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Wallenstein

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Friedrich Schiller

The Piccolomini. In five acts

Act One

Texte intégral

1An old Gothic Chamber in the Town Hall of Pilsen, decorated with banners and other trappings of war

Scene One

2Illo with Buttler and Isolani.

  • 57 City on the Danube in southern Germany, then occupied by Swedish forces.
  • 58 Wallenstein has summoned all his commanders to his headquarters at Pilsen as his worsening relatio (...)
  • 59 The battle of the Dessau bridge, where Mansfeld was defeated, 1626.
  • 60 See Camp at line 57. Camp and Piccolomini take place simultaneously.
  • 61 First indication of collusion within the army.
  • 62 See the Sergeant’s mention of Buttler, Camp, scene 7, at line 432.

ILLO. You’re late in coming, but you’ve come. The long
Journey, Count Isolan, excuses your
Delay.
ISOLANI. And we’re not coming empty-handed.
We heard at Donauwörth57 of Swedish transports
Passing nearby and carrying supplies—
A good six hundred wagons. My Croats
Attacked. We’ve brought them with us here.
ILLO. Well done!
A timely gift to feed this high assembly.58
BUTTLER. It’s lively here already, as I see.
ISOLANI. The churches too are packed with troops, (looking around) and in [10]
Town Hall you’ve made yourselves at home. Well, well!
A soldier finds solutions where he can.
ILLO. The chiefs of thirty regiments have come.
Terzky you’ll find here, Tiefenbach, Colalto,
And Götz, Maradas, Hinnersam, as well as
The Piccolomini, both father and son—
You’ll see old friends in number once again.
Gallas alone is missed, and Altringer.
BUTTLER. You needn’t wait for Gallas.
ILLO (starts). How so? Do you—
ISOLANI (interrupts). Max Piccolomini here? Bring me to him! [20]
I see him still—it’s been ten years since then—
At Dessau, where we fought with Mansfeld,59 how
He leapt his charger from the bridge andswam
The ripping Elbe to relieve the press
Around his father. Beardless he was then,
And now he is, I hear, a finished hero.
ILLO. Today yet you should see him. He’ s escorting
The Duchess Friedland and the Princess from
Carinthia, expected before noon.60
BUTTLER. The Prince sends for his wife and daughter ? Quite [30]
A company he’s convened here.
ISOLANI. I say, so much
The better. I expected only talk
Of marches, batteries and attacks. But look!
The Duke provides what’s fair to please our eyes.
ILLO (who has been lost in thought, to Buttler, whom he has taken aside).
How do you know Count Gallas isn’t coming?
BUTTLER (with meaning). Because he also tried to keep me back.61
ILLO (warmly). And you stood fast?
(Presses his hand.) Most excellent Buttler!
BUTTLER. Considering the favor I enjoy—
ILLO. Congratulations, Major General!
ISOLANI. The regiment the Prince just gave him, not so? [40]
What’s more, I hear, the one in which he rose
From simple rider? True enough! A spur
And model to his corps—a warrior
Who rises by his merits.62
BUTTLER. I’m embarrassed,
Not knowing if I may accept your praise.
The Kaiser has not yet confirmed—
ISOLANI. Accept!
Accept! The hand that placed you so is strong
Enough to keep you there in all despite
Of Kaiser and of ministers.
ILLO.
If we all
Should have such scruples! The Kaiser gives us nothing. [50]
All we want, all we have comes from the Duke.
ISOLANI (to Illo). I haven’t told you, Brother. But the Prince
Has offered to content my creditors,
Himself to be my treasurer henceforth,
Make me an honest man. The third time now
This princely man has rescued me from ruin and
Restored my name.

  • 63 First mentioned at Camp, scene 2, line 71.

ILLO. Could he but always do
As he would wish! He gave his soldiers land
And people. How Vienna doesn’t block
His arm and clip his wings back, where it can! Those [60]
Fine new demands this Questenberg has brought!63
BUTLER. I’ve heard of these Imperial demands.
I hope the Duke will stand his ground.
ILLO. For sure
In matters of his rights, if not—his place.
BUTTLER (startled). You’ve heard something? You frighten me.
ISOLANI (together). We’d all
Be ruined!
ILLO. Leave off! Our man is coming there
With Lieutenant General Piccolomini.
BUTTLER (shaking his head with misgiving).
We shall not go from here the way we came.

Scene Two

3As above. Octavio Piccolomini. Questenberg.

  • 64 Octavio takes no account of Buttler’s promotion to major general, still unconfirmed by Vienna.

OCTAVIO (still at a distance). What? Still more guests? Admit it, Friend! It took
This war, its many tears, to bring into [70]
One camp so many heroes crowned with laurel.
QUESTENBERG. Into the camp of Friedland’s peerless army
Let no man come who would think ill of war.
His difficulties almost slipped my mind
At this high sense of order, his mark as
He destroys, at the greatness that he builds.
OCTAVIO. But look! Here two men worthy to complete
The ranks of heroes come: Count Isolan
And Colonel Buttler.64 All the arts of war
Stand now before us. [80]
(Presenting Buttler and Isolani.)
Strength and speed at once.
QUESTENBERG (to Octavio).
Quite. And between them, seasoned counsel, too.

  • 65 Illo is remembering negotiations for the restoration of Wallenstein’s command, April 1632.
  • 66 By Gustavus Adolphus in April 1632. Tilly had assumed command of the imperial army after Wallenste (...)
  • 67 A high officer of the Viennese court.
  • 68 In summer 1632 Wallenstein’s restored army had expelled the Saxons, who were allied with Sweden, f (...)
  • 69 The tag goes back to Livy: “Bellum… se ipse alet,” Ab urbe condita, 34, 9.
  • 70 Slavata and Martinitz were Bohemian noblemen acting for Vienna and detested by their people, who h (...)
  • 71 By “child” Illo means Ferdinand, elected King of Hungary, the Kaiser’s eldest surviving son, with (...)

OCTAVIO (presenting Questenberg).
Chamberlain Questenberg, Counselor of War.
We honor in this worthy guest the man
Who brings Imperial orders—soldiers’ friend
And patron.
(General silence.)
ILLO (approaching Questenberg).
Not for the first time, my Lord,
Have we the honor to receive you here
In camp.
QUESTENBERG. These banners have received me, true.
ILLO. Do you remember where? At Znaim, Moravia,
You came, sent by the Kaiser, to entreat
The Duke, beg him to take the regiment.65 [90]
QUESTENBERG. Entreat, General? That far my orders did
Not go, nor did my wishes.
ILLO. Then to force,
If you prefer. I remember well. Tilly
Had been defeated on the Lech.66 Bavaria
Lay open to the enemy. Nothing
Kept him from penetrating to the heart
Of Austria. There you appeared, and with
You Werdenberg,67 besieging, threatening
Imperial displeasure, should the Prince not [100]
Take pity at such disarray.
ISOLANI (joining in). It’s all
Too comprehensible, Counselor, to
Forget that mission at your present one.
QUESTENBERG. Why should I not? No contradiction here.
We had to drive the foe out of Bohemia
Then. Now we must protect it from its friends.
ILLO. A fine office! We’ve wrung Bohemia from
The Saxon with our blood;68 for thanks you come
To throw us out.
QUESTENBERG. This wretched land must now
Be freed of friend and foe alike or fall from [110]
One fire into another.
ILLO. Stuff and nonsense!
The peasant’s had a good year. He can spare—
QUESTENBERG. If you refer to flocks and pastures, then—
ISOLANI. War feeds on war.69 Destroy the peasant, and
The Kaiser gains that many able soldiers.
QUESTENBERG. And loses just so many subjects.
ISOLANI. Pooh!
We’re all his subjects.
QUESTENBERG. A distinction, Count.
With industry some fill his coffers. Others
Busily empty them. The sword has made
The Kaiser poor. The plow’s to build his strength back. [120]
BUTTLER. The Kaiser wouldn’t be so poor if all those (he pauses)
Leeches weren’t sucking marrow from the land.
ISOLANI. It can’t be all that bad.
(He stands in front of Questenberg and stares at his uniform.)
I see they’ve yet
To strike all gold to coin.
QUESTENBERG. Praise be to God!
They’ve saved a bit from long Croatian fingers.
ILLO. Look! Slavata and Martinitz, on whom
The Kaiser lavishes his grace and favor—
Bane to all good Bohemians—they who feed
On loot from exiled citizens and batten
On general foulness, harvest sole amid [130]
A public wretchedness and mock the sorrow
Of the land with a king’s display—let them and
Their like defray the ruinous war that they
Alone have kindled.70
BUTTLER. Landed parasites,
Those lords who always have their feet beneath
The Kaiser’s table, ravening to snap
Up every benefice—they’d ration out
The bread of every soldier in the field
Before the foe and cancel his account.
ISOLANI. In life I’ll not forget: When I came to [140]
Vienna seven years ago (it was
Our regiments’ remount I was arranging),
They dragged me from one antechamber to
Another, let me cool my heels among
The flunkies, and for hours. As if I’d come
To beg. At last they sent a Capuchin.
I thought that he was for my sins. But no.
It was with him I was supposed to bargain.
I went back empty-handed. Then the Prince got
Me in three days what cost me thirty in [150]
Vienna.
QUESTENBERG. Well I know. I found that entry
In the account. We’re paying for it still.
ILLO. A war’s a dirty, violent trade. Mild measures
Are not enough. One can’t always forbear.
To wait them out until they find the least
Among two dozen evils in Vienna
Will keep you waiting long. Wade right in,
Cost what it may. That’s better. People know
To patch it up and understand a hated
Compulsion better than a bitter choice. [160]
QUESTENBERG. That’s true. The Prince has spared us any choice.
ILLO. The Prince protects us like a father. We
Know what the Kaiser has in store for us.
QUESTENBERG. He has an equal heart for each estate,
Will not redeem one with another.
ISOLANI. Ho!
And sends us to be eaten in the desert,
Instead of all those precious sheep at home.
QUESTENBERG (mocking). It’s you draw the comparison, Count, not I.
ILLO. But were we that for which we’re held at Court,
It would be dangerous to give us freedom. [170]
QUESTENBERG (gravely). This freedom has been taken and not given.
It must be haltered, bridled, and restrained.
ILLO. Expect to find a horse you cannot manage.
QUESTENBERG. A better rider knows to handle it.
ILLO. It carries none but him by whom it’s tamed.
QUESTENBERG. When it’s once tamed, it’s managed by a child.
ILLO. A child, I well know, they’ve already found.71

  • 72 Emblems of Austria, Sweden, and France, respectively.
  • 73 The Adige, now in northern Italy, prized for its vineyards.
  • 74 The Second Horseman makes the same observation, Camp, scene 11, at line 695.
  • 75 Not historical.

QUESTENBERG. Your duty’s your concern, and not his name.
BUTTLER (who has stood to the side with Piccolomini, following the
conversation attentively, comes forward).
Lord President, the Kaiser has at his
Command impressive troops in Germany, [180]
Full thirty thousand: sixteen thousand in
Silesia; then on Weser, Rhine, and Main
Ten regiments; in Swabia six and in
Bavaria twelve oppose the Swedes, to leave
Unmentioned garrisons to guard the strongholds
That keep our borders. All this army answers
To Friedland’s captains. Its commanders all
Were trained in one school, one milk fed them all,
One heart beats in their breasts. Yet all of them
Are strangers in these parts, his service their [190]
Sole house and home. No zeal for country drives
Them. Thousands here were born abroad, like me.
Not for the Kaiser—fully half has come
From foreign service, changing sides and fighting
Indifferently for Double Eagle, Lion,
Or Lily.72 These an equal rein controls,
One man by equal love and fear molds all
To one force. Rapid as a thunderbolt and
Straight, his command runs from the farthest outpost
That hears the Baltic surf crash on its dunes [200]
Or looks on the rich valleys of the Etsch73
Clear to the watch that built its sentry box
Beneath the walls of the Imperial Palace.
QUESTENBERG. And the short sense of this long speech is what?
BUTTLER. That the respect, the love, the trust, all that
Makes us submit to Friedland, never can be
Transplanted to the next best man Vienna
Sends. We remember loyally just how
Command first came to rest in Friedland’s hands.
Was it Imperial Majesty bestowed [210]
On him a standing army? Merely went
In search of one equipped to lead its troops?
There was no army. Friedland had to raise
An army. He did not receive it. He
It was who gave it to the Kaiser. We
Did not receive our marshal from the Kaiser.
Not so, not so. From Wallenstein we got
The Kaiser in the first place as our master.74
He binds us to these banners, only he.
OCTAVIO (intervening). Please bear in mind, Counselor, that you’re among [220]
Warriors in camp. It’s boldness makes the soldier,
And freedom. Pluck in action, should it not
Speak pluckily as well? It is all one.
The boldness of this worthy officer (indicating Buttler),
Which has but chosen here its object wrong,
Salvaged, where only boldness could prevail—
A fearsome rising of the garrison—
The Kaiser’s capital city Prague.75
(Military music in the distance.)
ILLO. They’re in!
The Guard salutes. This signal tells us that
The Duchess is just entering at our gates. [230]
OCTAVIO (to Questenberg). Then my son Max is back. He went to fetch
Her from Carinthia and has brought her here.
ISOLANI (to Illo). Shall we go out to greet her right away?
ILLO. Quite so. We’ll go together. Colonel Buttler?
(To Octavio.) Remember we’re to meet this worthy lord
This morning yet before the Prince. Till then.

Scene Three

4Octavio and Questenberg, who remain behind.

  • 76 Anticipation of Death, Act II, scene 6.
  • 77 Octavio, therefore, is acting not only out of personal conviction but also on orders from Vienna.
  • 78 Enumeration of Vienna’s weaknesses: the Swedish army was standing in southern Germany and had take (...)
  • 79 The crime in question is high treason.
  • 80 But see Max’s misgivings about his father, Act V, scenes 1 and 3, especially at line 2357.
  • 81 Wallenstein retells this event, Death, Act II, scene 3, at line 869.

QUESTENBERG (with gestures of astonishment).
What I have had to hear, Lieutenant General!
What unabridged defiance, wild ideas!
If this should be the general spirit here—
OCTAVIO. You’ve heard three quarters of the army, Friend. [240]
QUESTENBERG. Disastrous! Where to find a second such
To keep an eye on this one? Illo here
Thinks even worse than how he talks, I wager.
Still less can Buttler hide his evil thoughts.
OCTAVIO. He’s touchy, over-proud, and nothing more.
I’ve not yet given up on him; I know
A way to righten his wrong-headedness.76
QUESTENBERG (pacing uneasily).
Oh, this is worse, far worse, my friend, than we
Had let ourselves imagine in Vienna.
We saw it but with courtiers’ eyes, blinded [250]
Before the brilliance of the throne, alas. This
Field marshal, though, we had not seen, not yet
Here in his camp, where he’s all-capable.
This is quite different!
There is no Kaiser here. The Prince is Kaiser!
The round through camp that I just made with you
Has altogether swept away my hopes.
OCTAVIO. You see now for yourself how dangerous is
The office that you bring me from the Court,
How perilous the role I must assume.77 [260]
The least suspicion of the General will
Cost me my freedom or my very life
And only hastens his audacious plan.
QUESTENBERG. What were we thinking when we offered him
Our sword, bestowed such might on such a hand!
This badly guarded heart could not withstand such
Temptation! Why, a better man might have
Succumbed! I tell you, he’ll refuse his orders—
He can and will. Defiance such as his,
Unpunished, will expose us, prove us helpless. [270]
OCTAVIO. And do you believe that he has brought his wife
And daughter into camp for no good purpose,
Just when we’re massing here to launch a war?
His bringing these last guarantors of his
Good faith into safekeeping points us to
A looming danger: imminent revolt.
QUESTENBERG. Alas! And how shall we withstand the storm
That gathers over us from every quarter?
Our enemy upon our borders; worse,
The Danube his; advances on all sides; [280]
The fire bells tolling uproar through the land;
The peasants arming, every rank enflamed;
The army, from which we expected help,
Seduced, confused, all discipline abandoned,
Unmoored from Kaiser and from all the State.78
A reeling and uncertain army led by
A reeling and uncertain chief commander,
A terrible machine obeying blindly
The boldest and most desperate of men—
OCTAVIO. Let’s not lose courage at the outset, Friend. [290]
For speech is always cheekier than the deed,
And many a one who seems intent upon
The worst will find a heart within his breast
To hear the crime once called by its true name.79
Consider: undefended we are not.
Counts Altringer and Gallas, I assure you,
Keep faith with their small army, strengthen it
From day to day. He cannot take us by
Surprise. I have surrounded him with ears;
I’ll hear of his least step immediately— [300]
His own mouth tells me.
QUESTENBERG. Strange that he has not
Suspected any enemy beside him.
OCTAVIO. You should not believe that I used lies or flattery
To gain his favor, or half-truths to keep
His trust. And, while good sense and duty that
I owe the Kaiser led me to conceal
My heart, I’ve never shown him a false heart.80
QUESTENBERG. It’s heavenly disposition, manifestly.
OCTAVIO. I don’t know what it is—what binds him to me
And to my son so powerfully. We’ve [310]
Always been friends and brothers, brothers in arms.
Accustomedness, adventures shared alike
Allied us early on. Though I can name
The day that touched his heart, made his trust grow:
The morning before Lützen, when a dream
Had prompted me to seek him out and urge
That he accept a different horse for battle.
I found him far from camp, asleep beneath
A tree. I woke him, told him my misgivings.
He stared at me, then fell into my arms, [320]
Much moved, more than so small service could
Deserve. And since that day his trust pursues me
In just the same degree that mine flees him.81
QUESTENBERG. You’ve drawn your son into your confidence?
OCTAVIO. No!
QUESTENBERG. What? Not warned him of what evil hands he’s
In?
OCTAVIO. I must leave him to his innocence.
His open heart’s a stranger to deception.
Ignorance only can preserve in him
The peace of mind to make the Duke secure.
QUESTENBERG (troubled). My worthy friend! I have the best regard [330]
For Colonel Piccolomini, but if—
Consider—
OCTAVIO. I must risk it. Still! He’s coming.

Scene Four

5Max Piccolomini. Octavio Piccolomini. Questenberg.

  • 82 After the soldiers in Camp, the officers in the early scenes of Piccolomini, and Questenberg himse (...)
  • 83 This, Octavio’s reply, captures the philosophical difference between father and son Piccolomini.
  • 84 Max delivers here a statement of the case for Wallenstein.

MAX. And here he is in person. Welcome, Father!
(He embraces him. When he turns, he sees Questenberg and steps back coldly.)
You’re occupied, I see. I’ll not disturb you.
OCTAVIO. But Max! Look carefully. You know this guest.
Such an old friend deserves attentiveness and
Respect as bearer of the Kaiser’s orders.
MAX (perfunctory). Von Questenberg! Welcome, if good report
Has brought you to headquarters.
QUESTENBERG (seizes his hand). Oh, do not
Withhold your hand, Count Piccolomini. [340]
I take it not just for my sake, and no
Ordinary thing will I express by this.
(Taking both their hands.)
Octavio—Max Piccolomini!
Propitious names, names of good augury!
The fate of Austria shall never turn
While two such stars, so rich in blessing and
Protection, spread their light above its armies.
MAX. You’ve fallen out of role, Lord Counselor.
It’s not to praise us that you’re sent. You’re here
To blame and scold. And I wish to enjoy [350]
No preference not accorded others like me.
OCTAVIO (to Max). He comes from Court, where one is somewhat less
Contented with the Duke than we are here.
MAX. What new reproach do they now bring against him?
That he alone decides what he alone
Can grasp? Fine! He does well, and so it will
Remain. For never was he meant to trail
Another, willingly adjust his course.
It goes against his grain. He cannot do it.
His is a ruler’s spirit and put him in [360]
A ruler’s place. Our luck, that it is so.
For few indeed can rule themselves, can use
Their good sense sensibly. A boon for all,
When there is one who builds a center, draws
In many thousands, stands firm like a pillar
To be embraced with joy and confidence.
Just such is Wallenstein, and if the Court
Prefers another, only such a one
Can serve the army.
QUESTENBERG. Yes, indeed, the army!
MAX. And it’s a joy to see just how he rouses, [370]
Makes strong, enlivens everything about him,
How every strength emerges, every gift
Perceives itself more clearly in his presence!
He draws out the particular powers of each man
And fosters them, lets each remain himself
Entirely, seeing only that each keep
His station. Thus adroit, he well knows how
To make all men’s capacity his own.
QUESTENBERG. No one denies that he knows men, knows how to
Use them! Engrossed as ruler, he forgets [380]
The servant, as if born into his rank.
MAX. And is he not? With every necessary
Power he is, and also with the power
To execute the plan of Nature and for
His ruler’s talent win a ruler’s place.
QUESTENBERG. So it depends on his largesse in what
Consideration we are henceforth held?
MAX. So rare a man requires rare trust. One need
But give him room. He’ll set his goal himself.
QUESTENBERG. So he has proved. [390]
MAX. There you are! Everything
Alarms them that has any depth. They feel
At home uniquely with what’s flat and shallow.
OCTAVIO (to Questenberg). Surrender in good grace, my friend! Give over.
With this one here you never shall be done.
MAX. Hard pressed, they call for high intelligence,
And then take fright, should it present itself.
Uncommon things, the very greatest deeds
Are to take place like everyday events.
But in the field the moment is upon us.
There personal powers prevail, there one must see [400]
With one’s own eyes. A field marshal must have
Recourse to every grandness Nature holds.
So let him live in grand dimensions, consult
The living oracle of his mind, not dead
Books, ancient regulations, musty papers.82
OCTAVIO. Son, let us not despise our regulations,
However old and narrow. These are priceless
Fetters oppressed men bound on their oppressors’
Swift will. For willfulness is terrible.
The path of order, crooked though it be, [410]
Is no detour. The thunderbolt runs straight,
As does the cannonball. The shortest path
Brings it, destroying all about it, to
Its goal, which it destroys. My son, the road
A man must take, the good road, follows streams,
The easy course of valleys; it avoids
A corn field or a vineyard, it respects
The measured boundaries of property
And leads more slowly, surely to its goal.83
QUESTENBERG. Oh, listen to your father, listen to [420]
Him, who is both a hero and a man.
OCTAVIO. In you one hears the camp’s child speak. Fifteen years
Of war have raised you. Peace you’ve never seen.
There’re higher values, Son, than war-like ones;
In war itself the ultimate’s not war.
The great and rapid deeds of violence,
The moment’s blinding miracle beget
No happiness or strong, enduring calm.
A soldier builds his canvas town in haste,
A momentary buzz and bustle brings [430]
The square to life. On roads and rivers goods
Go back and forth, a busy trade springs up.
Then one fine morning tents are struck, the horde
Moves on. Sown fields and plow land lie as still
As churchyards, trampled, ruined. And the year’s
Whole harvest has been lost.
MAX. Oh, let the Kaiser
Make peace, my father! Gladly I’d give all
This bloody laurel for one violet
In March, the fragrant pledge of earth renewed!
OCTAVIO. Why, Max! (Pause.) What has so affected you? [440]
MAX. I’ve never seen a peace? Indeed I have,
My father. I’ve just come, just now, from there.
My journey led through lands no war has touched.
Oh, Father, life has charms we’ve never known.
We’ve only cruised the barren coast of blooming
Life, like a tribe of pirates, packed into
An airless ship, that squanders all its days
In savage living on a savage sea
And knows of the great land the bays alone
Where it might risk a thievish landing. What [450]
Its inner valleys hide in treasure— none
Of all that could we see on our wild voyage.
OCTAVIO (attentive). And has this journey shown you all these things?
MAX. It gave me the first leisure of my life.
Tell me, what is the point of endless work, the
Hard labor that so robbed me of my youth
And left my heart a desert, starved my mind, which
No arts had gentled yet and none refined?
For this camp’s noisy churning, horses neighing,
The trumpet’s blast, our clockwork rounds of duty, [460]
Practice at arms, obedience to command—
They strip the heart out and they parch it dry.
This empty busyness, it has no soul. There’s
Another happiness, there’re other joys.
OCTAVIO. You have learned much on this short trip, my son.
MAX. Oh, happy day! At last a soldier can
Reenter life, return to humankind.
The flags unfurl in festive celebration.
To peaceful marches he sets out for home,
All hats and helmets are decked out with green, [470]
The last loot from the fields. Now city gates
Swing open freely, no petard need breach them.
The walls are thronged by peaceful citizens,
Who wave. From every tower bells announce
The tranquil evening of a bloody day.
From villages and cities cheering crowds
Come streaming out and joyfully slow the march.
The old man, glad he’s seen the day, extends
His hand to welcome his returning son.
A stranger, he reenters what is his, [480]
Long left behind. At his return the tree
That he’d last seen a slender sapling shades him.
A blushing girl comes out to meet him whom
He’d once left lying on her nurse’s breast.
A happy man to whom a door, to whom
Soft arms, embracing sweetly, also open.
QUESTENBERG (touched).
Alas, that you should speak of far off, far
Off times, not of tomorrow, not today.
MAX (rounds on him). Who but you in Vienna bears the fault ?84
Let me confess it freely, Questenberg! [490]
When I caught sight of you just now, ill will
Made my spleen rise into my throat. It’s you
Who block the peace, it’s you and you alone.
It’s fighting men who must bring it about.
From you comes endless trouble for the Prince,
You stop his steps, you blacken him. And why?
Because Europe’s great Good concerns him more than
A foot or more or less of land for Austria.
You’re making him a rebel and God knows
What else, because he spares the Saxon, wants [500]
To cultivate our enemy’s trust. But that’s
The only path to lead us to a peace.
If we don’t stop this war within a war,
What hope have we of peace? So go, just go!
I hate you as I love the Good. I swear
Most solemnly, I’ll give my heart’s last blood,
Last drop of blood, for him, for Wallenstein,
Before I see you triumph at his fall. (Exit.)

Scene Five

6Questenberg. Octavio Piccolomini.

QUESTENBERG. God help us! Can this be?
(Urgent and impatient.)
Are we to let him go this way? He’s mad! [510]
Not call him back? Not open instantly
His eyes?
OCTAVIO (rousing himself from deep thought).
He has just opened mine and made
Me see more than I like.
QUESTENBERG. May I ask what?
OCTAVIO. A pox upon this journey!
QUESTENBERG. What? How so?
OCTAVIO. But come. I’ll have to track this down, to see
With my own eyes—(Offers to lead him away.)
QUESTENBERG. But what? Where would you go?
OCTAVIO (urgent). To her!
QUESTENBERG. To?
OCTAVIO (correcting himself). To the Duke. I fear the worst.
I see a net cast over him, he’s not
Returned to me the man who went away.
QUESTENBERG. Explain— [520]
OCTAVIO.
Could I not see it coming? Not
Abort this errand? Why did I not speak?
You’re right. I should have warned him. Too late now.
QUESTENBERG. Too late for what? These riddles baffle me.
OCTAVIO (more composed).
We’re going to the Duke. Come. It’s almost
The hour he named for audience. Do come!
A pox, a three-fold pox, upon this journey!
(He leads Questenberg away.)

Curtain.

Notes

57 City on the Danube in southern Germany, then occupied by Swedish forces.

58 Wallenstein has summoned all his commanders to his headquarters at Pilsen as his worsening relations with the court in Vienna approach a crisis.

59 The battle of the Dessau bridge, where Mansfeld was defeated, 1626.

60 See Camp at line 57. Camp and Piccolomini take place simultaneously.

61 First indication of collusion within the army.

62 See the Sergeant’s mention of Buttler, Camp, scene 7, at line 432.

63 First mentioned at Camp, scene 2, line 71.

64 Octavio takes no account of Buttler’s promotion to major general, still unconfirmed by Vienna.

65 Illo is remembering negotiations for the restoration of Wallenstein’s command, April 1632.

66 By Gustavus Adolphus in April 1632. Tilly had assumed command of the imperial army after Wallenstein’s dismissal at Regensburg in 1630.

67 A high officer of the Viennese court.

68 In summer 1632 Wallenstein’s restored army had expelled the Saxons, who were allied with Sweden, from Bohemia. See Camp, scene 1, line 32.

69 The tag goes back to Livy: “Bellum… se ipse alet,” Ab urbe condita, 34, 9.

70 Slavata and Martinitz were Bohemian noblemen acting for Vienna and detested by their people, who hurled them from a window of the Hradschin, 1618. This was the beginning of the Bohemian rebellion that touched off the Thirty Years’ War.

71 By “child” Illo means Ferdinand, elected King of Hungary, the Kaiser’s eldest surviving son, with whom, he suspects, Vienna intends to replace Wallenstein. The rhetorical figure is stichomythia (speech line-for-line), in which a one-line assertion is promptly met by a one-line rebuttal, usually by repeating a word (as “child… child” at the end of this dispute). The device is ubiquitous in seventeenth-century German drama. Schiller uses it often in Wallenstein, for rhetorical effect and period color.

72 Emblems of Austria, Sweden, and France, respectively.

73 The Adige, now in northern Italy, prized for its vineyards.

74 The Second Horseman makes the same observation, Camp, scene 11, at line 695.

75 Not historical.

76 Anticipation of Death, Act II, scene 6.

77 Octavio, therefore, is acting not only out of personal conviction but also on orders from Vienna.

78 Enumeration of Vienna’s weaknesses: the Swedish army was standing in southern Germany and had taken Regensburg; since 1626 Upper Austria had been troubled by repeated peasant revolts; the estates had grown restless under the demands of absolutist Vienna.

79 The crime in question is high treason.

80 But see Max’s misgivings about his father, Act V, scenes 1 and 3, especially at line 2357.

81 Wallenstein retells this event, Death, Act II, scene 3, at line 869.

82 After the soldiers in Camp, the officers in the early scenes of Piccolomini, and Questenberg himself, Max delivers the fourth account of Wallenstein’s extraordinary powers before the man himself appears, Act II, scene 2.

83 This, Octavio’s reply, captures the philosophical difference between father and son Piccolomini.

84 Max delivers here a statement of the case for Wallenstein.

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