S. T. Coleridge - The d**h of Wallenstein (Act 5 Scene 4) lyrics
All quiet in the town?
The town is quiet.
I hear a boisterous music! and the castle
Is lighted up. Who are the revellers?
There is a banquet given at the castle
To the Count Terzky and Field-Marshal Illo.
In honor of the victory—this tribe
Can show their joy in nothing else but feasting.
[Rings. The GROOM OF THE CHAMBER enters.
Unrobe me. I will lay me down to sleep.
[WALLENSTEIN takes the keys from GORDON.
So we are guarded from all enemies,
And shut in with sure friends.
For all must cheat me, or a face like this
[Fixing his eyes on GORDON.
Was ne'er a hypocrite's mask.
[The GROOM OF THE CHAMBER takes off his mantle, collar, and scarf.
Take care—what is that?
GROOM OF THE CHAMBER.
The golden chain is snapped in two.
Well, it has lasted long enough. Here—give it.
[He takes and looks at the chain.
'Twas the first present of the emperor.
He hung it round me in the war of Friule,
He being then archduke; and I have worn it
Till now from habit—
From superstition, if you will. Belike,
It was to be a talisman to me;
And while I wore it on my neck in faith,
It was to chain to me all my life-long
The volatile fortune, whose first pledge it was.
Well, be it so! Henceforward a new fortune
Must spring up for me; for the potency
Of this charm is dissolved.
[GROOM OF THE CHAMBER retires with the vestments. WALLENSTEIN rises, takes a stride across the room, and stands at
last before GORDON in a posture of meditation.
How the old time returns upon me! I
Behold myself once more at Burgau, where
We two were pages of the court together.
We oftentimes disputed: thy intention
Was ever good; but thou were won't to play
The moralist and preacher, and wouldst rail at me—
That I strove after things too high for me,
Giving my faith to bold, unlawful dreams,
And still extol to me the golden mean.
Thy wisdom hath been proved a thriftless friend
To thy own self. See, it has made thee early
A superannuated man, and (but
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That my munificent stars will intervene)
Would let thee in some miserable corner
Go out like an untended lamp.
With light heart the poor fisher moors his boat,
And watches from the shore the lofty ship
Stranded amid the storm.
Art thou already
In harbor, then, old man? Well! I am not.
The unconquered spirit drives me o'er life's billows;
My planks still firm, my canvas swelling proudly.
Hope is my goddess still, and youth my inmate;
And while we stand thus front to front almost,
I might presume to say, that the swift years
Have pa**ed by powerless o'er my unblanched hair.
[He moves with long strides across the saloon, and
remains on the opposite side over against GORDON.
Who now persists in calling fortune false?
To me she has proved faithful; with fond love
Took me from out the common ranks of men,
And like a mother goddess, with strong arm
Carried me swiftly up the steps of life.
Nothing is common in my destiny,
Nor in the furrows of my hand. Who dares
Interpret then my life for me as 'twere
One of the undistinguishable many?
True, in this present moment I appear
Fallen low indeed; but I shall rise again.
The high flood will soon follow on this ebb;
The fountain of my fortune, which now stops,
Repressed and bound by some malicious star,
Will soon in joy play forth from all its pipes.
And yet remember I the good old proverb,
"Let the night come before we praise the day."
I would be slow from long-continued fortune
To gather hope: for hope is the companion
Given to the unfortunate by pitying heaven.
Fear hovers round the head of prosperous men,
For still unsteady are the scales of fate.
I hear the very Gordon that of old
Was won't to preach, now once more preaching;
I know well, that all sublunary things
Are still the va**als of vicissitude.
The unpropitious gods demand their tribute.
This long ago the ancient pagans knew
And therefore of their own accord they offered
To themselves injuries, so to atone
The jealousy of their divinities
And human sacrifices bled to Typhon.
[After a pause, serious, and in a more subdued manner.
I too have sacrificed to him—for me
There fell the dearest friend, and through my fault
He fell! No joy from favorable fortune
Can overweigh the anguish of this stroke.
The envy of my destiny is glutted:
Life pays for life. On his pure head the lightning
Was drawn off which would else have shattered me.