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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 414 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03.

NEUBRUNN (at the same time with them).

She is dying!

[Hurries off the stage, when WALLENSTEIN and TERZKY follow her.]

SCENE VI

BUTLER and GORDON

GORDON.

What’s this?

BUTLER.

She has lost the man she loved—­
Young Piccolomini who fell in the battle.

GORDON.

Unfortunate Lady!

BUTLER.

You have heard what Illo
Reporteth, that the Swedes are conquerors,
And marching hitherward.

GORDON.

Too well I heard it.

BUTLER.

They are twelve regiments strong, and there are five
Close by us to protect the Duke.  We have
Only my single regiment; and the garrison
Is not two hundred strong.

GORDON.

’Tis even so.

BUTLER.

It is not possible with such small force
To hold in custody a man like him.

GORDON.

I grant it.

BUTLER.

Soon the numbers would disarm us,
And liberate him.

GORDON.

It were to be fear ’d.

BUTLER (after a pause).

Know, I am warranty for the event;
With my head have I pledged myself for his,
Must make my word good, cost it what it will,
And if alive we cannot hold him prisoner,
Why—­death makes all things certain!

GORDON.

Butler!  What? 
Do I understand you?  Gracious God! You could—­

BUTLER.

He must not live.

GORDON.

And you can do the deed!

BUTLER.

Either you or I. This morning was his last.

GORDON.

You would assassinate him!

BUTLER.

’Tis my purpose.

GORDON.

Who leans with his whole confidence upon you!

BUTLER.

Such is his evil destiny!

GORDON.

Your General! 
The sacred person of your General!

BUTLER.

My General he has been.

GORDON.

That ’tis only
A “has been” washes out no villiany. 
And without judgment pass’d?

BUTLER.

The execution
Is here instead of judgment.

GORDON.

This were murder,
Not justice.  The most guilty should be heard.

BUTLER.

His guilt is clear, the Emperor has pass’d judgment,
And we but execute his will.

GORDON.

We should not
Hurry to realize a bloody sentence;
A word may be recall’d, a life can never be.

BUTLER.

Dispatch in service pleases sovereigns.

GORDON.

No honest man’s ambitious to press forward
To the hangman’s service.

BUTLER.

And no brave man loses
His color at a daring enterprise.

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