Echo and narcissus




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ECHO (singing): And yet all that I feel does not fit

within all that I am not saying.


NARCISSUS: Divided into a thousand parts,

my cares are the spoils

of the wind. See something, eyes,

or do not hear so much, ears.


Each one sings her verse again

and Echo enters.
ECHO: Going in this direction, I

will enter the pleasantest part

of this tangled growth,

saying time and time again:


(singing) Only the silence must bear

witness to my torment.


NARCISSUS: Bird of these mountains,

that with your smooth intonations

are so sonorously the

sweet confusion of the wind,

if, between the ear and the lips,

I am left, doubtful, captivated, and paralyzed,

without knowing for whom is

my strongest affect,

to hear the crystalline water

that thirstily called my name,

the tune that I return to drink

thirstily calls to me as well.

How have you altered so my

affects for the one thirst and the other

that, rather than lips and ears

drinking water and music, you have

made my eyes drink fire,

and so poisonous a fire that,

to explain it, one must

think that, in your own mode…


NARCISSUS AND

ECHO (singing): Only the silence must bear

witness to my torment?
ECHO: Oh uncut diamond that, poorly

polished, you let shine through

the soul you hide within

this coarse, crude suit,

I was left no less arrested

upon seeing you, since,

captivated, frozen, and confused,

I only manage to respond to you

with the same line I was just singing…
(singing) And yet all that I feel does not fit

within all that I am not saying.


NARCISSUS: Similar, according to that,

is our enthrallment

so much that we both will say,

you, if you respond to me,

and I, if I resemble you…
NARCISSUS AND

ECHO (singing): Only the silence must bear

witness to my torment.
NARCISSUS: Who are you?
ECHO: A woman.
NARCISSUS: The second I have ever seen.

One could even say the first,

since, as I understand it,

the first that I saw

was no woman to me,

since she never ignited in my chest

such a raging fire

as your voice and your appearance

have ignited in my chest.

Where are passing through here to go?


ECHO: I come only to look for you.

And in desiring to find you,

as I understand it, I would value

not having found you because

today in you, more than I find you, I lose.
NARCISSUS: Did you know me?
ECHO: Not I.
NARCISSUS: Well how is it that you search in this

wasteland for someone you do not know?

It is normal in this world

for women to search

for someone they do not know?
ECHO: Soon you will know

the cause that has brought me here.


NARCISSUS: Well, say it.
ECHO: Sileno!
NARCISSUS: Who are you calling for?

What are you trying to do?


ECHO: Febo! Bato! Silvio! Anteo!
NARCISSUS: You want to kill me,

as if you had not already killed me.


ECHO: Sirene! Liríope! Nise!

Come all of you to this spot,

as I have just found Narcissus!
All enter.
SILVIO: Called by your voice, I come.
ANTEO: I come, brought by your voice.
SILENO: Your intonations have given me wings.
FEBO: Here is where the beautiful Echo called out.
BATO AND

SIRENE: As all the others arrive, let us arrive.


NARCISSUS: There are so many people in the world?
LIRÍOPE: It makes me happy to see you.
NARCISSUS: But how is it, Mother, that you

come in search of me with all of these people?


SILENO: Pieces of my heart,

embrace me.


NARCISSUS: Hold it, all of you.

And if someone must embrace me,

may it be she who I am now looking at.

Tell me who she is, and what you intend,

Mother, because I am paralyzed,

seeing such a remarkable range

of faces and outfits.

LIRÍOPE: Slowly you will come to know your story.

SILENO: You speak well, since now is

no time to tarry here.

Together let us descend to the valley.

There you will change your garments

and hear of all the events that concern you,

my handsome Narcissus.


FEBO: Pardon my impudence,

Sileno, and give me permission,

to give to the lad,

while you are making clothes for him,

an animal hide that since it is new

will be more suitable


SILENO: I thank you very much for this courtesy.
FEBO: I will go ahead to send it.
(aside) And no longer busied with this,

oh Love, conjure demonstrations of affection

to perform for your lovely lady.
Febo exits.
SILVIO (aside): Oh Desires, give me lessons

on how to oblige disdain.


Silvio exits.
SILENO: Blessed I am

that I have lived to see this.


ANTEO: I have had great fortune

to be the instrument of this fate.


Anteo exits.
LIRÍOPE: Follow my steps, Narcissus,

as this wilderness is no longer our homeland.


Liríope exits.
NARCISSUS: I have admired many things,

but only one has killed me.


Narcissus exits.
ECHO (aside): But, judging from the sorrows

that I feel within my soul,

Narcissus and Echo come to be

the latest of the world’s great stories.


Echo exits.
BATO: Sirene!
SIRENE: What do you want from me?
BATO:

The fact that I love you,

in order that you may know

what bad taste I have.


SIRENE: If I loved you back,

mine would be worse.


BATO: I deny that,

with each thing in its proper amount,

all is bad and nothing is good.

But, this aside, as we meanwhile go about

following our masters and mistresses,

you will not tell me the truth?


SIRENE: I am telling it.
BATO: You will not keep to it,

since you are not taught to do so.

But let it go. I, Sirene,

am a very large fool.


SIRENE: Very large indeed!
BATO: I swear to the sun,

as I have now realized it,

since I am seeing things

that they are things that I am seeing

without understanding them, Sirene.
SIRENE: What things?
BATO: Well, is there an occurrence

so strange as my master Sileno

having today found his savage daughter

with a savage little grandson,

and me having to go home now

to live with them?


SIRENE: Well, what does that matter? Tell.
BATO: From this reaction, you clearly do not know

what it is like to deal with savages.


SIRENE: Bato, they are not savages,

but a woman and a man.


BATO: Those, as I understand it,

make the worst kinds of savages

once they become them.
SIRENE: Have you ever seen in your life

a more handsome and beautiful

young man than Narcissus?
BATO: You are already enamored of him,

but it is nothing new for women

to be pleased by savages.
SIRENE: Oh, an evil fire

on your tongue! What kind of woman

has come to be pleased by them?
BATO: What kind of woman? All of these

Sirene, that I will go about saying:

There is a woman who falls in love

with a self-flagellator, seeing that

he is such a savage that he

inflicts violence on himself.

There is a woman who falls in love

with an acrobat, not caring that

he is such a savage that he

walks on air, despite the ground.

There is a woman who falls in love

with a bullfighter, realizing that

he is such a savage that

he seeks out body-to-body contact.

There is a woman who falls in love

with a dancer, knowing that

he is such a savage that

he grinds his bones to a pulp…to a beat.

There is a woman who falls in love

with a fencer, knowing that

he is such a savage that

he puts his eyes at risk.

There is a woman who falls in love…
SIRENE: Hold your tongue. I do not want

to know any more.


BATO: But I was only just beginning.
SIRENE: Entertained, in effect, by your

lunacies, we have arrived

in the valley.
BATO And having left the two of them

(looking inside): at home, our company departs.


SIRENE: Each one will want to go to

tend to his flock.


BATO: Except for Febo,

who returns only to solitude.


Febo enters.
FEBO: Sirene, I’ve come in search of you.
SIRENE: How can I be of service to you?
BATO: I am leaving so as not to be in the way,

and also in order to go see

what our new guests are doing.
Bato exits.
FEBO: Since nobody, Sirene, in all of the valley

knows not of the fervor

with which my attentions adore

Echo’s rare beauty,

I will not need to repeat it now.

And since you were

here when – oh, goodness! –

she placed a request for a

demonstration of love, I

am trying to win her through you.

Sirene, since you are

the lass whom Echo has loved the most,

and that you are the preferred onein her graces.

If you would like to give life to a corpse,

find out for me how I will

be able to most please her,

since the best way to measure

demonstrations of love are not

by their size, Sirene, but

by the occasion on which they are made.

SIRENE: You need not say more.

Whatever I may learn, you will see

that my lips withhold nothing from you.
FEBO: My longing begs this of you.
SIRENE: I already told you that I will do it.

And I will keep nothing from you.


Sirene exits.
FEBO: Who endures a greater torment

than he who hopelessly adores

a beauty with no faith in love?
Scarcely has grey and frozen Winter

turned these woodlands grey with snow

when Springtime blooms, and

what was frozen is now seen to be cheerful.


Spring passes, and Summer

suffers and endures the sun’s severity.

Fertile Autumn arrives and enriches

the woodlands with its greenness,

the plains with its fruit.
All lives subject to change.

The illusions of one day after another

complete a year, and this year stretches to another.
A woodland endures disillusionments

that, were it in lacking in hope,

would already have surrendered under the weight of the years.
Febo exits.
Liríope and Narcissus enter.
LIRÍOPE: Have you been paying attention?
NARCISSUS: Yes, and all you have told me

I have written in my memory

and on my heart.

And just so you know, Mother,

having been born in the wilderness

and having grown up in such seclusion,

all of it relates to my

having foretold in the stars

that a voice and a beauty

with two distinct effects,

one enchanting me and one hating me,

are my greatest dangers.


LIRÍOPE: Well try to save yourself from them,

Narcissus, considering…


NARCISSUS: What?
LIRÍOPE: That only you can protect yourself.
NARCISSUS; Already warned of everything,

Mother, I ask of you permission

to go see in the valley

that which I have seen on other occasions.

I could learn from the shepherds

such diverse practices:

the way to feed the livestock,

the manner of farming the land.

And since I look at myself as free,

today let my natural instinct

owe something to my eyes,

so that I do not have to get

all news from my ears.
LIRÍOPE: Although with some fear,

I grant you permission.

But, so that you may not go alone,

I want one of my father’s servants

to go with you that will keep you informed

and give you advice on everything. Bato!


Bato enters.
BATO: Ma’am?

LIRÍOPE: Today my fears place their trust

in your clear-sightedness. Narcissus wants to go

to see all the common pastures

and meet the shepherds who

are residents of this valley.

Take him to and from there.
(Aside to Bato) Do not leave him. Listen and

be advised, Bato, of what I am

telling you only here.

Do not leave him alone

speaking with any girl.
BATO: I do not expect myself to do that,

only because the role of the

“third wheel” is a very

unpleasant one, and I am

contrarily inclined to it.

But in the end it is making people happy,

And I die to be well-liked.
LIRÍOPE: You will do what I have ordered you to do.

Divine gods, make better

the menaces of destiny!
Liríope exits.
BATO: Your mother has given me

a good commission.

Who would have guessed that

the Batos of the world might be nannies?


NARCISSUS: Let’s go, Bato my friend,

and walk throughout the entire valley.


BATO: Let’s hit the town.
NARCISSUS: What building

is that over there?


BATO: There? A temple of Apollo,

eminent and rich.


NARCISSUS: It is very fair for the gods

to have their sacred space elevated,

since even in the material world

they should have preference over men.

I will not know how to tell you how much

I value having seen this golden building

amidst all the other ones of straw.
Anteo, within.
ANTEO: I will put you all at peace, I swear

to the sun, if I undo my sling.


NARCISSUS: What is that?
BATO: Two of Anteo’s strong young bulls

are fighting over there, and he

breaks them up with

the sling and the whistle.


NARCISSUS: Who is Anteo?
BATO: A young man, the most valiant

as has ever been seen in all of Arcadia.


NARCISSUS: And what is it to

be valiant?


BATO: His having said it.
NARCISSUS: Who does that flock belong to?
BATO: If you must kill me with questions,

Narcissus, would it not be better

to just take that knife

and slit my throat with it

rather than bore me to death with such nonsense?
NARCISSUS: I promise that

I will not ask you any more.

Whose flock is that one there,

That from those woodlands

to this valley descends in so excessive

a number that it drives the very

cliffs insane?
BATO: It belongs to Febo, the most discreet

and learned man as has ever been seen

in all of Arcadia.
NARCISSUS: And, tell me, what does being a

learned man entail?


BATO: In getting others to say it,

because the same piece of wisdom,

when said by two people,

is seen as wit in one,

and nonsense in the other.
NARCISSUS: And that flock arriving there,

menacingly, to the river

that will exhaust its flow?
BATO: Who has joined me up with you?

It belongs to Silvio, the most

handsome of the shepherds.
NARCISSUS: And what does it mean

to be handsome?


BATO: In seeming to be so,

a fine figure and spirit being in style.


NARCISSUS: There are styles in figures?
BATO: Yes. I remember having seen

chests to be in fashion one year

and ankles the next.

And this is nothing, since in the end

I recall that the dresses were what mattered,

more so than faces,

women having such diverse styles.
NARCISSUS: Fashions, in the faces that

nature made?


BATO: During a time that the fasion was sleepy eyes,

there was no beauty in wakefulness

and everything was looking as if cross-eyed.

Almond-shaped eyes were later the style,

and they used to open them so wide

that they

made even themselves afraid.

Little mouths then

were of highest value,

and all lips would walk

through the streets puckered.

Then big ones became in fashion

and in that same instant

mouths spread wide open,

and leaving what was attractive

in smallness, they placed

their perfection in the cleanliness

of greatness, even to showing

teeth, molars, and canines.
Echo is heard within.
ECHO (singing): The sun and the air

stir up my color;

they do it from envy,,

the air and the sun.


NARCISSUS: Who is this (girl), who brings

a flock of little white lambs,

that give the impression that

they are letting ermines graze?


BATO: This is Echo, the most beautiful woman

that the sun has ever seen.


NARCISSUS: What is this, that in seeing her

I lose all of my senses,

and this grief, which I take pleasure in

and value, descends on me,

leaving me deceived by it,

believing that it is happiness?


BATO: Look there! those are extreme expressions of love!

Try to resist them at the beginning,

because you will only be able to in the beginning.
ECHO (singing): The sun and the air

stir up my color,

they do it from envy,

the air and the sun.


NARCISSUS: If a voice and a beauty

threaten me with punishment,

let us flee from

that voice and that beauty, Bato.


Echo and Sirene enter.
ECHO: Narcissus!
NARCISSUS: Yes, lovely lady?
ECHO: I much appreciate

seeing you in this outfit.

How do you come to be in the valley?

Is this not a more pleasant place

than the woodlands where you were born?
NARCISSUS: If in it I may admire your beauty,

not only is it better than the woodlands,

but it is better than the Elysium.

May God keep you.


ECHO: Why are you leaving

so quickly?


NARCISSUS: I imagine that it is important

for me to make my exit.


ECHO: How so?
NARCISSUS: It seems that, a voice and a beauty

having been my two greatest dangers,

and finding that both

coexist in you,

it is necessary that I flee from you;

your voice is a charm

and your beauty a spell.
Narcissus exits.
BATO: The young man wants

to take care of himself.


Bato exits.
ECHO: Sirene, what is this that I see?

There is a young man that, when

I give him occasion to speak with me,

– I tremble to say it! – he leaves me there,

fleeing from our conversation?

And no, it is not even as strange

that he is able to – I am losing all sense –

force himself away, but that I,

seeing him depart from me,

cannot help but feel it.

Me, the most celebrated

shepherdess that Arcadia has

ever seen! I who have seen myself

idolized by so man men,

with all of the arrogance I have

cut down, and all the vanities

with which I prostrate so many,

at the snub of a young boy

as coarse as he is handsome

do I really confess that I feel it?

But alas, what has afflicted me?

No one feels more acutely

the rebuffs of another than

she who has arrogantly destroyed

the slavelike passion of all;

because, in effect, it is necessary that

the style be surprising

when the style is another’s.


SIRENE: Do not feel so much for

an incident that may have happened by chance.


ECHO: If you only knew what I feel

within my heart – oh, Sirene! –

you would not blame these

extreme emotions you have seen.

From the instant I laid eyes

on Narcissus’ beauty,

I have lived judging that I have died,

and have died judging that I live.


Silvio and Febo enter on either end of the stage.
FEBO: What do I hear, heavens? Is it you,

moaning?
SILVIO: Is it your emoting? Heavens, what do I see?


FEBO: You, crying?
SILVIO: You, feeling?
FEBO: You, tears?
SILVIO: You, sighs?
ECHO: This is the only thing I was missing.
SILVIO: Seeing that your divine eyes

collect more pearls

than does the dew at daybreak,

I will ask the heavens for their reward.


FEBO: I, seeing that in two beautiful

strings of pearls

all the Olympian lands are today undone,

I will give the heavens our condolences.

SILVIO: I surrender happily to your voice,

because this mild crying, in its

tenderness, has told me that

your heart knows how to feel.


FEBO: Today I humble myself sadly

at your feet, because this crying has

told me that there is something

that you have felt.


ECHO: Oh, how cruel you are, Love,

that having two loathsome suitors

has not managed to satisfy you

to give me a lover!


SILVIO: Oh Febo, if I compete with you

in the desire to make demonstrations

of love, in this activity

Echo has been more inclined to me.


FEBO: In what way?
SILVIO: In this way:
(to Echo) Listen, and the judgment is yours to make.
ECHO (aside): To hide my woes

I will necessarily have to hear it.


SILVIO: So rare, so unusual is

the proud beauty of Echo

that, not believing her to be human,

I adored her as though she were divine.

Today, in being inclined to cry,

she raises my love’s greatest hopes:

therefore, with confidence, my thoughts should

so esteem her affliction

since my hope is born from it.
FEBO: I, from the moment I first saw

Echo, always loved her as though

she were divine. And even though

today I witnessed her crying,

I still did not believe she was human.

In order to persuade me,

I regret my audacity

because to be divine is sufficient:

my hope should therefore die

of her affliction.


SILVIO: That which is common in sickness

is common also in love.

Hence he feels no pain

who knows not what pain is.

Therefore, feeling that seeing her

here so moved with emotion was an error,

since seeing that she is indeed so moved,

what she feels

will be able to oblige her

more compassionately

to have pity on me.
FEBO: I concede that only he who

suffers pain may feel pity

for another’s pain. And in this way

my love for her feels her anguish.

If her pain offers you relief

because she may take pity on you, I

it was the opposite..

Because it is more right that I

feel her pain than that

she feel pain for me.

SILVIO: If I were able to remedy

her anguish with my anguish,

it would be wrong not to do it.
FEBO: I would want to feel her pain

no matter what.


SILVIO: Doing it for your own benefit

is not against decorum.


FEBO: I do not know that.

What would show greater carelessness

than my profiting

from the pain of the woman I love?

ECHO: I have listened attentively

to the tiresome competition of one and then the other,

yet neither

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