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.
  • HERMIT: Now I have a mind to say
    What I came to look for here.
    For my wish it is to stay
    In a hermitage that may
    Yield me plenty of good cheer.
    Ready-made would I find it: ill
    Could I all these joys fulfil
    Worn out by toil and labour fell.
    Wide not narrow be my cell
    That I may dance therein at will;
    Be it in a desert land
    Yielding wine and wheat alway,
    With a fountain near at hand
    And contemplation far away.
    Much fish and game in brake and pool
    Must I have for my own preserve
    And as for my house it must never swerve
    From an even temperature, cool
    In summer and in winter warm.
    Yes, and a comfortable bed
    Would not do me any harm,
    All of it cedar-wood,
    A harpsichord hung at its head:
    So do I find a monk's life good.
    I would lie and take my rest
    And sleep on far into the day
    So that I could not my matins say
    For noise of the whistling and the singing
    Of shepherdesses' songs clear ringing.
    On partridge would I sup and dine,
    Of stockfish should my luncheon be
    And of wine the very best.
    And the Judge's daughter should make for me
    The bed on which I would recline.
    And even as my beads I tell
    She should forget her flock of sheep
    And embrace me in my cell
    And bite my ears and make me weep:
    Yes, even thus it would be well.
    My brothers, since you know, I trow
    The recesses of each vale and hill
    Be good enough to tell me now
    Where best I may so have my will
    And this holy life fulfil.