Lope Félix de Vega Carpio. La moza de cántaro.


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79. ansí, middle Spanish and archaic form of así. Cf. the French ainsi.

92. La primera necedad, etc., They say that the greatest folly is not the one to be feared, but those which follow it seeking to undo it.

95. deshacella=deshacerla. In earlier Spanish verse the assimilation of the r of the infinitive is quite common.

107. Muchas se casan aprisa, etc. Compare the English proverb of similar purport, "Marry in haste and repent at leisure."

121. dél=de él. A contraction no longer approved by the Spanish Academy.

124. Pedro el Cruel (1334-1369) was proclaimed king of Castile at Seville in 1350 after the death of his father, Alphonso XI. He early became infatuated with María de Padilla, but was made to marry against his will Blanche de Bourbon whom he immediately put aside. Pedro then plunged into a career of crime seldom equaled in Spanish history. Several times he was dethroned but always succeeded in regaining the scepter. He was finally killed by his own brother, Henry of Trastamare, at Montiel. Pedro's meritorious works were his successful efforts to break down the feudal aristocracy and his encouragement of arts, commerce and industry.

133. Don Diego de noche y coche. The implication is that don Diego is one who would woo his lady love at night and under the cover of a carriage rather than in the more open and approved manner of a gentleman of his rank. In spite of the brilliant example of the king, horsemanship was becoming a lost art and in a complaint of a member of the Cortes, addressed to the king, the subject is treated as follows: "The art of horsemanship is dying out, and those who ought to be mounted crowd, six or eight of them together, in a coach, talking to wenches rather than learning how to ride. Very different gentlemen, indeed, will they grow up who have all their youth been lolling about in coaches instead of riding." (Martin Hume, The Court of Philip IV, p. 130.) There is also a flower called dondiego de noche, and the author may have intended to make also a subtle play on words between this and the more suggestive meaning.

138. De noche visiones. "Thoughts of him at night give me the nightmare!"

Stage directions: hábito de Santiago: The order of Santiago is one of the oldest and most distinguished of all the Spanish military orders. It is said to have been approved by the Pope in 1175 and had during the middle ages great military power. The right to confer it is now vested in the crown of Spain. The badge is a red enamel cross, in the form of a sword with a scallop-shell at the junction of the arms.

174. agora, archaic and poetic word, synonym of ahora which is of similar origin. Hac hora > agora and ad horam > ahora.

180. primer licencia. The apocapation of the feminine of the adjective primero is not admissible in modern Spanish.

181. Duque, that is, the Duque de Medina. See v. 12 and note.

188. Lugar... deba, A place which is certainly its due.

192. la Plaza mentioned here is evidently the Plaza de la Ciudad, which is the center of the ancient part of the city.

197. Sanlúcar (de Barrameda) is an important and interesting seaport town at the mouth of the Guadalquivir. It was taken from the Moors in 1264 and occupied a prominent position during the 15th and 16th centuries. Columbus sailed from this point in 1498 on his third voyage to the New World. Lope makes Sanlúcar the scene of part of his Nuevo Mundo descubierto por Cristóbal Colón and mentions it in a number of his other plays.

198. Le respondí, etc. Don Bernardo's reply was intended to reveal delicately to the lover that his suit was not favored by the Duke.

228. Aquí su mano soberbia... For an analogous situation compare Guillen de Castro's las Mocedades del Cid and its French counterpart, Corneille's le Cid.

231. que tantas veces, etc., because an insult is renewed as many times as he who receives it tells it to him who ignores it.

236. con cinco letras, that is, the five fingers of the hand which had left its imprint on his face.

245. á el afrentado. Not a little laxity in the observance of the rule for the contraction of the preposition and the definite article is to be noted throughout the play.

252. It is to be observed in a number of instances in the text that the initial exclamation and interrogation marks are often omitted before exclamations and interrogations if they follow other similar constructions.

301. si sois servido, if you please.

310. La decid. Modern usage generally requires the object after the imperative in such a case as this, but the license may occur in poetry.

324. Desta=De esta.

337. quien. Translate in the plural. Concerning this doubtful usage we have the following from one of the best known modern authorities: "En el siglo XIV caía ya en desuso qui, por inútil duplicado de quien; éste en el siglo XVI se creó un plural: quienes, que aunque calificado de inelegante por Ambrosio de Salazar en 1622, se generalizó, si bien aun hoy día se dice alguna vez 'los pocos ó muchos de quien ha tenido que valerse.'" (Menéndez Pidal, Manual elemental de gramática histórica española, p. 176.)

354. Y sobre seguro, fácil, And besides sure, easy. The assonance of final unaccented i with final unaccented e is permissible.

362. Quien supo, etc., If anyone could determine to be yours there can be nothing to put off your pleasure.

409. ¿Hay tal gracia de monjil? Is there anything so graceful in widow's weeds? monjil, "mourning garments."

413. sugeto=sujeto.

441. el río. The Manzanares, a stream which rises in the Sierra de Guadarrama and flows by Madrid, emptying into the Jarama, which in turn flows into the Tajo a short distance east of Toledo. In the eyes of the madrileños this stream assumes importance which its size scarcely merits. Its banks have been the scene of festivities from the early days of the city to the present time. In the time of Lope de Vega the banks of the Manzanares and its dry bed were, as a place for promenading, in the same class as the Prado, the Plaza Mayor and the Calle Mayor, and during the great heat of summer the populace of all classes sought refuge here. Lope makes frequent reference to the stream in many of his works.

477. Muriósele á una casada, A woman's husband died.

482. Y sin que, etc., And without fulfilling the obsequies (as requested). Manda, lit., "legacy, bequest"; but cumplir la manda, "to observe the religious rites (according to the will of the deceased)."

484. vertiendo poleo, putting on airs. Poleo, "strutting gait, pompous style."

485. reverendo coche, elegant carriage. Reverendo, lit., "worthy of reverence," but here fam., "worthy of a prelate." Many of the higher clergy formerly lived in princely style.

499. Porque no vuelva el marido, Lest the husband might return.

519. variar, in Zerolo's edition, is varïar, as it should be in order to fill out the verse.

521. De mi condición, etc. An interesting parallel to the idea of this passage is found in the following from Voltaire: "Il m'a toujours paru évident que le violent Achille, l'épée nue, et ne se battant point, vingt héros dans la même attitude comme des personnages de tapisserie, Agamemnon, roi des rois, n'imposant à personnes, immobile dans le tumulte, formeraient un spectacle assez semblable au cercle de la reine en cire colorée par Benoît." ("Art dramatique" in the Dictionnaire Philosophique.)

522. Que me pudren, etc., That paintings vex me. Note peculiar sense of pudrir.

529. Susana. In the thirteenth chapter of Daniel is narrated the story of Susanna, the beautiful wife of Joachim, of whom two old men, judges during the Babylonian captivity, were enamored. They surprised her one day in her bath in the garden and, because she repelled their advances, testified that they had found her with a young man. She was condemned to death, but on the way to her execution Daniel intervened and by a clever ruse succeeded in convicting the two old men of bearing false witness. They were put to death and the innocence of Susanna proclaimed. The story has furnished a theme for many painters and from it many notable works have been produced, of which several existed in the time of Lope de Vega. In the Obras Sueltas, vol. IV, p. 450, there is a sonnet, Á una Tabla de Susana, which begins:

Tu que la tabla de Susana miras,
Si del retrato la verdad ignoras,
La historia santa justamente adoras,
La retratada injustamente admiras.

541. Como visto, etc., If she had not seen you an excuse would be easy to find.

545. Llama. From this word it would seem that this part of the play is enacted in front of the house of doña Ana.

547. No lo echemos á perder, Let us not spoil it.

576. No me tengo de sentar, I must not sit down. Cf. v. 58 and note.

587. comenzamos... jugadores, we begin by a 'rifa,' which results, as in a love-affair, that it is the third party who starts the game or at least arouses the interest of the players. The word rifa is usually used in the sense of the English word "raffle" or "auction," as for example the baile de rifa narrated in Alarcón's El Niño de la Bola, but Lope seems to use it here referring to a game of cards. It is used as a term at cards in Portuguese. The same word from another source means a "quarrel"; the author evidently had them both in mind and makes a play upon them.

595. Terciando mi primo el juego, My cousin being the third party in the game.

634. Puesto que fué de mayor, Since it was by one who had attained his majority.

638. Que encaje el marfil ansí, Who is as clever. Encajar el marfil, "to manipulate, falsify." A possible proverbial reference to the corruption among government department employees of the time.

Lope Félix de Vega Carpio. La moza de cántaro.
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