A monologue from the play by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Eight Dramas of Calderon. Trans. Edward Fitzgerald. London: Macmillan & Co., 1906.
  • PEDRO CRESPO: And now, Juan, before going, let me give thee a word of advice in presence of thy sister and cousin; thou and thy horse will easily overtake Don Lope, advice and all. By God's grace, boy, thou comes of honourable if of humble stock; bear both in mind, so as neither to be daunted from trying to rise, nor puffed up so as to be sure to fall. How many have done away the memory of a defect by carrying themselves modestly; while others again have gotten a blemish only by being proud of being born without one. There is a just humility that will maintain thine own dignity, and yet make thee insensible to many a rub that galls the proud spirit. Be courteous in thy manner, and liberal of thy purse; for 'tis the hand to the bonnet and in the pocket that makes friends in this world; of which to gain one good, all the gold the sun breeds in India, or the universal sea sucks down, were a cheap purchase. Speak no evil of women; I tell thee the meanest of them deserves our respect; for of women do we not all come? Quarrel with no one but with good cause; by the Lord, over and over again, when I see masters and schools of arms among us, I say to myself, 'This is not the thing we want at all, How to fight, but Why to fight? that is the lesson we want to learn.' And I verily believe if but one master of the Why to fight advertised among us he would carry off all the scholars. Well--enough--You have not (as you once said to me) my advice this time on an empty stomach--a fair outfit of clothes and money--a good horse--and a good sword--these, together with Don Lope's countenance, and my blessing--I trust in God to live to see thee home again with honour and advancement on thy back. My son, God bless thee! There--And now go--for I am beginning to play the woman.