S. T. Coleridge - The d**h of Wallenstein (Act 1 Scene 5) lyrics
WALLENSTEIN and WRANGEL.
(after having fixed a searching look on him).
Your name is Wrangel?
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 seaport made.
It was the doing of the element
With which you fought, my lord! and not my merit,
The Baltic Neptune did a**ert his freedom:
The sea and land, it seemed were not to serve
One and the same.
You plucked the admiral's hat from off my head.
I come to place a diadem thereon.
(makes the motion for him to take a seat, and seats himself).
And where are your credentials
Come you provided with full powers, sir general?
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. Eh! that did you experience
Both in Silesia and at Nuremberg;
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 sovereign, 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 a duty merely, no opinion.
The emperor hath urged me to the uttermost
I can no longer honorably serve him.
For my security, in self-defence,
I take this hard step, which my conscience blames.
That I believe. So far would no one go
Who was not forced to it.
[After a pause.
What may have impelled
Your princely highness in this wise to act
Toward your sovereign lord and emperor,
Beseems not us to expound or criticise.
The Swede is fighting for his good old cause,
With his good sword and conscience. This concurrence,
This opportunity is in our favor,
And all advantages in war are lawful.
We take what offers without questioning;
And if all have its due and just proportions——
Of what then are ye doubting? Of my will?
Or of my power? I pledged me to the chancellor,
Would he trust me with sixteen thousand men,
That I would instantly go over to them
With eighteen thousand of the emperor's troops.
Your grace is known to be a mighty war-chief,
To be a second Attila and Pyrrhus.
'Tis talked of still with fresh astonishment,
How some years past, beyond all human faith,
You called an army forth like a creation:
But still the chancellor thinks
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?
To break their oaths.
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 fancies.
Great God in heaven! Have then the people here
No house and home, no fireside, 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,
Unclaimed by town or tribe, to whom belongs
Nothing except the universal sun.
And this Bohemian land for which we fight
Loves not the master whom the chance of war,
Not its own choice or will, hath given to it.
Men murmur at the oppression of their conscience,
And power hath only awed but not appeased them.
A glowing and avenging memory lives
Of cruel deeds committed on these plains;
How can the son forget that here his father
Was hunted by the bloodhound to the ma**?
A people thus oppressed must still be feared,
Whether they suffer or avenge their wrongs.
But then the nobles and the officers?
Such a desertion, such a felony,
It is without example, my lord duke,
[Lyrics from: https:/lyrics.az/s-t-coleridge/-/the-d**h-of-wallenstein-act-1-scene-5.html]
In the world's history.
They are all mine—
Mine unconditionally—mine on all terms.
Not me, your own eyes you must trust.
[He gives him the paper containing the written oath. WRANGEL reads
it through, and, having read it, lays it on the table,—remaining
Now comprehend you?
Comprehend who can!
My lord duke, I will let the mask drop—yes!
I've full powers for a final settlement.
The Rhinegrave stands but four days' march from here
With fifteen thousand men, and only waits
For orders to proceed and join your army.
These orders I give out immediately
What asks the chancellor?
Twelve regiments, every man a Swede—my head
The warranty—and all might prove at last
Only false play——
Am therefore forced
To insist thereon, that he do formally,
Irrevocably break with the emperor,
Else not a Swede is trusted to Duke Friedland.
Come, brief and open! What is the demand?
That he forthwith disarm the Spanish regiments
Attached to the emperor, that he seize on Prague,
And to the Swedes give up that city, with
The strong pa** Egra.
That is much indeed!
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 expend our men and money
All to no purpose.
'Tis but reasonable.
And till we are indemnified, so long
Stays Prague in pledge.
Then trust you us so little?
The Swede, if he would treat well with the German,
Must keep a sharp lookout. We have been called
Over the Baltic, we have saved the empire
From ruin—with our best blood have we sealed
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! it never was
For Judas' pay, for chinking gold and silver,
That we did leave our king by the Great Stone. 1
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 conquered 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 vanquished,
Who knits together our new friendship then?
We know, Duke Friedland! though perhaps the Swede
Ought not to 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 force 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 Alstadt; 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 not you 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 forever?
Ye press me hard. A measure such as this
Ought to be thought of.
Ay! but think of this too,
That sudden action only can procure it.
Success—think first of this, your highness.