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Wallenstein

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Friedrich Schiller

Wallenstein's Camp

Act One

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Scene One

1A Canteen Keeper’s Tent with a booth selling small wares standing before it. Soldiers wearing all colors and insignia throng the scene; all the tables are full. Croats and Uhlans cook over a charcoal fire; the Canteen Keeper pours wine; Camp Children roll dice on a drumhead; singing in the Tent.

2A Peasant and his Son.

PEASANT BOY. Father, this will come to a rough end,
Let’s stay clear of these tough men.
That’s no company for you;
They could harm us through and through.
PEASANT. Pooh! They won’t eat us up for lunch,
Though they are a rowdy bunch.
Look there! New troops to join the line,
Fresh from the Saale and the Main,
Bringing booty, the rarest treasure;
It’s ours if we take good measures. [10]
A captain whom another knifed
Left me with these lucky dice.
I aim to try them out today,
See if their old magic’s still in play.
Just pretend you’re poor and dumb,
They’ll be your best pals and chums.
They like to be flattered, to hear praise flow—
It’s easy come and easy go.
When they rob us by the roomful,
We claw it back from them by the spoonful; [20]
And while they’re gross with their big swords,
We’ll be fine with tricks and words.

(Singing and laughter from the Tent.)

  • 1 Saxon troops occupied Bohemia from November 1631 to summer 1632.
  • 2 Presented as a Czech spelling of “Terzky.”

What a racket! Faith abide!
It all comes out of the peasant’s hide.
For eight months now that greedy swarm
Lies in our bed and in our barn;
For miles around, on every place,
Of flesh or fowl they’ve left no trace,
So that for hunger and wretchedness
We have to gnaw on our own fists. [30]
I swear to God it was no worse
With Saxon fingers in our purse.1
And they say they’re the Kaiser’s best!
PEASANT BOY. Oh, here’s a bunch who’ve left the rest
But don’t look like there’s much to take.
PEASANT. They’re locals, that’s Bohemia’s make,
Belong to Terschka’s2 Carabiniers
And have long been quartered here.
They’re the worst of the whole pack,
Stick out their elbows, arch their back, [40]
And make as if they are too fine
To share with us a glass of wine.
But I see three Sharpshooters there
On the left around the fire.
Tiroleans is what they seem to me.
Emmerich, come! Let’s go and see
Those jolly fellows, as good as any,
And in their pockets, a pretty penny.

(They go toward the tents.)

Scene Two

3As above. Sergeant. Trumpeter. Uhlan.

TRUMPETER. Who’s that peasant? Out, you thieving sneak!
PEASANT. My lords, a little bite to eat! [50]
We’ve had nothing warm these last two days.
TRUMPETER. Oh, they must always feed their face.
UHLAN (with a glass). Let me! I’ll take him off your hands.
(He leads the Peasant toward the Tent; the others come forward.)

  • 3 Wallenstein’s wife and their daughter.
  • 4 The German is alte Perücke to designate Questenberg, imperial chamberlain and counselor of war.
  • 5 Terzky’s wife and Wallenstein’s wife were sisters.

SERGEANT (to the Trumpeter).
Do you think it’s just by chance
We’re paid a double wage today?
Just so we can live this way?
TRUMPETER. Today the Duchess comes to us
With the Princess—3
SERGEANT. That’s just fuss.
It’s the troops from foreign lands
Who’ve met here at Pilsen in fighting bands— [60]
It’s to lure them, don’t you think,
With something good to eat and drink,
So that they’re quickly satisfied
And our alliance ratified.
TRUMPETER. For sure, they’re cooking something up!
SERGEANT. The generals and commandants—
TRUMPETER. A show of brass you cannot top!
SERGEANT. Who swarm through camp like busy ants—
TRUMPETER. Have not come here to answer roll.
SERGEANT. The back-and-forth, the whirligig— [70]
TRUMPETER. Oh, yes!
SERGEANT. And from Vienna, that big-wig,4
Who drifts through camp, out on a stroll,
Him with that little chain of gold,
Is here for something, I make bold—
TRUMPETER. Another bloodhound, and no fluke,
To sniff out our loyal Duke.
SERGEANT. They don’t trust us, plain to see,
And fear Friedland’s plans-to-be;
He has climbed too high for them,
They’re sent here to saw off his limb. [80]
TRUMPETER. We’ll stand by him, we two and more.
SERGEANT. Our regiment, with the other four
That Terschka leads, by marriage his brother,5
Are resolute and like none other;
We hold to him, to him we’re suited,
The one by whom we were recruited.
All his captains he installs,
And they are his as in a thrall.

Scene Three

4A Croat with a necklace, trailed by a Sharpshooter. As above.

  • 6 Small pistols, called after the Italian word for a little hawk once used in falconry.

SHARPSHOOTER. You, Croat! That necklace you stole—
I’ll trade you for it; you can’t use’ t. [90]
I’ll trade this pair of terzeruole.6
CROAT. Nix, nix. You cheat me, you Sharpshoot.
SHARPSHOOTER. I’ll throw my blue cap in, to boot—
From roulette, the one that I just won.
You see? The grandest in the world!
CROAT (letting the sunlight play on the necklace).
You see? She’s garnet and she’s pearl.
You see? She sparkles in the sun!
SHARPSHOOTER (taking the necklace).
You’ll get my water bottle, too;
(examining the necklace)
It’s just for the sparkle—this to-do.
TRUMPETER. Look how that Croat’s getting took! [100]
Halfies, Sharpshoot, and I’ll keep quiet.
CROAT (putting the cap on).
I like your cap. I like the look.
SHARPSHOOTER (signaling the Trumpeter).
We trade now! (To the others.) You see me buy it!

Scene Four

5As above. Master-Gunner.

  • 7 Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria, Wallenstein’s rival and most formidable enemy.

MASTER-GUNNER (approaching the Sergeant).
How is it, Brother Carabinier?
How long do we stay and warm our hands,
Now the foe’s in the field in every land?
SERGEANT. What’s your hurry, Gunning Master?
The muddy roads are still a disaster.
MASTER-GUNNER. No hurry. Me? I’m content to be here;
But an express has come in, to our cost, [110]
To tell us Regensburg’s been lost.
TRUMPETER. Aha! That means we’re soon in the saddle.
SERGEANT. Oh, sure! To take up that Bavarian’s battle?7
Who hates and harries our General so?
For him our swords will never rattle.
MASTER-GUNNER. Is that so? What-all you don’t know!

Scene Five

6As above. Two Horsemen. Then a Canteen Keeper. Camp Children. Schoolmaster. Waitress.

  • 8 Schiller’s term is Jäger. These figures appear in the list of characters as “Two mounted Holk Jaeg (...)
  • 9 In summer 1633 Holk’s Horse wrecked Saxony and laid Leipzig under tribute. The statement is that t (...)
  • 10 An in-joke. In 1785, in refuge from a vengeful Duke of Württemberg, Schiller had frequented a tave (...)
  • 11 Name for a gold coin.
  • 12 Protestant general whom Wallenstein defeated at Dessau in 1626 and pursued into Hungary.
  • 13 Hanseatic city on the Baltic, allied with Sweden, besieged by Wallenstein in 1628.
  • 14 The governor of Spanish Milan; he led troops into southern Germany in 1633.
  • 15 In effect, war feeds on war as soldiers reproduce the next generation of soldiers, which the state (...)

FIRST HORSEMAN.8 Now isn’t that a sight to see!
The very best of company!
TRUMPETER. What kind of Greencoats can they be?
Look sleek and proud and pleased to me. [120]
SERGEANT. Holk’s Horse. Those silver trappings there
Did not get bought at the Leipzig Fair.9
CANTEEN KEEPER (bringing wine).
Gentlemen, welcome!
FIRST HORSEMAN. Why, I’m blown to bits!
If it isn’t our Gustel from Blasewitz !10
CANTEEN KEEPER. Indeed it is! And this Misseu
Is long tall Peter from Itzehoe?
Who went through many a golden fox11
Of his father’s—why, he emptied his socks—
At Glückstadt at the equinox—
FIRST HORSEMAN. Now I’ve traded my pen for the cartridge box. [130]
CANTEEN KEEPER. Well, well! If we two aren’t old friends!
FIRST HORSEMAN. And meet again in Bohemian lands.
CANTEEN KEEPER. One day this place, tomorrow another,
The way the bristly broom of war
Sweeps us one way, then the other,
I’ve gotten around, both near and far.
FIRST HORSEMAN. I can believe it—that and more.
CANTEEN KEEPER. All the way to Timisoar
I pulled that cart and all it held
When we were chasing that Mansfeld.12 [140]
Held out with Friedland before Stralsunde—13
It was there my business went under—
With the relief to Mantua,
Pulled out again with Feria,14
And with a Spanish regiment
I made a detour back to Ghent.
Here in Bohemia I pursue it,
Try and collect what I have lent,
See if the Prince will help me do it.
And that there is my canteen tent. [150]
FIRST HORSEMAN. It’s all together on one spot.
But what have you done with that Scot
Who went around with you back then?
CANTEEN KEEPER. A rascal! How he took me in!
He’s gone! Took with him all the savings
I’d scraped together from life’s leavings
And left me with that worthless moppet—
CAMP CHILD (comes bouncing up).
Mama! Are you talking about my papa?
FIRST HORSEMAN. Oh, he’s fed from the Kaiser’s purse, it’s
To renew the army, reimburse it.15 [160]
SCHOOLMASTER (entering).
Off, you scamps! Back to the schoolroom!
FIRST HORSEMAN. For them, too, it’s the voice of doom.
WAITRESS (entering). Aunt, they’re leaving.
CANTEEN KEEPER. Right away!
FIRST HORSEMAN. Well! Who is that charming little piece?
CANTEEN KEEPER. My sister’s child. Has come to stay.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Oh, she’s your pretty little niece?

(The Canteen Keeper goes off.)

FIRST HORSEMAN (stopping the Girl).
Stay a minute, charming child.

WAITRESS. But guests are waiting this long while.
(She escapes and goes off.)
FIRST HORSEMAN. That little girl—she’s an ace,
And her aunt, by the Sacrament! [170]
How all the gents from the regiment
Wanted to kill for her pretty face!
Oh, the people one meets and how time flies!
What I’ll yet see with my own eyes!
(To the Sergeant and the Trumpeter.)
My worthy lords, I drink to you.
Come! Let’s sit and talk a bit.

Scene Six

7Horsemen. Sergeant. Trumpeter.

  • 16 In Saxony, where Holk’s squads raged.
  • 17 The reference is to booty tucked into the clothing of a raiding soldier.
  • 18 Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, champion of the Protestant forces.
  • 19 The Catholic League, led by the Duke of Bavaria. Its army fought beside the imperial army. The sac (...)
  • 20 Commander of the army of the Catholic League.
  • 21 Tilly’s defeat by Gustavus Adolphus at Breitenfeld near Leipzig, September 1631.
  • 22 In November 1631 the Saxons, allied with the Swedes, attacked Bohemia and took Prague.
  • 23 Wallenstein’s campaign to raise an army in 1632, at the beginning of his second command.
  • 24 First instance of contemporary rumor about Wallenstein’s ambitions.
  • 25 Seni, Wallenstein’s Italian astrologer, the “little gray man” at line 365.
  • 26 Site, near Leipzig, of the battle in which Gustavus Adolphus was mortally wounded, November 1632.

SERGEANT. To sit with you is only fit.
Bohemia welcomes your brave crew.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Nice here. Out there among the foe
We found our pleasures mighty few. [180]
TRUMPETER. Who’d know, to see you turned out so?
SERGEANT. In Meissen, Saale,16 all the same,
You don’t enjoy a spotless fame.
SECOND HORSEMAN. Quiet, you! Attack our name?
The Croat was something else again—
Left us just gleanings to bring in.
TRUMPETER. On your collar, that’s Breton lace!
And how your trousers stay in place!
Finest linen and plumed hat!
Who can take it up with that! [190]
That the likes of you should have such luck,
And we get nothing for all our pluck!
SERGEANT. We, who are Friedland’s own regiment!
We are owed respect and honor.
FIRST HORSEMAN. We don’t think that’s kindly meant!
We, too, carry his name in our banner.
SERGEANT. But you belong to the common creed.
FIRST HORSEMAN. And you think you’re a special breed?
The only difference is our dress,
And mine is better than the rest. [200]
SERGEANT. Lord Ranger, why be so unpleasant?
It’s living out there with the peasant.
Perfect manners, proper tone—
They’re learned from the General’s example alone.
FIRST HORSEMAN. And what has that example shown?
How he hawks and how he spits—
For you that’s a perfect fit.
But his smarts and his sharp wits—
They don’t fit in barracks kit.
SECOND HORSEMAN. Just ask about us from a stranger: [210]
You’ll hear we are Friedland’s Rangers
And to the name are no disgrace!
March past friend and foe, keep pace
Across the planted fields of corn,
Where they all know Holk’s hunting horn!
In an instant, far and near,
Like the torrent, we are there,
The way that hot flames in the night
Strike a house and put to flight.
There’s no escape and no defense, [220]
There’s no more order, no more sense.
Our strong arms tame the struggling maid—
War spares no one, gives no aid.
Ask around—this is no boast—
In Bayreuth, Vogtland, and a host
Of other lands that we’ve passed through
Children’s children will tell you
For centuries yet of Holk’s Horse
And how we are a mighty force.
SERGEANT. There you have it: all that clatter— [230]
Is that what makes the soldier matter?
His timing makes him, good sense, glance,
His thinking, understanding, stance.
FIRST HORSEMAN. It’s freedom makes him. With you who doubt it
Why do I even talk about it?
Did I leave training, bolt from school
Just to sit on that same stool,
Scribble, copy, play the clerk
In camp here, where there’s real man’s work?
I’ll live high, I’ll work and play, [240]
Have new adventures every day,
Not think past this very minute
And the fun and freedom in it.
That’s why I went and made the trade:
The Kaiser gets me, I get paid.
Lead me to the firing line
Or over the ripping, racing Rhine,
Where every third man’s left behind:
I’ll not give you trouble there.
But I’ll not stand it anymore [250]
To be thwarted anywhere.
SERGEANT. Nothing else you’re asking for?
We’d find it tucked into your doublet.17
FIRST HORSEMAN. What a nuisance, how much trouble it
Was with Gustav18—made a chapel
Of his camp. At every appel
At reveille, again at taps—
He made us pray, take off our caps.
If we would not pull a long face,
Himself, he’d put us in our place. [260]
SERGEANT. Oh, he was a God-fearing man.
FIRST HORSEMAN. No fun with girls, no chance to falter,
We had to lead them to the altar.
Too much for me! I cut and ran.
SERGEANT. I’d bet they’ve now removed that ban.
FIRST HORSEMAN. I went to join the League instead,
Arming against Magdeburg, they said.19
That was different altogether,
Birds they were of another feather,
Beer and dice and lots of girls, [270]
Jolly, easy-going brothers.
Tilly20 let us join that whirl,
But in his own life kept better weather.
As long as it was no expense,
“Live and let live” was his sense.
But after Leipzig, the reversal,21
A different play was in rehearsal:
Our luck ran out, the workings balked,
The whole machine ground to a halt.
Where we arrived and asked admittance, [280]
We heard, “Get out! To you, good riddance!”
We skulked along from place to place—
No one would give us any space.
So I thought I would pin my hope
On Saxon bounty, turn my coat.
SERGEANT. Oh, then you came just in time
For the Bohemian booty.22
FIRST HORSEMAN. Wouldn’t rhyme.
Strictest discipline. We could not impose
Our will on them like proper foes;
Could only guard the Kaiser’s castles, [290]
Show up for duty in ruffles and tassels.
How we made war was just a joke,
Fencing bravely with mirrors and smoke;
Afraid to give anyone offense anywhere,
Service, in short, with no honor to spare,
So dull I nearly went berserk
And ran back home to be a clerk.
Just then throughout the country all
Good men were answering Friedland’s call.23
SERGEANT. And how long will you stay with us? [300]
FIRST HORSEMAN. As long as he holds sway with us.
It’s to his star I’ll hitch my wagon;
What soldier makes a better bargain?
Here we get a real soldier’s charge
And everything is written large.
A spirit lives in every corps
That, like the wind, with rush and roar
Rips even the slowest rider along.
We’re taller here than the civilian throng,
The way the marshal’s taller than the prince. [310]
It’s like times used to be long since,
When the sword still had its meaning
And one thing only was demeaning:
Refusing orders—a hanging offense.
It’s not forbidden? You have leave;
And no one asks you what you believe.
One thing only counts a lot:
What is army, what is not.
I’ll show the flag: that’s my best shot.
SERGEANT. Bravo, Soldier! All that sounded [320]
Like the best of Friedland’s mounted.
FIRST HORSEMAN. What a commander! He’s not sitting
In Bohemia to do the Kaiser’s bidding.
It’s not for his sake he has fought
Or his victories been wrought.
Has he used his high command
To bring protection to the land?
He wants to found a soldiers’ state,
Ignite the world on a hot grate,
Make himself its potentate.24 [330]
TRUMPETER. Sh! Such a thing—you shouldn’t say it!
FIRST HORSEMAN. I say what I think—the way it
Is allowed us: Speech is free.
SERGEANT. The General said that. His decree:
“Speech is free, speechless the deed,
Obedience blind.” This is his creed.
FIRST HORSEMAN. If he said exactly that
I do not know. But it is so.
SECOND HORSEMAN. His luck in the field always holds fast,
It never gives out, it’s a permanent boon. [340]
Tilly’s good angel deserted too soon,
But the spell he casts makes his luck last.
One who fights at his direction
Has special powers for protection,
For all the world knows perfectly well
That he keeps in his service, feeds at his table,
Pays the wages of a demon from Hell.25
SERGEANT. And nothing can pierce him. No one is able.
Out onto Lützen’s bloody plain26
He rode under fire falling like rain, [350]
Rode up and down and had no fear
And let the furious bullets tear
Through his boots and his cuirass and his hat,
And there was not a one of them that
Could scratch his skin. Nine lives! Like a cat!
FIRST HORSEMAN. What wonders I hear tell, you two!
It’s his cuirass of elk’s leather
That no bullet passes through.
SERGEANT. No, it’s a salve of witches’ heather
Cooked up with magic in foul weather [360]
To make a hellish, godless stew.
They say he also reads the stars,
Knows future things, both near and far.
But I know better what is right:
A little gray man goes in the night
Through locked doors to sit with him;
You hear the sentries shout it out.
And something big always visits men
When that small gray-coat goes about.
SECOND HORSEMAN. The very Devil and his wife— [370]
He’s friends with them,
And lets us lead a merry life.

Scene Seven

8As above. A Recruit. A Citizen. Dragoons.

RECRUIT (comes out of the Tent, a tin helmet on his head,
a wine bottle in his hand).
Remember me to Father and the other men!
I’m a soldier now; you’ll never see me again.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Well, looky there! He is new!
CITIZEN. Watch out, Franz. This is not for you.
RECRUIT (sings). Pipe and drums
And flag unfurled.
Friends and chums,
We wander the world. [380]
Prancing horses,
Fearsome forces,
A sword at our side,
We march far and wide.
We’ve left the herd,
We’re free as a bird
That comes in spring
To forage and sing.
Hurrah! I follow Friedland’s banner!
SECOND HORSEMAN. Welcome, boy. We like your manner! [390]

(They all greet him.)

  • 27 Buttler will enter in the first scene of Piccolomini. The Sergeant makes the first mention of his (...)
  • 28 The reference is to Wallenstein’s extraordinary rank and privilege under the Empire, which the Ser (...)
  • 29 The tale of Wallenstein’s jailing at Altdorf, near Nuremberg, is apocryphal, though his rowdiness, (...)

CITIZEN. Leave him be! He’s bred gentle and meet.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Well, we weren’t exactly picked up on the street!
CITIZEN. He also comes from people of means;
Just look at his apron—what fine seams!
TRUMPETER. The Kaiser’s coat is the one that gleams.
CITIZEN. There’s a little cap mill he stands to inherit.
FIRST HORSEMAN And lose all his freedom! What’s the merit?
CITIZEN. His grandmother will leave him a little store.
FIRST HORSEMAN. To trade in dry goods evermore?
CITIZEN. His godmother’s wine bar, free of rent, [400]
And a cellar stocked with hogsheads of wine.
TRUMPETER. Pouring wine? Is that his line?
SECOND HORSEMAN. Hey, Brother! Want to share my tent?
CITIZEN. He leaves a bride standing at the church door.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Iron-hearted, on that score.
CITIZEN. The scandal of it! Grandmother will die!
SECOND HORSEMAN. So he gets the wine shop; why should he cry?
SERGEANT (with clerical gravity, lays his hand on the tin helmet).
This is prudent, a good plan.
Thou hast put on a new man.
This helmet and this bandolier [410]
Bring thee into a brand new sphere.
A new spirit’s entered in.
SECOND HORSEMAN. Spirits of brandy, schnapps, and gin.
SERGEANT. You embark on Fortune’s ship
To sail the world from tail to tip;
On your voyage you’ll learn the ropes,
Find daring justifies your hopes.
The pious burgher, that poor fag,
Goes round and round like the dyer’s nag;
A soldier’s chance is infinite, [420]
And this endless war won’t limit it.
Look at me! At a sergeant’s grade
I carry a staff like the Kaiser’s stave.
The rule of the world and every lick
Of order comes from such a stick;
The scepter that the Kaiser holds
Is just a stick in fancy clothes.
Once at corporal’s rank, you’re on your way
To get real power and rule the day.
On all this you can set your sights. [430]
FIRST HORSEMAN. As long as he can read and write.
SERGEANT. Let me give you an example
So that you will have a sample.
The chief of Friedland’s Dragoon ranks
Is Buttler.27 We were almost brothers
As Rhineland privates, among others;
He’s major general now as thanks
For long service and great fame,
While I made less stir in my name.
Why, Friedland himself, who has command [440]
Of all the armies in the land,
Holds endless powers in his hand,
Was once a simple nobleman.
He trusted to his warrior’s creed
And built an empire on his deeds,
Stands after the Kaiser as first man.28
And who knows what yet to expect
From a man whose limits have never been set!
FIRST HORSEMAN. Oh, he started small and is now great stuff,
For at Altdorf in his student days, [450]
If I may repeat what everyone says,
He played a little rough and tough.
They say it’s his scout he tried to slay.
The city fathers sent him to jail
When he tried and failed to raise the bail.
This new jail was to take the name
Of its first prisoner, to his eternal ill-fame.
How does he solve it? He wisely lets
His poodle go first, and to silent laughter,
As he intended, the jailhouse gets [460]
The poodle’s name forever after.
Now there’s a man after my own heart:
Sprang every trap set for him right from the start.29

(The Girl has come to wait the table.
The Second Horseman has been flirting with her.)

DRAGOON (intervening). Comrade, you just let that be!
SECOND HORSEMAN. You think you have a say with me?
DRAGOON. You just listen! She’s my girl.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Would you believe it? This great churl
Thinks only he can have a girl!
SECOND HORSEMAN. He thinks he’s a special case;
But this sweetheart’s pretty face [470]
Is for us all, like bright sunshine. (He kisses her.)
DRAGOON (pulling the Girl away). I tell you once more: She is mine.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Musicians! That’s a change of pace!
SECOND HORSEMAN. You looking for trouble? You’ll find it with me!
SERGEANT. Gentlemen, silence! A kiss is for free.

Scene Eight

  • 30 Wandering musicians from the mines (Bergknappen) were traditional.
  • 31 Capuchin monks, so-called for the hoods on their habits, belonged to the Order of St. Francis and (...)

9A Miners’ Band30 enters and plays a reel, first slowly, then faster and faster. The First Horseman dances with the Waitress, the Canteen Keeper with the Recruit; the Girl escapes, the Horseman pursues her; they collide with the Capuchin as he enters.31

  • 32 The Swedish chancellor. He is mentioned again, Picc., Act II, scene 5, at line 715, and is a major (...)
  • 33 Woman (Luke 15,8); Saul (1 Samuel 9–10); Joseph (Genesis 42–45).
  • 34 St. John the Baptist; see also Luke 16, 22.
  • 35 King David’s long-haired son. 2 Samuel 14, 26; 18, 9–15.
  • 36 “Do not keep my flock.” This would seem to be a negation of the command, “Feed my sheep” (John 21, (...)
  • 37 Cited by Abraham as Hebrew kings who were constantly at war.
  • 38 See King Saul’s visit to the Witch of Endor, 1 Samuel 28, 6–19.
  • 39 Book of Judith.
  • 40 Matthew 26, 69–75.
  • 41 Luke 13, 31–32.
  • 42 2 Kings 24–25; Daniel 5.
  • 43 Sons of Hett, among the Gentiles of the Land of Canaan. These mentions, and Belshazzar, above, are (...)

CAPUCHIN. Tra la la! And brum, brum, brum!
What is that for a wicked tune!
Is this here an army of Christians?
Or a tribe of Turks and Antibaptistians?
Do you make a mockery of the Day of Rest [480]
Just to put God to the test?
You think he couldn’t put a sudden end to
This wild music and flaming tinder?
To gluttony, sloth, and idle splendor?
Quid hic statis otiosi?
Think you can stand there and fold your hands?
Warriors swarm through the Danube lands,
The enemy in Bavaria fills his craw,
Takes defenseless Regensburg with his claw—
And the army in Bohemia lies about, [490]
Fills its belly and polishes its snout,
Cares for the bottle more than the battle,
Whets wits and words and not its swords,
With girls is neither stern nor firm,
Eats up ox, not Oxenstirn.32 Christendom mourns in sackcloth and ashes
While flirting soldiers flash their sashes.
The world is now a vale of tears,
And skies are full of signs and wonders
And churning clouds to match our fears, [500]
In which God’s righteous anger thunders.
He sends out comets that streak the dark
And tell of disasters yet to come,
Of burning barns and the rolling drum
And floods of blood against the sacred Ark.
Our erstwhile Holy Roman Empire
Is now a lowly yeoman’s shire;
The Rhine that once ran clear with rain
Is thick with blood, a stream of pain;
In every cloister women roister; [510]
In what were once our monasteries
The wounded find apothecaries,
And our erstwhile Sacred Church
Has now become an acrid smirch.
Hear what you’ve done to bring this on!
This is how we pay the price
Of your loose life and crime and vice;
Like a magnet close at hand
Sin draws sharp steel into the land;
Bad things follow on bad deeds [520]
As bad crops come from rotten seeds.
It’s a happy man who hears and heeds.
Ubi erit victoriae spes,
Si offenditur Deus? What hope have you
Of victory if you’ve set your face
Against your God, the One and True?
The woman found her silver pieces,
And Saul found his father’s asses,
Joseph in Egypt knew his brothers’ faces;33
But one who among soldiers looks for the [530]
Fear of God or sense of order
Will find little in his sights,
As many candles as he lights.
To the Preacher in the Wilderness34
Soldiers came in some distress,
Repented and were then baptized.
They inquired and were advised:
Quid faciemus nos? What shall we do,
Now that we’re baptized, to stay true?
Et ait illis. And he replies: [540]
Neminem concuciatis,
Keep from all forms of violence,
Neque calumniam faciatis,
And every form of insolence.
Contenti estote: be content
Stipendiis vestris: with your rents
And all else that you’ve been sent.
Thou shalt not take the sacred name
Of the Lord thy God in vain
Is a command. Was there ever more swearing [550]
Than here in camp in a cleric’s hearing?
And if for every thunderation
And proclamation of damnation
That you say here the bells were rung,
They’d fall from the belfries where they’re hung.
And if for every blasphemous prayer
From your unwashed mouths they pulled a hair,
Your scurvy scalps would be picked bare,
Were your thatch as thick as Absalom’s.35 Ware!
Joshua was an army leader [560]
And David a giant’s brave defeater,
And who has ever heard or read
That they used words like the ones you’ve said?
The mouth’s no wider nor the tongue more bent
To say “God help me!” than “Potz Sakrament!”
But one whose vessel holds more than its share
Will run over at the mouth and curse and swear.
Another command says, “Thou shalt not steal”;
You take those words for what they say
And spirit everything openly away. [570]
From your long fingers and vulture’s claws,
Your bottomless greed, like black jackdaws’,
Money is not safe in the chest
And the calf in the cow is not safely at rest,
You steal the egg and the hen and the nest.
Yet how is it possible to reprove
The servant when the trouble all comes from above?
The members’ ways will be like their chief’s,
And no one knows anything about his beliefs.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Look, you preacher! You can give us grief, [580]
But our Commander’s not in your brief.
CAPUCHIN. Ne custodias gregem meam!36
This man’s an Ahab and Jerobeam,37
Leads his men from the righteous way
To false gods and even further astray.
TRUMPETER and RECRUIT.
We’ll not hear twice the things you say.
CAPUCHIN. A saber-rattler, loud and bold;
Said that he’d take every stronghold,
Would wrest Stralsund from Swede or Dane,
And if fastened to Heaven by a chain; [590]
Then shot away his powder in vain.
TRUMPETER. Is there no one here can stop this ranter?
CAPUCHIN. A King Saul and a necromancer,38
A Holofernes and fire-eater,39
Denies his Lord, a second Peter,40
And shakes and shudders if the cock crew.
BOTH HORSEMEN. Preacher, we’ll have done with you!
CAPUCHIN. A crafty Herod, that sly fox—41
TRUMPETER and BOTH HORSEMEN (closing in on him).
Silence, preacher, or you’re dead of the pox!
CROATS (intervening). Steady, Parson. Don’t be afraid. [600]
Have your say till all is said.
CAPUCHIN (shouting louder and louder).
A Nebuchadnezzar, a Belshazzar,42
A Hittite and a Canaanite.43
He has himself called Wallenstein
And is in truth for all a stone,
A stone in the throat, a stumbling stone;
As long as the Kaiser shields Friedland’s breed
Friedland’s land will not be freed.

10(He retreats as he shouts these words; the Croats cover his retreat against the other Soldiers.)

Scene Nine

11As above, without the Capuchin.

  • 44 A traditional belief, represented in Aesop and in emblems.

FIRST HORSEMAN (to the Sergeant).
What does he mean about the cock crow
That shakes our Commander so? [610]
It was an insult? It was a mockery?
SERGEANT. Oh, no. His ears are as brittle as crockery.
He was always a strange child,
Never could be reconciled
Even to a kitten’s mewling sorrow,
And the cry of the cock fills him with horror.
FIRST HORSEMAN. The lion, too, can’t bear that sound.44
SERGEANT. Must be still as a churchyard all around:
It’s a standing order, grave and fraught,
So he can work and think deep thoughts. [620]
VOICES (uproar in the Tent).
Seize him! Rascal! Drub away!
PEASANT’S VOICE. Help! Mercy!
OTHER VOICES. Quiet! Stop it! Stay!
FIRST HORSEMAN. Listen! Someone’s getting beat!
SECOND HORSEMAN. Let’s have a look! (They run into the Tent.)
CANTEEN KEEPER (coming out). Sneak thieves! Cheats!
TRUMPETER. Hostess, what’s this all about?
CANTEEN KEEPER. Scamp! Scoundrel! Tramp! Clod! Lout!
In my tent! To have this occur
Ruins me with every officer.
SERGEANT. What’s up, Hostess?
CANTEEN KEEPER. Can’t you guess?
They’ve caught a peasant—what a mess— [630]
Rolling loaded dice, and not for fun.
TRUMPETER. Look! They’re bringing him here with his half-grown son.

Scene Ten

12Soldiers hauling the Peasant along.

  • 45 An Austrian infantry regiment that endured to the end of the Habsburg monarchy.

FIRST HORSEMAN. String him up!
SHARPSHOOTERS and DRAGOONS. To the hangman!
SERGEANT. Without a warrant there’ll be a wrangle.
CANTEEN KEEPER. In an hour or so we’ll see him dangle.
SERGEANT. It’ll go quickly. No probation.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER (to the Second).
This is out of desperation.
They come here hungry, begging a meal,
And we’re surprised to see them steal?
TRUMPETER. Who’re you, coming to his defense? [640]
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. Not so fast! No offense,
But the world can see that the peasant, too,
Is an ordinary man, like me and you.
FIRST HORSEMAN (to the Trumpeter).
No more quarreling! They’re Tiefenbachers,45
Sons of tailors and glove makers;
Lay in garrison at Brieg;
Puts them in a different league.

Scene Eleven

13As above. Cuirassiers.

FIRST CUIRASSIER. What’s going on with the peasant there?
FIRST SHARPSHOOTER. Cheated at dice. Took three times his share.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. Not news. Was it all that bad? [650]
FIRST SHARPSHOOTER. What do you think? He took all I had.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. But you’re somebody, are Friedland’s man.
Can you stoop so low and be so blind
As to roll your dice with the peasant’s kind?
Let him run, if run he can.

(The Peasant escapes; the others gather to form a group.)

  • 46 The Walloons are a French-speaking people of the southernmost Low Countries, bordering France. In (...)

FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. Well, that was quickly, cleanly done.
With a peasant that is something won.
Where’s that one from? Not from here?
CANTEEN KEEPER. He’s a Walloon. Gets respect and fear;
One of the Pappenheim Cuirassiers. [660]
FIRST DRAGOON (joining them).
Young Piccolomini leads them now, I hear.46
The troops themselves made him their chief
After Pappenheim lost his life
On Lützen’s plains. A big event.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. How did they ever get consent?
FIRST DRAGOON. That unit has a special dash,
Forms the front line at every clash.
Has its own justice, keeps apart,
Holds a special place in Friedland’s heart.
FIRST CUIRASSIER (to the Second).
What a story! Where’s it come from? [670]
SECOND CUIRASSIER. From back in quarters. The Colonel said it.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. All that many? They’ll never get it.
FIRST HORSEMAN. What’s this talk? And why the fuss?
SECOND HORSEMAN. Does it have something to do with us?
FIRST CUIRASSIER. You’re not going to be exactly pleased.

(The Soldiers gather around.)

  • 47 Ferdinand (1609–1641), younger brother of the Spanish king Philip IV. He was archbishop of Toledo (...)
  • 48 In 1625, as Wallenstein raised his first army.
  • 49 Border stronghold to which Wallenstein withdrew from Pilsen. Death, Acts IV and V are set there.
  • 50 Count Isolani—with his debts—enters at Picc., Act I, scene 1, line 1.
  • 51 A prince of the Holy Roman Empire, in rank immediate to the Kaiser.
  • 52 Brandeis in Bohemia, where Wallenstein waited upon the Kaiser in December 1627 and was allowed to (...)
  • 53 In January 1628 Wallenstein received the duchy of Mecklenburg, not outright, but as surety for his (...)
  • 54 As Holy Roman Emperor.
  • 55 The figure of Justitia holds a raised sword in her right hand, a balance in her left.

It’s off to the Netherlands! We’ve been leased.
Cuirassiers, Rangers, mounted Sharpshoots—
Eight thousand men to pull on riding boots.
CANTEEN KEEPER. Already again we’re supposed to wander?
Why, I just got back from Flanders. [680]
SECOND CUIRASSIER (to the Dragoons).
They’ve put you Buttlerites under the same baton.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. And especially us Wallons.
CANTEEN KEEPER. But those are all our best squadrons.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. All to escort the man from Milan.
FIRST HORSEMAN. The Spanish Infante!47 Is that what’s said?
SECOND HORSEMAN. That black churchman all in red!
FIRST CUIRASSIER. We’re to leave Friedland, whom we love,
On whom we hang as on a lanyard,
Be put in the field by that black Spaniard,
Mean and stingy and tight as a glove? [690]
Not a chance. We’ll take to our heels.
TRUMPETER. They’ve missed their chance. We’ve made our deal
With the Kaiser, and not that varlet
Parading across Europe all in scarlet.
SECOND HORSEMAN. It was the word and credit of Wallenstein’s
That made of us his mounted lines;
Without the love we have for our Friedland
We’d never have belonged to Ferdinand.
FIRST DRAGOON. Didn’t Friedland form and feed us?
He’s the only one to lead us. [700]
SERGEANT. That sounds brave and that sounds tough,
But talk like that is not enough.
I can read this order like a map
And see that it is all a trap.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Quiet! Hear our ranking man!
SERGEANT. Auntie Gustel, kiss your hand,
A glass of Melnecker, if you can;
I’ll tell you then where I take my stand.
CANTEEN KEEPER (pouring a glass).
Gladly, Sergeant. But what a fright!
Some evil’s hid here out of sight. [710]
SERGEANT. Gentlemen, you know it’s just fine
To think of what is next in line;
But our Commander’s higher goal
Is to give attention to the whole.
We call ourselves Friedland’s troops;
The citizen takes us under his roof,
Provides for us, cooks us warm soups;
The peasant gives what’s on the hoof,
His nag, his ox, to pull our train,
About which he complains in vain. [720]
If a private leading seven men
Enters a village at his pleasure,
He can install a government over them
And rule and school them at his leisure.
They don’t like us in the least,
Would rather see the Devil or some other beast
Than our yellow rider’s jackets.
Why do they not simply sack us,
Since there are more of them than us
And our muskets no better than the blunderbuss? [730]
Why can we laugh behind their back?
Because we are a fearsome pack!
FIRST HORSEMAN. That, just that, is the strength of our hand.
Friedland, too, must have known it;
What he said to them has shown it,
As he raised a great army from the length of the land:48
They hoped to see twelve thousand agreed;
He said, “Twelve thousand I can’t feed;
Sixty thousand is my number;
Those, I know, won’t die of hunger.” [740]
And that brought us to Wallenstein.
SERGEANT. Look at this right hand of mine.
Of its five fingers, if one should choose
To chop off the little one, would I lose
No more than that? And at what cost?
Why, the whole hand’s as good as lost!
I’m left with a stump or even worse.
Just so, this famous eight thousand horse
That they are now trying to force
Into Flanders are the little finger to finish [750]
The army’s hand. A small detail?
They go, and the army’s just one-fifth diminished?
Nonsense! Lose them and the whole would fail.
We lose fear and respect and respectful awe;
The peasant’s cock of the walk, all comb and craw;
The little scribes in Vienna preside
Over our billets and mess on every side;
They take this and that and on and on,
Until we find our Commander gone.
They’ve no love for him in any case, [760]
And all we have will go to waste.
Who then will see that our wage is paid
And the terms of our contract fairly made?
Who has the force and the command,
The quick mind and the firm hand
To bring together and make match
An army composed of a thousand and one patch?
For example, Dragoon, tell,
What’s the land from which you hail?
FIRST DRAGOON. From Ireland’twas that I set my sail. [770]
SERGEANT (to the two Cuirassiers).
You, I know, come here from Ghent,
And you’re a Latin, by your accent.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. Where I come from? Ask the beadle.
I was stolen from the cradle.
SERGEANT. And you are not local either?
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. Come from Buchau on Lake Feder.
SERGEANT. And you, my friend?
SECOND ARQUEBUSIER. From on Lake Cuom’.
SERGEANT (to the Second Horseman).
Where is it that you come from, Ranger?
SECOND HORSEMAN. Behind Wismar, that’s my parents’ home.
SERGEANT (indicating the Trumpeter).
We’re both from Eger.49 He’s no stranger. [780]
Just look at us! Who’d now say
That we’ve all been blown together
From north and south in every weather?
Cut from one cloth, they’d say today.
We front the enemy, not like mercenaries hired
For one day’s labor, but like iron fired
To form one mass; we mesh tighter still
Than the gears that drive a running mill.
Who has hammered us from all these shards
Into a machine so firm and hard [790]
That it can’t be pulled apart?
It’s Wallenstein and none other.
FIRST HORSEMAN. I see that now for the first time, Brother.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. We’re grateful, Sergeant. Have our thanks.
They want to do in the warrior ranks
And always keep the soldier down,
Be the only ones who count for the Crown.
They’ve agreed on this; it’s all a plot.
CANTEEN KEEPER. A plot? That means, alackaday,
My gentlemen can no longer pay. [800]
SERGEANT. Quite right. It leaves us all bankrupt.
Many captains and generals played the host,
Raised their units at their own cost,
Wanted to see their wealth displayed
And now find they’ve overpaid.
They’ll be penniless, along with us all,
If our commander and leader falls.
CANTEEN KEEPER. Blessed Savior! I’m quite cooked!
Half the army’s in my book.
Count Isolani, that high roller, [810]
Owes me a good two hundred taler.50
FIRST CUIRASSIER. What to do about this, Brothers?
We have a good defense at hand:
We will safely band together
And all defend each single man.
They can send orders, rave and rant;
We meanwhile shall firmly plant
Our feet. Not march and not relent,
Protect our honor, withhold consent.
SECOND HORSEMAN. We’ll not be led on a merry chase. [820]
They come? We tell them to their face.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. Gentlemen, let me be your adviser;
Remember, these orders come from the Kaiser.
TRUMPETER. A lot we care about your Kaiser!
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. Careful! Or I’ll make you wiser.
TRUMPETER. What I said is still exact.
FIRST HORSEMAN. But I’ve often heard it said
That Friedland here is our sole head.
SERGEANT. Right! He set the condition, made the pact:
For absolute power, without surcease, [830]
To wage war and conclude peace;
Money and assets he can seize,
Can damn and pardon as he please,
Create his own officer corps;
Has it from the Kaiser, that and more.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. The Duke’s smart and powerful, that is true,
But just like us he answers to
The Kaiser and the Kaiser’s men.
SERGEANT. Not like us. Think again!
He’s an immediate Imperial prince,51 [840]
Just as good in every sense
As the Bavarian Not otherwise!
I saw at Brandeis with my own eyes:52
How the Kaiser himself agreed
He could keep his hat on his princely head.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. With Mecklenburg he got that rank
For a loan: as pawn and thanks.53
FIRST HORSEMAN (to the Sergeant).
Before the Kaiser he could have no care
To remove his hat? That is rare.
SERGEANT (reaching into his pocket).
You don’t have to take my word. [850]
Persuade yourself it’s not absurd—
(Showing a coin.)
Whose profile is it?
CANTEEN KEEPER. Let me see!
A Wallensteiner, plain as day.
SERGEANT. Is that not good security?
Is he not prince in every way?
Can he not mint, like Ferdinand?
Have his own vassals, his own land?
Let himself be called Your Grace,
And keep an army in his high place?
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. All that is true. But the one [860]
Who pays our wages is the Kaiser.
TRUMPETER. I dispute you, say the one
Who pays no wages is the Kaiser.
For forty weeks have they not been saying
That any day they would be paying?
It seems to me they’re still delaying.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. We’ll safely leave that in their hands.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. Peace, gentlemen! Before this quarrel ends
In blows. For we can all agree
That we must follow the Kaiser’s decree. [870]
But precisely because we would be his faithful
Riders, they should not be hateful
And make of us a common herd.
We’ll not be posted from place to place
By priests and toadies and all that race.
Say, does it not do him proud
That we’re men of honor, keep our word,
Stand head and shoulders above the crowd?
Aren’t we the ones who made him great,
Emperor, world ruler, and potentate, [880]
And by our efforts for him have won
The world’s first place in all Christendom?54
The ones who ought to bear his yoke
Are the men his table stokes
And who live by his grace and favor;
Of all that brilliance all we savor
Is pain and labor—and our pride’s sweet flavor.
SECOND HORSEMAN. The best of the tyrants in other lands
Saved their powder for worse friends,
Carried their soldiers on the palm of their hand. [890]
FIRST CUIRASSIER. The soldier with a sense of self
Has contempt for all that pelf.
If I put my life in play
Something else has greater sway,
Or I’ve thrown myself away,
Like a Croat, that disgrace.
BOTH HORSEMEN. Nothing can take honor’s place.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. A soldier carries a sword, not a spade,
No furrow’s dug and no seed laid;
He moves homeless over the earth, [900]
Can’t warm himself on his own hearth.
Goes past bright cities, sees them gleam,
Sees peaceful villages, mills, and streams
In the blue distance.
Vintage dances, harvest sheaves
Flicker past like autumn leaves.
Dear to him in all this dearth
Is only his soldier’s sense of worth.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. A worse life than any other.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. I wouldn’t trade it for another. [910]
I’ve wandered far and wide in the world
And found its carpet bright and burled.
I served the Spanish monarchy
And the free Venetian State,
The Kingdom of Napoli,
And nowhere were my fortunes great.
Tinker, tailor, merchant, wit—
Only my soldier’s vest would fit.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. That’s not at all the way I feel.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. A man who wants to do something real, [920]
Live in plenty, keep an even keel,
Must make terms with tons of bother.
If he wants to become a father,
See his children and grandchildren gather,
He must make a good living, take a wife.
Me? I’ve no love for such a life.
I want to live and die free as the wind,
Take nothing from no one, leave nothing behind,
And look past the huddled rabble
As I pass by high in the saddle. [930]
FIRST HORSEMAN. The only good life, when all’s said and done.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. Surely it is just good fun
To look down on the downtrodden ones.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. Comrade, bad times have come over the land,
And the sword’s no longer in Justitia’s right hand.55
Even so, I’ll take the sword,
For which no one will think me lowered;
In war my charity can still be extended
And my dignity not be offended.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER. But we soldiers have stripped the fields [940]
And destroyed the peasant’s yields.
It’s now been almost sixteen years
Of need and torment, hunger and tears.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. Listen, Brother, God above
Does not expect equal love
From all mortals all the time;
One likes clouds and another sunshine.
Where you see only pain and sorrow,
I see the dawn of a bright tomorrow.
That it comes at the cost of citizen and peasant [950]
I, too, find is most unpleasant,
But we all must play by the rules of the game;
Whatever happens, it’s all the same.
When the horses are charging, have their head,
And someone’s lying in the road ahead,
Even my brother or my own child,
And be he crying ever so wild,
I can’t pull him to one side;
Over his body goes my wild ride.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Aye! Every man saves his own hide. [960]
FIRST CUIRASSIER. And now that Fortune smiles
On the soldier, with all her wiles,
We will catch and hold her fast
By the hand, for this won’t last!
Overnight there’ll come a peace,
And this world we love will cease;
The soldiers unbridle, the peasants hitch up,
And all of a sudden our time’s stitched up.
We still have our hand on the lever,
But once we’re separated, it’s all over. [970]
FIRST HORSEMAN. Comrades, we’ll not let it reach
That point. We’ll stand every man for each.
FIRST ARQUEBUSIER (drawing a leather purse, to the Canteen Keeper).
Hostess, what’s it that I owe?

CANTEEN KEEPER. So little it will hardly show. (They settle.)
TRUMPETER. Just as well you’re moving on.
You have only spoiled our fun.

(The Arquebusiers go off.)

  • 56 The German is Seifensieder: soap boilers. In effect, those who render the fat of butchered animals (...)

FIRST CUIRASSIER. Pity about them. They’re not bad fellows.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Think like the types that render tallow.56
SECOND HORSEMAN. Now we’re alone, let’s aim our shot
At how we’re going to break up that plot. [980]
TRUMPETER. I thought we would just refuse.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. No, we’ll hold back from all abuse.
Every man now to his own resort,
Where he makes a full report,
So that we all stand on one side
Of this attempt that would divide.
For my Walloons I can vouch:
Not a one who is a slouch.
SERGEANT. Terzka’s regiments, horse and foot,
Are persuaded, the whole lot. [990]
SECOND CUIRASSIER (joining the First).
The Lombard stands by the Walloon.
FIRST HORSEMAN. Freedom is the Ranger’s boon.
SECOND HORSEMAN. Freedom and power are with Wallenstein;
Behind him we all hold the line.
FIRST SHARPSHOOTER. And every soldier from Lorraine
Joins in with might and main.
DRAGOON. The Irishman gives luck his hand.
SECOND SHARPSHOOTER. The Tirolean serves the lord of the land.
FIRST CUIRASSIER. Therefore let every regiment
Prepare a pro memoria to say [1000]
That we are all resolved to stay
Together and to stand behind
Our General. No force can drive us away
From the greatest leader of his kind.
This writing one offers with reverence
To Piccolomini—the son—
For such things he has good sense,
And for Friedland he’s a special one.
Also at the Kaiser’s Court
He’s thought to be a special sort. [1010]
SECOND HORSEMAN. Done! All together, give me your hand!
Piccolomini’s to be our man!
TRUMPETER, DRAGOONS, FIRST HORSEMAN,
SECOND CUIRASSIER, SHARPSHOOTERS (together).
Piccolomini’s to be our man!

(They are about to go.)

SERGEANT. One glass, Comrades! Drum and fife!
(Raises his glass.)
Piccolomini! Long life!
CANTEEN KEEPER (bringing a bottle).
That I’ll not notch up, my friends.
Work well done, dear gentlemen.
CUIRASSIERS. May our armor live!
BOTH HORSEMEN. And the farmer give!
DRAGOONS and SHARPSHOOTERS. Our troops not quail! [1020]
TRUMPETER and SERGEANT. And Friedland prevail!
SECOND CUIRASSIER (sings).
Comrades, look smart there! Mount up! Mount!
It’s into the field and to freedom!
A man in the field, that’s the one who counts,
In courage there’s none to exceed him.
That’s where every father’s son
Is on his mettle, must hold his own.

(During the song the Soldiers in the background
have gathered round and raise the Chorus.)

CHORUS
That’s where every father’s son
Is on his mettle, must hold his own.
DRAGOON.
All freedom is gone from the face of the earth, [1030]
And you meet only servant and master—
Villains and hypocrites of high and low birth,
The whole lot’s not worth a piaster.
The soldier who boldly looks death in the face
Is the last free man in the human race.
CHORUS.
The soldier who boldly looks death in the face
Is the last free man in the human race.
FIRST HORSEMAN.
All fear and misgiving get tossed on the grate;
He banishes weeping and sorrow
And fearlessly rides out to meet his fate, [1040]
If not today, then tomorrow.
And if it’s tomorrow, today we’ll drain
To the lees the joy of the days that remain.
CHORUS.
And if it’s tomorrow, today we’ll drain
To the lees the joy of the days that remain.

(Their glasses have been refilled; they raise them and toast.)

SERGEANT.
His happy lot’s given him, comes as a gift,
No need to gain it by striving;
The laborer digs in the earth’s dark rift,
Where he hopes a treasure is hiding.
He grubs and shovels like a shackled slave [1050]
And finds in the end that he’s grubbed his grave.
CHORUS.
He grubs and shovels like a shackled slave
And finds in the end that he’s grubbed his grave.
FIRST HORSEMAN.
The rider and his galloping beast
Are figures made famous in fable.
The candles flicker at the wedding feast,
And a stranger appears at the table.
His suit is swift, no morning gift;
Before unbelieving eyes he storms out with his prize.
CHORUS.
His suit is swift, no morning gift; [1060]
Before unbelieving eyes he storms out with his prize.
SECOND CUIRASSIER.
Why does the maid weep and wring her hands?
Red Rover, Red Rover, come over!
He has no home in all the king’s lands,
Was never to be a true lover.
Unbending Fate always drives him away,
Wherever he is, he cannot stay.
CHORUS.
Unbending Fate always drives him away,
Wherever he is, he cannot stay.
FIRST HORSEMAN (takes the next man by the hand; the others follow and
all who have sung build a wide semicircle).
So mount up, Comrades, all rugged and wroth; [1070]
The bugle calls, the pennant flashes.
Our youth is abuzz, our life is afroth;
Up! Before we’re all turned to ashes.
And if you don’t put your life at stake,
Your life’s not worth the croak of a crake.
CHORUS.
And if you don’t put your life at stake,
Your life’s not worth the croak of a crake.

14(The Curtain falls before the Chorus has ended.)

Notes

1 Saxon troops occupied Bohemia from November 1631 to summer 1632.

2 Presented as a Czech spelling of “Terzky.”

3 Wallenstein’s wife and their daughter.

4 The German is alte Perücke to designate Questenberg, imperial chamberlain and counselor of war.

5 Terzky’s wife and Wallenstein’s wife were sisters.

6 Small pistols, called after the Italian word for a little hawk once used in falconry.

7 Maximilian I, Duke of Bavaria, Wallenstein’s rival and most formidable enemy.

8 Schiller’s term is Jäger. These figures appear in the list of characters as “Two mounted Holk Jaeger.” Jäger were members of an elite corps, usually deployed on foot but also mounted, recruited from the huntsmen (Jäger) and woodsmen (rangers) of the great contemporary estates. Holk’s Jäger, mounted squads gathered by Heinrich Holk, a Danish-German mercenary, have entered the English language as “Holk’s Horse.”

9 In summer 1633 Holk’s Horse wrecked Saxony and laid Leipzig under tribute. The statement is that the silver braid the Horsemen display was taken as booty.

10 An in-joke. In 1785, in refuge from a vengeful Duke of Württemberg, Schiller had frequented a tavern kept by mother and daughter at Blasewitz near Dresden.

11 Name for a gold coin.

12 Protestant general whom Wallenstein defeated at Dessau in 1626 and pursued into Hungary.

13 Hanseatic city on the Baltic, allied with Sweden, besieged by Wallenstein in 1628.

14 The governor of Spanish Milan; he led troops into southern Germany in 1633.

15 In effect, war feeds on war as soldiers reproduce the next generation of soldiers, which the state feeds and shelters.

16 In Saxony, where Holk’s squads raged.

17 The reference is to booty tucked into the clothing of a raiding soldier.

18 Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden, champion of the Protestant forces.

19 The Catholic League, led by the Duke of Bavaria. Its army fought beside the imperial army. The sack of Magdeburg in May 1631 was to become notorious in the annals of the Thirty Years’ War.

20 Commander of the army of the Catholic League.

21 Tilly’s defeat by Gustavus Adolphus at Breitenfeld near Leipzig, September 1631.

22 In November 1631 the Saxons, allied with the Swedes, attacked Bohemia and took Prague.

23 Wallenstein’s campaign to raise an army in 1632, at the beginning of his second command.

24 First instance of contemporary rumor about Wallenstein’s ambitions.

25 Seni, Wallenstein’s Italian astrologer, the “little gray man” at line 365.

26 Site, near Leipzig, of the battle in which Gustavus Adolphus was mortally wounded, November 1632.

27 Buttler will enter in the first scene of Piccolomini. The Sergeant makes the first mention of his rise from simple soldier.

28 The reference is to Wallenstein’s extraordinary rank and privilege under the Empire, which the Sergeant recounts at length at line 829.

29 The tale of Wallenstein’s jailing at Altdorf, near Nuremberg, is apocryphal, though his rowdiness, and that of other well-born students at the time, is historical.

30 Wandering musicians from the mines (Bergknappen) were traditional.

31 Capuchin monks, so-called for the hoods on their habits, belonged to the Order of St. Francis and went out to preach among the poor, giving important support to the Counter-Reformation. For this famous scene Schiller used the sermons of the Viennese Barefoot prior Abraham a Santa Clara (1644–1709).

32 The Swedish chancellor. He is mentioned again, Picc., Act II, scene 5, at line 715, and is a major presence, though he never appears.

33 Woman (Luke 15,8); Saul (1 Samuel 9–10); Joseph (Genesis 42–45).

34 St. John the Baptist; see also Luke 16, 22.

35 King David’s long-haired son. 2 Samuel 14, 26; 18, 9–15.

36 “Do not keep my flock.” This would seem to be a negation of the command, “Feed my sheep” (John 21, 15–17), though it has nothing of the simplicity of the Vulgate “Pasce agnos meos.” By implication, Wallenstein has failed the test of loyalty to which Jesus put his apostles and is denied the approbation they met with.

37 Cited by Abraham as Hebrew kings who were constantly at war.

38 See King Saul’s visit to the Witch of Endor, 1 Samuel 28, 6–19.

39 Book of Judith.

40 Matthew 26, 69–75.

41 Luke 13, 31–32.

42 2 Kings 24–25; Daniel 5.

43 Sons of Hett, among the Gentiles of the Land of Canaan. These mentions, and Belshazzar, above, are liberties of translation.

44 A traditional belief, represented in Aesop and in emblems.

45 An Austrian infantry regiment that endured to the end of the Habsburg monarchy.

46 The Walloons are a French-speaking people of the southernmost Low Countries, bordering France. In these plays they are particularly well represented in the Pappenheim regiment of cuirassiers. Max Piccolomini’s succeeding to this regiment after the death of Pappenheim is Schiller’s invention.

47 Ferdinand (1609–1641), younger brother of the Spanish king Philip IV. He was archbishop of Toledo and cardinal. The march in question was to be from Spanish-ruled Milan to the Spanish Netherlands.

48 In 1625, as Wallenstein raised his first army.

49 Border stronghold to which Wallenstein withdrew from Pilsen. Death, Acts IV and V are set there.

50 Count Isolani—with his debts—enters at Picc., Act I, scene 1, line 1.

51 A prince of the Holy Roman Empire, in rank immediate to the Kaiser.

52 Brandeis in Bohemia, where Wallenstein waited upon the Kaiser in December 1627 and was allowed to remain covered.

53 In January 1628 Wallenstein received the duchy of Mecklenburg, not outright, but as surety for his assuming costs of war.

54 As Holy Roman Emperor.

55 The figure of Justitia holds a raised sword in her right hand, a balance in her left.

56 The German is Seifensieder: soap boilers. In effect, those who render the fat of butchered animals to make soap, candles, polishing wax, etc.

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