Translated by S. T. Coleridge.
"Upon the whole there can be no doubt that this trilogy forms in its
original tongue one of the most splendid specimens of tragic art the
world has witnessed; and none at all that the execution of the version
from which we have quoted so largely places Mr. Coleridge in the very
first rank of poetical translators. He is perhaps the solitary example
of a man of very great original genius submitting to all the labors and
reaping all the honors of this species of literary exertion."--Blackwood
The two dramas--PICCOLOMINI or the first part of WALLENSTEIN and the
DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN are introduced in the original manuscript by a
prelude in one act entitled WALLENSTEIN'S CAMP. This is written in
rhyme and in nine-syllable verse in the same lilting metre (if that
expression may be permitted) with the second Eclogue of Spenser's
This prelude possesses a sort of broad humor and is not deficient in
character: but to have translated it into prose or into any other metre
than that of the original would have given a false idea both of its
style and purport; to have translated it into the same metre would have
been incompatible with a faithful adherence to the sense of the German
from the comparative poverty of our language in rhymes; and it would have
been unadvisable from the incongruity of those lax verses with the
present taste of the English public. Schiller's intention seems to have
been merely to have prepared his reader for the tragedies by a lively
picture of laxity of discipline and the mutinous dispositions of
Wallenstein's soldiery. It is not necessary as a preliminary
explanation. For these reasons it has been thought expedient not to
The admirers of Schiller who have abstracted their idea of that author
from the Robbers and the Cabal and Love plays in which the main
interest is produced by the excitement of curiosity and in which the
curiosity is excited by terrible and extraordinary incident will not
have perused without some portion of disappointment the dramas which it
has been my employment to translate. They should however reflect that
these are historical dramas taken from a popular German history; that we
must therefore judge of them in some measure with the feelings of
Germans; or by analogy with the interest excited in us by similar
dramas in our own language. Few I trust would be rash or ignorant
enough to compare Schiller with Shakspeare; yet merely as illustration
I would say that we should proceed to the perusal of Wallenstein not
from Lear or Othello but from Richard II. or the three parts of Henry
VI. We scarcely expect rapidity in an historical drama; and many prolix
speeches are pardoned from characters whose names and actions have formed
the most amusing tales of our early life. On the other hand there exist
in these plays more individual beauties more passages whose excellence
will bear reflection than in the former productions of Schiller. The
description of the Astrological Tower and the reflections of the Young
Lover which follow it form in the original a fine poem; and my
translation must have been wretched indeed if it can have wholly
overclouded the beauties of the scene in the first act of the first play
between Questenberg Max and Octavio Piccolomini. If we except the
scene of the setting sun in the Robbers I know of no part in Schiller's
plays which equals the first scene of the fifth act of the concluding
plays. [In this edition scene iii. act v.] It would be unbecoming in
me to be more diffuse on this subject. A translator stands connected
with the original author by a certain law of subordination which makes it
more decorous to point out excellences than defects; indeed he is not
likely to be a fair judge of either. The pleasure or disgust from his
own labor will mingle with the feelings that arise from an afterview of
the original. Even in the first perusal of a work in any foreign
language which we understand we are apt to attribute to it more
excellence than it really possesses from our own pleasurable sense of
difficulty overcome without effort. Translation of poetry into poetry is
difficult because the translator must give a brilliancy to his language
without that warmth of original conception from which such brilliancy
would follow of its own accord. But the translator of a living author is
incumbered with additional inconveniences. If he render his original
faithfully as to the sense of each passage he must necessarily destroy a
considerable portion of the spirit; if he endeavor to give a work
executed according to laws of compensation he subjects himself to
imputations of vanity or misrepresentation. I have thought it my duty to
remain bound by the sense of my original with as few exceptions as the
nature of the languages rendered possible. S. T. C.
WALLENSTEIN Duke of Friedland Generalissimo of the Imperial Forces
in the Thirty Years' War.
OCTAVIO PICCOLOMINI Lieutenant-General.
MAX. PICCOLOMINI his Son Colonel of a Regiment of Cuirassiers.
COUNT TERZKY the Commander of several Regiments and Brother-in-law
ILLO Field-Marshal Wallenstein's Confidant.
ISOLANI General of the Croats.
BUTLER an Irishman Commander of a Regiment of Dragoons.
DON MARADAS | Generals under Wallenstein.
NEUMANN Captain of Cavalry Aide-de-Camp to Terzky.
VON QUESTENBERG the War Commissioner Imperial Envoy.
BAPTISTA SENI an Astrologer.
DUCHESS OF FRIEDLAND Wife of Wallenstein.
THEKLA her Daughter Princess of Friedland.
THE COUNTESS TERZRY Sister of the Duchess.
COLONELS and GENERALS (several).
PAGES and ATTENDANTS belonging to Wallenstein.
ATTENDANTS and HOBOISTS belonging to Terzky.
MASTER OF THE CELLAR to Count Terzky.
VALET DE CHAMBRE of Count Piccolomini.
An old Gothic Chamber in the Council-House at Pilsen
decorated with Colors and other War Insignia.
ILLO with BUTLER and ISOLANI.
Ye have come too late-but ye are come! The distance
Count Isolani excuses your delay.
Add this too that we come not empty-handed.
At Donauwerth  it was reported to us
A Swedish caravan was on its way
Transporting a rich cargo of provision
Almost six hundreds wagons. This my Croats
Plunged down upon and seized this weighty prize!--
We bring it hither----
Just in time to banquet
The illustrious company assembled here.
'Tis all alive! a stirring scene here!
The very churches are full of soldiers.
[Casts his eye round.
And in the council-house too I observe
You're settled quite at home! Well well! we soldiers
Must shift and suit us in what way we can.
We have the colonels here of thirty regiments.
You'll find Count Terzky here and Tiefenbach
Kolatto Goetz Maradas Hinnersam
The Piccolomini both son and father--
You'll meet with many an unexpected greeting
From many an old friend and acquaintance. Only
Gallas is wanting still and Altringer.
Expect not Gallas.
How so? Do you know----
ISOLANI (interrupting him).
Max. Piccolomini here? O bring me to him.
I see him yet ('tis now ten years ago
We were engaged with Mansfeldt hard by Dessau)
I see the youth in my mind's eye I see him
Leap his black war-horse from the bridge adown
And t'ward his father then in extreme peril
Beat up against the strong tide of the Elbe.
The down was scarce upon his chin! I hear
He has made good the promise of his youth
And the full hero now is finished in him.
You'll see him yet ere evening. He conducts
The Duchess Friedland hither and the princess 
From Caernthen . We expect them here at noon.
Both wife and daughter does the duke call hither?
He crowds in visitants from all sides.
So much the better! I had framed my mind
To hear of naught but warlike circumstance
Of marches and attacks and batteries;
And lo! the duke provides and something too
Of gentler sort and lovely should be present
To feast our eyes.
ILLO (who has been standing in the attitude of meditation to BUTLER
whom he leads a little on one side).
And how came you to know
That the Count Gallas joins us not?
He importuned me to remain behind.
ILLO (with warmth).
And you? You hold out firmly!
[Grasping his hand with affection.
After the obligation which the duke
Had laid so newly on me----
I had forgotten
A pleasant duty--major-general
I wish you joy!
What you mean of this regiment?
I hear too that to make the gift still sweeter
The duke has given him the very same
In which he first saw service and since then
Worked himself step by step through each preferment
From the ranks upwards. And verily it gives
A precedent of hope a spur of action
To the whole corps if once in their remembrance
An old deserving soldier makes his way.
I am perplexed and doubtful whether or no
I dare accept this your congratulation.
The emperor has not yet confirmed the appointment.
Seize it friend seize it! The hand which in that post
Placed you is strong enough to keep you there
Spite of the emperor and his ministers!
Ay if we would but so consider it!--
If we would all of us consider it so!
The emperor gives us nothing; from the duke
Comes all--whate'er we hope whate'er we have.
ISOLANI (to ILLO).
My noble brother! did I tell you how
The duke will satisfy my creditors?
Will be himself my bankers for the future
Make me once more a creditable man!
And this is now the third time think of that!
This kingly-minded man has rescued me
From absolute ruin and restored my honor.
Oh that his power but kept pace with his wishes!
Why friend! he'd give the whole world to his soldiers.
But at Vienna brother!--here's the grievance--
What politic schemes do they not lay to shorten
His arm and where they can to clip his pinions.
Then these new dainty requisitions! these
Which this same Questenberg brings hither!
Those requisitions of the emperor--
I too have heard about them; but I hope
The duke will not draw back a single inch!
Not from his right most surely unless first
BUTLER (shocked and confused).
Know you aught then? You alarm me.
ISOLANI (at the same time with BUTLER and in a hurrying voice).
We should be ruined every one of us!
Yonder I see our worthy friend [spoken with a sneer] approaching
With the Lieutenant-General Piccolomini.
BUTLER (shaking his head significantly).
I fear we shall not go hence as we came.
Enter OCTAVIO PICCOLOMINI and QUESTENBERG.
OCTAVIO (still in the distance).
Ay! ah! more still! Still more new visitors!
Acknowledge friend! that never was a camp
Which held at once so many heads of heroes.
Let none approach a camp of Friedland's troops
Who dares to think unworthily of war;
E'en I myself had nigh forgot its evils
When I surveyed that lofty soul of order
By which while it destroys the world--itself
Maintains the greatness which itself created.
OCTAVIO (approaching nearer).
Welcome Count Isolani!
My noble brother!
Even now am I arrived; it has been else my duty----
And Colonel Butler--trust me I rejoice
Thus to renew acquaintance with a man
Whose worth and services I know and honor.
See see my friend!
There might we place at once before our eyes
The sum of war's whole trade and mystery--
[To QUESTENBERG presenting BUTLER and ISOLANI at the same time
These two the total sum--strength and despatch.
QUESTENBERG (to OCTAVIO).
And lo! betwixt them both experienced prudence!
OCTAVIO (presenting QUESTENBERG to BUTLER and ISOLANI).
The Chamberlain and War-Commissioner Questenberg.
The bearer of the emperor's behests--
The long-tried friend and patron of all soldiers
We honor in this noble visitor.
ILLO (moving towards QUESTENBERG).
'Tis not the first time noble minister
You've shown our camp this honor.
I stood beside these colors.
Perchance too you remember where that was;
It was at Znaeim  in Moravia where
You did present yourself upon the part
Of the emperor to supplicate our duke
That he would straight assume the chief command.
To supplicate? Nay bold general!
So far extended neither my commission
(At least to my own knowledge) nor my zeal.
Well well then--to compel him if you choose
I can remember me right well Count Tilly
Had suffered total rout upon the Lech.
Bavaria lay all open to the enemy
Whom there was nothing to delay from pressing
Onwards into the very heart of Austria.
At that time you and Werdenberg appeared
Before our general storming him with prayers
And menacing the emperor's displeasure
Unless he took compassion on this wretchedness.
ISOLANI (steps up to them).
Yes yes 'tis comprehensible enough
Wherefore with your commission of to-day
You were not all too willing to remember
Your former one.
Why not Count Isolani?
No contradiction sure exists between them.
It was the urgent business of that time
To snatch Bavaria from her enemy's hand;
And my commission of to-day instructs me
To free her from her good friends and protectors.
A worthy office! After with our blood
We have wrested this Bohemia from the Saxon
To be swept out of it is all our thanks
The sole reward of all our hard-won victories.
Unless that wretched land be doomed to suffer
Only a change of evils it must be
Freed from the scourge alike of friend or foe.
What? 'Twas a favorable year; the boors
Can answer fresh demands already.
If you discourse of herds and meadow-grounds----
The war maintains the war. Are the boors ruined
The emperor gains so many more new soldiers.
And is the poorer by even so many subjects.
Poh! we are all his subjects.
Yet with a difference general! The one fill
With profitable industry the purse
The others are well skilled to empty it.
The sword has made the emperor poor; the plough
Must reinvigorate his resources.
Times are not yet so bad. Methinks I see
[Examining with his eye the dress and ornaments of QUESTENBERG.
Good store of gold that still remains uncoined.
Thank Heaven! that means have been found out to hide
Some little from the fingers of the Croats.
There! The Stawata and the Martinitz
On whom the emperor heaps his gifts and graces