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Full Online Book HomePlaysThe Death Of Wallenstein - Act 3
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The Death Of Wallenstein - Act 3 Post by :jvarrone Category :Plays Author :Frederich Schiller Date :May 2012 Read :2089

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The Death Of Wallenstein - Act 3

ACT III

SCENE I.

(A chamber in the house of the Duchess of Friedland.)

(COUNTESS TERZKY, THEKLA, LADY NEUBRUNN (the two latter
sit at the same table at work).)


COUNTESS
(watching them from the opposite side).
So you have nothing to ask me--nothing?
I have been waiting for a word from you.
And could you then endure in all this time
Not once to speak his name?

(THEKLA remaining silent, the COUNTESS rises and advances to her.)

Why, how comes this?
Perhaps I am already grown superfluous,
And other ways exist, besides through me
Confess it to me, Thekla: have you seen him?

THEKLA.
To-day and yesterday I have not seen him.

COUNTESS.
And not heard from him, either? Come, be open.

THEKLA.
No Syllable.

COUNTESS.
And still you are so calm?

THEKLA.
I am.

COUNTESS.
May it please you, leave us, Lady Neubrunn.

(Exit LADY NEUBRUNN.)

 


SCENE II.

(The COUNTESS, THEKLA.)

COUNTESS.
It does not please me, princess, that he holds
Himself so still, exactly at this time.

THEKLA.
Exactly at this time?

COUNTESS.
He now knows all
'Twere now the moment to declare himself.

THEKLA.
If I'm to understand you, speak less darkly.

COUNTESS.
'Twas for that purpose that I bade her leave us.
Thekla, you are no more a child. Your heart
Is no more in nonage: for you love,
And boldness dwells with love--that you have proved
Your nature moulds itself upon your father's
More than your mother's spirit. Therefore may you
Hear what were too much for her fortitude.

THEKLA.
Enough: no further preface, I entreat you.
At once, out with it! Be it what it may,
It is not possible that it should torture me
More than this introduction. What have you
To say to me? Tell me the whole, and briefly!

COUNTESS.
You'll not be frightened----

THEKLA.
Name it, I entreat you.

COUNTESS.
Lies within my power to do your father
A weighty service----

THEKLA.
Lies within my power.

COUNTESS.
Max. Piccolomini loves you. You can link him
Indissolubly to your father.

THEKLA.
I?
What need of me for that? And is he not
Already linked to him?

COUNTESS.
He was.

THEKLA.
And wherefore
Should he not be so now--not be so always?

COUNTESS.
He cleaves to the emperor too.

THEKLA.
Not more than duty
And honor may demand of him.

COUNTESS.
We ask
Proofs of his love, and not proofs of his honor.
Duty and honor!
Those are ambiguous words with many meanings.
You should interpret them for him: his love
Should be the sole definer of his honor.

THEKLA.
How?

COUNTESS.
The emperor or you must he renounce.

THEKLA.
He will accompany my father gladly
In his retirement. From himself you heard,
How much he wished to lay aside the sword.

COUNTESS.
He must not lay the sword aside, we mean;
He must unsheath it in your father's cause.

THEKLA.
He'll spend with gladness and alacrity
His life, his heart's blood in my father's cause,
If shame or injury be intended him.

COUNTESS.
You will not understand me. Well, hear then:
Your father has fallen off from the emperor,
And is about to join the enemy
With the whole soldiery----

THEKLA.
Alas, my mother!

COUNTESS.
There needs a great example to draw on
The army after him. The Piccolomini
Possess the love and reverence of the troops;
They govern all opinions, and wherever
They lead the way, none hesitate to follow.
The son secures the father to our interests--
You've much in your hands at this moment.

THEKLA.
Ah,
My miserable mother! what a death-stroke
Awaits thee! No! she never will survive it.

COUNTESS.
She will accommodate her soul to that
Which is and must be. I do know your mother:
The far-off future weighs upon her heart
With torture of anxiety; but is it
Unalterably, actually present,
She soon resigns herself, and bears it calmly.

THEKLA.
O my foreboding bosom! Even now,
E'en now 'tis here, that icy hand of horror!
And my young hope lies shuddering in its grasp;
I knew it well--no sooner had I entered,
An heavy ominous presentiment
Revealed to me that spirits of death were hovering
Over my happy fortune. But why, think I
First of myself? My mother! O my mother!

COUNTESS.
Calm yourself! Break not out in vain lamenting!
Preserve you for your father the firm friend,
And for yourself the lover, all will yet
Prove good and fortunate.

THEKLA.
Prove good! What good?
Must we not part; part ne'er to meet again?

COUNTESS.
He parts not from you! He cannot part from you.

THEKLA.
Alas, for his sore anguish! It will rend
His heart asunder.

COUNTESS.
If indeed he loves you.
His resolution will be speedily taken.

THEKLA.
His resolution will be speedily taken--
Oh, do not doubt of that! A resolution!
Does there remain one to be taken?

COUNTESS.
Hush!
Collect yourself! I hear your mother coming.

THEKLA.
How shall I bear to see her?

COUNTESS.
Collect yourself.

 

SCENE III.

(To them enter the DUCHESS.)

DUCHESS (to the COUNTESS).
Who was here, sister? I heard some one talking,
And passionately, too.

COUNTESS.
Nay! there was no one.

DUCHESS.
I am growing so timorous, every trifling noise
Scatters my spirits, and announces to me
The footstep of some messenger of evil.
And you can tell me, sister, what the event is?
Will he agree to do the emperor's pleasure,
And send the horse regiments to the cardinal?
Tell me, has he dismissed von Questenberg
With a favorable answer?

COUNTESS.
No, he has not.

DUCHESS.
Alas! then all is lost! I see it coming,
The worst that can come! Yes, they will depose him;
The accursed business of the Regensburg diet
Will all be acted o'er again!

COUNTESS.
No! never!
Make your heart easy, sister, as to that.

(THEKLA, in extreme agitation, throws herself upon her mother,
and enfolds her in her arms, weeping.)

DUCHESS.
Yes, my poor child!
Thou too hast lost a most affectionate godmother
In the empress. Oh, that stern, unbending man!
In this unhappy marriage what have I
Not suffered, not endured? For even as if
I had been linked on to some wheel of fire
That restless, ceaseless, whirls impetuous onward,
I have passed a life of frights and horrors with him,
And ever to the brink of some abyss
With dizzy headlong violence he bears me.
Nay, do not weep, my child. Let not my sufferings
Presignify unhappiness to thee,
Nor blacken with their shade the fate that waits thee.
There lives no second Friedland; thou, my child,
Hast not to fear thy mother's destiny.

THEKLA
Oh, let us supplicate him, dearest mother!
Quick! quick! here's no abiding-place for us.
Here every coming hour broods into life
Some new affrightful monster.

DUCHESS.
Thou wilt share
An easier, calmer lot, my child! We, too,
I and thy father, witnessed happy days.
Still think I with delight of those first years,
When he was making progress with glad effort,
When his ambition was a genial fire,
Not that consuming flame which now it is.
The emperor loved him, trusted him; and all
He undertook could not but be successful.
But since that ill-starred day at Regensburg,
Which plunged him headlong from his dignity,
A gloomy, uncompanionable spirit,
Unsteady and suspicious, has possessed him.
His quiet mind forsook him, and no longer
Did he yield up himself in joy and faith
To his old luck and individual power;
But thenceforth turned his heart and best affections
All to those cloudy sciences which never
Have yet made happy him who followed them.

COUNTESS.
You see it, sister! as your eyes permit you,
But surely this is not the conversation
To pass the time in which we are waiting for him.
You know he will be soon here. Would you have him
Find her in this condition?

DUCHESS.
Come, my child!
Come, wipe away thy tears, and show thy father
A cheerful countenance. See, the tie-knot here
Is off; this hair must not hang so dishevelled.
Come, dearest! dry thy tears up. They deform
Thy gentle eye. Well, now--what was I saying?
Yes, in good truth, this Piccolomini
Is a most noble and deserving gentleman.

COUNTESS.
That is he, sister!

THEKLA
(to the COUNTESS, with narks of great oppression of spirits).
Aunt, you will excuse me?

(Is going).

COUNTESS.
But, whither? See, your father comes!

THEKLA.
I cannot see him now.

COUNTESS.
Nay, but bethink you.

THEKLA.
Believe me, I cannot sustain his presence.

COUNTESS.
But he will miss you, will ask after you.

DUCHESS.
What, now? Why is she going?

COUNTESS.
She's not well.

DUCHESS (anxiously).
What ails, then, my beloved child?

(Both follow the PRINCESS, and endeavor to detain her. During
this WALLENSTEIN appears, engaged in conversation with ILLO.)

 


SCENE IV.

(WALLENSTEIN, ILLO, COUNTESS, DUCHESS, THEKLA.)


WALLENSTEIN.
All quiet in the camp?

ILLO.
It is all quiet.

WALLENSTEIN.
In a few hours may couriers come from Prague
With tidings that this capital is ours.
Then we may drop the mask, and to the troops
Assembled in this town make known the measure
And its result together. In such cases
Example does the whole. Whoever is foremost
Still leads the herd. An imitative creature
Is man. The troops at Prague conceive no other,
Than that the Pilsen army has gone through
The forms of homage to us; and in Pilsen
They shall swear fealty to us, because
The example has been given them by Prague.
Butler, you tell me, has declared himself?

ILLO.
At his own bidding, unsolicited,
He came to offer you himself and regiment.

WALLENSTEIN.
I find we must not give implicit credence
To every warning voice that makes itself
Be listened to in the heart. To hold us back,
Oft does the lying spirit counterfeit
The voice of truth and inward revelation,
Scattering false oracles. And thus have I
To entreat forgiveness for that secretly.
I've wronged this honorable gallant man,
This Butler: for a feeling of the which
I am not master (fear I would not call it),
Creeps o'er me instantly, with sense of shuddering,
At his approach, and stops love's joyous motion.
And this same man, against whom I am warned,
This honest man is he who reaches to me
The first pledge of my fortune.

ILLO.
And doubt not
That his example will win over to you
The best men in the army.

WALLENSTEIN.
Go and send
Isolani hither. Send him immediately.
He is under recent obligations to me:
With him will I commence the trial. Go.

(Exit ILLO.)

WALLENSTEIN
(turns himself round to the females).
Lo, there's the mother with the darling daughter.
For once we'll have an interval of rest--
Come! my heart yearns to live a cloudless hour
In the beloved circle of my family.

COUNTESS.
'Tis long since we've been thus together, brother.

WALLENSTEIN (to the COUNTESS, aside).
Can she sustain the news? Is she prepared?

COUNTESS.
Not yet.

WALLENSTEIN.
Come here, my sweet girl! Seat thee by me,
For there is a good spirit on thy lips.
Thy mother praised to me thy ready skill;
She says a voice of melody dwells in thee,
Which doth enchant the soul. Now such a voice
Will drive away from me the evil demon
That beats his black wings close above my head.

DUCHESS.
Where is thy lute, my daughter? Let thy father
Hear some small trial of thy skill.

THEKLA.
My mother
I----

DUCHESS.
Trembling? Come, collect thyself. Go, cheer
Thy father.

THEKLA.
O my mother! I--I cannot.

COUNTESS.
How, what is that, niece?

THEKLA (to the COUNTESS).
O spare me--sing--now--in this sore anxiety,
Of the overburdened soul--to sing to him
Who is thrusting, even now, my mother headlong
Into her grave.

DUCHESS.
How, Thekla! Humorsome!
What! shall thy father have expressed a wish
In vain?

COUNTESS.
Here is the lute.

THEKLA.
My God! how can I----

(The orchestra plays. During the ritornello THEKLA expresses
in her gestures and countenance the struggle of her feelings;
and at the moment that she should begin to sing, contracts
herself together, as one shuddering, throws the instrument
down, and retires abruptly.)

DUCHESS.
My child! Oh, she is ill----

WALLENSTEIN.
What ails the maiden?
Say, is she often so?

COUNTESS.
Since then herself
Has now betrayed it, I too must no longer
Conceal it.

WALLENSTEIN.
What?

COUNTESS.
She loves him!

WALLENSTEIN.
Loves him? Whom?

COUNTESS.
Max. does she love! Max. Piccolomini!
Hast thou never noticed it? Nor yet my sister?

DUCHESS.
Was it this that lay so heavy on her heart?
God's blessing on thee,--my sweet child! Thou needest
Never take shame upon thee for thy choice.

COUNTESS.
This journey, if 'twere not thy aim, ascribe it
To thine own self. Thou shouldst have chosen another
To have attended her.

WALLENSTEIN.
And does he know it?

COUNTESS.
Yes, and he hopes to win her.

WALLENSTEIN.
Hopes to win her!
Is the boy mad?

COUNTESS.
Well--hear it from themselves.

WALLENSTEIN.
He thinks to carry off Duke Friedland's daughter!
Ay? The thought pleases me.
The young man has no groveling spirit.

COUNTESS.
Since
Such and such constant favor you have shown him----

WALLENSTEIN.
He chooses finally to be my heir.
And true it is, I love the youth; yea, honor him.
But must he therefore be my daughter's husband?
Is it daughters only? Is it only children
That we must show our favor by?

DUCHESS.
His noble disposition and his manners----

WALLENSTEIN.
Win him my heart, but not my daughter.

DUCHESS.
Then
His rank, his ancestors----

WALLENSTEIN.
Ancestors! What?
He is a subject, and my son-in-law
I will seek out upon the thrones of Europe.

DUCHESS.
O dearest Albrecht! Climb we not too high
Lest we should fall too low.

WALLENSTEIN.
What! have I paid
A price so heavy to ascend this eminence,
And jut out high above the common herd,
Only to close the mighty part I play
In life's great drama with a common kinsman?
Have I for this----

(Stops suddenly, repressing himself.
She is the only thing)

That will remain behind of me on earth;
And I will see a crown around her head,
Or die in the attempt to place it there.
I hazard all--all! and for this alone,
To lift her into greatness.
Yea, in this moment, in the which we are speaking

(He recollects himself.)

And I must now, like a soft-hearted father,
Couple together in good peasant fashion
The pair that chance to suit each other's liking--
And I must do it now, even now, when I
Am stretching out the wreath that is to twine
My full accomplished work--no! she is the jewel,
Which I have treasured long, my last, my noblest,
And 'tis my purpose not to let her from me
For less than a king's sceptre.

DUCHESS.
O my husband!
You're ever building, building to the clouds,
Still building higher, and still higher building,
And ne'er reflect, that the poor narrow basis
Cannot sustain the giddy tottering column.

WALLENSTEIN (to the COUNTESS).
Have you announced the place of residence
Which I have destined for her?

COUNTESS.
No! not yet,
'Twere better you yourself disclosed it to her.

DUCHESS.
How? Do we not return to Carinthia then?

WALLENSTEIN.
No.

DUCHESS.
And to no other of your lands or seats?

WALLENSTEIN.
You would not be secure there.

DUCHESS.
Not secure.
In the emperor's realms, beneath the emperor's
Protection?

WALLENSTEIN.
Friedland's wife may be permitted
No longer to hope that.

DUCHESS.
O God in heaven!
And have you brought it even to this!

WALLENSTEIN.
In Holland
You'll find protection.

DUCHESS.
In a Lutheran country?
What? And you send us into Lutheran countries?

WALLENSTEIN.
Duke Franz of Lauenburg conducts you thither.

DUCHESS.
Duke Franz of Lauenburg?
The ally of Sweden, the emperor's enemy.

WALLENSTEIN.
The emperor's enemies are mine no longer.

DUCHESS
(casting a look of terror on the DUKE and the COUNTESS).
Is it then true? It is. You are degraded
Deposed from the command? O God in heaven!

COUNTESS
(aside to the DUKE).
Leave her in this belief. Thou seest she cannot
Support the real truth.

 


SCENE V.

(To them enter COUNT TERZKY.)

COUNTESS.
Terzky!
What ails him? What an image of affright!
He looks as he had seen a ghost.

TERZKY
(leading WALLENSTEIN aside).
Is it thy command that all the Croats----

WALLENSTEIN.
Mine!

TERZKY.
We are betrayed.

WALLENSTEIN.
What?

TERZKY.
They are off! This night
The Jaegers likewise--all the villages
In the whole round are empty.

WALLENSTEIN.
Isolani!

TERZKY.
Him thou hast sent away. Yes, surely.

WALLENSTEIN.
I?

TERZKY.
No? Hast thou not sent him off? Nor Deodati?
They are vanished, both of them.

 


SCENE VI.

(To them enter ILLO.)

ILLO.
Has Terzky told thee?

TERZKY.
He knows all.

ILLO.
And likewise
That Esterhatzy, Goetz, Maradas, Kaunitz,
Kolatto, Palfi, have forsaken thee.

TERZKY.
Damnation!

WALLENSTEIN
(winks at them).
Hush!

COUNTESS
(who has been watching them anxiously from the distance and
now advances to them).
Terzky! Heaven! What is it? What has happened?

WALLENSTEIN
(scarcely suppressing his emotions).
Nothing! let us be gone!

TERZKY (following him).
Theresa, it is nothing.

COUNTESS (holding him back).
Nothing? Do I not see that all the life-blood
Has left your cheeks--look you not like a ghost?
That even my brother but affects a calmness?

PAGE (enters).
An aide-de-camp inquires for the Count Terzky.

(TERZKY follows the PAGE.)

WALLENSTEIN.
Go, hear his business.

(To ILLO.)

This could not have happened
So unsuspected without mutiny.
Who was on guard at the gates?

ILLO.
'Twas Tiefenbach.

WALLENSTEIN.
Let Tiefenbach leave guard without delay,
And Terzky's grenadiers relieve him.

(ILLO is going.)

Stop!
Hast thou heard aught of Butler?

ILLO.
Him I met
He will be here himself immediately.
Butler remains unshaken,

(ILLO exit. WALLENSTEIN is following him.)

COUNTESS.
Let him not leave thee, sister! go, detain him!
There's some misfortune.

DUCHESS
(clinging to him).
Gracious Heaven! What is it?

WALLENSTEIN.
Be tranquil! leave me, sister! dearest wife!
We are in camp, and this is naught unusual;
Here storm and sunshine follow one another
With rapid interchanges. These fierce spirits
Champ the curb angrily, and never yet
Did quiet bless the temples of the leader;
If I am to stay go you. The plaints of women
Ill suit the scene where men must act.

(He is going: TERZKY returns.)

TERZKY.
Remain here. From this window must we see it.

WALLENSTEIN (to the COUNTESS).
Sister, retire!

COUNTESS.
No--never!

WALLENSTEIN.
'Tis my will.

TERZKY
(leads the COUNTESS aside, and drawing her attention
to the DUCHESS).
Theresa!

DUCHESS.
Sister, come! since he commands it.

 


SCENE VII.

(WALLENSTEIN, TERZKY.)


WALLENSTEIN
(stepping to the window).
What now, then?

TERZKY.
There are strange movements among all the troops,
And no one knows the cause. Mysteriously,
With gloomy silentness, the several corps
Marshal themselves, each under its own banners;
Tiefenbach's corps make threatening movements; only
The Pappenheimers still remain aloof
In their own quarters and let no one enter.

WALLENSTEIN.
Does Piccolomini appear among them?

TERZKY.
We are seeking him: he is nowhere to be met with.

WALLENSTEIN.
What did the aide-de-camp deliver to you?

TERZKY.
My regiments had despatched him; yet once more
They swear fidelity to thee, and wait
The shout for onset, all prepared, and eager.

WALLENSTEIN.
But whence arose this larum in the camp?
It should have been kept secret from the army
Till fortune had decided for us at Prague.

TERZKY.
Oh, that thou hadst believed me! Yester-evening
Did we conjure thee not to let that skulker,
That fox, Octavio, pass the gates of Pilsen.
Thou gavest him thy own horses to flee from thee.

WALLENSTEIN.
The old tune still! Now, once for all, no more
Of this suspicion--it is doting folly.

TERZKY.
Thou didst confide in Isolani too;
And lo! he was the first that did desert thee.

WALLENSTEIN.
It was but yesterday I rescued him
From abject wretchedness. Let that go by;
I never reckoned yet on gratitude.
And wherein doth he wrong in going from me?
He follows still the god whom all his life
He has worshipped at the gaming-table. With
My fortune and my seeming destiny
He made the bond and broke it, not with me.
I am but the ship in which his hopes were stowed,
And with the which, well-pleased and confident,
He traversed the open sea; now he beholds it
In eminent jeopardy among the coast-rocks,
And hurries to preserve his wares. As light
As the free bird from the hospitable twig
Where it had nested he flies off from me:
No human tie is snapped betwixt us two.
Yea, he deserves to find himself deceived
Who seeks a heart in the unthinking man.
Like shadows on a stream, the forms of life
Impress their characters on the smooth forehead,
Naught sinks into the bosom's silent depth:
Quick sensibility of pain and pleasure
Moves the light fluids lightly; but no soul
Warmeth the inner frame.

TERZKY.
Yet, would I rather
Trust the smooth brow than that deep furrowed one.

 


SCENE VIII.

(WALLENSTEIN, TERZKY, ILLO.)

ILLO (who enters agitated with rage).
Treason and mutiny!

TERZKY.
And what further now?

ILLO.
Tiefenbach's soldiers, when I gave the orders.
To go off guard--mutinous villains!

TERZKY.
Well!

WALLENSTEIN.
What followed?

ILLO.
They refused obedience to them.

TERZKY.
Fire on them instantly! Give out the order.

WALLENSTEIN.
Gently! what cause did they assign?

ILLO.
No other,
They said, had right to issue orders but
Lieutenant-General Piccolomini.

WALLENSTEIN (in a convulsion of agony).
What? How is that?

ILLO.
He takes that office on him by commission,
Under sign-manual from the emperor.

TERZKY.
From the emperor--hearest thou, duke?

ILLO.
At his incitement
The generals made that stealthy flight----

TERZKY.
Duke, hearest thou?

ILLO.
Caraffa too, and Montecuculi,
Are missing, with six other generals,
All whom he had induced to follow him.
This plot he has long had in writing by him
From the emperor; but 'twas finally concluded,
With all the detail of the operation,
Some days ago with the Envoy Questenberg.

(WALLENSTEIN sinks down into a chair and covers his face.)

TERZKY.
Oh, hadst thou but believed me!

 


SCENE IX.

(To them enter the COUNTESS.)


COUNTESS.
This suspense,
This horrid fear--I can no longer bear it.
For heaven's sake tell me what has taken place?

ILLO.
The regiments are falling off from us.

TERZKY.
Octavio Piccolomini is a traitor.

COUNTESS.
O my foreboding!

(Rushes out of the room.)

TERZKY.
Hadst thou but believed me!
Now seest thou how the stars have lied to thee.

WALLENSTEIN.
The stars lie not; but we have here a work
Wrought counter to the stars and destiny.
The science is still honest: this false heart
Forces a lie on the truth-telling heaven,
On a divine law divination rests;
Where nature deviates from that law, and stumbles
Out of her limits, there all science errs.
True I did not suspect! Were it superstition
Never by such suspicion to have affronted
The human form, oh, may the time ne'er come
In which I shame me of the infirmity.
The wildest savage drinks not with the victim,
Into whose breast he means to plunge the sword.
This, this, Octavio, was no hero's deed
'Twas not thy prudence that did conquer mine;
A bad heart triumphed o'er an honest one.
No shield received the assassin stroke; thou plungest
Thy weapon on an unprotected breast--
Against such weapons I am but a child.

 

 

SCENE X.

(To these enter BUTLER.)


TERZKY (meeting him).
Oh, look there, Butler! Here we've still a friend!

WALLENSTEIN
(meets him with outspread arms and embraces him with warmth).
Come to my heart, old comrade! Not the sun
Looks out upon us more revivingly,
In the earliest month of spring,
Than a friend's countenance in such an hour.

BUTLER.
My general; I come----

WALLENSTEIN
(leaning on BUTLER'S shoulder).
Knowest thou already
That old man has betrayed me to the emperor.
What sayest thou? Thirty years have we together
Lived out, and held out, sharing joy and hardship.
We have slept in one camp-bed, drank from one glass,
One morsel shared! I leaned myself on him,
As now I lean me on thy faithful shoulder,
And now in the very moment when, all love,
All confidence, my bosom beat to his
He sees and takes the advantage, stabs the knife
Slowly into my heart.

(He hides his face on BUTLER's breast.)


BUTLER.
Forget the false one.
What is your present purpose?


WALLENSTEIN.
Well remembered!
Courage, my soul! I am still rich in friends,
Still loved by destiny; for in the moment
That it unmasks the plotting hypocrite
It sends and proves to me one faithful heart.
Of the hypocrite no more! Think not his loss
Was that which struck the pang: Oh, no! his treason
Is that which strikes the pang! No more of him!
Dear to my heart, and honored were they both,
And the young man--yes--he did truly love me,
He--he--has not deceived me. But enough,
Enough of this--swift counsel now beseems us.
The courier, whom Count Kinsky sent from Prague,
I expect him every moment: and whatever
He may bring with him we must take good care
To keep it from the mutineers. Quick then!
Despatch some messenger you can rely on
To meet him, and conduct him to me.

(ILLO is going.)

BUTLER (detaining him).
My general, whom expect you then?

WALLENSTEIN.
The courier
Who brings me word of the event at Prague.

BUTLER (hesitating).
Hem!

WALLENSTEIN.
And what now?

BUTLER.
You do not know it?

WALLENSTEIN.
Well?

BUTLER.
From what that larum in the camp arose?

WALLENSTEIN.
From what?

BUTLER.
That courier----

WALLENSTEIN (with eager expectation).
Well?

BUTLER.
Is already here.

TERZKY and ILLO (at the same time).
Already here?

WALLENSTEIN.
My courier?

BUTLER.
For some hours.

WALLENSTEIN.
And I not know it?

BUTLER.
The sentinels detain him
In custody.

ILLO (stamping with his foot).
Damnation!

BUTLER.
And his letter
Was broken open, and is circulated
Through the whole camp.

WALLENSTEIN.
You know what it contains?

BUTLER.
Question me not.

TERZKY.
Illo! Alas for us.

WALLENSTEIN.
Hide nothing from me--I can bear the worst.
Prague then is lost. It is. Confess it freely.

BUTLER.
Yes! Prague is lost. And all the several regiments
At Budweiss, Tabor, Braunau, Koenigingratz,
At Brunn, and Znaym, have forsaken you,
And taken the oaths of fealty anew
To the emperor. Yourself, with Kinsky, Terzky,
And Illo have been sentenced.

(TERZKY and ILLO express alarm and fury. WALLENSTEIN remains
firm and collected.)

WALLENSTEIN.
'Tis decided! 'Tis well! I have received a sudden cure
From all the pangs of doubt: with steady stream
Once more my life-blood flows! My soul's secure!
In the night only Friedland stars can beam.
Lingering irresolute, with fitful fears
I drew the sword--'twas with an inward strife,
While yet the choice was mine. The murderous knife
Is lifted for my heart! Doubt disappears!
I fight now for my head and for my life.

(Exit WALLENSTEIN; the others follow him.)

 


SCENE XI.

COUNTESS TERZKY (enters from a side room).
I can endure no longer. No!

(Looks around her.)

Where are they!
No one is here. They leave me all alone,
Alone in this sore anguish of suspense.
And I must wear the outward show of calmness
Before my sister, and shut in within me
The pangs and agonies of my crowded bosom.
It is not to be borne. If all should fail;
If--if he must go over to the Swedes,
An empty-handed fugitive, and not
As an ally, a covenanted equal,
A proud commander with his army following,
If we must wander on from land to land,
Like the Count Palatine, of fallen greatness
An ignominious monument. But no!
That day I will not see! And could himself
Endure to sink so low, I would not bear
To see him so low sunken.

 

 

SCENE XII.

(COUNTESS, DUCHESS, THEKLA.)

THEKLA
(endeavoring to hold back the DUCHESS)
Dear mother, do stay here!

DUCHESS.
No! Here is yet
Some frightful mystery that is hidden from me.
Why does my sister shun me? Don't I see her
Full of suspense and anguish roam about
From room to room? Art thou not full of terror?
And what import these silent nods and gestures
Which stealthwise thou exchangest with her?

THEKLA.
Nothing
Nothing, dear mother!

DUCHESS (to the COUNTESS).
Sister, I will know.

COUNTESS.
What boots it now to hide it from her? Sooner
Or later she must learn to hear and bear it.
'Tis not the time now to indulge infirmity;
Courage beseems us now, a heart collect,
And exercise and previous discipline
Of fortitude. One word, and over with it!
Sister, you are deluded. You believe
The duke has been deposed--the duke is not
Deposed--he is----

THEKLA (going to the COUNTESS),
What? do you wish to kill her?

COUNTESS.
The duke is----

THEKLA
(throwing her arms round her mother).
Oh, stand firm! stand firm, my mother!

COUNTESS.
Revolted is the duke; he is preparing
To join the enemy; the army leave him,
And all has failed.

 


SCENE XIII.

(A spacious room in the Duke of Friedland's palace.)


WALLENSTEIN (in armor).
Thou hast gained thy point, Octavio! Once more am I
Almost as friendless as at Regensburg.
There I had nothing left me but myself;
But what one man can do you have now experience.
The twigs have you hewed off, and here I stand
A leafless trunk. But in the sap within
Lives the creating power, and a new world
May sprout forth from it. Once already have I
Proved myself worth an army to you--I alone!
Before the Swedish strength your troops had melted;
Beside the Lech sank Tilly, your last hope;
Into Bavaria, like a winter torrent,
Did that Gustavus pour, and at Vienna
In his own palace did the emperor tremble.
Soldiers were scarce, for still the multitude
Follow the luck: all eyes were turned on me,
Their helper in distress; the emperor's pride
Bowed itself down before the man he had injured.
'Twas I must rise, and with creative word
Assemble forces in the desolate camps.
I did it. Like a god of war my name
Went through the world. The drum was beat; and, to
The plough, the workshop is forsaken, all
Swarm to the old familiar long loved banners;
And as the wood-choir rich in melody
Assemble quick around the bird of wonder,
When first his throat swells with his magic song,
So did the warlike youth of Germany
Crowd in around the image of my eagle.
I feel myself the being that I was.
It is the soul that builds itself a body,
And Friedland's camp will not remain unfilled.
Lead then your thousands out to meet me--true!
They are accustomed under me to conquer,
But not against me. If the head and limbs
Separate from each other, 'twill be soon
Made manifest in which the soul abode.

(ILLO and TERZKY enter.)

Courage, friends! courage! we are still unvanquished;
I feel my footing firm; five regiments, Terzky,
Are still our own, and Butler's gallant troops;
And an host of sixteen thousand Swedes to-morrow.
I was not stronger when, nine years ago,
I marched forth, with glad heart and high of hope,
To conquer Germany for the emperor.

 

 

SCENE XIV.

(WALLENSTEIN, ILLO, TERZKY.)

(To them enter NEUMANN, who leads TERZKY aside,
and talks with him.)


TERZKY.
What do they want?

WALLENSTEIN.
What now?

TERZKY.
Ten cuirassiers
From Pappenheim request leave to address you
In the name of the regiment.

WALLENSTEIN (hastily to NEUMANN).
Let them enter.

(Exit NEUMANN.)

This
May end in something. Mark you. They are still
Doubtful, and may be won.

 


SCENE XV.

WALLENSTEIN, TERZKY, ILLO, ten CUIRASSIERS (led by an ANSPESSADE
(4), march up and arrange themselves, after the word of command,
in one front before the DUKE, and make their obeisance. He takes
his hat off, and immediately covers himself again).


FOOTNOTE: (4)
Anspessade, in German, Gefreiter, a soldier inferior to a corporal,
but above the sentinels. The German name implies that he is exempt
from mounting guard.


ANSPESSADE.
Halt! Front! Present!

WALLENSTEIN
(after he has run through them with his eye, to the NSPESSADE).
I know thee well. Thou art out of Brueggen in Flanders:
Thy name is Mercy.

ANSPESSADE.
Henry Mercy.

WALLENSTEIN.
Thou were cut off on the march, surrounded by the Hessians,
and didst fight thy way with an hundred and eighty men through their
thousand.

ANSPESSADE.
'Twas even so, general!

WALLENSTEIN.
What reward hadst thou for this gallant exploit?

ANSPESSADE.
That which I asked for: the honor to serve in this corps.

WALLENSTEIN
(turning to a second).
Thou wert among the volunteers that
seized and made booty of the Swedish battery at Altenburg.

SECOND CUIRASSIER. Yes, general!

WALLENSTEIN.
I forget no one with whom I have exchanged words.
(A pause.) Who sends you?

ANSPESSADE.
Your noble regiment, the cuirassiers of Piccolomini.

WALLENSTEIN.
Why does not your colonel deliver in your request according
to the custom of service?

ANSPESSADE.
Because we would first know whom we serve.

WALLENSTEIN.
Begin your address.

ANSPESSADE
(giving the word of command). Shoulder your arms!

WALLENSTEIN
(turning to a third).
Thy name is Risbeck; Cologne is thy birthplace.

THIRD CUIRASSIER.
Risbeck of Cologne.

WALLENSTEIN.
It was thou that broughtest in the Swedish colonel Duebald,
prisoner, in the camp at Nuremberg.

THIRD CUIRASSIER.
It was not I, general.

WALLENSTEIN.
Perfectly right! It was thy elder brother: thou hadst a
younger brother, too: where did he stay?

THIRD CUIRASSIER.
He is stationed at Olmutz, with the imperial army.

WALLENSTEIN
(to the ANSPESSADE). Now then--begin.

ANSPESSADE.
There came to hand a letter from the emperor
Commanding us----

WALLENSTEIN
(interrupting him).
Who chose you?

ANSPESSADE.
Every company
Drew its own man by lot.

WALLENSTEIN.
Now! to the business.

ANSPESSADE.
There came to hand a letter from the emperor
Commanding us, collectively, from thee
All duties of obedience to withdraw,
Because thou wert an enemy and traitor.

WALLENSTEIN.
And what did you determine?

ANSPESSADE.
All our comrades
At Braunau, Budweiss, Prague, and Olmutz, have
Obeyed already; and the regiments here,
Tiefenbach and Toscano, instantly
Did follow their example. But--but we
Do not believe that thou art an enemy
And traitor to thy country, hold it merely
For lie and trick, and a trumped-up Spanish story!

(With warmth.)

Thyself shall tell us what thy purpose is,
For we have found thee still sincere and true
No mouth shall interpose itself betwixt
The gallant general and the gallant troops.

WALLENSTEIN.
Therein I recognize my Pappenheimers.

ANSPESSADE.
And this proposal makes thy regiment to thee:
Is it thy purpose merely to preserve
In thine own hands this military sceptre,
Which so becomes thee, which the emperor
Made over to thee by a covenant!
Is it thy purpose merely to remain
Supreme commander of the Austrian armies?
We will stand by thee, general! and guarantee
Thy honest rights against all opposition.
And should it chance, that all the other regiments
Turn from thee, by ourselves we will stand forth
Thy faithful soldiers, and, as is our duty,
Far rather let ourselves be cut to pieces
Than suffer thee to fall. But if it be
As the emperor's letter says, if it be true,
That thou in traitorous wise wilt lead us over
To the enemy, which God in heaven forbid!
Then we too will forsake thee, and obey
That letter----

WALLENSTEIN.
Hear me, children!

ANSPESSADE.
Yes, or no,
There needs no other answer.

WALLENSTEIN.
Yield attention.
You're men of sense, examine for yourselves;
Ye think, and do not follow with the herd:
And therefore have I always shown you honor
Above all others, suffered you to reason;
Have treated you as free men, and my orders
Were but the echoes of your prior suffrage.

ANSPESSADE.
Most fair and noble has thy conduct been
To us, my general! With thy confidence
Thou has honored us, and shown us grace and favor
Beyond all other regiments; and thou seest
We follow not the common herd. We will
Stand by thee faithfully. Speak but one word--
Thy word shall satisfy us that it is not
A treason which thou meditatest--that
Thou meanest not to lead the army over
To the enemy; nor e'er betray thy country.

WALLENSTEIN.
Me, me are they betraying. The emperor
Hath sacrificed me to my enemies,
And I must fall, unless my gallant troops
Will rescue me. See! I confide in you.
And be your hearts my stronghold! At this breast
The aim is taken, at this hoary head.
This is your Spanish gratitude, this is our
Requital for that murderous fight at Luetzen!
For this we threw the naked breast against
The halbert, made for this the frozen earth
Our bed, and the hard stone our pillow! never stream
Too rapid for us, nor wood too impervious;
With cheerful spirit we pursued that Mansfeldt
Through all the turns and windings of his flight:
Yea, our whole life was but one restless march:
And homeless, as the stirring wind, we travelled
O'er the war-wasted earth. And now, even now,
That we have well-nigh finished the hard toil,
The unthankful, the curse-laden toil of weapons,
With faithful indefatigable arm
Have rolled the heavy war-load up the hill,
Behold! this boy of the emperor's bears away
The honors of the peace, an easy prize!
He'll weave, forsooth, into his flaxen locks
The olive branch, the hard-earned ornament
Of this gray head, grown gray beneath the helmet.

ANSPESSADE.
That shall he not, while we can hinder it!
No one, but thou, who has conducted it
With fame, shall end this war, this frightful war.
Thou leadest us out to the bloody field
Of death; thou and no other shalt conduct us home,
Rejoicing, to the lovely plains of peace--
Shalt share with us the fruits of the long toil.

WALLENSTEIN.
What! Think you then at length in late old age
To enjoy the fruits of toil? Believe it not.
Never, no never, will you see the end
Of the contest! you and me, and all of us,
This war will swallow up! War, war, not peace,
Is Austria's wish; and therefore, because I
Endeavored after peace, therefore I fall.
For what cares Austria how long the war
Wears out the armies and lays waste the world!
She will but wax and grow amid the ruin
And still win new domains.

(The CUIRASSIERS express agitation by their gestures.)

Ye're moved--I see
A noble rage flash from your eyes, ye warriors!
Oh, that my spirit might possess you now
Daring as once it led you to the battle
Ye would stand by me with your veteran arms,
Protect me in my rights; and this is noble!
But think not that you can accomplish it,
Your scanty number! to no purpose will you
Have sacrificed you for your general.

(Confidentially.)

No! let us tread securely, seek for friends;
The Swedes have proffered us assistance, let us
Wear for a while the appearance of good-will,
And use them for your profit, till we both
Carry the fate of Europe in our hands,
And from our camp to the glad jubilant world
Lead peace forth with the garland on her head!

ANSPESSADE.
'Tis then but mere appearances which thou
Dost put on with the Swede! Thou'lt not betray
The emperor? Wilt not turn us into Swedes?
This is the only thing which we desire
To learn from thee.

WALLENSTEIN.
What care I for the Swedes?
I hate them as I hate the pit of hell,
And under Providence I trust right soon
To chase them to their homes across their Baltic.
My cares are only for the whole: I have
A heart--it bleeds within me for the miseries
And piteous groanings of my fellow-Germans.
Ye are but common men, but yet ye think
With minds not common; ye appear to me
Worthy before all others, that I whisper thee
A little word or two in confidence!
See now! already for full fifteen years,
The war-torch has continued burning, yet
No rest, no pause of conflict. Swede and German,
Papist and Lutheran! neither will give way
To the other; every hand's against the other.
Each one is party and no one a judge.
Where shall this end? Where's he that will unravel
This tangle, ever tangling more and more
It must be cut asunder.
I feel that I am the man of destiny,
And trust, with your assistance, to accomplish it.

 

 

SCENE XVI.

(To these enter BUTLER.)

BUTLER (passionately).
General! this is not right!

WALLENSTEIN.
What is not right?

BUTLER.
It must needs injure us with all honest men.

WALLENSTEIN.
But what?

BUTLER.
It is an open proclamation
Of insurrection.

WALLENSTEIN.
Well, well--but what is it?

BUTLER.
Count Terzky's regiments tear the imperial eagle
From off his banners, and instead of it
Have reared aloft their arms.

ANSPESSADE
(abruptly to the CUIRASSIERS).
Right about! March!

WALLENSTEIN.
Cursed be this counsel, and accursed who gave it!

(To the CUIRASSIERS, who are retiring.)

Halt, children, halt! There's some mistake in this;
Hark! I will punish it severely. Stop
They do not hear. (To ILLO). Go after them, assure them,
And bring them back to me, cost what it may.

(ILLO hurries out.)

This hurls us headlong. Butler! Butler!
You are my evil genius, wherefore must you
Announce it in their presence? It was all
In a fair way. They were half won! those madmen
With their improvident over-readiness--
A cruel game is Fortune playing with me.
The zeal of friends it is that razes me,
And not the hate of enemies.

 


SCENE XVII.

(To these enter the DUCHESS, who rushes into the chamber;
THEKLA and the COUNTESS follow her.)

DUCHESS.
O Albrecht!
What hast thou done?

WALLENSTEIN.
And now comes this beside.

COUNTESS.
Forgive me, brother! It was not in my power--
They know all.

DUCHESS.
What hast thou done?

COUNTESS (to TERZKY).
Is there no hope? Is all lost utterly?

TERZKY.
All lost. No hope. Prague in the emperor's hands,
The soldiery have taken their oaths anew.

COUNTESS.
That lurking hypocrite, Octavio!
Count Max. is off too.

TERZKY.
Where can he be? He's
Gone over to the emperor with his father.

(THEKLA rushes out into the arms of her mother,
hiding her face in her bosom.)

DUCHESS
(enfolding her in her arms).
Unhappy child! and more unhappy mother!

WALLENSTEIN (aside to TERZKY).
Quick! Let a carriage stand in readiness
In the court behind the palace. Scherfenberg,
Be their attendant; he is faithful to us.
To Egra he'll conduct them, and we follow.

(To ILLO, who returns.)

Thou hast not brought them back?

ILLO.
Hear'st thou the uproar?
The whole corps of the Pappenheimers is
Drawn out: the younger Piccolomini,
Their colonel, they require: for they affirm,
That he is in the palace here, a prisoner;
And if thou dost not instantly deliver him,
They will find means to free him with the sword.

(All stand amazed.)

TERZKY.
What shall we make of this?

WALLENSTEIN.
Said I not so?
O my prophetic heart! he is still here.
He has not betrayed me--he could not betray me.
I never doubted of it.

COUNTESS.
If he be
Still here, then all goes well; for I know what

(Embracing THEKLA.)

Will keep him here forever.

TERZKY.
It can't be.
His father has betrayed us, is gone over
To the emperor--the son could not have ventured
To stay behind.

THEKLA
(her eye fixed on the door).
There he is!

 

 

SCENE XVIII.

(To these enter MAX. PICCOLOMINI.)


MAX.
Yes, here he is! I can endure no longer
To creep on tiptoe round this house, and lurk
In ambush for a favorable moment:
This loitering, this suspense exceeds my powers.

(Advancing to THEKLA, who has thrown herself into her mother's arms.)

Turn not thine eyes away. O look upon me!
Confess it freely before all. Fear no one.
Let who will hear that we both love each other.
Wherefore continue to conceal it? Secrecy
Is for the happy--misery, hopeless misery,
Needeth no veil! Beneath a thousand suns
It dares act openly.

(He observes the COUNTESS looking on THEKLA with expressions
of triumph.)

No, lady! No!
Expect not, hope it not. I am not come
To stay: to bid farewell, farewell forever.
For this I come! 'Tis over! I must leave thee!
Thekla, I must--must leave thee! Yet thy hatred
Let me not take with me. I pray thee, grant me
One look of sympathy, only one look.
Say that thou dost not hate me. Say it to me, Thekla!

(Grasps her hand.)

O God! I cannot leave this spot--I cannot!
Cannot let go this hand. O tell me, Thekla!
That thou dost suffer with me, art convinced
That I cannot act otherwise.

(THEKLA, avoiding his look, points with her hand to her father.
MAX turns round to the DUKE, whom he had not till then perceived.)

Thou here? It was not thou whom here I sought.
I trusted never more to have beheld thee,
My business is with her alone. Here will I
Receive a full acquittal from this heart;
For any other I am no more concerned.

WALLENSTEIN.
Think'st thou that, fool-like, I shall let thee go,
And act the mock-magnanimous with thee?
Thy father is become a villain to me;
I hold thee for his son, and nothing more
Nor to no purpose shalt thou have been given
Into my power. Think not, that I will honor
That ancient love, which so remorselessly
He mangled. They are now passed by, those hours
Of friendship and forgiveness. Hate and vengeance
Succeed--'tis now their turn--I too can throw
All feelings of the man aside--can prove
Myself as much a monster as thy father!

MAX (calmly).
Thou wilt proceed with me as thou hast power.
Thou knowest I neither brave nor fear thy rage.
What has detained me here, that too thou knowest.
(Taking THEKLA by the hand.
See, duke! All--all would I have owed to thee,
Would have received from thy paternal hand
The lot of blessed spirits. That hast thou
Laid waste forever--that concerns not thee.
Indifferent thou tramplest in the dust
Their happiness who most are thine. The god
Whom thou dost serve is no benignant deity,
Like as the blind, irreconcilable,
Fierce element, incapable of compact.
Thy heart's wild impulse only dost thou follow.

(5)(see footnote at the end of play)

WALLENSTEIN.
Thou art describing thy own father's heart.
The adder! Oh, the charms of hell o'erpowered me
He dwelt within me, to my inmost soul
Still to and fro he passed, suspected never.
On the wide ocean, in the starry heaven
Did mine eyes seek the enemy, whom I
In my heart's heart had folded! Had I been
To Ferdinand what Octavio was to me,
War had I ne'er denounced against him.
No, I never could have done it. The emperor was
My austere master only, not my friend.
There was already war 'twixt him and me
When he delivered the commander's staff
Into my hands; for there's a natural
Unceasing war twixt cunning and suspicion;
Peace exists only betwixt confidence
And faith. Who poisons confidence, he murders
The future generations.

MAX.
I will not
Defend my father. Woe is me, I cannot!
Hard deeds and luckless have taken place; one crime
Drags after it the other in close link.
But we are innocent: how have we fallen
Into this circle of mishap and guilt?
To whom have we been faithless? Wherefore must
The evil deeds and guilt reciprocal
Of our two fathers twine like serpents round us?
Why must our fathers'
Unconquerable hate rend us asunder,
Who love each other?

WALLENSTEIN.
Max., remain with me.
Go you not from me, Max.! Hark! I will tell thee----
How when at Prague, our winter quarters, thou
Wert brought into my tent a tender boy,
Not yet accustomed to the German winters;
Thy hand was frozen to the heavy colors;
Thou wouldst not let them go.
At that time did I take thee in my arms,
And with my mantle did I cover thee;
I was thy nurse, no woman could have been
A kinder to thee; I was not ashamed
To do for thee all little offices,
However strange to me; I tended thee
Till life returned; and when thine eyes first opened,
I had thee in my arms. Since then, when have
Altered my feelings toward thee? Many thousands
Have I made rich, presented them with lands;
Rewarded them with dignities and honors;
Thee have I loved: my heart, my self, I gave
To thee; They all were aliens: thou wert
Our child and inmate. (6) Max.! Thou canst not leave me;
It cannot be; I may not, will not think
That Max. can leave me.


FOOTNOTE: (6)
This is a poor and inadequate translation of the affectionate
simplicity of the original--

Sie alle waren Fremdlinge, Du warst
Das Kind des Hauses.

Indeed the whole speech is in the best style of Massinger.
O si sic omnia!


MAX.
Ob, my God!

WALLENSTEIN.
I have
Held and sustained thee from thy tottering childhood.
What holy bond is there of natural love,
What human tie that does not knit thee to me?
I love thee, Max.! What did thy father for thee,
Which I too have not done, to the height of duty?
Go hence, forsake me, serve thy emperor;
He will reward thee with a pretty chain
Of gold; with his ram's fleece will he reward thee;
For that the friend, the father of thy youth,
For that the holiest feeling of humanity,
Was nothing worth to thee.

MAX.
O God! how can I
Do otherwise. Am I not forced to do it,
My oath--my duty--my honor----

WALLENSTEIN.
How? Thy duty?
Duty to whom? Who art thou? Max.! bethink thee
What duties may'st thou have? If I am acting
A criminal part toward the emperor,
It is my crime, not thine. Dost thou belong
To thine own self? Art thou thine own commander?
Stand'st thou, like me, a freeman in the world,
That in thy actions thou shouldst plead free agency?
On me thou art planted, I am thy emperor;
To obey me, to belong to me, this is
Thy honor, this a law of nature to thee!
And if the planet on the which thou livest
And hast thy dwelling, from its orbit starts.
It is not in thy choice, whether or no
Thou'lt follow it. Unfelt it whirls thee onward
Together with his ring, and all his moons.
With little guilt steppest thou into this contest;
Thee will the world not censure, it will praise thee,
For that thou held'st thy friend more worth to thee
Than names and influences more removed
For justice is the virtue of the ruler,
Affection and fidelity the subject's.
Not every one doth it beseem to question
The far-off high Arcturus. Most securely
Wilt thou pursue the nearest duty: let
The pilot fix his eye upon the pole-star.

 


SCENE XIX.

(To these enter NEUMANN.)

WALLENSTEIN.
What now?

NEUMANN.
The Pappenheimers are dismounted,
And are advancing now on foot, determined
With sword in hand to storm the house, and free
The count, their colonel.

WALLENSTEIN (to TERZKY).
Have the cannon planted.
I will receive them with chain-shot.

(Exit TERZKY.)

Prescribe to me with sword in hand! Go, Neumann!
'Tis my command that they retreat this moment,
And in their ranks in silence wait my pleasure.

(NEUMANN exit. ILLO steps to the window.)

COUNTESS.
Let him go, I entreat thee, let him go.

ILLO
(at the window).
Hell and perdition!

WALLENSTEIN.
What is it?

ILLO.
They scale the council-house, the roof's uncovered,
They level at this house the cannon----

MAX.
Madmen

ILLO.
They are making preparations now to fire on us.

DUCHESS and COUNTESS.
Merciful heaven!

MAX. (to WALLENSTEIN).
Let me go to them!

WALLENSTEIN.
Not a step!

MAX.
(pointing to THEKLA and the DUCHESS).
But their life! Thine!

WALLENSTEIN.
What tidings bringest thou, Terzky?

 


SCENE XX.

(To these TERZKY returning.)


TERZKY.
Message and greeting from our faithful regiments.
Their ardor may no longer be curbed in.
They entreat permission to commence the attack;
And if thou wouldst but give the word of onset
They could now charge the enemy in rear,
Into the city wedge them, and with ease
O'erpower them in the narrow streets.

ILLO.
Oh come
Let not their ardor cool. The soldiery
Of Butler's corps stand by us faithfully;
We are the greater number. Let us charge them
And finish here in Pilsen the revolt.

WALLENSTEIN.
What? shall this town become a field of slaughter,
And brother-killing discord, fire-eyed,
Be let loose through its streets to roam and rage?
Shall the decision be delivered over
To deaf remorseless rage, that hears no leader?
Here is not room for battle, only for butchery.
Well, let it be! I have long thought of it,
So let it burst then!

(Turns to MAX.)

Well, how is it with thee?
Wilt thou attempt a heat with me. Away!
Thou art free to go. Oppose thyself to me,
Front against front, and lead them to the battle;
Thou'rt skilled in war, thou hast learned somewhat under me,
I need not be ashamed of my opponent,
And never hadst thou fairer opportunity
To pay me for thy schooling.

COUNTESS.
Is it then,
Can it have come to this? What! Cousin, cousin!
Have you the heart?

MAX.
The regiments that are trusted to my care
I have pledged my troth to bring away from Pilsen
True to the emperor; and this promise will I
Make good, or perish. More than this no duty
Requires of me. I will not fight against thee,
Unless compelled; for though an enemy,
Thy head is holy to me still,

(Two reports of cannon. ILLO and TERZKY hurry to the window.)

WALLENSTEIN.
What's that?

TERZKY.
He falls.

WALLENSTEIN.
Falls! Who?

ILLO.
Tiefenbach's corps
Discharged the ordnance.

WALLENSTEIN.
Upon whom?

ILLO.
On--Neumann,
Your messenger.

WALLENSTEIN (starting up).
Ha! Death and hell! I will----

TERZKY.
Expose thyself to their blind frenzy?

DUCHESS and COUNTESS.
No!
For God's sake, no!

ILLO.
Not yet, my general!
Oh, hold him! hold him!

WALLENSTEIN.
Leave me----

MAX.
Do it not;
Not yet! This rash and bloody deed has thrown them
Into a frenzy-fit--allow them time----

WALLENSTEIN.
Away! too long already have I loitered.
They are emboldened to these outrages,
Beholding not my face. They shall behold
My countenance, shall hear my voice--
Are they not my troops? Am I not their general,
And their long-feared commander! Let me see,
Whether indeed they do no longer know
That countenance which was their sun in battle!
From the balcony (mark!) I show myself
To these rebellious forces, and at once
Revolt is mounded, and the high-swollen current
Shrinks back into the old bed of obedience.

(Exit WALLENSTEIN; ILLO, TERZKY, and BUTLER follow.)

 

 

SCENE XXI.

(COUNTESS, DUCHESS, MAX, and THEKLA.)


COUNTESS
(to the DUCHESS).
Let them but see him--there is hope still, sister.

DUCHESS.
Hope! I have none!

MAX.
(who during the last scene has been standing at a distance, in a
visible struggle of feelings advances).

This can I not endure.
With most determined soul did I come hither;
My purposed action seemed unblamable
To my own conscience--and I must stand here
Like one abhorred, a hard, inhuman being:
Yea, loaded with the curse of all I love!
Must see all whom I love in this sore anguish,
Whom I with one word can make happy--O!
My heart revolts within me, and two voices
Make themselves audible within my bosom.
My soul's benighted; I no longer can
Distinguish the right track. Oh, well and truly
Didst thou say, father, I relied too much
On my own heart. My mind moves to and fro--
I know not what to do.

COUNTESS.
What! you know not?
Does not your own heart tell you? Oh! then I
Will tell it you. Your father is a traitor,
A frightful traitor to us--he has plotted
Against our general's life, has plunged us all
In misery--and you're his son! 'Tis yours
To make the amends. Make you the son's fidelity
Outweigh the father's treason, that the name
Of Piccolomini be not a proverb
Of infamy, a common form of cursing
To the posterity of Wallenstein.

MAX.
Where is that voice of truth which I dare follow!
It speaks no longer in my heart. We all
But utter what our passionate wishes dictate:
Oh that an angel would descend from heaven,
And scoop for me the right, the uncorrupted,
With a pure hand from the pure Fount of light.
(His eyes glance on THEKLA.
What other angel seek I? To this heart,
To this unerring heart, will I submit it;
Will ask thy love, which has the power to bless
The happy man alone, averted ever
From the disquieted and guilty--canst thou
Still love me, if I stay? Say that thou canst,
And I am the duke's----

COUNTESS.
Think, niece----

MAX.
Think nothing, Thekla!
Speak what thou feelest.

COUNTESS.
Think upon your father.

MAX.
I did not question thee, as Friedland's daughter.
Thee, the beloved and the unerring God
Within thy heart, I question. What's at stake?
Not whether diadem of royalty
Be to be won or not--that mightest thou think on.
Thy friend, and his soul's quiet are at stake:
The fortune of a thousand gallant men,
Who will all follow me; shall I forswear
My oath and duty to the emperor?
Say, shall I send into Octavio's camp
The parricidal ball? For when the ball
Has left its cannon, and is on its flight,
It is no longer a dead instrument!
It lives, a spirit passes into it;
The avenging furies seize possession of it,
And with sure malice, guide it the worst way.

THEKLA.
Oh! Max.----

MAX.
(interrupting her).
Nay, not precipitately either, Thekla.
I understand thee. To thy noble heart
The hardest duty might appear the highest.
The human, not the great part, would I act.
Even from my childhood to this present hour,
Think what the duke has done for me, how loved me
And think, too, how my father has repaid him.
Oh likewise the free lovely impulses
Of hospitality, the pious friend's
Faithful attachment, these, too, are a holy
Religion to the heart; and heavily
The shudderings of nature do avenge
Themselves on the barbarian that insults them.
Lay all upon the balance, all--then speak,
And let thy heart decide it.

THEKLA.
Oh, thy own
Hath long ago decided. Follow thou
Thy heart's first feeling----

COUNTESS.
Oh! ill-fated woman!

THEKLA.
Is it possible, that that can be the right,
The which thy tender heart did not at first
Detect and seize with instant impulse? Go,
Fulfil thy duty! I should ever love thee.
Whate'er thou hast chosen, thou wouldst still have acted
Nobly and worthy of thee--but repentance
Shall ne'er disturb thy soul's fair peace.

MAX.
Then I
Must leave thee, must part from thee!

THEKLA.
Being faithful
To thine own self, thou art faithful, too, to me:
If our fates part, our hearts remain united.
A bloody hatred will divide forever
The houses Piccolomini and Friedland;
But we belong not to our houses. Go!
Quick! quick! and separate thy righteous cause
From our unholy and unblessed one!
The curse of heaven lies upon our head:
'Tis dedicate to ruin. Even me
My father's guilt drags with it to perdition.
Mourn not for me:
My destiny will quickly be decided.

(MAX clasps her in his arms in extreme emotion. There is
heard from behind the scene a loud, wild, long-continued cry,
Vivat Ferdinandus! accompanied by warlike instruments.
MAX and THEKLA remain without motion in each other's embraces.)

 

 

SCENE XXII.

(To the above enter TERZKY.)

COUNTESS (meeting him).
What meant that cry? What was it?

TERZKY.
All is lost!

COUNTESS.
What! they regarded not his countenance?

TERZKY.
'Twas all in vain.

DUCHESS.
They shouted Vivat!

TERZKY.
To the emperor.

COUNTESS.
The traitors?

TERZKY.
Nay! he was not permitted
Even to address them. Soon as he began,
With deafening noise of warlike instruments
They drowned his words. But here he comes.

 


SCENE XXIII.

(To these enter WALLENSTEIN, accompanied by ILLO and BUTLER.)


WALLENSTEIN (as he enters).
Terzky!

TERZKY.
My general!

WALLENSTEIN.
Let our regiments hold themselves
In readiness to march; for we shall leave
Pilsen ere evening.

(Exit TERZKY.)

Butler!

BUTLER.
Yes, my general.

WALLENSTEIN.
The Governor of Egra is your friend
And countryman. Write him instantly
By a post courier. He must be advised,
That we are with him early on the morrow.
You follow us yourself, your regiment with you.

BUTLER.
It shall be done, my general!

WALLENSTEIN
(steps between MAX and THEKLA, who have remained during this
time in each other's arms).

Part!

MAX.
O God!

(CUIRASSIERS enter with drawn swords, and assemble in the
background. At the same time there are heard from below some
spirited passages out of the Pappenheim March, which seem to
address MAX.)

WALLENSTEIN
(to the CUIRASSIERS).
Here he is, he is at liberty: I keep him
No longer.

(He turns away, and stands so that MAX cannot pass
by him nor approach the PRINCESS.)

MAX.
Thou know'st that I have not yet learnt to live
Without thee! I go forth into a desert,
Leaving my all behind me. Oh, do not turn
Thine eyes away from me! Oh, once more show me
Thy ever dear and honored countenance.

(MAX attempts to take his hand, but is repelled: he
turns to the COUNTESS.)

Is there no eye that has a look of pity for me?

(The COUNTESS turns away from him; he turns to the DUCHESS.)

My mother!

DUCHESS.
Go where duty calls you. Haply
The time may come when you may prove to us
A true friend, a good angel at the throne
Of the emperor.

MAX.
You give me hope; you would not
Suffer me wholly to despair. No! no!
Mine is a certain misery. Thanks to heaven!
That offers me a means of ending it.

(The military music begins again. The stage fills more
and more with armed men. MAX sees BUTLER and addresses him.)

And you here, Colonel Butler--and will you
Not follow me? Well, then, remain more faithful
To your new lord, than you have proved yourself
To the emperor. Come, Butler! promise me.
Give me your hand upon it, that you'll be
The guardian of his life, its shield, its watchman.
He is attainted, and his princely head
Fair booty for each slave that trades in murder.
Now he doth need the faithful eye of friendship,
And those whom here I see----

(Casting suspicious looks on ILLO and BUTLER.)

ILLO.
Go--seek for traitors
In Gallas', in your father's quarters. Here
Is only one. Away! away! and free us
From his detested sight! Away!

(MAX attempts once more to approach THERLA. WALLENSTEIN prevents
him. MAX stands irresolute, and in apparent anguish, In the
meantime the stage fills more and more; and the horns sound from
below louder and louder, and each time after a shorter interval.)

MAX.
Blow, blow! Oh, were it but the Swedish trumpets,
And all the naked swords, which I see here,
Were plunged into my breast! What purpose you?
You come to tear me from this place! Beware,
Ye drive me not to desperation. Do it not!
Ye may repent it!

(The stage is entirely filled with armed men.)

Yet more! weight upon weight to drag me down
Think what ye're doing. It is not well done
To choose a man despairing for your leader;
You tear me from my happiness. Well, then,
I dedicate your souls to vengeance. Mark!
For your own ruin you have chosen me
Who goes with me must be prepared to perish.

(He turns to the background; there ensues a sudden and violent
movement among the CUIRASSIERS; they surround him, and carry him
off in wild tumult. WALLENSTEIN remains immovable. THERLA sinks
into her mother's arms. The curtain falls. The music becomes
loud and overpowering, and passes into a complete war-march--the
orchestra joins it--and continues during the interval between the
second and third acts.)

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