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octavio (introducing MARADAs to Butlem). Don Balthasar Maradas! likewise a man of our stamp, and long ago your admirer. [Butlem bows. octavio (continuing). You are a stranger here—'t was but yesterday you arrived—you are ignorant of the ways and means here. T is a wretched place—I know, at our age, one loves to be snug and quiet—What if you moved your lodgings? —Come, be my visitor. (Burlea makes a low bow). Nay, without compliment —For a friend like you, I have still a corner remaining. nutler (coldly). Your obliged humble servant, my Lord LieutenantGeneral' [The paper comes to Burlem, who goes to the table to subscribe it. The front of the stage is vacant, so that both the Piccolominis, each on the side where he had been from the commencement of the scene, remain alone. octavio (after having some time watched his son in silence, advances somewhat nearer to him). You were long absent from us, friend!
To these enter Illo from the inner room. He has in his hand the golden service-cup, and is extremely distempered with drinking : Goetz and Burlea follow him, endeavouring to keep him back.
ILL0. What do you want? Let me go. Goetz and Butlea. Drink no more, Illo! For heaven's sake, drink no In ore. illo (goes up to Octavio, and shakes him cordially by the hand, and then drinks). Octavio! I bring this to you! Let all grudge be drowned in this friendly bowl! I know well enough, ye never loved me—Devil take me!—and I never loved you!—I am always even with people in that way!—Let what's past be past—that is, you understand—forgotten l I esteem you infinitely. (Embracing him repeatedly). You have not a dearer friend on earth than I–but that you know. The fellow that cries rogue to you calls me villain—and I'll strangle him!—my dear friend! tearsky (whispering to him). Art in thy senses? For heaven's sake, Illo, think where you are! illo (aloud). What do you mean?—There are none but friends here, are there! (Looks round the whole circle with a jolly and triumphant air.) Not a sneaker among us, thank heaven! tearsky (to Burlea, eagerly). Take him off with you, force him off, I entreat you, Butler! butlen (to Illo). Field Marshal! a word with you. (Leads him to the side-board.) illo (cordially). A thousand for one; Fill—Fill it once more up to the brim.—To this gallant man's health' isolani (to Max., who all the while has been staring on the paper with fixed but vacant eyes). Slow and sure, my noble brother?—Hast parsed it all yet?—Some words yet to go through?–Ha! Max. (waking as from a dream). What am I to do? reRTsky, and at the same time isolani. Sign your name. (Octavio directs his eyes on him with intense anxiety). Max. (returns the paper). let it stay till to-morrow. It is business-to-day I am not sufficiently collected. Send it to me to-morrow. TEhtsky. Nay, collect yourself a little. isol. Ani. Awake man! awake!—Come, thy signature, and have done with it! What? Thou art the youngest in the whole company, and wouldst be wiser than all of us together? Look there! thy father has signed—we have all signed. Teatsky (to Octavio). Use your influence. Instruct him. octawio. My son is at the age of discretion. illo (leaves the service-cup on the sideboard). What's the dispute?
reatsky. He declines subscribing the paper. mAx. I say, it may as well stay till to-morrow. it. Lo.
It cannot stay. We have all subscribed to it—and so must you.--You must subscribe. Max. Illo, good night! illoNo! You come not off so! The Duke shall learn who are his friends. (All collect round Illo and MAx.) MAx. What my sentiments are towards the Duke, the Duke knows, every one knows—what need of this wild stuff? illo. This is the thanks the Duke gets for his partiality to Italians and foreigners. —Us Bohemians he holds for little better than dullards—nothing pleases him but what 's outlandish. TERTsky (in extreme embarrassment, to the Commanders, who at Illo's words give a sudden start, as preparing to resent them). It is the wine that speaks, and not his reason. tend not to him, I entreat you. isola Ni (with a bitter laugh). Wine invents nothing : it only tattles. ll. Lo. He who is not with me is against me. Your tender consciences. Unless they can slip out by a back-door, by a puny proviso—— Tearsky (interrupting him). He is stark mad—don't listen to him! illo (raising his voice to the highest pitch). Unless they can slip out by a proviso. —What of the proviso The devil take this proviso! Max. (has his attention roused, and looks again into the paper). What is there here then of such perilous import? You make me curious—I must look closer at it. TERTsky (in a low voice to Illo). What are you doing, Illo? You are ruining us. Tief ENBAch (to Kolarro). Ay, ay! I observed, that before we sat down to supper, it was read differently.
Goetz. Why, I seemed to think so too. isol. ANI.
What do i care for that? Where there stand other
names, mine can stand too. tierexbach.
Before supper there was a certain proviso therein, or
short clause concerning our duties to the Emperor. butler (to one of the commanders).
For shame, for shame! Bethink you. What is the main business here The question now is, whether we shall keep our General, or let him retire. One must not take these things too nicely and over-scrupulously.
isolani (to one of the Generals).
Did the Duke make any of these provisos when he
gave you your regiment?
Or when he gave you the office of army-purveyancer,
which brings you in yearly a thousand pistoles! illo.
He is a rascal who makes us out to be rogues. If
there be any one that wants satisfaction, let him say so, —I am his man. orier ex each. Softly, softly! T was but a word or two. Max. (having read the paper gives it back). Till to-morrow, therefore : illo (stammering with rage and fury, loses all command over himself, and presents the paper to Max. with one hand, and his sword in the other). Subscribe—Judas! isolani. Out upon you, Illo! octavio' Teatsky, burles (all together). Down with the sword ' Max. ( rushes on him suddenly and disarms him, then to Count Tearsky). Take him off to bed. [Max. leaves the stage. Illo cursing and raving is held back by some of the officers, and amidst a universal confusion the Curtain drops.
ACT III. SC E N E I. , A chamber in Piccolomixi's Mansion.—It is Night.
Ocravio Piccolomixi. A Paiet de Chambre, with Lights.
octaw no. ––And when my son comes in, conduct him hither. What is the hour? vallet. 'T is on the point of morning. octavio. Set down the light. We mean not to undress. You may retire to sleep. [Exit Palet. Ocravio paces, musing, across the chamber; Max. Piccolomi Ni enters unobserved, and looks at his father for some moments in silence. Max. Art thou offended with me? Heaven knows That odious business was no fault of mine. 'T is true, indeed, I saw thy signature, What thou hadst sanction'd, should not, it might seem, Have come amiss to me. But—'t is my nature— Thou know'st that in such matters I must follow My own light, not another's. octavio (goes up to him and embraces him). Follow it, 0 follow it still further, my best son! To-night, dear boy! it hath more faithfully Guided thee than the example of thy father. MAx. Declare thyself less darkly. octavio. I will do so. For after what has taken place this night, There must remain no secrets 'twixt us two. [Roth seat themselves. Max. Piccolomini' what thinkest thou of The oath that was sent round for signatures? Max. I hold it for a thing of harmless import, Although I love not these set declarations.
octavio. And on no other ground hast thou refused The signature they fain had wrested from thee? MAX. It was a serious business——I was absent— The affair itself seem'd not so urgent to me.
octavio. Be open, Max. Thou hadst then no suspicion? MAX. Suspicion what suspicion? Not the least. octavio.
Thank thy good angel, Piccolomini: He drew thee back unconscious from the abyss. MAx. I know not what thou meanest. octavio. I will tell thee. Fain would they have extorted from thee, son, The sanction of thy name to villany; Yea, with a single flourish of thy pen, Made thee renounce thy duty and thy honour! Max. (rises). Octavio' octavio. Patience: Seat yourself. Much yet Hast thou to hear from me, friend!—hast for years Lived in incomprehensible illusion. Before thine eyes is Treason drawing out As black a web as e'er was spun for venom : A power of hell o'erclouds thy understanding. I dare no longer stand in silence—dare No longer see thee wandering on in darkness, Nor pluck the bandage from thine eyes. MAX. My father! Yet, ere thou speakest, a moment's pause of thought! If your disclosures should appear to be Conjectures only—and almost I fear They will be nothing further—spare them I Am not in that collected mood at present, That I could listen to them quietly. octavio. The deeper cause thou hast to hate this light, The more impatient cause have I, my son, To force it on thee. To the innocence And wisdom of thy heart I could have trusted thee With calm assurance—but I see the net Preparing—and it is thy heart itself Alarms me for thine innocence—that secret, [Fixing his eye steadfastly on his son's face. Which thou concealest, forces mine from me. [Max. attempts to answer, but hesitates, and casts his eyes to the ground embarrassed. octavio (after a pause). Know, then, they are duping thee!—a most foul game with thee and with us all—nay, hear me calmly— The Duke even now is playing. He assumes The mask, as if he would forsake the army; And in this moment makes he preparations That army from the Emperor to steal, And carry it over to the enemy! Max. That low Priest's legend I know well, but did not Expect to hear it from thy mouth. octaw to. That mouth,
From which thou hearest it at this present moment, Doth warrant thee that it is no Priest's legend. MAX. How mere a maniac they supposed the Duke; What, he can meditate?—the Duke?—can dream That he can lure away full thirty thousand Tried troops and true, all honourable soldiers, More than a thousand noblemen among them, From oaths, from duty, from their honour lure them, And make them all unanimous to do A deed that brands them scoundrels? octavio. Such a deed, With such a front of infamy, the Duke No ways desires—what he requires of us Bears a far gentler appellation. Nothing tle wishes, but to give the Empire peace. And so, because the Emperor hates this peace, Therefore the Duke—the Duke will force him to it. All parts of the Empire will he pacify, And for his trouble will retain in payment (What he has already in his gripe)—Bohemia! MAX. Has he, Octavio, merited of us, That we—that we should think so vilely of him? octavro. What we would think is not the question here, The affair speaks for itself—and clearest proofs! Hear me, my son—"t is not unknown to thee, In what ill credit with the Court we stand. But little dost thou know, or guess, what tricks, What base intrigues, what lying artifices, Have been employed—for this sole end—to sow Mutiny in the camp! All bands are loosedLoosed all the bands, that link the officer To his liege Emperor, all that bind the soldier Affectionately to the citizen. Lawless he stands, and threateningly beleaguers The state he's bound to guard. To such a height 'T is swoln, that at this hour the Emperor Before his armies—his own armies—trembles; Yea, in his capital, his palace, fears The traitors' poniards, and is meditating To hurry off and hide his tender offspring—— Not from the Swedes, not from the LutheransNo! from his own troops hide and hurry them! MAX. Cease, cease! thou torturest, shatterest me. That oft we tremble at an empty terror; But the false phantasm brings a real misery. octavio.
It is no phantasm. An intestine war,
octavio. Because the Duke Believes he has secured us—means to lure us Still further on by splendid promises. To me he portions forth the princedoms, Glau And Sagan; and too plain I see the angel With which he doubts not to catch thee. MAX. No! no I tell thee—no! octavio. 0 open yet thine eyes! And to what purpose think'st thou he has called us Hither to Pilsen —to avail himself Of our advice?–0 when did Friedland ever Need our advice?—Be calm, and listen to me. To sell ourselves are we called hither, and Decline we that—to be his hostages. Therefore doth noble Galas stand aloof; Thy father, too, thou wouldst not have seen here, If higher duties had not held him fetter'd. MAX. He makes no secret of it—needs make none— That we're called hither for his sake—he owns it. He needs our aidance to maintain himself— He did so much for us; and "t is but fair That we too should do somewhat now for him. octavio. And know'st thou what it is which we must do? That Illo's drunken mood betray'd it to thee. Bethink thyself—what hast thou heard, what seen? The counterfeited paper—the omission Of that particular clause, so full of meaning, Does it not prove, that they would bind us down To nothing good? MAx. That counterfeited paper Appears to me no other than a trick Of Illo's own device. These underhand Traders in great men's interests ever use To urge and hurry all things to the extreme. They see the Duke at variance with the court, And fondly think to serve him, when they widen The breach irreparably. Trust me, father, The Duke knows nothing of all this. octavio. It grieves me That I must dash to earth, that I must shatter A faith so specious; but I may not spare thee! For this is not a time for tenderness. Thou must take measures, speedy ones—must act. I therefore will confess to thee, that all Which I've entrusted to thee now—that all Which seems to thee so unbelievable, That—yes, I will tell thee—(a pause)—Max.! I had it all From his own mouth—from the Duke's mouth I had it. Max. (in excessive agitation). No!—no!—never! octavio. Himself confided to me What I, "t is true, had long before discover'd By other means—himself confided to me, That’t was his settled plan to join the Swedes; And, at the head of the united armies, Compel the Emperor——
Max. He is passionate, The Court has stung him—he is sore all over With injuries and affronts; and in a moment Of irritation, what if he, for once, Forgot himself? He's an impetuous man. octavio. Nay, in cold blood he did confess this to me: And having construed my astonishment Into a scruple of his power, he showed me His written evidences—showed me letters, Both from the Saxon and the Swede, that gave Promise of aidance, and defined the amount. Max. It cannot be!—can not be 1–can not be! Dost thou not see, it cannot! Thou wouldst of necessity have shown him Such horror, such deep loathing—that or he Had taken thee for his better genius, or Thou stood'st not now a living man before me— octavio. I have laid open my objections to him, Dissuaded him with pressing earnestness; But my abhorrence, the full sentiment Of my whole heart—that I have still kept sacred To my own consciousness. Max. And thou hast been So treacherous? That looks not like my father! I trusted not thy words, when thou didst tell me Evil of him; much less can I now do it, That thou calumniatest thy own self. octavio. I did not thrust myself into his secresy. MAx. Uprightness merited his confidence. octavio. He was no longer worthy of sincerity. MAx. Dissimulation, sure, was still less worthy Of thee, Octavio' octavio. Gave I him a cause To entertain a scruple of my honour? MAx. That he did not, evinced his confidence. octavio. Dear son, it is not always possible Still to preserve that infant purity Which the voice teaches in our inmost heart, Still in alarum, for ever on the watch Against the wiles of wicked men: een Virtue Will sometimes bear away her outward robes Soiled in the wrestle with Iniquity. This is the curse of every evil deed, That, propagating still, it brings forth evil. I do not cheat my better soul with sophisms: I but perform my orders; the Emperor Prescribes my conduct to me. Dearest boy, Far better were it, doubtless, if we all obey'd the heart at all times; but so doing, In this our present sojourn with bad men, We must abandon many an honest object. "T is now our call to serve the Emperor; By what means he can best be served—the heart May whisper what it will—this is our call!
For ever, then, this paper will lie idle.