The Countess Diana has presented her secretary Teodoro with a letter
She's gone. Whoever could suppose a woman
so noble and so shrewd would own to loving
so suddenly? But maybe I'm mistaken.
And yet she's never said, as I remember:
"What matter that it's lost, if much more may be?"
More may be lost? She could mean, by the woman
of whom she spoke.... But surely that's dissembling;
that "other woman" must be she herself.
But no, the countess is too proud, too prudent,"
and such a love would cross her clear intention.
In Naples princes daily come to court her
whose slave I couldn't be; I'm in great danger.
Knowing I love Marcela, she's pretending,
to lead me on; and yet such fears are groundless.
Pretence could not produce such bashful blushing,
such trembling when she said: "More may be lost."
What rose, its petals opening like eyes,
has ever smiled, through crimson lips, to see
the tears of dawn, so radiantly as she,
suffused with scarlet, turned her eyes on me?
What pale-skinned apple ever burned so brightly?
What I have seen and heard, I must suppose,
unless I'm mad, too little to bespeak
true passion, yet too much to be pretence.
But wait, my thoughts, you fly too fast toward greatness,
toward loveliness; you know too well Diana
is peerless both in wisdom and in beauty.
Lope de Vega. The Dog in the Manger. Trans. Victor Dixon. Carleton Renaissance Plays in Translation. Ottawa, Dovehouse Editions, 1990. pp. 57.
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