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Oct. (suppressing resentment,) As yet thou know'st not
all, my son. I have Yet somewhat to disclose to thee.
(After a pause)
Hath made his preparations. He relies
Upon his stars. He deems us unprovided,
And thinks to fall upon us by surprise.
Yea, in his dream of hope, he grasps already
The golden circle in his hand. He errs.
We too have been in action-he but grasps
His evil fate, most evil, most mysterious !
Max. O nothing rash, my sire. By all that's good
Let me invoke thee-no precipitation !
Oct. With light tread stole he on his evil way,
And light of tread hath Vengeance stole on after him,
Unseen she stands already, dark behind him-
But one step more-he shudders in her grasp !
Thou hast seen Questenberg with me. As yet
Thou know'st but his ostensible commission-
He brought with him a private one, my son,
And that was for me only.
May I know it?
Oct. (seizes the patent,)
In this disclosure place I in thy hands
The Empire's welfare and thy father's life.
Dear to thy inmost heart is Wallenstein :
A powerful tie of love, of veneration,
Hath knit thee too him from thy earliest youth.
Thou nourishest the wish, let me still
Anticipate thy loitering confidence !
The hope thou nourishest to knit thyself .
Yet closer to him-
O my son!
I trust thy heart undoubtingly. But am I
Equally sure of thy collectedness ?
Wilt thou be able, with calm countenance,
To enter this man's presence, when that I
Have trusted to thee his whole fate ?
As thou dost trust me, father, with his crime.
(Octavio takes a paper out of his escrutoire, and
gives it to him.) Max. What ? how ?-a full imperial patent! Oct.
Read it. Max. (just glances on it,) Duke Friedland sentenc'd
and condemn'd! Oct.
Even so. Max. (throws down the paper,) O this is too much !
O unhappy error! Oct. Read on. Collect thyself. Max. (after he has read further, with a look of affright
and astonishment on his father,) How !-what!—Thou !-thou !
Oct." But for the present moment, till the King
Of Hungary may safely join the army,
Is the command assign'd to me.
And think'st thou,
Dost thou believe, that thou wilt tear it from him ?
O never hope it !-Father! father! father!
An inauspicious office is enjoin'd thee.
This paper here—this! and wilt thou enforce it?
The mighty, in the middle of his host,
Surrounded by his thousands, him would'st thou
Disarm-degrade! Thou art lost, both thou and all of us.
Oct. What hazard I incur thereby, I know.
In the great hand of God I stand. The Almighty
Will cover with his shield the imperial house,
And shatter, in his wrath, the work of darkness.
The Emperor hath true servants still ; and, even
Here in the camp, there are enough brave men,
Who for the good cause will fight gallantly.
The faithful have been warn'd—the dangerous
Are closely watch'd. I wait but the first step,
And then immediately—
What! on suspicion ?
The Emperor is no tyrant.
The deed alone he'll punish, not the wish.
The Duke hath yet his destiny in his power.
Let him but leave the treason uncompleted,
He will be silently displac'd from office,
And make way to his Emperor's royal son.
An honourable exile to his castles
Will be a benefaction to him rather
Than punishment. But the first open step-
Max. What call'st thou such a step? A wicked step
Ne'er will he take; but thou might'st easily,
Yea, thou hast done it, misinterpret him.
Oct. Nay, howsoever punishable were
Duke Friedland's purposes, yet still the steps
Which he hath taken openly, permit
A mild construction. It is my intention
To leave this paper wholly unenforc'd
Till some act is committed which convicts him
Of a high-treason, without doubt or plea,
And that shall sentence him.
But who the judge ?
Max. For ever, then, this paper will lie idle.
Oct. Too soon, I fear, its powers must all be prov'd. After the counter-promise of this evening, It cannot be but he must deem himself Secure of the majority with us ; And of the army's general sentiment He hath a pleasing proof in that petition Which thou deliver'st to him from the regiments. Add this too, I have letters that the Rhinegrave Hath chang'd his route, and travels by forc'd marches To the Bohemian Forest. What this purports, Remains unknown; and, to confirm suspicion, This night a Swedish nobleman arriv'd here.
Max. I have thy word. Thou'lt not proceed to action Before thou hast convinc'd me-me myself.
Oct. Is it possible ? Still, after all thou know'st, Canst thou believe still in his innocence ? Max. (with enthusiasm,) Thy judgment may mistake;
my heart cannot.
(moderates his voice and manner,)
These reasons might expound thy spirit or mine,
But they expound not Friedland—I have faith :
For as he knits his fortunes to the stars,
Even so doth he resemble them in secret,
Wonderful, still inexplicable courses !
Trust me, they do him wrong. All will be solv’d.
These smokes, at once, will kindle into flame-
The edges of this black and stormy cloud
Will brighten suddenly, and we shall view
The Unapproachable glide out in splendour.
Oct. I will await it.
Octavio and Max. as before. To them the Valet of the
Oct. How now, then ?
A despatch is at the door.
Oct. So early? From whom comes he then ? Who
is it? Val. That he refus'd to tell me. Oct.
Lead him in : And, hark you—let it not transpire.
[Exit Valet—the Cornet steps in.)
Ha! Cornet—is it you ? and from Count Galas?
Give me your letters,
Trusted it not to letters.
And what is it?
Cor. He bade me tell you-Dare I speak openly here?
Oct. My son knows all.
We have him. Oct.
Sisina, The old negociator.
Oct. (eagerly,) And you have him?
Cor. In the Bohemian forest, Captain Mohrbrand
Found and secur’d him yester morning early :
He was proceeding then to Regensburg,
And on him were despatches for the Swede.
Oct. And the despatches-