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And, I confess—the game does not lie wholly
To my advantage-Without doubt he thinks
If I can play false with the Emperor,
Who is my Sou'reign, I can do the like
With th' enemy, and that the one, too, were
Sooner to be forgiven me than the other.
Is not this your opinion too, Sir General ?
Wran. I have here an office merely, no opinion.
Wal. The Emperor hath urged me to the uttermost.
I can no longer honourably serve him.
For my security, in self-defence,
I take this hard step, which my conscience blames.
Wran. That I believe. So far would no one go
Who was not forc'd to it.
(After a pause.)
What may have impelled
Your princely Highness in this wise to act
Toward your Sovereign Lord and Emperor,
Beseems not us to expound or criticise.
The Swede is fighting for his good old cause,
With his good sword and conscience. This concurrence,
This opportunity, is in our favour,
And all advantages in war are lawful.
We take what offers without questioning;
And if all have its due and just proportions-
Wal. Of what then are ye doubting? Of my will ?
Or of my power? I pledg'd me to the Chancellor,
Would he trust me with sixteen thousand men,
That I would instantly go over to them
With eighteen thousand of the Emperor's troops.
Wran. Your Grace is known to be a mighty war-chief,
To be a second Attila and Pyrrhus.
'Tis talk'd of still with fresh astonishment,
How some years past, beyond all human faith,
You called an army forth, like a creation :
Wran. But still the Chancellor thinks,
It might yet be an easier thing from nothing
To call forth sixty thousand men of battle,
Than to persuade one sixtieth part of them
Wal. What now ? Out with it, friend!
Wran. To break their oaths.
Wal. And he thinks so ?-He judges like a Swede,
And like a Protestant. You Lutherans
Fight for your bible. You are int'rested
About the cause; and with your hearts you follow
Your banners.-Among you, whoe'er deserts
To the enemy, hath broken covenant
With two Lords at one time.-We've no such fancies.
Wran. Great God in Heaven! Have then the people
No house and home, no fire-side, no altar?
Wal. I will explain that to you, how it stands-
The Austrian has a country, ay, and loves it,
And has good cause to love it—but this army,
That calls itself th' Imperial, this that houses
Here in Bohemia, this has none-no country;
This is an outcast of all foreign lands,
Unclaim'd by town or tribe, to whom belongs
Nothing, except the universal sun.
Wran. But then the nobles and the officers ?
Such a desertion, such a felony,
It is without example, my Lord Duke,
In the world's history.
They are all mine-
Mine unconditionally-mine on all terms.
Not me, your own eyes you may trust.
(He gives him the paper containing the written
oath. Wrangel reads it through, and having read it, lays it on the table, remaining silent.)
So then ? Now comprehend you ?
Comprehend, who can! My Lord Duke! I will let the mask drop-yes ! I've full powers for a final settlement. The Rhinegrave stands but four days march from here With fifteen thousand men, and only waits For orders to proceed and join your army. Those orders I give out, immediately We're compromis'd. Wal.
What asks the Chancellor ?
Wran. (considerately) Twelve regiments, every man a
The warranty—and all might prove at last
Only false play-
Wran. (calmly proceeding) Am therefore forc'd
T' insist thereon, that he do formally,
Irrevocably break with th' Emperor,
Else not a Swede is trusted to Duke Friedland.
Wal. Come, brief, and open! What is the demand ?
Wran. That he forthwith disarm the Spanish reg'-
Attach'd to th’Emperor, that he seize Prague,
And to the Swedes give up that city, with
The strong pass Egra.
Wal. That is much indeed !
Prague !—Egra’s granted—But—but Prague !—'Twon't
I give you every security
Which you may ask of me in common reason-
But Prague-Bohemia—these, Sir General,
I can myself protect.
We doubt it not.
But 'tis not the protection that is now
Our sole concern. We want security,
That we shall not expend our men and money
All to no purpose
'Tis but reasonable.
Wran. And till we are indemnified, so long
Stays Prague in pledge.
Then trust you us so little ?
Wran. (rising) The Swede, if he would treat well with
Must keep a sharp look-out. We have been callid
Over the Baltic, we have sav'd the empire
From ruin—with our best blood have we seal'd
The liberty of faith, and gospel truth.
But now already is the benefaction
No longer felt, the load alone is felt.-
Ye look askance with evil eye upon us,
As foreigners, intruders in the empire,
And would fain send us, with some paltry sum
Of money, home again to our old forests.
No, no! my Lord Duke! no!-it never was
For Judas' pay, for chinking gold and silver,
That we did leave our King by the *Great Stone.
No, not for gold and silver have there bled
So many of our Swedish nobles- neither
Will we, with empty laurels for our payment,
Hoist sail for our own country. Citizens
* A great stone near Lützen, since called the Swede's Stone, the body of their great king having been found at the foot of it, after the battle in which he lost his life.
Will we remain upon the soil, the which
Our monarch conquer'd for himself, and died.
Wal. Help to keep down the common enemy,
And the fair border land must needs be your's.
Wran. But when the common enemy lies vanquish'd,
Who knits together our new friendship then ?
We know, Duke Friedland ! though perhaps the Swede
Ought not t' have known it, that you carry on
Secret negociations with the Saxons.
Who is our warranty, that we are not
The sacrifices in those articles
Which 'tis thought needful to conceal from us?
Wal. (rises) Think you of something better, Gustave
Of Prague no more.
Wran. Here my commission ends.
Wal. Surrender up to you my capital !
Far liever would I face about, and step
Back to my Emperor.
Wran. If time yet permits
Wal. That lies with me, even now, at any hour,
Wran. Some days ago, perhaps. To-day, no longer ; No longer since Sesina's been a prisoner.
(Wallenstein is struck, and silenced.)
My Lord Duke, hear me-We believe that you
At present do mean honourably by us.
Since yesterday we're sure of that—and now
This paper warrants for the troops, there's nothing
Stands in the way of our full confidence.
Prague shall not part us. Hear! The Chancellor
Contents himself with Albstadt; to your Grace
He gives up Ratschin and the narrow side,
But Egra, above all, must open to us,
Ere we can think of any junction.