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With most determin'd soul did I come hither,
My purpos'd action seem'd unblameable
To my own conscience and I must stand here
Like one abhorr’d, a hard inhuman being;
Yea, loaded with the curse of all I love!
Must see all whom I love in this sore anguish,
Whom I, with one word, can make happy-O!
My heart revolts within me, and two voices
Make themselves audible within my bosom.
My soul's benighted; I no longer can
Distinguish the right track. O, well and truly
Didst thou say, father, I relied too much
On my own heart. My mind moves to and fro-
I know not what to do.
What! you know not ?
Does not your own heart tell you ? O! then I
Will tell it you. Your father is a traitor,
A frightful traitor to us-he has plotted
Against our general's life, has plung'd us all
In misery-and you're his son ! 'Tis yours
To make the amends-Make you the son's fidelity
Outweigh the father's treason, that the name
Of Piccolomini be not a proverb
Of infamy, a common form of cursing
To the posterity of Wallenstein.
Max. Where is that voice of truth which I dare
It speaks no longer in my heart. We all
But utter what our passionate wishes dictate.
O that an angel would descend from Heaven,
And scoop for me the right, the uncorrupted,
With a pure hand from the pure Fount of Light.
(His eyes glance on Thekla.)
What other angel seek I? To this heart,
To this unerring heart, will I submit it,
Will ask thy love, which has the power to bless
The happy man alone, averted ever
From the disquieted and guilty-canst thou
Still love me, if I stay? Say that thou can'st,
And I am the Duke's-
Think nothing, Thekla !
Speak what thou feelest.
Think upon your father.
Max. I did not question thee as Friedland's daughter.
Thee, the beloved, and the unerring god
Within thy heart, I question. What's at stake?
Not whether diadem of royalty
Be to be won or no--that mightst thou think on.
Thy friend, and his soul's quiet, are at stake ;
The fortune of a thousand gallant men,
Who will all follow me: shall I forswear
My oath and duty to the Emperor ?
Say, shall I send into Octavio's camp
The parricidial ball ? For when the ball
Has left its cannon, and is on its flight,
It is no longer a dead instrument;
It lives, a spirit passes into it,
The avenging furies seize possession of it,
And with sure malice guide it the worst way.
Thek. O! Max.
Max. (interrupting her,) Nay, not precipitately either,
I understand thee. To thy noble heart
The hardest duty might appear the highest.
The human, not the great part, would I act.
Ev'n from my childhood to this present hour,
Think what the Duke has done for me, how lov'd me,
And think, too, how my father has repay'd him.
O likewise the free lovely impulses
Of hospitality, the pious friend's
Faithful attachment, these, too, are a holy
Religion to the heart; and heavily
The shudderings of nature do avenge
Themselves on the barbarian that insults them.
Lay all upon the balance, all—then speak,
And let thy heart decide it.
O, thy own
Hath long ago decided. Follow thou
Thy heart's first feeling-
Oh! ill-fated woman!
Thek. Is it possible, that that can be the right,
The which thy tender heart did not at first
Detect and seize with instant impulse? Go,
Fulfil thy duty! I should ever love thee.
Whate'er thou hadst chosen, thou would'st still have
Nobly and worthy of thee—but repentance
Shall ne'er disturb thy soul's fair peace.
Must leave thee, must part from thee!
To thine own self, thou art faithful, too, to me;
If our fates part, our hearts remain united.
A bloody hatred will divide for ever
The houses, Piccolomini and Friedland;
But we belong not to our houses-Go!
Quick ! quick! and separate thy righteous cause
From our unholy and unblessed one!
The curse of heaven lies upon our head;
'Tis dedicate to ruin. Even me
My father's guilt drags with it to perdition.
Mourn not for me:
My destiny will quickly be decided.
(Max. clasps her in his arms in extreme emotion.
There is heard from behind the Scene a loud, wild, long continued cry-Vivat Ferdinandus, accompanied by warlike instruments. Max. and Thekla remain without motion in each others embraces.)
Coun. (meeting him) What meant that cry? What
was it? Ter.
All is lost !
Coun. What! they regarded not his countenance ?
Ter. 'Twas all in vain.
Duch. They shouted vivat!
To the Emperor.
Coun. The traitors !
Ter Nay! he was not once permitted Even to address them. Soon as he began, With deafening noise of warlike instruments They drown'd his words. But here he comes.
To these enter Wallenstein, accompanied by Illo and
Wal. (as he enters)
Ter. My General ?
Let our regiments hold themselves
In readiness to march; for we shall leave
Pilsen ere evening.
Butler ! But.
Yes, my General. Wal. The governor at Egra is your
friend And countryman.
Write to him instantly
By a post courier. He must be advis'd,
That we are with him early on the morrow.
You follow us yourself, your regiment with you.
But. It shall be done, my General !
Wal. (steps between Max. and Thekla, who have re-
mained during this time in each others arms.)
O God! (Cuirassiers enter with drawn swords, and assemble
in the back-ground. At the same time there are heard from below some spirited passages out of the Pappenheim march, which seem to address
Max.) Wal. (to the cuirassiers) Here he is, he is at liberty :
I keep him No longer.
(He turns away, and stands so that Max. cannot
pass by him nor approach the Princess.)