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S. T. Coleridge - The d**h of Wallenstein (Act 4 Scene 8) lyrics

GORDON and BUTLER.

GORDON
(looking after them).
Unhappy men! How free from all foreboding
They rush into the outspread net of murder
In the blind drunkenness of victory;
I have no pity for their fate. This Illo,
This overflowing and foolhardy villain,
That would fain bathe himself in his emperor's blood.

BUTLER.
Do as he ordered you. Send round patrols,
Take measures for the citadel's security;
When they are within I close the castle-gate
That nothing may transpire.

GORDON
(with earnest anxiety).
Oh! haste not so!
Nay, stop; first tell me——

BUTLER.
You have heard already,
To-morrow to the Swedes belongs. This night
Alone is ours. They make good expedition.
But we will make still greater. Fare you well.

GORDON.
Ah! your looks tell me nothing good. Nay, Butler,
I pray you promise me!

BUTLER.
The sun has set;
A fateful evening doth descend upon us,
And brings on their long night! Their evil stars
Deliver them unarmed into our hands,
And from their drunken dream of golden fortunes
The dagger at their hearts shall rouse them. Well,
The duke was ever a great calculator;
His fellow-men were figures on his chess-board
To move and station, as his game required.
Other men's honor, dignity, good name,
Did he shift like pawns, and made no conscience of
Still calculating, calculating still;
And yet at last his calculation proves
Erroneous; the whole game is lost; and low!
His own life will be found among the forfeits.

GORDON.
Oh, think not of his errors now! remember
His greatness, his munificence; think on all
The lovely features of his character,
On all the noble exploits of his life,
And let them, like an angel's arm, unseen,
Arrest the lifted sword.

BUTLER.
It is too late.
I suffer not myself to feel compa**ion,
Dark thoughts and bloody are my duty now.
[Grasping GORDON's hand.
Gordon! 'tis not my hatred (I pretend not
To love the duke, and have no cause to love him).
Yet 'tis not now my hatred that impels me
To be his murderer. 'Tis his evil fate.
Hostile occurrences of many events
Control and subjugate me to the office.
In vain the human being meditates
Free action. He is but the wire-worked 8 puppet
Of the blind Power, which, out of its own choice,
Creates for him a dread necessity.
What too would it avail him if there were
A something pleading for him in my heart—
Still I must k** him.

GORDON.
If your heart speak to you
Follow its impulse. 'Tis the voice of God.
Think you your fortunes will grow prosperous
[Lyrics from: https:/lyrics.az/s-t-coleridge/-/the-d**h-of-wallenstein-act-4-scene-8.html]
Bedewed with blood—his blood? Believe it not!

BUTLER.
You know not. Ask not! Wherefore should it happen
That the Swedes gained the victory, and hasten
With such forced marches hitherwards? Fain would I
Have given him to the emperor's mercy. Gordon!
I do not wish his blood,—but I must ransom
The honor of my word,—it lies in pledge—
And he must die, or——
[Pa**ionately grasping GORDON's hand.
Listen, then, and know
I am dishonored if the duke escape us.

GORDON.
Oh! to save such a man——

BUTLER.
What!

GORDON.
It is worth
A sacrifice. Come, friend! Be noble-minded!
Our own heart, and not other men's opinions,
Forms our true honor.

BUTLER
(with a cold and haughty air).
He is a great lord,
This duke, and I am of but mean importance.
This is what you would say! Wherein concerns it
The world at large, you mean to hint to me,
Whether the man of low extraction keeps
Or blemishes his honor—
So that the man of princely rank be saved?
We all do stamp our value on ourselves:
The price we challenge for ourselves is given us.
There does not live on earth the man so stationed
That I despise myself compared with him.
Man is made great or little by his own will;
Because I am true to mine therefore he dies!

GORDON.
I am endeavoring to move a rock.
Thou hadst a mother, yet no human feelings.
I cannot hinder you, but may some God
Rescue him from you!

[Exit GORDON.

BUTLER 9
(alone).
I treasured my good name all my life long;
The duke has cheated me of life's best j**el,
So that I blush before this poor weak Gordon!
He prizes above all his fealty;
His conscious soul accuses him of nothing;
In opposition to his own soft heart
He subjugates himself to an iron duty.
Me in a weaker moment pa**ion warped;
I stand beside him, and must feel myself
The worst man of the two. What though the world
Is ignorant of my purposed treason, yet
One man does know it, and can prove it, too—
High-minded Piccolomini!
There lives the man who can dishonor me!
This ignominy blood alone can cleanse!
Duke Friedland, thou or I. Into my own hands
Fortune delivers me. The dearest thing a man has is himself.

Footnotes:

8 We doubt the propriety of putting so blasphemous a statement in the
mouth of any character.—T.

9 [This soliloquy, which, according to the former arrangement,
constituted the whole of scene ix., and concluded the fourth act,
is omitted in all the printed German editions. It seems probable
that it existed in the original manuscript from which Mr. Coleridge
translated.—ED.]

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