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Don Carlos Infante of Spain

 | 
Friedrich Schiller

Act One

Texte intégral

  • 1 Aranjuez, south of Madrid, was the summer residence of the Spanish kings.

The Royal Gardens at Aranjuez1

Scene One

1Carlos. Domingo.

2DOMINGO. Our lovely days here at Aranjuez
Are at an end. Your Royal Highness goes
From here no happier. We have come here
In vain. Do break this baffling silence, Prince;
Open your heart to meet your father’s heart.
Never too dearly can the Monarch purchase
Peace for his son, his one and only son.

3(Carlos gazes downward in silence.)

  • 2 Toledo, southwest of Madrid, was the summer residence of the kings of Castile. There, in 1560, the (...)

4Can there be yet a wish that Heaven would
Deny the most beloved of its sons?
[10] I stood as witness at Toledo when,
As Crown Prince, Karl received the homage of
His lieges, when the princes pressed to kiss
His hand, and in
one bending of the knee
Six kingdoms laid themselves before his feet—
2
I stood as witness, saw the proud young blood
Color his cheeks, saw his breast rise with princely
Decision taken, his enraptured eye sweep
Over the gathered company, well up
In joy. This gleaming eye, my Prince, confessed,
[20] “I am content.”

5(Carlos turns away.)

  • 3 The crux of the domestic drama in Don Carlos. Elisabeth of Valois had been betrothed to Prince Carl (...)

6This still and solemn sorrow,
Prince, that we read for eight months now in your
Regard, this bafflement for all the Court,
The fear of all the realm, has cost His Majesty
Much-troubled nights, your mother many tears.
CARLOS (quickly turning toward him).
My mother? Heaven grant that I forgive him
Who made of her my mother!
3

7DOMINGO. My good Prince?

  • 4 King Philip’s first wife, Maria of Portugal, died soon after the birth of Prince Carlos, Philip’s f (...)

8CARLOS (bethinks himself and rubs his forehead).
Right Reverend Sir, I’ve such misfortune with
My mothers. My first act when I emerged
Into the light of day was to commit
[30] A matricide.4

9DOMINGO. Can this be, Gracious Prince?
Can this reproach yet weigh upon your conscience?

10CARLOS. And my new mother—has she not cost me
My father’s love? My father scarcely loved me.
My one claim was to be his only son.
She’s given him a daughter now. And who
Knows what’s still sleeping in the depths of time?

11DOMINGO. You’re mocking me, my Prince. All Spain adores
Its Queen. And you should look askance at her?
In contemplating her, should listen to
[40] The voice of reason? Loveliest in all
The world, and queen—at one time
your intended?
Not possible, unbelievable, cannot be!
Beloved of all the world, and Karl should hate her?
Karl does not contradict himself so strangely.
Be on your guard, my Prince, that she not ever
Discover how displeasing she is to
Her son. This news would cause her pain.

12CARLOS. Indeed?

  • 5 The capital of Aragon.
  • 6 Schiller’s transposition of a historical event. Elisabeth’s father, Henri II of France, received a (...)

13DOMINGO. Your Highness perhaps still recalls the recent
Tourneys at Saragossa?
5 Where the King
[50] Received a splinter broken from a lance?6
The Queen watched with her Ladies from the center
Tribune. And suddenly a shout goes up:
“The King is bleeding!” Great confusion.
A broken rumor reaches her. “The Prince?”
She cries, and moves to throw herself from her
High place. “The King himself!” one answers. She
Sighs deeply, orders: “Send for doctors then.”

14(A silence.)

15You’re lost in thought?

16CARLOS. In admiration of
The King’s high-spirited confessor, who
[60] Commands such skill in telling clever stories.
(Grave and dark.)
I’ve often heard that those who watch us narrowly
And carry stories do more worldly harm by far
Than poison in the murderer’s hand and knife blades.
You might have spared yourself the trouble, Sir.
And if it’s thanks you want, go to the King.

17DOMINGO. My Prince, it’s well you’re on your guard, but with
Discretion: Do not rebuff a friend along
With hypocrites. For I mean well with you.

  • 7 “Purple” is the color of a cardinal, a rank to which King Philip could propose a candidate to the p (...)

18CARLOS. Mind you don’t let my father see that. Or
[70] You’ve forfeited your purple.7

19DOMINGO (starts). What’s that?

20CARLOS. Well, yes.
Has he not promised Spain’s first purple to you?

21DOMINGO. You’re making fun of me, Prince.

22CARLOS. God forbid
That I make fun of one so terrible
That he can bind and loose my father’s soul!

23DOMINGO. I’ll not presume to penetrate the worthy
Secret of your unhappiness, my Prince.
I only ask Your Highness to recall
The Church is an asylum for the troubled
Conscience to which a monarch has no key,
[80] Where misdeeds even are protected under
The seal of sacrament. You understand me,
Prince. I have said enough.

24CARLOS. No! Far be it
From me to tempt the keeper of the seal!

25DOMINGO. Prince, this mistrust! How you mistake your most
Devoted servant.

  • 8 Saint Peter’s throne is the seat of the pope.

26CARLOS (taking his hand). Give me up then rather.
You are a holy man, as all the world
Well knows. Therefore admit: For me you are
Too busy. You’ve a long way to go, most Reverend
Father, before you seat yourself upon

[90]
Saint Peter’s throne.8 Much knowledge might but hinder
You. Tell that to the King, who sent you to me.

27DOMINGO. Sent me to you?

28CARLOS. That’s what I said. For I
Know all too well that I’m betrayed here at
This Court; one hundred eyes have been suborned
To keep a watch on me. I know King Philip
Has sold his son, has sold his only son to
The lowest of his menials and rewards each
Syllable carried back more handsomely
Than ever he rewarded a good deed.
[100] I know—Enough! No more of this! My heart
Is full to bursting. I have said too much.

29DOMINGO. The King’s disposed to go back to Madrid
Before the evening and the Court is gathering.
Have I the honor, Prince—

30CARLOS. Yes, fine. I’ll follow.

31(Domingo goes off. Short silence.)

32Most pitiable Philip, like your son,
Most pitiable! I already see
Your soul bleed, bitten by suspicion’s viper.
Your ill-starred wish to know will overtake
Dreadful discoveries; they will drive you wild.

Scene Two

33Carlos. Marquis Posa.

34[110] CARLOS. Who’s coming? What a sight! Oh, you good angels!
My Roderick!

35MARQUIS. My Carlos!

36CARLOS. Can it be?
Can it be really true? You? Oh, it’s you!
I press you to my heart and feel how yours is
Beating all-powerfully against my own.
Now everything’s all right. In this embrace
My ailing heart restores itself. I’m clasped
In my own Roderick’s arms.

37MARQUIS. Your ailing heart?
And what is now all right? What needed to
Be made all right? You hear what startles me.

  • 9 Brussels at the time was the seat of the governors general of the Spanish Netherlands.

38CARLOS. What
[120] Brings you so unexpectedly from Brussels?9
To whom do I owe this surprise? But then
How could I ask? Forgive one drunk with joy,
Thou highest Providence, this blasphemy!
Who, if not you, most gracious one? You saw
That Carlos had no angel and you sent
Me this one. I could ask?

  • 10 Duke Alba was known then, as now, for his zeal and cruelty.
  • 11 The Emperor Charles V, Carlos’s grandfather, who ceded the Spanish throne to his son Philip in 1556

39MARQUIS. Forgive me, Prince. I
Receive these stormy raptures with amazement.
This was not how I thought to find Don Philip’s
Son. An unnatural red flares on your cheeks,
[130] Your lips are quivering as if in a fever.
Why, what am I to think, dear Prince? That’s not
The lion-hearted youth to whom I’m sent
By an oppressed, heroic people. For
I stand before you not as Roderick now,
Not as the playmate once of Carlos the boy.
A delegate of all humanity
Embraces you in me. In me it is
The Flemish provinces that weep in your
Embrace and beg you solemnly for rescue.
[140] For all is lost to their beloved country
If Alba, hangman and fanatic, should
Beleaguer Brussels with his Spanish laws.
10
On Emperor Charles’illustrious grandson
11 rest
The last hopes of these noble lands. That hope
Will fall in ruins if his most noble heart has
Forgot to beat for all humanity.

40CARLOS. It falls in ruins.

41MARQUIS. But no! What can this mean?

  • 12 Alcala, east of Madrid, was the foremost Spanish university at the time.

42CARLOS. You speak of times that now are long, long past.
I too once dreamt a Karl whose cheeks glowed hot
[150] To hear men speak of freedom. He’s long dead.
The one whom you see here is not the Karl
Who parted from you once at Alcala,
12
Who in sweet raptures boldly believed he’d be
Creator of another Golden Age
In Spain. The notion! Child-like and yet god-like!
These dreams are done.

43MARQUIS. Dreams, Prince? They were but dreams?

44CARLOS. Let
Me weep, weep hot tears on your breast, you my
One friend. Oh, no one—in the whole wide world
There’s no one; no one do I have. No place,
[160] As far as Philip’s scepter rules, as far
As galleons carry Spanish flags, no place
Where I can find relief, can shed these tears, none
But here. By all that you and I yet hope
Of Heaven, Roderick, don’t send me away.

45(The Marquis, touched, bends over him in silence.)

  • 13 Carlos’s friendlessness and his fatherlessness, both mentioned here, are recurrent motifs in the pl (...)

46Imagine that I am an orphan child
That you picked up in pity at the Throne.
I still don’t know what “father” means: I am
A king’s son. Oh, but if it should be given,
As my heart says, that you among the millions
[170] Have been sought out to know and understand me,
If it should be that Nature, in creating,
Repeated Roderick once again in Carlos
And in the morning of our lives tuned our
Souls’ tender strings together and alike,
And if a tear that brings me comfort should
Mean more to you than does my father’s favor—
13

47MARQUIS. Oh, more than all the world.

48CARLOS. Oh, so deep have
I fallen now, so poor have I become
That I must call to mind our earliest years
[180] Of childhood; I must ask that you repay
Debts that you’ve long forgotten, debts you made
In sailor suit. When we were growing up
Together, two wild boys and like two brothers,
No pain oppressed me but to see myself
So darkly overshadowed by your brilliance.
I finally vowed to love you boundlessly,
Because I’d lost all hope of matching you.
So I began to torment you with acts of
Kindness, a thousand shows of boyish love;
[190] You, proud of heart, rebuffed them with all coldness.
I often stood there, my eyes welling up—
You never noticed—when you skipped me to
Embrace less ranking boys. “Why these?” I cried.
“Don’t I like you as much as they do?” You,
However, knelt before me, cold and joyless.
“Just this,” you said, “is what is owed a king’s son.”

49MARQUIS. No more, Prince, no more of these childish tales.
They turn me scarlet now; I’m deeply shamed.

  • 14 King Philip’s sister Maria, married to the German emperor Maximilian II.

50CARLOS. This I had not deserved of you. Disdain me
[200] And lacerate my heart, these you could do,
But not remove me. Three times you dismissed
The prince and three times he returned to beg
Your love as your petitioner, to force
His love upon you with all violence.
Mere chance put right what Carlos never could have.
In games your shuttlecock once struck my aunt,
Queen of Bohemia, in the eye.
14 She thought
It done on purpose, took it weeping to
The King. All the young people of the palace
[210] Are summoned to denounce the guilty party.
The King swears he’ll avenge this piece of treachery
Most fiercely, and should it be on his own son.
I saw you lingering, frightened, at a distance.
So I stepped forward, knelt before the King,
And cried, “I did it. Punish me.” He did!

51MARQUIS. The things that you’d have me remember, Prince!

52CARLOS. Before the Court’s entire assembled household,
Watching in sympathy, he did. The way
A slave is thrashed. I fixed on you, I shed
[220] No tear. In pain I ground my teeth and shed
No tear. My royal blood flowed shamefully to
Merciless blows. I fixed on you and shed
No tear. You came then, weeping loudly,
Fell at my feet. “My pride is overcome,”
You cried. “I shall repay you when you’re king.”

53MARQUIS (extending his hand).
And so I shall, Karl. I renew this boyish
Avowal as a man. I shall repay you.
My hour may yet strike, too.

54CARLOS. Oh, now, just now—
Don’t hesitate—the hour has struck just now.
[230] The time has come for you to keep your promise.
I need your love. A dreadful secret burns in
My heart. It must come out. I want to read
My condemnation writ in your pale looks.
So listen—freeze in horror—but say nothing:
I’m in love with my mother.

55MARQUIS. God in heaven!

  • 15 The beginning of a rhetorical crescendo intended to underscore the gravity of the domestic crime.

56CARLOS. Don’t spare me.15 Go ahead and say—I wish it—
That on this earth’s great orb no wretchedness
Can border on my own. So speak! Can I
Not guess, not know what you can say to me?
[240] A son who loves his mother. World-wide custom
And Nature’s order, Roman law condemn this
Passion. My claim affronts my father’s rights.
I know these things, and nonetheless I love.
This way lies madness or the scaffold. I
Love hopelessly, profanely, fearing death,
In mortal danger; nonetheless, I love.

57MARQUIS. The Queen’s aware of this affection?

  • 16 Carlos’s request to meet the Queen will set the plot into motion.

58CARLOS. Could I
Disclose it to her? She is Philip’s wife
And she is queen and this is Spanish ground;
[250] Watched over by my father’s jealousy,
Hedged in on every side by etiquette—
How could I have approached her without witness?
Eight hellish, anxious months have passed now since
The King took me from the academy,
Since I’m condemned to see her daily and
Keep silent, silent as the grave. And for
Eight hellish, anxious months this fire has raged in
My breast, avowal reached my lips a thousand
Times and, affright, crept back into my heart.
[260] Oh, Roderick, just a moment, a few moments
To be
alone with her.16

59MARQUIS. Your father, Prince?

60CARLOS. Why would you speak of him just at this moment?
Tell me of all the terrors of bad conscience
But of my father not a word.

61MARQUIS. You hate your father?

62CARLOS. No! Oh, no indeed!
I do not hate him. Rather, I am seized
With fear and guilt, as if I had done something
Wrong, at the mention of this fearsome name.
Is it my fault if schooling like a slave’s
[270] Stamped out the tender shoots of love in my Young heart? I was already six years old
When first the fearsome man who was, they told me,
My father, came into my life. He had
That very morning doomed—without ado—
Four men to death. And ever after I saw
Him only when some punishment had been
Announced for a bad deed of mine. Oh, God!
I feel how I’m becoming bitter. Off!
Off and away! Away from here!

63MARQUIS. Oh, no.
[280] Open yourself, Prince. Words relieve the heart.

64CARLOS. I’ve often struggled with myself. At midnight,
My Watch asleep, I’d throw myself in tears
Before the Blessed Virgin, beg a child’s
Pure heart. And I’d stand up unheard. Oh, solve
This mystery of Providence, Roderick:
Just why, among a thousand fathers,
this one
For me? Among a thousand better sons,
This one for him? A pair worse matched than he
And I cannot be found in Nature’s circuit..
[290] How could she force together two such ends,
Remote ends of the human race, force me
And him into a bond so holy? Why should
Two men who always shun each other meet
In
one such wish? Why did this have to happen?
Two hostile stars, set perpendicular, crash
Together once, then speed apart again
For all eternity.

65MARQUIS. I fear no good
Can come of this.

66CARLOS. And so do I.
Like Furies from the deep, most dreadful dreams
[300] Pursue me. Full of doubt, my better spirits
Wrestle with horrible designs; my hapless
Wits, star-crossed, fumble their way forward through
A labyrinth of sophistries, halt only
On the sheer brink of the abyss. Oh, Roderick,
If I no longer saw in him my father—
Your pallor tells me you have understood—
What care would I have of the King?

67MARQUIS (after a silence). May I
Presume to make this one request of Carlos?
Whatever you are of a mind to do,
[310] Just promise me you’ll venture nothing without
Your friend. You promise me this?

68CARLOS. All things, all things,
All that your love would have me do. I throw
Myself into your arms.

69MARQUIS. The Monarch is
About to go back to Madrid. Our time
Is short. If you would see the Queen in secret,
It can be only in Aranjuez:
The stillness here, the unforced manners—

70CARLOS. That was
What I had hoped—in vain!

71MARQUIS. No, not entirely.
I go now to present myself to her.
[320] If she is here in Spain the self-same one
That she once was at Henri’s court in France,
I’ll find her open-hearted. And if I
See Carlos’ hopes reflected in her eyes,
Find her inclined toward such an interview,
If her attendants can be called away—

72CARLOS. They’re mostly well-disposed toward me. I have
Won Mondekar especially: I chose
Her son to serve me as a page.

73MARQUIS. So much
The better. You, my Prince, should be nearby
[330] And show yourself when you have seen my signal.

74CARLOS. I shall, I shall! Go now. Be quick about it.

75MARQUIS. And I’ll not lose a moment. We’ll meet there!

76(They go off to different sides.)

77The Queen’s Court at Aranjuez

  • 17 The rural setting of the Queen’s residence contrasts with the formal royal gardens of scene 1 and r (...)

78A simple rural setting intersected by an avenue ending at the Queen’s country residence17

Scene Three

  • 18 The tightly composed conversation that follows characterizes the Queen, Princess Eboli, and Duchess (...)

79The Queen. The Duchess Olivarez. The Princess Eboli and the Marquise Mondekar, who come up the avenue.18

80QUEEN (to the Marquise).
It’s you I would have with me, Mondekar.
The bright eyes of the Princess here have pricked me
All morning. Look at her. She’s scarcely can
Conceal her joy to leave the country.

81EBOLI. My Queen,
I’d not deny it. I have endless joy
To see Madrid again.

82MONDEKAR. Your Majesty
Not too? You hate to leave Aranjuez
[340] Behind?

83QUEEN. To leave—the lovely spot at least.
This world’s as if my own, this place long since
My favorite. I’m greeted by the countryside,
The dearest friend of my first childhood years;
I find my childhood games again here, too;
Here blow the breezes of my much-loved France.
Do not hold it against me. All our hearts
Are drawn back to home country.

  • 19 A monastery in Normandy, famously under a rule of silence.

84EBOLI. But how lonely,
How still and sad it all is here! You’d think
You’re at la Trappe.
19

  • 20 The stillness of Madrid—and elsewhere—returns as a motif.

85QUEEN. Why, quite the opposite.
[350] I find Madrid is still.20 What says our Duchess
About these things?

  • 21 A summer residence built by Philip north of Madrid.

86OLIVAREZ. Your Majesty, I believe
It’s customary that we pass here one month,
The next one in the Pardo,
21 winter in
The Residence, since there’ve been kings in Spain.

87QUEEN. Well, Duchess, you must know that I’ve long since
Abandoned any quarreling with you.

  • 22 Auto da fe is Latin actus fidei: act of faith. It was an elaborate execution of condemnation by the (...)

88MONDEKAR. How lively it will soon be in Madrid!
The Plaza Mayor’s being fitted for a
Corrida, an auto-da-fe is promised—
22

89[360] QUEEN. Is promised! That from gentle Mondekar?

90MONDEKAR. Why not? It’s heretics that we’ll see burnt.

91QUEEN. I hope my little Eboli thinks different?

92EBOLI. I? Why, Your Majesty, I bid you think
Me no worse Christian than the good Marquise.

  • 23 Elisabeth of Valois is not happy in Spain. She longs for France, and her French loyalties will info (...)
  • 24 The Queen cannot name the source of her sense that something is lacking.

93QUEEN. And I forget just where I am.23 Let’s speak
Of other things. The country was our topic.
The month, I find, has gone past very quickly.
I promised myself much of our days here
And have not found what I had hoped for. Is
[370] It so with all our hopes? And yet I can’t
Discover any wish that’s disappointed.
24

94OLIVAREZ. You’ve not yet told us, Princess Eboli, whether
Gomez can hope? Shall we see you a bride soon?

95QUEEN. Thanks, Duchess, for reminding me.
(To the Princess.) I’m asked
To intercede for him. And yet how can I?
The man to whom I give my Eboli must
Be worthy of her.

96OLIVAREZ. That, Your Majesty,
He is. A very worthy man, a man whom
Our gracious Monarch publicly distinguished
[380] With royal favor.

97QUEEN. That will make the man
Most happy. We would know, however, if he
Can love and if he merits to be loved.
I ask you, Eboli.

98EBOLI (stands silent and confused, her gaze lowered, then falls to her knees).
Most Gracious Queen, do
Have pity on me. Don’t let me—for God’s sake—
Don’t let me—Don’t let me be sacrificed.

99QUEEN. Be sacrificed? I need no more. Stand up.
It’s a hard thing to know one’s sacrificed.
I believe you. Do stand up. Has it been long
That you’ve rejected Gomez’ suit?

  • 25 Eboli’s mind, no less than the Queen’s, is running on more than one track. Schiller is a master of (...)

100EBOLI (getting to her feet). Quite long. Prince
[390] Carlos was still at the academy.25

101QUEEN (starts and examines her sharply).
And do you also know your reasons?

102EBOLI (with some vehemence). Never
Can I agree, my Queen, not for a hundred,
A thousand reasons.

103QUEEN (very grave). More than one is quite
Enough. You can’t think well of him. That’s quite
Enough. We’ll speak of this no more.
(To her other Ladies.) I’ve not
Seen the Infanta yet today. Marquise, go
And bring her to me here.

104OLIVAREZ (looking at her watch). Your Majesty,
It is not yet the hour.

105QUEEN. Not yet the hour
When I’m permitted to be mother? A pity.
[400] Do tell me when the hour is come.

106(A Page enters and speaks softly with the Duchess, who turns to the Queen.)

107OLIVAREZ. The Marquis
Posa, Your Majesty.

108QUEEN. The Marquis Posa?

  • 26 Catherine de’ Medici, widow of Henri II, was regent for her minor son.

109OLIVAREZ. He comes from France and the Low Countries, begs
The honor of permission to deliver
Letters of the Queen Regent.
26

110QUEEN. That’s allowed?

111OLIVAREZ (with reserve).
My protocol does not make mention of
The special case of a Castilian grandee
Entering the bower of the Queen of Spain to
Deliver letters from a foreign court.

112QUEEN. I dare to do it then at my own risk!

113[410] OLIVAREZ. Your Majesty, in that case grant that I
Remove myself so long as—

114QUEEN. Duchess, you are
Free to conduct yourself as you see fit.

115(The Duchess goes off. The Queen signals the Page, who goes out.)

Scene Four

116Queen. Princess Eboli. Marquise Mondekar and Marquis Posa.

  • 27 Marquis Posa is a Knight of the Order of Malta.

117QUEEN. I welcome you on Spanish ground, brave Knight.27

118MARQUIS. Which I have never called my fatherland
With pride as justified as now.

119QUEEN (to the two Ladies). The Marquis
Posa, who broke a lance in tourney with my
Father at Reims and took my colors three times
To victory. First of his nation, who
Taught me to feel the glory that is being
[420] Queen of the Spanish.
(Turning to the Marquis.) When we last met in
The Louvre, Knight, you’d not have dreamt that you’d
Yet be my guest in Castile.

120MARQUIS. No, great Queen,
For then I didn’t dream that France would lose
To us the one thing we had envied it.

121QUEEN. Proud Spaniard! The one thing? That to a daughter
Of the great House Valois?

122MARQUIS. That I may say
Your Majesty, for you’re now one of ours.

123QUEEN. Your journey, so I hear, led you through France.
What do you bring me from my honored mother
[430] And from my much-loved brothers?

124MARQUIS (handing her the letters). Madame the
Queen Mother I found lying ill, renouncing
All worldly pleasure but to see her daughter
Happily established on the Spanish throne.

  • 28 The Queen refrains from pursuing her memories.

125QUEEN. Mustn’t she be, now she’s remembered by
Such loving kin, now she remembers—
28 You,
Brave Knight, have visited many courts along
Your way, seen many lands, known customs and
Men’s manners. Now, I hear, it’s your intention
To live but for yourself in your home country,
[440] A greater prince within your quiet walls
Than Philip on the Throne—a free man, a
Philosopher! I doubt you’ll be content
Here in Madrid. One’s—quiet—in Madrid.

126MARQUIS. That’s more than all the rest of Europe now
Enjoys.

127QUEEN. Yes, so they say. I’ve quite forgot all
Worldly exchange—almost forgot the memory.
(To Princess Eboli.)
I seem to see a hyacinth blooming there.
Princess, do gather it.

128(The Princess goes to bring the flower. The Queen speaks more softly.)

129If I am not
Mistaken, Knight, your coming here has made one
[450] More happy man at Court?

130MARQUIS. I found a sad one
Whom but one thing can—

131(The Princess returns with the flower.)

132EBOLI. Since the Knight has seen
So many lands, won’t he have marvels to
Tell us?

133MARQUIS. Indeed he will. For knights must seek
Adventure. That’s well known. But their most sacred
Duty is to protect young ladies.

134MONDEKAR. Against
Giants! But now there are no giants left.

135MARQUIS. Force
Is at all times a giant for the weak.

136QUEEN. Quite right. We still have giants, but no knights.

137MARQUIS. Just now, on my return from Naples, I
[460] Was witness to a touching tale, which friendship’s
Most sacred legacy has made my own.
Did I not fear to tire Your Majesty
Relating it—

138QUEEN. Have I a choice? The Princess’
Inquiring gaze admits of no suppression.
Now down to business, for I, too, love stories.

  • 29 Guelf and Ghibelline were two parties in medieval Italy, loyal to the pope and to the German empero (...)

139MARQUIS. Two noble houses in Mirandola,
Wearied of jealousy and enmity
Passed down from Guelf and Ghibelline for centuries,
29
Resolved to join in peace eternal, bound
[470] By tender bonds of kinship to each other
Mighty Pietro’s sister’s son, Fernando,
And the divine Mathilda, Colonna’s daughter,
Were picked to bind this lovely band of union.
Never had Nature made two better hearts
For one another, never deemed the world,
Never a match so very fortunate.
Until this time Fernando had adored his
Amiable mistress only in her likeness,
And how he trembled whether he’d find true
[480] What his most fiery expectations dared
Not trust themselves to believe about the picture!
In Padua, where his studies held him fast,
Fernando waited only to be granted
The moment when he’d kneel before Mathilda
And make a first confession of his love.
(The Queen becomes more attentive. The Marquis pauses,
then continues, directing himself, as far as the presence of the Queen allows, more toward Princess Eboli.)
Meanwhile, his consort’s death leaves Pietro free.
With youthful ardor the graybeard consumes
The brilliant rumors being spread abroad
About Mathilda’s many excellences.
[490] He comes! He sees! He loves! This new emotion
Drowns out the softer voice of Nature. Thus
The uncle sues for the intended of
His nephew, seals his theft before the altar.

140QUEEN. What of Fernando now?

141MARQUIS. On wings of love,
Unknowing of this terrible reversal,
He hurries to Mirandola, ecstatic.
His speedy beast attains the gates by starlight.
Bacchantic music, drums and violins,
Comes thundering from the lighted palace to

[500] Receive him. Trembling up the stair, abashed,
He enters a tumultuous wedding hall un-
Noticed. Amid the drunken feasting of
His guests Pietro sits, flanked by an angel,
One whom Fernando knows, who never seemed
So brilliant even in his wildest dreams.
One glance tells him what he has once possessed,
Tells him what he now has forever lost.

142EBOLI. Unfortunate Fernando!

143QUEEN. Is your story
Now ended, Knight? It surely must be ended?

144[510] MARQUIS. Not yet entirely.

145QUEEN. Didn’t you tell us
Fernando was your friend?

146MARQUIS. I have none dearer.

147EBOLI. Oh, do continue with your story, Knight.

  • 30 Posa is satisfied that the Queen has understood.

148MARQUIS. It now becomes quite sad. And thinking of it
Renews my pain. Let me not have to end it.
30

149(General silence.)

150QUEEN (turning to Princess Eboli).
It’s surely granted me now to embrace
My daughter. Princess, go and bring her to me.

151(Eboli goes off. The Marquis signals a Page in the background, who disappears. The Queen opens the letters that the Marquis has given her and seems surprised. The Marquis meanwhile converses softly with Marquise Mondekar. The Queen has read the letters and turns to the Marquis with a searching gaze.)

152You’ve told us nothing of Mathilda? Perhaps
She doesn’t know how much Fernando suffers?

153MARQUIS. No one has ever plumbed Mathilda’s heart.
[520] But great souls suffer silently.

154QUEEN. You look about? What is it you are seeking?

155MARQUIS. I thought how happy one whom I can’t name
Would be here in my place.

156QUEEN. Whose fault that he
Is not?

157MARQUIS (in quick rejoinder).
Am I free to construe this as
I wish? He’d find forgiveness if he came now?

158QUEEN (startled). Just now, Marquis? Now? What do you intend?

159MARQUIS. He’s grounds for hope? He has?

160QUEEN (in growing confusion). You frighten me,

161Marquis. He surely would not—

162MARQUIS. Here he is.

Scene Five

  • 31 This is the interview Carlos has never had with the Queen (see above, lines 260–261). After a long (...)

163The Queen. Carlos.31

164Marquis Posa and Marquise Mondekar step into the background.

165CARLOS (kneeling before the Queen).
It’s come at last, the moment longed for so,
[530] And Karl at last can touch this cherished hand!

166QUEEN. A step like this! What criminal presumption!
You’re mad! Stand up! We’ll be found out! My Court’s here.

167CARLOS. I’ll not stand up. I shall kneel here forever.
I’ll lie here, rooted to the spot, bewitched—

168QUEEN. Why, you are raving mad! What cheek! Are you
Aware it is the Queen, it is your mother,
To whom you dare speak so? Are you aware
That I myself can tell the King—

169CARLOS. And I
Must die! Let them take me from here straight to
[540] The scaffold! This one moment’s paradise
Is not too dearly purchased by my death.

170QUEEN. What of your Queen?

171CARLOS (stands up). Dear God! Dear God! I’m going—
I’ll leave you. Must I not, when you demand it?
Oh, Mother, Mother! How you toy with me!
One sign, a half-glance, one small spoken word
Determines me to be or not to be.
What would you have me do? What is there under
The sun that I’ll not rush to sacrifice
If you should wish it?

172QUEEN. Flee from here.

173CARLOS. Dear God!

174[550] QUEEN. The one thing, Karl, I beg of you in tears:
To flee this place before my Ladies—my jailors—
Find you and me together and then bring
This great news to your father’s ears.

175CARLOS. Then I’ll
Await whatever Fate allots me, be
It life or death. Have I put all my hopes
In this one moment’s giving me you without
Witnesses, only to be cheated in
The end by empty fears? Oh no, my Queen!
The world may turn a thousand times about
[560] Its poles before some chance renews this favor.

176QUEEN. No chance is to renew it in eternity.
Wretched man! What is it you want of me?

177CARLOS. My Queen, God is my witness: I have struggled
As mortal man has never struggled—in vain! I’ve
Exhausted all my courage. I surrender.

178QUEEN. No more of this—to spare my peace of mind.

179CARLOS. You, you were mine—were mine before the world,
Were promised me by two great thrones, you were
Conceded me by Heaven and by Nature,
[570] And Philip, Philip stole you from me.

180QUEEN. He is
Your father.

181CARLOS. And your husband.

182QUEEN. Who gives you,
As heir, the greatest realm in all the world.

183CARLOS. And you for mother.

184QUEEN. God above! You’re raving.

185CARLOS. And does he know how rich he is? Has he
A feeling heart that knows to value yours?
I’ll not complain; indeed, I will forget
The boundless happiness I would have known
Having your hand, if only
he is happy.
But he is not. And this is hellish torment!
[580] He’s not, he’ll never be. And you, and you—
You took my heaven and destroyed it in
His arms.

186QUEEN. Vile notion!

187CARLOS. Oh, I know who was
The maker of this marriage, know how Philip
Can love, know how he courted. What are you in
This kingdom? Come, let’s hear it. Reigning queen
Perhaps? No, not in life! How could—where
you
Are queen—the Albas rage and murder? How
Could Flanders bleed for its confession? Or are
You Philip’s wife? Not possible! Don’t believe it.
[590] A wife possesses a man’s heart. And who
Has his? Why every stroke of tenderness that
Escapes him in a moment of arousal—
Must he not beg it of the scepter and
Of his gray hair?

188QUEEN. And just who told you to
Lament my lot at Philip’s side?

189CARLOS. My heart,
Which knows, at mine, how it would be content.

190QUEEN. Vain man! If my heart told me differently?
If Philip’s tender honoring me should touch me
More intimately than his proud son’s bold
[600] Facility with words? If the considered
Devotion of an aged—

191CARLOS. Oh! that is different.
Why, then—forgiveness. It escaped me that
You love the King.

192QUEEN. I’m pleased to honor him.

193CARLOS. You’ve never loved?

194QUEEN. Strange question!

195CARLOS. You’ve never loved?

196QUEEN. I love no longer.

197CARLOS. That
Because your heart forbids it? Or your vows?

198QUEEN. Take leave of me now, Prince, and never come
Again in hope of such an interview.

199CARLOS. Because your vows forbid it, or your heart?

200[610] QUEEN. Because my duty— Oh, unhappy Carlos,
Why this grief-struck dissection of a fate
That you and I must heed?

201CARLOS. We? Must heed? Must?

202QUEEN. What would you say by such a tone?

203CARLOS. This much:
That Carlos is not minded to say “must”
Where he can “will,” that he’s not minded to
Be the unhappiest man in this wide realm
When it costs but the overthrow of all
The laws to be the happiest.

204QUEEN. Have I heard you
Correctly? You still hope? You dare to hope
[620] When all, all, all—all has long since been lost?

205CARLOS. For me the dead alone have all been lost.

  • 32 A palace and a monastery northeast of Madrid, burial site of the Spanish kings.

206QUEEN. And it’s for me, your mother, that you hope?
(She gives him a long, penetrating look. Then, with dignity and gravity)
Why not? The new king, just installed, can do
Yet more: can burn the last instructions of the
Deceased, pull down his statues, he can even—
Who hinders him?—can snatch the last remains
Of the dead man from rest in the Escorial
32
Out into light of day and blithely scatter
His desecrated dust to the four winds;
[630] At length, to reach a fitting end—

207CARLOS. For love of God, do not complete that thought!

208QUEEN. Can bind himself in marriage to his mother.

209CARLOS. Accursed son!
(He stands for a moment frozen and speechless.)
Yes, it’s all over. It’s all
Over now. I see all too clearly what
Was to remain obscure eternally.
You’re lost to me. Lost, lost. Forever and
Forever and forever! The die is cast
And I have lost you. It’s a feeling full of
Pure hellishness, and hellish, too, the other:
[640] The feeling of possessing you. I can
Not grasp it and my nerves are giving way.

210QUEEN. Most pitiable, dearest Karl, I feel—
Feel it so deeply—all the nameless pain
That’s raging in your breast. As boundless as
Your love is this, your suffering. Boundless, too,
Though is the glory won by conquering pain.
Attain that glory, my young hero, a prize
That’s worthy of its high contender, of
The youth through whose veins courses all the virtue
[650] Of hosts of kingly forebears. Be a man,
My noble Prince. The grandson of great Charles
Begins the fight where common mortals end it.

211CARLOS. Too late! Dear God, it is too late!

212QUEEN. To be
A man? Oh, Karl, how great our virtue is
When our heart breaks in our pursuit of it!
You were placed high by Providence, placed higher
Than many millions of your brothers. Partial,
She gave her favorite what she took from them,
And millions ask: Does he deserve from birth
[660] To count for more than other mortals? Rise up!
And prove this disposition right and proper!
Deserve your precedence on all the world
And sacrifice what no one’s ever done!

213CARLOS. That I can do. I have unbounded strength to
Do battle
for you. To lose you I have none.

  • 33 That is, the lands that Carlos will hold in custody.

214QUEEN. Admit it, Carlos. It’s defiance, it
Is bitterness and pride that draw your wishes
So wildly toward your mother. Love and longing
You throw away on me by right belongs to the
[670] Kingdoms that will be yours to rule one day.
Just look how you are squandering your ward’s
33
Entrusted assets. Love is your great office.
Till now, it’s wandered toward your mother. Bring
It to, oh, bring it to your future kingdoms
And feel, instead of pain of conscience, the transports
Of being god! Elisabeth was your
First love. Your second love be Spain! How gladly
Would I step back before that better love.

215CARLOS (throwing himself at her feet).
How grand you are and how divine! Oh, all
[680] That you desire—this will I do. So be it!
(He stands up.)
I stand here in the hand of the Almighty
And swear—swear you eternal—Oh! Eternal
Silence, but not forgetting.

216QUEEN. How could I
Require of Carlos what I find no will
To do myself?

217MARQUIS (hurrying from the avenue).
The King!

218QUEEN. Dear God!

219MARQUIS. Away,
Away from here, my Prince!

220QUEEN. If he should see you!
His terrible suspicion!

221CARLOS. I shall stay!

222QUEEN. And who shall be the victim?

223CARLOS (drawing the Marquis with him). Off! Away!
Come quickly, Roderick.
(He stops and turns back.) What may I take with me?

224[690] QUEEN. The friendship of your mother.

225CARLOS. Friendship! Mother!

226QUEEN. And these tears sent me from the Netherlands.

  • 34 These are the letters Posa brought her (scene 4).

227(She gives him a handful of letters.34 Carlos and the Marquis go off. The Queen, uneasy, looks about for her Ladies. None appears. As she is about to move into the background, the King arrives.)

Scene Six

  • 35 Scenes 1 through 5 have belonged to Carlos, the Marquis, and the Queen. Now King Philip enters, acc (...)

228King. Queen. Duke Alba. Count Lerma. Domingo.35 A few Ladies and Grandees who remain in the distance.

229KING (looks about astonished and in silence).
What do I see? You here! Alone, Madame?
And not
one Lady to accompany you? This
Astonishes me. Where are all your women?

230QUEEN. My gracious husband—

231KING. Why are you alone?
(To his Attendants.)
An unforgivable mistake for which I
Demand the strictest possible accounting.
Who’s charged with keeping the Queen’s Court today?
Whose turn was it to be in her attendance?

232[700] QUEEN. My Lord, do not be angry. I myself,
I am the guilty party. On my orders
The Princess Eboli went out to call—

233KING. On
Your orders?

234QUEEN.—call the waiting-lady because
A longing seized me to embrace the Infanta.

235KING. And that is why you sent away your Ladies?
But that excuses only the first Lady.
Where was the second one?

236MONDEKAR (who has returned, steps out from among the other Ladies).
Your Majesty,
I feel that I am culpable—

237KING. That’s why
I grant you ten years’ time far from Madrid
[710] To think about these things at leisure.

238(The Marquise steps back, in tears. General silence. All those present, startled, look to the Queen.)

  • 36 The Queen finds herself caught in a conflict between French manners and Spanish protocol.

239QUEEN. Dear
Marquise,
who do you weep for?
(To the King.) If I have erred,
My gracious Lord, at least the Crown, which I
Have never reached for, should spare me this shame.
Is there a law here in this kingdom that
Summons a monarch’s daughter into court?
Does force alone keep watch on Spanish women?
Do witnesses protect them more than virtue?
Now, by your leave, my husband, it is not
My custom to dismiss in tears one who
[720] Has served me gladly. Mondekar!
(She looses her girdle and gives it to the Marquise.)
It is
The King you’ve angered, not me. Take this then
As token of my favor and this hour.
Avoid this realm; yours is a Spanish crime.
In my beloved France one dries such tears
With pleasure. Must these thoughts forever haunt me?
(She supports herself on her Chief Lady and covers her face.)
In my dear France it was quite different.
36

240KING (rather shaken). Could a
Reproach caused by my love so sadden you?
A word so sadden you that only tenderest
Affliction could have laid upon my lips?
(He turns toward the Grandezza.)
[730] Here stand the vassals of my Court and Kingdom.
Has ever sleep descended on my eyelids
But that I had at evening every day
Considered how the hearts of all my peoples
Beat in the furthest reaches of my realm?
Should I be yet more anxious for my throne Than for the helpmeet of my dearest heart?
For all my many peoples my sword vouches,
My eye alone can vouch for my wife’s love.

241QUEEN. Do I deserve this mistrust, Sire?

  • 37 This is the great motif of Philip the man versus Philip the king.

242KING. I’m called
[740] The richest man in all of Christendom;
The sun has never set on my great State.
All this another once possessed before me,
And many who come after will possess it.
This belongs to me alone. The King’s possessions
Belong to fortune; Elisabeth is
Philip’s.
This is the spot where I am mortal.
37

243QUEEN. You’re
Afraid, my Lord?

  • 38 The sense of this assertion is that Philip will take proper measures against any fear that he has c (...)
  • 39 Philip’s second great motif: just as Carlos finds himself fatherless, Philip feels himself childles

244KING. Should my gray head not be?
And if I once begin to fear, my fears
Are at an end.
38
(To the Grandees.) I count the Grandees of
[750] The Court and find the first one missing. Where’s
Don Carlos, my Infante?
(No one answers.)
The boy Don Karl
Begins to stir my fears. Since he returned
From Alcala, he shuns my very presence.
His blood is hot; why is his gaze so cold?
So measured and so formal his comportment?
Be vigilant, I urge you.
39

245ALBA. That I am.
As long as my heart beats against this breastplate,
Don Philip may lie down and sleep in peace.
Like God’s own cherub stood before His Eden,
[760] Duke Alba stands before the Throne.

246LERMA. May I
Most humbly dare to contradict the wisest
Of kings? For I revere the Majesty of
My King too deeply to condemn his son
So hastily and harshly. I fear much
Of Karl’s hot blood but nothing of his heart.

  • 40 Philip had sworn to defend the Inquisition against apostates and to force his subjects to obey its (...)

247KING. Count Lerma, you speak well to soothe the father;
The Duke remains the mainstay of the King.
Enough of this.
(He turns to his Suite.) I hasten to Madrid.
My royal office calls me. Heresy
[770] Is spreading like the plague among my peoples,
Unrest is growing in my Netherlands.
The time has come. A terrible example
Is to convert those who have lost their way.
Tomorrow I shall keep a solemn oath
To which all Christian kings have sworn
40 by an
Assize without example, to which I
Now summon all the members of my Court.

248(He leads the Queen away; the others follow.)

Scene Seven

  • 41 These are the letters the Queen handed him (scene 5).

249Don Carlos, carrying letters;41 Marquis Posa from the opposite side.

250CARLOS. My mind’s made up and Flanders must be saved.
She wishes it. Enough for me.

251MARQUIS. Then there’s
[780] No time to lose. Duke Alba, it is said,
Has been named governor.

252CARLOS. Tomorrow I’ll
Request an audience with my father and Demand this office for myself. This is
The first demand I’ve dared to make of him.
He can’t refuse me. He has long resented
My presence in Madrid. A welcome pretext,
This, to remove me, keep me at a distance!
Shall I admit to you that I hope more?
Perhaps, once we’ve come face to face, I can

[790] Restore myself to his good graces. He Has never lent an ear to Nature’s urgings.
Let’s see if he’ll heed
my appeal to Nature!

253MARQUIS. At last I hear my Carlos speak again.
You are your old self now once more.

Scene Eight

254As above. Count Lerma.

255LERMA. The Monarch
Has just departed from Aranjuez.
He gave me orders—

256CARLOS. Very well, Count Lerma,
I’ll reach Madrid beside the King.

257MARQUIS (as if taking leave; with ceremony). Your Highness
Has nothing more he would require of me?

258CARLOS. Nothing, Knight. I wish you god speed on your
[800] Arrival in Madrid. You’ll tell me more
Of Flanders when we meet again.
(To Lerma, who is waiting.) I’ll follow
In just a moment.

259(Lerma goes off.)

Scene Nine

260Don Carlos. The Marquis.

261CARLOS. I have understood you.
My thanks. But this restraint we’ll practice only
Before third persons. We—are we not brothers?
This comedy of rank is to be banished
In future from our bond! Imagine we
Have met in masquerade: you as a slave
And I—on whim—concealed in royal purple.
As long as Shrovetide lasts we keep this pretense,

[810] True to our roles with comic gravity,
All to preserve the gaiety of the crowd.
Behind the mask, though, Karl will signal you,
And you in passing press my hand, so that
We understand each other.

262MARQUIS. What a dream! But
Will it not vanish? Is my Karl so sure he’ll
Fend off the charms of kingship without limit?
A day is yet to come—a great day—when
This heroism—I caution you—will falter.
Don Philip dies. To Karl will fall the greatest
[820] Of all the thrones in Christendom. A chasm
Will open to remove him from all mortals;
Who was no more than man becomes a god.
He knows no weakness. For him the duties of
All time fall silent. Humankind—today
A word resounding in his listening ear—
Sells out and grovels at its idol’s feet.
His fellow-feeling dies out with his suffering,
His virtue slackens into self-indulgence,
Peru rewards his foolishness with gold
[830] And his Court raises devils for his crimes.
He falls asleep besotted in this heaven,
One that his clever slaves have fashioned for him.
His godlikeness lasts long as lasts his dream,
And woe betide the pitying fool who’d wake him.
What then of Roderick? Friendship is true
And bold. A faltering, ailing Majesty
Cannot hold out against its fearsome beams.
You’d have no patience with a subject’s spite,
And I none with a prince’s pride.

263CARLOS. Your picture
[840] Of kings is true and terrible. I believe you.
But only pleasure opened them to vice.
I am still pure, a youth of twenty-three.
What thousands squandered wantonly before me
In hot embraces, spirit’s better half,
My manhood, I have kept for future kingship.
What could displace you in my heart, if women
Could not?

264MARQUIS. I could. For could I love you, Karl,
If I must fear you?

265CARLOS. That will never happen.
Do you have need of me? Have you desires
[850] That beg before the Throne? Does gold charm you?
You are a richer subject than as king
I’ll ever be. You covet honor? No.
In boyhood you had more than its full measure.
Which one will be the lender? Which the debtor?
You’re silent? Tremble at the prospect? You
Are no more sure of yourself?

266MARQUIS. All right. I yield.
My hand on it.

267CARLOS. You’re mine?

268MARQUIS. Both now and always,
In the most reckless meaning of the word.

269CARLOS. As warm and true as now to the Infante
[860] In future also to the King disposed?

270MARQUIS. I swear to you.

  • 42 “Genius” in this usage denotes a native spirit, in-born qualities, a guiding force, a better self.
  • 43 To this point, Posa has addressed Carlos, who is royal, as Sie, while Carlos has addressed Posa as (...)

271CARLOS. Then, too, if flattery wrapped
Itself around my badly guarded heart?
And if this eye forgot the tears that it
Once wept? This ear locked out entreaty? Will
You, fearless keeper of my virtue, seize
Me firmly, call my genius by its great name?
42
You will? Then one more favor! Call me brother.
43
I’ve always envied those like you because you
Enjoy a right to easy intimacy.
[870] This word as between brothers soothes my ear,
My heart with dreams that we are like and equal.
No protest. I can guess what you would say.
For you it is a small thing—that I know;
For me, a king’s son, it is much. Shall we
Be brothers now?

272MARQUIS. Your brother!

273CARLOS. To the King!
Now I have nothing more to fear.
With our arms linked I’ll call out all this age.

274(They go off.)

Philip II. Steel engraving by Johann Leonhard Raab from a drawing by Arthur von Ramberg. Friedrich Pecht, Schiller-Galerie (Leipzig, 1859), https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:Schiller-Galerie_komplett_Bild_13.jpg

Notes

1 Aranjuez, south of Madrid, was the summer residence of the Spanish kings.

2 Toledo, southwest of Madrid, was the summer residence of the kings of Castile. There, in 1560, the estates of Castile and Aragon paid homage to Prince Carlos, recognizing him as heir to the Spanish throne.

3 The crux of the domestic drama in Don Carlos. Elisabeth of Valois had been betrothed to Prince Carlos when King Philip, widowed for the second time, took her as his wife instead.

4 King Philip’s first wife, Maria of Portugal, died soon after the birth of Prince Carlos, Philip’s first son.

5 The capital of Aragon.

6 Schiller’s transposition of a historical event. Elisabeth’s father, Henri II of France, received a splinter in the eye at a tourney held to mark her betrothal to King Philip. The wound proved fatal.

7 “Purple” is the color of a cardinal, a rank to which King Philip could propose a candidate to the pope.

8 Saint Peter’s throne is the seat of the pope.

9 Brussels at the time was the seat of the governors general of the Spanish Netherlands.

10 Duke Alba was known then, as now, for his zeal and cruelty.

11 The Emperor Charles V, Carlos’s grandfather, who ceded the Spanish throne to his son Philip in 1556.

12 Alcala, east of Madrid, was the foremost Spanish university at the time.

13 Carlos’s friendlessness and his fatherlessness, both mentioned here, are recurrent motifs in the play and important motivators of the action.

14 King Philip’s sister Maria, married to the German emperor Maximilian II.

15 The beginning of a rhetorical crescendo intended to underscore the gravity of the domestic crime.

16 Carlos’s request to meet the Queen will set the plot into motion.

17 The rural setting of the Queen’s residence contrasts with the formal royal gardens of scene 1 and reflects the tastes and qualities of the Queen.

18 The tightly composed conversation that follows characterizes the Queen, Princess Eboli, and Duchess Olivarez.

19 A monastery in Normandy, famously under a rule of silence.

20 The stillness of Madrid—and elsewhere—returns as a motif.

21 A summer residence built by Philip north of Madrid.

22 Auto da fe is Latin actus fidei: act of faith. It was an elaborate execution of condemnation by the Inquisition, most notoriously, by fire.

23 Elisabeth of Valois is not happy in Spain. She longs for France, and her French loyalties will inform her role in the play.

24 The Queen cannot name the source of her sense that something is lacking.

25 Eboli’s mind, no less than the Queen’s, is running on more than one track. Schiller is a master of representing buried mental operations in inadvertencies of speech.

26 Catherine de’ Medici, widow of Henri II, was regent for her minor son.

27 Marquis Posa is a Knight of the Order of Malta.

28 The Queen refrains from pursuing her memories.

29 Guelf and Ghibelline were two parties in medieval Italy, loyal to the pope and to the German emperor, respectively, and famously at war with one another in the cities. The piquancy of Posa’s tale lies in its running on two levels, one for young Princess Eboli, the other for the Queen.

30 Posa is satisfied that the Queen has understood.

31 This is the interview Carlos has never had with the Queen (see above, lines 260–261). After a long exposition, it marks the beginning of the action.

32 A palace and a monastery northeast of Madrid, burial site of the Spanish kings.

33 That is, the lands that Carlos will hold in custody.

34 These are the letters Posa brought her (scene 4).

35 Scenes 1 through 5 have belonged to Carlos, the Marquis, and the Queen. Now King Philip enters, accompanied by Duke Alba and Domingo. The presentation of contenders in the coming contest is complete.

36 The Queen finds herself caught in a conflict between French manners and Spanish protocol.

37 This is the great motif of Philip the man versus Philip the king.

38 The sense of this assertion is that Philip will take proper measures against any fear that he has cause to feel.

39 Philip’s second great motif: just as Carlos finds himself fatherless, Philip feels himself childless

40 Philip had sworn to defend the Inquisition against apostates and to force his subjects to obey its orders.

41 These are the letters the Queen handed him (scene 5).

42 “Genius” in this usage denotes a native spirit, in-born qualities, a guiding force, a better self.

43 To this point, Posa has addressed Carlos, who is royal, as Sie, while Carlos has addressed Posa as du, as he did when they were school boys. Carlos now offers parity. That desire reflects the loneliness of royal rank and Carlos’s sense of friendlessness. The parity established here enables further development of the plot.

Table des illustrations

Légende Philip II. Steel engraving by Johann Leonhard Raab from a drawing by Arthur von Ramberg. Friedrich Pecht, Schiller-Galerie (Leipzig, 1859), https://commons.wikimedia.org/​wiki/​File:Schiller-Galerie_komplett_Bild_13.jpg
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