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.
  • DON JUAN: You know, as I was saying, what a debt
    Germany has owed us since our fair Maria
    Her title of the Royal Child of Spain
    Set in the crown of Hungary--a debt
    They only could repay us as they do,
    Returning us one of the self-same stock,
    So like herself in beauty and desert,
    We seem but taking what we gave away.
    If into Austria's royal hand we gave
    Our royal rose, she now returns us one
    Sprung of the self-same stem, as fair, as sweet
    In maiden graces; and if double-dyed
    In the imperial purple, yet so fresh,
    She scarce has drunk the dawns of fourteen Aprils.
    The marriage contract signed, the marriage self
    Delayed, too long for loyal Spain's desire,
    That like the bridegroom for her coming burned,
    (But happiness were hardly happiness
    Limped it not late,) till her defective years
    Reached their due blossom--Ah, happy defect,
    That every unconditioned hour amends!
    At last arose the day--the day of days--
    When from her royal eyrie in the North
    The imperial eaglet flew. Young Ferdinand,
    King of Bohemia and Hungary
    Elect, who not in vain Rome's holy hand
    Awaits to bind the laurel round his brow,
    As proxy for our king espoused her first,
    And then, all lover-like, as far as Trent
    Escorted her, with such an equipage
    As when the lords and princes of three realms
    Out-do each other in magnificence
    Of gold and jewel, ransacked from the depths
    Of earth and sea, to glitter in the eye
    Of Him who sees and lights up all from heaven.
    So, like a splendid star that trails her light
    Far after her, she crossed fair Italy,
    When Doria, Genoa's great Admiral,
    Always so well-affected to our crown,
    Took charge of her sea-conduct; which awhile,
    Till winds and seas were fair, she waited for
    In Milan, till, resolved on embarkation,
    The sea, that could not daunt her with his rage,
    Soon as her foot was on his yellow shore,
    Call'd up his Tritons and his Nereids
    Who love and make calm, to smooth his face
    And still his heaving breast; on whose blue flood
    The golden galley in defiance burn'd,
    Her crew in wedding pearl and silver dressed;
    Her silken sail and cordage, fluttering
    With myriad flags and streamers of all dye,
    Sway's like a hanging garden over-head,
    Amid whose blossoms stood the royal bride,
    A fairer Venus than did ever float
    Over the seas to her dominions
    Arm'd with the arrows of diviner love.
    Then to the sound of trump and clarion
    The royal galley, and with her forty more
    That follow'd in her wake as on their queen,
    Weigh'd, shook out sail, and dipp'd all oars at once,
    Making the flood clap hands in acclamation;
    And so with all their streamers, as 'twere spring
    Floating away to other hemispheres,
    Put out to sea; and touching not the isles
    That gem the midway deep--not from distrust
    Of friendly France in whose crown they are set,
    And who (as mighty states contend their peace
    With courtesies as with hard blows in war)
    Swell'd the triumphal tide with pageantries
    I may not stop to tell--but borne upon,
    And (as I think) bearing, fair wind and wave,
    The moving city on its moving base
    With sail and oar enter'd the Spanish Main,
    Which, flashing emerald and diamond,
    Leap'd round the golden prow that clove between,
    And kiss'd the happy shore that first declined
    To meet its mistress. Happy Denia,
    That in her golden sand holds pearly-like
    The first impression of that royal foot!
    I will not tell--let Felix, who was here,
    And has new breath--how, landed happily,
    Our loyal Spain--yea, with what double welcome--
    Received the niece and consort of our king,
    Whom, one and both, and both in one, may Heaven
    Bless with fair issue, and all happiness,
    For years and years to come!