Page images
PDF
EPUB

Was ever open. Many a one from dust

(with a side glance at Butler:)
Hath he selected, from the very dust
Hath rais'd him into dignity and honour.
And yet no friend, not one friend hath he purchas’d,
Whose heart beats true to him in the evil hour.

But. Here's one I see.
Gor.

I have enjoy'd from him
No grace or favour. I could almost doubt
If ever, in his greatness, he once thought on
An old friend of his youth. For still my office
Kept me at distance from him ; and when first
He to this citadel appointed me,
He was sincere and serious in his duty.
I do not then abuse his confidence,
If I preserve my fealty in that,
Which to my fealty was first deliver'd.

But. Say, then, will you fulfil th' attainder on him ?

Gor. (pauses reflectingthen as in deep dejection.)
If it be so—if all be as you say-
If he've betray'd the Emperor, his master,
Have sold the troops, have purpos’d to deliver
The strong holds of the country to the enemy-
Yea, truly !-there is no redemption for him-
Yet it is hard, that me the lot should destine
To be the instrument of his perdition ;
For we were pages at the court of Bergau
At the same period; but I was the senior.

But. I have heard so -
Gor.

'Tis full. thirty years since then.
A youth who scarce had seen his twentieth year
Was Wallenstein, when he and I were friends :
Yet even then he had a daring soul:
His frame of mind was serious and severe

Beyond his years; his dreams were of great objects.
He walk'd amidst us of a silent spirit,
Communing with himself: yet I have known him
Transported on a sudden into utterance
Of strange conceptions; kindling into splendour,
His soul reveal'd itself, and he spake so
That we look'd round perplex'd upon each other,
Not knowing whether it were craziness,
Or whether 't were a god that spoke in him.

But. But was it where he fell two story high
From a window-ledge, on which he had fallen asleep,
And rose up free from injury? From this day
(It is reported) he betray'd clear marks
Of a distemper'd fancy.
Gor.

He became, Doubtless, more self-enwrapt and melancholy ; He made himself a Catholic. Marvellously His marvellous preservation had transform'd him. Thenceforth he held himself for an exempted And privileg'd being, and, as if he were Incapable of dizziness or fall, He ran along the unsteady rope of life. But now our destinies drove us asunder: He pac'd with rapid step the way of greatness, Was count, and prince, duke regent, and dictator. And now is all, all this too little for him ; He stretches forth his hands for a king's crown, And plunges in unfathomable ruin.

But. No more, he comes.

Scene III.

To these enter Wallenstein, in conversation with the Bur

gomaster of Egra.

Wal. You were at one time a free town. I see,
Ye bear the half eagle in your city arms.
Why the half eagle only ?
Bur.

We were free,
But for these last two hundred years has Egra
Remain'd in pledge to the Bohemian crown ;
Therefore we bear the half eagle, the other half
Being cancell'd till the empire ransom us,
If ever that should be.
Wal.

Ye merit freedom.
Only be firm and dauntless. Lend your ears
To no designing, whispering court-minions.
What may your imposts be ?
Bur.

So heavy that
We totter under them. The garrison
Lives at our costs.

Wal. I will relieve you. Tell me,
There are some Protestants among you still ?

(The Burgomaster hesitates.) Yes, yes; I know it. Many lie conceal'd Within these walls—Confess now-you yourself

(Fixes his eye on him. The Burgomaster alarmed.) Be not alarm’d. I hate the Jesuits. Could my will have determin'd it, they had Been long ago expell'd the empire. Trust meMass-book or bible—'tis all one to me. Of that the world has had sufficient proof.

I built a church for the reform'd in Glogan
At my own instance. Hark'e, Burgomaster !
What is your name.
Bur.

Pachhälbel, may it please you.
Wal. Hark'e !
But let it go no further, what I now
Disclose to you in confidence.

(Laying his head on the Burgomaster's shoulder
with a certain solemnity.)

The times
Draw near to their fulfilment, Burgomaster!
The high will fall, the low will be exalted.
Hark'e! But keep it to yourself! The end
Approaches of the Spanish double monarchy-
A new arrangement is at hand. You saw
The three moons that appear'd at once in the heaven.

Bur. With wonder and affright!
Wal.

Whereof did two
Strangely transform themselves to bloody daggers,
And only one, the middle moon, remain'd
Steady and clear.
Bur.

We applied it to the Turks.
Wal. The Turks! That all ?-I tell you, that two

empires Will set in blood, in the east and in the west, And Luth'ranism alone remain. (observing Gordon and Butler.)

I'faith, 'Twas a smart cannonading that we heard This evening, as we journey'd hitherward; 'Twas on our left hand. Did you hear it here?

Gor. Distinctly. The wind brought it from the south. But. It seem'd to come from Weiden or from Neustadt.

Wal. 'Tis likely. That's the route the Swedes are

taking. How strong is the garrison ? Gor.

Not quite two hundred Competent men, the rest are invalids.

Wal. Good! and how many in the vale of Jochim. Gor. Two hundred arquebussiers have I sent thither To fortify the posts against the Swedes. Wal. Good! I commend your foresight. At the works

too

You have done somewhat ?
Gor.

Two additional batteries
I caused to be run up. They were needless.
The Rhinegrave presses hard upon us, General !
Wal. You have been watchful in your Emperor's

service. I am content with you, Lieutenant-Colonel.

(to Butler.)
Release the outposts in the vale of Jochim
With all the stations in the enemy's route.

(to Gordon.)
Governor, in your faithful hands I leave
My wife, my daughter, and my sister. I
Shall make no stay here, and wait but the arrival
Of letters, to take leave of you, together
With all the regiments.

« PreviousContinue »