Nay! nay! not that, it will not please the Duke—
What! we are masters here; no soul shall dare
Avow himself Imperial where we’ve the rule.
Gordon! good night, and for the last time, take
A fair leave of the place. Send out patroles
To make secure, the watch-word may be alter’d
At the stroke of ten; deliver in the keys
To the Duke himself, and then you’ve quit for ever
Your wardship of the gates, for on tomorrow
The Swedes will take possession of the citadel.
TERZKY (as he is going, to BUTLER).
You come, though, to the castle?
At the right time.
[Exeunt TERZKY and ILLO.]
GORDON and BUTLER
GORDON (looking after them).
Unhappy men! How free from all foreboding!
They rush into the outspread net of murder
In the blind drunkenness of victory;
I have no pity for their fate. This Illo,
This overflowing and foolhardy villain,
That would fain bathe himself in his Emperor’s blood.—
Do as he order’d you. Send round patroles,
Take measures for the citadel’s security;
When they are within I close the castle-gate
That nothing may transpire.
GORDON (with earnest anxiety).
Oh! haste not so!
Nay, stop; first tell me—
You have heard already,
Tomorrow to the Swedes belongs. This night
Alone is ours. They make good expedition,
But we will make still greater. Fare you well.
Ah! your looks tell me nothing good. Nay, Butler,
I pray you, promise me!
The sun has set;
A fateful evening doth descend upon us,
And brings on their long night! Their evil stars
Deliver them unarm’d into our hands,
And from their drunken dream of golden fortunes
The dagger at their heart shall rouse them. Well,
The Duke was ever a great calculator;
His fellow-men were figures on his chess-board,
To move and station, as his game required.
Other men’s honor, dignity, good name,
Did he shift like pawns, and make no conscience of;
Still calculating, calculating still;
And yet at last his calculation proves
Erroneous; the whole game is lost; and lo!
His own life will be found among the forfeits.
O think not of his errors now! remember
His greatness, his munificence; think on all
The lovely features of his character,
On all the noble exploits of his life,
And let them, like an angel’s arm, unseen,
Arrest the lifted sword.
It is too late.
I suffer not myself to feel compassion;
Dark thoughts and bloody are my duty now:
[Grasping GORDON’s hand.]