The moment Procri has consented to barter her honour, Cefalo discovers himself, and the unhappy girl flies in terror. Seeing now, too late, the resuit of his foolish mistrust, Cefalo follows with prayers and self-reproaches—
Che tu mi cognoscesti ancor coperto—
but in vain. The act ends with a song in which Aurora glories in the success of her revenge—
Festegiam con tutto il core;
Biastemate hor meco Amore!
In the second act Procri, having recovered from her fright, is bent on avenging herself for the deceit practised by Cefalo, upon whose supposed love for Aurora she throws the blame in the matter. She seeks the grove of Diana, where she is enrolled among the followers of the goddess. Cefalo, who has followed her flight, rejoins her in the wood, and there renews his prayers. She refuses to recognize him, denies being his wife, and is about to renew her flight, when an old shepherd, attracted by Cefalo’s lamentation, stays her and forces her to hear her husband’s pleading. Other shepherds appear on the scene, and the act ends with an eclogue. In the next we find her reconciled to Cefalo, to whom she gives the wind-swift dog and the unerring spear which she had received as a nymph of Diana. Cefalo at once sets the hound upon the traces of a boar, and goes off in pursuit, while his wife returns home. He shortly reappears, having lost boar and hound alike, and, tired with the chase, falls asleep. Meanwhile a faun, finding Procri alone, tells her that he had seen Cefalo meeting with his love Aurora in the wood—a piece of news in return for which he seeks her love. She, however, resolves to go and surprise the supposed lovers, and setting fire to the wood, herself to perish with them in the flames. On Cefalo’s return he is met with bitter reproaches, and the act ends with a chorus of fauns and satyrs. The fourth contains the catastrophe. Procri hides in the wood in hope of surprising her husband with his paramour. Cefalo enters ready for the chase, and, seeing what he takes to be a wild beast among bushes, throws the fatal spear, which pierces Procri’s breast. A reconciliation precedes her death, and the close of the act is rendered effective by the successive summoning of the Muses and nymphs in some graceful stanzas. With a little polishing, such as Poliziano’s bacchanalian chorus received in revision, the scene would not be unworthy of the time and place of its production.
Oime sorelle, o Galatea, presto!
Donate al cervo ormai un poco pace;
Soccorrete al pianger quel caso mesto.
Oime sorelle, Procri morta giace,
L’ alma spirata, e il ciel guardando tace.
At Cefalo’s desire Calliope summons her sister Muses, Phillis the nymphs, after which all join in a choral ode calling upon the divinities of mountain, wood, and stream to join in a universal lament: