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Far more than their most holy affirmations.
Traitors they are, and must be; therefore wisely
Will make a virtue of necessity.
Ter. Well, well, it shall content me ; let but something
Be done, let only some decisive blow
Set us in motion.
Illo. Besides, 'tis of subordinate importance
How, or how far, we may thereby propel
The generals. 'Tis enough that we persuade
The Duke, that they are his-Let him but act
In his determin'd mood, as if he had them,
And he will have them. Where he plunges in,
He makes a whirlpool, and all stream down to it.
Ter. His policy is such a labyrinth,
That many a time when I have thought myself
Close at his side, he's gone at once, and left me
Ignorant of the ground where I was standing.
He lends the enemy his ear, permits me
To write to them, to Arnheim, to Sesina;
Himself comes forward blank and undisguis'd ;
Talks with us by the hour about his plans,
And when I think I have him-off at once-
He has slipp'd from me, and appears as if
He had no scheme, but to retain his place.
Illo. He give up his old plans! I'll tell you, friend!
His soul is occupied with nothing else,
Even in his sleep_they are his thoughts, his dreams-
That day by day he questions for this purpose
The motions of the planets-
Ay! you know
This night, that is now coming, he with Seni
Shuts himself up in the astrological tower
To make joint observations--for I hear,
It is to be a night of weight and crisis,
And something great, and of long expectation,
Is to make its procession in the heaven.
Illo. Come! be we bold and make despatch. The work
In this next day or two must thrive and grow
More than it has for years. And let but only
Things first turn up auspicious here below
Mark what I say—the right stars too will show themselves.
Come, to the generals. All is in the glow,
And must be beaten while 'tis malleable.
Ter. Do you go thither, Illo. I must stay
And wait here for the Countess Tertsky. Know,
That we too are not idle. Break one string,
A second is in readiness.
I saw your Lady smile with such sly meaning.
What's in the wind ?
Ter. A secret. Hush! she comes. [Exit Illo.
(The Countess steps out from a closet.)
Count and Countess Tertsky.
Ter. Well—is she coming-I can keep him back
She will be there instantly.
You only send him.
I am not quite certain,
I must confess it, Countess, whether or no
We are earning the Duke's thanks hereby. You know,
No ray has broke out from him on this point.
You have o'errul'd me, and yourself know best
How far you dare proceed.
I take it on me.
(talking to herself, while she is advancing)
Here's no need of full powers and commissions-
My cloudy Duke! we understand each other-
And without words. What, could I not unriddle,
Wherefore the daughter should be sent for hither,
Why first he, and no other, should be chosen
To fetch her hither! This sham of betrothing her
To a bridegroom,* when no one knows-No! no!
This may blind others ! I see thro' thee, Brother!
But it beseems thee not, to draw a card
At such a game. Not yet!-It all remains
Mutely deliver'd up to my finessing--
Well-thou shalt not have been deceiv'd, Duke Friedland !
In her who is thy sister.-
Ser. (enters) The commanders!
Ter. (to the Countess) Take care you heat his fancy and
Possess him with a reverie, and send him,
Absent, and dreaming, to the banquet; that
He may not boggle at the signature.
Coun. Take you care of your guests !-Go, send him
hither. Ter. All rests upon his undersigning. Coun. (interrupting him) Go to your guests! Go
Illo. (comes back) Where art staying, Tertsky? The house is full, and all expecting you.
Ter. Instantly! instantly!
* In Germany, after honourable addresses have been paid and formally accepted, the lovers are called bride and bridegroom, even though the marriage should not take place till years afterwards.
(To the Countess.)
And let him not
Stay here too long. It might awake suspicion
In the old man
Coun. A truce with your precautions !
[Exeunt Tertsky and Illo.
Countess, Max. Piccolomini.
Max. (peeping in on the stage shily) Aunt Tertsky !
may I venture ?
(Advances to the middle of the stage, and looks
around him with uneasiness.)
She's not here !
Where is she ?
Look but somewhat narrowly
In yonder corner, lest perhaps she lie
Conceal'd behind that screen.
There lie her gloves !
(Snatches at them, but the Countess takes them
herself.) You unkind Lady! You refuse me thisYou make it an amusement to torment me.
Coun. And this the thanks you give me for my trouble ?
Max. O, if you felt the oppression at my heart ! Since we've been here, so to constrain myself With such
stealth to hazard words and glancesThese, these are not my habits ! Coun.
You have still Many new habits to acquire, young friend !
But on this proof of your obedient temper
I must continue to insist ; and only
On this condition can I play the agent
For your concerns.
• But wherefore comes she not ? Where is she?
Coun. Into my hands you must place it
Whole and entire. Whom could you find, indeed,
More zealously affected to your interest ?
No soul on earth must know it-not your father.
He must not above all.
Alas! what danger?
Here is no face on which I might concentre
All, the enraptur'd soul stirs up within me.
O Lady! tell me. Is all chang'd around me;
Or is it only I?
I find myself,
As among strangers! Not a trace is left
Of all my former wishes, former joys.
Where has it vanish'd to ? There was a time
When ev'n, methought, with such a world, as this,
I was not discontented. Now, how flat !
How stale! No life, no bloom, no flavour in it!
My comrades are intolerable to me.
My father-Even to him I can say nothing.
My arms, my military duties-0!
They are such wearying toys !
But, gentle friend ! 1 must entreat it of your condescension, You would be pleas'd to sink your eye, and favour With one short glance or two this poor stale world, Where even now much, and of much moment, Is on the eve of its completion. Мах.