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Friedrich Schiller

The Death of Wallenstein. A tragedy in five acts

Act Three227

Texte intégral

  • 227 The central act of a five-act drama and, here, the hinge: the fortunes of the House of Wallenstein (...)

1Reception Room of the Duchess of Friedland

Scene One

2Countess Terzky. Thekla. Lady Companion von Neubrunn. Thekla and Neubrunn engaged in fine needlework.

  • 228 Max and Thekla saw each other last on the day of their arrival in Pilsen. The first two acts of Dea (...)

COUNTESS. There’s nothing you would ask me, Thekla? Nothing
At all? I’ve been expecting you to speak.
Tell me, can you endure to go so long
And never once pronounce his name? Have I
Perhaps become superfluous? Have you
Perhaps found other means than go through me?
A full confession, Niece: You’ve seen him? Have you?
THEKLA. I’ve not seen him today or yesterday.
COUNTESS. Nor heard from him? Do not conceal from me.
THEKLA. Nothing at all.
COUNTESS. And are so calm?
COUNTESS. Excuse yourself, Neubrunn.

3(The Lady Companion removes herself.)

Scene Two

4Countess. Thekla.

COUNTESS. I do not like
His keeping silent, not at just this moment.
THEKLA. At just this moment?
COUNTESS. Now that he knows all.
Because it’s now he should declare himself.
THEKLA. If I’m to understand, you must speak clearly.
COUNTESS. With that intention I sent her away.
Thekla, you’re not a child. No more. Your heart
Has come of age, for you’re in love and love
Gives rise to courage, courage that you’ve shown.
Your father is the one whom you resemble
In spirit, not your mother. Therefore you
Can hear what
she’s unable to endure.
THEKLA. I beg you, finish with this preparation.
Whatever it may be, out with it! More
Alarming than this prelude it cannot be.
What would you say to me? And make it brief.
COUNTESS. Just don’t be startled.
THEKLA. Name it, if you please.
COUNTESS. It’s in your power to do your father a
Great service—
my power? What do you mean?
COUNTESS. Max Piccolomini loves you. You can
Attach him to your father lastingly.
THEKLA. Does that take me? Is he not bound already?
THEKLA. And why should he no longer be,
Not always be? COUNTESS. He’s loyal to the Kaiser.
THEKLA. No more than duty, honor ask of him.
COUNTESS. Proofs of his love are being asked here, not
Proofs of his honor. Duty, honor— these
Are names with double meanings, many senses.
You should interpret them for him; his love
Is to define his honor for him.
COUNTESS. He must renounce his Kaiser or his love.
THEKLA. He’ll gladly go with Father into private
Life. You heard from himself how ardently
He longs to see all weapons laid aside.
COUNTESS. He’s not to lay aside his weapons; he’s
To draw them for your father.
THEKLA. Gladly he
Would give his blood, his very life for Father,
Should Father suffer any injury.
COUNTESS. You’ll not hear what I’m saying. Therefore, plainly:
Your father has forsook the Kaiser’s cause
And is about to join the enemy
Together with his army—
THEKLA. My poor mother!
COUNTESS. A grand example is required to turn
The army. Both the Piccolomini
Enjoy immense prestige among the troops;
They rule opinion, their deeds are decisive.
We have the father if we have the son.
You now see that much lies in your two hands.
THEKLA. Oh, my poor mother! What a fatal blow
Awaits you! Sure! She’ll not survive this thing.
COUNTESS. She’ll make arrangements with what has to be.
I know her. What’s still distant, lies far in
The future shakes her anxious heart. What’s present,
Cannot be changed, she bears with resolution.
THEKLA. Oh, my prophetic soul! It’s there now, that
Cold hand of horror, grasping after all
My hopes. The moment I came in this room,
A premonition said I stood beneath
Disastrous stars. But why think first of me?
Ah, Mother! Mother!
COUNTESS. Do compose yourself.
Such wailing cannot help. Secure instead
A friend for Father, for you a beloved.
If you are able, all can yet end well.
THEKLA. End well? Why, we’re divided for all time!
For us all’s well and truly over.
He’ll never let you go. He cannot leave you.
THEKLA. The worse for him!
COUNTESS. He’ll have decided in a minute, if
He loves you.
THEKLA. His decision will be swift,
Don’t doubt it. His decision! Is there a
Decision to be made?
COUNTESS. Compose yourself.
I hear your mother coming.
THEKLA. How to meet her!
COUNTESS. Compose yourself, please.

Scene Three

5The Duchess. As above.

DUCHESS (to the Countess). Sister, who has been here?
I heard loud voices.
COUNTESS. There was no one here.
DUCHESS. I am so easily startled. Every noise
Seems to announce a messenger of doom.
If you could tell me, Sister, how things stand?
Will he do what the Kaiser wants of him?
Send riders to the Spanish cardinal?
Did he send Questenberg away content?
COUNTESS. No, he did not.
DUCHESS. Then it is hopeless. Oh,
I fear the worst: Now they’ll remove him and
It’ll be again like Regensburg.
Will not. Not this time. Reassure yourself.
(Thekla, very troubled, rushes to her mother
and embraces her, in tears.)
DUCHESS. Such an unbending, unrestrainable man!
What have I not endured, have I not suffered
Within the bonds of this unhappy marriage!
For as if fastened to a burning wheel
That turns unresting, rapid, long and hard,
I’ve passed an anxious lifetime at his side,
Where he has always torn me with him to
The brink of an abyss, steep, crumbling, and
Vertiginous. Don’t cry, my child. My pain
Should not seem a bad augury for you,
Should not embitter this state that awaits you.
There lives no second Friedland; you, my child,
Need not fear such a destiny as mine.
THEKLA. Oh, let us flee, dear Mother, quickly, quickly!
There’s no place here for us. For every hour
Spent here will hatch a new and monstrous horror!
DUCHESS. You’ll have a calmer life. We, too, your father
And I, have known fine days together; I
Remember our first days with pleasure still.
At that time, his was still a happy striving,
Ambition was for him a warming flame,
Not yet a raging fire, consuming all.
The Kaiser trusted him, had great faith in him,
And everything he laid hand on succeeded.
Since that dark day at Regensburg, however,
That flung him from the height he had attained,
Another spirit has come over him,
Unsteady, solitary, dark, suspicious.
He lost his peace of mind, no longer trusted
His luck, his powers, and turned instead to dark arts
That bring no joy to those who practice them.
COUNTESS. That’s how your eyes would see these things. But are
These words with which we should receive him? He
Will be here soon. Should he find her in
that state?
DUCHESS. Come here, my child, and dry your tears. And let
Your father see a smiling face. This ribbon
Has slipped, your hair must be put up again.
Come, dry your tears. They mar your lovely eyes.
What is it I was going to say? Oh, yes:
This Piccolomini is surely a
Deserving nobleman and fully worthy.
COUNTESS. Such is he, Sister.
anxiously, to the Countess).
Please excuse me, Aunt. (
About to go.)
COUNTESS. You’re going? But your father’s coming.
Can’t see him now.
COUNTESS. But he will miss you, ask
For you.
DUCHESS. Why does she want to leave the room?
THEKLA. Because I cannot bear to see him now.
to the Duchess).
She is not well.
anxious). What’s troubling the poor child?

6(Both follow the Young Lady, trying to hold her back. Wallenstein enters, speaking with Illo.)

Scene Four

7Wallenstein. Illo. As above.

  • 229 That is, word that the troops in Prague have pledged themselves to Wallenstein.
  • 230 Wallenstein’s betrayal of Buttler, like the episode before battle at Lützen, is related first in Oc (...)
  • 231 Octavio has seen Isolani more clearly (Act II, scene 5). But see Wallenstein’s final tribute to Iso (...)
  • 232 Terzky reproaches the same incapacity in Wallenstein, à propos of Octavio, at the end of scene 8, b (...)
  • 233 Wallenstein, on seeing Thekla again, speaks of a “kingly crown” (Picc., Act II, scene 3, line 655). (...)
  • 234 The Countess has cautioned Thekla in these terms. Picc., Act III, scene 8, at line 1597.
  • 235 Franz Albrecht, Prince of Sachsen-Lauenburg (1598–1642), an officer in the Saxon army.

WALLENSTEIN. It’s quiet in the camp?
ILLO. All’s quiet, Marshal.
WALLENSTEIN. Not long now and we could have word from Prague
To tell us that the capital is ours.
At that point we can throw away our masks
And tell our troops at one time of the step
We’ve taken and of how it has succeeded.
In such case, the example’s everything.
For man was made an imitating creature,
And who goes first will always lead the flock.
The troops in Prague do not know otherwise
Than that the Pilsen troops are sworn to us,
And those in Pilsen are to swear themselves
Because the ones in Prague set the example.
You tell me Buttler has declared himself?
ILLO. He came of his own will, unasked, to offer
Himself together with his regiment.
WALLENSTEIN. Not every voice, I find, is to be believed
That we hear warning us deep in the heart.
Intending to deceive, mendacity
Takes on the voice of truth by imitation
And spreads misleading oracles among us.
To Buttler, worthy man, I owe amends
For secret, still injustice done him once.
Strangely, a sense I cannot master—I’d
Not want to call it fear—comes over me
In his proximity and hampers free
Expression of my happy fondness for him.
This honest man, of whom my instinct warns me,
Brings me the first pledge of impending fortune.
ILLO. And his example, followed, do not doubt,
Will win for you the best men in the army.
WALLENSTEIN. Go now, find Isolan and send him to me;
I’ve recently indebted him to me,
So he’s the one with whom I’ll make a start.
(Illo goes out and the others come forward again.)
And here’s the mother with our lovely daughter!
We’ll leave affairs aside and turn to pleasure;
I’d love to pass a cheerful hour with family.
COUNTESS. We’ve long not been together this way, Brother.
aside to the Countess).
Can she be told? Is she prepared to hear?
COUNTESS. Not yet.
WALLENSTEIN. Come here, my girl. Sit down beside me.
There’s a good fairy poised upon your lips;
I’ve heard about your talent from your mother.
She says you have a sweet, harmonious voice,
Enchanting to the ear. A voice like that
Is what I need to drive away the black mood
That spreads its dusky wings about my head.
DUCHESS. Where have you put your zither, Thekla? Come
And let your father hear a sample of Your art.
THEKLA. Oh, dearest Mother! Oh, dear God!
DUCHESS. Come, Thekla. It’s to give your father pleasure.
THEKLA. Oh, Mother, I cannot!
COUNTESS. What is this, Niece?
to the Countess).
Do spare me! Sing? In this distress? This heart-
Ache? Sing to him, who’ll be the death of Mother?
DUCHESS. Why, Thekla! Airs and vapors? Father is
To have expressed a wish that isn’t granted?
COUNTESS. Here is the zither.
THEKLA. Oh, my God! How can I?
(She holds the instrument unsteadily, struggling with herself; as she tries to begin, she shudders, throws the instrument aside, and quickly leaves the scene.)
DUCHESS. My child! Oh, she’s not well!
WALLENSTEIN. What’s troubling her so? Is she always like that?
COUNTESS. Since she herself betrays it, I will not
Keep silent any longer either.
WALLENSTEIN. What’s this?
COUNTESS. She loves him.
COUNTESS. Piccolomini.
Have you not noticed? Sister, you’ve not noticed?
DUCHESS. Oh, was it this that so oppressed her heart?
God bless you, Child! You needn’t be ashamed
That you’ve made such a choice.
COUNTESS. Their journey here—
If you did not intend this outcome, you have
Yourself to blame.
232 You should have chosen some-
One else to bring them.
COUNTESS. He hopes to make her his.
Her his! Is he quite mad?
her hear that!
WALLENSTEIN. It’s Friedland’s only daughter whom he thinks
To carry off? Well! That idea impresses me.
Oh, he’s not one to show false modesty.
COUNTESS. It’s all because you’ve always favored him; so—
WALLENSTEIN. So he’ll leave me a legacy as thanks.
Well, yes! I love him, value him. But how
Does that bear on my daughter’s hand in marriage?
It’s with one’s daughter, with one’s only child,
That one’s to give a token of one’s favor?
DUCHESS. His noble sensibility, his manners—
WALLENSTEIN. Win him my heart, but not my daughter. No!
DUCHESS. His rank and his ancestors—
WALLENSTEIN. His ancestors!
A commoner is what he is. My new son
I’ll seek among the august thrones of Europe.
DUCHESS. Dear Duke, we wouldn’t want to rise too high,
So that we do not have to fall too far.
WALLENSTEIN. Did I let it cost me so much to reach
These heights, to rise above the heads of common
Folk, just to bring my life’s grand role to close
Among a crowd of common relatives ?
234 Was it for this—
He stops and recovers his composure.)
She is the only part of me that will
Remain on earth. I want to see a crown
Upon her head or live no longer. I
Say more. All, all I have I’ll stake on making
Her great. This very moment, even as
We speak—
He catches himself.)
And I, like some soft-hearted father,
Should now unite in finest bourgeois fashion
Two pups who like each other, are in love?
This I should do just now, when I stand poised
To set a wreath upon my finished work?
No. To me she is a long hoarded jewel,
The highest, last-most gold piece in my treasury,
And at no lower bid will I let her be
Knocked down than for the scepter of a king.
DUCHESS. My Lord, you build and build and go on building,
Into the clouds, and never think the narrow
Ground cannot bear your towering, swaying work.
to the Countess).
Have you informed her of the residence
I’ve chosen for her?
COUNTESS. No. Tell her yourself.
DUCHESS. We’re not returning to Carinthia?
DUCHESS. To another of your holdings, then?
WALLENSTEIN. You’d not be safe there.
DUCHESS. Not be safe in Kaiser’s
Country and under his protection?
Is something Friedland’s lady cannot hope for.
DUCHESS. Dear God! You’ve taken it to such a point!
WALLENSTEIN. In Holland you will find protection.
You’d send us into Lutheran territory?
WALLENSTEIN. Duke Franz von Lauenburg accompanies
You there.
DUCHESS. Duke Franz von Lauenburg? Who’s with
The Swedes, who’s with the Kaiser’s enemies?
WALLENSTEIN. The Kaiser’s enemies are mine no longer.
looks in fright from the Duke to the Countess).
It’s true, then? Is it? You have fallen? They’ve
Removed you from command? Oh, God in heaven!
aside to the Duke).
We’ll leave her in that belief. You see, don’t you,
That she could not endure to hear the truth.

Scene Five

8Count Terzky. As above.

  • 236 See Octavio’s instruction to Isolani, Act II, scene 6, at line 1002.

COUNTESS. Terzky! What is this? He’s beside himself!
As if he’d seen a ghost!
taking Wallenstein aside, quietly).
Did you give orders that the Croats ride?
WALLENSTEIN. I’d no idea.
TERZKY. We’ve been betrayed!
WALLENSTEIN. We’ve what?
TERZKY. They’ve vanished overnight. The Rangers, too.
The neighboring villages are standing empty.
TERZKY. You sent him away.
TERZKY. You didn’t? Did not send him out?
Did not send Deodat? They both are missing.

Scene Six

9Illo. As above.

  • 237 The admired Tiefenbachers again. Octavio took a detachment of Tiefenbachers and left the rest for M (...)

ILLO. Has Terzky told you—
TERZKY. He knows all.
ILLO. Also that Esterhazy, Götz, Maradas,
Colalto, Kaunitz have deserted—
TERZKY. What the—
with a gesture).
has been watching from a distance and approaches).
In God’s name, Terzky! What is this?
about to leave).
Nothing! Let’s go.
about to follow).
Theresa, please! It’s nothing.
holding him back).
Nothing? And all the blood has drained out of
Your faces? Even
his composure’s false?
entering). An adjutant is asking for Count Terzky.
(Exit. Terzky follows.)
WALLENSTEIN. Let’s see what he brings.
To Illo.) This could not have happened
Except by mutiny. Who has the watch
Before the gates?
ILLO. It belongs to Tiefenbach.
WALLENSTEIN. Have Tiefenbach relieved immediately
And Terzky’s Grenadiers march up. Look now!
Have you had word of Buttler?
ILLO. Him I’ve seen.
He’s on his way to you. At least
he’s loyal.
(Illo goes off. Wallenstein is about to follow.)
COUNTESS. Don’t let him leave you, Sister. Keep him here.
There’s some misfortune—
DUCHESS Gracious God, what is it?
She intercepts him.)
WALLENSTEIN (fending her off).
Compose yourselves! Let go! Sister, dear Wife,
We are in camp. Here it’s as it must be:
It’s storm and sunshine over us by turns;
Strong temperaments aren’t easily restrained,
Never has peace prevailed around a leader.
If I’m to stay, then you must go. For women’s
Wailing accords but ill with men in action.
(He’s about to go. Terzky returns.)
TERZKY. Stay here. It’s best to see it from this window.
to the Countess).
Go, Sister.
COUNTESS. Not in life!
takes her aside and indicates the Duchess).
DUCHESS. Come, Sister. He would have it so.

10(They go.)

Scene Seven

11Wallenstein. Count Terzky.

WALLENSTEIN (going to the window). What’s happening?
TERZKY. A huge commotion in the troops. It’s baffling.
Mysteriously, in ominous silence, each corps
Is placing itself under its own banners.
The Tiefenbachers all look menacing,
The Walloons only keep apart in their camp,
Admit no one, keep usual good order.
WALLENSTEIN. Does Piccolomini appear among them?
TERZKY. He’s being sought, and no one’s found him yet.
WALLENSTEIN. What was it that the adjutant delivered?
TERZKY. My regiment dispatched him to report
They’d sworn themselves to you anew, await
Their summons into action, wild to fight.
WALLENSTEIN. And what has brought this unrest into camp?
All news was to be held back from the army
Until we’d made ourselves assured of Prague.
TERZKY. If you had only believed me! Just last evening
We begged you, we implored you not to let
That old Octavio—that rogue—out the gates.
You gave him your own horses for his flight—
WALLENSTEIN. Enough of your old song. No more of this.
TERZKY. And Isolani, too, you trusted; was
He not the first to leave you in the lurch?
WALLENSTEIN. I’d just pulled him from his embarrassment.
So what? I never counted on his thanks.
TERZKY. But that’s the way they are, one like the other.
WALLENSTEIN. Is it so wrong that he should go his way?
He’s following the god that he has served
Lifelong at every gaming table. It
Was with my luck and not with me that he
Made his alliance and that he breaks it now.
What did he mean to me? Or I to him?
I am the ship on which he loads his hopes
And sails the open seas in high good humor;
If he sees shoals ahead, he saves his wares.
Up and away he flies, a bird that leaves the
Hospitable branch on which it has just nested.
Between us here no human bond is broken.
Why, he deserves to see himself deceived
Who looked for heart in one so empty-headed;
On this blank forehead images of life
Are lightly writ in disappearing ink,
Into this bosom’s silent depths falls nothing.
A cheerful temper stirs his lighter humors,
But no soul warms his chilly viscera.
TERZKY. Perhaps. But I would sooner trust myself
To unmarked foreheads than to furrowed brows.

Scene Eight

12Wallenstein. Terzky. Illo.

  • 238 Just as Wallenstein, the Countess tells him, would not see the obvious when he sent Max to fetch Th (...)

ILLO (entering furious).
Betrayal, mutiny!
TERZKY. Aha! Now what?
ILLO. The Tiefenbachers, when I gave the order
To stand down—mutinous rascals that they are—
ILLO. They refused obedience. Flatly.
TERZKY. Then have them shot down on the spot! Give orders!
WALLENSTEIN. Easy now! What’s the reason that they give?
ILLO. They claim no other can command them than
Lieutenant General Piccolomini.
WALLENSTEIN. What? How is that?
ILLO. His orders at departure,
And written in the Kaiser’s very hand.
TERZKY. The Kaiser’s—Prince, you hear?
ILLO. And at his urging
The colonels also slipped out yesterday.
TERZKY. You hear?
ILLO. And Montecuculi, Caraffa,
Together with six others he prevailed
Upon to follow him, have all gone missing.
They say he’s had those papers from the Kaiser
Now for a long time. Only recently
Did he and Questenberg agree to act.
(Wallenstein sinks into a chair and covers his face.)
TERZKY. If only, only you had believed me.238

Scene Nine

13Countess. As above.

COUNTESS. Anxiety like this—I can’t endure it. [1610]
In God’s name, tell me what is going on.
ILLO. The regiments are all deserting us.
Count Piccolomini turns out a traitor.
COUNTESS. Oh, my prophetic soul! (
Plunges from the room.)
TERZKY. Had I been believed!
And now you see the way your stars have lied.
sits up straight).
The stars do not lie. This, by contrast, comes
Against the course of stars and destiny.
For art is honest, but a heart so false
Brings lies and fraud into a truthful Heaven.
All prophecy must rest on truth alone;
When Nature staggers out beyond her borders,
All knowledge staggers, too. And if it was
False knowledge not to soil the honor of
The human figure by such a suspicion,
Never shall I regret my show of weakness!
Why, there’s religion in what drives the beast,
And savages do not drink with their victim
Before they plunge a sword into its breast.
Heroic, this, Octavio! It was not
Your cleverness that got the best of mine;
Your evil heart has carried off a cheap,
Disgraceful triumph over mine, that’s honest;
No buckler fended off your fatal blow,
You foully struck my undefended breast.
Against such weapons I am but a child.

Scene Ten

14As above. Buttler.

  • 239 All in Bohemia or Moravia.

TERZKY. Here’s Buttler! He at least is still a friend!
advances toward him with open arms and embraces him
Just come into my arms, you faithful comrade!
Not even the returning sun in spring
Restores me like your face at such a time.
BUTTLER. My General—I’ve come—
leaning on his shoulder).
You’ve heard already?
No? The Old Man’s betrayed me to the Kaiser.
What do you say to that? Full thirty years
We’ve lived out and endured together, slept
In one camp bed, drunk from one cup, and shared
A single crust of bread. I leaned on him
The way I’m leaning on
your shoulder now.
Just when my heart beats trustingly on his,
He sees his moment, draws a blade, and, smiling,
Inserts it stealthily between my ribs!
He hides his face on Buttler’s breast.)
BUTTLER. No more about this traitor. What will you do? [1650]
WALLENSTEIN. Well said. As if I couldn’t live without him!
Am I not rich in friends, him notwithstanding?
And Fortune favors me still: Even now,
As she reveals betrayal and a traitor,
She sends to me a friend who’s true and loyal.
No more of him. And don’t think it’s the loss
That troubles me—it’s only the deception.
For both of them I valued, both I cherished;
That Max, he loved me, truly loved me.
Has not deceived me, nor would he. Enough, [1660]
Enough of this. A matter for quick action:
The rider whom Count Kinsky’s sent from Prague
Can reach our gates at any moment now.
Whatever he may bring, he’s not to fall
Into the hands of mutineers. Quick! Send
An escort we can trust to intercept him
And bring him in to me by secret ways.
(Illo is about to go.)
BUTTLER (holding him back).
Field Marshal, who are you expecting?
WALLENSTEIN. The mounted messenger who brings us news
Of how we’ve fared in Prague.
WALLENSTEIN. Something’s wrong?
BUTTLER. You don’t know yet?
BUTTLER. What brought in the
Unrest in camp?
WALLENSTEIN. What’s this?
BUTTLER. That messenger—
expectantly). Well?
BUTTLER. He’s in already—
TERZKY and ILLO. In already?
overlapping). My messenger?
BUTTLER. For several hours.
WALLENSTEIN. And I don’t know it yet?
BUTTLER. The Watch stopped him.
stamps his foot). Damnation!
BUTTLER. And his letter
Was broken open, makes the rounds through camp—
You know what it contains?
withholding). Don’t question me.
TERZKY. Disaster, Illo! Everything’s collapsing!
WALLENSTEIN. Just tell me. I’m prepared to hear the worst.
So Prague is lost? It is? Admit it freely.
is lost. Every regiment, all those
Of Budweis, Tabor, Braunau, Königgrätz,
Of Brünn and Znaym:
239 they have deserted you
And sworn to Austria. You, with Kinsky, Terzky,
Illo, stand henceforth under Kaiser’s ban.
(Terzky and Illo show horror and rage.
Wallenstein stands firm and composed.)
WALLENSTEIN (after a pause).
It is decided. Good, then! Quickly here now
I’m healed of all the doubts that once were mine.
My breast is free again, my mind is clear now:
It must be night for Friedland’s stars to shine.
With slow resolve and with uncertain insight
I drew my sword; I did so, my heart riven,
As long as I knew space to choose was given.
Necessity’s upon us, doubt’s now in flight,
I battle for my life, exalted, driven.

15(He leaves the scene. The others follow.)

Scene Eleven

  • 240 Frederick V, Count Palatine, the Winter King, put under ban and stripped of his territories, wander (...)

COUNTESS TERZKY (emerging from an adjoining room).
No. I no longer can—Where are they? It’s
All empty. They’ve left me alone, alone
In this unbearable anxiety.
Restrain myself before my sister, seem calm,
Contain the qualms of my tormented heart
Within this breast—I can no longer do it.
If this goes wrong, if he should have to go
To meet the Swede with empty hands, in flight,
Not as an honored ally, solemnly
Attended by his army—Should we have
To roam from place to place as homeless as the
Count Palatine, that shard of fallen grandeur—
I will not live to see the day! And even
he be able to endure to sink so,
I’d not consent to see him sunken so.

Scene Twelve

16Countess. Duchess. Thekla.

THEKLA (attempting to hold the Duchess back).
Dear Mother, do stay back. It’s better so.
DUCHESS. Oh, no. There is some dreadful secret here
That’s being kept from me. Why does my sister
Avoid me? Say! Why do I see her chased
About by fear and you so full of fright?
What do these stolen glances mean that you
Exchange with her in silence, secretly?
THEKLA. Oh, Mother, nothing!
DUCHESS. Sister, I would know.
COUNTESS. Why should we try to make a secret of it?
Can it be hidden? Sooner, later she
Will have to learn to hear it and endure it.
This is no time for giving in to weakness,
We must have courage, must be resolute,
It must become our practice to show strength.
It’s better that her fate now be decided
In one word: Sister, they’re deceiving you.
You believe the Duke has been removed. The Duke’s
Not been removed. He is—
going to the Countess). You want to kill her?
COUNTESS. The Duke is—
embracing the Duchess).
Dearest Mother, steel yourself.
COUNTESS. Rebelled is what the Duke is, over to
The foe’s where he would go; his army has
Deserted him and all has gone awry.

17(During this speech the Duchess sways and falls fainting into her daughter’s arms.)

18A grand Hall in the quarters of the Duke of Friedland.

Scene Thirteen

  • 241 This is Wallenstein’s second great soliloquy. Just short of the center of the play, he looks back o (...)

WALLENSTEIN (in armor).241
Well done, Octavio. I’m now almost as
Abandoned as I was when I left the
Electors’ Congress then at Regensburg.
I only had myself, no more, but what
A single man is worth you all found out.
The beauty of the foliage you have hacked
Away and here I stand, a leafless trunk!
But in the heartwood lives creative power that,
Sprouting, brought forth a world out of itself.
Time was, when I was worth an army to you,
I, single-handed. Yours had melted quite
Away before the Swedish force, and Tilly,
Your last resort, had fallen on the Lech.
Into Bavaria this Gustav came
Rushing, a stream in spate, and in Vienna
The Kaiser trembled in his palace. Troops
Were scarce: the common lot will follow fortune.
They turned to me, their friend in need; the Kaiser
Himself entreated one whom he’d offended.
I was to stand up, say “Let there be light,”
And fill the empty camps with fighting men.
I did so. To the roll of drums my name
Went through the world just like a god of war.
The plow left standing in the field, the forge
Abandoned, men all rally to the old
Familiar standard of their cherished hopes.
The one that I was then I am today!
The spirit fashions for itself a body,
And Friedland will yet fill the camps around him.
Just lead your legions boldly out to meet me:
They fight by custom under me and not
Against. When head and body separate,
We shall see to which side the spirit lay.
(Illo and Terzky enter.)
Courage, my friends. We’re not defeated yet.
Five Terzky regiments remain still ours
And Buttler’s proven troops. Tomorrow we’ll
Be joined by sixteen thousand Swedish men.
I was no stronger nine years since, when I
Marched out to conquer Germany for Austria.

Scene Fourteen

19As above. Neumann, who takes Count Terzky aside to speak with him.

  • 242 This is Max’s regiment.

TERZKY (to Neumann).
What do they want?
WALLENSTEIN. What’s this?
TERZKY. Ten Cuirassiers
From Pappenheim—the regiment has sent them.
quickly to Neumann).
Admit them. (
Neumann goes out.) This is promising. Just wait!
They have their doubts and can still be won over.

Scene Fifteen

20Wallenstein. Terzky. Illo. Ten Cuirassiers, led by a Private, march up and, at a command, form a single file before the Duke, performing honors.

WALLENSTEIN (takes their measure carefully, then addresses the Private).
I know you well. You come from Bruges in Flanders,
Your name is Mercy.
PRIVATE. Heinrich Mercy it is.
WALLENSTEIN. You were once cut off on the march, surrounded
By Hessians, and fought your way out, one hundred
And eighty men straight through theirs of one thousand.
PRIVATE. It’s so, my General.

  • 243 At Nuremberg. Altenberg lay within Wallenstein’s fortified camp outside the city.
  • 244 In Moravia, east of Bohemia.

WALLENSTEIN. What was your reward
For this brave deed?
PRIVATE. The honor, my Field Marshal,
That I requested: service with this corps.
turning to another).
You were among those who stepped forward when
I asked for volunteers at Altenberg to
Take out the Swedish battery there against us.
It’s so, my Marshal.
WALLENSTEIN. I forget no one
With whom I’ve spoken. Present your petition.
commands). At ease!
turned to a third).
Your name is Risbeck. You were born in Cologne.
THIRD CUIRASSIER. Risbeck from Cologne.
WALLENSTEIN. You brought the Swedish colonel Dübald as
A prisoner into camp at Nuremberg.
Not I, my General.
WALLENSTEIN. Yes, quite right. It was
Your older brother did it. You’ve also
A younger brother, no? And where is he?
THIRD CUIRASSIER. He serves at Olmütz,
244 with the Kaiser’s forces.
to the Private).
Let’s hear it now.
PRIVATE. There’s an Imperial letter we have seen
That or—
interrupting him).
How were you chosen?
PRIVATE. Every squadron
Drew lots to choose its man.
WALLENSTEIN. Now down to business!
PRIVATE. There’s an Imperial letter we have seen
That orders us to follow you no more;
It says you are a traitor and a foe.
WALLENSTEIN. And what have you decided?

  • 245 Part of the fortification of Wallenstein’s position at Nuremberg.
  • 246 The Canteen Keeper remembers Mansfeld’s flight: Camp, scene 5, at line 138.
  • 247 Ferdinand, the Kaiser’s son: the “child” of Illo’s dispute with Questenberg, “the Kaiser’s precious (...)
  • 248 The Sergeant cites this quality in Wallenstein, Camp., scene 11, at line 713.
  • 249 The hero who could solve the knot on the war chariot of King Gordios of Phrygia was promised master (...)

PRIVATE. Our comrades
At Braunau, Budweis, Prague, and Olmütz have
Obeyed already; that set an example
For regiments Toscana, Tiefenbach. But
We do not believe that you’re a foe and traitor;
We think that it is smoke and mirrors only,
And Spanish comedy. (
Earnestly.) We want to hear [1810]
From you yourself what you are planning on,
Since you’ve always been honest with us and
For that we have the greatest trust in you.
No stranger’s word should come between us two,
The good field marshal and his loyal army.
WALLENSTEIN. In this I recognize my Pappenheimers.
PRIVATE. The message sent by this, your regiment, is:
If you intend to keep the high baton
That’s yours by rights, that you have from the Kaiser,
To be the just field captain Austria needs,
Then we want to stand by you and defend you
In your good rights against all comers now and
Always. And if all other regiments turn
Away from you, we want to be alone
The loyal ones, the ones who give their lives.
For it is our sworn duty as your Riders
To give our lives before we let you fall.
But if the Kaiser’s letter speaks the truth,
If you intend to lead us over to
The foe in treachery, which God forbid,
We, too, will leave you, we’ll obey the letter.
WALLENSTEIN. Just listen, boys—
PRIVATE. No need for many words.
You just say yes or no, and we’re content.
WALLENSTEIN. Then listen. I know well you have good sense, you
Inquire and think, unlike the common herd.
That’s why I’ve always picked you out, you know,
Distinguished you in honor in the field;
For there the marshal’s rapid glance counts squadrons,
Not single heads, and iron orders rule,
Unsparing, blind, without respect of persons.
But that is not how I have treated you.
As you began to learn the ropes of your
Rough trade, as I saw human thoughts flash from
Your foreheads, I regarded you as free men,
Conceded you the right to your own choices.
PRIVATE. Yes, worthily is how you’ve treated us,
My Marshal, honored us by trusting us,
And favored us above all other units.
And we’ve not followed after all the rest,
You see it! We want to remain with you.
Just say one word; your word’s enough for us.
Say it’s not treason that you’re planning on,
That you’ll not take the army to the foe.
WALLENSTEIN. But I’m the one’s betrayed! They’ve sacrificed
Me to my enemies. And I must fall
If my brave troops don’t save me from the Kaiser.
I’ll tell you how it is. Your heart will be
My castle. My breast is the target, that
And my gray head. That’s Spanish gratitude!
That’s our reward for mortal combat at
The Old Fort
245 and on Lützen’s plains! For this
We threw our naked breasts against those halberds!
For this we made the frozen ground, a rock
Our camp bed—we who found no stream too swift,
No wood impenetrable, we who followed
That Mansfeld undiscouraged along all
The slithering turns of his unending flight.
Our life was marching without ever resting,
We, like the ceaseless wind and homeless, stormed
Our way through all the war-besotted world.
And now that we have done this heavy work
Of weapons, thankless and accursed, now that
Our hands have rolled this boulder tirelessly up-
Hill, this Imperial stripling comes to win
The peace with ease, to take the olive branch
We’ve earned and weave it in his golden locks—247
PRIVATE. He’ll not do that, as long as we can help it.
No one but you, who waged this frightful war
With glory, is to bring it to an end.
You led us out into the blood-soaked field
Of death; none other,
you should lead us home
Into the flowering fields of peace, should share
With us the hard-earned fruits of our long labors—
WALLENSTEIN. How’s that? You think in high old age that you’ll
Enjoy the fruits of all this? Don’t believe that.
You’ll never see the end of this long struggle,
Of our long strife. This war will eat us all.
Vienna wants no peace. And it’s because
I want and seek a peace that I must fall.
What care is it of Austria’s if the war
Rubs out its armies and lays waste the world?
It only wants to grow, to add new lands.
I see you’re touched, see noble rage flash from
Your warriors’ eyes. Oh, that my spirit could
Inspire you now as once it did in battle!
You would stand by me and protect me with
Your weapons in the exercise of my
Own proper rights, and that is noble of you!
But do not think you’ll see this to completion,
So small an army! You’d have sacrificed
Yourselves for your Field Marshal uselessly.
Oh, no. Let us proceed with caution, seek friends;
The Swede has offered help; let us appear
To use it, until we, frightful to both sides,
Can carry Europe’s fate in our two hands
And bring to the rejoicing world, from out
Of our own camp, peace crowned with olive branches.
PRIVATE. So it just seems you’re working with the Swede?
And you don’t want to trick the Kaiser either?
Don’t want to make us Swedish? For it’s this
And only this we want to hear you say.
WALLENSTEIN. But what’s the Swede to me? I hate him like
The depths of Hell, and with God’s help I’ll send
Him home across his icy Baltic Sea.
The whole is what I care about.
248 I have
A heart. The German peoples’ wretchedness
Moves me. You, ordinary men, do not
Think ordinary thoughts; I find you worthy
To hear from me a word in confidence.
The torch of war has burned for fifteen years,
And nowhere is there truce. For Swede and German,
Papist and Lutheran: not a one cedes to
Another! Every hand is raised against
Another! Everyone’s a party, none’s
A judge! Say, where’s this all to end? Who will
Release this knot that grows and grows in its
Confusion? It can only be hacked through.
I feel it: I’m the man of destiny;
I hope, with your help, to accomplish it.

Scene Sixteen

21Buttler. As above.

  • 250 The statement is both false and true.

BUTTLER (with fervor).
Oh, that’s a great mistake, my Marshal.
BUTTLER. Can only harm us with the moderate ones.
BUTTLER. Declares rebellion openly!
WALLENSTEIN. What do you mean?
BUTTLER. Count Terzky’s regiments
Have pulled down the Imperial Eagle and
Instead they raise your emblems.
to the Cuirassiers). Right about!
WALLENSTEIN. A pox upon this counsel and who gave it!
To the Cuirassiers, who are marching out.)
Halt, fellows, halt. It’s all an error. Listen!
I’ll have it punished. Listen! Wait a minute!
They won’t hear me. (
To Illo.) Go after them. Explain.
And bring them back. Do anything it takes.
(Illo hurries out.)
A thing like this will ruin us. Buttler! Buttler!
You are my evil genius. Why did you
Announce it in their presence? Everything
Was going well. Why, I’d half won them over.
These hopeless hot-heads, they and their mindless
Officiousness! My luck plays cruel games
With me! The fervor of my friends will do
Me in before the hatred of my foes.

Scene Seventeen

22As above. The Duchess plunges into the room, followed by Thekla and the Countess. Then Illo.

  • 251 The Duchess, unusually, addresses her husband by his given name and as du.
  • 252 The name of Wallenstein’s chief steward.

DUCHESS. Oh, Albrecht! Oh! What have you done!251
WALLENSTEIN. That, too, yet!
COUNTESS. Forgive me, Brother. There was nothing I could
Do. They know everything.
DUCHESS. What have you done?
to Terzky). Is there no hope? Has everything been lost?
TERZKY. All’s lost. The Kaiser has control of Prague,
The regiments have all renewed their oath.
COUNTESS. Perfidious Octavio! Max, too,
Is gone?
TERZKY. Where should he be, if not gone over,
Together with his father, to the Kaiser?
(Thekla rushes into her mother’s arms,
hiding her face against her breast.)

embracing her).
Unhappy child! Yet more unhappy mother!
taking Terzky aside).
Quick! Have a coach prepared and waiting in
The second courtyard to bring them away.
Indicating the women.)
Our Scherfenberg252 goes with them; he’s still loyal.
They go to Eger with him; we shall follow.
To Illo, who returns.)
You haven’t brought them?
ILLO. Do you hear the uproar?
The Pappenheimers, their whole corps’s advancing.
They’re calling for their colonel—Max they want back;
They say you’re holding him by use of force
And if you don’t release him,
they’ll use force.
(General astonishment.)
TERZKY. But what to make of this?
WALLENSTEIN. Did I not say so?
Oh, my prophetic soul! He is still here.
And he has not betrayed me, couldn’t do it.
Of that I’ve never entertained a doubt.
COUNTESS. If he’s still here, then all is well. Then I
Know how to bind him fast once and for all.
Embracing Thekla.)
TERZKY. Impossible! Consider! The Old Man’s
Betrayed us all, is over to Vienna;
He can’t risk being here.
to Wallenstein). His four-in-hand,
The one you gave him, crossed the market square
Not long ago. I saw it as it passed.
COUNTESS. My niece, he can’t be far—
looking toward the door, cries aloud). He’s here!

Scene Eighteen

23As above. Max Piccolomini.

  • 253 Max addresses Thekla as du in the presence of others.
  • 254 Wallenstein begins the first of four attempts to keep Max.
  • 255 A mythical reptile whose gaze and breath were poisonous.
  • 256 Octavio makes the same observation, Picc., Act V, scene 1, at line 2211.
  • 257 The image of Laocoön was current and familiar at the time.
  • 258 Wallenstein’s second attempt.
  • 259 At the time of the battle of White Mountain, November 1620.
  • 260 The Order of the Golden Fleece, an award in the gift of the House of Habsburg.
  • 261 Wallenstein’s third attempt.
  • 262 The planet, which stands for Wallenstein, seems to be Saturn.

MAX (crossing to the middle of the Hall).
Oh, yes. He’s here! I can no longer stand [1980]
To circle round this house with stealthy tread,
To lurk and lie in wait for a good moment.
This loitering, this anxiety exceed me.
Going to Thekla, who has thrown herself into her mother’s arms.)
Oh, look at me! Don’t look away, my angel.253
Confess it freely to them all, fear no one.
The world can hear it: that we love each other.
Why make a secret of it? Such a secret
Is for the happy ones; unhappiness
And hopelessness no longer need a veil.
They work their way beneath a thousand suns.
He notices the Countess, who is regarding Thekla triumphantly.)
Oh no, Aunt Terzky. Do not look at me
Expectantly. For I’ve not come to stay.
I’ve come to take my leave. It’s done. It’s over.
And I must leave you, Thekla. Yes, I must.
But I can’t bear to take with me your hate.
Grant me a moment of compassion, tell
Me you don’t hate me; tell me, Thekla.
Say it.
(He takes her hand, much moved.)
Dear God! I cannot leave the spot, cannot!
Cannot release this hand and let it fall.
Do tell me, Thekla, you know what I feel
And know full well the choice cannot be mine.
(Thekla, avoiding his gaze, indicates her father; he turns to the Duke, whom he notices only now.)
You here? It wasn’t you I came to see.
I wasn’t to lay eyes on you again.
She is my sole concern now; she alone,
Her heart, has power to absolve me. Noth-
Ing, nothing else can matter anymore.
WALLENSTEIN. You take me for the fool who’d let you go?
Would play a scene of magnanimity?
Your father has turned traitor on me; you
To me are no more than this traitor’s son.
It’s not for nothing you’re now in my power.
Don’t think I’ll honor that old friendship that
He has so ruthlessly destroyed. The times
Of fondness, fond forbearance are now past,
And hate, revenge, the order of the day.
I, too, can be a monster, just like him.
MAX. With me you will proceed as you are able.
You know, however, I’ve not come to stir
Your anger; equally, I do not fear it.
You know what keeps me.
Taking Thekla’s hand.)
Look here! I hoped to owe all things to you,
I wished to take my highest happiness
From your paternal hand. You’ve ruined it,
But little do you care. Indifferently, you
Stamp out the happiness of those next you.
The god
you serve’s no god of mercy. You,
Just like the frightful ruthless element,
The blind one, that refuses all alliance,
Pursue your heart’s wild longings all alone.
A sorry end attends all those who trust you,
Who lean their fortune’s hut on you, seduced
By your display of hospitality.
Swift, unexpected, in night’s stillness, the
Perfidious fire pit seethes and glows, erupts,
And, flaming hot, a raging stream flows downward,
Destroying everything that men have planted.
WALLENSTEIN. You paint a picture of your father’s heart,
Describe the weather in
his entrails, his false
Breast. Hell’s own artfulness deceived me, sent
Me the most subtle spirit, skilled in lies,
Made him my nearest friend. Who can stand up
To Hell’s dominion? None! This basilisk
I sheltered and brought up in my own bosom;
I nursed it with my heart’s own blood; it sucked
Itself to bursting full at my love’s breasts.
I never harbored anything against him,
I left the gates of my thoughts open to him
And threw away the keys of common prudence.
Upon the starry skies and in wide space
My eyes searched out the enemy that I
Had shut up tightly in my heart of hearts.
If I had been to
Ferdinand just what
Octavio was to
me, I’d never have
Declared a war on him—I’d not been able.
He was my august master, not my friend;
No Kaiser made
my loyalty his mainstay.
We were at war, were he and I, when he
Put the field marshal’s staff into my hands:
Mistrust and cunning always are at war;
Between good faith and belief alone is peace.
Who violates good faith destroys unborn
The future race sealed in its mother’s womb!
MAX. I’ll not attempt to justify my father;
It’s my disaster that I can’t.
Grave deeds of grave import have been committed,
And one atrocious action follows on
Another, braiding an unending chain.
But how came
we, who never have offended,
Into this round of sorrow and of crime?
With whom have
we two broken faith? Why must [2070]
Our fathers’ double guilt and grim misdeed
Entwine us, choke us, like a pair of snakes ?
Why should our fathers’ fell and unappeased
Hatred rip us apart, we who are lovers?
He embraces Thekla, greatly pained.)
WALLENSTEIN (who has been silently observing Max, now approaches).
Stay, Max. Stand by me. Do not leave me, Max!
Listen! When they brought you into my tent
In winter camp at Prague,
259 a fragile boy
Who’d never known a German winter, your
Hand frozen to the flagstaff that you held,
That you refused to yield—I took you up
And covered you with my own coat, became
Your nurse and felt no shame at those small duties;
I nursed you with a woman’s tender care
Till you warmed up, revived against my breast.
Say, have I ever changed my mind about you?
How many thousands have I since enriched
With great estates, rewarded with high office!
you I loved. My heart, myself I gave you.
The others were all strangers,
you the child
Of my own house. You cannot leave me, Max!
This cannot be. I will not believe it. I can
Not believe my Max would ever leave me.
MAX. Dear God!
WALLENSTEIN. I’ve held you, carried, tended to you since
You were a child. What has your father done
For you that I have not in equal measure?
I’ve spun a web of love about you. Go
Pull it to pieces if you’re able—you’re
Still fixed to me by every bond of soul,
By every holy natural fetter that
Chains men, attaches them to one another.
Go then: forsake me, serve your Kaiser, make
Yourself rewarded with a little chain
Of gold to show the Kaiser’s favor, with
A Golden Fleece,
260 both given you as wages
Because your friend, the father of your young years,
The holiest feelings counted nothing to you.
visibly torn). Dear God! Have I a choice? Am I not bound?
My oath, my duty—
WALLENSTEIN. Toward whom? Who are you?
I am unjust to the Kaiser, it’s my
Injustice and not yours. Who do you belong to? [2110]
Is it yourself that you take orders from?
Do you stand free before the world, like me,
So that
you are the doer of your deeds?
me you are planted, I’m your kaiser;
To belong to me, to answer to me—
Is honor for you, this is natural law.
And if the planet where you have your being
Falls out of orbit, throws itself, aflame,
Into the nearest world, sets it on fire,
You are not free to choose if you will follow.
It rips you with it, forced into its train,
Together with its ring and all its moons.
You are pulled guiltless into this contest;
The world will never blame you but approve,
Because it was your friend who counted most.

Scene Nineteen

24As above. Neumann.

  • 263 Chain shot: two balls chained together and particularly lethal.

NEUMANN. The Pappenheimers have dismounted, they
Advance on foot with the intention, sword
In hand, to storm the house and free the Count.
to Terzky). We’re
To set the chains and place the cannon. I’ll
Receive that pack with chain shot, all of them.
(Terzky goes out.)
That they should think that they can force me! Neumann,
Go tell them to withdraw this minute, on
My orders, stand in ranks and
Await what I shall deign to do.
(Neumann goes out. Illo has gone to the window.)
COUNTESS. Release him,
I beg of you, release him!
at the window). What the devil!
ILLO. Up in Town Hall. They’re opening
The roof. They’re training cannon on the house—
MAX. What idiots!
ILLO. They’re making moves to fire
On us—
Oh, God above!

MAX (to Wallenstein). Let me go down
To them and reason with them—
WALLENSTEIN. Not one step!
indicating Thekla and the Duchess).
Their lives! And yours!
WALLENSTEIN. What is it you bring, Terzky?

Scene Twenty

25As above. Terzky returns.

  • 264 Wallenstein’s final attempt.
  • 265 Promise made to Octavio, Act II, scene 7, at line 1234.

TERZKY. Our loyal regiments declare they’ll be
Restrained no longer, beg permission to
Attack; they hold the Prague Gate and the Mühl Gate;
If you will give the word, they’ll take them in
The rear and corner them, put down the lot
Of them with ease back in the narrow alleys.
ILLO. Right on! Don’t let their lust for battle cool.
We have the loyalty of Buttler’s men,
And that makes us the greater number; we
Shall turn them, put an end to this rebellion.
WALLENSTEIN. Are we to make a battlefield of Pilsen?
Shall civil war be let loose in these streets?
Shall we resign the outcome to blind rage
That knows no measure and no master? We’ve
No room for battle here, for throttling only;
No ruler’s voice can make the Furies, once
Set loose, return. Well, fine! I’ve long considered
Such as this. Let it end now, quick and bloody.
He turns to Max.)
Well? Would you want to try a round with me?264
You’re free to go. Take up position facing
Me, lead your men out into battle. War’s
An art you understand, you’ve learned a bit
From me; I’ll not be shamed by such a foe,
And you’ll not know another day so fine
To pay for what I taught you.
COUNTESS. Has it come
To this? My cousin, can you answer for it?
MAX. I’ve made a solemn promise to conduct
The regiments entrusted to me out
Still true to Austria.
265 This I’ll do or die.
Duty requires no more of me. I’ll not
Fight you if I can possibly avoid it.
Even inimical, your head is sacred.
(Two shots resound. Illo and Terzky rush to the window.)
WALLENSTEIN. What’s that?
TERZKY. He’s down.
ILLO. The Tiefenbachers fired
The shot.
ILLO. This Neumann, whom you’d sent
To speak—
The devil! Then I’m going to—(
About to go.)
TERZKY. Expose yourself to their unbridled fury?
In God’s name, no!
ILLO. Not at the moment, Marshal.
COUNTESS. Restrain him! Oh, restrain him!
MAX. Don’t do it. Not just yet. Their bloody deed
Has put them in a rage. Wait for contrition—
WALLENSTEIN. Out of my way! I’ve dithered far too long.
They dared commit this crime because they could
Not see my face. They’ll see my face, hear my voice—
Are these not
my troops? Do I not command them?
Am I not their feared captain in the field?
We’ll see if they no longer know the face
That was for them a sun in darkest battle!
No weapons needed. I need only show
Myself here from the terrace to see this
Rebellious pack, soon tamed, return again
Into its old accustomed bed, obedience.

26(He goes off, followed by Illo, Terzky, and Buttler.)

Scene Twenty-One

27Countess. Duchess. Max and Thekla.

  • 266 Implied repeatedly in their early-morning conversation, Picc., Act V, scene 1; see, for example, at (...)

COUNTESS (to the Duchess).
When they see him, they’ll—Sister, there’s still hope.
DUCHESS. Hope? I have none.
who has observed the previous scene from a distance, visibly conflicted, now comes forward).
It’s more than I can stand.
I came here calmly, with my mind made up,
It seemed to me that I was right and blameless.
I find now that I stand here, a pariah,
Someone inhuman, weighed down by ill will
And the abhorrence of those whom I value.
I see my loved ones bitterly oppressed,
Whose happiness I could restore with one word.
My heart is in rebellion, in my breast
Two voices are at war with one another.
Darkness is all, I cannot find what’s right.
How wise you were, my father, when you said
I always trusted too much to my heart.
I hesitate, uncertain what to do.
COUNTESS. You do not know? And your heart will not tell you?
I’ll tell you!
Your father has committed a betrayal
Beyond all such, a crime against the Prince’s
Head; he has plunged us into wretchedness.
This tells us clearly what his son must do:
Make good the crime of this atrocious man,
Bear witness to exemplary good faith, thus
Preserve the name of Piccolomini
From the eternal curses of the House
Of Wallenstein.
MAX. Oh, where is there a voice
Of truth that I can follow? We’re all tossed
About by wishes, passions. I would want
To see an angel come down now from Heaven
And draw from light’s pure spring with its pure hand,
Untainted, the right thing for me to do.
His eye falls upon Thekla.)
Am I still looking for this angel? Do I
Expect to find another?
He approaches her and puts his arm around her.)
This is where
I’ll lay it, on this heart, unerring, pure,
And sacred. Of your love I’ll ask it. It
Can favor only those who’re meant for favor,
Turns from the guilty ones who know no favor.
Can you still love me if I choose to stay?
If you say you can, I am one of yours.
with meaning).
interrupts her).
Don’t consider. Speak your feelings.
COUNTESS. Think of your father—
interrupts her). It’s not Friedland’s daughter,
It’s my beloved, you, whom I am asking.
It’s not the capture of a crown concerns us;
Bear this in mind, with your sharp intellect.
No, our concern is your friend’s peace of mind,
The fortunes of a thousand heroes’hearts
Who’ll take his deed as their example. Speak!
Should I forswear the Kaiser’s oath? My duty?
Should I launch murderous cannon balls into
Octavio’s camp? A cannon ball, once loosed,
Is no dead object. It’s alive, takes on
A spirit; all the Furies seize upon it—
Avengers, these, of desecration— lure
It wantonly where it will do most damage.
THEKLA. Oh, Max—
interrupts her). No, don’t be hasty either. I
Know you. Your noble heart might find the harder
Duty to be the nearer. Not the grander,
But rather the more human choice be yours.
Think what the Prince has done for me forever,
Think how he was rewarded by my father.
The unconstrained, endearing impulses
Of hospitality and loyalty
Are sacred doctrine also to the heart;
Nature’s own talons will avenge them harshly
On one who savagely offends against them.
Lay all things, all, upon the scale and let
Your heart decide, then speak.
THEKLA. Oh, yours has long
Ago decided. Follow your first feeling.
COUNTESS. Ill-fated girl!
THEKLA. How could that thing
Be right that this true and right-feeling heart
Did not perceive and seize on at first impulse?
Go, now. Go and perform your duty.
Shall always love you. For whatever you
Had chosen, you’d have always acted nobly
And worthy of yourself. Regret, however,
Should not disturb the peace of your bright soul.
MAX. Then I must leave you, Thekla. We must part.
THEKLA. As you’re true to yourself, you’re true to me.
Fate separates us but our hearts are one.
The houses Friedland, Piccolomini
Remain divided by a bloody hatred,
But we do not belong to these houses. Go!
Make haste to separate your good cause from
Our doomed one. Heaven’s curse lies on our heads,
We’re given over to destruction. Me, too,
My father’s guilt will take down to perdition.
You’re not to mourn me. Destiny will soon

28(Max takes her into his arms, deeply moved. Behind the scene a wild, resounding cry is raised—“Vivat Ferdinandus!”—accompanied by military music. Max and Thekla hold one another in a long embrace.)

Scene Twenty-Two

29As above. Terzky.

COUNTESS (going toward him).
What was that? What’s the meaning of the shouting?
TERZKY. We’re lost, all lost, and everything is over.
COUNTESS. What? No retreat on seeing him?
TERZKY. Retreat? No.
It was no use.
DUCHESS. I heard a “Vivat!” for—
TERZKY. The Kaiser.
COUNTESS. Renegades! They’re renegades!
TERZKY. They wouldn’t let him even start to speak.
When he began, they started up the music
And drowned him out completely. Here he comes.

Scene Twenty-Three

30As above. Wallenstein, accompanied by Illo and Buttler. Then Cuirassiers.

  • 267 John Gordon, the commandant at Eger, was a Scot. Schiller seems to have been a little vague about t (...)
  • 268 Schiller compresses the march from Pilsen to Eger to one long day.

WALLENSTEIN (in mid-stride).
TERZKY. My Prince?
WALLENSTEIN. Our regiments are to stand in
Readiness to break camp today yet; we
Are moving out of Pilsen before evening.
(Terzky goes off.)
BUTTLER. My General?
WALLENSTEIN. In command at Eger is
A man you know, your countryman.
267 Write him by
Express that he is to make ready to
Receive us in the fort sometime tomorrow.
You’ll follow us and bring your regiment.
BUTTLER. It shall be so, my Marshal.
stepping between Max and Thekla, who are still embraced).
MAX. God!
(Cuirassiers with drawn swords enter the Hall and gather in the background. At the same time, bold passages of the Pappenheimer March sound below, as if to call to Max.)

WALLENSTEIN (to the Cuirassiers).
He’s here; he’s free. I shall no longer keep him.
He turns away so that Max cannot reach him or approach the Young Lady.)
MAX. You hate me, drive me from you, all in anger.
The bond of our old love must tear apart,
Not loosen gently, and you’d make the rupture,
Already painful to me, still more painful!
You know I’ve not yet learned to live without you;
You send me out into a desert; all
I value, all I love remains behind.
Oh, do not turn your eyes away from me.
Show me your cherished, honored face once more.
Do not reject me—
He tries to take his hand; Wallenstein withdraws it. He turns to the Countess.)
There’s no other eye
That shows compassion for me? You, Aunt Terzky—
She turns away; he appeals to the Duchess.)
Most honored Mother—
DUCHESS. Go where duty calls
MAX. You, Count. Perhaps one day you will become
For us a true friend, our good angel at
The Kaiser’s throne.
MAX. You give me hope, would not
Abandon me to desperation. But
There’s no deceiving me with a mirage;
My sorrow’s certain; I am grateful to
The heavens for a means to end it all.
(The military music begins again. The Hall is filling more and more with armed men. He notices Buttler.)

You, too, here, Colonel Buttler? You’ll not follow [2320]
Me? Fine! Devote yourself to your new master
More truly than the old one. Promise me,
Give me your hand, that you’ll protect his life.
(Buttler refuses his hand.)
He’s under Kaiser’s ban. His princely head’s
Exposed to any cut-throat who’d collect
The prize that’s offered for the bloody deed.
He’d need a friend’s devoted care, love’s sharp eye.
The men I see about him as I leave—
He casts doubtful glances on Illo and Buttler.)
ILLO. All rogues you’ll find in Gallas’and your father’s
Camp. Here but one remains. So, go! Relieve
Us of the sight of him. Take yourself off!
(Max makes one more attempt to reach Thekla. Wallenstein blocks him. He hesitates, in pain. Meanwhile, the Hall is filling and the horns sound below at shorter intervals and more urgent.)

MAX. Oh, blow and blow! Were they but Swedish horns and
Led us from here straight to the field of death,
And all the swords I see unsheathed before me
Had been plunged unopposed in my bare breast!
What do you want? Have you come here to tear
Me from this place? Don’t drive me to despair!
Don’t do it! You could yet regret it.
(The Hall is full of armed men.)
More yet! One weight is added to another,
And their accumulating mass pulls me down.
What foolishness, if you would only see it,
To choose a man despairing for this role.
You rip me from my happiness. So be it!
To all the Furies I commit your soul.
You’ve chosen this man at a price too high;
All who would go with me prepare to die!

  • 269 See the cover illustration.

31(As he turns toward the backdrop, movement ripples through the Cuirassiers; they surround him and escort him away in wild tumult. Wallenstein stands motionless; Thekla falls into her mother’s arms.)269


Bird’s Eye View of Eger. Engraving by Matthäus Merian, in Martin Zeiler, Topographia Bohemiae, Moraviae et Silesiae (Frankfurt, 1650),​wiki/​File:Eger_(Merian).jpg. Image in the public domain.


227 The central act of a five-act drama and, here, the hinge: the fortunes of the House of Wallenstein begin to fail.

228 Max and Thekla saw each other last on the day of their arrival in Pilsen. The first two acts of Death take place on the following day. The third act takes place on the third day.

229 That is, word that the troops in Prague have pledged themselves to Wallenstein.

230 Wallenstein’s betrayal of Buttler, like the episode before battle at Lützen, is related first in Octavio’s telling, now in Wallenstein’s. See Act II, scene 6, at line 1101.

231 Octavio has seen Isolani more clearly (Act II, scene 5). But see Wallenstein’s final tribute to Isolani, below, scene 7, at line 1570.

232 Terzky reproaches the same incapacity in Wallenstein, à propos of Octavio, at the end of scene 8, below.

233 Wallenstein, on seeing Thekla again, speaks of a “kingly crown” (Picc., Act II, scene 3, line 655). Max, on entering at that point, sees splendor that “admits approach by kings alone” (Picc., Act III, scene 4, line 1367). Both passages prepare the way for this major new development. It is Wallenstein’s prerogative, as pater familias, to marry his daughter as he sees fit.

234 The Countess has cautioned Thekla in these terms. Picc., Act III, scene 8, at line 1597.

235 Franz Albrecht, Prince of Sachsen-Lauenburg (1598–1642), an officer in the Saxon army.

236 See Octavio’s instruction to Isolani, Act II, scene 6, at line 1002.

237 The admired Tiefenbachers again. Octavio took a detachment of Tiefenbachers and left the rest for Max’s protection (Act II, scene 7, at line 1228). They tell Illo they take orders only from Octavio, below, scene 8, at line 1597.

238 Just as Wallenstein, the Countess tells him, would not see the obvious when he sent Max to fetch Thekla, he would not see in Octavio what both Terzky and Illo have long seen.

239 All in Bohemia or Moravia.

240 Frederick V, Count Palatine, the Winter King, put under ban and stripped of his territories, wandered Europe in search of a protector.

241 This is Wallenstein’s second great soliloquy. Just short of the center of the play, he looks back on his past imperial service and forward toward taking action.

242 This is Max’s regiment.

243 At Nuremberg. Altenberg lay within Wallenstein’s fortified camp outside the city.

244 In Moravia, east of Bohemia.

245 Part of the fortification of Wallenstein’s position at Nuremberg.

246 The Canteen Keeper remembers Mansfeld’s flight: Camp, scene 5, at line 138.

247 Ferdinand, the Kaiser’s son: the “child” of Illo’s dispute with Questenberg, “the Kaiser’s precious little son” of Wallenstein’s first conference with Terzky, Picc., Act II, scene 5, at line 700.

248 The Sergeant cites this quality in Wallenstein, Camp., scene 11, at line 713.

249 The hero who could solve the knot on the war chariot of King Gordios of Phrygia was promised mastery of Asia. Alexander the Great used his sword to cut the knot through.

250 The statement is both false and true.

251 The Duchess, unusually, addresses her husband by his given name and as du.

252 The name of Wallenstein’s chief steward.

253 Max addresses Thekla as du in the presence of others.

254 Wallenstein begins the first of four attempts to keep Max.

255 A mythical reptile whose gaze and breath were poisonous.

256 Octavio makes the same observation, Picc., Act V, scene 1, at line 2211.

257 The image of Laocoön was current and familiar at the time.

258 Wallenstein’s second attempt.

259 At the time of the battle of White Mountain, November 1620.

260 The Order of the Golden Fleece, an award in the gift of the House of Habsburg.

261 Wallenstein’s third attempt.

262 The planet, which stands for Wallenstein, seems to be Saturn.

263 Chain shot: two balls chained together and particularly lethal.

264 Wallenstein’s final attempt.

265 Promise made to Octavio, Act II, scene 7, at line 1234.

266 Implied repeatedly in their early-morning conversation, Picc., Act V, scene 1; see, for example, at line 2081, line 2247, and line 2309. See also Death, Act II, scene 7, at line 1222.

267 John Gordon, the commandant at Eger, was a Scot. Schiller seems to have been a little vague about the difference between the Scots and the Irish.

268 Schiller compresses the march from Pilsen to Eger to one long day.

269 See the cover illustration.

Table des illustrations

Légende Bird’s Eye View of Eger. Engraving by Matthäus Merian, in Martin Zeiler, Topographia Bohemiae, Moraviae et Silesiae (Frankfurt, 1650),​wiki/​File:Eger_(Merian).jpg. Image in the public domain.
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