The Stone Guest - extract from my translation

The Stone Guest

Scene 3 (A cemetery; the Knight-Commander’s statue), lines 1-82

DON JUAN
All’s for the best: I’ve unexpectedly
dispatched Don Carlos, now I’m hiding here,
dressed as a lowly monk – and I get daily
sight of my lovely widow; I think, too,
she’s noticed me.  Till now we’ve done no more
than trade formalities; but I intend today
to get her into conversation; time’s up!
How to begin?  “May I presume…?”…  p’rhaps not;
“Señora”?…  pah!  I’ll say whatever comes
into my head, without premeditation;                                     10
I’ll improvise the music of my love…
It must be time for her to come.  I think,
without her the Commander’s getting tetchy.
What a gigantic statue they have made!
What massive shoulders – quite a Hercules!…
And yet in life the man was short and puny:
if he’d stood here on tiptoe he could not have
reached with his hand the tip of his own nose.
In our set-to behind the Escorial
he ran onto my rapier and expired –                                       20
a dragonfly upon a pin! – yet he was
self-confident and plucky – and determined…
But here she is!

DOÑA ANA
He’s here again.  Oh Father,
I’ve interrupted your deep contemplations –
I’m sorry.

DON JUAN
It’s for me to apologize
to you, señora.  I fear I am hindering
you from submitting wholly to your grief.

DOÑA ANA
No, Father, my grief lies deep down within me;
your presence is not hindering my prayers
from rising humbly heav’nwards – I just ask                30
you too to join your prayerful voice to mine.

DON JUAN
Me join my prayers with yours! – oh Doña Ana,
I am unworthy of so high a calling.
I should not dare, with these vile lips of mine,
even to say the same prayers after you.
I only watch in worship from afar
how when you bend low at the grave you let
your dark hair spill out on the marble’s
whiteness.  I tell myself that it’s an angel
who in disguise is visiting this tomb,                                      40
and I’m so agitated down inside
that I can’t pray then.  I just marvel, tongue-tied,
and think – lucky’s the man whose stone-cold tomb
is warmed by such a heavenly being’s breath
and moistened by the tears that prove her love…

DOÑA ANA
These words – astonish me.

DON JUAN
Why so, señora?

DOÑA ANA
I…  You’ve forgotten.

DON JUAN
What?  That all I am
is an unworthy monk?  That I, a sinner,
am wrong to raise my voice so loudly here?

DOÑA ANA
It seemed to me…  I didn’t realise…                                         50

DON JUAN
Ah now I see!  You’ve grasped the situation!

DOÑA ANA
Grasped what?

DON JUAN
That – yes – I’m not a monk at all –
I lie down at your feet to beg forgiveness.

DOÑA ANA
Oh heaven above!  Get up…  Who are you then?

DON JUAN
The wretched victim of a hopeless passion.

DOÑA ANA
Oh heaven!  Here, too, even at this grave!
Be off with you.

DON JUAN
A minute, Doña Ana,
one minute!

DOÑA ANA
No, there may be someone coming!…

DON JUAN
The iron gate is locked.  Oh just one minute!

DOÑA ANA
Well?  What?  What are you asking for?

DON JUAN
To die.             60
Oh let me die now at your very feet,
and let them bury my poor body here,
not right beside the body of your loved one,
not just here – not so near – but farther off,
there by the gates, right at the very entrance,
so that you’ll touch my gravestone with your foot,
your slender foot, or with the dress you’re wearing,
when you come here, to this imposing tomb,
to bow your lovely head of hair and weep.

DOÑA ANA
You are insane.

DON JUAN
Is this insanity,                                                70
to want to end my life here, Doña Ana?
No, if I were insane, I would be wanting
to stay among the living; I’d be hoping
that my devoted love might touch your heart;
no, if I were insane, I’d stay for nights
not moving from beneath your balcony,
singing you serenades to stop you sleeping;
I wouldn’t wear disguises; far from that,
I’d try to attract your notice everywhere;
no, if I were insane, I’d not put up                                80
with suffering in silence…

DOÑA ANA
Oh, you call this
silence?