I am a merry lad, and if at time
A rash word might escape me ’gainst the Court
Amidst my wine—You know no harm was
You need not be uneasy on that score
That has succeeded. Fortune favor us
With all the others only but as much!
OCTAVIO PICCOLOMINI, BUTLER
At your command, Lieutenant-General.
Welcome, as honor’d friend and visitor.
You do me too much honor.
OCTAVIO (after both have seated themselves).
You have not
Return’d the advances which I made you yesterday—
Misunderstood them as mere empty forms.
That wish proceeded from my heart—I was
In earnest with you—for ’tis now a time
In which the honest should unite most closely.
’Tis only the like-minded can unite.
True! and I name all honest men like-minded.
I never charge a man but with those acts
To which his character deliberately
Impels him; for alas! the violence
Of blind misunderstandings often thrusts
The very best of us from the right track.
You came through Frauenburg. Did the Count Gallas
Say nothing to you? Tell me. He’s my friend.
His words were lost on me.
It grieves me sorely,
To hear it: for his counsel was most wise.
I had myself the like to offer.
Yourself the trouble—me th’ embarrassment,
To have deserved so ill your good opinion.
The time is precious—let us talk openly.
You know how matters stand here. Wallenstein
Meditates treason—I can tell you further,
He has committed treason; but few hours
Have past since he a covenant concluded
With the enemy. The messengers are now
Full on their way to Egra and to Prague.
Tomorrow he intends to lead us over
To the enemy. But he deceives himself;
For Prudence wakes—The Emperor has still
Many and faithful friends here, and they stand
In closest union, mighty though unseen.
This manifesto sentences the Duke—
Recalls the obedience of the army from him,
And summons all the loyal, all the honest,
To join and recognize in me their leader.
Choose—will you share with us an honest cause?
Or with the evil share an evil lot?
His lot is mine.
Is that your last resolve?
Nay, but bethink you, Colonel Butler!
As yet you have time. Within my faithful breast
That rashly utter’d word remains interr’d.
Recall it, Butler! choose a better party;
You have not chosen the right one.