COUNTESS (gazing on him).
If it should come to that—if I should see thee,
Who standest now before me in the fulness
[She falls on his breast and weeps.]
The Emperor’s proclamation weighs upon thee—
Alphabets wound not—and he finds no hands.
If he should find them, my resolve is taken—
I bear about me my support and refuge.
All quiet in the town?
The town is quiet.
I hear a boisterous music! and the Castle
Is lighted up. Who are the revellers?
There is a banquet given at the Castle
To the Count Terzky and Field Marshal Illo.
In honor of the victory—This tribe
Can show their joy in nothing else but feasting.
[Rings. The GROOM OF THE CHAMBER enters.]
Unrobe me. I will lay me down to sleep.
[WALLENSTEIN takes the keys from GORDON.]
So we are guarded from all enemies,
And shut in with sure friends;
For all must cheat me, or a face like this
[Fixing his eye on GORDON.]
Was ne’er a hypocrite’s mask.
[The GROOM OF THE CHAMBER takes off his mantle, collar, and scarf.]
Take care—what is that?
GROOM OF THE CHAMBER.
The golden chain is snapped in two.
Well, it has lasted long enough. Here—give it.
[He takes and looks at the chain.]
’Twas the first present of the Emperor.
He hung it round me in the war of Friule,
He being then Archduke; and I have worn it
Till now from habit—
From superstition, if you will. Belike,
It was to be a talisman to me;
And while I wore it on my neck in faith,
It was to chain to me all my life long
The volatile fortune, whose first pledge it was—
Well, be it so! Henceforward a new fortune
Must spring up for me; for the potency
Of this charm is dissolved.
[GROOM OF THE CHAMBER retires with the vestments. WALLENSTEIN rises, takes a stride across the room, and stands at last before GORDON in a posture of meditation.]
How the old time returns upon me! I
Behold myself once more at Burgau, where
We two were Pages of the Court together.
We oftentimes disputed: thy intention
Was ever good; but thou wert wont to play
The Moralist and Preacher, and wouldst rail at me—
That I strove after things too high for me,
Giving my faith to bold unlawful dreams,
And still extol to me the golden mean—
Thy wisdom hath been proved a thriftless friend
To thy own self. See, it has made thee early
A superannuated man, and (but
That my munificent stars will intervene)
Would let thee in some miserable corner
Go out like an untended lamp.