The Devil’s Charter, de Barnabe Barnes (Yorkshire, c. 1568/1569 – m. 1609), va ser estrenada a Londres el 2 de febrer de 1607, davant del rei Jaume I, i publicada el mateix any. Està protagonitzada pel papa Alexandre, que s’ha venut l’ànima al diable per tal d’obtenir la tiara. Cèsar acaba d’ordenar l’assassinat del seu germà el duc de Gandia i Alexandre ho descobreix a través d’uns esperits que ha invocat. En el següent diàleg, extret de l’escena 2 de l’acte 4, retreu el fratricidi al fill amb ressons bíblics.
Font: Barnabe Barnes, The Devil’s Charter. A Tragedy Containing the Life and Death of Pope Alexander the Sixth, a cura de Nick de Somogyi, Londres: Nick Hern Books, 1999, p. 65-69. || Maria Toldrà, “Cèsar Borja: una antologia”, dins Jon Arrizabalaga; Álvaro Fernández de Córdova; Maria Toldrà, Cèsar Borja cinc-cents anys després (1507-2007). Tres estudis i una antologia, València: Tres i Quatre; IIEB, 2009 (Biblioteca Borja Minor, 2), p. 467-473.
Enter CAESAR BORGIA with CARAFFA and BENTIVOLI
CAESAR: Where is his Holiness? Where is my father?
[Enter ALEXANDER from his study]Alas, your son is slain, your hapless son,
My noble brother, oh, alas alas,
Is murdered! In tender passion
Let curious search and inquisition
Be made through Rome to find the murderers.
I fear that trait’rous Judas, Cardinal
Ascanio Sforza, with his ’complices.
I will not hold fraternity with him.
And here behold my meaning, blessed father:
Receive again these robes, take here this hat,
And in these arms which I have buckled on
I do forswear all offices of Church,
Until I be revenged for his death.
He disrobeth himself and appeareth in armour
ALEXANDER: A foul red vengeance overhangs his head
Whose heart indurate or whose devilish brain
Could execute, conceive or meditate
So foul a murder of an innocent.
Caraffa with Bentivoli, give leave:
Somewhat I would in private have with Caesar.
Exeunt CARAFFA and BENTIVOLI
Caesar, dissemble not for that were vain.
Whence comest thou?
CAESAR: Directly from my chamber.
ALEXANDER: Where didst thou hear this news?
CAESAR: Fishers which found his body brought the news.
ALEXANDER: Then he was drowned, Caesar, was he not?
CAESAR: It seems he was.
ALEXANDER: What, by some fisher?
CAESAR: How should I know that?
ALEXANDER: Sure, by some subtle fisher that laid nets
For Candy’s life and honour: but say truly,
Was it thy brother?
CAESAR: Are not you my father?
ALEXANDER: Ah, that I never had been any father.
But speak again, man, speak the truth and fear not:
Who slew thy brother Candy this last night?
Who train’d him forth? Who walk’d along with him?
CAESAR: Am I the keeper of my brother’s person?
ALEXANDER: Execrable Cain, perfidious homicide,
Apparent villain, what canst thou design
Which I would know, that thou canst hide from me?
CAESAR: A plague upon your devils! You deal with them
That watch more narrowly to catch your soul
Than he which sought my brother Candy’s death.
You know that Satan is the Lord of Lies,
A false accuser and dissembler;
Tell your familiars they be lying devils.
ALEXANDER: Caesar, no more; Caesar, no more, thou know’st.
CAESAR: What know I?
ALEXANDER: That I know. Dissemble not.
CAESAR: Suppose you know, suppose in wrath and fury
I kill’d my brother: can we mend it now?
He was not fashion’d for these busy times.
He rests in peace, our peace rests in our swords.
ALEXANDER: Caesar, thou dost unkindly vex my soul
With rubbing up my secret miseries,
Incurr’d by seeking to lift up thy head.
CAESAR: Pull me not down, good father, with your conscience.
Your conscience father of my conscience is.
My conscience is as like your conscience
As it were printed with the selfsame stamp.
I know my sins are burdenous and bear them;
Your sins more heinous, yet your robes conceal them.
ALEXANDER: Out, wicked and nefarious homicide!
CAESAR: Upbraid me not, for if that lamp burn dim
Which should give light to men in darkest night,
How can they choose, but must in shadows err,
That follow the blind glimmering thereof.
Doth this one petty fault appear so grievous
Which if you well consider is no fault?
He was an honest man and fit for heaven.
Whilst he liv’d here he breath’d in misery
And would have been enlarg’d: I set him free.
Now if I may compare your state with his,
Or your condition with my quality,
Have you not sold yourself unto the Devil
To be promoted to the Papacy?
Have you not sold the livings of the Church?
Are not your coffers cramm’d with beastly bribes,
With foul extortion and base usury?
Have ye not (since your inauguration)
Poison’d and done to death six cardinals
In devilish avarice to get their goods?
Have you not (which is most abominable)
Committed incest with your only daughter,
And made me sin with her for company,
That both might reign in hell for company?
Did you not take of Georgio Bucciardo
One hundred thousand ducats from the Turk
To kill his brother Gemen Ottoman?
Have you not kept the pearl of Italy,
Astor Manfredi, that young virtuous prince,
In beastly lust and filthy sodomy,
Blasting the blossom of his toward youth?
Have you not now given order for the death
Of my dear sister, whom your passions caus’d
To kill her latter husband di Viselli,
And robb’d the noble earl of his new spouse
Only to cloak your vile impiety?
ALEXANDER: Caesar, the Devil hath been thy schoolmaster.
CAESAR: I pass your secret counsel with the Devil,
Your avarice, ambition, perfidy,
Your bloody plots, inhuman cruelty.
Why then upbraid ye me with Candy’s death?
A bastard of our house, degenerate,
In whom no spark or spiracle of honour
Appear’d to raise the race of Borgia.
But had I been Lieutenant of your forces
This arm had conquer’d all Romania.
France before this had trembled, Spain had stoop’d,
The Roman Emperor had fawn’d upon us,
King Charles had been restrain’d, Frederick expuls’d,
And Naples had been made our heritage.
ALEXANDER: A triple joy succeeds a single grief.
I have engag’d all to make Caesar great.
Caesar, it suiteth with thy grace and glory
To cloak my vices; I will pardon thine.
Let one of us excuse another’s crimes,
And for this bloody fact so lately done,
As thou didst cunningly begin, proceed
To lay the guilt or imputation
On them whose death may do thee benefit.
And never was my soul better contented,
Than that our woes are with rich hopes prevented.
CAESAR: Now stands Romania subject to my sword.
Imola, Furli, Camerine and Urbine
Shall have the first charge. If I there succeed,
Move forward farther with a better speed,
Caesar o nullo written in my guidon,
When with my troops victoriously I ride on.
ALEXANDER: Holla, Bernardo!