Текст книги

Оскар Уайльд
The Duchess of Padua

Second Citizen

Nay, be silent, neighbour;
I think the Cardinal will speak for us.

Cardinal

True, it is Christian to bear misery,
Yet it is Christian also to be kind,
And there seem many evils in this town,
Which in your wisdom might your Grace reform.

First Citizen

What is that word reform?  What does it mean?

Second Citizen

Marry, it means leaving things as they are; I like it not.

Duke

Reform Lord Cardinal, did you say reform?
There is a man in Germany called Luther,
Who would reform the Holy Catholic Church.
Have you not made him heretic, and uttered
Anathema, maranatha, against him?

Cardinal [rising from his seat]

He would have led the sheep out of the fold,
We do but ask of you to feed the sheep.

Duke

When I have shorn their fleeces I may feed them.
As for these rebels –  [Duchess entreats him.]

First Citizen

That is a kind word,
He means to give us something.

Second Citizen

Is that so?

Duke

These ragged knaves who come before us here,
With mouths chock-full of treason.

Third Citizen

Good my Lord,
Fill up our mouths with bread; we’ll hold our tongues.

Duke

Ye shall hold your tongues, whether you starve or not.
My lords, this age is so familiar grown,
That the low peasant hardly doffs his hat,
Unless you beat him; and the raw mechanic
Elbows the noble in the public streets.

[To the Citizens.]

Still as our gentle Duchess has so prayed us,
And to refuse so beautiful a beggar
Were to lack both courtesy and love,
Touching your grievances, I promise this —

First Citizen

Marry, he will lighten the taxes!

Second Citizen

Or a dole of bread, think you, for each man?

Duke

That, on next Sunday, the Lord Cardinal
Shall, after Holy Mass, preach you a sermon
Upon the Beauty of Obedience.

[Citizens murmur.]

First Citizen

I’ faith, that will not fill our stomachs!

Second Citizen

A sermon is but a sorry sauce, when
You have nothing to eat with it.

Duchess

Poor people,