Echo and narcissus




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that she is happy,

just because she sings I would follow

even if she did not sing well.

Pretty Echo, wait, listen…


Liríope enters and stops him.
LIRÍOPE: Hold your tongue and your step,

Narcissus.


NARCISSUS: How is that possible,

when I heard her say…


Echo, inside, and Narcissus, outside, repeat the verse:
ECHO AND

NARCISSUS: If all is suffering for



those who deeply love,

and if there is no happiness

in loving deeply,

lovers be damned!

Amen! Amen!
LIRÍOPE: Is it possible that, knowing

how the influence of your fate,

which so cruelly threatens you,

is written in that blue canopy

with golden pens and rosy letters,

you still want to open its pages

and read from its chapters?

Don’t you know that

that beauty and that voice

at some point began to declare themselves

your enemy when on the heels of

two jealous lovers you arrived

to defend one danger in the other?

Well, believe the warning there,

thanking the heavens that are so much

on your side as to make sure you

listen to the voice of thunder

before it strikes you with lightening.


NARCISSUS: I confess to you that you are right

to distrust and to fear.

But to conquer oneself,

I ask, “Who could have managed it?”


LIRÍOPE: He who, seeing the harm in advance,

fled from it.


NARCISSUS: If that is enough, I will flee.

I am going to the woodlands to hunt,

and I will not return to the valley

until I can return having forgotten

this dubious faith,

that one day is all loving

and the next, all loathing.

And so, in another sense,

I will go with her saying…
ECHO AND

NARCISSUS: If all is suffering for



those who deeply love,

and if there is no happiness

in loving deeply,

lovers be damned!

Amen! Amen!
Narcissus exits.
LIRÍOPE: Even in this todday the heavens

give you a most loyal warning,

that in loathing and loving

Destiny is yours also.

Go with him, Bato.
BATO: I am going.

A bad commission it is

of following around a master

who hands out sorrow and loves deeply.


Bato exits.
LIRÍOPE: Heavens, his fortune has already

been declared. And since I came to

recognize the cause of Narcissus’

endangerment, how will it have served

me if I cannot remedy that cause, how

will it have served me how much I learned

from Tiresias, how much I read about

and studied in solitude?

Let us take advantage of the knowledge

for knowledge, if left unused, serves

nothing. His two great dangers are

seen in Echo’s voice and beauty.

Let us destroy one of them

in order that to leave the other

imperfect. Among the things I know

about the great natural world,

I know a venom, the most cruel

that any infinite abundance of power

ever produced. This hinders

the tongue in such a way that

it renders its victim incapable of speech,

for the reason that it uses neither

pronouncing nor learning

anything but the last thing she hears.

This powerful, crude venom, part opiate and

part venomous flower, is so powerful

that it must produce lethargy in Echo.

So efficiently does it do its harm

that it will not be necessary

that she drink it, it will be enough

that she step on some in order for it

to run quickly to the heart

through its contact with her foot.

I have it concocted, and I will

put it on the path she walks upon.

Let Echo’s voice die, but it is

her voice that could so move Narcissus,

which, since I could not manage to

raise him without his seeing a woman,

I must save him in some other way,

and if this is not enough to produce

the effect that I want, I will leave

behind the secrets produced by the earth,

and my miracles will rise to this

clear canopy of the heavens.

I will unfasten the stars from their

epicycle, and this great loyal horde

of celestial bodies will lose its rosiness.

I will stain the face of the moon,

I will disorder the sun’s complexion and,

the heavens growing tongue-tied,

I will cause ruin to threaten

the grand, pretty republic

from one end to the other

so much so that the globe of the earth

may fear whether it will fall or not fall

to one movement or another.
Liríope exits.
Narcissus and Bato enter.
BATO: Follow that deer that still flies

like the wind, though struck by an arrow.


NARCISSUS: How, transformed into a bird,

flying today with only one wing

as flawlessly as you are,

oh deer, and with your back so

mortally wounded, do you return with

equal promptness, when you go about

leaving coral in how many emerald footsteps?
BATO: It has entered into the denseness,

to die by bleeding out in the stream.

NARCISSUS: You go. Finish it off, because I,

exhausted and fatigued,

can go no further than here.
BATO: I can’t either. And I believe now

that it must the truth…


NARCISSUS: That says what?
BATO: That running makes you tired,

because it has surely tired me out.


NARCISSUS: Let’s stay among those pretty branches

a little while, since impede the red glow

of the sun, while the

Dog Star of the heavens barks at the sun.


BATO: You speak very well. Let us rest

here a short while, as the place

invites us to. And since we see ourselves

with no other thing to talk about,

why don’t we talk about hunting?

Is there any greater foolishness

than following a buck in this heat, sir,

if the hunt in the shade of a dispensary

hunt is much better and less tiring
NARCISSUS: No, because the pleasure of

killing it is what is valued here.


BATO: I thought the pleasure was in

broiling it or breading it.


NARCISSUS: Listening to you I think

offends a noble exercise such as this.


BATO: Just imagine that there is no

forest like a kitchen,

or woods like a pantry.
NARCISSUS: Leave the subject of the hunt alone.
BATO: What, then, if this so pains you,

will you talk about?


NARCISSUS: About Echo I would like…
BATO: Well, that is also a kind of hunt,

though it’s a hunt of large game.


NARCISSUS: Forever…But what noise is this?
BATO: The wounded deer

bathed in foam and blood,

has returned this way.
NARCISSUS: You collect it, as I am so

exhausted that I cannot.


BATO: I will do it, sir,

and as I will go to collect it,

provided he wants to pay himself to me.
Bato exits, and Narcissus discovers the spring.
NARCISSUS: I will wait on the gratifying banks

of this spring. Will I dare to drink

the crystals of its fountain,

without distrusting or fearing

that my feelings will perhaps

be arrested for a second time

by the nymph of these waters?

But it will not happen, and

it cannot be an insult for me

to come to her for a drink,

if she is offfering it to me.

Oh, I was born such a naïve boy!

Oh, what a stupid fool I was raised to be!

I never heard from anyone

whether he who dared to drink

their crystal insulted the nymphs or flattered them.

But, if it is a flattering deity,

to relieve my suffering,

it must necessarily be generous.

Oh you, the first water nymph whom

I thirstily came to asking for consolation

and relief, do not take offense now that

I dare to come to you myself!

Who ever saw a beauty equal

to the one I now see?

Her arrow-wielding nymph

(how fortunate!) is a living fire

within the pure snow.

Not without fright and distrust

do my fears come to see

in another world of ice,

other trees and flowers,

other woodlands and other heavens.
(He shows As she heard my voice,

himself at the she came out in order to respond to me.

fountain) A beautiful surprise, for whom it

is right that I now sacrifice my life and soul,

tell me if I will be able to – oh, goodness! –

quench my thirst in the crystal waters

you are guarding. She says yes, now

though only with gestures.

although my speech and my will

understand them, I trust,,

there is no doubt in them,

since, although on speaking to her,

she is silent, she laughs when I laugh.

I never saw such divine beauty.

I will drink, since you give me your permission.

As I drew nearer to the crystal,

she drew closer as well.

Her beauty (how admired!)

is dressed like me.

Two trees rightly dress in the same

bark if they have a single heart.

I will drink, then. But, annoyances,

why do I find contrary insults

in your clear remains?

How is it that what is ice on

one’s lips is fire in their eyes?

How is such fire set upon me

when I come to the water?

How (I am mute, I am blind),

if fire kills water, does water

here ignites the fire?

From the moment I saw you,

oh beauty, I felt that I had died.

This praise alone comes well here

that I love you as I love myself,

and since I do not love myself more

than you, I would die for you.

Why do you neither talk nor respond?

But from you hiding your voice

I infer a second kind of good fortune,

because, if my harsh fate

in voice and beauty seeks

an atrocious end of my life,

your not having a voice

results in you having another kind of beauty.

Do you want to give me your hand?

Love lives, she brings it near!

Today I win great favor.

But – oh, goodness! – it is in vain

that achieve such a prize,

because – oh, incomparable sorrow! –

in going to grasp it, mad with love,

her celestial light is unsettled;

And I touch only the crystal

and not the crystal’s soul.
Narcissus remains distracted by the brook.
Echo enters.
ECHO: From the company of the valley,

that is more tiring than amusing,

my anxieties come fleeing.

to the solitude of the woodlands,

I come crying to this brook,

in whose calm surroundings

my melancholy is in the habit of’

amusing itself, because,

the water is an instrument

of sorrows, and this, in sweet accord,

with string of glass plays

golden frets and ambar bows.

Many times I came here

to distract myself from my misfortunes,

but of all of them – oh, heavens! –

none with greater cause,

such that, restlessly confused,

I don’t know what I feel in my soul

like the blows within my chest

are tearing out my heart.

But, what do I see? Narcissus

arrested by it with such rapt attention

that I believe he is actually the spring’s statue

I do not want him to be persuaded

that I have followed him,

so I must hide myself

among these green branches.
NARCISSUS: As you, beautiful prodigy,

only look at me and remain silent,

I do no more than look at you

and remain silent. But this is enough,

because, since I can see you,

what greater happiness could I want?


ECHO: Who is he talking to,

and telling such loving things?

Were the rebuffs not enough,

but now I must endure jealousy too?

But what instance of love lacks jealousy?

I want to get closer, since he has

his back to me and will not see me.

My foolish distrust has no doubt

that on the other side there is

some beautiful lass that he is talking to.


NARCISSUS: What a divinity you are,

what a sovereign deity!

Echo seemed pretty to me

before I saw you.

But since I’ve seen you,

she is not even your shadow.

ECHO: What does my suffering await

that isn’t already cried aloud,

seeing how he showers

another with praise at my cost?

But I see no one.

And since I cannot see from here,

I must attempt to see her from

behind him, if he who slowly kills me

also leaves me the courage.
Echo appears behind Narcissus at the spring.
NARCISSUS: Echo is lovely, but you…

Oh, how terrible! In naming her,

she set herself beside the

one I adore. Echo is within the

water. How is it possible?

But – oh, what a shame! – my

misfortunes will have facilitated

Echo’s entrance, or her jealousy,

in my nymph’s crystal palace.

Do not believe what she says to you about

my offense, because she deceives you

in everything she tells you.


ECHO: She does not deceive, Narcissus.
NARCISSUS: Heavens! Who has been seen in

such doubt! How is it that, if

her body is over there, her voice

sounds as if it is here? What the

soul endures is a strange confusion

in this case. How are you here if

you are in the crystalline palace

of these waters? Have you two bodies

at once? My sight, shocked to see you

in two places, is frightened with wonder.


He looks again at Echo, and leaves the spring.
ECHO: Listen!
NARCISSUS: Leave me. But my voice

insults you in vain.

Pretty Echo of my eyes,

if you want me, if you love me,

if you come to look for me

in the woodlands, make your great

demonstrations of love in telling me

how you entered this silver palace,

and how you left it so quickly,

so that I may go where you departed

from to see the sovereign deity

of these waters.


ECHO: Wait, Narcissus, pause, stop,

since as great as my sorrow is,

your ignorance is even greater.

Who do you see in this spring,

and with whom in this spring

are you speaking, if the only thing

inside it is a false shadow, the

reflection that the water offers

to our eyes, since it is a crystal

that draws a portrait of our bodies

feigns that object of sight?
NARCISSUS: I know, Echo, that you deceive me,

because you intend to dissuade me

from my love and my hope.

I have seen the gorgeous nymph

of these waters, whose rare perfection

gave snow to the woodlands, purple dye

to the carnation, mother-of-pearl to the rose,

candor to the jasmine, rosiness to the dawn,

golden plaits to the sun itself, and

silver hands to the crystal.

It is no pretend shadow, no, but

her in her considerable estate,

among other forests and heavens,

other woodlands and other plants,

which she has left in order to see me.

Come, come to see her,

since she is here even now.
ECHO: Oh, if the pain would give me relief

so that I could dispel your ignorance

in order to once and for all

take revenge on your vanity!

But the pain itself may give me the strength

to do it, so that I, in spite of his cruelty,

will know how to defeat him.

Narcissus, that deity in the water

that you see… Oh! I don’t know what

I was about to say. What strange sorrow!

To carry on, remind me of what

I was talking about.


NARCISSUS: The deity in these waters.
ECHO: Yes, that. That shadow, that your

fantasy vainly presumes is the nymph

that guards this place, is …

How will I tell you this?

I lack even an explanation.

I so readily doubt what I am at the

same time saying truthfully,

and not only the concept,

but also the words…

Who are you that is here with me?


NARCISSUS: Why do ask that if you

are talking to me?

I am Narcissus.
ECHO: Narcissus.
NARCISSUS: Why are you frightened?
ECHO: Frightened?
NARCISSUS: Well, mustn’t I be frightened to

see in you such a change?

What were you saying?
ECHO: Saying?
NARCISSUS: Yes. Don’t keep anything silent.
ECHO: Silent.
(aside) But I am lying, since I am

going to say a thousand things

and my baffled tongue will

pronounce only what it hears.
NARCISSUS: What strange confusion! Echo!
ECHO: Echo!
NARCISSUS: What is this?
ECHO: This?
NARICISSUS: What do you feel? Speak.
ECHO: Speak.
NARCISSUS: There is no doubt that, since

she wanted to offend the sovereign

deity of these waters, the nymph

has taken this vengeance, seizing

her voice from her. It already

astonishes me to see her. I will flee

from her. She holds me back, and

can only profess her pain in signs.

She tears at her heart with her own hands.

What is it that you want?


ECHO: You want?
NARCISSUS: You detain me and call out to me?

You tell me.


ECHO: You tell me.
NARCISSUS: Let go!
ECHO: Let go!
NARCISSUS: Enough!
ECHO: Enough!
Bato enters.
BATO: I have not been able to return

earlier, because … but I won’t have been

missed if you have been so

well entertained, sir.


NARCISSUS: I have not, but very poorly,

because I do not know what

is happening to my life.

Speak with Echo. Perhaps

she will here be able to talk

to you in a less baffled manner

than with me. And keep her

from following after me, as I

am going throughout all of

those mountains in search of

musicians, who can come to sing

for the sovereign nymph of

these waters, to whom I gave over

my being, my life, and my soul.


Narcissus exits.
BATO: Now we have another story!

What nymph or what gourd,

my lady, is this?
ECHO: This?
BATO: Yes.
ECHO: Yes.
BATO: What lovely coolness you use .

Do not follow him.


ECHO: Do not follow him.
Echo wants to go after Narcissus, and Bato detains her.
BATO: Do not follow him, and your

soul, which I must keep with me,

a bit must wait.
ECHO: Wait.
BATO: I said, what is it, my lady?
ECHO: My lady?

BATO: Me a lady? She must be drunk.

(aside) I just said what you were thinking.
ECHO: You were thinking?
BATO: I wasn’t thinking anything.
ECHO: Anything.
BATO: You say what you hear?

Since when are you a parrot?

She makes desperate gestures.

Filled with mortal anxieties,

she beats her breast. Fear

of her already pushes me away.


ECHO: Away.
(aside) On the inside,to myself,

I can speak without articulating

a single word, my vocal organ

lacking the ability to pronounce

them, even though I have

no idea why.

For the rest of my life,

no human being will see my face.

Fleeing from populated areas,

I will go to the harsh mountains

and, hidden in the deepest caverns,

within them, sad and confused,

repeating to those who pass by

only the last syllable of what they say.

Harsh mountains of Arcadia,

noble shepherds, pretty lasses,

white flocks of sheep, green tree trunks,

clear fountains, Echo your friend

is already departed from you.

Do not look for her, for she goes

to live somewhere hidden in the

harsh depths of the woodlands,

hopelessly enamored of Narcissus.

But if you want to know about her,

speak to her from the valleys,

and I here give my word

to respond to all,

crying with those who cry, and

singing with those who sing.
Echo exits.
BATO: Men, what is this that has struck

Echo, that she does not speak

anything except what she hears?

Oh, would that I might know the cause

to sell it! Because think how many men

would pay me their weight in gold

so that their women and ladies,

no matter how much they talk to them,

might never respond with even

a single word all day! And

how many women, how many

would also pay for the cure,

that their men would not say

anything but what they wanted them to!


Sirene enters.
SIRENE: They said that Echo was here,

and I’ve come looking for her.


BATO: Oh, if misfortune today had such

(aside) good taste that it had stolen

speech from Sirene too!

What is it, Sirene?


SIRENE: Oh, how this stupid fool

(aside) fatigues me! I do not want

to speak to him so that he

will leave me be and go elsewhere.


BATO: What, you don’t respond to me either?

And what, you speak in signs, also?

You don’t talk? What a beautiful thing!

Congratulations, gentlemen! From

today onward, all the women of the world

are quieted! A general plague

has come to carry off all their speech.
SIRENE: A pox on you,

since I will say, every

afternoon and morning

anything that comes into my noggin.


BATO: I was already frightened of being

so fortunate.


Febo enters.
FEBO: Where do my anxieties carry me

after a divine impossibility,

lacking both good fortune and hope?

Bato!
BATO: What is it, Febo?


FEBO: By any stroke of luck, in the midst

of this intricate denseness,

which diverse Nature coarsely knitted

knowing that sometimes what is

without art is most wise, have

did you see the divine Echo?


BATO: I didn’t see her, but I saw

Echo the human, because

if she were divine she wouldn’t

have suffered such misfortunes.


FEBO: What misfortunes?
BATO: The greatest that could happen

to a lass, Febo.


FEBO: How? Was there some tyrannous

horror of a beast that bled out her life?


BATO: Worse.
FEBO: Did she fall from one of these

mighty cliffs?


BATO: Worse.
FEBO: Did the torrent of this river

become her silver sepulcher?


BATO: Worse.

FEBO: Worse than drowning, falling

from a cliff, and being mauled?
BATO: Yes.
FEBO: What was it?
BATO: She lost her ability to speak,

which for a woman is the worst of all.


FEBO: A thousand and one curses on you,

for now speaking to me in jest!


BATO: I was speaking truthfully just now,

because I saw her here

lacking the ability to say

more than a single word.


FEBO: Her sorrows

may have been the reason for that.


BATO: But do not be too distressed,

as Sirene was silent here also,

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