Out of the Wings

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Égloga de Fileno, Zambardo y Cardonio (Égloga 12) (1496-1509), Juan del Encina

Eclogue of the Three Shepherds: Fileno, Zambardo and Cardonio, translated by Kathleen Jeffs (née Mountjoy)

One Act Play

Fileno laments the impossibility of his love, while his friend lends a listening ear while trying to stay awake.
Sample text

Come let us sit down, for my sufferings

must be at rest in order to be told.


Now that we are seated, Fileno,

you may begin to tell them when you please.



O mountains, o valleys, o sierras, o plains,

o forests, o fields, o rivers, o streams,

o grasses, o flowers, o fresh dewdrops upon them,

o houses, o caves, o nymphs, o fauns,

o ferocious beasts, o human bodies,

o dwellers of the supreme heavens,

o miserable souls in hell:

hear my complaints if they are worthy!

Be now attentive, if there dwells in you

some pity for a lover in misery.


Begin, Fileno, go ahead,

for these appeals won’t solve your problem.


Fortune, that changeable governor,

and love, that enemy of pity,

hungering to cause me eternal hardship,

gave me death each hour of my life.

They commanded me to love, and to lovingly pursue

a figure formed in the wind;

for just when I sense her to be close by,

my very sighs cause her to flee.

And just as her beauty surpasses all words,

so too none could equal her in cruelty.


It was a really bad day when you met her.

If it is as you say, you’d better give up living.


It is as you hear it now; and yet, I tell you

her eyes had such force

that she stole my soul and innards,

and has had them with her for a long time now.

And although she treats it as an enemy,

my soul is so loyal a subject to her,

that it wants to suffer death in her wickedness

rather than the life it has with me.

It’s a wonder I follow her without my soul.

Without sight of her I freeze, and in seeing her I burn.

Oh, for God’s sake! Zambardo, Zambardo,

Wake up, wake up, and have some compassion.


I swear I dreamt I was back in Compasquilla

where I and other shepherds tended the flock,

and while I was so transported

your little tale completely passed me by.


Shame on you, unworthy friend! I am telling you

of she who has swallowed up my life,

and you are asleep?


What do you want me to do?


Listen to me.


Sleep is not at our beck and call.

My eyelids are so heavy they’re closing,

so tight all light escapes me.


You fool! Don’t you know you can rub

your eyes with saliva to restore your sight?


Go on, go on, I am awake now.


Watch out, do not go to sleep, because the more you sleep,

the more my pain grows and I seek relief in sharing it with you.

You give me false hope, in showing me a port

where I might find refuge, but as soon as I go in,

Fortune hurls me so far back into the sea

that the pilot of the boat loses control.

[Or, a freer translation might be: You give me false hope, like a lighthouse that disappears as soon as I draw near.]

(He continues...)



What do you want?


Listen to me.


I can hear you.


What did I say?


That the wind came up and blew so strongly,

the goats, sheep, donkeys and the entire sheepfold

were blown into a great ditch.


I’m not talking about my livestock nor the house being carried off

but I am only telling you about my bitter suffering.


[dozing off] They can, without being told, graze all day

amongst the flocks on the bank of the river.


O deaf fortune, o blind Cupid,

adulterous Venus, cuckolded Vulcan!

Why do you arm your furies against a

poor, defenseless man, if he has not offended you?

It is not enough to have thrown me into the fire

where at once I both burn and freeze,

without the friend from whom I expect consolation,

hearing my trials, and falling asleep?


The above sample taken from the translation Eclogue of the Three Shepherds: Fileno, Zambardo and Cardonio by Kathleen Jeffs (née Mountjoy) is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Entry written by Kathleen Jeffs. Last updated on 4 October 2010.

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