueror, without
restraint accepts [the conditions]. Cease to murmur against such a
gentle decree; whichever of the two be the victor, I shall make him thy
ACT THE FIFTH.
Scene I.--DON RODRIGO and CHIMÈNE.
What! Rodrigo! In broad daylight! Whence comes this audacity?
Go, thou art ruining my honor; retire, I beseech thee.
I go to die, dear lady, and I come to bid you in this
place, before the mortal blow, a last adieu. This unchangeable love,
which binds me beneath your laws, dares not to accept my death without
paying to you homage for it.
Thou art going to death!
I speed to those happy moments which will deliver my life
from your (feelings of) resentment.
Thou art going to death! Is Don Sancho, then, so formidable,
that he can inspire terror in this invincible heart? What has rendered
thee so weak? or what renders him so strong? Does Rodrigo go to fight,
and believe himself already slain [_lit._ dead]? He who has not feared
the Moors nor my father, goes to fight Don Sancho, and already despairs?
Thus, then, thy courage lowers itself in the [hour of] need.
I speed [_lit._ I run] to my punishment, and not to the
combat; and, since you seek my death, my faithful ardor will readily
deprive me of the desire of defending my life. I have always the same
courage, but I have not the [strong] arm, when it is needed, to preserve
that which does not please you; and already this night would have been
fatal to me, if I had fought for my own private wrong; but, defending my
king, his people, and my country, by carelessly defending myself, I
should have betrayed _them_. My high-born spirit does not hate life so
much as to wish to depart from it by perfidy, now that it regards my
interests only. You demand my death--I accept its decree. Your
resentment chose the hand of another; I was unworthy [_lit._ I did not
deserve] to die by yours. They shall not see me repel its blows; I owe
more respect to him [the champion] who fights for you; and delighted to
think that it is from you these [blows] proceed--since it is your honor
that his arms sustain--I shall present to him my unprotected [_or_,
defenceless] breast, worshipping through his hand thine that destroys
If the just vehemence of a sad [sense of] duty, which causes
me, in spite of myself, to follow after thy valiant life, prescribes to
thy love a law so severe, that it surrenders thee without defence to him
who combats for me, in this infatuation [_lit._ blindness], lose not the
recollection, that, with thy life, thine honor is tarnished, and that,
in whatever renown Rodrigo may have lived, when men shall know him to be
dead, they will believe him conquered. Thine honor is dearer to thee
than I am dear, since it steeps thine hands in the blood of my father,
and causes thee to renounce, in spite of thy love, the sweet hope of
gaining me. I see thee, however, pay such little regard to it [honor],
that, without fighting, thou wishest to be overcome. What inconsistency
[_lit._ unequality] mars thy valor! Why hast thou it [that valor] no
more? or why didst thou possess it [formerly]? What! art thou valiant
only to do me an injury? Unless it be to offend [_or_, injure] me, hast
thou no courage at all? And dost thou treat my father with such rigor
[i.e. so far disparage the memory of my father], that, after having
conquered him, thou wilt endure a conqueror? Go! without wishing to die,
leave me to pursue thee, and defend thine honor, if thou wilt no longer
After the death of the count and the defeat of the
Moors, will my renown still require other achievements? That [glory] may
scorn the care of defending myself; it is known that my courage dares to
attempt all, that my valor can accomplish all, and that, here below
[_lit._ under the heavens], in comparison with mine honor, nothing is
precious to me. No! no! in this combat, whatever thou may'st please to
think, Rodrigo may die without risking his renown: without men daring to
accuse him of having wanted spirit: without being considered as
conquered, without enduring a conqueror. They will say only: "He adored
Chimène; he would not live and merit her hatred; he yielded himself to
the severity of his fate, which compelled his mistress to seek his
death; she wished for his life [_lit._ head], and his magnanimous heart,
had that been refused to her, would have considered it a crime. To
avenge his honor, he lost his love; to avenge his mistress, he forsook
life, preferring (whatever hope may have enslaved his soul) his honor to
Chimène, and Chimène to his existence." Thus, then, you will see that my
death in this conflict, far from obscuring my glory, will increase its
value; and this honor will follow my voluntary death, that no other than
myself could have satisfied you [for the death of your father].
Since, to prevent thee from rushing to destruction, thy life
and thine honor are [but] feeble inducements, if ever I loved thee, dear
Rodrigo, in return [for that love], defend thyself now, to rescue me
from Don Sancho. Fight, to release me from a compact which delivers me
to the object of my aversion. Shall I say more to thee? Go, think of thy
defence, to overcome my sense of duty, to impose on me silence; and if
thou feelest thine heart still enamored for me, come forth, as a
conqueror, from a combat of which Chimène is the reward. Adieu; this
thoughtlessly uttered [_lit._ let slip] word causes me to blush for
Where is the foe I could not now subdue? Come forth,
[warriors] of Navarre, Morocco, and Castile! and all the heroes that
Spain has produced; unite together and form an army, to contend against
one hand thus nerved [to action]. Unite all your efforts against a hope
so sweet--you have too little power to succeed in destroying it!
Scene II.--THE INFANTA.
Shall I listen to thee still, pride of my birth, that makest a crime out
of my passions? Shall I listen to thee, love, whose delicious power
causes my desires to rebel against this proud tyrant? Poor princess! to
which of the two oughtest thou to yield obedience? Rodrigo, thy valor
renders thee worthy of me; but although thou art valiant, thou art not
the son of a king.
Pitiless fate, whose severity separates my glory and my desires! Is it
decreed [_lit._ said], that the choice of [a warrior of] such rare merit
should cost my passion such great anguish? O heaven! for how many
sorrows [_lit._ sighs] must my heart prepare itself, if, after such a
long, painful struggle, it never succeeds in either extinguishing the
love, or accepting the lover!
But there are too many scruples, and my reason is alarmed at the
contempt of a choice so worthy; although to monarchs only my [proud]
birth may assign me, Rodrigo, with honor I shall live under thy laws.
After having conquered two kings, couldst thou fail in obtaining a
crown? And this great name of Cid, which thou hast just now won--does it
not show too clearly over whom thou art destined to reign?
He is worthy of me, but he belongs to Chimène; the present which I made
of him [to her], injures me. Between them, the death of a father has
interposed so little hatred, that the duty of blood with regret pursues
him. Thus let us hope for no advantage, either from his transgression or
from my grief, since, to punish me, destiny has allowed that love should
continue even between two enemies.
Scene III.--THE INFANTA and LEONORA.
Whence [i.e. for what purpose] comest thou, Leonora?
To congratulate you, dear lady, on the tranquillity which at
last your soul has recovered.
From what quarter can tranquillity come [_lit._ whence should
this tranquillity come], in an accumulation of sorrow?
If love lives on hope, and if it dies with it, Rodrigo can no
more charm your heart; you know of the combat in which Chimène involves
him; since he must die in it, or become her husband, your hope is dead
and your spirit is healed.
Ah! how far from it!
What more can you expect?
Nay, rather, what hope canst thou forbid me [to entertain]?
If Rodrigo fights under these conditions, to counteract the effect of it
[that conflict], I have too many resources. Love, this sweet author of
my cruel punishments, puts into [_lit._ teaches] the minds of lovers too
Can _you_ [accomplish] anything, since a dead father has not
been able to kindle discord in their minds? For Chimène clearly shows by
her behavior that hatred to-day does not cause her pursuit. She obtains
the [privilege of a] combat, and for her champion, she accepts on the
moment the first that offers. She has not recourse to those renowned
knights [_lit._ noble hands] whom so many famous exploits render so
glorious; Don Sancho suffices her, and merits her choice, because he is
going to arm himself for the first time; she loves in this duel his want
of experience; as he is without renown, [so] is she without
apprehension; and her readiness [to accept him], ought to make you
clearly see that she seeks for a combat which her duty demands, but
which yields her Rodrigo an easy victory, and authorizes her at length
to seem appeased.
I observe it clearly; and nevertheless my heart, in rivalry
with Chimène, adores this conqueror. On what shall I resolve, hopeless
lover that I am?
To remember better from whom you are sprung. Heaven owes you
a king; you love a subject!
The object of my attachment has completely changed: I no
longer love Rodrigo as a mere nobleman. No; it is not thus that my love
entitles him. If I love him, it is [as] the author of so many brilliant
deeds; it is [as] the valiant Cid, the master of two kings. I shall
conquer myself, however; not from dread of any censure, but in order
that I may not disturb so glorious a love; and even though, to favor me,
they should crown him, I will not accept again [_lit._ take back] a gift
which I have given. Since in such a combat his triumph is certain, let
us go once more to give him [_or_, that gift] to Chimène. And thou, who
seest the love-arrows with which my heart is pierced; come see me finish
as I have begun.
Scene IV.--CHIMÈNE and ELVIRA.
Elvira, how greatly I suffer; and how much I am to be pitied!
I know not what to hope, and I see everything to be dreaded. No wish
escapes me to which I dare consent. I desire nothing without quickly
repenting of it [_lit._ a quick repentance]. I have caused two rivals to
take up arms for me: the most happy result will cause me tears; and
though fate may decree in my favor, my father is without revenge, or my
lover is dead.
On the one side and the other I see you consoled; either you
have Rodrigo, or you are avenged. And however fate may ordain for you,
it maintains your honor and gives you a spouse.
What! the object of my hatred or of such resentment!--the
slayer of Rodrigo, or that of my father! In either case [_lit._ on all
sides] they give me a husband, still [all] stained with the blood that I
cherished most; in either case my soul revolts, and I fear more than
death the ending of my quarrel. Away! vengeance, love--which agitate my
feelings. Ye have no gratifications for me at such a price; and Thou,
Powerful Controller of the destiny which afflicts me, terminate this
combat without any advantage, without rendering either of the two
conquered or conqueror.
This would be treating you with too much severity. This combat
is a new punishment for your feelings, if it leaves you [still]
compelled to demand justice, to exhibit always this proud resentment,
and continually to seek after the death of your lover. Dear lady, it is
far better that his unequalled valor, crowning his brow, should impose
silence upon you; that the conditions of the combat should extinguish
your sighs; and that the King should compel you to follow your
If he be conqueror, dost thou believe that I shall
surrender? My strong [sense of] duty is too strong and my loss too
great; and this [law of] combat and the will of the King are not strong
enough to dictate conditions to them [i.e. to my duty and sorrow for
my loss]. He may conquer Don Sancho with very little difficulty, but he
shall not with him [conquer] the sense of duty of Chimène; and whatever
[reward] a monarch may have promised to his victory, my self-respect
will raise against him a thousand other enemies.
Beware lest, to punish this strange pride, heaven may at last
permit you to revenge yourself. What!--you will still reject the
happiness of being able now to be reconciled [_lit._ to be silent] with
honor? What means this duty, and what does it hope for? Will the death
of your lover restore to you a father? Is one [fatal] stroke of
misfortune insufficient for you? Is there need of loss upon loss, and
sorrow upon sorrow? Come, in the caprice in which your humor persists,
you do not deserve the lover that is destined for you, and we may
[_lit._ shall] see the just wrath of heaven, by his death, leaving you
Don Sancho as a spouse.
Elvira, the griefs which I endure are sufficient: do not
redouble them by this fatal augury. I wish, if I can, to avoid both; but
if not, in this conflict Rodrigo has all my prayers; not because a weak
[_lit._ foolish] affection inclines me to his side, but because, if he
were conquered, I should become [the bride] of Don Sancho. This fear
creates [_lit._ causes to be born] my desire----
[_Enter Don Sancho._]
What do I see, unhappy [woman that I am]! Elvira, all is lost!
Scene V.--DON SANCHO, CHIMÈNE, and ELVIRA.
Compelled to bring this sword to thy feet----
What! still [all] reeking with the blood of Rodrigo! Traitor,
dost thou dare to show thyself before mine eyes, after having taken from
me that [being] whom I love the best? Declare thyself my love, and thou
hast no more to fear. My father is satisfied; cease to restrain thyself.
The same [death] stroke has placed my honor in safety, my soul in
despair, and my passion at liberty!
With a mind more calmly collected----
Dost thou still speak to me, detestable assassin of a hero
whom I adore? Go; you fell upon him treacherously. A warrior so valiant
would never have sunk beneath such an assailant! Hope nothing from me.
Thou hast not served me; and believing that thou wert avenging me, thou
hast deprived me of life.
Strange delusion, which, far from listening to me----
Wilt thou that I should listen to thee while boasting of his
death?--that I should patiently hear with what haughty pride thou wilt
describe his misfortune, my own crime, and thy prowess?
Scene VI.--DON FERNANDO, DON DIEGO, DON ARIAS, DON SANCHO, DON ALONZO,
CHIMÈNE, and ELVIRA.
Sire, there is no further need to dissemble that which all my
struggles have not been able to conceal from you. I loved, you knew it;
but, to avenge my father, I even wished to sacrifice so dear a being [as
Rodrigo]. Sire, your majesty may have seen how I have made love yield to
duty. At last, Rodrigo is dead; and his death has converted me from an
unrelenting foe into an afflicted lover. I owed this revenge to him who
gave me existence; and to my love I now owe these tears. Don Sancho has
destroyed me in undertaking my defence; and I am the reward of the arm
which destroys me. Sire, if compassion can influence a king, for mercy's
sake revoke a law so severe. As the reward of a victory by which I lose
that which I love, I leave him my possessions; let him leave me to
myself, that in a sacred cloister I may weep continually, even to my
last sigh, for my father and my lover.
In brief, she loves, sire, and no longer believes it a
crime to acknowledge with her own lips a lawful affection.
Chimène, be undeceived [_lit._ come out from thine
error]; thy lover is not dead, and the vanquished Don Sancho has given
thee a false report.
Sire, a little too much eagerness, in spite of me, has
misled her; I came from the combat to tell her the result. This noble
warrior of whom her heart is enamored, when he had disarmed me, spoke to
me thus: "Fear nothing--I would rather leave the victory uncertain, than
shed blood risked in defence of Chimène; but, since my duty calls me to
the King, go, tell her of our combat [on my behalf]; on the part of the
conqueror, carry her thy sword." Sire, I came; this weapon deceived her;
seeing me return, she believed me to be conqueror, and her resentment
suddenly betrayed her love, with such excitement and so much impatience,
that I could not obtain a moment's hearing. As for me, although
conquered, I consider myself fortunate; and in spite of the interests of
my enamored heart, [though] losing infinitely, I still love my defeat,
which causes the triumph of a love so perfect.
My daughter, there is no need to blush for a passion so
glorious, nor to seek means of making a disavowal of it; a laudable
[sense of] shame in vain solicits thee; thy honor is redeemed, and thy
duty performed; thy father is satisfied, and it was to avenge him that
thou didst so often place thy Rodrigo in danger. Thou seest how heaven
otherwise ordains. Having done so much for him [i.e. thy father], do
something for thyself; and be not rebellious against my command, which
gives thee a spouse beloved so dearly.
Scene VII.--DON FERNANDO, DON DIEGO, DON ARIAS, DON RODRIGO, DON
ALONZO, DON SANCHO, THE INFANTA, CHIMÈNE, LEONORA, and ELVIRA.
Dry thy tears, Chimène, and receive without sadness this
noble conqueror from the hands of thy princess.
Be not offended, sire, if in your presence an impassioned
homage causes me to kneel before her [_lit._ casts me before her knees].
I come not here to ask for [the reward of] my victory; I come once more
[_or_, anew] to offer you my head, dear lady. My love shall not employ
in my own favor either the law of the combat or the will of the King. If
all that has been done is too little for a father, say by what means you
must be satisfied. Must I still contend against a thousand and a
thousand rivals, and to the two ends of the earth extend my labors,
myself alone storm a camp, put to flight an army, surpass the renown of
fabulous heroes? If my deep offence can be by that means washed away, I
dare undertake all, and can accomplish all. But if this proud honor,
always inexorable, cannot be appeased without the death of the guilty
[offender], arm no more against me the power of mortals; mine head is at
thy feet, avenge thyself by thine own hands; thine hands alone have the
right to vanquish the invincible. Take thou a vengeance to all others
impossible. But at least let my death suffice to punish me; banish me
not from thy remembrance, and, since my doom preserves your honor, to
recompense yourself for this, preserve my memory, and say sometimes,
when deploring my fate: "Had he not loved me, he would not have died."
Rise, Rodrigo. I must confess it, sire, I have said too much
to be able to unsay it. Rodrigo has noble qualities which I cannot hate;
and, when a king commands, he ought to be obeyed. But to whatever [fate]
you may have already doomed me, can you, before your eyes, tolerate this
union? And when you desire this effort from my feeling of duty, is it
entirely in accord with your sense of justice? If Rodrigo becomes so
indispensable to the state, of that which he has done for you ought I to
be the reward, and surrender myself to the everlasting reproach of
having imbrued my hands in the blood of a father?
Time has often rendered lawful that which at first
seemed impossible, without being a crime. Rodrigo has won thee, and thou
art justly his. But, although his valor has by conquest obtained thee
to-day, it would need that I should become the enemy of thy
self-respect, to give him so soon the reward of his victory. This bridal
deferred does not break a law, which, without specifying the time,
devotes thy faith to him. Take a year, if thou wilt, to dry thy tears;
Rodrigo, in the mean time, must take up arms. After having vanquished
the Moors on our borders, overthrown their plans, and repulsed their
attacks, go, carry the war even into their country, command my army,
and ravage their territory. At the mere name of Cid they will tremble
with dismay. They have named thee lord! they will desire thee as their
king! But, amidst thy brilliant [_lit._ high] achievements, be thou to
her always faithful; return, if it be possible, still more worthy of
her, and by thy great exploits acquire such renown, that it may be
glorious for her to espouse thee then.
To gain Chimène, and for your service, what command can
be issued to me that mine arm cannot accomplish? Yet, though absent from
her [dear] eyes, I must suffer grief, sire, I have too much happiness in
being able--to hope!
Hope in thy manly resolution; hope in my promise, and
already possessing the heart of thy mistress, let time, thy valor, and
thy king exert themselves [_lit._ do, or act], to overcome a scrupulous
feeling of honor which is contending against thee.
|This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.|