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Illo. (eagerly to Tertsky) Go, call him!
He stands without the door in waiting.
Stay yet a little. It hath taken me
All by surprise,-it came to quick upon me;
'Tis wholly novel, that an accident,
With its dark lordship, and blind agency,
Should force me on with it.
First hear him only,
And after weigh it.
[Exeunt Tertsky and Illo.
Wal. (in soliloquy)
Is it possible ?
Is't so? I can no longer what I would ?
No longer draw back at my liking? I
Must do the deed, because I thought of it,
And fed this heart here with a dream? Because
I did not scowl temptation from my presence,
Dallied with thoughts of possible fulfilment,
Commenced no movement, left all time uncertain,
And only kept the road, the access open ?
By the great God of Heaven! It was not
My serious meaning, it was ne'er resolve.
I but amus'd myself with thinking of it.
The free-will tempted me, the power to do
Or not to do it.-Was it criminal
To make the fancy minister to hope,
To fill the air with pretty toys of air,
And clutch fantastic sceptres moving t’ward me?
Was not the will kept free? Beheld I not
The road of duty close beside me- but
One little step, and once more I was in it !
Where am I? Whither have I been transported ?
No road, no track behind me, but a wall,
Rises obedient to the spells I mutter'd
And meant not-my own doings tower behind me.
(Pauses and remains in deep thought.)
A punishable man I seem, the guilt,
Try what I will, I cannot roll off from me ;
The equivocal demeanour of my life .
Bears witness on my prosecutor's party ;
And even my purest acts from purest motives
Suspicion poisons with malicious gloss.
Were I that thing, for which I pass, that traitor,
A goodly outside I had sure reserv'd,
Had drawn the cov’rings thick and double round me,
Been calm and chary of my utterance.
But being conscious of the innocence
Of my intent, my uncorrupted will,
I gave way to my humours, to my passion :
Bold were my words, because my deeds were not.
Now every planless measure, chance event,
The threat of rage, the vaunt of joy and triumph,
And all the May-games of a heart o’erflowing,
Will they connect, and weave them all together
Into one web of treason ; all will be plan,
My eye ne'er absent from the far-off mark,
Step tracing step, each step a politic progress ;
And out of all they'll fabricate a charge
So specious, that I must myself stand dumb.
I am caught in my own net, and only force,
Naught but a sudden rent can liberate me.
(Pauses again.) How else! since that the heart's unbias'd instinct
Impell’d me to the daring deed, which now
Necessity, self-preservation, orders.
Stern is the on-look of necessity,
Not without shudder may a human hand
Grasp the mysterious urn of destiny.
My deed was mine, remaining in my bosom.
Once suffer'd to escape from it's safe corner
Within the heart, it's nursery and birth-place,
Sent forth into the foreign, it belongs
For ever to those sly malicious powers
Whom never art of man conciliated.
(Paces in agitation through the chamber, then
pauses, and, after the pause, breaks out again
into audible soliloquy.)
What is thy enterprise ? thy aim ? thy object ?
Hast honestly confess'd it to thyself ?
Power seated on a quiet throne thou’dst shake,
Power on an ancient consecrated throne,
Strong in possession, founded in old custom ;
Power by a thousand tough and stringy roots
Fix'd to the people's pious nursery-faith.
This, this will be no strife of strength with strength.
That fear'd I not. I brave each combatant,
Whom I can look on, fixing eye to eye,
Who full himself of courage kindles courage
In me too. 'Tis a foe invisible
The which I fear-a fearful enemy,
Which in the human heart opposes me,
By it's coward fear alone made fearful to me.
Not that, which full of life, instinct with pow'r,
Makes known its present being, that is not
The true, the perilously formidable.
O no! it is the common, the quite common,
The thing of an eternal yesterday,
What ever was, and ever more returns,
Stirling to-morrow, for to-day 'twas sterling!
For of the wholly common is man made,
And custom is his nurse! Woe then to them,
Who lay irreverent hands upon his old
House furniture, the dear inheritance
From his forefathers. For time consecrates;
And what is grey with age becomes religion.
Be in possession, and thou hast the right,
And sacred will the many guard it for thee!
(To the Page, who here enters.) The Swedish officer?-Well, let him enter.
(The Page exit, Wallenstein fixes his eye in deep
thought on the door.)
Yet is it pure—as yet !—the crime has come
Not o'er this threshold yet—so slender is
The boundary that divideth life's two paths.
Wal. (after having fixed a searching look on him)
Your name is Wrangel ?
Gustave Wrangel, General
Of the Sudermanian blues.
It was a Wrangel
Who injur'd me materially at Stralsund,
And by his brave resistance was the cause
Of th' opposition which that sea-port made.
Wran. It was the doing of the element With which you fought, my Lord! and not my merit.
The Baltic Neptune did assert his freedom ; ;
The sea and land, it seem'd, were not to serve
One and the same.
Wal. (makes the motion for him to take a seat, and
seats himself) And where are your credentials ? Come you provided with full powers, Sir General ?
Wran. There are so many scruples yet to solve-
Wal. (having read the credentials) An able letter !--
Ay–he is a prudent,
Intelligent master, whom you serve, Sir General !
The Chancellor writes me, that he but fulfils
His late departed Sovereign's own idea
In helping me to the Bohemian crown.
Wran. He says the truth. Our great King, now in
Did ever deem most highly of your Grace's
Pre-eminent sense and military genius;
And always the commanding intellect,
He said, should have command, and be the King.
Wal. Yes, he might say it safely.-General Wrangel,
(Taking his hand affectionately.)
Come, fair and open.—Trust me, I was always
A Swede at heart. Ey! that did you experience
Both in Silesia and at Nuremburg ;
I had you often in my power, and let you
Always slip out by some back door or other.
'Tis this for which the court can ne'er forgive me,
Which drives me to this present step: and since
Our interests so run in one direction,
E’n let us have a thorough confidence
Each in the other.
Confidence will come
Has each but only first security.
Wal. The Chancellor still, I see, does not quite trust me,