BUTLER (strides up and down in excessive agitation, then steps up to OCTAVIO with resolved countenance).
Count Piccolomini! dare that man speak
Of honor to you, who once broke his troth.
He, who repents so deeply of it, dares.
Then leave me here upon my word of honor!
What’s your design?
Leave me and my regiment.
I have full confidence in you. But tell me
What are you brooding?
That the deed will tell you.
Ask me no more at present. Trust to me.
Ye may trust safely. By the living God
Ye give him over, not to his good angel!
SERVANT (enters with a billet).
A stranger left it, and is gone.
The Prince Duke’s horses wait for you below.
“Be sure make haste! Your faithful Isolan.”
—O that I had but left this town behind me.
To split upon a rock so near the haven!—Away!
This is no longer a safe place
For me! Where can my son be tarrying!
OCTAVIO and MAX PICCOLOWINI
[MAX enters almost in a state of derangement, from extreme agitation; his eyes roll wildly, his walk is unsteady, and he appears not to observe his father, who stands at a distance, and gazes at him with a countenance expressive of compassion. He paces with long strides through the chamber, then stands still again, and at last throws himself into a chair, staring vacantly at the object directly before him.]
OCTAVIO (advances to him).
I am going off, my son.
[Receiving no answer, he takes his hand.]
My son, farewell.
Thou wilt soon follow me?
I follow thee?
Thy way is crooked—it is not my way.
[OCTAVIO drops his hand, and starts back.]
O, hadst thou been but simple and sincere,
Ne’er had it come to this—all had stood otherwise.
He had not done that foul and horrible deed,
The virtuous had retain’d their influence o’er him:
He had not fallen into the snares of villains.
Wherefore so like a thief, and thief’s accomplice
Didst creep behind him, lurking for thy prey!
O, unblest falsehood! Mother of all evil!
Thou misery-making demon, it is thou
That sink’st us in perdition. Simple truth,
Sustainer of the world, have saved us all!
Father, I will not, I cannot excuse thee!
Wallenstein has deceived me—O, most foully!
But thou hast acted not much better.
My son, ah! I forgive thy agony!