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BUTLER, Major, and GERALDIN.
BUTLER. And he must die, or
Find me twelve strong Dragoons, arm them with [Passionately grasping Gordon's hand.
pikes, Listen then, and know!
For there must be no firingI am dishonor'd if the Duke escape us.
Conceal them somewhere near the banquet-roorn,
And soon as the dessert is served up, rush all in GORDON. O! to save such a man
And cry-Who is loyal to the Emperor ?
I will overturn the table—while you attack
Illo and Tertsky, and dispatch them both.
The castle-palace is well barr'd and guarded,
May make its way to the Duke.—Go instantly;
Have you yet sent for Captain Devereux A sacrifice.-Come, friend! Be noble-minded !
And the Macdonald ?Our own heart, and not other men's opinions,
GERALDIN. Forms our true honor.
They'll be here anon. BUTLER (with a cold and haughty air).
[Exit GERALDIN He is a great Lord,
Here's no room for delay. The citizens
Possesses the whole town. They see in the Duke Whether the man of low extraction keeps
A Prince of peace, a founder of new ages Or blemishes his honor
And golden times. Arms too have been given cat So that the man of princely rank be saved ?
By the town-council, and a hundred citizens We all do stamp our value on ourselves.
Have volunteerd themselves to stand on guard. The price we challenge for ourselves is given us.
Dispatch then be the word. For enemies
Threaten us from without and from within.
BUTLER, CAPTAIN DEVEREUX, and MACDONALD
MACDONALD. I cannot hinder you, but may some God
Here we are, General.
Long live the Emperor!
Live the House of Austra' The Duke has cheated me of life's best jewel, So that I blush before this poor weak Gordon'
Have we not sworn fidelity to Friedland? lle prizes above all his fealiy; Ilis conscious soul accuses him of nothing;
MACDONALD. In opposition to his own soft heart
Have we not march'd 10 this place to protect him? lle subjugates himself to an iron duty.
Protect a trailor, and his country's enemy!
MACDONALD. Iligh-minded Piccolomini!
And followed him yourself to Egri
I did it the more surely to destroy him.
MACDONALD. (The curtain drops.)
An alter'd case!
BUTLER (10 DEVEREUX).
As poor as we?
Macdonald, we'll desert him.
BUTLER. If you could prove a villain, why not we?
We'll desert him?
Full twenty thousand have done that already; We've nought to do with thinking—that's you
We must do more, my countrymen! In shortbusiness.
We-we must kill him. You are our General, and give out the orders;
BOTH (starting back).
Yes! must kill him;
You, Captain Devereux, and thee, Macdonald.
DEVEREUX (after a pause).
What? art dastardly?
Thou, with full thirty lives to answer for-
Thou conscientious of a sudden?
To assassinate our Lord and General-
To whom we've sworn a soldier's oath-
Is null, for Friedland is a traitor.
No, no! it is too bad !
Yes, by my soul !
It is too bad. One has a conscience too
If it were not our Chiesain, who so long
Has issued the commands, and claim'd our duty. Alive or dead—these were the very words.
Is that the objection?
DEVEREUX In land and gold, who proffers aid thereto.
Were it my own father, DEVEREUX.
And the Emperor's service should demand it of me, Ay! that sounds well. The words sound always well It might be done, perhaps-But we are soldiers, That travel hither from the Court. Yes! yes ! And to assassinate our Chief Commander, We know already what Court-words import. That is a sin, a foul abomination, A golden chain perhaps in sign of favor,
From which no Monk or Confessor absolves us. Or an old charger, or a parchment patent,
BUTLER. And such like.--The Prince-duke pays better.
I am your Pope, and give you absolution.
'Twill not do.
"Twont do! With that, my friends! His lucky stars are set. MACDONALD.
Well, off then! and—send Pestalutz to me.
What may you want with him? Flis lucky fortunes all past by ?
If you reject it, we can find enough-
Nay, if he must fall, we may carn the bounty
He is as poor as we.
As well as any other. What think you,
To run him through the body in return.
A coat that is far better and far warmer
Did the Emperor give to him, the Prince's mantle.
How doth he thank the Emperor? With revolt, And will fall, and it can't be otherwise,
That is true. The devil take
Such thankers! I'll dispatch him.
And wouldst quiet To-morrow will the Swedes be at our gates.
Thy conscience, thou hast naught to do but simply
With light heart and good spirits.
You are right I take the whole upon me.
That did not strike me. I'll pull off the coat-
So there's an end of it.
Yes, but there's another For we have instances, that folks may like
Point to be thought of. The murder, and yet hang the murderer.
BUTLER. The manifesto says—alive or dead.
And what's that, Macdonald ! Alive—'t is not possible—you see it is not.
What avails sword or dagger against him?
BUTLER (slarting up).
What? Ay! and then Tertsky still remains, and Illo—
Safe against shot, and stab and flash! Hard frozen, BUTLER. With these you shall begin-you understand me?
Secured, and warranted by the black art!
His body is impenetrable, I tell you.
His whole skin was the same as steel; at last
We were obliged to beat him down with gunstocks. Hear, Devereux! A bloody evening this.
Hear what I'll do.
MACDONALD 'Tis given in trust to Major Geraldin;
In the cloister here
Nothing can stand 'gainst that.
So do, Macdonald!
But now go and select from out the regiment "T will be the lesser danger with the Duke.
Twenty or thirty able-bodied fellows,
And let them take the oaths to the Emperor. Danger! the devil! What do you think me, General ? Then when it strikes eleven, when the first rounds "Tis the Duke's eye, and not his sword, I fear. Are pass'd, conduct them silently as may be BUTLER.
To the house-I will myself be not far off.
But how do we get through Hartschier and Gordon, Thou know'st that I'm no milk-sop, General !
That stand on guard there in the inner chamber? But 't is not eight days since the Duke did send me
BUTLER. Twenty gold pieces for this good warm coat
I have made myself acquainted with the place. Which I have on! and then for him to see me
I lead you through a back-door that's defended Standing before him with the pike, his murderer, By one man only. Me my rank and office That eye of his looking upon this coat
Give access to the Duke at every hour, Why—why—the devil fetch me! I’m no milk-sop! I'll go before you-with one poniard-stroke
Cut Hartschier's windpipe, and make way for you. The Duke presented thee this good warm coat,
DEVEREUX. And thou, a needy wight, hast pangs of conscience And when we are there, by what means shall we gain
The Duke's bed-chamber, without his alarming
THEKLA (looking around her). The servants of the Court; for he has here
Where am I? A numerous company of followers ?
WALLENSTEIN (steps to her, raising her up in his arms). BUTLER.
Come, cheerly, Thekla! be my own brave girl! The attendants fill the right wing; he hates bustle, See, there's thy loving mother. Thou art in And lodges in the left wing quite alone.
Thy father's arms.
THEKLA (standing up).
Where is he? Is he gone?
Who gone, my daughter?
He—the man who utter'd
That word of misery.
0! think not of it,
Give her sorrow leave to talk!
Let her complain-mingle your tears with hers, Set your hearts quite at ease. Ye save for Ferdinand For she hath suffer'd a deep anguish ; but His Crown and Empire. The reward can be
She'll rise superior to it, for my Thekla
Hath all her father's unsubdued heart.
Why does my mother weep? Have I alarmn'd her?
[She casts her eyes round the room, as seeking some And he must fall by the executioner's hands, Should we deliver him up to the Emperor Where is he? Please you, do not hide him from me.
You see I have strength enough: now I will hear him.
No, never shall this messenger of evil
My father(Exeunt BUTLER through one door, MACDONALD and
WALLENSTEIN. DEVEREUX through the other.
I'm not weakSCENE III.
Shortly I shall be quite myself again. SCENE-A Gahic and gloomy Apartment at the DUCHESS You'll grant me one request ?
FRIEDLAND'S. THEKLA on a seat, pale, her eyes closed. The Duchess and LADY NEUBRUNN
Name it, my daughter. busied about her. WALLENSTEIN and the COUNTESS
THEKLA. in conversation.
Permit the stranger to be call’d to me,
And grant me leave, that by myself I may
Hear his report and question him.
WALLENSTEIN. I saw it instantly. She flew to meet The Swedish courier, and with sudden questioning, Hush! Wherefore wouldst thou speak with him, my Soon wrested from him the disastrous secret.
daughter? Too late we miss'd her, hasten'd after her,
THEKLA, We found her lying in his arms, all pale
Knowing the whole, I shall be more collected : And in a swoon.
I will not be deceived. My mother wishes
Only to spare me. I will not be spared,
The worst is said already: I can hear
DUCHESS and COUNTESS.
Do it not.
My heart betray'd me in the stranger's presence ; She lives.
He was a witness of my weakness, yea,
I sank into his arms; and that has shamed me.
THEKLA, THE SWEDISH CAPTAIN, LADY NEUBRUNN. The stranger, may not think ungently of me.
CAPTAIN (respectfully approaching her). WALLENSTEIN.
Princess—I must entreat your gentle pardonI see she is in the right, and am inclined
My inconsiderate rash speech—How could ITo grant her this request of hers. Go, call him.
THEK LA (with dignity). (LADY NEUBRUNN goes to call him). You have beheld me in my agony.
A most distressful accident occasion'd
You from a stranger to become at once
CAPTAIN More pleasing to me, if alone I saw him:
I fear you hate my presence,
The fault is mine. Myself did wrest it from you.
The horror which came o'er me interrupted Leave her alone with him: for there are sorrows,
Your tale at its commencement. May it please you, Where of necessity the soul must be
Continue it to the end.
Princess, 't will The strength to rise superior to this blow.
Renew your anguish. It is mine own brave girl. I'll have her treated
I am firm,
I will be firm. Well-how began the engagement ?
We, lay, expecting no attack, at Neustadt, To-morrow early, but to leave us here.
Intrench'd but insecurely in our camp,
When towards evening rose a cloud of dust Yes, ye stay here, placed under the protection From the wood thitherward; our vanguard fled of gallant men.
Into the camp, and sounded the alarm.
Scarce had we mounted, ere the Pappenheimers, O take us with you, brother! Their horses at full speed, broke through the lines, Leave us not in this gloomy solitude
And leapt the trenches ; but their heedless courage To brood o'er anxious thoughts. The mists of doubt Had borne them onward far before the others Magnify evils to a shape of horror.
The infantry were still at distance only.
Their daring leader-
[THEKLA belrays agitation in her gestures. The
Officer pauses till she makes a sign to him to
proceed. O leave us not behind you in a place
CAPTAIN That forces us to such sad omens. Heavy
Both in van and flanks And sick within me is my heart
With our whole cavalry we now received them; These walls breathe on me, like a church-yard vault. Back to the trenches drove them, where the foot I cannot tell you, brother, how this place
Stretch'd out a solid ridge of pikes to meet them. Doth go against my nature. Take us with you. They neither could advance, nor yet retreat; Come, sister, join you your entreaty !--Niece, And as they stood on every side wedged in, Yours too. We all entreat you, take us with you! The Rhinegrave to their leader call'd aloud,
Inviting a surrender; but their leader, The place's evil omens will I change,
Young PiccolominiMaking it that which shields and shelters for me
[THEKLA, as giddy, grasps a chair.
Known by his plume, My best beloved.
And his long hair, gave signal for the trenches ; LADY NEUBRUNN (returning).
Himself leapt first, the regiment all plunged after. The Swedish officer.
Ilis charger, by a halbert gored, rear'd up,
Flung him with violence off, and over him
The horses, now no longer to be curbid,
[THEKLA who has accompanied the last speech with DUCHESS (to THEKLA, who starts and shivers). There-pale as death!--Child, 't is impossible
all the marks of increasing agony, trembles That thou shouldst speak with him. Follow thy mother.
through her whole frame, and is falling. The LADY NEUBRUNN runs to her, and receives het
in her arms. The Lady Neubrunn then may stay with me.
NEUBRUNN [Exeunl Duchess and Countess. My dearest lady