Out of the Wings

You are here:

Don Juan Tenorio: Drama religioso-fantástico en dos partes (1844), José Zorrilla

Don Juan Tenorio: A Religious-Fantasy Drama in Two Parts (2012), translated by David Arbesú

First Part, ACT ONE, Scene 12


Zorrilla, José. 2012. Don Juan Tenorio: A Religious Fantasy-Drama in Two Parts, trans. David Arbesú. Newark, Juan de la Cuesta Hispanic Monographs

Don Juan and Don Luis have had a bet to see who could bed the most women and kill the most men. The men have now returned to Seville to tell of their scandalous misdeeds. Here, Don Juan lists the considerable number of fights and love affairs he was involved in.
Sample text
Don Juan:

As you wish. I, for my part,
never make anyone wait. 440
I first considered the need
to look for a greater place
to achieve some notable deed.
And I thought, what can exceed
Italy’s lustful embrace? 445
A venerable old land
for love and war, what a chance!
Our troops were taking a stand
against Italy, and then France.
I told myself: –“Play your hand 450
in this country, because here
there are soldiers, and I’m bound
to find games and parties near.”[1]
I travelled there without fear
looking for fights, safe and sound. 455
I went to Rome. On my door
I placed a sign so notorious
that read, no less and no more:
Here lives Don Juan Tenorio,
if anyone’s keeping score. 460
I refuse to tell the story
of the days I spent in Rome,
it’s all in my inventory...
read it and weep. Oh, what glory
came from the sign at my home! 465
The Roman girls were capricious,
and their manners were so vicious!
I was naughty and immature...
So many affairs, to be sure,
for a young man so ambitious. 470
To leave the city I was forced
to wear a filthy disguise,
and riding a sorry horse
I took flight without remorse,
because I thought it was wise. 475
In Rome all their disposition
was to hang me good and high!
I didn’t like that condition,
and to fulfill my ambitions
I went where soldiers were nigh. 480
But the good soldiers of Spain
are prone to fighting. I fled
and went to another domain,
choosing Naples. And again
I placed a sign here that read: 485
Here dwells Don Juan Tenorio
if you have something to say.
From a princess who’s so glorious
to a humble fisher girl,[2]
in love I’m always victorious. 490
If you’re looking for a fight
look for me, that’s my delight.
Come and fight with me, if you dare,
you’ll see how little I care.
Come, and let’s see who’s more bright 495
in games, fights, or love-affairs.
This was my sign, and therefore
in those six months –this I swear–
I took part in every dare,
in every feat, and much more! 500
And no matter where I strayed
I went against common sense,
I fooled justice with my blade,
I met virtue with offense,
and all good women betrayed. 505
Down I went in many a hut,
up to the palaces then,
into the cloisters I cut,
and I altered, in my rut,
women’s opinions of men. 510
Nothing was sacred to me,
whether it was high or lowly,
I disregarded all pleas,
and I didn’t spare –you see–
neither secular nor holy. 515
To fight all men I was thrilled;
once provoked, I went ahead,
and while I’m able and skilled
I never thought that, instead,
I could have been the one killed. 520
So, these are all of my feats,
one by one, for you to see
and prove that I’m not a cheat.
Now let’s see if you can compete
with the list written by me. 525

Don Luis:

Read it then.

Don Juan:

Let’s hear your story
and learn of your every deed,
then we’ll check your inventory,
look at my list, and proceed
to see who gets all the glory. 530

Don Luis:

Certainly, Don Juan, you’re right,
we should first hear both our tales.
The score will be very tight,
except in a few details.

Don Juan:

Go on with the story.

Don Luis:

Alright. 535
As you know, I, just like you
was looking for the right place
to look for women to woo
and for fights. I thought it through
and then I went at a pace 540
to Flanders. Which land is best
to look for affairs and fights
if not this one? For my quest
I needed wars and unrest,
and Flanders was about right.[3] 545

[1] Charles V inherited the Crown of Aragón, which in the Sixteenth Century included the Kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. Italy is, then, an appropriate choice for Don Juan’s travels.

[2] This is one of the many references to Tirso’s Trickster, where Don Juan seduces Duchess Isabela in Naples and a fisher girl –Tisbea– in Tarragona. Notice that the list is symbolic. The social status of his conquests is not important to Don Juan, and therefore his list includes women from all ranks, from the highest to the lowest.

[3] Charles V was born and raised in Flanders, one of the most problematic territories controlled by the Hapsburg monarchs of Spain. By virtue of being Duke of Burgundy, the Emperor also became Count of Flanders, but the European conflicts and the wars of religion soon made this territory a hard one to control. The hostilities only came to an end with the peace treaty of 1648.


The above sample taken from the translation Don Juan Tenorio: A Religious-Fantasy Drama in Two Parts (2012) by David Arbesú is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Entry submitted by David_Arbesu on 7 August 2012 and last updated by Gwynneth Dowling on 17 August 2012

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please log in or sign up for a free account.

  • King's College London Logo
  • Queen's University Belfast Logo
  • University of Oxford Logo
  • Arts and Humanities Research Council Logo