Caesara- (pages 11-12)
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V

Caesara to Hyeronimo.

"Be kind when a woman tells you she loves you. A young and beautiful woman, for beauty I know I have. Yet I wonder, you are so proud, you can give such cold looks. Oh, I could melt the icy look in your eyes with a kiss, beloved! Why should I disguise love in the garb of bashfulness, since I love you, since I should accept to be your servant, if you’d only let me into a corner of the house where you lodge, if you’ll let me kiss the pillow where your head rests. See what an obedient, humble child love is. You think I am a shameless, wicked woman, deserving slander. But think of this: that I should be as tame as a lamb, that I should speak no word, that I should keep quite still looking upon you, if you’d only love me as I do. I know not what your heart is like. Could I possibly? Come and tell me what it is like, what goes on in that small chamber where I should like to say, by my own self. Why, do you know my name?

Caesara"

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Hyeronimo to Caesara.

"That you are beautiful, I do believe. That you love me, I do thank you. That you offer everything you think might make me happy, that renders me capable to lay down my life for you. I gratefully kiss your hand for your intention to make me happy, though you are mistaken in believing that your woman’s love may achieve it. Love is a calamity and the happiness you are offering, poison. That you do not know this is a fact that makes you adorable. If, for one moment, you’d look through my eyes, how different this world would appear, this world in which you seek and hope to find what is not in it: happiness. You ask me to love you. If I could love you as a star in the sky, why yes! However, if I sigh, if I desire, don’t I hear on all sides the same trivial sighs, the same vulgar desires; for what is heir finality? Animal pleasure, breeding as the earth moulds maggots; so do we have the same despicable desires in our hearts, clothing them in moonlight as it shimmers on the lakes, the same sickening kisses likened to the lisping winds and the giddy swish of the beech leaves. Is it true or not?

Look at those young men, at their trivial smiles, their effeminate feelings, their equivocal whispers, look at those women who response with voluptuous ogling, desirous lips, just look; it is around this instinct that human like revolves. Food and breeding, breeding and food! And will I fall into such ranks? Begging a kiss, a slave under your thumb, trembling at the sight of your bare breast, the breast that shall shortly be a corpse and which, in essence, is such even this day? Shall I curl my hair to please you and tell you lies to delight your small mind; shall I turn into a puppet for...  whoever can tell why. No! I will not act in the evil spirit that governs the world. I pity you, I pity myself, I pity the whole of humanity. I had rather wrench the fire in my heart, let it flare in small sparks rather than use it as fuel for a feeling that I consider not merely culpable but downright gross. Le them find pleasure in their embraces, let them love, let them die as they have lived. I shall pass through life indifferent, like any exile, like a paria, like a mad man. Only not as they are. The kernel of life is egotism and its garb is lie. I am neither an egotist nor a liar. Quite often, when climbing a big stone boulder, I feel as if, in the folds of the mantle thrown over my shoulder, I had turned stock-still and become a bronze statue. The world, in passing, knows that they have no feeling in common with this bronze. Leave me alone in my cold pride. If the world were to perish and I could save it by a lie, I would not tell that lie and leave the world to its doom. Why do you want me to step down from a pedestal and join the crowd? I look upwards, like Apollo’s statue. Be you the star in the skies, cold, luminous! Then would my eyes forever gaze on you!

I."

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Hyeronimo had left the monastery on the counsel of Euthanasius and was living in isolation, in a small room in town that he had decorated with flowers and sketches by his own hand. In this would-be hermitage, Francesco often visited him. One day he showed the latter Caesara’s letter.

'Now, do you mean to say no?'

'Here is what I say,' he answered showing his own.

'Do what you like, but come to my studio today, for my picture is finished.'

They proceeded and came to Caesara’s house.

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