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Scene II.

Enter Octavio Piccolomini, and Questenberg.

Oct.(still in the distance) Ay, ay! more still ! still more

new visitors ! Acknowledge, friend ! that never was a camp, Which held at once so many heads of heroes.

(Approaching nearer.) Welcome, Count Isolani ! Iso.

My noble brother,
Even now am I arriv'd; it had been else my duty-

Oct. And Colonel Butler-trust me, I rejoice
Thus to renew acquaintance with a man
Whose worth and services I know and honour.
See, see, my friend!
There might we place at once before our eyes
The sum of war's whole trade and mystery-

(To Questenberg, presenting Butler and Isolani at

the same time to him.) These two the total sum-Strength and Despatch. Ques. (to Octavio.) And lo! betwixt them both ex

perienc'd Prudence ! Oct. (presenting Questenberg to Butler and Isolani.) The Chamberlain and War-commissioner Questenberg, The bearer of the Emperor's behests, The long-tried friend and patron of all soldiers, We honour in this noble visitor. (Universal silence.) Illo. (moving towards Questenberg.) 'Tis not the first

time, noble Minister, You have shown our camp this honour. Ques.

Once before I stood before these colours.

Illo. Perchance, too, you remember where that was. It was at Znäim* in Moravia, where You did present yourself upon the part Of th’Emperor, to supplicate our Duke That he would straight assume the chief command.

Ques. To supplicate ? Nay, noble General ! So far extended neither my commission (At least to my own knowledge) nor my zeal.

Illo. Well, well then—to compel him, if you choose.
I can remember me right well, Count Tilly
Had suffered total rout upon the Lech.
Bavaria lay all open to the enemy,
Whom there was nothing to delay from pressing
Onwards into the very heart of Austria.
At that time you and Werdenberg appear'd
Before our General, storming him with prayers,
And menacing the Emperor's displeasure,
Unless he took compassion on this wretchedness.
Iso. (steps up to them.) Yes, yes, 'tis comprehensible

enough,
Wherefore with your commission of to-day
You were not all too willing to remember
Your former one,
Ques.

Why not, Count Isolan ?
No contradiction sure exists between them.
It was the urgent business of that time
To snatch Bavaria from her enemy's hand;
And my commission of to-day instructs me
To free her from her good friends and protectors.

Illo. A worthy office! After with our blood
We have wrested this Bohemia from the Saxon,

* A town not far from the Mine-mountains, on the high road from Vienna to Prague.

Nay,

To be swept out of it is all our thanks,
The sole reward of all our hard-won victories.

Ques. Unless that wretched land be doom'd to suffer
Only a change of evils, it must be
Freed from the scourge alike of friend and foe.

Illo. What? 'Twas a favourable year; the Boors
Can answer fresh demands already.

Ques.
If you discourse of herds and meadow-grounds

Iso. The war maintains the war. Are the Boors ruin'd,
The Emperor gains so many more new soldiers.
Ques. And is the poorer by even so many subjects.
Iso. Poh! We are all his subjects.

Ques. Yet with a difference, General! The one fill
With profitable industry the purse,
The others are well skill'd to empty it.
The sword has made the Emperor poor ; the plough
Must reinvigorate his resources.
Iso.

Sure!
Times are not yet so bad. Methinks I see

(examining with his eye the dress and ornaments

of Questenberg) Good store of gold that still remains uncoin'd. Ques. Thank Heaven! that means have been found out

to hide Some little from the fingers of the Croats.

Illo. There! The Stawata and the Martinitz, On whom the Emperor heaps his gifts and graces, To the heart-burning of all good BohemiansThose minions of court favour, those court harpies, Who fatten on the wrecks of citizens Driven from their house and home-who reap no harvests Save in the general calamityWho now, with kingly pomp, insult and mock

The desolation of their country-these,
Let these, and such as these, support the war,
The fatal war, which they alone enkindled!

But. And those state-parasites, who have their feet
So constantly beneath the Emperor's table,
Who cannot let a benefice fall, but they
Snap at it with dog's hunger-they, forsooth,
Would pare the soldier's bread, and cross his reckoning!

18o. My life long will it anger me to think, How when I went to court seven years ago, To see about new horses for our regiments, How from one antechamber to another They dragg’d me on, and left me by the hour To kick my heals among a croud of simpering, Feast-fatten'd slaves, as if I had come thither A mendicant suitor for the crumbs of favour That fall beneath their tables. And, at last, Whom should they send me but a Capuchin! Straight I began to muster up my sins For absolution-but no such luck for me! This was the man, this Capuchin, with whom I was to treat concerning th' army horses. And I was forc'd at last to quit the field, The business unaccomplish'd. Afterwards The Duke procur’d me in three days, what I Could not obtain in thirty at Vienna. Ques. Yes, yes ! your travelling bills soon found their

way to us :
Too well I know we have still accounts to settle.

Illo. War is a violent trade; one cannot always
Finish one's work by soft means; every trifle
Must not be blacken'd into sacrilege.
If we should wait till you, in solemn counci),
With due deliberation had selected

The smallest out of four-and-twenty evils,
l' faith we should wait long.-
“ Dash ! and through with it !”—That's the better watch-

word.
Then after come what may come. 'Tis man's nature
To make the best of a bad thing once past.
A bitter and perplexed “ What shall I do?”
Is worse to man than worst necessity.

Ques. Ay, doubtless, it is true; the Duke does spare us
The troublesome task of choosing.
But.

Yes, the Duke Cares with a father's feelings for his troops ; But how the Emperor feels for us, we see.

Ques. His cares and feelings all ranks share alike, Nor will he offer one up to another.

Iso. And therefore thrusts he us into the deserts, As beasts of prey, that so he may preserve His dear sheep fattening in his fields at home. Ques. (with a sneer) Count, this comparison you make,

not I. But. Why, were we all the Court supposes us, 'Twere dangerous, sure, to give us liberty.

Ques. You have taken liberty-it was not given you. And therefore it becomes an urgent duty To rein it in with curbs. Oct. (interposing and addressing Questenberg.)

My noble friend, This is no more than a remembrancing That you are now in camp, and among warriors. The soldier's boldness constitutes his freedom. Could he act daringly, unless he dar'd Talk even so ? One runs into the other. The boldness of this worthy officer, (pointing to Butler.) Which now has but mistaken in its mark,

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