Scapin the Scammer

Scapin the Scammer
By Molière
Adapted into English Verse by Brian Vinero

Volume 8, Number 2, Fall 2020

Many of the plays of Moliere were written in rhymed verse, including the two that are often considered his greatest, most-lasting contribution to world theatre: Le Misanthrope and Tartuffe. When these plays are translated into rhyming couplets when performed in English, particularly in the masterful translations of Richard Wilbur, they take on a style and elan that creates an approximation of the French originals. There have also been many translations of Moliere’s verse plays that render them into prose. An English speaker making a comparison might imagine A Midsummer Night’s Dream translated into French prose with everyday dialogue, rather than the poetry and heightened language of Shakespeare. While the plot and characters, and occasionally the wit, still can come through, they can never create the larger-than-life theatricality and classicism of the originals.

This creates a dual issue for the translator when attempting one of Moliere’s many comedies that were originally written in prose. The writer faces how to bring it to life in English with the sense and style of another place and time and also address the more rapid cadence of the French language, which is instrumental to the pace and nuance of the Moliere oeuvre. Both issues are resolved when translating a play into verse as the rhymed couplets not only elevate the language, but also keep the actors moving along to the clip of iambic pentameter.

So, I took my inspiration from Moliere’s grander plays and have crafted my translation of Les Fourberies de Scapin into rhymed verse. The use of iambic pentameter is particularly helpful for the actor playing the title role. It requires him to speak copious amounts of rapid-fire dialogue as the farce intensifies. The consistent beat and rhythm is very helpful to keep the performer on track while playing a very demanding role. The rhyming dialogue also allows for additional humor to be mined from what is already a very funny play. My hope is to create a version of this play that will allow English speaking actors to celebrate Moliere’s style, wit and incredible contributions to the art of comedy.

Molière (1622-1673). The man who would become one of France’s most-renowned writers was born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin before attaining remarkable success as an actor and playwright under the name Molière. His plays built on the traditions of commedia dell’arte, yet refined the street theatre style to a form elegant enough to enchant French society and royalty. He also maintained commedia dell’arte’s broad characterizations and satire yet added depth and social commentary that gave his plays a gravitas that is celebrated worldwide to this day. While his plays were generally uproariously humorous, they also jabbed at the foibles of human nature, particularly hypocrisy. This made him run afoul of certain segments of society. Religious groups especially worked to ban his play Tartuffe, which is now widely considered one of the masterpieces of world theatre along with L’École des Femmes, Le Misanthrope, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, and many others.

Playwright Brian Vinero is an alumnus of the Minnesota Conservatory of Performing Arts, the National Shakespeare Conservatory, the 78th Street Theatre Lab, the BMI/Lehman Engel Workshop and a founding member of the New Musical Theatre Exchange. His plays have been produced and/or developed at the Praxis Theatre Ensemble, the 78th Street Theatre Lab, the Willoughby Theatre, the West Side Dance Project, the BMI/Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and the Midtown International Theatre Festival in New York City, Theatre of Note in Los Angeles, the Jewish Ensemble Theatre in Detroit, and at the Playwrights’ Center, the New Musical Theatre Exchange, the Classical Actors Ensemble, Theatre Pro Rata, and the Minnesota Fringe in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. His translations of the plays of Euripides include Medea, Hecuba, Alcestis, and the four-play cycle Children of Agamemnon consisting of the plays Iphigenia at Aulis, Electra, Orestes, and Iphigenia at Tauris. Other theatrical works include multiple translations of the works of Molière, a modernization of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, and musicals adapted from Rostand’s Chantecler and Booth Tarkington’s The Magnificent Ambersons. Brian has worked directly with two Newberry Award-winning authors adapting their work to the stage, has been published by the international literary journal Aysmptote, and has served on the faculties of William Patterson University and Regional Center for the Arts High School. His rhymed verse adaptations of the plays of Euripides, Moliere and Rostand are available for sale on Amazon.com and at the Drama Book Shop in New York City. Member of the Dramatists Guild, BMI, and the Playwrights’ Center.

CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that this adaptation being fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, the British Empire, including the Dominion of Canada and all other countries which are signatories to the Universal Copyright Convention and the International Copyright Union is subject to royalty. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, video or sound taping, radio broadcasting, webcasting, and television and all other forms of mechanical and electronic reproduction are strictly reserved. Particular emphasis is laid on the question of readings, permission for which must be secured from the author’s agent in writing. Inquiries on professional and amateur rights should be addressed to The Robert A Freedman Dramatic Agency, 1501 Broadway Suite 2310, New York, NY 10036 (212.840.5760).

Scapin the Scammer

By Molière

Adapted into English Verse by Brian Vinero

Cast of Characters:

ARGANTE father to OCTAVE and ZERBINETTE

GERONTE father to LÉANDRE and HYACINTHA

OCTAVIO son to ARGANTE, and lover to HYACINTHA

LEANDER son to GÉRONTE, and lover to ZERBINETTE

ZERBINETTA daughter to ARGANTE, believed to be a gypsy girl

HYACINTHA daughter to GÉRONTE

SCAPIN servant to LÉANDRE

SYLVESTER servant to OCTAVE

NERINE nurse to HYACINTHA

CARLOS

TWO PORTERS

Setting: The main room of Argante’s home.

ACT I

SCENE I—OCTAVIO, SYLVESTER

OCTAVIO

Oh what a tragic fate for one who is

In love. What sadder news could ring in his

Ears? So Sylvester, you have just now heard

My father soon returns?  

SYLVESTER

                                                  He does.

OCTAVIO

                                                                         And word

Is he returns this very morning?

SYLVESTER

                                                                         He

Returns this very morning.

OCTAVIO

                                                            And to see

That I am wed?

SYLVESTER

                                    That you are wed.

OCTAVIO

                                                                         And to

The daughter of Signor Geronte?

SYLVESTER

                                                                         It’s true.

The daughter of Signor Geronte.

OCTAVIO

                                                                         And she

Arrives from Taranto in hopes to be

My bride?

SYLVESTER

              In hopes to be your bride.

OCTAVIO

                                                                                    And you

Have heard this through my uncle?

SYLVESTER

                                                                                    It was through

Your uncle.

OCTAVIO

                         And he got this information from

My father?

SYLVESTER

From your father.

OCTAVIO

                                                             That had come

Within a letter?

SYLVESTER

                                     From a letter.

OCTAVIO

                                                                        And

You say my uncle seeks to understand

The nature of our recent actions?

SYLVESTER

                                                                          He

Now seems to understand the nature…

OCTAVIO

                                                                                    We

Are not an echo of each other! Please

Say words that are your own instead of these

Regurgitations! 

SYLVESTER

                                    What is there to say?

You have retained the facts.

OCTAVIO

                                                              But you still may

Advise me in my foul predicament.

SYLVESTER

I too am petrified by this event

And seek the solace of a wiser man.

OCTAVIO

But I am terrified and need a plan.

SYLVESTER

But I do too!

OCTAVIO

                          I know I am undone

The moment he returns. He’ll scream, “My son,

The time is nigh for you to die!”

SYLVESTER

                                                                         But me

A lowly servant, he will likely see

Me flogged and battered. But he won’t dare kill

Me. That is punishment he only will

Reserve for family members. Even so

It seems I pay for your bad deeds.

OCTAVIO (looks heavenward)

                                                                                    I know

That you can hear me. Please show me the way

To my salvation.

SYLVESTER

                                     Maybe you should pray

Before you step in something foul.

OCTAVIO

                                                                          Oh will

You save your sermon for a zealot? Still

Your tongue and gums, they are so tiresome!

SYLVESTER

As tiresome as seeing me become

The victim of your stupid deeds?

OCTAVIO

                                                                         Oh I

Am lost and cannot find the way. Oh why

Or where or what am I to do?

(enter SCAPIN)

SCENE II—OCTAVIO, SCAPIN, SYLVESTER

SCAPIN

Signor Octavio what troubles you?

What could it be? What foul calamity

Now holds you in despair?

OCTAVIO

                                                            Oh glory be,

My dear Scapin! I am beyond all hope,

Unfortunate and cursed beyond all scope

Of mortal men!

SCAPIN

       How can that be?

OCTAVIO

                                                                        Do you

Have knowledge of the hell I now go through?

SCAPIN

I don’t.

OCTAVIO

             Then know my father soon will be

Arriving with Signor Geronte. And he

Intends to promise me in marriage to

The daughter of Signor Geronte.

SCAPIN

                                                                        And you

Find this distressing? Why?

OCTAVIO

                                                            Oh you don’t know

So how I envy you. As I am so

Enveloped by anxiety.

SCAPIN

                                                Should you

Dare tell me then I might know what to do.

I am possessed of many talents. I

Take pleasure helping out the young and try

Relieving all their troubles.  

OCTAVIO

                                                              Oh Scapin!

If you could only come up with a plan

Or plot or scheme to save my hide. I then

Would be indebted to you, even when

I die, which I must hope is not today.

SCAPIN

Well it seems I seem to always find a way

To set things right by tearing them apart.

When schemes are elevated to an art

Then very little is beyond all reach.

But wit is something that no one can teach

Or learn, it only is within you. I

Could minimize my talents or just try

False modesty and beg you not to gush

In fear I might gasp bashfully and and blush.

But no, I boast. As what have I to lose?

I know I am a genius and I choose

To say it without shame or modesty.

My reputation always seems to be

A step ahead of me. Yet even so

It seems these days that people do not know

Who truly holds the wreath of victory.

Oh, they may look but still they do not see

Who truly pulled the lever or the string.

And that is why I now can barely bring

Myself to bother with a scheme. As I

Once found myself in trouble. That is why

I barely dare to lay a trap or trick.

OCTAVIO

What happened, dear Scapin?

SCAPIN

                                                             The walking stick

Of justice found that it could flog me.

OCTAVIO

                                                                                      You

Have tangled with the law?

SCAPIN

                                                             We battled through

A little lover’s quarrel.

SYLVESTER

                                                            Justice tried

To tangle with you?

SCAPIN

                                                And destroyed my pride.

It used me like a sad, stale tart. Then I

Was left for dead and so I said, “Why try

If my reward is cheap ingratitude?”

So I then vowed to never be unglued

Again by sticking out my neck. Yet still

I am concerned for you. So if you will

Please tell me all that plagues you.

OCTAVIO

                                                                                     As you know

My father had set out two months ago

And took Signor Geronte with him. They are

Both partners in a business interest far

Away from here.

SCAPIN

                                    I know.

OCTAVIO

                                                 And left behind,

Myself and also…

SCAPIN

                                    Must you now remind

Me of my charge Leander? Just as you

Are trusted in Sylvester’s care, I do

My service to Signor Geronte. Just as

Sylvester serves your father.

OCTAVIO

                                                              But he has

Now fallen fast in love. As now his eye

Has landed on a Gypsy girl.

SCAPIN

                                                             Please try

And tell me something I don’t know.

OCTAVIO

                                                                                    As we

Are closest friends he put his trust in me

And told me all and took me to her. My

Intrigue was stoked from his description. I

Expected quite a goddess from the way

He spoke of her. And yet I have to say

I found her merely pleasant. Oh he claimed

How she had no compare to others, shamed

By all her heightened attributes. Her face

A masterpiece, her movements full of grace

And dignity. Her brains, her wit, her flair,

Her conversation skills beyond compare.

Her every phrase a miracle and he

Would parrot them incessantly to me,

No matter how inane. Then he would grin

And moan and sigh and say them all again.

And dare I insufficiently proclaimed

Her virtues he would say, “Are you ashamed,

Ignoring such a wonder? Are your eyes

Too ill-equipped to gaze on such a prize?

Your heart must not be functioning if you

Are so insensitive to love so true.”

SCAPIN

May I imagine that this story has

A point?

OCTAVIO

We were together one day as

We made our way to see her. She is cared

For by her guardians. We weren’t prepared

To hear loud sobbing as we walked along

The street. The sobs and wails were very strong

And coming from a tiny shack. Just then

A woman rushed to us and said, “Kind men,

You must observe and pity two who are

Within! Two women who have traveled far

To find themselves in misery. If you

Have any heart at all I know you two

Will find yourselves so moved by their sad plight!”

SCAPIN

Does this sad story have an end in sight?

OCTAVIO

Well I was snared by curiosity

And asked Leander to go in with me.

We went inside and saw the saddest scene,

A tragedy so sad and so obscene.

An ancient woman at death’s door between

The realms of here and heaven. At her feet

A servant wailed great lamentations, sweet

Words, salty tears and cries. A girl was there

As well in tears as well that welled. I dare

Say it was sad yet such a lovely sight

That softly touched the heart yet with great might.

SCAPIN

Oh, should I cry or maybe snore?

OCTAVIO

                                                                         How one

As sad as this young girl would seem undone

In her disgraceful state. She only wore

A ratty petticoat and not much more

Except a tattered jacket. And her hair

Just seemed to grow in bunches everywhere

And barely stayed within her bonnet. Though

She was so ragged she still had a glow

And all her many charms were evident.

She shined like starlight, seeming heaven-sent.  

SCAPIN

I think I see the light as well.

OCTAVIO

                                                                         Scapin,

If you had only seen her shine. No man

Could dare deny her attributes and glow.

SCAPIN

I do not doubt it, and I somehow know

Without the gift of meeting her. I see

She charms beyond all measure.

OCTAVIO

                                                                        And when she

Shed tears they were so lovely on her cheek

No growling sobs, no bellowing so bleak

And mournful. I would say she had true grace

And every perfect tear fell down her face.

SCAPIN

Oh how you paint a portrait…

OCTAVIO

                                                             Anyone

Who saw the scene would weep as well. As none

Among us could resist the sight of her

Emoting at her mother’s feet with pure

Devotion from a heart with endless hope

That beats within a breast as pure as soap

Connected to great loveliness unbound…

SCAPIN

Oh yes, I see. I’ve really come around

To understand your clear perspective. So

Yes, she’s special, blah blah blah. And, oh,

Her loveliest perfection blah blah blah

Was just the greatest thing you ever saw.

OCTAVIO

What gentleman or savage could resist

Her virtue so alluring?

SCAPIN

                                                  So you kissed

Her?

OCTAVIO

Well, I…

SCAPIN

                         Nature surely has a way

Of bringing us together.

OCTAVIO

                                                            I said, “May

I soothe your tears with warmest words?” And then

I spoke so softly to her. That was when

I took my leave of her and took aside

Leander. As we both stepped out outside,

I asked him what he thought of her. And he

Said that he merely found her pleasant; she

Was pretty, not remarkable. And I

Was truly wounded! How could he dare try

And minimize her wonders? So I held

My deepest feelings in my heart, compelled

To hide them from his callousness.

SYLVESTER

                                                                          Oh please!

Just summarize your story! On my knees

I beg of you, tomorrow will arrive

Before you reach an intermission! I’ve

A summary that should suffice: His heart

Is then inflamed and so he needs to start

To visit her obsessively. Each day

He’s there to mop her tears and lives to say,

“I cannot live without her love.” But then

He is forbidden by her guardian

To visit her again. Oh how he wailed

And wept and cried beseeching her, yet failed

To move her from her staunch position. Though

The girl was penniless she still did show

The signs of breeding and morality.

And so her guardian was bound to see

Her virtues were to only be released

By marriage vows. Well, that only increased

His madness and romantic notions! He

Obsessed and beat his brain incessantly

Debated, pondered, wrestled with his soul

Went back and forth, no reason or control

And then made up his mind while in a daze.

So he has married her. It’s been three days.  

SCAPIN

I see.

SYLVESTER

Compounding things to make them fun,

His father now returns, his journey done

A full two months before expected. And

His uncle will most surely be on hand

Disclosing he got married, which will be

A shock to hear and quite a sight to see.

As he was promised to the daughter of

Signor Geronte and his clandestine love,

A second wife who lives in Taranto.   

OCTAVIO

Whatever can I do? Where can I go?

My wife is penniless, and so am I.

SCAPIN

Well, I will say I barely need to try

To fix this trifling thing you call a mess.

What do you fret about? There’s no distress!

Sylvester, you are made of stronger stuff

Than that. I say you are grown up enough

To be his father and his mother. You

Could not give birth to a solution? Do

You have no wit or creativity?

No notions, plots, solutions? You must be

As dense as all the rocks within your head.

Oh, if I did this in my youth instead

Of now I wouldn’t even break a sweat

And trap those two old fools within a net

And barely think about it. In my day,

No taller than a weed I’d get away

With scrumptiously deceptive larceny.

SYLVESTER

I am not you, and I would never be.

My brain is too inflexible, and I

Won’t trifle with authority.

OCTAVIO

                                                             I spy

My dearest Hyacintha.

(HYACINTHA enters)

SCENE III—HYACINTHA, OCTAVE, SCAPIN, SILVESTRE

HYACINTHA

                                                Oh my dear!

Can it be true, Octavio? I fear

That tale Sylvester told my nurse is true.

Your father has returned and plans for you

To wed another girl?

OCTAVIO

                                                So sad to say,

But it is true my love. I only pray

This shocking news won’t kill me. But I fear

Upon your lovely face there is a tear.

You weep, but why? Do you believe that I

Could ever be unfaithful to you? Try

To see my boundless love for you.

HYACINTHA

                                                                          I know

You love me, dear Octavio, although

Can I be sure the love you feel today

Will last forever?

OCTAVIO

                                      But there is no way

That any man who loved you could move on

Without you.

HYACINTHA

                         I have heard that men are drawn

Away more easily than women and

Their fire burns quite hot but can’t withstand

The blowing winds of time.

OCTAVIO

                                                            Oh no, my dear!

My lovely Hyacintha, have no fear.

My heart is true, unlike the average man,

And only beats for you. Just know I plan

To be devoted until death.

HYACINTHA

                                                             I need

To trust that what you say is guaranteed

And truly trust in you, although I fear

You are controlled by one who is not here,

Who holds the strings that pull your purse and heart.

Your father wants to tear us two apart

And wed you to another. And I know

That it would be my death, Octavio.

OCTAVIO

My Hyacintha, let no man take me

From you, no father or another. Be

Assured I would renounce my homeland and

My life to stay with you. Please understand

That though I have not seen the bride they bring

For me, I find her frightful. Poor sad thing.

I hate to wish her harm, but still I pray

The sea will swallow her, take her away

Forever. Stay your tears, my dear. Each one

Is like a dagger to my heart. Be done

With all your wails and save me.

HYACINTHA

                                                                         If it will

Delay your death, I’ll stop my tears until

The heavens send an answer.

OCTAVIO

                                                             You must know

That Heaven hears our hearts.

HYACINTHA

                                                              Then you will show

Them that your heart is true. For only then

Will we be blessed.

OCTAVIO

                                      And I will prove it when

We are.

HYACINTHA

             Then I will be content.

SCAPIN (aside)

                                                              I see

That she is easy on the eyes but free

To use her brain as well. Impressive!

OCTAVIO

                                                                                      Here

Is someone who can help us. Have no fear,

Scapin is on our side!

SCAPIN

                                                 Yet I have sworn

To never mix with mischief. Yet I’m torn.

Perhaps if you ask extra nicely?

OCTAVIO

                                                                         Please!

What ever it may take! What niceties

Entreaties, bargains, what? With all my heart

I beg of you to help us!

SCAPIN

                                                  That’s a start.

(to HYACINTHA)

And what of you? What do you have to say?

HYACINTHA

Like him I beg to you. I also pray

That you will see our plight as yours and do

Whatever you must do.

SCAPIN

                                                 I thought it through

And find I do not know a word called “no.”

So have no fears. Stand back and I will show

You all my talents.

OCTAVIO

                                                Just be sure!

SCAPIN

                                                                         Oh hush!

(to HYACINTHA)

Now go relax my dear.

(HYACINTHA exits)

SCENE IV—OCTAVE, SCAPIN, SILVESTRE

                                                Now we must rush

And see you are prepared to face him. You

Must stand your ground.                                 

OCTAVIO

                                                 Yet I will stumble through

My staunch conviction as my father makes

Me nervous, and I tremble with great shakes.

SCAPIN

Well, find your courage and maturity.

Or in his eyes you will forever be

A boy to him who needs to be controlled.

It is high time you broke free from your mold,

Completed and mature and hardened. See,

You have two feet, so stand on them and be

As bold as you can be.

OCTAVIO

                                                 Well, I will do

The best I can.

SCAPIN

                                    I say we put you through

A test. Call it rehearsal. Let us see

You stand with firm decisiveness and free

Of fear.

OCTAVIO (strikes a pose)

              Like this?

SCAPIN

          Well, that’s a start.

            OCTAVIO (another pose)

                                                                                                And now?

SCAPIN

Well, that may work. So, let’s pretend somehow

I am your father and I have returned.

And answer me as if I just now learned

About your marriage.

(acts like Argante)

                                                You abhorrent fool!

You good-for-nothing simple-minded tool!

You are unworthy of our family name,

You shiftless spawn that only brings me shame.

How dare you show your face in front of me

When you have sneaked about ungratefully

And wed without my knowledge or consent?

I simply took a trip. Then off you went

Forgetting all I sacrificed for you.

And what is my reward? Returning to

Your sneering, smug expression! No respect

For me, so happy knowing you have wrecked

Your life eternally. Is this your way

Of thanking me? Is this the way you say,

“Oh dearest Father, I respect you?” Do

You have appreciation? Well, you threw

Out your entire future after I

Threw out my life for you. Just tell me why

You hate me in this way. What have I done

To justify a most-ungrateful son?

You are so bold and took a marriage vow,

A vow you know I never would allow;

A secret marriage that has come to light.

What do you have to say, you impolite,

Unfeeling traitor? Answer me! You must

Of course have reasons for your crimes. I trust

That you will tell me. Answer me right now!

I wait to hear your reasons!

(OCTAVIO is shell-shocked. SCAPIN drops the guise of Argante)

                                                              Is this how

You plan to handle him?

OCTAVIO

                                                  I am so scared.

You sound like him!

SCAPIN

                                      You have to be prepared

To tangle with him, or just play the fool

And like a simpleton just gaze and drool.

OCTAVIO

I will resolve to stand my ground.

SCAPIN

                                                                          You will?

And you are certain?

SYLVESTER

                                                First you must be still.

Your father now arrives!

OCTAVIO

                                                            Oh God, I’m dead!

(OCTAVIO runs off)

SCENE V—SCAPIN, SYLVESTER

SCAPIN

Come back Octavio! Come back instead

Of running like a weakling! And he’s gone.

Let’s wait until his father comes upon

Us. Here he comes!

SYLVESTER

                                      What shall I say?

SCAPIN

                                                                                    Let me

Do all the talking. Follow faithfully!

SCENE VI—ARGANTE, SCAPIN, SYLVESTER

(ARGANTE enters at another part of the stage, talking to himself and unaware of the servants)

ARGANTE

Who ever heard of such a thing?

SCAPIN (to SYLVESTER)

                                                      He heard,

And now it seems he only has conferred

Within himself!

ARGANTE

                                    A reckless thing to do!

SCAPIN (to SYLVESTER)

I say we hear him out!

ARGANTE

                                                 I ask of you,

What dare you say about this foolish act,

This worthless marriage?

SCAPIN (aside)

                                                            Well, in point of fact

We have a story at the ready.

ARGANTE

                                                              Dare

They try deny this insolence?

SCAPIN (aside)

                                                              No, there

Is no incentive to deny it.

ARGANTE

                                                             Or

Might they concoct some sad excuse?

SCAPIN (aside)

                                                                                    What for?

ARGANTE

Or spin a bit of fiction hoping to

Deceive me?

SCAPIN (aside)

                         Oh, would we do that to you?

ARGANTE

All that they try will only be in vain!

SCAPIN (aside)

Oh will it now?

ARGANTE

                                    Oh let them dare explain

What cannot be explained.

SCAPIN (aside)

                                                            Oh let us try.

ARGANTE

I will not be bamboozled!

SCAPIN (aside)

                                                                        Oh, but why

Would we do such a thing?

ARGANTE

                                                            I’ll take my son

And send him far away from everyone.

SCAPIN (aside)

Oh will you? Well, we’ll see.

ARGANTE

                                                               Sylvester will

Enjoy my wrath as I beat him until

His hide is torn!

SYLVESTER (to SCAPIN)

                                     Oh, he remembered me.

I am so fortunate.

(ARGANTE notices SCAPIN and SYLVESTER. He engages Sylvester and speaks through clenched teeth:)

ARGANTE

                                      Who do I see?

This chaperone of chaperones, the one

No household would dare do without. My son

Received the greatest care, I dare to say.

SCAPIN

Signor, you have returned, and if I may,

I’ll say I am delighted.

ARGANTE

                                                  Oh Scapin,

Good morning to you.

(back at SYLVESTER)

                                                You have held each plan

Of mine in high regard I know, and my

Dear son has flourished since I said goodbye,

Obeying every order.

SCAPIN

                                                Oh, you seem

Quite well, Signor.

ARGANTE (to SCAPIN)

                                                Quite well.

(to SYLVESTER)

                                                               Now dare I dream

That you may dare to speak the truth, you knave!

SCAPIN

The trip was good?

ARGANTE

                                      So good. But I must save

My words for this foul specimen. If you

Would kindly leave so I can tear into

This misery of drudgery.

SCAPIN

                                                            You’ll tear?

ARGANTE

I’ll tear!

SCAPIN

                        And into what?

ARGANTE

                                                            No, who!

SCAPIN

                                                                          That’s fair.

But who?

ARGANTE

              Well, him!

SCAPIN

                                     Why him?

ARGANTE

                                                            This shiftless scum!

Do you know what he did?

SCAPIN

                                                  No, what?

ARGANTE

                                                                          This dumb,

Incompetent… Oh if you only knew

What he had done and what he did not do!

SCAPIN

You mean that little matter?

ARGANTE

                                                              Little? What

Do you call little? This disaster?

SCAPIN

                                                                                    But

I now may see your point.

ARGANTE

                                                            They dared

To do this most deceitful thing.

SCAPIN

                                                                         Ensnared

Within their web of lies…

ARGANTE

                                                            They were content

To go ahead and not seek out consent.

SCAPIN

Oh yes, I do agree with you but say

You shouldn’t rage and bellow in this way.

ARGANTE

Oh so you say? Well, I still say I will

Go raging, ranting, bellowing until

I’m good and done. What makes you think that I

Don’t have good reason to be angry?

SCAPIN

                                                                                    My

Own first response was anger when I heard

Myself these stealthy nuptials occurred.

I was so shocked I tore your son apart

And scolded in your absence. From the start

I fired fire full of brimstones at

Him, said he was a most-ungrateful brat

And showed such disrespect. I said your feet

Were both meant to be worshiped with complete

Devotion, to be kissed! And also he

Should mind the path your feet have forged and be

Obedient. I say that even you

Could not have lectured him or put him through

The gauntlet any better. But then I

Stepped back and thought a bit and wondered why

We should be so disgusted; what did he

Do that was so disgusting?

ARGANTE

                                                             Can it be

That you would say that he has done no wrong

In marrying a stranger?

SCAPIN

                                                  We are long

Past intervention. It was destiny.

ARGANTE

Oh, what a fine excuse! Oh now I see,

If anyone should suddenly commit

A crime, then they must only say, “But it

Was destiny, not me! So if they kill

Or cheat or steal, I say that this now will

Be an excuse, “It was my destiny”

SCAPIN

But what I said was not philosophy.

I meant to say that he was so ensnared

That he could not escape.  

ARGANTE

                                                            And yet he dared

To step into a web?

SCAPIN

                                                So I surmise

That you believe that he will be as wise

As you, although a youth can never know

The prudence of maturity. Although

I guess we can pretend experience

Can come before our years bring out our sense.

Just see my charge Leander. Even though

I taught him right from wrong, look at him go

Destroy his life far worse than your son. I

Believe that you were young yourself. Don’t lie.

I know you were! And in the bloom of youth

You were a scamp as well. Now tell the truth,

As I have heard that in your salad days

You sowed some wild oats in wondrous ways,

And if a lady dared to come upon

You, be assured her virtue would be gone.

ARGANTE

Oh, there were wild oats, and how I sowed

But did not make a meal of them and showed

Restraint!

SCAPIN

                        But how could he resist the call,

Confronted by a lovely maiden? All

The attributes within you also are

Within him, so he swept her oh so far

Right off her feet as she charmed him as well.

He goes to see her; how his heart does swell

As he sighs out with words of passion. She

Succumbs to all his overtures, and he

Then makes his move. But what then should occur?

Her relatives arrive and make a stir,

Demanding that he marry her by force

Of sword.

SYLVESTER (aside)

              Oh God, he’s good!

SCAPIN

                                                              And so, of course

I know you would prefer he live not die.

Well, marriage can be death. But still just try

To see this was the way.

ARGANTE

                                                            I was not told

The total situation.      

SCAPIN (indicates SYLVESTER)

                                                Well, behold!

Sylvester can confirm it!

SYLVESTER (panicked)

                                                            Can I?

ARGANTE

                                                                         Was

He forcibly coerced to wed because

Of threats?

SYLVESTER (deadpan, terrified)

                         Oh yes, he was coerced!

SCAPIN

                                                                                    Oh my.

Do you believe that I would tell a lie?

ARGANTE

Why did he not seek out the law and ask

Protection from their threats?

SCAPIN

                                                                        No easy task,

And one he would not do.

ARGANTE

                                                  But why? It would

Have made annulment easier.

SCAPIN

                                                             But should

He seek annulment?

ARGANTE

                                     Yes, of course.

SCAPIN

                                                                        Oh no.

You will not do that.

ARGANTE

                                                 I won’t do that?

SCAPIN

                                                                                     Oh

No.

ARGANTE

Do I have no rights? A father has

A right to retribution seeing as

My son was threatened.

SCAPIN

                                                 But he never will

Consent to intervention.

ARGANTE

                                                            Even still?

With help from me he won’t?

SCAPIN

                                                             He won’t.

ARGANTE

                                                                           My son?

SCAPIN

Your son. Should he admit to everyone

That he was terrified? And then by force

Was forced to acquiesce? Oh no, of course

He can’t confess to that. He would feel shame

And even worse, disgrace his family name.  

ARGANTE

What care have I? I do not care at all.

SCAPIN

You do not care? But if he should stand tall,

Then he should say he wed of his own will.

ARGANTE

And I will say that I will not stand still

And let him spin a sad romantic tale

That has less honor than the truth.

SCAPIN

                                                                                    You’ll fail

To force him.

ARGANTE

                          I will force him.

SCAPIN

                                                                         I don’t know.

I’d say you can’t.

ARGANTE

                                                I say I can! And show

You all that I mean business! I will write

Another will with pen and ink and spite

And disinherit him.

SCAPIN

                                                Who, you?

ARGANTE

                                                                        Yes, me!

SCAPIN

There is no way.

ARGANTE

                                    There is a way. You’ll see!

SCAPIN

I will not see you do it.

ARGANTE

                                                   But you will.

SCAPIN

No.

ARGANTE

No?

SCAPIN

No, no.

ARGANTE

I know you test me! Still

You say I will not disinherit him

As if it were a floating, fleeting whim.

SCAPIN

I still say no.

ARGANTE

                                    Oh is that so? Will you

Attempt to hinder me?

SCAPIN

                                                 No, you will do

It all yourself.

ARGANTE

                                     I will?

SCAPIN

                                                  You will. You see,

You simply do not have the heart to be

So cruel.

ARGANTE

              I say I do.

SCAPIN

                                                I say no way.

ARGANTE

I say there is a way. I do not jest!

SCAPIN

Oh no, you jest.

ARGANTE

                                    I don’t!

SCAPIN

                                                  You will be pressed

By your parental passions and be swayed.

ARGANTE

I never will.

SCAPIN

                                    You will.

ARGANTE

                                                            It won’t dissuade

Me. I will disinherit him.

SCAPIN

                                                             Oh, I

Would never bet on that.

ARGANTE

                                                            I don’t know why.

Your money could be doubled…tripled.       

SCAPIN

                                                                                      Still

I would bet far more money that you will

Not do it. As I know you truly are

A decent, kindly man.

ARGANTE

                                                 But pushed too far

I can be nasty as the worst of men.

And few would call me kindly even when

My mood is moderate. Enough of you

And all your blathering. I am now through

With this annoying conversation.

(to SYLVESTER)

                                                                         Go

And find my worthless son, you worthless low

Excuse for servitude. I will now seek

Signor Geronte. I’ll bend his ear and speak

To him of my misfortunes.  

SCAPIN

                                                            Should there be

A way that I can serve you, call on me.

ARGANTE

Well, thank you.

(looks heavenward)

                                     I must ask. Please tell me why

I have one son and it is him? If I

Still had my daughter that you took away,

Then she could be my heir. (exits)

SCENE VII—SCAPIN, SYLVESTRE

SYLVESTER

                                                             Well, I must say

You are a most amazing man. Although

I think we may succeed. I also know

That we are being pressed for money from

Too many people that may soon become

Insistent.

SCAPIN

                        You can leave it all to me.

The bait is planted in the trap, but we

Require just one player for my plan.

But where could I discover such a man?

A most convincing liar. Let me see…

Look over here, Sylvester. Right at me!

Just tilt your head. No tilt your cap and show

Me your most angry look; that’s nice. Now go

And place your hand upon your hip and bring

A pretense to your posture like a king.

Just play it like the saddest tragedy.

Well, we can work with this. Just follow me,

And you will find yourself in a disguise!

SYLVESTER

I say Scapin this comes as a surprise.

Although I know that you so rarely fail,

I only ask I don’t wind up in jail!

SCAPIN

Our fortunes are entwined like brothers, we

May find that jail is just a sight to see.

And it cannot destroy a noble heart.

Now we have work to do. I say we start!

(SCAPIN and SYLVESTER make a quick exit)

End of Act I

ACT II

SCENE I—GÉRONTE, ARGANTE

GERONTE

There is no doubt this weather will prevail;

Our visitors will be here without fail.

I just spoke to a sailor, and he said

He saw our ship about to sail and head

Here from Taranto. So my daughter should

Arrive here soon. But if she only would

Arrive here at a far more opportune

Occasion. Now our plans have all been strewn

About, and now your son has thrown away

The plans we made for him as well.  

ARGANTE

                                                                          I say

You should not fret about him. Be assured

He will not be a problem. Take my word

For it as I will go to see him now.

GERONTE

My good Signor Argante, how does one plow

The children that he sows then reaps? I say

The way to raise a child is to pray!

ARGANTE

I say that you are most correct, but why

Do you say that just now?

GERONTE

                                                            Well, it is my

Opinion that when sons are foolish, it

Is all the father’s fault.

ARGANTE

                                                             It is a bit,

But why say that to me and say it now?

GERONTE

Why did I say what I just said?

ARGANTE

                                                                         Yes.

GERONTE

                                                                                    How

To put it best? If you had raised him right

Like all good fathers do, well then this spite

He shows to you would not be dared.

ARGANTE

                                                                           How nice.

And I suppose you never need advice

On how to raise your son?

GERONTE

                                                            I never do.

And should he dare what your son did to you

I would be devastated.

ARGANTE

                                                 Can you just

Imagine he dare violate your trust

And do a thing far worse than my son dared?

What might you say?

GERONTE

                                      What might I say?

ARGANTE

                                                                                    Impaired

To say what you might say?

GERONTE

                                                             I say that I

Can’t say what we are speaking of.

ARGANTE

                                                                          Just try

Imagining Signor Geronte that you

Live in a house of glass. Do you dare to

Throw stones?

GERONTE

                          I cannot understand why we

Now speak of glass and stones?

ARGANTE

                                                                        Then I will be

More clear.

GERONTE

                         Have you heard something of my son?

ARGANTE

That might be possible.

GERONTE

                                                  Well what?

ARGANTE

                                                                          Well, one

Just might believe your serving man Scapin

Relayed a rumor to me. He began

To tell the details, but he got so vexed.

But know what I have learned made me perplexed.

I say that you should seek him out as I

Must now see my solicitor and try

To find a way to find a way to free

Myself from this disaster. I will see

You later. (exits)

SCENE II—GERONTE (alone)

GERONTE

                        What a mystery! What can

My son have done that is more shameful than

What his son has? What could be worse? I say

To wed without consent in such a way

Is bad, as bad can be.

(LEANDER enters)

SCENE III—GERONTE, LEANDER.

                                                 Well, there you are!

(LEANDER steps in to embrace his father)

LEANDER

My father, I am pleased to see you!

(GERONTE steps back, holds him off)

GERONTE

                                                                                    Far

Enough for now! First I will speak to you.

LEANDER

But first a fast embrace…

GERONTE

                                                            When we are through,

Perhaps.

LEANDER

              But why deprive me of the joy

Of welcoming you home?

GERONTE

                                                 Because my boy

There is a matter to be settled.

LEANDER

                                                                         What?

GERONTE

Just stand and let me scrutinize you.

LEANDER

                                                                                     But

Why?

GERONTE

  Look me in the eye!

LEANDER

                                                  I’m looking.

GERONTE

                                                                                    Now

You will inform me of your actions, how

You spent your time when I was absent.

LEANDER

                                                                                      Me?

While you were gone?

GERONTE

                                                While I was gone.

LEANDER

                                                                                     I see.

Well, what did you expect?

GERONTE

                                                            Expect? I know

What was expected, but you will now show

Me what you did in actuality.

LEANDER

I did not do a thing that you might see

As disrespectful to your wishes.

GERONTE

                                                                         No?

Just not a thing at all?

LEANDER

                                                Yes, that is so.

GERONTE

You sound so confident.

LEANDER

                                        As I have done

As you have wished, I cannot think of one

Infraction on my innocence.

GERONTE

                                                             Although

Scapin has told me otherwise.

LEANDER

                                                              Oh no,

Scapin!

GERONTE

             Oh how his name not brings a red

Infection on your cheeks!

LEANDER

                                                            What has he said?

And what of me?

GERONTE

                                    Enough to know! But I

Will not conduct my business here. So why

Not scuttle off to home? I soon will see

You there. You dared to try deceiving me.

Dishonor and disgrace will see you swept

Right off my will and from my life! (exits)

SCENE IV—LEANDER (alone)

LEANDER

                                                                                    He kept

Assuring that my secret was secure,

So how could he betray me? I am sure

He told my father everything, so I

Must seek revenge upon him! He will die,

And by my hand!

(OCTAVIO and SCAPIN enter)

SCENE V—OCTAVIO, LEANDER, SCAPIN

OCTAVIO

                                    My dear Scapin I say

That I owe everything to you. The way

You intervene is wonderful, you are

A man most heaven-sent I say and far

Beyond all expectations!          

LEANDER

                                                            Oh I see

The scoundrel has arrived!

SCAPIN

                                                             Well, I should be

Most honored to be at your service as

Your greeting is so kind.

            LEANDER (draws sword)

                                                            Your humor has

Enraged me further. So you soon will learn

A lesson!

SCAPIN (falls to knees)

              Oh, but sir!

OCTAVIO

                                                 Leander!

SCAPIN

                                                                        Turn

Away Octavio! Don’t hold me back!

SCAPIN

But sir!

OCTAVIO

              In heaven’s name!

LEANDER

                                                            I will attack

With all my rancor and my anger!

OCTAVIO

                                                                         Please!

If only for my sake, get hold of these

Most homicidal urges!

SCAPIN

                                                 I agree!

But tell me what I did?

LEANDER

                                                  You did to me

What you have done, you scoundrel!

OCTAVIO

                                                                          Easy now…

LEANDER

Oh no, Octavio. Will you allow

This villain to escape? Let him confess

His sins to me. I will accept no less.

Although I know what you have done, did you

Not know that I am in the know? Now through

Your chain of tricks they all have led to me,

And you will now admit it or we see

Your innards on my sword!

SCAPIN

                                                            Oh really? You

Would do that to your sword? Get blood and goo

All over it?

LEANDER

                Confess, I say. Confess!

SCAPIN

Inform me of my sins, Signor?

LEANDER

                                                              Just guess!

Pick one among your many sins. I hear

Your conscience calling out so loud and clear.

SCAPIN

Upon my very life I do not know

What you refer to.

LEANDER (raises sword)

                                      Maybe this will show

Your memory a clue?

OCTAVIO

                                                Leander!

SCAPIN

                                                              I

Now seem to just recall I happened by

Some wine then drank it with my friends. The wine

That was a gift to you. I made it mine

And made it look as if the cask had sprung

A leak. And that is when I went and flung

Some water under it so you would think

The cask had failed. But I just had a drink.

LEANDER

So it was you! You stole my Spanish wine

You scoundrel! Then you watched me go malign

Another servant, letting me believe

That it was her. Oh damn, how you deceive.

SCAPIN

I truly am so sorry. Oh Signor…

LEANDER

I am so glad, but won’t forgive you for

Your current foul transgression.

SCAPIN

                                                                         That was not

What you referred to?

LEANDER

                                                 No. But you have brought

Far fouler curses on me, and you will

Admit them now!

SCAPIN

                                    If we may wait until

I might remember what I did…

LEANDER (moves blade closer)

                                                              I say

That you remember!                                       

SCAPIN (stares at blade)

                                      That is clear!

OCTAVIO

                                                                         Oh, may

Some cooler heads prevail?

SCAPIN

                                                             Oh, I confess!

It all is true Signor, I did it! Yes,

Three weeks ago you sent me out to take

That Gypsy girl you love a watch. I make

A full admission; I came home with mud

Upon my clothes, a face marked up with blood

And told you how I was attacked and robbed

By ten barbaric bandits and I sobbed

How now the watch was lost forever. Though

That is not how it happened. I am so

Embarrassed to admit I stole it. I

Apologize Signor, I told a lie.  

LEANDER

So it was you who was the thief!

SCAPIN

                                                                          It’s true.

I simply thought that while I’m serving you,

It truly is a help to know the time.

LEANDER

How kind of you to tell me of your crime.

Oh what a faithful loyal servant you

Now prove to be. But what else did you do?

SCAPIN

That wasn’t it?

LEANDER

                                    That wasn’t it, you foul

And loathsome creature, always on the prowl

For treasure yet can never seem to find

The truth.

SCAPIN

                        But I am out of truth!

LEANDER

                                                                         Remind

Me how I am a patient man, as I

Now feel this blade is getting heavy.

SCAPIN

                                                                                     Why

Confess to nothing?

LEANDER

                             Nothing? Is that all?

OCTAVIO

Oh stop!

SCAPIN

              Well, there is something I recall.

Do you remember back six months ago?

That ghost that woke you up and made you so

Disturbed and then he beat you thoroughly?

LEANDER

Yes.

SCAPIN

  I confess Signor that it was me.

I am so sorry. You were so distraught

And ran away in terror and then caught

Your foot and then fell down the cellar door.

LEANDER

The ghost was you? You fiend!

SCAPIN

                                                                        I did it for

A harmless prank in hopes that you would be

Less likely to go out carousing. We

Spend many night out chasing after you.

I hoped you then would be less likely to

Go out at night because of ghosts.      

LEANDER

                                                                          You should

Expect we will revisit this. So good

Of you to let me know. But now I say

The present matter is more pressing. May

I kindly now inquire what you said

About me to my father? Now! Instead

Of further sad confessions.

SCAPIN

                                                             Did you say

I spoke some words and to your father?

LEANDER

                                                                                      Pray

My patience is not tested further.

SCAPIN

                                                                                    But

I have not seen your father yet.

LEANDER

                                                                         You what?

You have not seen him? 

SCAPIN

                                                 Not since he came back.

LEANDER

And you are sure?

SCAPIN

                                     So sure I’m sure.

LEANDER

                                                                                    You lack

In honesty.

SCAPIN

                        Just ask him.

LEANDER

                                                  But he told

Me you told him himself.

SCAPIN

                                                  May I be bold

And say he did not speak the truth?

(enter CARLOS)

SCENE VI—LEANDER, OCTAVIO, CARLOS, SCAPIN

CARLOS

                                                                                     Signor,

I bring bad news about your love.

LEANDER

                                                                          Oh for

The love of God, what now?

CARLOS

                                                             She came to me

And said her tribe would take her and then flee

The city. But you have two hours to

Deliver them their money. If you do

Not send it. They will carry her away

Where you will never see her.

LEANDER

                                                              Did you say

Two hours?

CARLOS

                        Yes, two hours. (bows, exits)

SCENE VII—LEANDER, OCTAVIO, SCAPIN

LEANDER

                                                            Oh my dear

Scapin, I beg! Please help me!

SCAPIN

                                                                         Did I hear

You call me “Dear Scapin?” Necessity

Has come to call and oh so suddenly

I am your “Dear Scapin.”

LEANDER

                                                  Who could have guessed

I suddenly forget what you confessed,

And also all your crimes I do not know

Are also all forgiven…

SCAPIN

                                                 Oh no, no!

I cannot be forgiven. I insist

You take your sword and stab me. And just twist

It in my guts. Then I will fall down dead

And know I have deserved my fate!

LEANDER

                                                                          Instead

Of that, I say that you can rescue me

By rescuing my love.

SCAPIN

                                                 That cannot be!

Oh no, you need to kill me.

LEANDER

                                                             No, I can’t

As I adore the wondrous miscreant

I see before me. He must live to turn

My tragedies to triumphs.

SCAPIN

                                                            Yet I yearn

For death, so kill me. Won’t you kill me?

LEANDER

                                                                                                 No!

Release all thoughts of death so you can go

And do the things you do to save me.

OCTAVIO

                                                                                     Please

Scapin, you need to help him!

SCAPIN

                                                              After these

Insulting threats, how can I?

LEANDER

                                                              Oh I plead

With you, forgive my temper. How I need

Your mastery of trickery!

OCTAVIO

                                                            And I

Am echoing his begging.

SCAPIN

                                                  Could I try

Forgiving all his insults? I say no.

OCTAVIO

You must forget, forgive it all!

LEANDER

                                                                         Please show

Consideration for your charge when he

Is troubled in a great catastrophe.

SCAPIN

Just out of nowhere all those threats just flung

At me. Oh how they hurt and how they stung!

LEANDER

And I was in the wrong. Oh now I know!

SCAPIN

You called me “villain” “loathsome scoundrel”(sobs) Oh!

LEANDER

My deepest true apologies!

SCAPIN

                                                             You said

You’d stab me with your sword and kill me dead.

LEANDER

I beg of you, forgive me! I will kneel

Upon this dusty floor and then appeal

To your accommodating nature.

(kneels on floor, goes into “begging” stance and bellows:)

                                                              Dear

Scapin do not forsake me!

OCTAVIO

                                                            Do you hear

That sad, pathetic plea? Can you ignore

It?

SCAPIN

Oh will you just get up off the floor!

But next time you might think before you make

A hasty threat!

LEANDER (standing up)

                                    So you will not forsake

Me?

SCAPIN

Maybe. Maybe not.

LEANDER

                                                But now time flies!

SCAPIN

Oh hold your horses! So shall I surmise

You both are needing cash?

LEANDER

                                                            Five hundred.

SCAPIN (to OCTAVIO)

                                                                                      You?

OCTAVIO

Two hundred.

SCAPIN

                         Well I see I must dig through

Both of your father’s pockets.

(to OCTAVIO)

                                                                        I am set

To snare your father, and I soon will get

The money you desire with my plan.

(to LEANDER)

            But as for yours, he’s such a stingy man.

Yet even so, he is so stupid we

Should find it easy. He is thoroughly

Distracted by the smallest trick. But do

Not be offended, as they say that you

Do not resemble him at all. They say

In fact that he is not your father.

LEANDER

                                                                                    May

I just suggest you quit while you’re ahead?

SCAPIN

Oh well, who cares about what has been said?

Octavio, I see your father! He

Will soon be here, and so I say that we

Begin by hooking him. You both should leave.

When I’m alone it’s easy to deceive.

But send Sylvester here and quickly. He

Must come and play his role convincingly.

(OCTAVIO and LEANDER exit, ARGANTE enters muttering to himself. SCAPIN says aside:)

SCENE VIII—ARGANTE, SCAPIN

I see the wheels are spinning in his mind!

ARGANTE (to himself)

Such foul behavior one could never find!

So inconsiderate! To lose his head

Then rush into a marriage. Youth are led

By hearts, but never by the brain!

SCAPIN

                                                                          Signor,

I am your servant and am waiting for

Your next instruction.

ARGANTE (noticing him)

                                                 Oh, hello Scapin.

SCAPIN

You wrestle with your son’s behavior?

ARGANTE

                                                                                     Can

I not? And oh, it eats away at me.

SCAPIN

Signor, how life is challenging. But we

Must fortify ourselves and be prepared.

I am reminded how a friend once shared

The words of a philosopher. He said…

ARGANTE

Said what?

SCAPIN

    He said a father will not dread

Returning home from any voyage when

He conjures up calamities. And then

His nightmares trump reality. Yes, he

Should fantasize his house was thoroughly

Destroyed by fire, and his wife has died,

His son now married to a worthless bride.

His daughter’s virtue in the gutter and

His fortune squandered. Then he’ll understand

That anything far short of that is good.

And he shall thank his lucky stars and should

See how this wise philosophy is sound.

I know I have, and know that I have found

Expecting a disaster soothes the soul.

So I assume my masters have one goal:

To batter and abuse me, scream and yell

And take their anger out on me and tell

Me how my days are numbered as they beat

Me so severely, kicking with complete

Abandon, whipping me with so much glee,

Insulting, scolding, coming after me

With clubs and knives and threats and blows. But I

Am so relieved if I am spared and try

To see the bright side of my fate. 

ARGANTE

                                                                                    How nice.

And what a lovely thought and sound advice.

But this confounded marriage is a sin

Beyond what I can bear, and I am in

A pickle, as he was betrothed, and I

Must seek solicitor’s advice and try

To undo all the vows he dared to take.

SCAPIN

Signor may I suggest you try and make

Alternative arrangements? As you know,

A lawsuit is the hardest field to hoe,

And you may find entanglements.

ARGANTE

                                                                         I hear

You and suspect you are correct, yet fear

I have no other option.

SCAPIN

                                                            Oh but I

Might have a new solution! Deep in my

Sad heart I felt for you, and so my head

Went spinning all about while filled with dread

About your sad predicament. I see

A father suffering so woefully,

And I am torn to pieces. Seeing you

The pain is doubled. My regard is true

And deeply felt.

ARGANTE

                                    I do appreciate

Your great devotion.

SCAPIN

                                      Then I must relate

To you how I went to the brother of

The girl he married. He is one to shove

A sword without a second thought and pick

A fight for nothing, and is far too quick

To kill like he is tossing wine into

His throat. I went to see him to pursue

Discussion of this marriage, and I said

That he should see our way. When they were wed,

The vows were pressured under threat of harm,

And he should know how easily your arm

Can reach the scales of justice. As you are

An influential man with friends quite far

Above and well beyond his. And I warned

Him how a father’s right cannot be scorned.

I really laid it on, and how he heard

My arguments and noted every word.

And so I spoke of money, and he was

Receptive to the concept. So he does

Agree to now dissolve this marriage through

The miracle of cash that comes from you!  

ARGANTE

What is the price for miracles?

SCAPIN

                                                                         At first

He dared to ask too much.

ARGANTE

                                                            How much?    

SCAPIN

                                                                                    The worst

Extravagance and so outrageous!

ARGANTE

                                                                         How

Much?

SCAPIN

He just said five hundred might allow

Him to forget the marriage. But then swore

Six hundred would for certain.

ARGANTE

                                                                        That much for

The act of just forgetting? Five or six

Damn hundred? Oh he thinks such clever tricks

Might fool me, but he really does not know

Who he is dealing with!

SCAPIN

                                                            Yes that is so!

And so I simply scoffed at his demand

Then laughed and tried to make him understand

That you are not a man so easily

Manipulated. He will never see

Exorbitant extortion work on you!

Well, after some discussion, I got through

To him, and so he acquiesced. And he

Said he’ll rejoin the army soon and be

In need of new equipment. So he does

Have need of ready money, and because

Of that he will negotiate with you.

So, first he needs a horse, and that comes to…

Well…sixty for a decent one. 

ARGANTE

                                                                        I see.

Well, sixty does seem reasonable.

SCAPIN

                                                                          He

Will need a harness and two pistols. That

Will be another twenty.

ARGANTE (figures in head)

                                                  We are at

Um, eighty then…

SCAPIN

                                    Exactly.

ARGANTE

                                                  I believe

This all seems within reason.

SCAPIN

                                                              He can’t leave

Without a steed to serve his servant, so

He will need thirty for that horse…

ARGANTE

                                                                          Oh no!

Of all the insolent indulgence! I

Will not provide that!

SCAPIN

                                                 But Signor!

ARGANTE

                                                                          No! My

Depleted purse will not provide that. He

Is cheeky to demand it!

SCAPIN

                                                  Will you see

His servant forced to walk?

ARGANTE

                                                             I do not care!

So let him walk, or let him run.

SCAPIN

                                                                        You dare

To haggle over pennies? As they will

Just wind up with solicitors until

Their pockets burst. I say that you should take

This reasonable offer.

ARGANTE

                                                 I will make

Myself dig deep and give it to him.

SCAPIN

                                                                                    Though

He also says he needs a pack mule…

ARGANTE

                                                                          No!

To hell with him and his damn mule! I say

This all is all too much. So I will pay

Solicitors and let a judge decide.

SCAPIN

Signor, I beg of you…

ARGANTE

                                      I have my pride.

SCAPIN

But only one small mule…

ARGANTE

                                                  Who cares how small?

Or even just a donkey!

SCAPIN

                                                 Think of all…

ARGANTE

No, let the law decide I say.

SCAPIN

                                                                        Signor!

What ever do you speak of? There is more

To this than meets the eye! As you must weigh

The weighted scales of justice, and they say

Appeals are constantly considered through

An endless hall of endless courtrooms. You

Will be humiliated by each writ,

And like a wild wolf, they tear you bit

By bit. The clerk and counselors and then

Attorneys and solicitors and when

They all have drained you of your blood, here come

The magistrates and judges! Should a crumb

Remain of you, it will be torn apart

As any of these monsters with no heart

Can easily destroy the saddest case.

The way these bastards work is a disgrace.

Just watch a bailiff slip a summons right

Below your nose. Solicitors just might

Be bribed by the opposing counsel to

Desert you when you go to court, or you

May find he throws your case with arguments

That are ridiculous and then presents

Your case with random blathering. And they

May hold you in contempt for nothing, say

Your documents are suddenly misplaced,

A court reporter claims he has erased

All testimony. And if even then

In spite of everything you find that when

You slip through all the perils of the court

And fight through all objections and each tort,

You find that someone bribed the judge to be

Against you. It could be an enemy

Who sent a tart to whisper in his ear.

Signor, I beg of you and truly fear

That you won’t save yourself from this foul hell.

Oh what damnation waits for you? I tell

You that a lawsuit makes me so aghast

That I would run away from one, and fast! 

ARGANTE

How much then for the mule?

SCAPIN

                                                             For all of it:

Two horses and a mule and then a bit

More for the harness and the pistols and

A bit he owes at his hotel. A grand

Sum of two hundred!

ARGANTE

                                      Of two hundred?

SCAPIN

                                                                          Yes.

ARGANTE

I’ll take my chances with the courts!

SCAPIN

                                                                                     Assess

The situation…

ARGANTE

                          In the courts!

SCAPIN

                                                             Signor,

Assess the danger…

ARGANTE

                                     In the courts!

SCAPIN

                                                                         But for

A case to go to court, you need to pay

For writs and summons, resignations. They

Will charge you for each brief and plead and there

Are consultations, files everywhere,

And evidence and documents. Then see

How any question that you ask will be

Recorded on a ledger, and they will

Be happy to then add it to your bill.

Decrees, and fees and signatures and then

Each piece of paper will be counted when

They pile more upon your bill. See how

They charge for deeds and with other fees and now

They stick you for a signature and seal,

And then when you attempt your first appeal,

You have to pay them all again. Signor,

Just give the man the money! I implore

You, do it and be done with it at last!

ARGANTE

Two hundred is too much.

SCAPIN

                                                  But think how fast

This all will all be over! In my head

Just now I calculated, and instead

Of paying all the courts far more, well you

Will save a fortune! What, how much? I do

Believe two hundred fifty more, much more

Than just two hundred he is asking for.

And think of all the time and trouble saved,

And you will save yourself the foul depraved

Foul odor in the court. If I could free

Myself from pain of legal counsel, see

How fast I would pay hundreds more.

ARGANTE

                                                                                    But I

Cannot be bothered if the lawyers try

To make a mockery of me.

SCAPIN

                                                  And you

Will do as you see fit. But why go through

A nasty lawsuit?

ARGANTE

                                    I will not allow

Two hundred to be stolen from me.

SCAPIN

                                                                          Now

Here comes the man we speak of.

(SYLVESTER enters disguised as a rogue, walks in with anger and fury.)

SCENE IX—ARGANTE, SCAPIN, SYLVESTER

SYLVESTER

                                                                         Well, Scapin,

Where can I find that oh-so-sorry man,

The father of Octavio?

SCAPIN

                                                 But why?

What for, Signor?

SYLVESTER

                                     They told me he will try

To call me to the courts! And he will sue

To see my sister’s vows annulled!

SCAPIN

                                                                         Are you

So sure that he intends to? Though I hear

He won’t pay you two hundred, as I fear

He says that is too much.

SYLVESTER

                                                            Too much? I’ll see

That he is killed and damned eternally!

Where is he? As I will eviscerate

Him and without a worry for my fate.

Yes, they can kill me for it; I don’t care!

He won’t escape me; I am everywhere!

(ARGANTE hides behind SCAPIN)

SCAPIN

Signor, the man you speak of is quite brave.

He may not be afraid of you.

SYLVESTER

                                                              The knave

Is not afraid of me? Well, curses on

Him! And if he were here, I’d set upon

Him with my sharpened sword and stick it through

His stupid, beating heart!

(eyes ARGANTE)

                                                            And who are you?

SCAPIN (holds arms out)

Oh, he is not the man you seek, Signor!

No, this is not the one you’re searching for!

SYLVESTER

But does he dare to call that man his friend?

SCAPIN

Oh no Signor, oh no! How you offend

Him! As he is his greatest enemy!

SYLVESTER

You say his greatest enemy?

SCAPIN

                                                             Yes.

SYLVESTER

                                                                         Be

Assured I am so glad to hear it.

(to ARGANTE)

                                                                         You

Are enemies with one I hate? It’s true?

You hate the foul Argante as I do?

SCAPIN

                                                                                    He

Is full of hateful hate. Can you not see

The way he shakes before you?

(SYLVESTER grabs ARGANTE’S hand and shakes it violently)

SYLVESTER

                                                                        Take my hand

My friend, and you will surely understand

My handshake is my bond, and I now vow

On all my honor; I swear here and now

Before the sun sets, I will bring to you

The bloody body of the bastard who

They call “Argante.” Yes, put your trust in me!

SCAPIN

Are violent acts the only remedy?

You know they are illegal in this land.

SYLVESTER

As if I care! You fail to understand

I have no fear of laws or jails!

SCAPIN

                                                                        But he

Will surely take precautions. There may be

Some relatives and friends and servants who

Will come defend his life and challenge you.

SYLVESTER

I live for murder and destruction! Death

Is not my fear; it is a goal. My breath

Reeks of the stench of blood and guts! Oh where

Is this foul man I seek? Oh let him dare

To face me with his relatives and friends,

And I will send them to untimely ends!

Let them surround me from all sides and draw

Their swords and hold them high. I’ll yell, “Hurrah!”

And say, “Pathetic fools you dare engage

Me? See my sword held high, and feel my rage!”

(He pulls out his sword and mimes attacking men from all sides.)

I lunge and parry, strike and block and thrust!

Again, again, again!

(sees imaginary enemy)

                                                Oh, if I must…

(jumps in for attack again)

I slaughter you and you and you and you.

Is that enough? What, no? Then I will chew

Your guts and spit them out! You like it rough?

Take that and that and that! Is that enough?

You rabble, slime and rubbish in a horde!

Oh look, your blood has stained my polished sword.

I love to see you die, the lot of you.

I only have begun, but you are through.

(Looks directly at SCAPIN and ARGANTE, he is now rabid with madness.)

Do you stand there awaiting death as well?

Your comrades all have died, and I can tell

You wish for death yourself. So do not dare

To think that you are going anywhere.

Don’t make a move or think of drawing back.

Just take it like a man as I attack!

(He lunges at them with gusto. SCAPIN stands firm, as ARGANTE cowers.)

SCAPIN

Oh no, Signor! We are not party to

This thrust and parry carnival!

SYLVESTER

                                                                         Then you

Have learned don’t dare to play a trick on me!

(SYLVESTER bellows and exits, sword aimed at more invisible challengers. SCAPIN examines the room.)

SCENE X—ARGANTE, SCAPIN

SCAPIN

So many dead, a tragic sight to see.

All over what? Just merely money. Well,

What’s done is done. So I will simply tell

You: Have a lovely day. (starts to exit)

ARGANTE

                                                  Scapin…I…I…

SCAPIN (turns back)

Did you say something?

ARGANTE

                                                 I think we should try

To give him the two hundred.

SCAPIN

                                                             For your sake,

I am so glad to hear it.

ARGANTE

                                                  Let us take

It to him right away. I have it here

In ready cash with me.

SCAPIN

                                                 Oh, but I fear

That I should take it; you should not, as you

Should not be seen as someone who would do

Salacious acts. Besides, if now he sees

You as you are, then he will know. So please,

And for your own protection, just stay here.

And think, if he should see you, then I fear

That he will only ask for more from you.

ARGANTE

You may be right, But still I like to do

My business by myself. I like to see

The hand that takes my money.

SCAPIN (feigns hurt)

                                                              Look at me.

Am I not to be trusted?

ARGANTE

                                                  Oh, of course.

But…

SCAPIN

  Oh, but what I ask? Do you endorse

Me as an honest man or as a thief?

Am I deceitful? Is it your belief

That I am acting in a way against

You? Can it be that you became convinced

My goals are not in line with yours and my

Own master’s? Here it is you seek to try

Combining your two houses! As I do

Not have your confidence, then I am through

With all of this, and you can find someone

That you can trust to see your will is done

And free you of this foul entanglement!

(ARGANTE pushes cash at SCAPIN)

ARGANTE

No, here Scapin!

SCAPIN

                                     Oh no, do not relent!

Your money is not safe with me at all.

No, go just find another you can call

Your trusted representative.

ARGANTE (shoves it at him)

                                                             Oh, here!

SCAPIN

Oh no, I can’t! I simply drown in fear

That as I am unworthy of your trust,

How can I trust myself? I fear I must

Be secretly a thief; how can I know

As I may hide it from myself?

ARGANTE

                                                              Just go

And take this with you, I demand it! Here!

Don’t dare to make me ask again!

(SCAPIN takes it)

                                                                         I fear

It might be prudent you get a receipt

To have a guarantee that no deceit

Will further come from him.

SCAPIN

                                                             I guarantee

That he won’t find a fool when meeting me.

ARGANTE

Then I will now return to home and wait.

(as ARGANTE exits)

SCAPIN

And I will be there very soon!

(GERONTE begins to enter)

SCENE XI—GÉRONTE, SCAPIN

SCAPIN (aside)

                                                                        How great

To have one done, and now I need to do

The other one!

(notices GERONTE)

                                    Oh look, and right on cue:

One bug, and then another in my net!

(pretends not to notice GERONTE)

Oh what misfortune! Oh, to be beset

With sad disaster! Lord above, I pray

To you for this unhappy father. May

Signor Geronte please persevere. What can

We do?

                                                  GERONTE (aside)

             What does he say? I say the man

Looks steeped in misery!         

SCAPIN

                                                  Where can he be?

Can someone go and find this man for me?

Please find Signor Geronte!

GERONTE

                                                             Scapin, what is

The matter?

(SCAPIN rushes about the room as if so distraught he cannot hear him)

SCAPIN

                         I must tell him now of his

Impending great disaster when I find

Him.

GERONTE

  What disaster?

SCAPIN (still faking)

                                     I am in a bind,

As everywhere I look, he is not there.

GERONTE

But I am here.

SCAPIN (looks under furniture)

                          I seek him everywhere,

And yet he must be hiding. Where could he

Now be, I cannot guess.

GERONTE

                                                  Can you not see

Or hear, as I am here!

SCAPIN (suddenly “seeing” him)

                                                 Oh, there you are!

You are impossible to find when far

Away.

GERONTE

But I was standing very near

To you for half an hour. Now be clear:

What is this all about?

SCAPIN (hesitating)

                                                  Signor…

GERONTE

                                                                        Well, what?

SCAPIN

Your son, Signor…

GERONTE

                                     My son, Signor?

SCAPIN

                                                                         Is but

The victim of sad circumstances that

Are strange indeed.

GERONTE

                                      What are they?

SCAPIN (tearing up)

                                                                         Oh, he sat

Right here this afternoon just looking sad,

And he confided earlier you had

Said something to him and surprisingly

Associated me with it. And we

Went walking to the harbor as I tried

To soothe his shattered soul, and there we spied

A Turkish ship within the harbor. We

Were greeted by a sailor, and then he,

With gentlemanly manners, said we could

Both come aboard his ship. And there he stood

Extending out his hand to us. And we

Both went aboard. And you should know that he

Was so hospitable, he served fine wine

And fruit and cake; it all was so divine.

GERONTE

These circumstances are not sad.

SCAPIN

                                                                         But wait

And hear what is to come. As we both ate,

The ship set sail out to the sea while we

Were unaware. The sailor then sent me

Out on a skiff to bring a warning to

You that five hundred must be paid or you

Will never see your son again, as they

Will take him to Algiers!

GERONTE

                                                            Oh no! No way,

Five hundred?

SCAPIN

                          Yes, five hundred! And they said

You only have two hours!

GERONTE

                                                  I am dead

And by his hand, the bastard!

SCAPIN

                                                                        Oh, Signor,

You must respond and quickly. Do it for

The son you love or he will be enslaved.

GERONTE

Why did he step upon the ship?

SCAPIN

                                                                        He craved

Adventure. He had no idea.

GERONTE

                                                             Run

And tell them now Scapin: Release my son,

Or I will send the law!

SCAPIN

                                                  Police, Signor?

Upon the open sea? Unlikely, or

You seek to tease me?

GERONTE

                                                 Why did you both go

Aboard?

SCAPIN

              I simply say we did not know

What destiny had planned for us.

GERONTE

                                                                         I say,

Scapin, I see a way for you to play

The faithful servant.

SCAPIN

                                                How, Signor?

GERONTE

                                                                         Just go

And tell her to retrieve my son. And show

Them how you will replace me. You can be

Collateral and be a guarantee

Until I find the funds.  

SCAPIN

                                                  Signor, do you

Believe what you are saying? That they do

Their business in a way that they will take

A servant as a substitution?

GERONTE

                                                              Make

Me understand. Why did he want to go

Within the galley with that scoundrel?

SCAPIN

                                                                                     Oh,

How could the lad predict the peril that

Awaited him within? Signor, we’re at

A standstill and the time is flying. We

Began with just two hours.

GERONTE (in denial)

                                                             Can it be…

Can it be he said…

SCAPIN

                                     …Five hundred…

GERONTE

                                                                         No!

Has he no soul or conscience? Can he show

No mercy?

SCAPIN

              Well, he is a sailor…

GERONTE

                                                              Can

He understand how much this is?

SCAPIN

                                                                        The man

Is well aware how much he asks for.

GERONTE

                                                                                    Does

He dream that money grows on trees? Because

I tell you it does not!

SCAPIN

                                                  Some people are

Immune to reason.

GERONTE

                                     Oh, he stepped too far

When he stepped on that ship!

SCAPIN

                                                              Oh, what a waste

Of words. Forget the ship. We must make haste.

Each moment that commences separates

Us farther from your son, and soon the Fates

Will fling him far forever.

(calls out, as if to Leander)

                                                             Oh my poor

Young master, how I weep to know they tore

You from your father and your home. Just think,

You’re at this very moment on the brink

Of life so far away and bound in chains.

But heaven knows I busted all my brains

In my attempts to rescue you. A shame

Your father does not love you, but the blame

Is his and his alone.

GERONTE

                                                 Just stop, Scapin!

As I will go and get the money.

SCAPIN

                                                                         Can

You hurry? As we deal with desperate men,

And time is fleeting.

GERONTE

                                                 How much was it then?

Four hundred, did you say?

SCAPIN

                                                            Five hundred.

GERONTE

                                                                                      Oh!

Five hundred! Why did he decide to go

Upon the ship?

SCAPIN

                                    I know, I know.

GERONTE

                                                                        Could he

Have walked another way?

SCAPIN

                                                  Well, possibly.

But see Signor, the time…

GERONTE

                                                            I place a curse

Upon that ship!

SCAPIN (aside)

                                    I say, what could be worse?

It seems a ship is caught within his throat!

GERONTE

See here Scapin, right here within my coat

I have the gold we need. I just received

It.

(pulls a purse from his coat, stares at it longingly)

Who could know that I could be so grieved

To see you torn from my my firm grasp?

(glares at SCAPIN)

                                                                                      You tell

That sailor he is headed straight to Hell!

SCAPIN (holds out hand)

I will, Signor.

GERONTE

                                    And tell him he is low…

SCAPIN

I will.

GERONTE

  …As low as low can be, and he is so

Disreputable!

SCAPIN

                          You can bet I will.

GERONTE

And he is…

SCAPIN

     Yes, I will…

GERONTE

                                                And I will kill

Him when I get my hands on him.

SCAPIN (losing patience)

                                                               Oh yes

I will, I will, I will!

GERONTE

                                                  Do not distress

Scapin. Now go and quickly get my son.

SCAPIN

Signor?

GERONTE

Well what Scapin?

SCAPIN

                                                             It can’t be done

Without the money.

GERONTE

                                     What, the money? I

Just gave it all to you!

SCAPIN

                                                            Oh, you did try

But put it back inside your coat.

GERONTE

                                                                         Ah, me!

My grief has clouded up my mind.

SCAPIN

                                                                         I see.

GERONTE

Why did he step upon the ship? Oh why

You cursed ship and sailor? I will cry

To Heaven hoping Hell will take you!

(as GERONTE exits, SCAPIN says aside:)

SCAPIN

                                                                                     He

Has pained to pay five hundred achingly

And right into my hand. Yet I will play

My other hand and really make him pay

For spinning lies about me to his son!

(OCTAVIO and LEANDER enter)

SCENE XII—OCTAVIO, LEANDER, SCAPIN

OCTAVIO

Hello, Scapin! I pray you say you’ve won.

LEANDER

Please say you have dispatched my misery.

SCAPIN (to OCTAVIO)

I have two hundred here as you can see.

I got it from your father.

(tosses him ARGANTE’S purse)

OCTAVIO

                                                             I am so

Relieved!

SCAPIN (to LEANDER)

                        But I am sad to say although

I tried, I failed to help you.

LEANDER (starts to run off)

                                                                        I must die!

Without my dearest Zerbinetta I

Will have no reason to go on!

SCAPIN

                                                              Oh, stay!

How quickly you accept defeat.

LEANDER

                                                                        What may

Become of me without true love?

SCAPIN

                                                                         Oh please!

(pulls out GERONTE’S purse)

As I have captured all necessities

Right here for you.

LEANDER

                                                Oh I am saved!

SCAPIN (pulls purse away)

                                                                          But wait!

There is but one condition: You must state

You will allow me my revenge as I

Deceive your father.

LEANDER

                                                As you wish, with my

Express permission.

SCAPIN

                                                So you swear right here?

In front of witnesses?

LEANDER

                                                 I do.

SCAPIN

                                                             Then we’re

In business! Here we go, five hundred!

(tosses purse to LEANDER)

LEANDER

                                                                                                So

We’ll pay the ransom for my love. Let’s go!

End of Act II

ACT III

SCENE I—ZERBINETTA, HYACINTHA, SCAPIN, SYLVESTER

SYLVESTER

Your lovers have decided that you should

Both wait together. And we think their good

Intentions should be honored.

HYACINTHA

                                                              I must say

That their intentions just delight me. May

I now receive this company with great

Appreciation. Also, may I state

That friendship shared between our loves should be

Between us two as well? You will not see

Me give a cause to stop it.

ZERBINETTA

                                                             And I take

Your offering, as I will not forsake

An overture of friendship.

SYLVESTER

                                                   What if you

Are offered love?

ZERBINETTA

                                     Well, love is something to

Be more considered as the stakes are high,

So I am more reluctant.

SCAPIN

                                                  Yet you try

To dare reject my master when he’ll do

Things far beyond the bounds of love for you.

So I should say you have a guarantee,

And so you should accept him?

ZERBINETTA

                                                              Yet I see

Some reasons to be cautious. What he’s done

Is not sufficient to secure me. One

Who has a happy temperament like me,

So fond of fun and all frivolity,

May seem content, and yet it all may hide

Some true concerns that haunt me deep inside.

And so he should slow down should he believe

That buying me is quite sufficient. Leave

A ransom and find love? I should say no.

So let him put his purse away and show

Me how his heart is now held ransom and

How there are certain rituals he’s planned

To prove he is devoted.

SCAPIN

                                                  You will see

That he has planned to take your hand. And he

Is most sincere and honorable. Or

I would not be assisting him.

ZERBINETTA

                                                              No more

Than your good word is then required. Yet

I still believe his father now will fret

About the marriage.

SCAPIN

                                      Just leave him to me.

HYACINTHA (to ZERBINETTA)

Our fates are twisted now, so we should be

The fastest friends. It seems we both now share

Some fears, and now it seems we are aware

We mingle our misfortunes.

ZERBINETTA

                                                             Even so,

You are advantaged, as you surely know

Your parentage, and they are there for you.

So you can seek consent from them. I do

Not harbor any hope of that. And I

Will find his father only asks if my

Worth can be counted with no dowry.

HYACINTHA

                                                                                    True.

And yet consider there is hope, as you

Need not concern yourself your lover will

Be tempted by another bride.

ZERBINETTA

                                                             Yet still

A lover’s changing heart is not the fear

That we should fear the most. As we can steer

The heart that we have harnessed. Yet I dread

The power of a father. As I said,

They only see our value in a purse,

Not in our souls.

HYACINTHA

                                     I know, what could be worse?

The way to love is quite a rocky road.

True love should be a sweet romantic ode

With two combined as perfect as a rhyme. 

SCAPIN

You could not be more wrong. You’ll find with time,

Familiarity can breed contempt,

And perfect, peaceful bliss will soon prevent

Attempts on all romantic acts. We need

Some ups and downs, or peace will soon impede

Our inspiration. Then stagnation kills

Our senses when we want to feel some thrills.

ZERBINETTA

But you must tell us now Scapin how you

Got money out of that old miser through

Your trickery. I know you know how I

Will laugh so heartily, and that is my

Reward for your endeavors.

SCAPIN

                                                             Oh, just ask

Sylvester here. He’s perfect for the task,

As I am busy spinning webs to snare

A nasty bug. Stand back as I prepare

Another round of sweet revenge.        

SYLVESTER (distraught)

                                                                        Oh please!

Why must you leap at dangers such as these?

They only lead to trouble!

SCAPIN

                                                             Life is good

When one is still alive. And so we should

Take chances seeking danger.

SYLVESTER

                                                              Oh, could you

Just listen just this once to me and do

As I advise?

SCAPIN

                         No, I prefer to hear

Someone who I respect: Myself.

SYLVESTER

                                                               I fear

For you. Why take the risk?

SCAPIN

                                                              Why do you care?

You work yourself into a lather.

SYLVESTER

                                                                        Dare

I say I am concerned you will be whipped

Within an inch of your sad life?

SCAPIN

                                                                And stripped

Down to the waist and flogged…who cares?

It is my hide I risk.      

SYLVESTER

                                                The one who dares

His hide can take responsibility

For what commences.

SCAPIN

                                      You will never see

Me shirk from any danger. How I hate

Those with the meekest hearts. See them await

A danger that may never come and then

Find that their chance may never come again.

ZERBINETTA

Yet we still need you here and still alive. 

SCAPIN

I understand. But leave me to connive.

Yes leave me, all of you!

(as they all exit, SCAPIN says aside:)

                                                            Let no one say

Scapin will ever give himself away.

And lips that stay so sealed will surely see

Me have my fun with great impunity.

SCENE II—GERONTE, SCAPIN

GERONTE

Hello Scapin. Tell me what you have done.

Have you arranged a rescue of my son?

SCAPIN

Your son is safe, Signor, yet now I fear

That you are now in danger. Being here

Is not a good idea. You should be

In your own house.

GERONTE

                                      What, what?

SCAPIN

                                                               A tragedy!

As you stand here with me, outside they seek

You out.

GERONTE

    Who, me?

SCAPIN

                                     Yes, you.

GERONTE

                                                            But who?

SCAPIN

                                                                          I speak

About the brother of the girl that wed

Octavio. Apparently he said

That it was you who broke them up, as you

Intend your daughter for his hand. And through

Your machinations you have now destroyed

His sister. Now his friends have been deployed

With swords held high while crying out your name

And calling for your blood. Oh what a shame

That they are so devoted, searching for

You with a vengeance, hunting by the score,

Harassing anyone they come upon

Demanding information, riding on

Each road and alleyway they block the way

That leads up to your house. I’m sad to say

There is nowhere to turn, nowhere to go

That won’t deliver you to them!

GERONTE

                                                                        Oh no!

What can I do, Scapin?

SCAPIN

                                                I wish I knew.

Signor, this is unpleasant. How I do

Now tremble from my toes up to my head!

Oh wait, I have a thought…

(SCAPIN goes upstage and pretends to listen)

GERONTE

                                                  Well, what?

SCAPIN (dismissive)

                                                                                    Instead

Of what I thought, I think I need to try

To think a thought again.

GERONTE

                                                            Just think of my

Protection. You must save me!

SCAPIN

                                                              There is one

Solution, but I say it can’t be done

Without me risking life and limb.

GERONTE

                                                                          You can!

Just think how you will prove yourself, Scapin

As truly being loyal. Don’t forsake

Me!

SCAPIN

I will do what I must do and take

The risk. Oh my devotion has me snared.

If I should die, they all will know I cared.

GERONTE

But I will see you are rewarded! You

Should be assured that when I am well through

With this fine coat I wear, it will be yours.

SCAPIN

Oh wait, just wait as inspiration pours

Right out of me and tells me what to do.

(SCAPIN runs and grabs a giant sack)

Yes, now I know a way to rescue you!

Just step into this sack.

(GERONTE thinks he sees someone)

GERONTE

                                                            Wait, who is there?

SCAPIN

No one is there, so step in here. Take care

To be so very still. I’ll carry you

Right out of here and past the retinue

Of angry men and see you safely set

For home. Be like a bundle; never let

Them see you move. When you are safe inside,

We’ll barricade the door, and you can hide

As I send word for help.

GERONTE (getting into sack)

                                                  I say that you

Are most inspired.

SCAPIN

                                                Oh, how true, how true!

Now get inside where you are safe.

(GERONTE gets inside, SCAPIN says aside)

                                                                          I say

Revenge is best served hot. Now you will pay!

GERONTE (inside bag)

Wait, what was that?

SCAPIN

                                                I simply said, Signor,

That we will trick your enemies. What’s more,

I hope to see them neutralized. Now get

Yourself into the very bottom. Let

Yourself be still as if a stone, and do

Not make a move or risk they will see through

Our little ruse, no matter what may come!

GERONTE (pops out of bag)

I will not move a muscle!

SCAPIN (shoves him back in)

                                                            Oh! The scum

That searches for you now arrives, and he

Is out for blood!

During the following, SCAPIN goes back and forth between his own voice and a fake voice.

(fake voice)

                                     Now, who will humor me

And lead me to Geronte? Oh how I lust

For blood, and his will do!

(his own voice, whispering to the sack)

                                                            Signor, please trust

Me. Oh you must stay still!

(fake voice)

                                                             Though he may be

Within the center of the Earth, I’ll see

Him dead!

(his own voice, whispers to bag)

              Oh please stay safe in there!

(fake voice)

                                                                                      Hey, you!

The man who has a sack!

(his own voice)

                                                  What may I do

For you, Signor?

(fake voice)

                                     If gold is what you want,

Then tell me where to find Signor Geronte!

(his own voice)

You seek Signor Geronte?

(fake voice)

                                                  I do!

(his own voice)

                                                                        And why,

May I inquire?

(fake voice)

                                    Why?

(his own voice)

                                                Yes, why?

(fake voice)

                                                                        Well, I

Intend to beat him with a stick until

He dies!

(his own voice)

             Oh no, Signor! You cannot kill

A Gentleman like him!

(fake voice)

                                                 Why not? That low

And rotten scoundrel!

(his own voice)

                                                 No Signor, oh no!

You must not say such things of him. I see

Such disrespect. Now stop it!

(fake voice)

                                                            You dare be

So cheeky with me?

(his own voice)

                                      Well, I must insist,

As you are so revolting and persist

In slighting him!

(fake voice)

                                    Are you a friend of his?

This man they call Geronte?

(his own voice)

                                                             Well yes, that is

Correct.

(fake voice)

             Well, isn’t that so marvelous.

Give this to him from me!

(SCAPIN uses his own voice and makes it sound as if he is getting hit as he hits GERONTE in the bag with a stick.)

                                                            Can we discuss

Your method and your message? Please Signor!

Oh ow! That hurts! Oh how I must implore

You, have compassion! Have some mercy!

(fake voice)

                                                                                      There!

Now take the message to him with great care.

Oh wait, there’s more!

(SCAPIN beats GERONTE in the bag a few more times. He uses his own voice:)

                                                 Oh no, oh ow!

(fake voice)

                                                                                    Goodbye!

(his own voice)

At last he’s gone, the vile bastard!

(GERONTE crawls out of bag in a stupor)

GERONTE

                                                                                    I

Cannot endure another blow…

SCAPIN

                                                             Signor!

But I was beaten worse, and I am sore

Across my shoulders—They took every blow!

GERONTE

How can it be I felt them all?

SCAPIN

                                                                        How so?

My back is black and blue.

GERONTE

                                                             And yet I felt

Each blow across my back, and they were dealt

With vigorous ambition! And I now

Still feel the sting!

SCAPIN

                                                 I can imagine how

With each blow unto me as he drew back

It landed on you hard within the sack.

You felt it too?

GERONTE

                                     If you had stepped away

A little bit and to the left…

SCAPIN

                                                              I say!

Here comes another ruffian! Get in!

(roughly shoves GERONTE back into sack)

And this one looks so shifty!

During the following, SCAPIN goes back and forth between his own voice and a fake voice.

(fake voice)

                                                                        Such a sin

To run all over town to fester out

The pitiful Geronte! To run about

From here to there and everywhere. What for?

As he is lost, not found!

(real voice, to GERONTE in sack)

                                                            Stay hidden, or

You may regret it!

(fake voice)

                                      Well, hello there. Do

You know where I may find Geronte? All through

This city I have searched in vain.

(real voice)

                                                                                    Oh no

Signor, I do not know.

(fake voice)

                                                Oh, is that so?

Now you can tell the truth to me as I

Just have a need to talk to him. Why lie?

I simply have a stick and have a sword

That need to meet his body. I am bored

And want to see if my new sword can cut

Right into him.

(real voice, as GERONTE moves in the sack)

                                    Signor, believe me. What

I told you was the truth: He is not here!

(fake voice)

Did I just see that sack just shake?

(real voice)

                                                                                     Oh dear.

You must excuse me now, Signor!

(fake voice, as GERONTE shakes even more)

                                                                        Just now!

I saw the sack just shake again!

(real voice)

                                                                         Oh how

Could that be possible?

(fake voice)

                                                  Then let me try

To stick my sword right through!

(real voice)

                                                                          Well tell me why

That you would think that you could come in here

And stab a sack?

(fake voice, angry and threatening)

                                    I say I can.

(real voice)        

                                                             Why yes, it does appear

You can. But it is shameful.

(fake voice)

                                                              Shameful?     

(real voice)

                                                                                     Yes!

Revealing it to you would bring me stress,

And it is so revolting you would die.

I am protecting you. I do not lie.        

(fake voice)

I say my sword and I both disagree.

Whatever you are hiding, I will see.

(real voice)

Oh no, you can’t!

(fake voice)

                                     Oh yes, I will!

(real voice)

                                                                         Signor,

It only is my laundry.

(fake voice)

                                                 Nothing more

Than that? Then I shall see!

(real voice)

                                                              I still say no!

(fake voice)

Oh, you say no?

(real voice)

                                    I do!

(fake voice)

                                                Oh is that so?

Then you can feel my stick upon your back

To teach you all the manners that you lack!

(real voice)

Oh, go ahead and beat me. I don’t care!

(SCAPIN starts to beat him again with a stick. Switches to fake voice:)

Oh you will care when I am through! I’ll tear

The skin right off of you!

(real voice, as if he is being beaten:)

                                                             Oh, ow Signor!

That hurts, oh how it hurts! Oh please, no more!

(fake voice, as he continues beating)

Now I will say goodbye and hope that you

Have learned a lesson. Have I gotten through

Your shield of insolence?

(real voice, stops acting as if being beaten)

                                                            The cursed man

Is gone at last. I am relieved!

(GERONTE slowly crawls out of sack even more stupefied)

GERONTE

                                                                         How can

I crawl out of the sack when every bone

I have is broken now?

SCAPIN

                                                 Oh, let alone

The fact that I am dying!

GERONTE

                                                            But again,

Tell me how I got injured?

SCAPIN (jumps)

                                                             Go back in

The sack, Signor! As half a dozen men

Are now approaching!

(violently shoves GERONTE back into sack)

During the following, SCAPIN creates many fake voices.

(a voice)

                                                You must tell me when

You find him!

(another voice)

                        Seek him out! Search everywhere!

(another voice)

And leave no stone unturned. He might be there!

(another voice)

Search up and down. Tear through the town,

Each street and corner, here and there and down

The streets and up the avenues!

(another voice)

                                                                         This way!

(another voice)

Oh no, that way!

(another voice)

                                    Go left!

(another voice)

                                                  Go right!

(another voice)

                                                                         I say

That you are wrong!

(another voice)

                                      No, I am right!

(SCAPIN whispers to GERONTE in his own voice)

                                                                                    Stay still,

And hide yourself!

(back to a fake voice)

                                      Oh look, his servant! Will

You tell us, you damn rascal. Tell us please

Where we can find your master? We can squeeze

It out of you if you prefer.             

(real voice)

                                                                        Oh no

I cannot do that. Please, please spare me!

(GERONTE dares to peek out of the sack and sees SCAPIN’S ruse during the following, as Scapin uses another voice:)

                                                                                                Oh,

Now will you look at that? A touching scene!

But tell us now, or we will strike between

Your shoulder blades, and you will feel each blow!

(real voice)

Well, I will suffer that and more! Just know

My loyalty knows of no bounds and I

Will not betray my master. I will die!

(another voice)

Well as you wish. Prepare to die!

(real voice)

                                                                                    I will,

And die a loyal servant!

(another voice)

                                                            We will kill

You here and now!

(real voice)

                                     Yet die with honor! I

Will not betray my master.

(another voice)

                                                             You will die!!!

(SCAPIN turns to beat GERONTE again and sees that his ruse is being observed. Geronte lunges out of the bag as SCAPIN runs off.)

GERONTE

Deceitful, lying scum of infamy!

How dare you do this vile thing to me?

(ZERBINETTA enters laughing. She is unaware of GERONTE, who is unaware of her)

SCENE III—ZERBINETTA GERONTE

ZERBINETTA

Oh my, I really need to catch my breath!

GERONTE (calling after SCAPIN)

And I will see you punished with your death!

ZERBINETTA

Oh what a most amusing story. Who

Could think a man could be so stupid to

Be so bamboozled? Oh that sad, old…

GERONTE (notices her)

                                                                                     I

Believe that you should hold your laughter. Try

To see that what amuses you could be

Considered sad by others.

ZERBINETTA

                                                            Pardon me

Signor, what do you mean?

GERONTE

                                                            I mean to say

You should not laugh at me.

ZERBINETTA

                                                             At you?

GERONTE

                                                                                    Yes.

ZERBINETTA

                                                                                      May

I ask who dares to laugh at you?

GERONTE

                                                                          You do!

You laugh directly in my face.

ZERBINETTA

                                                                        Yet you

Are not involved at all. I simply heard

A funny story, something so absurd

That I can only laugh. Though it may be

Because I am involved, it touches me

Most deeply. Still, I cannot hope to know

Another story half as good and so

Amusing. As you see, a mean old man

Was just now swindled by a clever plan,

And it was perpetrated by his son

To get some money out of him.

GERONTE (suspicious)

                                                                        How fun.

You say a son deceived his father to

Procure some money?

ZERBINETTA

                                                Yes! I say, if you

Desire all the details I will share

Them. Oh, what twists and turns in this affair!

I cannot keep it to myself or I

May burst. I love to share in laughter. Why

Not share this laugh with you?

GERONTE

                                                                        Oh please, please do…

ZERBINETTA

Well, I will do so gladly. Telling you

Is not a risk, as soon the world will know;

No secret can be truly safe. And so

It happened just like this: I was among

A band of Gypsies. As our tribe was flung

From here to there and there to here we made

Our way by telling fortunes. When we laid

Our stakes here in this city, where I met

A wonderful young man, and once he set

His eyes upon me that was that, and he

Pronounced his love. And then so charmingly

From here to there and there to here he went

Wherever I might step and was content

Believing that he merely needed to

But say one word and then with no ado

I would just faint away and simply land

Within his arms and let him take my hand.

But it is not so simple. First he had

To bargain with my tribe. And they were glad

To let him have my hand, but for a fee.

But how unfortunate for him to be

A son of one so wealthy, yet he has

No money of his own. So tragic, as

His father is a selfish skinflint. He…

Oh, I forgot his name. What can it be?

Can you help me remember? Can you name

A man notorious who has no shame

In being awful and so miserly?

GERONTE

I cannot say…

ZERBINETTA

                         Oh what could his name be?

It sounds like “Ron” or “Ronte?” That rings a bell.

“Oronte?” oh no, “Geronte!” That suits him well.

A perfect name for one who is so mean

And selfish! Now, where was I? Well, between

His awful father and my tribe, we found

We were in trouble, as my tribe is bound

To leave this city any minute. So

My lover was to lose me. They will go

And take me with them if he cannot pay.

And all was lost until he turned today

To his most-clever servant. Oh Scapin

Could wrestle money from that nasty man!

His father did not know what hit him. Oh

Scapin, he is our hero!

GERONTE (seething)

                                                  Is that so?

(aside)

The vile wretch!

(ZERBINETTA giggles at points during the following:)

ZERBINETTA

                                     But you should hear his plan!

Oh, how he duped the idiotic man!

I cannot help but laugh so heartily.

He told the stupid fool convincingly

That he was in the harbor with his son,

And there they found a ship, and then someone

Invited them aboard so graciously

And gave them wine and cheese, then stealthily

Set sail and sent the ship to sea. And so

Scapin told him he was sent back to go

And get a handsome ransom or he would

Not see his son again. Oh, this is good!

The miser, how he struggled, stuck between

His son and love of money. How obscene

That he could even struggle with it! Each

Gold piece held up to him just like a leech.

Oh how he struggled, and in vain, he tried

To think of some alternatives. He cried

That he would send police out on the sea

To walk on water to the ship. And he

Then asked Scapin to go negotiate

By trading places with his son. And wait-

As this gets even better! As you see,

Geronte had not a single thought to free

Scapin. You see how foul he is? At last,

Defeated, he surrendered. He was past

The point of fighting facts, but then he cried

Repeatedly, “Why did he go inside

The ship…why did he go inside? I will

Go hunting for that sailor and then kill

Him!” Then with hesitations, moans and cries,

Gave up his money, cursing to the skies!

Signor, you are not laughing. Can it be

You do not find it funny?

GERONTE

                                                            Well, you see…

I see the young man as a scoundrel who

Has disrespected his own father to

Enact a vile scheme! I guarantee

The father might just take him to his knee

And far much worse than that for his foul deed.

As for the girl, I say it’s guaranteed

The little hussy soon will get her due

For helping to concoct this nasty stew,

Insulting men of honor and their heirs

With loathsome tricks and vile dirty snares.

As for the servant, he will surely see

How scoundrels are dispatched so thoroughly.

Oh he is happy, and he had his fun,

But I will see before the setting sun

Tomorrow he is hanged!

(GERONTE exits as ZERBINETTA starts to dash off in a panic. SYLVESTER enters, blocking her way.)

SCENE IV—ZERBINETTA, SYLVESTER

SYLVESTER

Where are you running off to? Can it be

That you don’t know? The man you spoke to, he

Is your own lover’s father!

ZERBINETTA

                                                             I began

Suspecting it. But first, I told the man

His story without knowing who he was.

SYLVESTER

What do you mean, his story?

ZERBINETTA

                                                                        Well, because

I was so full of laughter, I just had

To share it with another. I am glad

He knows, as now the truth is out. Who cares,

What’s done is done. Can all the sad affairs

Get any worse for wear?

SYLVESTER

                                                            It must have been

Compelling to go blab it all. A sin

Indeed to be so indiscreet about

One’s own affairs.  

ZERBINETTA

                                      Yet it would all come out

Eventually.

(from offstage, we hear ARGANTE)

SCENE V—ARGANTE, ZERBINETTA, SYLVESTER

ARGANTE (yelling)

                         You, Sylvester!

SYLVESTER

                                                             Go

And hide in there. My master beckons.

(ZERBINETTA exits as ARGANTE enters)

SCENE VI—ARGANTE, SILVESTER

ARGANTE

                                                                                    So!

You all conspired! Did you not go make

A pact with my son and Scapin to take

My hard-earned money? And believed that I

Would be delighted by it? Just stand by

And let you get away with it?

SYLVESTER

                                                                        I pray

Signor that you don’t truly mean to say

That if Scapin deceived you I would dare

To be a party to it. Oh, I swear

I did not know, not know at all.

ARGANTE

                                                                         Oh yes?

Well we shall see, you worthless wretch! Just guess

What happens if you dare believe that I

Can be bamboozled. Go ahead and try!

(GERONTE enters)

SCENE VII—GERONTE, ARGANTE, SYLVESTER

GERONTE

Signor Argante, you find me in the throes

Of deepest trouble.

ARGANTE

                                                Oh, and heaven knows

I drown in deepest depths of dark despair.

GERONTE

That hooligan Scapin has dared to dare

To take five hundred from me!

ARGANTE

                                                                        Did he now?

That same Scapin; well let me tell you how

He took two hundred from me!

GERONTE

                                                              Oh I see.

He was not satisfied from fleecing me,

And so he went much further. And…oh no!

I am ashamed to say it. I will show

That rascal what is what!

ARGANTE

                                                            How he will learn

His tricks will quickly turn around and turn

On him!

GERONTE

             Oh he can make a mockery

Of me, but he will be surprised and see

What consequences are!

SYLVESTER (aside)

                                                 Oh how I pray

That I escape suspicion!

GERONTE

                                                            Oh I say,

Signor Argante, there is more tragedy

And more misfortune, more than you now see.

It seems that sadness rides in tandem. I

Was oh so thrilled and planned on seeing my

Dear daughter here today. She is the light

That guides my life, and I just heard tonight

That she left Taranto so long ago.

And there is word her ship was wrecked, and so

It seems that she is lost forever.

ARGANTE

                                                                                    You

Had left her back in Taranto? I do

Not understand. Why wouldn’t she be here

Enjoying life with you?

GERONTE

                                                  It might appear

To be regretful, but necessity

Required that she stay there. As you see,

I had a secret second marriage, and

I had to keep here there, you understand.

But who is this I see?

(NERINE enters)

SCENE VIII—ARGANTE, GERONTE, NERINE, SYLVESTER

                                                  Nerine?  What are

You doing here, you worthless nurse?  

NERINE

                                                                                     So far

We’ve come, Signor Pandolphe…

GERONTE

                                                              Don’t use that name!

I am Signor Geronte. As when I came

Here, that name was retired. When I was

In Taranto, it was of use because

Of reasons that I will not mention…

NERINE

                                                                                    Oh!

What troubles that has caused me! Do you know

How hard it was to find you?

GERONTE

                                                              Tell me where

My daughter is. I left her in your care!

And tell me where he mother is.

NERINE

                                                                        Oh see,

Your daughter is not far from here. But be

Prepared for me to beg forgiveness. I

Was forced to let her wed a man. Please try

To understand we were most destitute.

And I had lost all hope in my pursuit

Of you.

GERONTE

             My daughter married?

NERINE

                                                             Yes!

GERONTE

                                                                         To whom?

NERINE

Signor, the kindest man became her groom.

A young man named Octavio. And he

Is sired from the finest family.

He is the son of one Signor Argante.

GERONTE

Dear heavens!

ARGANTE

                          What a twist of fate, Geronte!

GERONTE

Well, take us to her quickly!

NERINE

                                                              She is here

Within this house!

GERONTE

                                     How can she be so near?

Now lead the way and we shall follow you.

Well, come along Signor Geronte!  

(ARGANTE, GERONTE and NERINE exit as SCAPIN slinks in)

SYLVESTER

                                                                         I do

Believe we’ve had a miracle!

SCENE IX—SCAPIN, SYLVESTER

SCAPIN

                                                              Hello!

Well, how are things progressing?

SYLVESTER

                                                                          You should know

Just two small things. Well, first: You must not fret

About Octavio. He is all set

For future happiness. And secondly:

It seems that Hyacintha seems to be

The daughter of Signor Geronte! By chance,

It seems that both their fathers’ forced romance

Has come to pass all by itself. And oh!

Just one more thing: It seems that they are so

Disgusted with you that they seek to kill

You with enthusiasm. And it will

Most likely come upon you from the hand

Attached to old Geronte. You understand

That he is quite inspired.  

SCAPIN

                                                             Oh who cares!

As he is like an angry dog who bares

His teeth but never bites. Just like the air

Or clouds, they all blow over.

SYLVESTER

                                                              Well take care.

The sons may reconcile all their sins

And hang you out to dry!

SCAPIN

                                                  And yet who wins

This game most every time? Just watch as I

Go soothe and smooth this over…

SYLVESTER

                                                                        You can try,

But do it later. Here they come!

(SCAPIN exits. Enter GERONTE, ARGANTE, HYACINTHA, ZERBINETTA and NERINE)

SCENE X—GERONTE, ARGANTE, HYACINTHA, ZERBINETTE, NERINE, SYLVESTER

GERONTE

                                                                         Come now,

My daughter; welcome to my home! But how

I do regret your mother is not here.

ARGANTE

And now we see Octavio appear

And at the perfect time.

(enter OCTAVIO)

SCENE XI—ARGANTE, GERONTE, OCTAVIO, HYACINTHA, ZERBINETTA, NERINE, SYLVESTER

ARGANTE

                                                            Come here, my son,

And join me, and rejoice with everyone.

We celebrate your marriage that was made

In Heaven.

OCTAVIO

                        Your proposals must be stayed,

My Father. As I openly refuse,

As I already wed, or do you choose

To not accept that fact?

ARGANTE

                                                  I do. But you

Are unaware…

OCTAVIO

                         The time to talk is through.

ARGANTE

But see, the daughter of Geronte…

OCTAVIO

                                                                          Who cares?

His daughter is quite foolish if she dares

Compare herself.

ARGANTE

                                    But she…

OCTAVIO

                                                  No Father, I

Believe that you should hold your breath. Why try

Convincing one so resolute?

SYLVESTER

                                                             Sir, please…

OCTAVIO

Oh hush, Sylvester! I am sick of these

Pathetic pleas, and I won’t listen!

ARGANTE

                                                                                    Son,

Your wife…

OCTAVIO

                        No father, let my life be done

Should I forsake my sweet Hyacintha.

(he crosses to HYACINTHA)

All your commandments are in vain. As the

Possessor of my heart is here, and she

Will be my one and only wife.

ARGANTE

                                                                        I see.

Yet she is who I want for you. I say

You are impossible. Just see the way

You rant and rave so loud you cannot hear

The words you wait for!

HYACINTHA

                                                            Yes, it does appear

Our troubles are now over. I have found

My father once again.

GERONTE

                                                 We should be bound

For home so we can rest ourselves and be

Refreshed while catching up.

HYACINTHA

                                                              But father, see

This sweet and charming girl. I cannot bear

To part with her, as she is very fair

In looks and in her heart. And may I say

That you are sure to love her too.

GERONTE

                                                                                    No way

Would I be welcoming to her, as she

Both dares to steal my son and throw at me

The foulest, most revolting insults!

ZERBINETTA

                                                                                     Pray

Signor, forgive me for the shameful way

I spoke of you. Because I did not know

That it was you, so I could only go

By all the slander people speak of you.

GERONTE

What slander are they speaking?

HYACINTHA

                                                                         Father, do

Believe me when I say that she is pure

Of heart and virtuous, and I am sure

The love my brother has for her is true.

GERONTE

Well, that is well and good. But can you do

This: Tell me how you think I might permit

A guttersnipe to be considered fit

To wed my son?

(enter LEANDER)

SCENE XII—ARGANTE, GERONTE, LEANDER, OCTAVIO, HYACINTHA, ZERBINETTA, SYLVESTER, NERINE

LEANDER

                                    But Father, you can’t say

The one I love is most unworthy. May

I now inform you how I just found out

That she is not an orphan? Have no doubt,

As I was just informed from those I got

Her from; yes they confirmed that she is not

A foundling. She was kidnapped by them. She

Was taken from an honest family

Right here within this city. And they tore

Her from the family house when she was four.

She had a bracelet that they gave me. Here

It is so we can trace her family.

ARGANTE

                                                                          Dear

God! This bracelet tells me she is my

Own daughter, lost when she was four. Oh I

Just know it!

GERONTE

                          She’s your daughter?

ARGANTE

                                                                          I am sure!

Look at her features, beautiful and pure.

Oh it is her, I know it! Oh my dear,

Dear girl!

GERONTE

            Just see what wonders may appear!

(CARLOS enters)

SCENE XIII—ARGANTE, GERONTE, LEANDRE, OCTAVIO, HYACINTHA, ZERBINETTA, SYLVESTER, NERINE, CARLOS

CARLOS

Oh gentlemen, I fear a tragedy

Has just commenced within.

GERONTE

                                                            What could it be?

CARLOS

Oh poor Scapin!

GERONTE

                                    That bastard? He will die,

And by my hand!

CARLOS

                                    Signor, you need not try.

As I am sad to say he was outside

And walked along a building when he spied

A workman’s hammer falling down.  It hit

Him on the head and broke his skull and split

His head apart. And now he slowly dies,

Yet only called to see you through his cries:

His final wish.

(SCAPIN is brought on with his head wrapped in a very melodramatic fashion)

SCENE XIV—ARGANTE, GERONTE, LEANDRE, OCTAVIO, HYACINTHA, ZERBINETTA, SYLVESTER, NERINE, CARLOS

SCAPIN

                 Oh my Signors! You see

My sorry state. Forgive me! I must be

A sight indeed. Although I soon will die,

I cannot rest my soul until I try

To beg forgiveness for the dastardly

Behavior that I perpetrated. Be

Forgiving, how I beg you good Signors.

Oh gentlemen, my sorry heart just pours

Regret for all my actions.

ARGANTE

                                                             Let me say,

You are forgiven. Go in peace.

SCAPIN

                                                                        And may

I beg of you Signor Geronte to be

Forgiving though I hurt you thoroughly

With sticks and sheer deception.

GERONTE

                                                                         Let it go

As all is now forgiven.

SCAPIN

                                                 Still, I know

The wounds I gave you run so deep, each bruise…

GERONTE

I said forget it!

SCAPIN

                                    …All those blacks and blues

Upon your aged skin…

GERONTE

                                      Oh say no more!

I say that I forgive you!

SCAPIN

                                                            How I tore

The skin right off of you, yet here you are,

So full of true forgiveness flowing far

Beyond the scope of any human heart…

GERONTE

Don’t mention it again, I mean it! Start

Believing I forgive you, please!

SCAPIN

                                                                         Oh my,

I must believe it, and I now can die

In peace.

GERONTE

              Although…

SCAPIN

                                     Oh no!

GERONTE

                                                  If you should live,

Then you must know that I will not forgive

You.

SCAPIN

Oh Signor!

GERONTE

                          That is the bargain. You

Must die.

SCAPIN (bellowing)

              The sharpest pain is running through

My brain down to my toenails!

ARGANTE

                                                              Oh, I say

That we forgive him. Let him pass away

With no obstructions.

GERONTE

                                                 Oh I think…I think…

(ALL bend their ear in to hear his decision)

He is forgiven.

ARGANTE

                                    Let raise a drink

And dine together, celebrating all

The happiness we have.

SCAPIN

                                                 I will sit tall

Right at the table’s head, and I shall be

The guest of honor, supping happily

And dine with wine and celebrate you all

And wait for death to dare to come to call.

THE END

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