The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 544 pages of information about The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03.

[Illustration:  WALLENSTEIN HEARS OF OCTAVIO’S TREASON As performed at the Municipal Theatre, Hamburg, 1906.]


The stars lie not; but we have here a work
Wrought counter to the stars and destiny. 
The science is still honest:  this false heart
Forces a lie on the truth-telling heaven. 
On a divine law divination rests;
Where nature deviates from that law, and stumbles
Out of her limits, there all science errs. 
True I did not suspect!  Were it superstition
Never by such suspicion t’ have affronted
The human form, O may that time ne’er come
In which I shame me of the infirmity. 
The wildest savage drinks not with the victim,
Into whose breast he means to plunge the sword. 
This, this, Octavio, was no hero’s deed: 
’Twas not thy prudence that did conquer mine;
A bad heart triumph’d o’er an honest one. 
No shield received the assassin stroke; thou plungest
Thy weapon on an unprotected breast—­
Against such weapons I am but a child.


To these enter BUTLER

TERZKY (meeting him).

O look there!  Butler!  Here we’ve still a friend!

WALLENSTEIN (meets him with outspread arms, and embraces him with warmth).

Come to my heart, old comrade!  Not the sun
Looks out upon us more revivingly
In the earliest month of spring,
Than a friend’s countenance in such an hour.


My General:  I come—­

WALLENSTEIN (leaning on BUTLER’s shoulder).

Know’st thou already? 
That old man has betray’d me to the Emperor. 
What say’st thou?  Thirty years have we together
Lived out, and held out, sharing joy and hardship. 
We have slept in one camp-bed, drunk from one glass,
One morsel shared!  I lean’d myself on him,
As now I lean me on thy faithful shoulder. 
And now in the very moment, when, all love,
All confidence, my bosom beat to his,
He sees and takes the advantage, stabs the knife
Slowly into my heart.

[He hides his face on BUTLER’S breast.]


Forget the false one. 
What is your present purpose?


Well remember’d! 
Courage, my soul!  I am still rich in friends,
Still loved by Destiny; for in the moment
That it unmasks the plotting hypocrite,
It sends and proves to me one faithful heart. 
Of the hypocrite no more!  Think not his loss
Was that which struck the pang:  O no! his treason
Is that which strikes this pang!  No more of him! 
Dear to my heart and honor’d were they both,
And the young man—­yes—­he did truly love me,
He—­he—­has not deceived me.  But enough,
Enough of this—­swift counsel now beseems us. 
The Courier, whom Count Kinsky sent from Prague,
I expect him every moment:  and whatever
He may bring with him, we must take good care
To keep it from the mutineers.  Quick then! 
Dispatch some messenger you can rely on
To meet him and conduct him to me.

Project Gutenberg
The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 03 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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