Out of the Wings

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La traición en la amistad (1618-1632), María de Zayas y Sotomayor

Friendship Betrayed (1999), translated by Catherine Larson


The first of these samples is Marcia’s opening sonnet on love in Act 2. It is followed by Laura and Marcia figuring out that the same man has been courting them simultaneously. There is then a short section in which the 'Doña Juana' character, Fenisa, proclaims her ability to love many men at once.
Sample text

Love the day, but also hate it,

Call out for the night only to despise it later,

Fear the fire and draw closer to it,

Feel at the same moment both pain and joy,

Bring together valor and cowardice,

cruel disdain and sweet entreaty,

brave fear and blind understanding,

reason bound up, daring left free,

Seek a place to diminish misfortune

and then refuse to make that misfortune change,

Desire without knowing that you dare to desire,

Join pleasure and displeasure in equal measure,

and liberate all good in this hope,

If that is not love, I do not know what is!



I found out, Marcia, that Liseo, who is the ungrateful traitor who put me in this situation, adores you. That is why I was afraid to tell you.


Laura, if that is what is upsetting you, I can swear to you that I have not given Liseo any favors that cannot be taken back. I confess that I like him, but Laura dear, now that I know he has a prior commitment to you, from this moment on, I vow to stop loving him. I will never see him again as long as I live. Were you afraid of how I would react? Well, know this: I am a noble woman, and I am so sorry about the way he deceived you.


Wait, friend, there is more. It is only fair that we both take revenge on him, because you should know that although that cruel flatterer spurned me, he also deceived you. I know for a fact that he loves Fenisa, your friend, that he is cheating on you, betraying you, that Fenisa is his pleasure and his pastime. Liseo is in her house from the moment the blond lord of Delos rises in the east until the nightingale begins to sing in the evening; he is captivated, bewitched and, like most lovers, a fool. I know, Marcia, that in the time the ingrate spent with you he was not really serious, but I think that he is planning something more substantial with Fenisa. Marcia, give me your advice, because you know that if Liseo gets married, I am lost. Oh, dear Marcia! (She cries).


Do not cry; I have already thought of a solution to your problem. I am going to give Fenisa what she has coming.



[Alone.] Cupid, I am in quite a state. There is room for lots of lovers inside my soul. Everyone praises my ability to make men fall in love with me, an opinion that I happen to share.

[To the audience.] Men, that is how I get even with you and your tricks. Lord, keep us from those foolish girls who do not know how to enjoy themselves the way I do, even though they may not take their faithfulness too seriously. If a lover is absent, angry, or dead, you do not have to leave your affections in a wasteland; idleness is a sociable thing. Cursed be the woman who loves only one man, because it is cowardly to limit yourself to a single lover. Nature is vain and beautiful.



It is great, is it not? Lovers, Lucía, are better in multiple quantities.


That is what my grandmother used to say--may she rest in peace--that lovers should exist in infinite number, just like garlic cloves in a mortar, so that when you are mincing them and one jumps out of the bowl, there will still be others left behind; and like the garlic cloves, if one of your lovers leaves or dies, you will never be left alone.


What a nice comparison! Call Gerardo so that I can make him part of my little band of lovers, without Lauro getting away, either. (Lucía exits.) Love, where will such a mad deception end? Ten men adore me, and as for each of them, I adore them back, I love them, I admire them, and they all fit inside my heart and soul, although Liseo does reign as king among them. From this day forward, let them be called the great Fenisa's commandments, so well kept that none of them be broken by sin, since she loves and adores them all.


The above sample taken from the translation Friendship Betrayed (1999) by Catherine Larson is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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

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