Page images

Here is no splendour but of arms. Or think'st thou
That all these thousands are here congregated
To lead up the long dances at thy wedding ?
Thou see'st thy father's forehead full of thought,
Thy mother's eye in tears: upon the balance
Lies the great destiny of all our house.
Leave now the puny wish, the girlish feeling,
O thrust it far behind thee! Give thou proof,
That thou’rt the daughter of the Mighty-his,
Who where he moves creates the wonderful.
Not to herself the woman must belong,
Annex'd and bound to alien destinies.
But she performs the best part, she the wisest,
Who can transmute the alien into self,
Meet and disarm necessity by choice;
And what must be, take freely to her heart,
And bear and foster it with mother's love.

Thek. Such ever was my lesson in the convent.
I had no loves, no wishes, knew myself
Only as his-his daughter-his, the Mighty !
His fame, the echo of whose blast drove to me
From the far distance, waken'd in my soul
No other thought than this-I am appointed
To offer up myself in passiveness to him.

Coun. That is thy fate. Mould thou thy wishes to it. I and thy mother gave thee the example.

Thek. My fate hath shown me him, to whom behoves it That I should offer up myself. In gladness Him will I follow. Coun.

Not thy fate hath shown him !
Thy heart, say rather—'twas thy heart, my child!

Thek. Fate hath no voice but the heart's impulses.
I am all his! His Present-his alone
Is this new life, which lives in me. He hath

A right to his own creature. What was I
Ere his fair love infus'd a soul into me?

Coun. Thou would'st oppose thy father then, should he Have otherwise determin'd with thy person ?

(Thekla remains silent. The Countess continues.)
Thou mean'st to force him to thy liking ?-Child,
His name is Friedland.

My name too is Friedland.
He shall have found a genuine daughter in me.

Coun. What? he has vanquish'd all impediment,
And in the wilful mood of his own daughter
Shall a new struggle rise for him ? Child! child !
As yet thou hast seen thy father's smiles alone;
The eye of his rage thou hast not seen. Dear child,
I will not frighten thee. To that extreme,
I trust, it ne'er shall come. His will is yet
Unknown to me: 'tis possible, his aims
May have the same direction as thy wish.
But this can never, never be his will,
That thou, the daughter of his haughty fortunes,
Should's e'er demean thee as a love sick maiden ;
And like some poor cost-nothing, fling thyself
Toward the man, who, if that high prize ever
Be destin'd to await him, yet, with sacrifices
The highest love can bring, must pay for it.

[Exit Countess. Thek. (who during the last speech had been standing

evidently lost in her reflections.)
I thank thee for the hint. It turns
My sad presentiment to certainty.
And it is so !-Not one friend have we here,
Not one true heart! we've nothing but ourselves !
O she said rightly-no auspicious signs
Beam on this covenant of our affections.

This is no theatre, where hope abides.
The dull thick noise of war alone stirs here.
And Love himself, as he were arm'd in steel,
Steps forth, and girds him for the strife of death.

(Music from the banquet room is heard.)
There's a dark spirit walking in our house,
And swiftly will the destiny close on us.
It drove me hither from my calm asylum,
It mocks my soul with charming witchery,
It lures me forward in a seraph's shape,
I see it near, I see it nearer floating,
It draws, it pulls me with a god-like power-
And lo! the abyss—and thither am I moving-
I have no power within me not to move!

(The music from the banquet room becomes louder.) O when a house is doom'd in fire to perish, Many and dark heaven drives his clouds together, Yea, shoots his lightnings down from sunny heights, Flames burst from out the subterraneous chasms, * And fiends and angels, mingling in their fury, Fling fire-brands at the burning edifice. [Exit Thekla.

* There are few, who will not have taste enough to laugh at the two concluding lines of this soliloquy; and still fewer, I would fain hope, who would not have been more disposed to shudder, had I given a faithful translation. For the readers of German I have added the original':

Blind-wüthend schleudert selbst der Gott der Freude
Den Pechkranz in das brennende Gebaude,


A large saloon lighted up with festal splendour ; in the midst of it, and in the centre of the stage, a table richly set out, at which eight generals are sitting, among whom are Octavio Piccolomini, Tertsky, and Maradas. Right and left of this, but further back, two other tables, at each of which six persons are placed. The middle door, which is standing open, gives to the prospect a fourth table, with the same number of persons. More forward stands the sideboard. The whole front of the stage is kept open for the pages and servants in waiting. All is in motion. The band of music belonging to Tertsky's regiment march across the stage, and draw up round the tables. Before they are quite off from the front of the stage, Max. Piccolomini appears ; Tertsky advances towards him with a paper, Isolani comes up to meet him with a beaker or service-cup.

Tertsky, Isolani, Max. Piccolomini.

Iso. Here brother, what we love! Why, where hast

been ? Off, to thy place-quick! Tertsky here has given The mother's holiday wine up to free booty. Here it goes on as at the Heideberg castle. Already hast thou lost the best. They're giving At yonder table ducal crowns in shares; There's Sternberg's lands and chattels are put up, With Eggenberg's, Stawata's, Lichtenstein's, And all the great Bohemian feodalities. Be nimble, lad ! and something may turn up For thee-who knows? Off-to thy place! quick ! march!

Tief. and Goetz (call out from the second and third


Count Piccolomini!
Ter. Stop, ye shall have him in an instant.-Read
This oath here, whether as 'tis here set forth,
The wording satisfies you. They've all read it,
Each in his turn, and each one will subscribe
His individual signature.

Max. (reads,) “Ingratis servire nefas.".

Iso. That sounds to my ears very much like Latin, And being interpreted, pray what may't mean?

Ter, No honest man will serve a thankless master.

Max. “Inasmuch as our supreme commander, the illustrious Duke of Friedland, in consequence of the manifold affronts and grievances which he has received, had expressed his determination to quit the Emperor, but on our unanimous entreaty has graciously consented to remain still with the army, and not to part from us without our approbation thereof, so we, collectively and each in particular, in the stead of an oath personally taken, do hereby oblige ourselves-likewise by him honourably and faithfully to hold, and in no wise whatsoever from him to part, and to be ready to shed for his interests the last drop of our blood, so far, namely, as our oath to the Emperor will permit it. (These last words are repeated by Isolani.) In testimony of which we subscribe our names."

Ter. Now !-are you willing to subscribe this paper ?

Iso. Why should he not? All officers of honour
Can do it, ay must do it.-Pen and ink here !

Ter. Nay, let it rest till after meal.
Iso. (drawing Max. along,) Come, Max.

(Both seat themselves at their table.)

« PreviousContinue »