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S. T. Coleridge - The d**h of Wallenstein (Act 5 Scene 2) lyrics

BUTLER, CAPTAIN DEVEREUX, and MACDONALD.

MACDONALD.
Here we are, general.

DEVEREUX.
What's to be the watchword?

BUTLER.
Long live the emperor!

BOTH
(recoiling).
How?

BUTLER.
Live the house of Austria.

DEVEREUX.
Have we not sworn fidelity to Friedland?

MACDONALD.
Have we not marched to this place to protect him?

BUTLER.
Protect a traitor and his country's enemy?

DEVEREUX.
Why, yes! in his name you administered
Our oath.

MACDONALD.
And followed him yourself to Egra.

BUTLER.
I did it the more surely to destroy him.

DEVEREUX.
So then!

MACDONALD.
An altered case!

BUTLER
(to DEVEREU%).
Thou wretched man
So easily leavest thou thy oath and colors?

DEVEREUX.
The devil! I but followed your example;
If you could prove a villain, why not we?

MACDONALD.
We've naught to do with thinking—that's your business.
You are our general, and give out the orders;
We follow you, though the track lead to hell.

BUTLER
(appeased).
Good, then! we know each other.

MACDONALD.
I should hope so.

DEVEREUX.
Soldiers of fortune are we—who bids most
He has us.

MACDONALD.
'Tis e'en so!

BUTLER.
Well, for the present
You must remain honest and faithful soldiers.

DEVEREUX.
We wish no other.

BUTLER.
Ay, and make your fortunes.

MACDONALD.
That is still better.

BUTLER.
Listen!

BOTH.
We attend.

BUTLER.
It is the emperor's will and ordinance
To seize the person of the Prince-Duke Friedland
Alive or dead.

DEVEREUX.
It runs so in the letter.

MACDONALD.
Alive or dead—these were the very words.

BUTLER.
And he shall be rewarded from the state
In land and gold who proffers aid thereto.

DEVEREUX.
Ay! that sounds well. The words sound always well
That travel hither from the court. Yes! yes!
We know already what court-words import.
A golden chain perhaps in sign of favor,
Or an old charger, or a parchment-patent,
And such like. The prince-duke pays better.

MACDONALD.
Yes,
The duke's a splendid paymaster.

BUTLER.
All over
With that, my friends. His lucky stars are set.

MACDONALD.
And is that certain?

BUTLER.
You have my word for it.

DEVEREUX.
His lucky fortune's all pa**ed by?

BUTLER.
Forever.
He is as poor as we.

MACDONALD.
As poor as we?

DEVEREUX.
Macdonald, we'll desert him.

BUTLER.
We'll desert him?
Full twenty thousand have done that already;
We must do more, my countrymen! In short—
We—we must k** him.

BOTH
(starting back)
k** him!

BUTLER.
Yes, must k** him;
And for that purpose have I chosen you.

BOTH.
Us!

BUTLER.
You, Captain Devereux, and thee, Macdonald.

DEVEREUX
(after a pause).
Choose you some other.

BUTLER.
What! art dastardly?
Thou, with full thirty lives to answer for—
Thou conscientious of a sudden?

DEVEREUX.
Nay
To a**a**inate our lord and general——

MACDONALD.
To whom we swore a soldier's oath——

BUTLER.
The oath
Is null, for Friedland is a traitor.

DEVEREUX.
No, no! it is too bad!

MACDONALD.
Yes, by my soul!
It is too bad. One has a conscience too——

DEVEREUX.
If it were not our chieftain, who so long
Has issued the commands, and claimed our duty——

BUTLER.
Is that the objection?

DEVEREUX.
Were it my own father,
And the emperor's service should demand it of me,
It might be done perhaps—but we are soldiers,
And to a**a**inate our chief commander,
That is a sin, a foul abomination,
From which no monk or confessor absolves us.

BUTLER.
I am your pope, and give you absolution.
Determine quickly!

DEVEREUX.
'Twill not do.

MACDONALD.
'Twont do!

BUTLER.
Well, off then! and—send Pestalutz to me.

DEVEREUX
(hesitates).
The Pestalutz——

MACDONALD.
What may you want with him?

BUTLER.
[Lyrics from: https:/lyrics.az/s-t-coleridge/-/the-d**h-of-wallenstein-act-5-scene-2.html]
If you reject it, we can find enough——

DEVEREUX.
Nay, if he must fall, we may earn the bounty
As well as any other. What think you,
Brother Macdonald?

MACDONALD.
Why, if he must fall,
And will fall, and it can't be otherwise,
One would not give place to this Pestalutz.

DEVEREUX
(after some reflection).
When do you purpose he should fall?

BUTLER.
This night.
To-morrow will the Swedes be at our gates.

DEVEREUX.
You take upon you all the consequences?

BUTLER.
I take the whole upon me.

DEVEREUX.
And it is
The emperor's will, his express absolute will?
For we have instances that folks may like
The murder, and yet hang the murderer.

BUTLER.
The manifesto says—"alive or dead."
Alive—'tis not possible—you see it is not.

DEVEREUX.
Well, dead then! dead! But bow can we come at him.
The town is filled with Terzky's soldiery.

MACDONALD.
Ay! and then Terzky still remains, and Illo——

BUTLER.
With these you shall begin—you understand me?

DEVEREUX.
How! And must they too perish?

BUTLER.
They the first.

MACDONALD.
Hear, Devereux! A bloody evening this.

DEVEREUX.
Have you a man for that? Commission me——

BUTLER.
'Tis given in trust to Major Geraldin;
This is a carnival night, and there's a feast
Given at the castle—there we shall surprise them,
And hew them down. The Pestalutz and Lesley
Have that commission. Soon as that is finished——

DEVEREUX.
Hear, general! It will be all one to you—
Hark ye, let me exchange with Geraldin.

BUTLER.
'Twill be the lesser danger with the duke.

DEVEREUX.
Danger! The devil! What do you think me, general,
'Tis the duke's eye, and not his sword, I fear.

BUTLER.
What can his eye do to thee?

DEVEREUX.
d**h and hell!
Thou knowest that I'm no milksop, general!
But 'tis not eight days since the duke did send me
Twenty gold pieces for this good warm coat
Which I have on! and then for him to see me
Standing before him with the pike, his murderer.
That eye of his looking upon this coat—
Why—why—the devil fetch me! I'm no milksop!

BUTLER.
The duke presented thee this good warm coat,
And thou, a needy wight, hast pangs of conscience
To run him through the body in return,
A coat that is far better and far warmer
Did the emperor give to him, the prince's mantle.
How doth he thank the emperor? With revolt
And treason.

DEVEREUX.
That is true. The devil take
Such thankers! I'll despatch him.

BUTLER.
And would'st quiet
Thy conscience, thou hast naught to do but simply
Pull off the coat; so canst thou do the deed
With light heart and good spirits.

DEVEREUX.
You are right,
That did not strike me. I'll pull off the coat—
So there's an end of it.

MACDONALD.
Yes, but there's another
Point to be thought of.

BUTLER.
And what's that, Macdonald?

MACDONALD.
What avails sword or dagger against him?
He is not to be wounded—he is——

BUTLER
(starting up).
What!

MACDONALD.
Safe against shot, and stab, and flash! Hard frozen.
Secured and warranted by the black art
His body is impenetrable, I tell you.

DEVEREUX.
In Ingolstadt there was just such another:
His whole skin was the same as steel; at last
We were obliged to beat him down with gunstocks.

MACDONALD.
Hear what I'll do.

DEVEREUX.
Well.

MACDONALD.
In the cloister here
There's a Dominican, my countryman.
I'll make him dip my sword and pike for me
In holy water, and say over them
One of his strongest blessings. That's probatum!
Nothing can stand 'gainst that.

BUTLER.
So do, Macdonald!
But now go and select from out the regiment
Twenty or thirty able-bodied fellows,
And let them take the oaths to the emperor.
Then when it strikes eleven, when the first rounds
Are pa**ed, conduct them silently as may be
To the house. I will myself be not far off.

DEVEREUX.
But how do we get through Hartschier and Gordon,
That stand on guard there in the inner chamber?

BUTLER.
I have made myself acquainted with the place,
I lead you through a back door that's defended
By one man only. Me my rank and office
Give access to the duke at every hour.
I'll go before you—with one poinard-stroke
Cut Hartschier's windpipe, and make way for you.

DEVEREUX.
And when we are there, by what means shall we gain
The duke's bed-chamber, without his alarming
The servants of the court? for he has here
A numerous company of followers.

BUTLER.
The attendants fills the right wing: he hates bustle,
And lodges in the left wing quite alone.

DEVEREUX.
Were it well over—hey, Macdonald! I
Feel queerly on the occasion, devil knows.

MACDONALD.
And I, too. 'Tis too great a personage.
People will hold us for a brace of villains.

BUTLER.
In plenty, honor, splendor—you may safely
Laugh at the people's babble.

DEVEREUX.
If the business
Squares with one's honor—if that be quite certain.

BUTLER.
Set your hearts quite at ease. Ye save for Ferdinand
His crown and empire. The reward can be
No small one.

DEVEREUX.
And 'tis his purpose to dethrone the emperor?

BUTLER.
Yes! Yes! to rob him of his crown and life.

DEVEREUX.
And must he fall by the executioner's hands,
Should we deliver him up to the emperor
Alive?

BUTLER.
It were his certain destiny.

DEVEREUX.
Well! Well! Come then, Macdonald, he shall not
Lie long in pain.

  [Exeunt BUTLER through one door, MACDONALD and DEVEREUX
   through the other.

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