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The Duchess of Padua

The Duchess of Padua
Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

The Duchess of Padua

THE PERSONS OF THE PLAY

Simone Gesso, Duke of Padua

Beatrice, his Wife

Andreas Pollajuolo, Cardinal of Padua

Maffio Petrucci, Jeppo Vitellozzo, Taddeo Bardi} Gentlemen of the Duke’s Household

Guido Ferranti, a Young Man

Ascanio Cristofano, his Friend

Count Moranzone, an Old Man

Bernardo Cavalcanti, Lord Justice of Padua

Hugo, the Headsman

Lucy, a Tire woman

Servants, Citizens, Soldiers, Monks, Falconers with their hawks and dogs, etc.

Place: Padua

Time: The latter half of the Sixteenth Century

THE SCENES OF THE PLAY

Style of Architecture: Italian, Gothic and Romanesque.

ACT I

SCENE

The Market Place of Padua at noon; in the background is the great Cathedral of Padua; the architecture is Romanesque, and wrought in black and white marbles; a flight of marble steps leads up to the Cathedral door; at the foot of the steps are two large stone lions; the houses on each aide of the stage have coloured awnings from their windows, and are flanked by stone arcades; on the right of the stage is the public fountain, with a triton in green bronze blowing from a conch; around the fountain is a stone seat; the bell of the Cathedral is ringing, and the citizens, men, women and children, are passing into the Cathedral.

[Enter Guido Ferranti and Ascanio Cristofano.]

Now by my life, Guido, I will go no farther; for if I walk another step I will have no life left to swear by; this wild-goose errand of yours!

[Sits down on the step of the fountain.]

Guido

I think it must be here. [Goes up to passer-by and doffs his cap.] Pray, sir, is this the market place, and that the church of Santa Croce? [Citizen bows.] I thank you, sir.

Ascanio

Well?

Guido

Ay! it is here.

Ascanio

I would it were somewhere else, for I see no wine-shop.

Guido

[Taking a letter from his pocket and reading it.] ‘The hour noon; the city, Padua; the place, the market; and the day, Saint Philip’s Day.’

Ascanio

And what of the man, how shall we know him?

Guido [reading still]

‘I will wear a violet cloak with a silver falcon broidered on the shoulder.’ A brave attire, Ascanio.

Ascanio

I’d sooner have my leathern jerkin. And you think he will tell you of your father?

Guido

Why, yes! It is a month ago now, you remember; I was in the vineyard, just at the corner nearest the road, where the goats used to get in, a man rode up and asked me was my name Guido, and gave me this letter, signed ‘Your Father’s Friend,’ bidding me be here to-day if I would know the secret of my birth, and telling me how to recognise the writer! I had always thought old Pedro was my uncle, but he told me that he was not, but that I had been left a child in his charge by some one he had never since seen.

Ascanio

And you don’t know who your father is?

Guido

No.

Ascanio

No recollection of him even?

Guido