S. T. Coleridge - The d**h of Wallenstein (Act 5 Scene 6) lyrics
GORDON, BUTLER (at first behind the scenes).
(not yet come into view of the stage).
Here stand in silence till I give the signal.
'Tis he! he has already brought the murderers.
The lights are out. All lies in profound sleep.
What shall I do, shall I attempt to save him?
Shall I call up the house? alarm the guards?
BUTLER (appears, but scarcely on the stage).
A light gleams hither from the corridor.
It leads directly to the duke's bed-chamber.
But then I break my oath to the emperor;
If he escape and strengthen the enemy,
Do I not hereby call down on my head
All the dread consequences.
Hark! Who speaks there?
'Tis better, I resign it to the hands
Of Providence. For what am I, that I
Should take upon myself so great a deed?
I have not murdered him, if he be murdered;
But all his rescue were my act and deed;
Mine—and whatever be the consequences
I must sustain them.
I should know that voice.
'Tis Gordon. What do you want here?
Was it so late, then, when the duke dismissed you?
Your hand bound up and in a scarf?
That Illo fought as he were frantic, till
At last we threw him on the ground.
Is he in bed?
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Is he? speak.
He shall not perish! Not through you! The heaven
Refuses your arm. See—'tis wounded!
There is no need of my arm.
The most guilty
Have perished, and enough is given to justice.
[The GROOM OF THE CHAMBER advances from the gallery with
his finger on his mouth commanding silence.
He sleeps! Oh, murder not the holy sleep!
No! he shall die awake.
His heart still cleaves
To earthly things: he's not prepared to step
Into the presence of his God!
Grant him but this night's respite.
The next moment
May ruin all.
(holds him still).
Unhold me! What
Can that short respite profit him?
Works miracles. In one hour many thousands
Of grains of sand run out; and quick as they
Thought follows thought within the human soul.
Only one hour! Your heart may change its purpose,
His heart may change its purpose—some new tidings
May come; some fortunate event, decisive,
May fall from heaven and rescue him. Oh, what
May not one hour achieve!
You but remind me
How precious every minute is!
[He stamps on the floor.