Page images

Scene VII.

Wallenstein, Tertsky.

Wal. (stepping to the window) What now, then ?
Ter. There are strange movements among all the

And no one knows the cause. Mysteriously,
With gloomy silentness, the several corps
Marshal themselves, each under its own banners.
Tiefenbach's corps make threatening movements; only
The Pappenheimers still remain aloof
In their own quarters, and let no one enter.

Wal. Does Piccolomini appear among them?
Ter. We are seeking him : he is no where to be met

Wal. What did the Aide-de-camp deliver to you?

Ter. My regiments had despatched him; yet once more
They swear fidelity to thee, and wait
The shout for onset, all prepar'd, and eager.

Wal. But whence arose this larum in the camp?
It should have been kept secret from the army,
Till fortune had decided for us at Prague.

Ter. O that thou hadst believ'd me! Yester evening
Did we conjure thee not to let that skulker,
That fox, Octavio, pass the gates of Pilsen.
Thou gav'st him thy own horses to flee from thee.

Wal. The old tune still ! Now, once for all, no more. Of this suspicion-it is doting folly.

Ter. Thou did'st confide in Isolani too; And lo! he was the first that did desert thee.

Wal. It was but yesterday I rescued him From abject wretchedness. Let that go by. I never reckon'd yet on gratitude. And wherein doth he wrong in going from me? He follows still the god whom all his life He has worshipp'd at the gaming table. With My fortune, and my seeming destiny, He made the bond, and broke it not with me. I am but the ship in which his hopes were stow'd, And with the which well-pleas'd and confident He travers’d the open sea; now he beholds it In imminent jeopardy among the coast-rocks, And hurries to preserve his wares.

As light As the free bird from the hospitable twig Where it had nested, he flies off from me: No human tie is snapp'd betwixt us two. Yea, he deserves to find himself deceiv'd, Who seeks a heart in the unthinking man. Like shadows on a stream, the forms of life Impress their characters on the smooth forehead, Nought sinks into the bosom's silent depth : Quick sensibility of pain and pleasure Moves the light fluids lightly; but no soul Warmeth the inner frame. Ter.

Yet, would I rather Trust the smooth brow than that deep furrow'd one.

Scene VIII.

Wallenstein, Tertsky, Illo, (who enters agitated with


Illo. Treason and mutiny!

And what further now?
Illo. Tiefenbach's soldiers, when I gave the orders
To go off guard-Mutinous villains !

Well ?
Wal. What follow'd ?
Illo. They refus'd obedience to them.
Ter. Fire on them instantly! Give out the order.
Wal. Gently! What cause did they assign?

No other,
They said, had right to issue orders but
Lieutenant-General Piccolomini.

Wal. (in a convulsion of agony) What? How is that?

Illo. He takes that office on him by commission,
Under sign-manual of the Emperor.

Ter. From th’Emp'ror-hear'st thou, Duke ?

At his incitement
The Generals made that stealthy flight-

Duke! hear'st thou ?
Illo. Caraffa, too, and Montecuculi,
Are missing, with six other Generals,
All whom he had induc'd to follow him.
This plot he has long had in writing by him
From the Emperor; but 'twas finally concluded,
With all the detail of the operation
Some days ago with the Envoy Questenberg.
(Wallenstein sinks down into a chair and covers his face.)

Ter. O hadst thou but believed me !

Scene IX.

To them enters the Countess.


This suspense,
This horrid fear-I can no longer bear it.
For heaven's sake, tell me, what has taken place.

Illo. The regiments are all falling off from us.
Ter. Octavio Piccolomini is a traitor.
Coun. O my foreboding! (rushes out of the room.)

Hadst thou but believ'd me!
Now seest thou how the stars have lied to thee.

Wal. The stars lie not; but we have here a work Wrought counter to the stars and destiny. The science is still honest: this false heart Forces a lie on the truth-telling heaven. On a divine law divination rests ; Where Nature deviates from that law, and stumbles Out of her limits, there all science errs. True, I did not suspect! Were it superstition Never by such suspicion t' have affronted The human form, O may that time ne'er come In which I shame me of th’ infirmity. The wildest savage drinks not with the victim, In whose breast he means to plunge the sword. This, this, Octavio, was no hero's deed: 'Twas not thy prudence that did conquer mine ; A bad heart triumph'd o'er an honest one. No shield receiv'd the assassin stroke; thou plungest Thy weapon on an unprotected breastAgainst such weapons I am but a child.


To these enter Butler.

Ter. (meeting him) O look there! Butler! Here we've

still a friend ! Wal. (meets him with outspread arms, and embraces

him with warmth) Come to my heart, old comrade!

Not the sun
Looks out upon us more revivingly
In the earliest month of spring,
Than a friend's countenance in such an hour.

But. My General ! I come-
Wal. (leaning on Butler's shoulder)

thou already?
That old man has betray'd me to the Emperor.
What say'st thou ? Thirty years have we together
Liv'd out, and held out, sharing joy and hardship.
We have slept in one camp-bed, drunk from one glass,
One morsel shar'd! I lean'd myself on him,
As now I lean me on thy faithful shoulder.
And now in the very moment, when, all love,
All confidence, my bosom beat to his,
He sees and takes the advantage, stabs the knife
Slowly into my heart.

(he hides his face in Butler's breast.) But.

Forget the false one.
What is your present purpose ?

Well remember'd!
Courage, my soul! I am still rich in friends,
Still lov'd by destiny; for in the moment,
That it unmasks the plotting hypocrite,

« PreviousContinue »