Page images
PDF
EPUB

Oct. Come after me to Frauenberg, where now All, who are loyal, are assembling under Counts Altringer and Galas. Many others I've brought to a remembrance of their duty. This night be sure, that you escape from Pilsen. But. (strides up and down in excessive agitation, then

steps up to Octavio with resolved countenance.)

Count Piccolomini! Dare that man speak
Of honour to you, who once broke his troth.

Oct. He, who repents so deeply of it, dares.
But. Then leave me here, upon my word of honour!
Oct. What's your design?
But.

Leave me and my regiment.
Oct. I have full confidence in you. But tell me
What are you brooding ?
But.

That the deed will tell you.
Ask me no more at present. Trust to me.
Ye may trust safely. By the living God
Ye give him over, not to his good angel !
Farewell !

[Exit Butler. Ser. (enters with a billet)

A stranger left it, and is gone. The Prince-Duke's horses wait for you below. .

[Exit Servant. Oct. (reads) “ Be sure, make haste! Your faithful

Isolan."
- that I had but left this town behind me.
To split upon a rock so near the haven !-
Away! This is no longer a safe place for me!
Where can my son be tarrying?

Scene VI.

Octavio and Max. Piccolomini.

(Max. enters almost in a state of derangement from ex

treme agitation, his eyes roll wildly, his walk is unsteady, and he appears not to observe his father, who stands at a distance, and gazes at him with a countenance expressive of compassion. He paces with long strides through the chamber, then stands still again, and at last throws himself into a chair, staring vacantly at the object directly before him.)

Oct. (advances to him) I am going off, my son.

(Receiving no answer, he takes his hand.)

My son, farewell.
Max. Farewell.
Oct.

Thou wilt soon follow me ?
Max.

I follow thee? Thy way is crooked—it is not my way.

(Octavio drops his hand, and starts back.) 0, hadst thou been but simple and sincere, Ne'er had it come to this-all had stood otherwise. He had not done that foul and horrible deed, The virtuous had retained their influence o'er him : He had not fallen into the snares of villains. Wherefore so like a thief, and thief's accomplice Did'st creep hehind him—lurking for thy prey ? O, unblest falsehood! Mother of all evil! Thou misery-making demon, it is thou That sink'st us in perdition. Simple truth,

Sustainer of the world, had sav'd us all !
Father, I will not, I cannot excuse thee!
Wallenstein has deceiv'd me-0, most foully!
But thou hast acted not much better.
Oct.

Son!
My son, ah! I forgive thy agony !
Max. (rises, and contemplates his father with looks of

suspicion) Was't possible ? had'st thou the heart,

my father,
Had'st thou the heart to drive it to such lengths,
With cold premeditated purpose ? Thou-
Had'st thou the heart, to wish to see him guilty,
Rather than sav'd? Thou risest by his fall.
Octavio, 'twill not please me.
Oct.

God in Heaven!
Max. 0, woe is me! sure I have chang'd my nature.
How comes suspicion here—in the free soul ?
Hope, confidence, belief, are gone; for all
Lied to me, all what I e'er lov'd or honour'd.
No! No! Not all! She-she yet lives for me,
And she is true, and open as the Heavens !
Deceit is every where, hypocrisy,
Murder, and poisoning, treason, perjury:
The single holy spot is our love,
The only unprofan'd in human nature.

Oct. Max !-we will go together. 'Twill be better.

Max. What? ere I've taken a last parting leave,
The very last-no never!
Oct.

Spare thyself
The pang of necessary separation.
Come with me! Come, my son !

(Attempts to take him with him.) Max. No! as sure as God lives, no!

Oct. (more urgently) Come with me, I command thee!

I, thy father. Max. Command me what is human. I stay here. Oct. Max! in the Emperor's name I bid thee come. Max. No Emperor hath power to prescribe Laws to the heart; and would'st thou wish to rob me Of the sole blessing which my fate has left me, Her sympathy. Must then a cruel deed Be done with cruelty? Thé unalterable Shall I perform ignobly-steal away, With stealthy coward flight forsake her? No! She shall behold my suffering, my sore anguish, Hear the complaints of the disparted soul, And weep tears o'er me. O! the human race Have steely souls—but she is as an angel. From the black deadly madness of despair Will she redeem my soul, and in soft words Of comfort, plaining, loose this pang of death!

Oct. Thou wilt not tear thyself away, thou canst not. O, come, my son ! I bid thee save thy virtue.

Max. Squander not thou thy words in vain ;
The heart I follow, for I dare trust to it.
Oct. (trembling, and losing all self-command) Max!

Max ! if that most damned thing could be,
If thou—my son-my own blood—(dare I think it?)
Do sell thyself to him, the infamous ;
Do stamp this brand upon our noble house,
Then shall the world behold the horrible deed,
And in unnatural combat shall the steel
Of the son trickle with the father's blood.

Max. O hadst thou always better thought of men,
Thou hadst then acted better. Curst suspicion !
Unholy miserable doubt! To him

Nothing on earth remains unwrench'd and firm,
Who has no faith.
Oct.

And if I trust thy heart,
Will it be always in thy power to follow it ?
Max. The heart's voice thou hast not o'erpower'd-as

little
Will Wallenstein be able to o'erpower it.

Oct. O Max! I see thee never more again!
Max. Unworthy of thee wilt thou never see me.

Oct. I go to Frauenberg—the Pappenheimers
I leave thee here, the Lothrings too; Toskana
And Tiefenbach remain here to protect thee.
They love thee, and are faithful to their oath,
And will far rather fall in gallant contest
Than leave their rightful leader, and their honour.

Max. Rely on this, I either leave my life
In the struggle, or conduct them out of Pilsen.

Oct. Farewell, my son!
Max.

Farewell !
Oct.

How? not one look
Of filial love ? No grasp of the hand at parting ?
It is a bloody war, to which we are going,
And the event uncertain and in darkness.
So us'd we not to part-it was not so !
Is it then true ? I have a son no longer?

(Max. falls into his arms, they hold each other for a

long time in a speechless embrace, then go away at different sides. The curtain drops.)

« PreviousContinue »