NOTES ON THIS TRANSLATIONI have enjoyed reading this text with students for many years, but have usually found that they need assistance in reading it in Italian. I hope that this translation will be used principally as an adjunct to a close reading of the Italian text, and perhaps as a point of reference for the preparation of a performance text. I have based my translation on the edition prepared by Pasquale Stoppelli from the 1519 manuscript: La «Mandragola»: storia e filologia. Con l’edizione critica del testo secondo il Laurenziano Redi 129, ed. Pasquale Stoppelli(Rome: Bulzoni, 2005). I have also made use of the notes in Niccolò Machiavelli, Mandragola,ed. Pasquale Stoppelli (Milan: Mondadori, 2006). Some of my thoughts on the play are published in “Machiavelli, Pirandello, and Their donne di virtù,” Pirandello Studies, 28 (2008): 48–67.CAST CALLIMACOSIROMESSER NICIALIGURIOSOSTRATAFRIAR TIMOTEOAWOMANLUCREZIA
PrologueGod save you all, benevolent spectators! And since it seems your kindness depends upon this play being pleasing to you, if you continue to keep quiet and still we’ll tell you all about a recent case that happened in this city. You see this set, erected upon the stage before you: it represents your Florence; some other time it will be Rome or Pisa, and hugely entertaining, not a teaser. Behind the door on my right hand there lives a judge so bovine that he must have learned law from Boëfius. That alley round the corner there is called the Via dello Amore: and he who falls there rises not again. You’ll recognize with ease from his conventual habit what kind of prior or abbot lives in the church located opposite, provided that you stay until the end. A young man called Callimaco Guadagno, who’s just come back from Paris, lives at this other door upon my left. A boon companion, he above all others displays the badge and colours of honourable nobility and worth. A young woman of wit was much beloved by him and for this was deceived, as you will hear, and I would wish that you, just as she was, might be deceivèd too. The play is called Mandragola. You’ll see the reason for its title as we perform it, if my guess is right. Its author’s not a man of any fame, but if you do not laugh he’ll gladly buy you all a jug of wine. A wretched man in love, a judge devoid of craft, a friar of sinful life, a parasite beloved of nought but guile will be your entertainment now awhile.
Prologue 4 And if this subject’s judged to be unworthy, because it’s frivolous, of one who’d wish to seem both grave and wise, forgive him for this reason: he’s just trying with these vain thoughts