Page images

A servant for Octavio Piccolomini.

(to the Countess, who cannot conceal her triumph) No exultation !-woman, triumph not ! For jealous are the powers of destiny. Joy premature, and shouts ere victory, Encroach upon their rights and privileges. We sow the seed, and they the growth determine.

[While he is making his exit, the curtain drops.]


Scene, as in the preceding Act.

Scene I.

Wallenstein, Octavio Piccolomini.

Wal. (coming forward in conversation,) He sends me

word from Linz, that he lies sick ;
But I have sure intelligence, that he
Secretes himself at Frauenberg with Galas.
Secure them both, and send them to me hither.
Remember, thou tak’st on thee the command
Of those same Spanish regiments,-constantly
Make preparation, and be never ready ;
And if they urge thee to draw out against me,
Still answer yes, and stand as thou wert fetter'd.
I know, that it is doing thee a service
To keep thee out of action in this business.
Thou lov'st to linger on in fair appearances;
Steps of extremity are not thy province,
Therefore have I sought out this part for thee,
Thou wilt this time be of most service to me
By thy inertness. The mean time, if fortune
Declare itself on my side, thou wilt know
What is to do.

(Enter Max. Piccolomini.)

Now go, Octavio.
This night must thou be off, take my own horses :
Him here I keep with me-make short farewell -
Trust me. I think we all shall meet again
In joy and thriving fortunes.

I shall see you

Oct. (to his son) Yet e'er I go.

Scene II.

Wallenstein, Max. Piccolomini.

Max. (advances to him) My General !

That am I no longer, if
Thou styl'st thyself the Emperor's officer.

Max. Then thou wilt leave the army General ?
Wal. I have renounc'd the service of the Emperor.
Max. And thou wilt leave the army ?

Rather hope I
To bind it nearer still and faster to me.

(He seats himself.)
Yes Max., I have delay'd to open it to thee,
Even till the hour of acting 'gins to strike.
Youth's fortunate feeling doth seize easily
The absolute right, yea, and a joy it is
To exercise the single apprehension
Where the sums square in proof;
But where it happens, that of two sure evils
One must be taken, where the heart not wholly
Brings itself back from out the strife of duties,
There 'tis a blessing to have no election,
And blank necessity is grace and favour.

- This is now present: do not look behind thee-
It can no more avail thee. Look thou forwards !
Think not! judge not ! prepare thyself to act !
The Court-it hath determind on my ruin,
Therefore I will to be beforehand with them.

We'll join the Swedes-right gallant fellows are they, And our good friends.

(He stops himself, expecting Piccolomini's answer,) I have ta'en thee by surprise. Answer me not. I grant thee time to recollect thyself.

(He rises, and retires at the back of the stage.

Max. remains for a long time motionless, in a
trance of excessive anguish. At his first motion
Wallenstein returns, and places himself before

Max. My General, this day thou makest me
Of age to speak in my own right and person,
For till this day I have been spared the trouble
To find out my own road. Thee have I follow'd
With most implicit, unconditional faith,
Sure of the right path if I follow'd thee.
To day, for the first time, dost thou refer
Me to myself, and forcest me to make
Election between thee and my own heart.

Wal. Soft cradled thee thy fortune till to-day :
Thy duties thou couldst exercise in sport,
Indulge all lovely instincts, act for ever
With undivided heart. It can remain
No longer thus. Like enemies, the roads
Start from each other. Duties strive with duties.
Thou must needs choose thy party in the war
Which is now kindling 'twixt thy friend and him
Who is thy Emperor.

War! is that the name?
War is as frightful as heaven's pestilence,
Yet it is good, is it heaven's will as that is.
Is that a good war, which against the Emperor
Thou wagest with the Emperor's own army?
O God of Heaven ! what a change is this.

Beseems it me to offer such persuasion
To thee, who, like the fix'd star of the pole
Wert all I gaz'd at on life's trackless ocean?
O! what a rent thou makest in my heart !
The ingrained instinct of old reverence,
The holy habit of obediency,
Must I pluck live asunder from thy name?
Nay, do not turn thy countenance upon me-
It always was a god looking at me!
Duke Wallenstein, its power is not departed :
The senses still are in thy bonds; although
Bleeding, the soul hath freed itself.

Max, hear me.
Max. O! do it not, I pray thee, do it not!
There is a pure and noble soul within thee,
Knows not of this unblest, unlucky doing.
Thy will is chaste, it is thy fancy only
Which hath polluted thee--and innocence,
It will not let itself be driv'n away
From that world-awing aspect. Thou wilt not,
Thou canst not end in this. It would reduce
All human creatures to disloyalty
Against the nobleness of their own nature.
'Twill justify the vulgar misbelief,
Which holdeth nothing noble in free will,
And trusts itself to impotence alone,
Made powerful only in an unknown power.

Wal. The world will judge me sternly ; I expect it.
Already have I said to my own self
All thou canst say to me. Who but avoids
Th’extreme-can he by going round avoid it ?
But here there is no choice. Yes, I must use
Or suffer violence-so stands the case,
There remains nothing possible but that.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »