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GUARINI, GIOVANNI BATTISTA, an Italian poet, born at Ferrara, December 10, 1537; died at Venice, October 4, 1612. His grandfather and his great-grandfather occupied the chair of Greek and Latin in the University of Ferrara, and published several works in Latin. Guarini studied at Ferrara, Pisa, and Padua, visited Rome, and on his return to Ferrara was appointed Professor of Belles-Lettres in the University. When about thirty years old he entered the service of Duke Alfonso II., and was employed by him in several diplomatic missions. In 1582 he withdrew from court to his country house, where he found leisure for the cultivation of poetry, which his public life had constrained him to neglect. He edited the Gerusalemme and the Rime of Tasso, and then composed his dramatic poem Il Pastor Fido, first printed in 1590. Alfonso, fearing to lose the poet, summoned him again to court, and made him Counsellor of State. He passed twelve years at the courts of Mantua, Ferrara, Florence, and Urbino. Guarini published several other works, among them L'Idropica, a comedy; Il Segretario, a dialogue; Rime, a collection of sonnets and madrigals; and Letters. Il Pastor Fido passed through forty editions during its author's lifetime.
In the following scene from Pastor Fido Mirtillo is introduced by Corisca into the presence of
Amarillis, who, blindfolded, expects to play a game with her female companions. He declares his love; she rejects him because she is the destined wife of Silvio. Corisca, wishing to injure Amarillis, listens to what they say.
SCENE FROM PASTOR FIDO.
[Amarillis, Corisca, Mirtillo.] Amarillis. Indeed, Aglaura, I have caught thee now; Thou fain would'st fly, but I will hold thee fast.
Corisca (aside). --Surely unless I had by violence
Am.—Thou wilt not speak, ah ! art thou she or no ?
Cor.—Here I'll lay down his spear, and to the bush To observe what will ensue.
(She retires.) Am.-I know thee now, I know thee by thy tallness and short hair, Thou art Corisca ; and the very one I wish'd to catch, that I might cuff thee well Just as I please; here then, take this And this ; this also ; this again ; not yet ? Not yet a word ? But since 'twas thou that bound'st
me, Unbind me quickly now, my dearest heart, And thou shalt have the sweetest kiss that e'er Thou had'st before. But wherefore this delay ? Thy hand is trembling; art thou then so weary? Join to thy hands th' assistance of thy teeth ; O silly thing, I shall unbind myself ; What knots on knots are here! Why didst thou tie so hard ? Now 'tis thy turn, thou next must be the buff. So: now 'tis loos’d. (Seeing Mirtillo.) Ah me! whom
see I here! Leave me, thou traitor ! Oh! I shall expire !
Mirtillo.—My life, compose thyself.
Am.—Leave me, I say,
Aglaura ! here Eliza ! Ah! perfidious!
fied ? Unhand me, traitor: Mir.-I obey.
Am.—Corisca laid this plot, now go to her,
Mir.- Where fly'st thou, cruel ?
Am.-Ah me! I'm well nigh dead.
Mir.–And if this action to thy hand be due, Behold the weapon and the breast.
Am.-In truth. Thou hast deserv'd it. What could move thy heart To such presumption ?
Am.-Love should not cause
Mir. Then believe my love,
Am.-Upbraid me not with what I did when blind.
Am.- Prayers and fair words respectful lovers use, Not cheats and thefts.
Mir.-As a wild beast when pressed
Wouldst deign to hear from me; thou by thy flight
Am.-If thou hadst quitted her
Mir.—That only once
Am.-See thy good fortune ; for as soon as asked Thou hast received the gift. Now then begone.
Mir.-Ah, nymph! all I have uttered yet,
Am.—To shun more trouble, and to show how false
Mir.— Within too narrow bounds, most cruel nymph, Thy harsh command would limit such desires, So boundless an extent of fervent love, As scarce the thoughts of man can comprehend ! That I have loved, and love thee more than life, If thou shouldst doubt, oh! cruel, ask these woods And all their savage race, for they can tell. Each field, each lonely bush, each aged tree, The rugged rocks of these steep mountains, too, Which have been wont to soften at the sound Of my complaints, can all declare my love. But wherefore need I seek such numerous proofs To show my love, when beauty such as thine Affords, itself, the surest proof of all? Assemble every beauty of the sky Clad in its purest azure, let the earth Show all its excellence, and bring the whole Within one space; they centre all in thee. Such is the cause of this my ardent flame, Necessity and nature give it birth, For, as by nature water downward flows,
As fire ascends, air wanders, earth is fixed,
Am.-If I had promised I would answer thee
If thou be