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Don Carlos Infante of Spain

Friedrich Schiller

Act Four

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Hall in the Queen’s apartments

Scene One

1The Queen. The Duchess Olivarez. The Princess Eboli. The Countess Fuentes and other Ladies.

2QUEEN (getting to her feet; to her Chief Lady-in-Waiting).
[2780] The key’s not to be found? The casket must
Be broken open then. And right away—

(She notices Princess Eboli, who approaches and kisses her hand.)

Welcome, dear Princess! I am pleased to see
You well again—though still quite pale—

3FUENTES (a bit malicious).
The wicked fever. It attacks the nerves so.
Doesn’t it, Princess?

4QUEEN. How I wished to visit Fault of You, dear. But that, you know, is not permitted.

5OLIVAREZ. The Princess Eboli, however, suffered No want of company—

6QUEEN. That I can believe.
What’s wrong? You’re trembling.

7EBOLI. Nothing, Madame, nothing
[2790] At all. I beg permission to withdraw—

  • 85 A high stool on which certain noblewomen were permitted to be seated in the presence of a queen.

8QUEEN. You’ve
Not told us just how ill you are? You find
It hard to stand? Here, Countess. Help her to
A tabouret.

9EBOLI. I need fresh air. (She goes off.)

10QUEEN. Go with
Her, Countess. What a change in her!
(A Page enters and speaks with the Duchess, who turns to the Queen.)

11OLIVAREZ. The Marquis
Posa, Your Majesty. He comes here from
His Majesty the King.

12QUEEN. Say I await him.
(The Page goes off, opening the door to the Marquis.)

Scene Two

13Marquis Posa. As above.

14The Marquis drops to one knee before the Queen, who signals him to stand.

15QUEEN. What orders from my Lord? I’m openly to—

16MARQUIS. My errand intends Your Majesty alone.
(The Queen signals her Ladies, who remove themselves.)

Scene Three

17The Queen. Marquis Posa.

18QUEEN (amazed).
What’s this? Am I to believe my eyes, Marquis?
[2800] Dispatched to see me by the King?

19MARQUIS. Does that seem
So very curious to Your Majesty?
To me it’s not at all.

20QUEEN. The world has slipped
Out of its orbit. He and you? I must

21MARQUIS. That it sounds more than strange? That may
Well be, my Queen. The present moment is
Fertile in many more miraculous things.

22QUEEN. Hardly in greater.

  • 86 Posa’s hypotheticals are not altogether without basis in fact. The passage bears close reading.

23MARQUIS. What if I had been
Converted finally? What if I had tired
Of playing the eccentric here at Court?
[2810 Eccentric! What’s the use of that? One who
Would make himself of use to mankind must
Try to make himself equal to them first.
Why wear the showy costume of a sect?
What if—Who is so free of vanity
That he would not solicit for his beliefs?
What if I went about with the intention
Of setting mine upon a throne?

24QUEEN. Oh, no. Not
Even in jest, Marquis, would I want to
Impute this boyish fantasy to you.
[2820] You’re not the dreamer who’d begin something
That never can be ended.

25MARQUIS. That precisely
Would be the question, it would seem.

26QUEEN. The most
I could impute to you, Marquis—what could
Estrange me from you almost, would be—would be—

27MARQUIS. Duplicity. Could be.

  • 87 The Queen’s first expression of her reservations about Posa.

28QUEEN. Unforthrightness,
At least.
87 The King, I doubt not, didn’t send
You here for what you’re going to say.


30QUEEN. Tell me:
Can a good cause ennoble doubtful means?
And can—forgive me my uncertainty—
[2830] Your noble pride lend itself to this office?
I scarcely believe it.

31MARQUIS. Nor do I, assuming
The matter here were to deceive the King.
That’s not what I intend. Instead, I think
To serve him so more honestly than he
Has charged me.

32QUEEN. In that I recognize you. But
Enough of these things! What is on his mind?

33MARQUIS. The King’s? It seems that I’ll soon be avenged
On my most stringent judge. What I’m in no
Great hurry to relate, Your Majesty,
[2840] It seems, is in much smaller hurry yet
To hear. Heard, however, it must be!
The Monarch calls upon Your Majesty
Not to receive the French ambassador
Today. This was my charge. It’s now discharged.

34QUEEN. That,
Marquis, is all you have to tell me from him?

35MARQUIS. It is more or less all by which I have
A right to be here.

36QUEEN. I shall be content not
To know what must perhaps be kept from me—

37MARQUIS. It must, my Queen. Were you not you, I’d hasten
[2850] To tell you a few things, to warn of certain
Persons. That needn’t be in your case, though.
Danger may dawn and set around you, you need
Know nothing of it. None of this deserves
To chase sweet sleep from your angelic eyelids.
That, furthermore, is not what brings me here.
Prince Carlos—

38QUEEN. How did you leave him?

  • 88 Galileo is meant here.

39MARQUIS. Why, like
The only wise man of his time for whom
It has been made a crime to worship truth,
His high heart no less fixed than was that man’s
[2860] On dying for his love. I bring few words;
he is. (He gives the Queen a letter.)

40QUEEN (having read the letter).
He must speak with me, he says.

41MARQUIS. I say so, too.

42QUEEN. Will it make him more happy
To see with his own eyes that I am not?

  • 89 What follows here is Posa’s suppressed thought toward the end of Act II: “a wild thought, a bold an (...)

43MARQUIS. Not happier but more active, more determined.89
(The Queen makes a questioning gesture.)
Duke Alba has been named for Flanders.

44QUEEN. Named. So
I hear.

45MARQUIS. The King can never countermand.
We know him. This is also true: the Prince
Cannot remain here, certainly not now,
And Flanders can’t be sacrificed.

46QUEEN. Can you
[2870] Prevent it?

47MARQUIS. Yes. Perhaps. The means perhaps is
No better than the threat—a desperation.
I know none other.

48QUEEN. Name it me.

49MARQUIS. To you
And you alone, my Queen, dare I reveal it.
Only from you can Carlos hear it, un-
Appalled. The name it will acquire, however,
Sounds rather rude—

50QUEEN. Rebellion—

  • 90 This thought, mentioned only here, would seem to be the intention of Posa’s attempt to reorient the (...)

51MARQUIS. The Prince
Must fall away from Philip. He’s to go
To Brussels secretly, where Flanders awaits
Him. All the Netherlands will rise up at
[2880] His word, and their good cause is strengthened by a
King’s son. Let his arms shake the Spanish throne.
And what the King refused him in Madrid
He’ll grant him once in Brussels.

52QUEEN. You have spoken
To him today and you can say that?

53MARQUIS. Because
I spoke to him today.

54QUEEN (after a pause). The plan that you
Propose alarms and—charms me. You, I believe,
Are not mistaken. The idea is bold—
That’s why it pleases me. I’ll mull it over.
The Prince knows it?

55MARQUIS. I thought he’d hear it first
[2890 From you.

56QUEEN. A grand idea, no question! If
His youth—

  • 91 William, Prince of Orange, champion of the Protestant cause in the Netherlands.

57MARQUIS. Will do no harm. He’ll find an Egmont,
A Prince of Orange
91 there, Emperor Charles’fine fighters,
Clever in Cabinet, fearsome in the field.

58QUEEN (vivid). No! The idea is grand and fine. The Prince
Must act. I feel that keenly. For the role
One sees him play here in Madrid oppresses
Me in his place. France I can promise him,
Savoy, too. I’m of your opinion, Marquis:
He must take action. But the scheme takes money—

59[2900] MARQUIS. That too is ready—

60QUEEN. I know ways—

61MARQUIS. You’ll let me
Encourage him about a meeting?

62QUEEN. I’ll give
It thought.

63MARQUIS. He presses me for a reply,
Your Majesty. I promised not to come
Back empty.
(Offering his writing tablet.)
Two lines? That’s enough—

64QUEEN (after she has written). Shall I
See you again?

65MARQUIS. As often as you command.

66QUEEN. As often as I—Marquis, how am I
To understand this freedom?

67MARQUIS. Harmlessly,
As you are wont to. We enjoy it. That’s
Enough. For you, my Queen, enough.

68QUEEN (concluding). What joy,
[2910] Should freedom find this refuge yet in Europe!
Find it through
him! Count on my silent support.

69MARQUIS (with fire). I knew it—knew I’d meet with understanding.
(Duchess Olivarez appears in the doorway.)

70QUEEN (stiffly). All things that reach me from my lord the King
I humbly honor with the force of law.
Go now. Assure him of my deep submission.
(She signals him to go.)

71A gallery

Scene Four

72Carlos and Count Lerma

73CARLOS. Here we’ll not be disturbed. What would you tell me?

74LERMA. Your Highness had a friend here at this Court.

75CARLOS (startled). Unknown to me? What is it that you mean?

76LERMA. I beg your pardon that I heard more than 2920 I ought. To reassure Your Highness, I Have it from trusted hands, that is, my own.

77CARLOS. Who’re We speaking of?

78LERMA. Of Marquis Posa—

79CARLOS. Well?

80LERMA. If he should know more of Your Highness than He ought, as I must almost fear—

81CARLOS. How fear?

82LERMA. He saw the King.


84LERMA. Two full hours it lasted— A very private conversation.

85CARLOS. Really?

86LERMA. And no small matter.

87CARLOS. That I believe.

88LERMA. Your name Was often mentioned.

89CARLOS. No bad sign, I hope.

90LERMA. This morning in his Majesty’s bedchamber 2930 The Queen was mentioned too, was mentioned strangely.

91CARLOS (taking a step back).
Count Lerma?

92LERMA. When the Marquis went away, I Was ordered to admit him henceforth unAnnounced.

93CARLOS (pauses in surprise). Truly that is much.

94LERMA. Without
Example, Prince, in all my royal service.

95CARLOS. Much! Truly much! And how—how did you say
The Queen was mentioned?

96LERMA (stepping back). No, Prince. That’s against
My duty.

97CARLOS. Strange! You tell me one thing and
Withhold another?

  • 92 Lerma is distinguished by his loyalty.

98LERMA. I owed you the first, the
Second I owe the King.

99CARLOS. Quite right.

100LERMA. The Marquis
[2940] I’ve always known as man of honor.

101CARLOS. You
Have known him well, then.

102LERMA. Every virtue, though,
Is spotless, till it’s tested.

103CARLOS. Here and elsewhere.

104LERMA. A great king’s favor, I should think, deserves
The question. On this golden hook strong virtue
Itself is captured.

105CARLOS. That is true.

106LERMA. And it is
Wise to disclose what cannot be kept secret.

107CARLOS. Yes, wise. But, as you say, you’ve known the Marquis
As man of honor?

108LERMA. If he still is, then
My doubts make him no worse, and you, my Prince,
[2950] Win doubly. (He is about to go.)

109CARLOS (follows him, touched, and presses his hand).
Triply, worthy noble man.
I’m richer by one friend and it does not
Cost me the one I had already.

110(Lerma goes off.)

Scene Five

111Marquis Posa comes through the gallery. Carlos.

112MARQUIS. Karl! Karl!

113CARLOS. Who’s calling? Oh, it’s you. Quite right. I’ll rush
Ahead and see you in the cloister.
(About to go.)

114MARQUIS. Stay!
Two minutes only.

115CARLOS. And if they surprised us?

116MARQUIS. They won’t though. All we need is just two seconds.
The Queen—

117CARLOS. You’ve been to see my father? Have you?

118MARQUIS. He summoned me, yes.

119CARLOS (expectantly). And?

120MARQUIS. It’s all arranged: You’ll see her.

121CARLOS. And the King? What is it that
The King wants?

122MARQUIS. Him? Not much. Just curious. Wanted
To find out who I am. Unbidden zeal
Of some good friends. Whatever. Offered me
His service.

123CARLOS. You refused?

124MARQUIS. Why not?

125CARLOS. How did You part?

126MARQUIS. On good terms.

127CARLOS. And no talk of me?

128MARQUIS. Of you? Oh, yes. In general.
(He takes out his notebook and gives it to the Prince.)
For the moment,
Two lines the Queen has sent you. I’ll know when
And where tomorrow—

129CARLOS (reads, distracted, pockets the notebook, and is about to go)
We’ll meet at the priory?

130MARQUIS. But what’s your hurry? No one’s coming.

131CARLOS (with a forced smile). Have
We really switched our roles? Today it’s you
[2970] Who feel so safe.

132MARQUIS. Today? But why today?

133CARLOS. What does the Queen write me?

134MARQUIS. But you’ve just read
What she has written.

135CARLOS. Have I? Oh, yes.

136MARQUIS. What’s
The matter? What is this?

  • 93 Posa has finally succeeded in changing the subject.

137CARLOS (reads the note again; charmed and fiery).93
Oh, heavenly angel!
I will be—will be—worthy of you. Love
Makes great souls greater. Be it what it may,
you bid me, I do. She writes me to
Prepare for great decisions. What’s her meaning?
Do you know?

138MARQUIS. If I know, Karl, are you of
A mind to hear?

139CARLOS. I have offended you?
[2980] I was distracted. Do forgive me, Roderick.

140MARQUIS. Distracted? And by what?

141CARLOS. By—I don’t know.
The notebook is now mine?

142MARQUIS. Well, not exactly.
Rather, I’ve come to ask for yours.

143CARLOS. For mine?
But why?

144MARQUIS. For every little thing you have
That can’t fall into strangers’hands—for letters,
Drafts, too, in short for your whole note case—

145CARLOS. But why?

146MARQUIS. It’s just in case. Who’s sure against surprise?
I’ll not be searched. Give here.

147CARLOS (very uneasy). This is too strange.
Why suddenly this—

148MARQUIS. Do not worry. I’m
[2990] Not hinting anything. It’s caution before
The danger. I have no wish to alarm you.

149CARLOS (surrendering his note case).
Do keep it safe.

150MARQUIS. Indeed I shall.

151CARLOS (with a meaningful glance). Roderick,
I give you much.

152MARQUIS. Less than I have already.
And here, the rest. For now, farewell! Farewell!
(He is about to go.)

153CARLOS (struggling with himself, calls after him).
Give me the letters just a moment. There
Is one from her to me at Alcala, when
I nearly died. I kept it ever after.
To part with it just now is more than hard.
Just leave me that one. You can take the rest.
(He takes out the letter and returns the note case.)

154[3000] MARQUIS. Unwillingly, Karl. Just this letter is
The one I wanted most to keep.

155CARLOS. Farewell!
(He moves away slowly. On the threshold he stops and turns;
bringing back the letter.)
Here. Take it.
(His hand shakes. He bursts into tears and falls into the Marquis’s
He can’t do it, can he, Roderick?
My father cannot do it, can’t do

156(He goes off quickly.)

Scene Six

157The Marquis looks after him, astonished.

  • 94 Posa has said much the same thing to the Queen. See above, scene 3, lines 2852–2853.

158It’s possible? Could this be? I’d have known him
But incompletely? Not entirely? In
His heart I’d missed this wrinkle? Truly missed it?
Mistrust toward his one friend? But no. Not that.
That’s calumny. What has he done that I,
The weakest of the weak, should fault him for it?
[3010] What I blame him for, that I shall— (Pause.) Put off—It
May put him off. That I can believe. But when
Did he assume this closed demeanor toward
His friend?
(Pause.) And cause him pain. That I can’t spare you.
I must go on tormenting your good soul, Karl.
The King gave credence to the vessel where he’d
Conferred his sacred secret; credence lays claim
To gratitude. And what would chatter count for,
Say, if my silence didn’t cause you pain?
It spares you pain perhaps? Why show the sleeper
[3020] The thundercloud that hangs above his head?
I make it pass. You, waking, see bright skies.
(He goes off.)

159The King’s private study

Scene Seven

160The King, seated in a chair; beside him, the Infanta Clara Eugenia.

161KING (after a deep silence).
No. It is nonetheless my daughter. How
Can Nature lie with such a show of truth?
Blue eyes like these are mine. Do I not see
Myself expressed in each one of these features?
Child of my love is what thou art. I press
Thee to my heart. Th’art my own blood.
(He stops suddenly.) My blood!
Is that not what I fear the most? My features,
Are they not
his no less than mine?
(He has picked up the medallion and looks from it into a mirror opposite.
He finally throws it on the floor, stands up, and pushes the Infanta away.)
Off! Off!
[3030] In this abyss I’ll founder.

Scene Eight

162Count Lerma. The King.

163LERMA. Just at this moment
Her Majesty the Queen has come into
The antechamber—

164KING. Now?

165LERMA.—and begs the favor
Of kind admission.

166KING. Now though? Now? At such
An unaccustomed hour? Oh, no! Now I
Can’t see her—not now—

167LERMA. Here is Her Majesty— (He goes off.)

Scene Nine

168The King. The Queen enters. The Infanta.

169The child flies to embrace her mother. The Queen falls to her knees before the King, who stands silent and confused.

170QUEEN. My Lord and my most honored husband, I am
Forced to seek justice at your throne.

171KING. Justice?

172QUEEN. For here at Court I’m met unworthily.
My casket has been broken into—

173KING. What?

174[3040] QUEEN. And objects of great value to me vanished—

175KING. Great value to you—

176QUEEN. By the meaning someone
Brazen and uninformed were able—

177KING. Brazen—
And uninformed—But stand up.

178QUEEN. Not until You’ve bound yourself by promise to extend
Your royal arm and to my satisfaction
Produce the doer of the deed. Which failing,

179KING. Stand up, I say—In this
To separate me from a household that
Harbors a thief—
Position—Stand up—

180QUEEN (stands up). That he is of rank
[3050] Is clear. The casket held both pearls and diamonds.
He was content with letters—

181KING. That I’d like—

182QUEEN. Gladly, my husband. Letters and a medallion
From the Infante.

183KING. From—

184QUEEN. The Infante, your son.

185KING. To you?

186QUEEN. To me.
KING. From the Infante? And you’d
Say that to

187QUEEN. Why not to you, my husband?

188KING. You’d have the face—

  • 95 At the time, just outside Paris and a residence of the French kings.

189QUEEN. What do you mean? I’d think
That you’d remember still the letters that
Don Carlos sent to me at Saint Germain
In keeping with the wishes of both Crowns?
[3060] Whether the portrait that accompanied them
Was stipulated in this liberty
Or if his fervent hope permitted him
This step, I’ll not make bold to judge myself.
If this was excess, the most innocent—
That I can warrant. At the time he’d have had
No way of knowing it was for his mother—
(She notices how affected the King is.)
What’s wrong?
(The Infanta meanwhile has found the medallion on the floor and played with it. She now brings it to the Queen.)

190INFANTA. Look, Mother! The pretty picture—

191QUEEN. Why, my—
(She recognizes the medallion and falls silent. They gaze at one another long and steadily. A great silence.)
In truth, my Lord! This means to test a consort
Seems noble to me and quite kingly. But I’ll
[3070] Allow myself yet one more question.

192KING. It’s
My turn to question.

193QUEEN. My suspicion, at least,
Should cause no injury to guiltless persons.
Thus if this theft was at your orders—

194KING. Yes.

195QUEEN. Then I have no one accuse or to
Regret but
you, to whom that consort was not
Given with whom such means succeed.

196KING. That language,
Madame, is known to me. It’ll not deceive
Me yet again as at Aranjuez.
The Queen, all innocence, so proud in her
[3080] Defense, I know her better—

197QUEEN. What would you say?

198KING. In brief, Madame, and with all clarity:
It’s true, still true, you spoke with no one there?
With no one? True?

199QUEEN. I spoke with the Infante
There, yes.

200KING. So now we know. Such insolence!
So little sparing of my honor!

  • 96 A morning gift is brought a bride by her new husband on the morning after the wedding night.

201QUEEN. Honor?
If honor was endangered there, it was
A greater one than Castile brought me as
A morning gift.

202KING. And why deny it to me?

203QUEEN. Because I’m not accustomed, Sire, to being
[3090] Interrogated in presence of your courtiers,
As if I had done wrong. I’ll not deny
The truth if it’s demanded decently.
Was that the tone I heard Your Majesty
Adopt with me there in Aranjuez?
The lords of Spain compose a fitting tribunal
Before which queens account for their small deeds?
I gave the Prince the meeting he’d requested
With urgency. I did it, Husband, because
I wanted to, because I’ll not set custom
[3100] As arbiter of what I know is blameless.
And I concealed it there because I had no
Desire to quarrel with Your Majesty
For such a liberty before my suite.

204KING. You’re speaking boldly, Madame, very—

205QUEEN. Also,
I want to add, because his father’s heart scarce
Affords the Infante fairness he deserves.

206KING. That he deserves?

207QUEEN. For why should I conceal it,
Sire? I prize him and love him as my dearest
Kin, once found worthy of a name more dear still.
[3110] I’ve not yet learned to understand why he
Should now be stranger to me than all others
Because he once was dearer than all others.
If your state maxims would forge bonds just as
They choose, they ought find it harder to
Dissolve them. I’ll not hate whom I’m appointed
To. Now I’m finally forced to speak, I’ll not—I’ll
Not see my choice as bound.

  • 97 The King said much same thing to Alba at the outset of this marital crisis. See Act III, scene 3, l (...)

208KING. Elisabeth!
You’ve seen me at weak moments. That makes you
So bold. You trust in powers you have tested
[3120] Often enough on my firm will. Thus you
Should fear the more. For what’s brought me to weakness
Can also bring me to unbridled rage.

209QUEEN. What is my crime?

210KING (taking her hand). If it should be—and is
It not already?—if the measure of
Your heaped up fault should grow by one hair’s breadth,
If I’m the one’s deceived—
(He lets her hand fall.)
I can stamp out this
Last weakness, can and will. Then woe betide
Us both, Elisabeth!

211QUEEN. What is my crime?

212KING. Then let blood flow—

213QUEEN. It’s come to that? God!

214KING. Myself
[3130] I hardly know, no custom do I honor,
No voice of Nature and no treaty of
The nations—

215QUEEN. I lament Your Majesty.

216KING (beside himself). Lament? The sympathy of a loose woman—

217INFANTA (clinging to her mother).
The King is angry and my mother’s weeping.
(The King pushes the child roughly away from her mother.)

218QUEEN (gently and with dignity, her voice trembling).
I’ll not let this child be mishandled. Come,
My daughter.
(She picks up the child.)
If the King won’t know you, I must
Call sureties from beyond the Pyrenees to
Defend our cause.
(She is about to go.)

219KING (abashed). My Queen?

220QUEEN. I’m at a loss.
This is too much.
(She moves toward the door and falls at the threshold, the child in her arms.)

221KING (rushing to her, dismayed).
What’s this?

222INFANTA (cries out, frightened). My mother’s bleeding! (She runs out.)

223KING (anxiously attending her).
[3140] How dreadful! Blood! Have I deserved this? Stand up.
Collect yourself. They’re coming! Do stand up!
Is my whole Court to see this spectacle?
I have to beg you to stand up?

224(She gets up, helped by the King.)

Scene Ten

225As above. Alba, Domingo enter, alarmed. Ladies follow.

226KING. The Queen’s
Not well. Let her be brought to her apartments.
(The Queen goes off, accompanied by her Ladies. Alba and Domingo approach the King.)

227ALBA. The Queen in tears, blood on her face—

228KING. Amazing
The devils who’ve misled me.


230KING. Who’ve said
Enough to make me wild and nothing to
Persuade me.

231ALBA. What we know, we said.

232KING. May Hell
Give you its thanks. I rue what I have done.
[3150] Was that the language of a guilty conscience?

233MARQUIS POSA (still behind the scene).
May one approach the King?

Scene Eleven

234Marquis Posa. As above.

235KING (rising quickly on hearing the Marquis’s voice and going toward him).
Ah! There he is!
I welcome you, Marquis. Duke Alba, I’ve
No further need of you now. Leave us.

236(Alba and Domingo look at one another in wonderment and leave the scene.)

Scene Twelve

237The King and Marquis Posa

238MARQUIS. Sire!
The old man who faced death for you in twenty
Battles will find it hard to be dismissed
In such a fashion!

239KING. Marquis, it behooves
You to
think so, to act so behooves me.
What you’ve become to me in a few hours
He’d not become in a whole generation.
[3160] I make no secret of my grace and favor;
The seal and signal of your King’s good will
Shall shine both far and wide from your bright forehead.
The man I’ve chosen for a friend—I’ll see
Him envied.

240MARQUIS. Even if obscurity
Alone has made him worth that name?
KING. What brings
You to me?

241MARQUIS. As I crossed the antechamber
I heard a rumor that I could not believe—
A quarrel—blood—the Queen—

242KING. You come from there?
MARQUIS. Appalling, were the rumor not mistaken,
[3170] Had something taken place here—Most important
Discoveries I have made change all.

243KING. Well?

244MARQUIS. I found
Occasion to remove the Prince’s note case,
With papers that, I hope, throw light—
(He gives Carlos’s note case to the King.)

245KING (searching the case eagerly). A letter
From Emperor Charles, my father—How’s that? I
Don’t think I’ve ever known of it till now?
(He skims it, lays it aside, hurries through the other papers.)
Plans for a fortress—Tacitus in excerpts—
What’s this now? I should know this hand! It’s from
A lady.
(He reads attentively, softly and aloud by turns.)
“This key—rearward doors—pavilion—
The Queen”—What’s this? “Here love can confess freely—
[3180] A hearing—rich reward”—Satanic treachery!
Oh, now I know. It’s her. It’s
her hand.

The Queen’s? Impossible that—

247KING. Of the Princess
Of Eboli—

248MARQUIS. It would be true, then, what
The page Henarez told me recently,
Who brought the letter and the key.

249KING (seizing the Marquis’s hand, much aroused).
I find myself in the most frightful hands!
This wench—I do confess it—Marquis, hear
Me: this wench forced the casket of the Queen.
She was the first to come and warn me. Who knows
[3190] How much the monk may know about this. I
Have been misled by pure malicious roguery.

250MARQUIS. Then it is well that—

251KING. Marquis, I begin
To fear I’ve gone too far here with my wife.

  • 98 But see above, scene 3, lines 2876–2881.

252MARQUIS. If there has been a secret understanding
Between the Crown Prince and the Queen, it was
Of far, far different nature than was said.
I have reliable report the Prince’s
Wish to be sent to Flanders leads back to
The Queen.

253KING. I’ve always thought it did.

254MARQUIS. The Queen’s
[3200] Ambitious. If I may say more: She sees
Herself deceived in her proud hope, sees herself
Excluded from a part in ruling. There
The Prince’s fervid youth gave her the means
For her far-reaching plans. Her heart, however—
I doubt, I truly doubt that she can love.

255KING. Her great plans for the State don’t frighten me.

256MARQUIS. If she is loved? If something worse is to
Be feared of the Infante? This question seems
To me worth a pursuit. For here, I think,
[3210] A stricter vigilance is needed—

257KING. You
Must answer for him.

258MARQUIS (after reflecting). If Your Majesty
Should find me fit to exercise this office,
Then I must ask that it be put
In my hands.

259KING. That shall be.

260MARQUIS. At least that no
Assistant, of whatever name, disturb me
In undertakings I’d consider needful—

261KING. There’ll be none. That I promise. You were my
Good angel. How much thanks I owe you for what
You tell me!
(To Lerma, who enters at these last words.)
How did you last find the Queen?

262[3220] LERMA. Deeply exhausted still from having fainted.
(He gives the Marquis a doubtful look and goes out.)

263MARQUIS (after a pause).
One more precaution would, I think, be called for.
The Prince, I fear, can yet receive a warning.
He has good friends in number, contact, too,
Perhaps with Ghent and the rebellion. Fear could
Lead to his undertaking desperate designs.
Thus I’d advise preventive measures—

264KING. Quite right.
But what?

265MARQUIS. A secret warrant for arrest
In my possession, to be used in an
Emergency, a royal warrant—
(The King seems to hesitate.)

Would be state secret until—

266KING (going to his writing desk). The whole realm
Is now at risk. Extraordinary measures
In face of urgent danger. Here, Marquis.
I needn’t tell you to use caution—

267MARQUIS (receiving the warrant). In
Extremis, Majesty.

268KING (laying a hand on his shoulder). Now go, Marquis,
Restore peace to my heart, sleep to my nights.

269(They go off to different sides.)

Scene Thirteen

270A gallery
Carlos enters in great anxiety. Lerma comes to meet him.

271CARLOS. It’s you I’m looking for.

272LERMA. And I for you.

273CARLOS. It’s true? In God’s name, is it true?

274LERMA. What then?

275CARLOS. That he unsheathed his dagger at her and
That she was carried bleeding from the room?
[3240] By all that’s sacred answer me!

276LERMA. She fell
Fainting and grazed herself in falling, that
Is all.

277CARLOS. And otherwise she’s not in danger?

278LERMA. The Queen is not. But you are all the more.

279CARLOS. My mother’s not! Oh, God be praised! I heard
The King was raging against child and mother,
Some secret was exposed.

280LERMA. That last can well
Be true—

281CARLOS. Be true? How so?

282LERMA. My Prince, one warning
I’ve given you today, which you despised.
Use this one better.

283CARLOS. How?

284LERMA. If I’m not wrong, Prince,
[3250] I saw you recently, a letter case
Of sky blue velvet in your hand, all worked
With gold thread.

285CARLOS (uneasy). Such a one is mine. And so?

286LERMA. A silhouette encased in pearls as cover?

287CARLOS. Exactly.

288LERMA. Just now when I entered the
King’s private study unannounced, I thought
I saw the same one in his hand. The Marquis
Was standing there beside him.

289CARLOS (after a stunned silence, brusquely).
That is not true.

290LERMA (insulted). Then I’m a liar.

291CARLOS (staring at him). You are one.

292LERMA. I forgive that.

293CARLOS (walks up and down, much aroused, then halts before Lerma).
How has he ever harmed you? What have bonds
[3260] Like ours done you that you should want to break them?

294LERMA. I honor pain that makes you unjust, Prince.

295CARLOS. Oh, God protect me from suspicion!

Recall the King’s own words: What thanks, he said
As I came in, I owe for what you tell me.

297CARLOS. Oh, quiet! Quiet!

298LERMA. Duke Alba’s fallen, they say,
And Prince Ruy Gomez stripped of the Great Seal;
It’s been awarded the Marquis—

299CARLOS (baffled). And I
Heard nothing? Why’d he tell
me nothing?

300LERMA. The
Whole Court’s agape, thinks he’s almighty minister
[3270] And boundless darling of—

301CARLOS. He loved me, truly
Loved me, as dearly as his life. I have
A thousand proofs of that. But shouldn’t millions,
His country, too, mean more than merely
His bosom was too large for one sole friend,
And Carlos’ fortunes too small for his love.
He’s sacrificed me to his higher calling.
Can I reproach him for that? It is certain,
Now it is more than certain: I have lost him.
(He goes to the side and covers his face.)

302LERMA (after a silence).
My best of Princes, what can I do for you?

303CARLOS (without looking at him).
[3280] Go to the King, betray me to him, too.
I’ve nothing I can offer.

304LERMA. Would you want to
Await what then may follow?

305CARLOS (supports himself on the balustrade and stares straight ahead).
I have lost him.
And now I have been utterly abandoned.

306LERMA (approaching him, touched).
Do you not want to think of your own welfare?

307CARLOS. Of my own welfare? Excellent man!

308LERMA. And you’ve
No reason to fear for another?

309CARLOS (suddenly roused). God!
What you do not remind me of! My mother!
The letter I gave back to him! Did not
Want him to have and then gave back!
(Walking up and down, wringing his hands.)
How did
[3290] Deserve this of him? Her he could have spared!
Couldn’t he, Lerma?
(Suddenly resolved.) I must get to her,
Must warn her, must prepare her. Who to send?
Do I have no one anymore? Aha!
is someone. Thank God for that! One friend.
And I have nothing more to lose.
(He rushes off.)

310LERMA (follows him and calls). Prince! Where to? (Exit.)

Scene Fourteen

311A room in the Queen’s apartments
The Queen. Alba. Domingo.

312ALBA. If it is granted us, my Gracious Queen—

313QUEEN. What would oblige you?

314DOMINGO. True alarm about
The noble person of Your Majesty
Forbids us to conceal an incident
[3300 That threatens your security.

315ALBA. We rush
To warn you, break up a complot against you—

316DOMINGO. To lay our zealous service at your feet.

317QUEEN (looking at them with wonderment).
Most Reverend Father, and you, noble Duke,
You take me by surprise, for I did not
Suspect the presence of devotion of
This order in Domingo and Duke Alba.
I know to value it. You speak of a
Complot? Am I to know—

318ALBA. We bid you take
Precaution with a Marquis Posa, who serves
[3310] His Majesty the King in secret things.

319QUEEN. I’m pleased to hear the Monarch’s chosen well.
The Marquis is long known to me as a
Good man, indeed a great one. Never was
The very highest favor shown more justly—

320DOMINGO. More justly? Oh, no. We know better.

321ALBA. It’s no
Secret how this man lets himself be used.

322QUEEN. What?
May I know more? You make me curious.

Your Majesty looked in your casket lately?

324QUEEN. What?

325DOMINGO. Did you miss nothing there of value?

326QUEEN. How so?
[3320] What I miss there is known to my whole Court.
But Marquis Posa? What’s he doing here?

327ALBA. Rather a lot, Your Majesty. The Prince, too,
Has missed important papers, seen today in
The King’s hands, when the Knight had secret audience.

328QUEEN (having reflected).
Most strange, by God, and very odd! I find
A foe here whom I never dreamt and friends
I don’t recall I ever had. For truly,
(with a penetrating gaze at both)
I must confess I was in danger of
Forgiving you the bad turn done me with
[3330] My Lord.

329ALBA. Us?

330QUEEN. You.

331DOMINGO. Duke Alba! Us!

332QUEEN (still gazing at them). How glad
I am to’ve seen my haste in timely fashion.
Still, I’d resolved to ask His Majesty to
Bring forward my accuser here today.
So much the better now! I can now cite
Duke Alba’s witness,

333ALBA. Witness? Mine?

334QUEEN. Why not?

335DOMINGO. Undo the hidden service—

336QUEEN. Hidden service?
(Proud and grave.)
I’d like to know, Duke Alba, what it is
That your King’s wife would have to settle with you,
Or with
you, Priest, of which her husband’s to
[3340] Know nothing. Am I innocent or guilty?

337DOMINGO. You ask!

338ALBA. And if the King were less than just?
At least in this case.

339QUEEN. I must wait then till
He’s just again. A blessing on the one
Who benefits when he once more becomes so!

340(She bows to them and goes off. They go off to the other side.)

341Princess Eboli’s room

Scene Fifteen

342Princess Eboli. Then Carlos.

343EBOLI. Can it be true—the extraordinary news
That fills the Court?

344CARLOS (entering). Don’t let me startle you,
Princess. I’ll be as gentle as a child.

345EBOLI. Prince—this surprise—

346CARLOS. Are you offended still?
Yet still?

347EBOLI. Prince!

348CARLOS (insistent). Are you still offended, Princess?
[3350] Please tell me.

349EBOLI. How am I to understand this?
You seem to have forgotten, Prince—What do
You want of me?

350CARLOS (seizing her hand). Can you hate me forever?
Offended love cannot forgive?

351EBOLI (trying to pull back her hand). What you
Make me remember, Prince!

352CARLOS. Your kindness, Princess,
And my ingratitude. I know, I know!
I’ve hurt you, Girl, I forced tears from these angel’s
Eyes. And I’ve not come now to say I’m sorry.

353EBOLI. Prince, let me go—

354CARLOS. I’ve come because you are
A gentle girl, because I’m counting on your
[3360] Sweet nature, on your goodness. Listen, my girl,
I have no friend in all the world but you.
You liked me once, and you’ll not always hate me,
Be always unforgiving.

355EBOLI (turning her face away). Oh, be quiet!
No more, for God’s sake, Prince.

356CARLOS. Let me remind
You of that Golden Age, remind you of
Your love for me and my unworthy answer.
Let me make good what I once meant to you,
My girl, and what your heart’s dreams gave me. This once,
This once, imagine me as I was to
[3370] You then and give this figment what you never
Can give to me again.

357EBOLI. Oh, Carlos, how
You toy with me!

  • 99 These unpleasant sentiments belong to an ancient catalogue of commonplaces about the nature of wome (...)

358CARLOS. Be greater than your sex99
And do what woman never did before you
And never will again. I ask of you
Unheard of things, on bended knee I ask:
Forget the insults, let me see my mother,
Two minutes, for two minutes.
(He kneels before her.)

Scene Sixteen

359As above. Marquis Posa bursts into the room, followed by two Officers of the Royal Bodyguard.

360MARQUIS (throwing himself between them, breathless).
What has he
Admitted? Do not believe him.

361CARLOS (still on his knees, raising his voice). I entreat you
By all—

362MARQUIS (vehemently). He’s mad! Don’t listen to this madman.

363CARLOS (louder and more urgent).
[3380] It’s life or death. Just bring me to her.

364MARQUIS (pulling the Princess away with force). If
You hear him, I shall murder you. In the
Name of the King.
(He shows the warrant.)
(To one of the Officers.) Count Cordua, the Prince is
Your prisoner.
(Carlos stands thunderstruck. The Princess screams and tries to escape. The Officers show astonishment. A long pause. The Marquis, trembling and hardly in command of himself, turns to the Prince.)
I request your sword. You, Princess,
Must stay.
(To the Officer.) You warrant that His Highness speaks
To no one—even you—on pain of death!
(He speaks a few words with the Officer, then turns to the others.)
I go to give account before the King
(to Carlos)
And you. Expect me in an hour, my Prince.
(Carlos, wordless, lets himself be led away. He casts one dying glance at the Marquis, who conceals his face. The Princess tries once more to escape; the Marquis leads her back by the arm.)

Scene Seventeen

365Princess Eboli. Marquis Posa.

366EBOLI. By all that’s sacred, let me go! Oh, let
Me leave this place, let go!

367MARQUIS (bringing her far forward, with deadly earnest).
What did he tell you,
[3390] Unhappy creature?

368EBOLI. Nothing. Let me go—

369MARQUIS (holding her back by force; yet more earnest).
How much have you found out? You will not get
Away from me. And you’ll not tell it to
Another living soul, no more.

370EBOLI (looking him in the face, frightened). Dear God!
What do you mean by that? You wouldn’t kill me—

371MARQUIS (drawing a dagger).
In fact, I am much minded to do so.
Be quick now.

372EBOLI. Me you’d kill? Me? What have I done?
Oh, God of Mercy!

373MARQUIS (holding the dagger against her breast).
There’s still time. You’ve not
Spilled anything just yet. I’ll smash the jar
And all remains the same. That’s how it is:
[3400] The fate of Spain against a woman’s life!
(He holds his position, still uncertain.)

374EBOLI (sinks against him and looks him square in the face).
What are you waiting for then? I’ll not beg
For mercy. I’ve deserved to die, deserve
To and I want to.

  • 100 Another turning of the plot, again suppressed. It will be disclosed in Posa’s long narrative of eve (...)

375MARQUIS (drops his hand and reflects briefly).
That’s as craven as
It is barbaric. No, oh no, indeed.
Praise be to God! There are yet other means!
(He drops the dagger and rushes out. The Princess rushes through another door.)

376A room in the Queen’s apartments

Scene Eighteen

377The Queen to Countess Fuentes.

378Oh, what is all this uproar in the palace?
This clatter here today makes me uneasy.
Countess, do go. See what’s the matter and
Come tell me what it means.

379(Countess Fuentes goes out and Princess Eboli plunges into the room.)

Scene Nineteen

380The Queen. Princess Eboli.

381EBOLI (breathless, pale, disfigured, kneeling before the Queen).
My Queen, oh, help!
[3410] He’s taken prisoner.

382QUEEN. Who?

383BOLI. The Marquis Posa
Just took him prisoner. Orders from the King.

384QUEEN. But who? Who then?

385EBOLI. The Prince.

386QUEEN. Are you quite mad?

387EBOLI. They’ve just now taken him away.

388QUEEN. Who took
Him prisoner?

389EBOLI. Marquis Posa.

390QUEEN. Well, then. God
Be praised that it was Marquis Posa took
Him prisoner!

391EBOLI. You can say that, Queen, so calm,
So cold? Oh, God! You’ve no idea—

392QUEEN. Why he
Was taken prisoner? For some foolishness,
I’d think; he’s young, impulsive—

393EBOLI. No, oh no!
[3420] I know much more. Oh, Queen! A deed too awful!
He’s lost! No saving him! He’ll die!

394QUEEN. He’ll die?

395EBOLI. And I have murdered him!

396QUEEN. He’ll die! But this
Is madness! What can you be thinking?

397EBOLI. And why,
And why he’ll die! If I had only known
That this is what it’d come to!

398QUEEN (taking her kindly by the hand). Princess! Hear me!
You’re still beside yourself. Collect your feelings.
And then speak calmly. Not in dire expression
That makes me shudder. What has happened here?
What is it that you know?

399EBOLI. No more of such
[3430] Angelic condescension, oh, my Queen!
No more such kindness! It burns in my conscience
Like flames of Hell. I am not worthy to raise
My sullied gaze up to your glory. Crush
The wretched one, contrite with rue and shame
And self-contempt, that writhes here at your feet.

400QUEEN. Child, what would you confess to me?

401EBOLI. Oh, angel
Of light, great saint, you don’t suspect the demon
You’ve smiled on. Learn to know him now. I was
The one who robbed you.

402QUEEN. You?

403EBOLI. And then turned over
[3440] Those letters to the King.

404QUEEN. You?

405EBOLI. I made bold to
Accuse you—

406QUEEN. You, you could?

407EBOLI. Revenge. Love. Madness.
I hated you, loved the Infante—

408QUEEN. It was
Because you loved him?

409EBOLI. Because I told him and he
Did not return my love.

410QUEEN (after a silence). Oh, now it all
Makes sense. You loved him. I’ve forgiven all.
Forgotten all. But do stand up.
(She offers her arm.)

411EBOLI. No! No!
I have a terrible confession still
To make. Great Queen, until I—

412QUEEN (attentive). What shall I
Be yet obliged to hear? Come, speak.

413EBOLI. The King—
[3450] Seduction—Do not turn away—I see
Repugnance on your face. The crime that I
you of—is what I have committed.

414(She presses her glowing face against the floor. The Queen goes off. Long pause. Duchess Olivarez comes from the adjoining room, where the Queen has gone, and finds the Princess in her same position. She approaches her without speaking. Hearing her approach, the Princess straightens up, then leaps wildly to her feet when she does not see the Queen.)

Scene Twenty

415Princess Eboli. Duchess Olivarez.

416EBOLI. God! She’s abandoned me! It’s over!

417OLIVAREZ (coming closer). Princess—

418EBOLI. Duchess, I know why you have come. The Queen
Has sent you to tell me my fate. Be quick!

419OLIVAREZ. The Queen commands me to receive your Cross
And keys.

420EBOLI (removing the cross of a religious order and handing it to the Duchess).
It’s granted me to kiss her hand
Once more?

421OLIVAREZ. You’ll hear what’s been decided in
The Cloister of Our Lady.

422EBOLI (bursting into tears). I’ll not see
[3460] The Queen again?

423OLIVAREZ (embraces her without looking at her).
May you live happily!

424(She goes off quickly. The Princess follows her to the door of the adjoining room, which falls to after the Duchess. The Princess kneels before the door, silent and unmoving, then stands up abruptly and hurries away, covering her face.)

Scene Twenty-One

425The Queen. Marquis Posa.

426QUEEN. At last, Marquis! How good that you have come!

427MARQUIS (pale, his features distorted, his voice unsteady, solemn and
deeply moved throughout the scene).
Your Majesty’s alone? No one can hear us
In the adjoining rooms?

428QUEEN. No one. But why?
What news have you?
(She looks at him more closely and steps back, startled.)
But how you’ve changed! What’s this?
You frighten me, Marquis. Yours is the face
Of death—

429MARQUIS. You know already, I presume—

430QUEEN. That Karl’s been taken prisoner, and by you,
They say. It’s true? I’ll believe it only if
You say so.

431MARQUIS. It is true.

432QUEEN. And at your hand?

433[3470] MARQUIS. At mine.

434QUEEN (gazing at him, puzzled).
I honor all your actions, no
Less those I cannot grasp. But do forgive
An anxious woman: Isn’t this a daring

435MARQUIS. Which I have lost.

436QUEEN. Dear God in heaven!

437MARQUIS. Be reassured, my Queen! Provision’s made
him. I’ve lost it for myself.

438QUEEN. What must
I hear! Dear God!

439MARQUIS. For who said I should risk
It all—all—on a single throw? Should tempt
The gods so desperately, so confidently?
Who is the man who would make bold to take
[3480] The helm of chance—and not be one who knows all?
Oh, it is right and proper. But why speak
Of me? For time is precious, like a man’s life!
Who knows if from the Judge’s grudging hand
The last drops are not falling for me?

440QUEEN. Judge’s
Hand? What a solemn tone! I can’t conceive
What this talk means. It scares me—

441MARQUIS. He’s been saved!
Saved at what price—who cares! But only for
Today. He has but little time. Tonight
Yet he must leave Madrid.

442QUEEN. Tonight yet?

[3490] Arrangements have been made. The Mail awaits him
At the same Charterhouse that served our friendship
As refuge. Here are notes for all the wealth
This world has given me. The rest
you will
Provide. And I’d have much to say to him
That he must know. But I may not have leisure
To say all. You will see him here this evening,
And so I turn to you.

444QUEEN. To spare my peace
Of mind, Marquis, speak clearly. No more talk
In riddles. What has happened?

445MARQUIS. I still have
[3500] A great confession to confide in you.
A happiness that’s known to few was mine:
I loved a prince’s son. My heart, devoted
To one alone, embraced the world entire!
In my Karl’s soul I built a paradise
For millions. Oh, what dreams were mine! But it
Pleased Providence to call me early from
My plantings. He’ll not have his Roderick long. His
Friend passes the baton to his Beloved.
Right here, upon this sacred altar, his
[3510] Queen’s heart, I lay my last, most prized bequest,
That he may find it there when I’m no more—
(He turns aside, his voice breaking.)

446QUEEN. That’s how the dying speak. I hope it’s just
Excitement. Or does it have sense?

447MARQUIS (has tried to collect himself and now speaks more resolutely).
Tell him—
The Prince—that he is to recall the oath
That we swore in those rapturous days upon
A Host we shared. My own I’ve kept, been true
To him till death. It’s his turn now—

448QUEEN. Till death?

449MARQUIS. Let him—oh, tell him so—make that dream true, the
Heroic dream of a new state, the godlike
[3520] Child of our friendship. Let him lay first hand
On this yet unhewn stone—to finish it
Or not, let that not matter. He lay hand on.
When centuries have flown past, Providence
Will set a prince’s son, like him, upon
A throne, like his, inspire him with the same
Enthusiasm. Tell him to respect
The dreams of youth when he’s a man, not open
This godly blossom to the deadly insect
Of vaunted better reason, that he should
[3530] Not falter when mere mortal wisdom maligns
Enthusiasm, daughter sent from Heaven.
I told him once before—

450QUEEN. How’s this, Marquis?
Where does it lead—

451MARQUIS. And tell him, too, that I
Lay human happiness upon his soul,
That dying I require it of him, require!
And was entitled to. It would have been
For me to lead in a new morning for
These realms. The King gave me his heart. He called
Me his own son. I am the bearer of
[3540] His seals; his Albas are no more.
(He stops and gazes silently at the Queen.)
You’re weeping?
I know these tears, you lovely soul. It’s joy
That makes these tears flow. But what’s done is done.
It’s Karl or me. The choice was swift and terrible.
And one was lost.
I want to be this one,
Better me. Question me no further.

452QUEEN. I now
Begin to understand. What
have you done?

453MARQUIS. Spent
Two evening hours to save a summer’s day. I
Give up the King. What can I be for him?
In that hard soil no rose will ever bloom.
[3550] The fate of Europe ripens in my great friend!
Spain I commend to him. Till then we’ll let
It bleed in Philip’s hand! But woe betide us,
Both me and him, if I should once regret,
Should find I’d chosen wrong! But no. I know
My Carlos. That will never be. And you,
Queen, are my guarantor!
(After a silence.) I saw it sprout,
This love, saw the most dire of all the passions
Strike root in his young heart. Then it was in
My power to oppose it. I did nothing.
[3560] I fostered it; it favored me. The world
May judge it otherwise; I’ve no regrets.
My heart does not accuse me. I saw life
Where they see death—in this flame without hope
I early saw a beam of hope. I wanted
To lead him on to greatness, raise him to
The highest beauty. Mortalness denied me
An image, language, words, and I turned him
this. All my direction aimed to make
His love more clear to him.

454QUEEN. Marquis, your friend filled
[3570] You so that, over him, you took no thought of
Me. Could you truly believe me loosed from all
My womanness when you made me into
His angel? And added virtue to his weapons?
You’ll not have thought what we risk for our hearts
When we ennoble passion with such names.

455MARQUIS. True of all women save one. I swear by one.
Or are you shamed by the noblest of desires:
To be creator of a hero’s virtue?
Whatever is it to King Philip if his
[3580] Transfiguration in the Escorial
Enflames a painter with eternity? The
Sweet harmony in a stringed instrument,
Does it belong to the buyer who safeguards it
With deaf ears? He’s acquired the right to smash it,
But not the art to call forth its sweet tone
And lose himself in its ecstatic song.
Truth’s there for wise men, beauty for hearts that feel.
You two belong to be one for another.
No craven notions will destroy this belief.
[3590] Promise me to love him forever, not
Tempted by fear of men, false heroism, to
Contemptible denial: always, ever
To love him. Do you promise me, my Queen,
And give your hand?

456QUEEN. My heart, I promise you,
Alone and ever, rules my love.

457MARQUIS (withdrawing his hand). Now I
Can die in peace. My work is done.
(He bows to the Queen and is about to go.)

458QUEEN (following him with her eyes). You’d go,
Marquis, and not tell me when we—how soon—
Shall see each other next?

459MARQUIS (retraces his steps, his gaze averted).
Why, certainly!
We’ll meet again.

460QUEEN. I’ve understood you, Posa—
[3600] Have understood you clearly. Why have you
Done this to me?

461MARQUIS. It’s him or me.

  • 101 See the reservations the Queen expresses at scene 3, above, lines 2828–2830.

462QUEEN. Oh, no!
You’ve flung yourself into this deed, which you
Think is exalted. Don’t deny it. I
Know you! You’ve hungered for this—hungered! Break
A thousand hearts, what do you care, as long
As your own pride is satisfied. Oh, now
I’ve seen you! Paying court to admiration.

463MARQUIS (startled, to himself).
That I was not prepared for. No.

464QUEEN (after a silence). Marquis!
Is nothing to be saved here?

465MARQUIS. Nothing.

466QUEEN. Nothing?
[3610 Consider carefully. Not possibly?
Not through me either?

467MARQUIS. Not through you.

468QUEEN. You know
Me only half. I have much courage.

469MARQUIS. That
I know.

470QUEEN. No saving anything?

471MARQUIS. None.

472QUEEN (quitting him and covering her face).
Go, then!
I value no man anymore.

473MARQUIS (deeply moved, kneeling before her).
My Queen!
Oh, God! Oh, life
is beautiful!

474(He leaps up and goes off quickly. The Queen goes into the adjoining room.)

475The King’s antechamber

Scene Twenty-Two

476Duke Alba and Domingo stand apart and walk silently up and down. Count Lerma emerges from the King’s private study. Then Don Raimond Taxis, postmaster general.

477LERMA. No sign of the Marquis? Still none?

478ALBA. Still none.
(Lerma is about to go in again.)

479TAXIS (entering). Count Lerma, please announce me.

480LERMA. No one sees
The King.

481TAXIS. Say then that I must see him. Matters
Of last importance to His Majesty.
[3620] Be quick. It suffers no delay.
(Lerma goes into the study.)

482ALBA (approaching the Postmaster General).
Dear Taxis,
Accustom yourself to great patience. You’ll
Not see the King—

483TAXIS. And why not?

484ALBA.—had you not
The prudence to agree admission with
The Knight of Posa, who’s made prisoners of
Both son and father.

  • 102 To advance the action quickly, Schiller resorts to a remarkably indiscreet postmaster general.

485TAXIS. Posa? Who? Quite right!
The man from whose hand I received this letter—

486ALBA. Letter? What letter?

487TAXIS. That I was to forward
To Brussels—

488ALBA (alert). Brussels?

489TAXIS. That I bring now to
The King—

490ALBA. You heard that, Chaplain? Brussels!

491DOMINGO (joining them). That
[3630] Is most suspicious.

492TAXIS. And how urgently,
How anxiously was it pressed—

493DOMINGO. Anxiously? So!

494ALBA. To whom is it addressed?

495TAXIS. The Prince of Nassau
And Orange—
ALBA. William? Chaplain, this is treason!

496DOMINGO. What else! Oh, yes, indeed. This letter must be
Turned over to the King. What faithful service
Rendered our King!

497TAXIS. Most Reverend Father, I
Did no more than my duty.

498ALBA. You did well.

499LERMA (emerging from the study, to the Postmaster General).
The King will see you.
(Taxis goes in.)
The Marquis’s not come?

500DOMINGO. They’re looking everywhere.

501ALBA. Most strange, most odd.
[3640] The Prince a prisoner of the State, and even
The King’s uncertain why?

502DOMINGO. He didn’t once
Present himself to give him an account?

503ALBA. How did the King receive all this?

504LERMA. The King has
Not said a word.
(Noise in the study.)

505ALBA. What was that? Still!

506TAXIS (from the study). Count Lerma!
(Both go in.)

507ALBA (to Domingo).
What’s going on here?

508DOMINGO. This tone of pure fright!
This intercepted letter—Duke, I see No good to come of this.

509ALBA. Lerma he calls!
And has to know that you and I are waiting—

510DOMINGO. Our time is past.

511ALBA. Am I not still the one
For whom all doors once opened? Now how changed
It is, how strange it’s all become—

512DOMINGO (has gone quietly to the door and stands listening).

513ALBA (after a pause). It’s As still as death in there. You hear them breathe.

514DOMINGO. The double tapestry—it dampens sound.

515ALBA. Back! Someone’s coming!

516DOMINGO (moving back from the door). All’s so tense and still—
This moment will decide some—

Scene Twenty-Three

517The Prince of Parma, Dukes Feria and Medina Sidonia, with other Grandees, enter. As above.

518PARMA. Is the King

519ALBA. No.

520PARMA. No? Who is with him?

521FERIA. Marquis
Posa, no doubt?

522ALBA. He’s momentarily

523PARMA. We have only just come in
From Saragossa. All Madrid is thunder-
[3660] Struck. Is it true?

524DOMINGO. Alas!

525FERIA. True? He’s arrested?
By the Maltese—

526ALBA. It’s so.

527PARMA. And why? What’s happened?

528ALBA. Why ask? It’s known to none but to the King
And Marquis Posa.

  • 103 The Cortes was a court council composed of noblemen and churchmen.

529PARMA. No consulting with
The Cortes of the realm?

530FERIA. Woe to whoever
Took part in this sedition.

531ALBA. So say I. Woe!



534ALBA. Who’ll follow me into
The study? I shall throw myself at the
King’s feet—

535LERMA (plunging from the study).
Duke Alba!

536DOMINGO. Finally! Praise God!
(Alba hurries in.)

537LERMA (breathless, agitated).
The Maltese, when he comes—the Master’s not
[3670] Alone just now. He’ll have him summoned—

538DOMINGO (to Lerma, as all gather around him curiously).
What’s happened? You’re white as a sheet.

539LERMA (about to hurry away). Infernal!

540PARMA and FERIA. What is? What?

541MEDINA SIDONIA. How’s the King?

542DOMINGO (simultaneous). Infernal? What?

543LERMA. The King wept.

544DOMINGO. Wept?

545ALL (together, embarrassed and astonished).
He wept? The King? He wept?

546(A bell rings in the study. Lerma runs in.)

547DOMINGO (after him, to hold him back).
Count, one more word. One moment, please. He’s gone!

548(They all stand frozen, horrified.)

Scene Twenty-Four

549Princess Eboli. Feria. Medina Sidonia. Parma. Domingo and other Grandees.

550EBOLI (in haste, beside herself).
Where is the King? I have to see him. Where?
(To Feria.)
You, Duke. You’ll bring me to him. Now!

551FERIA. The King
Cannot oblige just now. No one’s to be

552EBOLI. Has he signed the warrant yet?
Oh, he’s been lied to. I can prove it. Lied
[3680] To!

553DOMINGO (signaling her from a distance).
Princess Eboli!

554EBOLI (approaching him). You here? Priest, you’re
The one I need. You’ll vouch for me.
(She seizes his hand to pull him with her into the study.)

555DOMINGO. Me, Princess?
Are you in your right mind?

556FERIA. Stay back. The King will
Not hear you. Not now. No.

557EBOLI. He must hear me.
must hear truth—hear simple truth, and be he
Ten times a god.

558DOMINGO. Stay back! Stay back! Or you
Put everything at risk. Keep yourself back!

559EBOLI. Look! You can tremble at your idol’s rage. I
Myself risk nothing.
(As she is about to enter the study, Duke Alba plunges out.)

560ALBA (his eyes shining, his gait triumphant, hurrying to Domingo and embracing him).
Order a Te Deum
In all the churches. Victory is ours.

561DOMINGO. Ours?

562ALBA (to Domingo and the other Grandees).
[3690] You’ll yet hear more from me. Now to the King.

Duke Alba. Steel engraving by Georges François Louis Jaquemot from a drawing by Arthur von Ramberg. Friedrich Pecht, Schiller-Galerie (Leipzig, 1859),​wiki/​File:Schiller-Galerie_komplett_Bild_18.jpg


85 A high stool on which certain noblewomen were permitted to be seated in the presence of a queen.

86 Posa’s hypotheticals are not altogether without basis in fact. The passage bears close reading.

87 The Queen’s first expression of her reservations about Posa.

88 Galileo is meant here.

89 What follows here is Posa’s suppressed thought toward the end of Act II: “a wild thought, a bold and happy one” (lines 2039–2041).

90 This thought, mentioned only here, would seem to be the intention of Posa’s attempt to reorient the King’s thinking in scene 12, below, but the point is not developed.

91 William, Prince of Orange, champion of the Protestant cause in the Netherlands.

92 Lerma is distinguished by his loyalty.

93 Posa has finally succeeded in changing the subject.

94 Posa has said much the same thing to the Queen. See above, scene 3, lines 2852–2853.

95 At the time, just outside Paris and a residence of the French kings.

96 A morning gift is brought a bride by her new husband on the morning after the wedding night.

97 The King said much same thing to Alba at the outset of this marital crisis. See Act III, scene 3, lines 2169–2170.

98 But see above, scene 3, lines 2876–2881.

99 These unpleasant sentiments belong to an ancient catalogue of commonplaces about the nature of women.

100 Another turning of the plot, again suppressed. It will be disclosed in Posa’s long narrative of events to Carlos, Act V, scene 3.

101 See the reservations the Queen expresses at scene 3, above, lines 2828–2830.

102 To advance the action quickly, Schiller resorts to a remarkably indiscreet postmaster general.

103 The Cortes was a court council composed of noblemen and churchmen.

Table des illustrations

Légende Duke Alba. Steel engraving by Georges François Louis Jaquemot from a drawing by Arthur von Ramberg. Friedrich Pecht, Schiller-Galerie (Leipzig, 1859),​wiki/​File:Schiller-Galerie_komplett_Bild_18.jpg
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