S. T. Coleridge - The d**h of Wallenstein (Act 4 Scene 6) lyrics
BUTLER and GORDON.
She has lost the man she loved—
Young Piccolomini, who fell in the battle.
You have heard what Illo
Reporteth, that the Swedes are conquerers,
And marching hitherward.
Too well I heard it.
They are twelve regiments strong, and there are five
Close by us to protect the duke. We have
Only my single regiment; and the garrison
Is not two hundred strong.
'Tis even so.
It is not possible with such small force
To hold in custody a man like him.
I grant it.
Soon the numbers would disarm us,
And liberate him.
It were to be feared.
(after a pause).
Know, I am warranty for the event;
With my head have I pledged myself for his,
Must make my word good, cost it what it will,
And if alive we cannot hold him prisoner,
Why—d**h makes all things certain!
Do I understand you? Gracious God! You could——
He must not live.
And you can do the deed?
Either you or I. This morning was his last.
You would a**a**inate him?
'Tis my purpose.
Who leans with his whole confidence upon you!
Such is his evil destiny!
The sacred person of your general!
My general he has been.
That 'tis only
An "has been" washes out no villany,
And without judgment pa**ed.
Is here instead of judgment.
This were murder,
Not justice. The most guilty should be heard.
His guilt is clear, the emperor has pa**ed judgment,
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And we but execute his will.
We should not
Hurry to realize a bloody sentence.
A word may be recalled, a life never can be.
Despatch in service pleases sovereigns.
No honest man's ambitious to press forward
To the hangman's service.
And no brave man loses
His color at a daring enterprise.
A brave man hazards life, but not his conscience.
What then? Shall he go forth anew to kindle
The unextinguishable flame of war?
Seize him, and hold him prisoner—do not k** him.
Had not the emperor's army been defeated
I might have done so. But 'tis now pa**ed by.
Oh, wherefore opened I the stronghold to him?
His destiny, and not the place destroys him.
Upon these ramparts, as beseemed a soldier—
I had fallen, defending the emperor's citadel!
Yes! and a thousand gallant men have perished!
Doing their duty—that adorns the man!
But murder's a black deed, and nature curses it.
(brings out a paper).
Here is the manifesto which commands us
To gain possession of his person. See—
It is addressed to you as well as me.
Are you content to take the consequences,
If through our fault he escape to the enemy?
I? Gracious God!
Take it on yourself.
Come of it what may, on you I lay it.
Oh, God in heaven!
Can you advise aught else
Wherewith to execute the emperor's purpose?
Say if you can. For I desire his fall,
Not his destruction.
Merciful heaven! what must be
I see as clear as you. Yet still the heart
Within my bosom beats with other feelings!
Mine is of harder stuff! Necessity
In her rough school hath steeled me. And this Illo,
And Terzky likewise, they must not survive him.
I feel no pang for these. Their own bad hearts
Impelled them, not the influence of the stars.
'Twas they who strewed the seeds of evil pa**ions
In his calm breast, and with officious villany
Watered and nursed the poisonous plants. May they
Receive their earnests to the uttermost mite!
And their d**h shall precede his!
We meant to have taken them alive this evening
Amid the merrymaking of a feast,
And keep them prisoners in the citadel,
But this makes shorter work. I go this instant
To give the necessary orders.