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Wallenstein

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Friedrich Schiller

The Piccolomini. In five acts

Act Two

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1A large Room in the quarters of the Duke of Friedland

Scene One

  • 85 Il Dottore, a stock figure of Italian commedia dell’arte. This is a surviving trace of Schiller’s (...)

2Servants are arranging chairs and spreading carpets. The astrologer Seni enters, dressed in black, rather fantastically, after the fashion of an Italian scholar.85 He goes to the middle of the room and indicates the four cardinal points with the white staff that he carries.

SERVANT (going about with a censor).
Fall to! Get finished here. The Guard’s been called to
Attention! They’ll be coming any minute.
SECOND SERVANT. But why was the red room closed off? The one
That has a bay and where the light’s so good? [530]
FIRST SERVANT. Ask him, the mathematician there. He claims
That it’s unlucky.
SECOND SERVANT. Pooh! That’s nothing more
Than fooling people. Look, a room’s a room.
What’s all the fuss about a simple place?
SENI (with gravity).
My son, there’s nothing in the world lacks meaning.
For every earthly matter, time and place
Have overwhelming, capital importance.
THIRD SERVANT. Don’t take it up with him, Nathanael.
The Master, even, has to do his will.
SENI (counting the chairs).
Eleven. Evil number. Place twelve chairs. [540]
The zodiac has twelve signs, five and seven,
For only sacred numbers make up twelve.
SECOND SERVANT. And what’s the grudge you have against eleven?
SENI. Eleven, that is sinfulness, exceeds
The Ten Commandments.
SECOND SERVANT. Oh! And why is five
A sacred number?
SENI. That’s the human soul,
Composed of good and evil, just as five’s
Composed of odd and even, straight and crooked.
FIRST SERVANT. The dunce!
THIRD SERVANT. Leave him alone. I like to listen
When he talks—how it always makes you think. [550]
SECOND SERVANT.
They’re coming. Quick! This way! Out by the side door.

(They leave in haste. Seni follows slowly.)

Scene Two

3Wallenstein. The Duchess.

  • 86 The Kaiser’s eldest surviving son, also called Ferdinand, was the elected King of Hungary.
  • 87 Eggenberg and Lichtenstein were two of the Kaiser’s closest advisors.
  • 88 The Kaiser’s influential Jesuit confessor.
  • 89 At the congress at Regensburg, 1630, the prince-electors had united against Wallenstein and he was (...)

WALLENSTEIN. Well, Duchess? On your way you saw Vienna?
Appeared before the Queen of Hungary?86
DUCHESS. Before the Empress, too. Their Majesties
Admitted us to offer our respects.
WALLENSTEIN. How did they take it that I’ve summoned wife
And daughter to me in the field in winter?
DUCHESS. I did as you prescribed: observed that you
Had chosen for our daughter, wished to show her
To her betrothed before the next campaign. [560]
WALLENSTEIN. And did they speculate about my choice?
DUCHESS. They wanted it to be no foreigner,
To be no Lutheran whom you’d chosen for her.
WALLENSTEIN. And what is it you want, Elisabeth?
DUCHESS. You know your wish has always been my own.
WALLENSTEIN (after a pause).
Well, then. And how were you received at Court?
(The Duchess lowers her gaze and remains silent.)
Hide nothing from me. Tell me how it was.
DUCHESS. Alas, my husband, it’s not all the way
It used to be. There’s been a change—it’s different—
WALLENSTEIN. How so? Were you not treated with respect? [570]
DUCHESS. Respect? Oh, yes. Their mien was dignified and
Seemly. But stiff formality now took
The place of friendly, gracious condescension.
Their kindness toward me showed compassion more
Than favor. No, indeed. Duke Albrecht’s princely
Consort, Count Harrach’s noble daughter ought not,
Ought not, to’ve been received in such a fashion.
WALLENSTEIN. And they no doubt attacked my latest conduct?
DUCHESS. If they but had! I’m long accustomed to
Excusing you, to smoothing ruffled feathers. [580]
No, not a one attacked. They wrapped themselves
In solemn, leaden silence. This, alas, is
No ordinary misunderstanding, no
Mere passing sensitivity. Something
Disastrous, irretrievable has happened.
The Queen of Hungary once used to call
Me her dear aunt, embraced me when we parted.
WALLENSTEIN. And now?
DUCHESS (drying her tears, after a pause).
She still embraced me: I had taken
My leave of her, was almost at the door,
When she approached me quickly, as if she’d [590]
Forgot, and pressed me to her bosom, more pained
Than moved by tenderness.
WALLENSTEIN (taking her hand). Compose yourself!
With Eggenberg, with Lichtenstein, and with
Our other friends—how was it?87
DUCHESS (shaking her head). I saw none.
WALLENSTEIN. The Spanish Count Ambassador, who spoke
For me so warmly?
DUCHESS. Not a word for you.
WALLENSTEIN. These suns no longer shine for us. Henceforth
We’ll have to light our way with our own fire.
DUCHESS. Is it because, my Lord, is it because
Of what at Court they whisper, openly [600]
Recount abroad, what Father Lamormain88
Referred to—
WALLENSTEIN (quickly). Lamormain! What’s he been saying?
DUCHESS. That you’re accused of heedlessly transgressing
Your charge, of flagrant disregard of highest
Imperial orders. That the Spanish, that
The proud Bavarian duke complain of you,
And that a storm is gathering over you
More menacing by far than that which caused
Your fall at Regensburg.89 And that there’s talk—Oh!
I cannot say it— [610]
WALLENSTEIN (tense). There’s talk—
DUCHESS. Of a second—(She stops.)
WALLENSTEIN. A second—
DUCHESS. A dismissal more disgraceful
Than the first.
WALLENSTEIN. There’s talk?
(Pacing the room in agitation.) Oh, they’re forcing me,
They’re pushing me against my will into it.
DUCHESS (embracing him, pleading).
While there’s still time, my Lord—If it can be
Prevented by submission, willingness
To yield—Relent. Prevail on your proud heart.
It’s your superior, your Kaiser, that you yield to.
No longer let ill will and spite use poisonous
Construction to obscure your good intentions.
Stand up and use the conquering power of truth [620]
To shame those liars and those slanderers.
We have so few true friends. You know this.
Our swift good fortune has exposed us to
Men’s hatred. Where shall we then be, if now
The Kaiser turns away his favor from us?

Scene Three

  • 90 Thekla’s parents have just taken her from the convent where she was educated. She is now marriagea (...)

4Countess Terzky enters, leading Princess Thekla by the hand.90

COUNTESS. What, Sister? Speaking only of affairs,
And, I see, not of pleasant ones, before
He even has the pleasure of his child?
First moments should belong alone to pleasure.

Here, Father Friedland! I present your daughter. [630]

5(Thekla approaches him shyly and is about to bend over his hand.
He catches her in his arms and stands several moments lost in contemplation of her.)

  • 91 Wallenstein raised his first army in 1625. He besieged Stralsund, in Pomerania, in 1628.
  • 92 Thekla is now perhaps seventeen years old.

WALLENSTEIN. This hope has blossomed for me. I shall take
That as a pledge of greater happiness.
DUCHESS. She was but a small child when you went out
To build a teeming army for the Kaiser.
And then when you returned from Pomerania,
Your daughter was in convent, until now.91
WALLENSTEIN. While in the field we sought to make her great,
To gain the highest earthly good for her,
Kind Mother Nature within quiet cloister
Walls did her part to give her godly goods [640]
And leads her now in beauty out to meet
Her brilliant fortunes and fulfill my hopes.
DUCHESS (to the Princess).
You hardly recognized your father here,
My child? You were just eight years old when last
You saw his face.92
THEKLA. Oh, yes, my mother, at
First glance. My father hasn’t aged. In him
I see the man I carried in my heart.
WALLENSTEIN (to the Duchess).
This charming child! A fine remark and what
Good sense. And I complained that Fate withheld
A son, an heir, to take my name and fortune, [650]
To carry forward my brief life in a
Proud line of princes. Rank ingratitude!
Upon this virginal young brow I’ll lay
The wreath of military life. Nothing’s lost
If it becomes a kingly crown that I
Can weave into this forehead’s lovely locks.

  • 93 Max describes his experience of this entrance, Act III, scene 4, at line 1350.

(He is holding her in his arms as Piccolomini enters.)93

Scene Four

6Max Piccolomini and then Count Terzky.

  • 94 First manifestation of the extraordinary rapport between the Countess and her brother-in-law.

COUNTESS. And here’s the paladin who shielded us.
WALLENSTEIN. I bid you welcome, Max. You’ve always brought
Me joy, and like the morning star you now
Lead in the sun, this true light of my life. [660]
MAX. General—
WALLENSTEIN. Till now it was the Kaiser who
Used my hand to reward you. But today
You’ve bound the grateful father, and this debt
Is Friedland’s own and his alone to settle.
MAX. My Prince, you lost no time in doing so.
I have been shamed, indeed it pains me. Scarce
Have I arrived, have I delivered mother
And daughter into your embraces than I
See led up from your stables as your gift
A four-in-hand magnificent in shining [670]
Harness to pay me off for all my trouble.
Oh yes! To pay me off. It was a mere
Office that I performed. And not the favor
I took it for, for which I came to thank
You from an overflowing heart. My service
Was not intended as my greatest joy!
(Terzky enters, bringing dispatches that the Duke opens immediately.)
COUNTESS (to Max). Is it your trouble he’s rewarding? He’s
Rewarding you his happiness. For you
Such delicacy is proper. It becomes
My brother always to prove large and princely. [680]
THEKLA. I, too, would have to doubt his love, for he first
Adorned me, then his father’s heart received me.
MAX. Yes, he must always give and make us happy.
(He takes the Duchess’s hand; with growing warmth.)
What don’t I have to thank him for! What do
I not pronounce in this sole name of Friedland!
Lifelong I shall be captive of this name,
From it will spring all joy and every hope.
Fast, as if in a fairy ring, fate holds me,
Enchanted, in the ambit of this name.
COUNTESS (who has been observing the Duke and sees that the letters have
made him thoughtful).
Our brother wants to be alone. We’ll go.94 [690]
WALLENSTEIN (turns, catches himself, and speaks cheerfully to the
Duchess).
Once more, Princess, you’re welcome in the field.
You are the mistress of this court. You, Max,
Will once again take up your office, while
We here attend to matters of our master.
(Max Piccolomini offers the Duchess his arm;
the Countess leads the Princess away.)
TERZKY (calls after him).
Remember to be present at assembly.

Scene Five

7Wallenstein. Terzky.

  • 95 This is the “child” of Illo’s dispute with Questenberg, Act I, scene 2, line 177.
  • 96 Absences first mentioned at Act I, scene 1, line 18.
  • 97 Led by the Cardinal-Infante, first mentioned in Camp, scene 11, at line 685.
  • 98 Bohemian emigrant and Swedish general.
  • 99 This is Oxenstirn, who was present at a war council convened at Halberstadt to consider relations (...)
  • 100 For Wallenstein, a point of honor. The motif of Swedish territorial ambitions returns, Death, Act (...)
  • 101 General in the Saxon army.

WALLENSTEIN (deep in thought, aloud to himself.)
As she observed. Exactly so. Accords
With other notices quite perfectly.
So they’ve arrived at a decision in
Vienna, chosen a successor for me.
The King of Hungary, that Ferdinand, [700]
The Kaiser’s precious little son, he’s their
Savior, their rising star.95 They think they’re done
With us already, and like one dispatched
We’ve gotten our reward. No time to lose!
(He turns, notices Terzky, and gives him a letter.)
Count Altringer regrets, sends his excuses.
And Gallas.96 I don’t like this.
TERZKY. If you go
On doing nothing, they’ll all fall away.
WALLENSTEIN. This Altringer holds the Tirolean passes.
I’ll send him word to block the Spaniards coming
Up from Milan.97 Now! Old Sesin, that go- [710]
Between, he shows himself again. Has he
A message for us from Count Thurn?98 TERZKY.
The Count
Would have you know: At Halberstadt at the
Convention these last days, he visited
The Swedish Chancellor, who says he’ s had
Enough of you and wants to hear no more.99
WALLENSTEIN. How so?
TERZKY. He says you’re never serious,
You only want to gull the Swedes, ally
Yourself against them with the Saxons and
Then fob them off contemptibly with money. [720]
WALLENSTEIN. Aha! He thinks that I should give him German
Terrain as booty? Thinks that we’re no longer
The masters here on our own soil? Out with
Them, out, out! Who would have such neighbors? Out!
TERZKY. You would begrudge them a mere fleck of land?
It’s not been carved out from your own. If you
Win at this game, what care have you who loses?
WALLENSTEIN. Out with them! You don’t understand. No one
Shall say that I dismembered Germany,
Betrayed it faithlessly to strangers just [730]
To pocket my own portion. Nevermore!100
In me the Empire is to honor its
Protector. Proving princely and imperial,
I’ll seat myself among Imperial princes.
On my watch let no foreigner strike root here,
And least of all, those Goths, those wretched starvelings
Who look with hungry eyes upon this blessing,
German land. They’re to aid me in my plans
And not go fishing for their own advantage.
TERZKY. And with the Saxons you’ll proceed with greater [740]
Honor? They too are losing patience with
Your deviousness. Why all the masks? Even
Your friends have doubts, can’t make you out. Arnheim101
And Oxenstirn—it baffles everyone
How you hang fire. And in the end the blame
Comes back to me, since I transmit it all.
And I don’t have one scrap that’s in your hand.
WALLENSTEIN. I issue nothing written. You know that.
TERZKY. And how is one to know if you’re in earnest?
You give your solemn word and no deed follows. [750]
Admit it: All the things that you’ve agreed to—
They could have happened had you wanted just
To get the better of the foe, no more.
WALLENSTEIN (after a pause in which he fixes him).
And how would you know that I do not have
The better of him? Have the better of
The lot of you? Do you know me that well?
I don’t think I’ve shown you my deepest feelings.
The Kaiser, it is true, has done me wrong. If
I wanted, I could do him no small harm.
I like to know my power. Whether I [760]
Make use of it—of that you know no more than
The next one.
TERZKY. That’s the way you’ve always played.

Scene Six

8Illo enters.

  • 102 Wallenstein is asking about the commanders, whom Illo has been greeting upon their arrival.
  • 103 See Isolani’s acknowledgment, Act I, scene 1, at line 52. Faro is Isolani’s favored card game.

WALLENSTEIN. How is it out there? Have they been prepared?102
ILLO. You’ll find them in the mood you wanted. They know
The Kaiser’s terms and they’re beside themselves.
WALLENSTEIN. And Isolan?
ILLO. Is yours with heart and soul
Since you restored his faro bank.103
WALLENSTEIN. Colalto?
You’re sure of Deodat and Tiefenbach?
ILLO. What Piccolomini does they’ll all do.

  • 104 The Sergeant also makes this point, Camp, scene 11, at line 742.
  • 105 The favorable planet. Mars is the unfavorable planet. See Death, Act I, scene 1.
  • 106 Saturn, the leaden god, associated with the element earth.
  • 107 Reminiscent of Jacob’s ladder, Genesis 25, 12.
  • 108 Jove, the serene and jovial god, was Wallenstein’s chosen deity.
  • 109 The planetary houses are the twelve houses of the zodiac. The corners are the point of rising, the (...)
  • 110 The many names that Schiller introduces from his sources give these plays a scope and fullness tha (...)
  • 111 A fine instance of dramatic irony.

WALLENSTEIN. So I can risk it with them, do you think? [770]
ILLO. If you’re sure of both Piccolomini.
WALLENSTEIN. As of myself. They’ll not desert me. Never!
TERZKY. I wish you wouldn’t put that kind of trust
In that sly fox, that old Octavio.
WALLENSTEIN. Tell me about it, you. Look! Sixteen times
I’ve marched into the field with that old warhorse.
And furthermore, I have his horoscope.
Born under the same stars, the two of us.
In brief—(Breaks off.) Another matter altogether.
If you’ll vouch for the others— [780]
ILLO. They’re of one mind:
You cannot lay down your command. They’ll send
Someone, I hear.
WALLENSTEIN. If I’m to bind myself
To them, they’ll have to bind themselves to me.
ILLO. Assuredly.
WALLENSTEIN. I want their word of honor,
In writing, sworn, that they’re committed to
My service absolutely.
ILLO. And why not?
TERZKY. Absolute? They’ll reserve the Kaiser’s service,
The duty they owe Austria.
WALLENSTEIN (shaking his head). Absolutely.
No other way. No word about reserve.
ILLO. Something occurs to me. Is Terzky not [790]
To give a banquet here this evening?
TERZKY. Yes,
Indeed. And all the generals are invited.
ILLO (to Wallenstein).
Say? Would you let me have a full free hand?
I’ll get the generals’ word for you exactly
The way you want it.
WALLENSTEIN. Get it me in writing.
How you get it is no affair of mine.
ILLO. And when I bring it to you, black on white,
That all the captains gathered here are pledged
Blindly to you—will you then double down
And boldly try your luck? [800]
WALLENSTEIN. Get me the writing!
ILLO. Consider! You can’t meet the Kaiser’s wishes:
You can’t reduce the army, can’t detach
Those regiments to meet the Spaniard—you’ll
Be letting go your forces for all time.104
Consider your alternative: You can’t
Defy the Kaiser’s order and command, go
On seeking pretexts, temporizing—you’ll
Be breaking with the Court in all good form.
Make up your mind! Will you anticipate
Him with deliberate action? Or, forever [810]
Hesitating, await the worst?
WALLENSTEIN. That’s what
One does before one fixes on the worst.
ILLO. Oh, seize the hour before it slips away.
The moment is so rare in life, the great
And weighty moment. Much must coincide
For a decision to be taken. But
The threads of fortune, opportunities,
Show singly, scattered. Only pressed together
Into a single instant can they form
The massy kernel of an outcome. See, then! [820]
How forcefully, how fatefully all things
Converge around you. All your captains of
The line, most excellent, have gathered here
About their princely leader. They await
Your signal only. Don’t let them disperse!
You’ll not convene them so united ever
Again in the whole course of this long war.
A high tide lifts a heavy ship from shore. In
The current of the crowd each courage grows.
You have them now—just for this moment. Soon [830]
The war will drive them hither, thither, and
The common spirit will dissolve into the
Small cares and interests of each one. A man
Who, swept along, forgets himself will sober
Up when he finds himself alone, know only
His feebleness, and pivot quickly, take
Instead the beaten path of common duty,
Intent to reach safe cover for himself.
WALLENSTEIN. It’s not yet time.
TERZKY. That’s what you always say.
When will it be time? [840]
WALLENSTEIN. When I say so.
ILLO. Oh!
You’re waiting for the astral hour. Meanwhile
The earthly hour escapes you. Believe me,
The stars of destiny lie in your heart.
Decisiveness, trust in yourself—this is your
Venus.105 Your sole disaster is your doubt.
WALLENSTEIN. That’s how you see these things. How often must
I say to you: At your birth, Jupiter,
The bright god, was descending. You’ve no lights
For secrets. You can only sift in the
Dark earth, unseeing, like the subterranean [850]
God whose pale leaden sheen attended you
At birth.106 It’s earthly, ordinary things
That you can see, connect with one another.
There you enjoy my confidence, my trust.
What works and weaves with secret meaning in
The depths of Nature—the angelic ladder
That reaches from this world of dust into
The world of stars, a thousand rungs on which
Celestial powers wander up and down—107
The circles within circles that embrace [860]
The central sun in ever closer union—
These things the unsealed eye alone perceives
Of Jove’s own children, brightly born and sparkling.108
(He takes a turn through the Hall, then stands still and continues.)
The heavenly constellations do not make
Just day and night, just spring and summer. Not
Just to the sower do they show the seasons
Of seed and harvest. No. The acts of men
No less sow destinies in the dark land
Of time to come, entrust them to Fate’s rule.
Here too one must inquire the sowing season, [870]
Seek out a favorable astral hour,
And search the planetary houses, lest
The foe of growth and of prosperity
Be hiding balefully deep in its corners.109
So give me time. And do what’s yours to do.
I cannot say yet what I want to do.
Relent, however, I shall not. Not I!
And they shall not remove me either. Count
On it.
CHAMBERLAIN (entering). My Lords the Generals.
WALLENSTEIN. Admit them.
TERZKY. Is it your wish to have all captains present? [880]
WALLENSTEIN. No need. Both Piccolomini, Buttler,
Forgatsch, Maradas, Deodat, Caraffa,110
And Isolani: they should be admitted.
(Terzky goes out with the Chamberlain.)
WALLENSTEIN (to Illo).
You’ve kept a watch on Questenberg meanwhile?
No secret conversations held with others?
ILLO. No. I put a sharp watch on him. He’s been
With no one but Octavio.111

Scene Seven

9As above. Questenberg, both Piccolomini, Buttler, Isolani, Maradas, and three other Generals enter. At a gesture from Wallenstein, Questenberg seats himself directly opposite him; the others follow in order of rank. A momentary pause.

WALLENSTEIN. I’ve understood and weighed the substance of
Your mission, Questenberg, and taken a
Decision such as nothing more can alter. [890]
But it is meet that these commanders hear
The Kaiser’s dispositions from your mouth.

  • 112 Questenberg’s account begins with the restoration of Wallenstein’s command, April 1632.
  • 113 The unvanquished king is Gustavus Adolphus. The others all stand on the Swedish side.
  • 114 Adhering closely to historical events, Schiller has Questenberg describe the encounter between Wal (...)
  • 115 A passage of high rhetoric full of metonymy (calling one thing by the name of another) that pits W (...)
  • 116 Gustavus Adolphus was mortally wounded at Lützen, outside Leipzig, November 1632.
  • 117 The hero is Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar. A well-turned compliment to the House of Weimar, where (...)
  • 118 The old enemy is “the Bavarian:” Duke Maximilian. Regensburg fell in November 1633.
  • 119 Thurn was with the Swedish army, Arnheim with the Saxon.
  • 120 The belligerents in Silesia had called a truce for negotiations, summer 1633.
  • 121 Victory at Steinau on the Oder, October 1633.
  • 122 One of the demands the Kaiser made of Wallenstein at Pilsen was that his army not oppress the coun (...)
  • 123 The German for a soldier’s wage is Sold, the French is solde, from the Italian soldo, sou. A solda (...)
  • 124 The period 1625–1630, during Wallenstein’s first command. In the History of the Thirty Years’ War, (...)
  • 125 Here, in 1630, the prince-electors of Germany prevailed upon the Kaiser to remove Wallenstein, who (...)
  • 126 A Dutch officer under Wallenstein’s command.

Be it your pleasure, therefore, to discharge
Your office here before these noble chiefs.
QUESTENBERG. I am prepared, but bid you bear in mind:
Imperial rule and worthiness express
Themselves through me, not my own hardihood.
WALLENSTEIN. Spare us the prelude.
QUESTENBERG. When His Majesty
The Kaiser gave his mighty armies in
The person of the Duke of Friedland a [900]
War-hardened, wreathed head, he confidently
And sovereignly expected rapid change
To his advantage on the battlefield.112 And the beginnings met his wishes well.
Bohemia had been swept clean of Saxons,
The Swedes stopped in their victories. These lands
Had paused to catch their breath just as the Duke
Of Friedland drew the scattered foe from all
The streams of Germany. He lured the Rhinegrave,
Prince Bernhard, Banner, Oxenstirn, and that [910]
Unvanquished king himself into a single
Rendezvous.113 Here at last before the walls
Of Nuremberg the bloody game of war
Should be decided.114
WALLENSTEIN. If you please, the point?
QUESTENBERG. New thinking heralded the new field marshal.
No more did blind rage wrestle with blind rage.
In well-defined encounters one now saw
Steadfastness stand up to audacity
And prudent art of war exhaust high courage.
In vain do they attempt to draw him. He digs [920]
Himself in ever deeper in his camp,
As if to found there an eternal house.115
The king in desperation calls for storm,
Forces onto a butcher block the troops
Whom hunger and disease are ravaging
In an encampment fetid with the dead.
Unstoppable, the king would storm his way
Through a breastwork of brush that guards a camp
Where death awaits him from a thousand muskets.
Attack and then resistance such as eye has [930]
Not seen, until the tattered king retreats,
Not having gained an ell for all the slaughter.
WALLENSTEIN. You needn’t read us what the papers write
About a carnage we ourselves endured.
QUESTENBERG. It is my office and my mission to
Indict. It is my heart that dwells on praise.
In camp in Nuremberg the Swedish king lost
His fame, and then on Lützen’s plains his life.116
Who then was not amazed to see Duke Friedland
Flee to Bohemia from so great a day [940]
Like one who has been conquered, vanish from
The field, while the young hero of the House
Of Weimar breached Franconia unresisted,
Proceeded swiftly to the Danube, and
Appeared beneath the walls of Regensburg,
A feat to frighten all good Catholic Christians.117
Bavaria’s noble prince appealed for quick
Relief, pressed as he was. The Kaiser sends
Full seven riders bringing this request to
Duke Friedland, begs where he as master can [950]
Command. In vain. The Duke would hear just now
Only his cherished hatreds and resentments,
Ignores the common good and would indulge
His vengefulness on his old enemy.118
And thus falls Regensburg.
WALLENSTEIN. What era is this, Max?
MAX. He means Silesia.
WALLENSTEIN. Oh, so! But what could we be doing there?
MAX. Chasing the Swedes and Saxons out.
WALLENSTEIN. Quite right!
All that description makes a man forget
This wretched war. [960]
(To Questenberg.) Go on! Go on! Let’s hear it.
QUESTENBERG. Perhaps one could recover on the Oder
What had been lost so meanly on the Danube.
Astounding things were hoped for on this theater
When Friedland took the battlefield in person,
When Gustav’s rival found a—Thurn and an
Arnheim before him.119 Truly, they came close
Enough, but only to receive each other
As friends. All Germany groaned beneath the strain;
In Wallenstein’s encampment peace prevailed.120
WALLENSTEIN. Many a bloody battle’s fought for nothing, [970]
Because a young commander needs a win.
The proven captain has no need to show
The world that he knows how to gain a victory.
It profited me nothing to exploit
My luck against the likes of Arnheim. Much
Accrued to Germany by my moderation,
Had I been able to dissolve the league
That bound the Saxon and the Swede, at our cost.
QUESTENBERG. It didn’t work, and so hostilities
Resumed. But now the Prince redeemed his fame. [980]
The Swedish army dropped its arms at Steinau
Without a stroke.121 And Heaven’s justice there
Delivered straight to the avenger’s hands
That cursed war-torch, that inveterate
And proven troublemaker, Mattias Thurn.
He’d fallen into gracious hands indeed.
For punishment he got reward. The Prince
Released his Kaiser’s own archenemy,
Released him, sent him onward, bearing gifts.
WALLENSTEIN (laughs). I know, I know. You in Vienna had [990]
Already rented windows, balconies
From which to see him mount the hangman’s cart.
I might have lost that battle shamefully:
The unforgivable is ever to
Deny the Viennese a spectacle.
QUESTENBERG. Silesia had been liberated. All things
Now called the Duke to the relief of hard-pressed
Bavaria. And he indeed sets out:
At stately pace he marches through Bohemia
(Pause) by the longest route. Not even having [1000]
Once seen the enemy, he turns his army,
Goes into winter camp, oppresses thus
The Kaiser’s country with the Kaiser’s soldiers.122
WALLENSTEIN. The troops were in a hopeless state. They wanted
For everything, with winter coming on.
How does His Majesty see his troops? Are we
Not human, not subject to cold and damp,
Exposed to each and every mortal need?
The soldier’s is a truly cursed lot.
Where he approaches, all the world takes flight, [1010]
And where he leaves, they wish him every ill.
He must seize everything he hopes to get;
He’s offered nothing. Forced to take from each
And all, he is a universal horror.
These are my generals. Caraffa! Buttler!
Count Deodati! Tell him, please, how long
The soldiers’pay has been withheld from them?
BUTTLER. There’s been no payment for a year.
WALLENSTEIN. A soldier
Must have his sou—that’s where he gets his name.123
QUESTENBERG. The Duke of Friedland let himself be heard [1020]
In quite another vein nine years ago.
WALLENSTEIN. My fault, I know. That’s how I spoiled the Kaiser.
The Danish War:124 I raised an arm of forty
Or fifty thousand head that cost him not
One cent of his own money. That war ripped
Through Saxony and spread the terror of
His name clear to the sheerest Baltic islets.
Those were the days! The whole Imperium knew
No name as honored as my own, and Albrecht
Wallenstein was the third stone in his crown. [1030]
Then came the Regensburg Electors’ Congress.125
What means I’d used to fight the war was clear.
Was that my thanks for taking on myself
The people’s hatred? For laying on the princes
A war that only made the Kaiser great?
To then be sacrificed to their complaints!
I was removed from office.
QUESTENBERG. Your Grace knows
How little freedom he enjoyed at that
Unhappy Congress.
WALLENSTEIN. Death and destruction!
I had what could procure him freedom. No, [1040]
My Lord. Since it became me all that badly
To serve the throne at state expense, I’ve learned
To think quite differently about that State.
Look! This staff I have from the Kaiser, granted.
I wield it now as marshal of the Empire,
Now for the good of all, the common weal,
Not for the magnification of one man.
But to the point: What is required of me?
QUESTENBERG. His Majesty desires first that the army
Vacate Bohemia instantly. [1050]
WALLENSTEIN. At this time
Of year? And where then would they have us go?
QUESTENBERG. To meet the foe. His Majesty desires
That Regensburg be cleared by Easter, that
No Lutheran sermon more be preached in its
Cathedral, and no heresy and horror
Besmirch the celebration of the feast.
WALLENSTEIN. Can this be done, my generals?
ILLO. Cannot
Be done.
BUTTLER. Out of the question. Can’t be done.
QUESTENBERG. The Kaiser also has sent Colonel Suys126
An order to advance into Bavaria. [1060]
WALLENSTEIN. And Suys?
QUESTENBERG. He did his duty and advanced.
WALLENSTEIN. Advanced? And I, his chief, had given him
Explicit orders not to budge from where
He stood! Is that the state of my command?
That the obedience I am owed? Without which
No state of war is thinkable? You be
The judge, my generals: An officer
Who breaks his orders—what has he deserved?
ILLO. His death!

  • 127 Last mentioned at scene 5, line 709.

WALLENSTEIN (raises his voice at the prudent silence of the others.)
Count Piccolomini, what has he
Deserved? [1070]
MAX (after a long pause). According to the law, his death.
ISOLANI. His death!
BUTTLER. By military law, his death!
(Questenberg stands up, followed by Wallenstein. All stand.)
WALLENSTEIN. The law condemns him to it, and not I!
If I now pardon him, I do so out of
Deference to the respect I owe my Kaiser.
QUESTENBERG. In that case, I’ve no further business here.
WALLENSTEIN. I took command here only on condition.
The first was that no mortal man, not even
The very Kaiser himself, have a say
Disadvantageous to me with the army.
Where I must vouch for the result with both [1080]
My honor and my head, I must be master.
What made that Gustav irresistible,
Unvanquished in this world? That he was king
Among his army—that alone! A king,
However, one who is king, never yet
Was conquered, save by his own equal. Well!
Enough of this. The best is yet to come.
QUESTENBERG. The Cardinal-Infante vacates Milan127
In spring to lead a Spanish army from there
Through Germany into the Netherlands. [1090]
In order to ensure his safety on
The march, the Monarch wants eight regiments from
This army to accompany him on horseback.
WALLENSTEIN. I see, I see—eight regiments. Quite so!
Finely invented, Father Lamormain!
Were that thought not so devilish clever, one
Could call it wonderfully idiotic.
Eight thousand horses. Absolutely right.
I see it coming.
QUESTENBERG There’s no thought behind it.
Prudence requires and need demands the measure. [1100]

  • 128 The badge of an imperial chamberlain was a golden key.

WALLENSTEIN. My Lord Ambassador, it should escape my
Notice that one has tired of suffering
My hand upon the hilt? That they have seized
This pretext, use the Spanish name to reduce
My numbers, bring in a new force not subject
To my command? You find me still too strong to
Displace me openly. My contract demands
That all Imperial forces answer to me
Where German is the language of the land.
Of Spanish soldiers and Infantes who [1110]
Go wandering through the realm as guests it makes
No mention. Now one silently evades
Its clauses, weakens me, makes me unuseful,
Till one can make short shrift of me. But why
The subterfuges, my Lord Counselor?
Out with it! That agreement with me chafes
His Majesty. He would be rid of me.
I shall do him that favor. Here I had
Made up my mind, my Lord, before you came.
(Growing unrest among the Generals.)
A shame about the captains of my lines. [1120]
I don’t see how they will recover what they’ve
Advanced, how they’ll collect their well-earned wage.
A new regime brings new men to the fore,
And old deserts are all too soon forgotten.
This army’s served by many foreign troops,
And if the man was brave and fought well, I
Would not inquire about his lineage or
His catechism. That will change now. Ah,
Well. That is no concern of mine. (He seats himself.)
MAX. Not possible
That it should come to that! The army, the [1130]
Whole army will rebel, rise up as one.
The Kaiser’s misinformed. It cannot be.
ISOLANI. Cannot! It all would go to rack and ruin.
WALLENSTEIN. That it most surely will: to rack and ruin,
Isolan—all we built up with such care.
That’s why at length a marshal will turn up,
An army also gather for the Kaiser
When they have heard the drumbeat start again.
MAX (going busily, passionately from one to the other, calming tempers).
Do hear me, Marshal; listen to me, Captains.
I beg you, Prince! Until we’ve met in council, [1140]
Spoken to you, take no decision. Come,
My friends. I truly hope we can repair it.
TERZKY. Come, please. We’ll find the others just outside.
(They adjourn.)
BUTTLER (to Questenberg). A word of caution, if you care to hear:
Do not appear in public for the moment.
Your golden key would not be sure protection.128
(Loud commotion outside.)
WALLENSTEIN. Good counsel, that. Octavio, you will be
My surety for the safety of our guest.
So, fare ye well, von Questenberg.
(As Questenberg is about to speak.) No, please.
Not one word more about this wretched business. [1150]
You did the duty that you owed. I know
How to distinguish the man from his office.
(As Questenberg is about to leave with Octavio, Götz, Tiefenbach,
and Colalto press in, followed by other Captains.)
GOETZ. Where is the man, the one who’s come to tell—
TIEFENBACH (together).
What’s this? Are you preparing to lay down—
COLALTO (together). We want to live, we want to die with you.
WALLENSTEIN (with poise, indicating Illo).
The Marshal is acquainted with my wishes. (Exit.)

Notes

85 Il Dottore, a stock figure of Italian commedia dell’arte. This is a surviving trace of Schiller’s early intention to make of Seni a comic figure.

86 The Kaiser’s eldest surviving son, also called Ferdinand, was the elected King of Hungary.

87 Eggenberg and Lichtenstein were two of the Kaiser’s closest advisors.

88 The Kaiser’s influential Jesuit confessor.

89 At the congress at Regensburg, 1630, the prince-electors had united against Wallenstein and he was relieved of his command.

90 Thekla’s parents have just taken her from the convent where she was educated. She is now marriageable. Their next duty is to establish her in an alliance becoming to her rank and station.

91 Wallenstein raised his first army in 1625. He besieged Stralsund, in Pomerania, in 1628.

92 Thekla is now perhaps seventeen years old.

93 Max describes his experience of this entrance, Act III, scene 4, at line 1350.

94 First manifestation of the extraordinary rapport between the Countess and her brother-in-law.

95 This is the “child” of Illo’s dispute with Questenberg, Act I, scene 2, line 177.

96 Absences first mentioned at Act I, scene 1, line 18.

97 Led by the Cardinal-Infante, first mentioned in Camp, scene 11, at line 685.

98 Bohemian emigrant and Swedish general.

99 This is Oxenstirn, who was present at a war council convened at Halberstadt to consider relations between Saxony and Sweden, January-February 1634.

100 For Wallenstein, a point of honor. The motif of Swedish territorial ambitions returns, Death, Act I, scene 5.

101 General in the Saxon army.

102 Wallenstein is asking about the commanders, whom Illo has been greeting upon their arrival.

103 See Isolani’s acknowledgment, Act I, scene 1, at line 52. Faro is Isolani’s favored card game.

104 The Sergeant also makes this point, Camp, scene 11, at line 742.

105 The favorable planet. Mars is the unfavorable planet. See Death, Act I, scene 1.

106 Saturn, the leaden god, associated with the element earth.

107 Reminiscent of Jacob’s ladder, Genesis 25, 12.

108 Jove, the serene and jovial god, was Wallenstein’s chosen deity.

109 The planetary houses are the twelve houses of the zodiac. The corners are the point of rising, the zenith, the point of setting, and the nadir of the lowest heaven (immum caelum) under the earth.

110 The many names that Schiller introduces from his sources give these plays a scope and fullness that borders on the cinematic.

111 A fine instance of dramatic irony.

112 Questenberg’s account begins with the restoration of Wallenstein’s command, April 1632.

113 The unvanquished king is Gustavus Adolphus. The others all stand on the Swedish side.

114 Adhering closely to historical events, Schiller has Questenberg describe the encounter between Wallenstein and Gustavus Adolphus at Nuremberg, late summer 1632. Gustavus occupied the town, Wallenstein a fortified position on the outskirts.

115 A passage of high rhetoric full of metonymy (calling one thing by the name of another) that pits Wallenstein against Gustavus. “They” are the Swedes; “he” is Wallenstein.

116 Gustavus Adolphus was mortally wounded at Lützen, outside Leipzig, November 1632.

117 The hero is Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar. A well-turned compliment to the House of Weimar, where the Wallenstein trilogy was first performed, in the court theater, over which Goethe presided, April 1799.

118 The old enemy is “the Bavarian:” Duke Maximilian. Regensburg fell in November 1633.

119 Thurn was with the Swedish army, Arnheim with the Saxon.

120 The belligerents in Silesia had called a truce for negotiations, summer 1633.

121 Victory at Steinau on the Oder, October 1633.

122 One of the demands the Kaiser made of Wallenstein at Pilsen was that his army not oppress the countryside.

123 The German for a soldier’s wage is Sold, the French is solde, from the Italian soldo, sou. A soldato (soldier) is one who receives the sou.

124 The period 1625–1630, during Wallenstein’s first command. In the History of the Thirty Years’ War, Schiller writes explicitly of the plundering and pillaging by which Wallenstein’s army supported itself. The anecdote related by the First Horseman is on the same subject, Camp, scene 11, at line 733.

125 Here, in 1630, the prince-electors of Germany prevailed upon the Kaiser to remove Wallenstein, whose army had laid waste their lands.

126 A Dutch officer under Wallenstein’s command.

127 Last mentioned at scene 5, line 709.

128 The badge of an imperial chamberlain was a golden key.

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