A New and Complete Translation

Essay 64

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 [†] 11 December 1767[64.1]

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The Earl rejoins that the most perfect love is one that expects no reward, and requited love is a reward.[64.2] His silence itself makes his happiness: for as long as he keeps his love quiet, it remains unrejected and he can allow himself to be deceived by the sweet notion that it might be accepted. The unfortunate man may be happy as long as he does not know how unfortunate he is.[*][64.3] The queen refutes this sophistry as a person who herself has a stake in Essex no longer adhering to it, and Essex, made bold by this rebuttal, is about to dare make the profession that the Queen claims a lover absolutely must venture, when Blanca enters to announce the Duke. Blanca’s appearance brings about one of the most singular coups de théâtre.[64.4] For Blanca is wearing the sash she took from Cosme, which the Queen notices, but Essex does not.[†][64.5]

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 ESSEX: Then ventured it will be! – Be bold! She herself encourages me. Why do I want to die of the disease, when I can die of the remedy? What am I still afraid of? – Queen, in that case –

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 BLANCA: The Duke, your Majesty –

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 ESSEX: Blanca could not come at a more inconvenient moment.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 BLANCA: Attends in the antechamber –

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 QUEEN: Ah! Heaven!

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 BLANCA: For permission –

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 QUEEN: What do I see?

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 BLANCA: To enter.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 QUEEN: Tell him – What do I see? – Tell him he should wait. – I am going mad! – Go, tell him.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 BLANCA: I obey.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 QUEEN: Wait! Come here! Closer! –

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 BLANCA: What does your Majesty command? –

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 QUEEN: Oh, certainly! – Tell him – There is no doubt! – Go, entertain him for a moment – Woe is me! – Until I myself come out to him. Go, leave me!

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 BLANCA: What is this? – I am going.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 ESSEX: Blanca is gone. I can continue now –

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 QUEEN: Ha, jealousy!

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 ESSEX: – to declare myself. – What I dare do, I dare by dint of your own persuasion.

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 QUEEN: My gift in strange hands! By god! – But I must be ashamed of myself to let a passion get so much the better of me!

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 ESSEX: If then, therefore – as your Majesty said, and as I must concede – the happiness that one purchases through fear – costs dearly – even if one dies more nobly – then I, too, will –

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 QUEEN: Why are you saying this, Earl?

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 ESSEX: Because I hope that when I – Why am I still afraid? – if I professed my love to your Majesty – that some Love –

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 QUEEN: What are you saying here, Earl? You direct this to me? What? Fool! Madman! Do you recognize me? Do you know who I am? And who you are? I think you have lost your mind. […]

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 And thus Her Majesty goes on reprimanding the poor Earl, and in such fine form! She asks him, does he not know how far heaven is raised above human audacities? Does he not know that the storm winds that seek to penetrate Olympus must roar back when they reach the halfway point? Does he not know that the vapors that rise toward the sun are dispersed by its rays? – The one who believes himself fallen from heaven is Essex. He withdraws, ashamed, and begs for forgiveness. The Queen commands him to stay out of her sight, never to enter her palace again, and to consider himself lucky that she has left him the head in which such vain thoughts were spawned.[‡][64.6] He departs, and the Queen, after letting us know how little her heart corresponds with her speech, also exits.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 Blanca and the Duke come in her place to fill the stage. Blanca has freely confessed to the Duke on what terms she and the Earl stand: that he must become her husband or her honor is lost. The Duke makes the decision that he must make; he will free himself of his love, and to repay her trust he promises to support her cause with the Queen when she decides to reveal her relationship with the Earl.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 The Queen soon comes back, deep in thought. She is conflicted over whether the Earl is really as guilty as he seems. Perhaps it was another sash that was just very similar to hers. – The Duke comes to her. He says that he is come to ask a favor that Blanca asks for as well. Blanca will explain in more detail, he will leave them alone together, and so he leaves them.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 The Queen becomes curious; Blanca becomes confused. Finally Blanca decides to talk. She no longer wants to depend on a man’s capricious resolve; she no longer wishes to leave to the discretion of his integrity what she can obtain through force. She begs Elizabeth for her compassion: Elizabeth, the woman, not the Queen. For because she must confess a weakness of her sex, she seeks in her not the Queen, but only the woman.[§][64.7]

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 [*]    […] el mas verdadero amor,
es el que en sí mismo quieto
descansa, sin atender
á mas paga, ó mas intento:
la correspondencia es paga,
y tener por blanco el precio,
es querer por grangería;
Dentro está del silencio, y del respeto
mi amor, y así mi dicha está segura,
presumiendo tal vez (dulce locura!)
que es admitído del mayor sugeto.
Dexándome engañar de este concepto,
dura mi bien, porque mi engaño dura;
necia será la lengua, si aventura
un bien, que está seguro en el secreto.
que es feliz, quien no siendo venturoso,
nunca llega á saber que es desdichado.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 [†]     Por no morir de mal, quando
puedo morir del remedio:
digo, pues (ea, osadía,
ella me alentó, qué temo?)
que será bien, que tu Alteza –
Sale Blanca con la banda puesta.
BL: Señora, el Duque –
CON: A mal tiempo
viene Blanca.
BL: Está aguardando
en la antecámara.
REYN: Ay, Cielo!
BL: Para entrar –
REYN: Qué es lo que miro!
BL: Licencia.
REYN: Decid (qué veo!)
decid que espere (estoy loca!)
decid, andad.
BL: Ya obedezco.
REYN: Vení acá, volved.
BL: Qué manda
vuestra Alteza?
REYN: El daño es cierto.
Decidle (no hay que dudar)
entretenedle un momento
(ay de mí!) miéntras yo salgo,
y dexadme.
BL: Qué es aquesto?
ya voy. Vase.
CON: Ya Blanca se fué;
quiero pues volver –
REYN: Ha zelos!
CON: A declararme atrevido,
pues si me atrevo, me atrevo
en fe de sus pretensiones.
REYN: Mi prenda en poder ageno!
vive Dios – Pero es vergüenza,
que pueda tanto un afecto
en mí.
CON: Segun lo que dixo
vuestra Alteza aquí, y supuesto
que cuesta cara la dicha
que se compra con el miedo,
quiero morir noblemente.
REYN: Por qué lo [decis]?
CON: Qué espero?
si á vuestra Alteza (qué dudo?)
le declarase mi afecto
algun amor –
REYN: Qué decis?
Á mí? Cómo, loco, necio –
Conoceisme? Quién soy yo?
Decid, quién soy? que sospecho
que se os huyó la memoria. […]

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 [‡]     […] No me veais,
y agradecedme que os dexo
cabeza, en que se engendráron
tan livianos pensamientos.

32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 [§]     Ya estoy resuelta,
no á la voluntad mudable
de un hombre esté yo sujeta,
que aunque no sé que me olvide,
es necedad, que yo quiera
dexar á su cortesía
lo que puede hacer la fuerza.
Gran Isabela, escuchadme,
y al escucharme tu Alteza,
ponga, aun mas que la atencion,
la piedad con las orejas.
Isabela os he llamado
en esta ocasion, no Reyna,
que quando vengo á deciros
del honor una flaqueza,
que he hecho como muger,
porque menor os parezca,
no Reyna, muger os busco,
solo muger os quisiera.

  • 34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0
  • [64.1] Actually published winter of 1768.
  • [64.2] In [54], Lessing begins his analysis of The Unhappy Favourite: or, The Earl of Essex (1682) by John Banks; here Lessing continues, from [60], his extended synopsis and discussion of a “Spanish Essex” (Antonio Coello’s Dar la vida por su Dama, 1633). See [60.2].
  • [64.3] For the first part of the quotation in Lessing’s footnote, see Coello 15; for the second, see page 16.
  • [64.4] Coup de théâtre: term connoting a sudden and surprising plot development.
  • [64.5] See Coello 16.
  • [64.6] Ibid., 17.
  • [64.7] Ibid., 18.
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Source: http://mcpress.media-commons.org/hamburg/essay-64/