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: How is that possible,
when I heard her say…
Echo, inside, and Narcissus, outside, repeat the verse:
NARCISSUS: If all is suffering for
those who deeply love,
and if there is no happiness
in loving deeply,
lovers be damned!
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…
NARCISSUS: If all is suffering for
those who deeply love,
and if there is no happiness
in loving deeply,
lovers be damned!
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.
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.
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: 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.
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.
NARCISSUS: Why are you frightened?
NARCISSUS: Well, mustn’t I be frightened to
see in you such a change?
What were you saying?
NARCISSUS: Yes. Don’t keep anything 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!
NARCISSUS: What is this?
NARICISSUS: What do you feel? 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!
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.
BATO: Now we have another story!
What nymph or what gourd,
my lady, is this?
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.
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.
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.
(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.
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: 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
FEBO: Where do my anxieties carry me
after a divine impossibility,
lacking both good fortune and hope?
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?
FEBO: Did she fall from one of these
FEBO: Did the torrent of this river
become her silver sepulcher?
FEBO: Worse than drowning, falling
from a cliff, and being mauled?
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,