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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.

[Pauses again.

How else! since that the heart's unbiass'd instinct
Impell'd 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 suffer'd to escape from its safe corner
Within the heart, its nursery and birth-place,
Sent forth into the Foreign, it belongs
For ever to those sly malicious powers
Whom never art of man conciliated.


Gustave Wrangel, General

Of the Sudermanian Blues.

It was a Wrangel
Who injured me materially at Stralsund,

And by his brave resistance was the cause
Of the opposition which that sea-port made.


It was the doing of the element

With which you fought, my Lord! and not my merit
The Baltic Neptune did assert his freedom:

The sea and land, it seem'd, were not to serve
One and the same.

WALLENSTEIN (makes the motion for him to take a seat.
and seats himself).

And where are your credentials?

[Paces in agitation through the chamber, then pauses. Come you provided with full powers, Sir General ?

and, after the pause, breaks out again into
audible soliloquy.

What is thy enterprise? thy aim? thy object?
Hast honestly confess'd it to thyself?

Power seated on a quiet throne thou'dst shake,
Power on an ancient consecrated throne,
Strong in possession, founded in old custom;
Power by a thousand tough and stringy roots
Fix'd to the people's pious nursery-faith.

This, this will be no strife of strength with strength.
That fear'd 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,
What ever was, and evermore returns,
Sterling to-morrow, for to-day 't was 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 on the door.

Yet is it pure-as yet! the crime has come
Not o'er this threshold yet-so slender is
The boundary that divideth life's two paths.




There are so many scruples yet to solve

WALLENSTEIN (having read the credentials).
An able letter!-Ay-he is a prudent
Intelligent master, whom you serve, Sir General!
The Chancellor writes me, that he but fulfils
His late departed Sovereign's own idea

In helping me to the Bohemian crown.


He says the truth. Our great King, now in heaven
Did ever deem most highly of
your Grace's
Pre-eminent sense and military genius;
And always the commanding Intellect,
He said, should have command, and be the King.


Yes, he might say it safely.-General Wrangel,
[Taking his hand affectionately
Come, fair and open.-Trust me, I was always
A Swede at heart. Ey! that did you experience
Both in Silesia and at Nuremburg;

I had you often in my power, and let you
Always slip out by some back-door or other.
"Tis this for which the Court can ne'er forgive me.
Which drives me to this present step: and since
Our interests so run in one direction,
E'en let us have a thorough confidence
Each in the other.


Confidence will come. Has each but only first security.


The Chancellor still, I see, does not quite trust me;
And, I confess the game does not lie wholly
To my advantage-Without doubt he thinks,
If I can play false with the Emperor,
Who is my Sov'reign, I can do the like
With the enemy, and that the one too were
Sooner to be forgiven me than the other.
Is not this your opinion too, Sir General ?


I have here an office merely, no opinion.


The Emperor hath urged me to the uttermost

WALLENSTEIN (after having fixed a searching look on I can no longer honorably serve him.

Your name is Wrangel?


For my security, in self-defence,

I take this hard step, which my conscience blames

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But still the Chancellor thinks, Come, brief, and open! What is the demand?

It might yet be an easier thing from nothing
To call forth sixty thousand men of battle,
Than to persuade one sixtieth part of them—


What now? Out with it, friend?



That he forthwith disarm the Spanish regiments
Attach'd to the Emperor, that he seize Prague,
And to the Swedes give up that city, with
The strong pass Egra.

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And he thinks so?-He judges like a Swede,
And like a Protestant. You Lutherans
Fight for your Bible. You are interested

About the cause; and with your hearts you follow
Your banners.-Among you, whoe'er deserts
To the enemy, hath broken covenant

With two Lords at one time.-We've no such fan-


Great God in Heaven! Have then the people here
No house and home, no fire-side, no altar?


I will explain that to you, how it stands :-
The Austrian has a country, ay, and loves it,
And has good cause to love it—but this army,
That calls itself the Imperial, this that houses
Here in Bohemia, this has none-no country;
This is an outcast of all foreign lands,
Unclaim'd by town or tribe, to whom belongs
Nothing, except the universal sun.


But then the Nobles and the Officers?
Such a desertion, such a felony,

It is without example, my Lord Duke,
In the world's history.


They are all mineMine unconditionally-mine on all terms.

Prague-Egra's granted-But-but Prague!

"Twon't do.

I give you every security

Which you may ask of me in common reason-
But Prague-Bohemia-these, Sir General,
I can myself protect.


We doubt it not.
But 'tis not the protection that is now
Our sole concern. We want security,
That we shall not
All to no purpose.

expend our men and money

"Tis but reasonable.


And till we are indemnified, so long
Stays Prague in pledge.


Then trust you us so little?
WRANGEL (rising).

The Swede, if he would treat well with the German,
Must keep a sharp look-out. We have been call'd

Over the Baltic, we have saved the empire

From ruin-with our best blood have we seal'd

The liberty of faith, and gospel truth.

But now already is the benefaction

No longer felt, the load alone is felt,—
Ye look askance with evil eye upon us,
As foreigners, intruders in the empire,

And would fain send us, with some paltry sum
Of money, home again to our old forests.
No, no! my Lord Duke! no!-it never was
For Judas' pay, for chinking gold and silver,
That we did leave our King by the Great Stone.*
No, not for gold and silver have there bled
So many of our Swedish Nobles-neither
Will we, with empty laurels for our payment,
Hoist sail for our own country. Citizens
Will we remain upon the soil, the which
Our Monarch conquer'd for himself, and died.


Help to keep down the common enemy,
And the fair border-land must needs be yours.


But when the common enemy lies vanquish'd,
Who knits together our new friendship then?
We know, Duke Friedland. though perhaps the Swede
Ought not t' have known it, that you carry on
Secret negotiations with the Saxons.
Who is our warranty, that we are not
The sacrifices in those articles

Which 'tis thought needful to conceal from us?


Think you of something better, Gustave Wrangel! Of Prague no more.


Here my commission ends.


Surrender up to you my capital!

Far liever would I face about, and step Back to my Emperor.


If time yet permits


That lies with me, even now, at any hour.


Some days ago, perhaps. To-day, no longer;
No longer since Sesina's been a prisoner.

[WALLENSTEIN is struck, and silenced.
My Lord Duke, hear me-We believe that you
At present do mean honorably by us.
Since yesterday we're sure of that--and now
This paper warrants for the troops, there's nothing
Stands in the way of our full confidence.
Prague shall not part us. Hear! The Chancellor
Contents himself with Albstadt; to your Grace
He gives up Ratschin and the narrow side.
But Egra above all must open to us,
Ere we can think of any junction.



You therefore must I trust, and you not me? I will consider of your proposition.


I must entreat, that your consideration
Occupy not too long a time. Already
Has this negotiation, my Lord Duke!
Crept on into the second year. If nothing
Is settled this time, will the Chancellor
Consider it as broken off for ever.

* A great stone near Lützen, since called the Swede's Stone, the body of their great king having been found at the foot of it, after the battle in which he lost his life.

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He will not what he must!


It lies with you now. Try. For I am silenced, When folks begin to talk to me of conscience, And of fidelity.


How? then, when all

Lay in the far-off distance, when the road
Stretch'd out before thine eyes interminably,
Then hadst thou courage and resolve; and now,
Now that the dream is being realized,
The purpose ripe, the issue ascertain'd,
Dost thou begin to play the dastard now?
Plann'd merely, 'tis a common felony;
Accomplish'd, an immortal undertaking:

And with success comes pardon hand in hand;
For all event is God's arbitrement.

SERVANT (enters).

The Colonel Piccolomini.

COUNTESS (hastily). -Must wait.


I cannot see him now. Another time.


But for two minutes he entreats an audience: Of the most urgent nature is his business.


To the old position. On some morrow morning
The Duke departs; and now 'tis stir and bustle
Within his castles. He will hunt, and build,
Superintend his horses' pedigrees,
Creates himself a court, gives golden keys,
And introduceth strictest ceremony

In fine proportions, and nice etiquette;
Keeps open table with high cheer; in brief,
Commenceth mighty King-in miniature.
And while he prudently demeans himself,
And gives himself no actual importance,
He will be let appear whate'er he likes:
And who dares doubt, that Friedland will appear
I mighty Prince to his last dying hour?
Well now, what then? Duke Friedland is as others,
A fire-new Noble, whom the war hath raised
To price and currency, a Jonah's gourd,
An over-night creation of court-favor,
Which with an undistinguishable ease
Makes Baron or makes Prince.

WALLENSTEIN (in extreme agitation)
Take her away.

Let in the young Count Piccolomini.


Art thou in earnest? I entreat thee! Canst thou
Consent to bear thyself to thy own grave
So ignominiously to be dried up?

Thy life, that arrogated such a height,
To end in such a nothing! To be nothing,
When one was always nothing, is an evil

Who knows what he may bring us! I will hear him. That asks no stretch of patience, a light evil;

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But to become a nothing, having been

WALLENSTEIN (starts up in violent agitation).
Show me a way out of this stifling crowd.
Ye Powers of Aidance! Show me such a way
As I am capable of going.—I

Am no tongue-hero, no fine virtue-prattler;
I cannot warm by thinking; cannot say
To the good luck that turns her back upon me,
Magnanimously: "Go; I need thee not."
Cease I to work, I am annihilated.
Dangers nor sacrifices will I shun,
If so I may avoid the last extreme;
But ere I sink down into nothingness,
Leave off so little, who began so great,

Ere that the world confuses me with those
Poor wretches, whom a day creates and crumbles,
This age and after ages* speak my name

With hate and dread; and Friedland be redemption
For each accursed deed!


What is there here, then, So against nature? Help me to perceive it! O let not Superstition's nightly goblins Subdue thy clear bright spirit! Art thou bid To murder?-with abhorr'd accursed poniard, To violate the breasts that nourish'd thee? That were against our nature, that might aptly Make thy flesh shudder, and thy whole heart sicken.t

Could I have hazarded such a Germanism, as the use of the word after-world, for posterity, "Es spreche Welt und Nachwelt meinen Namen"-might have been rendered with more literal fidelity :-Let world and after-world speak out my name, etc.

↑ I have not ventured to affront the fastidious delicacy of our age with the literal translation of this line,


Die Eingeweide schaudernd aufzuregen

Yet not a few, and for a meaner object,
Have ventured even this, ay, and perform'd it.
What is there in thy case so black and monstrous?
Thou art accused of treason-whether with
Or without justice is not now the question-
Thou art lost if thou dost not avail thee quickly
Of the power which thou possessest-Friedland! Duke!
Tell me, where lives that thing so meek and tame,
That doth not all his living faculties
Put forth in preservation of his life!
What deed so daring, which necessity
And desperation will not sanctify?


Once was this Ferdinand so gracious to me:
He loved me; he esteem'd me; I was placed
The nearest to his heart. Full many a time
We, like familiar friends, both at one table,
Have banqueted together. He and I-
And the young kings themselves held me the basin
Wherewith to wash me-and is't come to this?

So faithfully preservest thou each small favor,
And hast no memory for contumelies?
Must I remind thee, how at Regensburg
This man repaid thy faithful services?
All ranks and all conditions in the empire

Thou hadst wrong'd, to make him great,-hadst

loaded on thee,

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At Regensburg in the Diet-and he dropp'd thee!
He let thee fall! He let thee fall a victim
To the Bavarian, to that insolent!
Deposed, stript bare of all thy dignity
And power, amid the taunting of thy foes,
Thou wert let drop into obscurity.-
Say not, the restoration of thy honor
Has made atonement for that first injustice.

No honest good-will was it that replaced thee;

The law of hard necessity replaced thee,

Of Nature, of the spirit giant-born,
Who listens only to himself, knows nothing
Of stipulations, duties, reverences,
And, like the emancipated force of fire,
Unmaster'd scorches, ere it reaches them,
Their fine-spun webs, their artificial policy.


"Tis true! they saw me always as I am-
Always! I did not cheat them in the bargain.
I never held it worth my pains to hide
The bold all-grasping habit of my soul.


Nay rather-thou hast ever shown thyself
A formidable man, without restraint;
Hast exercised the full prerogatives
Of thy impetuous nature, which had been
Once granted to thee. Therefore, Duke, not thou,
Who hast still remain'd consistent with thyself,
But they are in the wrong, who fearing thee,
Intrusted such a power in hands they fear'd.
For, by the laws of Spirit, in the right
Is every individual character

That acts in strict consistence with itself.
Self-contradiction is the only wrong.

Wert thou another being, then, when thou

Eight years ago pursuedst thy march with fire

And sword, and desolation, through the Circles
Of Germany, the universal scourge,

Didst mock all ordinances of the empire,
The fearful rights of strength alone exertedst,
Trampledst to earth each rank, each magistracy,
All to extend thy Sultan's domination?
Then was the time to break thee in, to curb
Thy haughty will, to teach thee ordinance.
But no, the Emperor felt no touch of conscience
What served him pleased him, and without a murmur
He stamp'd his broad seal on these lawless deeds.
What at that time was right, because thou didst it
For him, to-day is all at once become
Opprobrious, foul, because it is directed
Against him.-O most flimsy superstition!


I never saw it in this light before.

Which they had fain opposed, but that they could not. "Tis even so. The Emperor perpetrated


Not to their good wishes, that is certain, Nor yet to his affection, I'm indebted For this high office; and if I abuse it,

I shall therein abuse no confidence.


Affection! confidence!-They needed thee.
Necessity, impetuous remonstrant!

Who not with empty names, or shows of proxy,
Is served, who'll have the thing and not the symbol,
Ever seeks out the greatest and the best,
And at the rudder places him, e'en though

She had been forced to take him from the rabble-
She, this Necessity, it was that placed thee
In this high office; it was she that gave thee
Thy letters-patent of inauguration.

For, to the uttermost moment that they can,
This race still help themselves at cheapest rate
With slavish souls, with puppets! At the approach
Of extreme peril, when a hollow image
Is found a hollow image and no more,

Then falls the power into the mighty hands

Deeds through my arm, deeds most unorderly. And even this prince's mantle, which I wear, I owe to what were services to him,

But most high misdemeanors 'gainst the empire.


Then betwixt thee and him (confess it, Friedland :)
The point can be no more of right and duty,
Only of power and the opportunity.
That opportunity, lo! it comes yonder
Approaching with swift steeds; then with a swing
Throw thyself up into the chariot-seat,
Seize with firm hand the reins, ere thy opponent
Anticipate thee, and himself make conquest
Of the now empty seat. The moment comes;
It is already here, when thou must write
The absolute total of thy life's vast sum."
The constellations stand victorious o'er thee,
The planets shoot good fortune in fair junctions,
And tell thee," Now's the time!" The starry courses
Hast thou thy life-long measured to no purpose?
The quadrant and the circle, were they playthings?
[Pointing to the different objects in the room.

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