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S. T. Coleridge - The d**h of Wallenstein (Act 3 Scene 18) lyrics

To these enter MAX. PICCOLOMINI.

MAX.
Yes, here he is! I can endure no longer
To creep on tiptoe round this house, and lurk
In ambush for a favorable moment:
This loitering, this suspense exceeds my powers.

[Advancing to THEKLA, who has thrown herself into her mother's arms.

Turn not thine eyes away. O look upon me!
Confess it freely before all. Fear no one.
Let who will hear that we both love each other.
Wherefore continue to conceal it? Secrecy
Is for the happy—misery, hopeless misery,
Needeth no veil! Beneath a thousand suns
It dares act openly.

[He observes the COUNTESS looking on THEKLA with expressions
of triumph.

No, lady! No!
Expect not, hope it not. I am not come
To stay: to bid farewell, farewell forever.
For this I come! 'Tis over! I must leave thee!
Thekla, I must—must leave thee! Yet thy hatred
Let me not take with me. I pray thee, grant me
One look of sympathy, only one look.
Say that thou dost not hate me. Say it to me, Thekla!

[Grasps her hand.

O God! I cannot leave this spot—I cannot!
Cannot let go this hand. O tell me, Thekla!
That thou dost suffer with me, art convinced
That I cannot act otherwise.

[THEKLA, avoiding his look, points with her hand to her father.
MAX. turns round to the DUKE, whom he had not till then perceived.

Thou here? It was not thou whom here I sought.
I trusted never more to have beheld thee,
My business is with her alone. Here will I
Receive a full acquittal from this heart;
For any other I am no more concerned.

WALLENSTEIN.
Think'st thou that, fool-like, I shall let thee go,
And act the mock-magnanimous with thee?
Thy father is become a villain to me;
I hold thee for his son, and nothing more
Nor to no purpose shalt thou have been given
Into my power. Think not, that I will honor
That ancient love, which so remorselessly
He mangled. They are now pa**ed by, those hours
Of friendship and forgiveness. Hate and vengeance
Succeed—'tis now their turn—I too can throw
All feelings of the man aside—can prove
Myself as much a monster as thy father!

MAX
(calmly).
Thou wilt proceed with me as thou hast power.
Thou knowest I neither brave nor fear thy rage.
What has detained me here, that too thou knowest.
[Taking THEKLA by the hand.
See, duke! All—all would I have owed to thee,
Would have received from thy paternal hand
The lot of blessed spirits. That hast thou
Laid waste forever—that concerns not thee.
Indifferent thou tramplest in the dust
Their happiness who most are thine. The god
Whom thou dost serve is no benignant deity,
Like as the blind, irreconcilable,
Fierce element, incapable of compact.
Thy heart's wild impulse only dost thou follow. 5

WALLENSTEIN.
Thou art describing thy own father's heart.
The adder! Oh, the charms of hell o'erpowered me
He dwelt within me, to my inmost soul
Still to and fro he pa**ed, suspected never.
On the wide ocean, in the starry heaven
Did mine eyes seek the enemy, whom I
In my heart's heart had folded! Had I been
To Ferdinand what Octavio was to me,
War had I ne'er denounced against him.
No, I never could have done it. The emperor was
My austere master only, not my friend.
There was already war 'twixt him and me
When he delivered the commander's staff
Into my hands; for there's a natural
Unceasing war twixt cunning and suspicion;
Peace exists only betwixt confidence
And faith. Who poisons confidence, he murders
The future generations.

MAX.
I will not
Defend my father. Woe is me, I cannot!
Hard deeds and luckless have taken place; one crime
Drags after it the other in close link.
But we are innocent: how have we fallen
Into this circle of mishap and guilt?
To whom have we been faithless? Wherefore must
The evil deeds and guilt reciprocal
Of our two fathers twine like serpents round us?
Why must our fathers'
Unconquerable hate rend us asunder,
Who love each other?

WALLENSTEIN.
Max., remain with me.
Go you not from me, Max.! Hark! I will tell thee——
How when at Prague, our winter quarters, thou
Wert brought into my tent a tender boy,
Not yet accustomed to the German winters;
Thy hand was frozen to the heavy colors;
Thou wouldst not let them go.
At that time did I take thee in my arms,
And with my mantle did I cover thee;
I was thy nurse, no woman could have been
A kinder to thee; I was not ashamed
To do for thee all little offices,
[Lyrics from: https:/lyrics.az/s-t-coleridge/-/the-d**h-of-wallenstein-act-3-scene-18.html]
However strange to me; I tended thee
Till life returned; and when thine eyes first opened,
I had thee in my arms. Since then, when have
Altered my feelings toward thee? Many thousands
Have I made rich, presented them with lands;
Rewarded them with dignities and honors;
Thee have I loved: my heart, my self, I gave
To thee; They all were aliens: thou wert
Our child and inmate. 6 Max.! Thou canst not leave me;
It cannot be; I may not, will not think
That Max. can leave me.

MAX.
Ob, my God!

WALLENSTEIN
I have
Held and sustained thee from thy tottering childhood.
What holy bond is there of natural love,
What human tie that does not knit thee to me?
I love thee, Max.! What did thy father for thee,
Which I too have not done, to the height of duty?
Go hence, forsake me, serve thy emperor;
He will reward thee with a pretty chain
Of gold; with his ram's fleece will he reward thee;
For that the friend, the father of thy youth,
For that the holiest feeling of humanity,
Was nothing worth to thee.

MAX.
O God! how can I
Do otherwise. Am I not forced to do it,
My oath—my duty—my honor——

WALLENSTEIN.
How? Thy duty?
Duty to whom? Who art thou? Max.! bethink thee
What duties may'st thou have? If I am acting
A criminal part toward the emperor,
It is my crime, not thine. Dost thou belong
To thine own self? Art thou thine own commander?
Stand'st thou, like me, a freeman in the world,
That in thy actions thou shouldst plead free agency?
On me thou art planted, I am thy emperor;
To obey me, to belong to me, this is
Thy honor, this a law of nature to thee!
And if the planet on the which thou livest
And hast thy dwelling, from its orbit starts.
It is not in thy choice, whether or no
Thou'lt follow it. Unfelt it whirls thee onward
Together with his ring, and all his moons.
With little guilt steppest thou into this contest;
Thee will the world not censure, it will praise thee,
For that thou held'st thy friend more worth to thee
Than names and influences more removed
For justice is the virtue of the ruler,
Affection and fidelity the subject's.
Not every one doth it beseem to question
The far-off high Arcturus. Most securely
Wilt thou pursue the nearest duty: let
The pilot fix his eye upon the pole-star.

Footnotes:

5 I have here ventured to omit a considerable number of lines. I fear
that I should not have done amiss had I taken this liberty more
frequently. It is, however, incumbent on me to give the original,
with a literal translation.

"Weh denen, die auf Dich vertraun, an Dich
Die sichre Huette ihres Glueckes lehnen,
Gelockt von deiner geistlichen Gestalt.
Schnell unverhofft, bei naechtlich stiller Weile,
Gaehrts in dem tueckschen Feuerschlunde, ladet,
Sich aus mit tobender Gewalt, und weg
Treibt ueber alle Pflanzungen der Menschen
Der wilde Strom in grausender Zerstoerung."

WALLENSTEIN.
"Du schilderst deines Vaters Herz. Wie Du's
Beschreibst, so ist's in seinem Eingeweide,
In dieser schwarzen Heuchlers Brust gestaltet.
Oh, mich hat Hoellenkunst getaeuscht! Mir sandte
Der Abgrund den verflecktesten der Geister,
Den Luegenkundigsten herauf, und stellt' ihn
Als Freund an meiner Seite. Wer vermag
Der Hoelle Macht zu widersthn! Ich zog
Den Basilisken auf an meinem Busen,
Mit meinem Herzblut naehrt' ich ihn, er sog
Sich schwelgend voll an meiner Liebe Bruesten,
Ich hatte nimmer Arges gegen ihn,
Weit offen liess ich des Gedankens Thore,
Und warf die Schluessel weiser Vorsicht weg,
Am Sternenhimmel," etc.

LITERAL TRANSLATION.

"Alas! for those who place their confidence on thee, against thee
lean their secure hut of their fortune, allured by thy hospitable
form. Suddenly, unexpectedly, in a moment still as night, there is
a fermentation in the treacherous gulf of fire; it discharges
itself with raging force, and away over all the plantations of men
drives the wild stream in frightful devastation."

WALLENSTEIN.—"Thou art portraying thy father's heart; as thou
describest, even so is it shaped in its entrails, in this black
hypocrite's breast. Oh, the art of hell has deceived me! The abyss
sent up to me the most the most spotted of the spirits, the most
skilful in lies, and placed him as a friend by my side. Who may
withstand the power of hell? I took the basilisk to my bosom, with
my heart's blood I nourished him; he s**ed himself glutfull at the
breasts of my love. I never harbored evil towards him; wide open
did I leave the door of my thoughts; I threw away the key of wise
foresight. In the starry heaven, etc." We find a difficulty in
believing this to have been written by Schiller.

6 This is a poor and inadequate translation of the affectionate
simplicity of the original—

Sie alle waren Fremdlinge, Du warst
Das Kind des Hauses.

Indeed the whole speech is in the best style of Ma**inger.
O si sic omnia!

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