THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
THE DEATH OF WALLENSTEIN
Translated by S. T. Coleridge.
WALLENSTEIN Duke of Friedland Generalissimo of the Imperial Forces in
the Thirty Years' War.
DUCHESS OF FREIDLAND Wife of Wallenstein.
THEKLA her Daughter Princess of Friedland.
THE COUNTESS TERZKY Sister of the Duchess.
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 of Wallenstein.
ILLO Field-Marshal Wallenstein's Confidant.
ISOLANI General of the Croats.
BUTLER an Irishman Commander of a Regiment of Dragoons.
GORDON Governor of Egra.
NEUMANN Captain of Cavalry Aide-de-Camp to TERZKY.
COLONEL WRANGEL Envoy from the Swedes.
ROSENBURG Master of Horse.
BURGOMASTER of Egra.
ANSPESSADE of the Cuirassiers.
GROOM OF THE CHAMBER. | Belonging
A PAGE. | to the Duke.
Cuirassiers Dragoons and Servants.
A room fitted up for astrological labors and provided with
celestial charts with globes telescopes quadrants and other
mathematical instruments. Seven colossal figures representing the
planets each with a transparent star of different color on its
head stand in a semicircle in the background so that Mars and
Saturn are nearest the eye. The remainder of the scene and its
disposition is given in the fourth scene of the second act. There
must be a curtain over the figures which may be dropped and conceal
them on occasions.
[In the fifth scene of this act it must be dropped; but in the
seventh scene it must be again drawn up wholly or in part.]
WALLENSTEIN at a black table on which a speculum astrologicum is
described with chalk. SENI is taking observations through a window.
All well--and now let it be ended Seni. Come
The dawn commences and Mars rules the hour;
We must give o'er the operation. Come
We know enough.
Your highness must permit me
Just to contemplate Venus. She is now rising
Like as a sun so shines she in the east.
She is at present in her perigee
And now shoots down her strongest influences.
[Contemplating the figure on the table.
Auspicious aspect! fateful in conjunction
At length the mighty three corradiate;
And the two stars of blessing Jupiter
And Venus take between them the malignant
Slyly-malicious Mars and thus compel
Into my service that old mischief-founder:
For long he viewed me hostilely and ever
With beam oblique or perpendicular
Now in the Quartile now in the Secundan
Shot his red lightnings at my stars disturbing
Their blessed influences and sweet aspects:
Now they have conquered the old enemy
And bring him in the heavens a prisoner to me.
SENI (who has come down from the window).
And in a corner-house your highness--think of that!
That makes each influence of double strength.
And sun and moon too in the Sextile aspect
The soft light with the vehement--so I love it.
Sol is the heart Luna the head of heaven
Bold be the plan fiery the execution.
And both the mighty Lumina by no
Maleficus affronted. Lo! Saturnus
Innocuous powerless in cadente Domo.
The empire of Saturnus is gone by;
Lord of the secret birth of things is he;
Within the lap of earth and in the depths
Of the imagination dominates;
And his are all things that eschew the light.
The time is o'er of brooding and contrivance
For Jupiter the lustrous lordeth now
And the dark work complete of preparation
He draws by force into the realm of light.
Now must we hasten on to action ere
The scheme and most auspicious positure
Parts o'er my head and takes once more its flight For the heaven's journey still and adjourn not.
[There are knocks at the door.
There's some one knocking there. See who it is.
TERZKY (from without).
Open and let me in.
What is there of such urgence? We are busy.
TERZKY (from without).
Lay all aside at present I entreat you;
It suffers no delaying.
[While SENI opens the door for TERZKY WALLENSTEIN draws the curtain
over the figures.
WALLENSTEIN COUNT TERZKY.
Hast thou already heard it? He is taken.
Gallas has given him up to the emperor.
[SENI draws off the black table and exit.
WALLENSTEIN (to TERZKY).
Who has been taken? Who is given up?
The man who knows our secrets who knows every
Negotiation with the Swede and Saxon
Through whose hands all and everything has passed----
WALLENSTEIN (drawing back).
Nay not Sesina? Say no! I entreat thee.
All on his road for Regensburg to the Swede
He was plunged down upon by Gallas' agent
Who had been long in ambush lurking for him.
There must have been found on him my whole packet
To Thur to Kinsky to Oxenstiern to Arnheim:
All this is in their hands; they have now an insight
Into the whole--our measures and our motives.
To them enters ILLO.
ILLO (to TERZKY).
Has he heard it?
He has heard it.
ILLO (to WALLENSTEIN).
Thinkest thou still
To make thy peace with the emperor to regain
His confidence? E'en were it now thy wish
To abandon all thy plans yet still they know
What thou hast wished: then forwards thou must press;
Retreat is now no longer in thy power.
They have documents against us and in hands
Which show beyond all power of contradiction----
Of my handwriting--no iota. Thee
I punish or thy lies.
And thou believest
That what this man and what thy sister's husband
Did in thy name will not stand on thy reckoning?
His word must pass for thy word with the Swede
And not with those that hate thee at Vienna?
In writing thou gavest nothing; but bethink thee
How far thou venturedst by word of mouth
With this Sesina! And will he be silent?
If he can save himself by yielding up
Thy secret purposes will he retain them?
Thyself dost not conceive it possible;
And since they now have evidence authentic
How far thou hast already gone speak! tell us
What art thou waiting for? Thou canst no longer
Keep thy command; and beyond hope of rescue
Thou'rt lost if thou resign'st it.
In the army
Lies my security. The army will not
Abandon me. Whatever they may know
The power is mine and they must gulp it down
And if I give them caution for my fealty
They must be satisfied at least appear so.
The army duke is thine now; for this moment
'Tis thine: but think with terror on the slow
The quiet power of time. From open violence
The attachment of thy soldiery secures thee
To-day to-morrow: but grant'st thou them a respite
Unheard unseen they'll undermine that love
On which thou now dost feel so firm a footing
With wily theft will draw away from thee
One after the other----
'Tis a cursed accident!
Oh! I will call it a most blessed one
If it work on thee as it ought to do
Hurry thee on to action--to decision.
The Swedish general?
He's arrived! Know'st
What his commission is----
To thee alone
Will he intrust the purpose of his coming.
A cursed cursed accident! Yes yes
Sesina knows too much and won't be silent.
He's a Bohemian fugitive and rebel
His neck is forfeit. Can he save himself
At thy cost think you he will scruple it?
And if they put him to the torture will he
Will he that dastardling have strength enough----
WALLENSTEIN (lost in thought).
Their confidence is lost irreparably!
And I may act which way I will I shall
Be and remain forever in their thought
A traitor to my country. How sincerely
Soever I return back to my duty
It will no longer help me----
That it will do! Not thy fidelity
Thy weakness will be deemed the sole occasion----
WALLENSTEIN (pacing up and down in extreme agitation).
What! I must realize it now in earnest
Because I toyed too freely with the thought!
Accursed he who dallies with a devil!
And must I--I must realize it now--
Now while I have the power it must take place!
Now--now--ere they can ward and parry it!
WALLENSTEIN (looking at the paper of Signatures).
I have the generals' word--a written promise!
Max. Piccolomini stands not here--how's that?
It was--be fancied----
There needed no such thing 'twixt him and you.
He is quite right; there needed no such thing.
The regiments too deny to march for Flanders
Have sent me in a paper of remonstrance
And openly resist the imperial orders.
The first step to revolt's already taken.
Believe me thou wilt find it far more easy
To lead them over to the enemy
Than to the Spaniard.
I will hear however
What the Swede has to say to me.
ILLO (eagerly to TERZKY).
Go call him
He stands without the door in waiting.
Stay but a little. It hath taken me
All by surprise; it came too quick upon me;
'Tis wholly novel that an accident
With its dark lordship and blind agency
Should force me on with it.
First hear him only
And then weigh it.
[Exeunt TERZKY and ILLO.
WALLENSTEIN (in soliloquy).
Is it possible?
Is't so? I can no longer what I would?
No longer draw back at my liking? I
Must do the deed because I thought of it?
And fed this heart here with a dream?
Because I did not scowl temptation from my presence
Dallied with thoughts of possible fulfilment
Commenced no movement left all time uncertain
And only kept the road the access open?
By the great God of Heaven! it was not
My serious meaning it was ne'er resolved.
I but amused myself with thinking of it.
The free-will tempted me the power to do
Or not to do it. Was it criminal
To make the fancy minister to hope
To fill the air with pretty toys of air
And clutch fantastic sceptres moving toward me?
Was not the will kept free? Beheld I not
The road of duty close beside me--but
One little step and once more I was in it!
Where am I? Whither have I been transported?
No road no track behind me but a wall
Rises obedient to the spells I muttered
And meant not--my own doings tower behind me.
[Pauses and remains in deep thought.
A punishable man I seem the guilt
Try what I will I cannot roll off from me;
The equivocal demeanor of my life
Bears witness on my prosecutor's party.
And even my purest acts from purest motives
Suspicion poisons with malicious gloss.
Were I that thing for which I pass that traitor
A goodly outside I had sure reserved
Had drawn the coverings thick and double round me
Been calm and chary of my utterance;
But being conscious of the innocence
Of my intent my uncorrupted will
I gave way to my humors to my passion:
Bold were my words because my deeds were not
Now every planless measure chance event
The threat of rage the vaunt of joy and triumph
And all the May-games of a heart overflowing
Will they connect and weave them all together
Into one web of treason; all will be plan
My eye ne'er absent from the far-off mark
Step tracing step each step a politic progress;
And out of all they'll fabricate a charge
So specious that I must myself stand dumb.
I am caught in my own net and only force
Naught but a sudden rent can liberate me.
How else! since that the heart's unbiased instinct
Impelled me to the daring deed which now
Necessity self-preservation orders.
Stern is the on-look of necessity
Not without shudder may a human hand
Grasp the mysterious urn of destiny.
My deed was mine remaining in my bosom;
Once suffered to escape from its safe corner
Within the heart its nursery and birthplace
Sent forth into the foreign it belongs
Forever to those sly malicious powers
Whom never art of man conciliated.
[Paces in agitation through the chamber then pauses and after
the pause breaks out again into audible soliloquy.
What it thy enterprise? thy aim? thy object?
Hast honestly confessed it to thyself?
Power seated on a quiet throne thou'dst shake
Power on an ancient consecrated throne
Strong in possession founded in all custom;
Power by a thousand tough and stringy roots
Fixed to the people's pious nursery faith.
This this will be no strife of strength with strength.
That feared I not. I brave each combatant
Whom I can look on fixing eye to eye
Who full himself of courage kindles courage
In me too. 'Tis a foe invisible
The which I fear--a fearful enemy
Which in the human heart opposes me
By its coward fear alone made fearful to me.
Not that which full of life instinct with power
Makes known its present being; that is not
The true the perilously formidable.
O no! it is the common the quite common
The thing of an eternal yesterday.
Whatever was and evermore returns
Sterling to-morrow for to-day 'twas sterling!
For of the wholly common is man made
And custom is his nurse! Woe then to them
Who lay irreverent hands upon his old
House furniture the dear inheritance
From his forefathers! For time consecrates;
And what is gray with age becomes religion.
Be in possession and thou hast the right
And sacred will the many guard it for thee!
[To the PAGE--who here enters.
The Swedish officer? Well let him enter.
[The PAGE exit WALLENSTEIN fixes his eye in deep thought