A monologue from the play by Gil Vicente

  • NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from Four Plays of Gil Vicente. Trans. Aubrey F.G. Bell. Cambridge: University Press, 1920.
  • NECROMANCER: Princes of most noble worth,
    To whom high renown is given,
    Who, victorious on earth,
    Are beloved of God in Heaven,
    I a priest am and my home
    Is Portugal,
    From the Sibyl's cave I come
    Where fumes diabolical
    Are distilled and brought to birth.
    In magic and necromancy
    I'm a skilled practitioner,
    A most accomplished sorcerer,
    Well versed in astrology.
    In so many a devil's art
    Would I have part
    That o'er the strongest I'll prevail
    And just seize him by the tail
    And hand him to prince Luis there.
    Sorcerers of past time ne'er
    Knew the enchantments that I know,
    Ways of making love to grow
    And of freeing from love's care.
    For of hearts I will take one
    Harder than stone
    And will it soft as syrup make,
    And so change others, to changes prone,
    That nothing shall their firmness shake.
    Truly a great wizard I
    And great marvels can I work,
    All the powers of Hell that lurk
    Favour me exceedingly,
    As deeds impossible shall attest
    Of awful shape,
    Miracles most manifest
    Such that all shall see and gape,
    Visibly and invisibly.
    For I'll make a lady coy,
    Through love's guerdon she defer,
    If her lover look on her,
    The very breath of life enjoy;
    And two lovers, love's curse under
    Kept asunder,
    Will I leave to grieve apart,
    And achieve by this my art
    Things at which you'll gaze in wonder.
    For a lady most ungainly
    For a halfpenny at night
    Will I cause without a light
    To look nor ill nor well too plainly.
    To another loveliest,
    As star in heaven
    Shall this destiny be given
    That of noblest men and best
    None against her love protest.
    And the better to display
    The perfection of my spell
    I'll cause you all to marry well,
    That is, I mean, as best you may;
    And I'll turn night into day
    All by this good art of mine,
    If the sun should chance to shine,
    And, too, light as air shall be
    Every foolish fantasy.
    I will cause you all to sleep
    While sleep has you in its keeping,
    And I'll cause you to awake
    Without therefore the earth quaking;
    And a lover by the thorn
    Of love forlorn
    If most real be his love
    I will make his fancy prove
    Steadfast till it be forsworn.
    I will make you wish to see
    Things which scarcely can be parried,
    And when each of you is married
    Then truly shall his wedding be.
    And I'll make this city stand
    Stone o'er stone on either hand,
    And that those who do not flourish
    No prosperity shall nourish.
    For my magic art's more proof
    I'll bring mighty rains whereat
    All the tiles shall lie down flat
    Above the houses, on the roof.
    And the great Cathedral tower
    For all its size will I uproot
    And despite its special power
    Its battlements on high will put,
    Its foundation at its foot.
    In my praise no more be said.
    In St. Cyprian's name most holy,
    Satan, I conjure thee.
    (Gentlemen, be not afraid.)