Hear’st thou the uproar?
The whole corps of the Pappenheimers is
Drawn out: the younger Piccolomini,
Their colonel, they require: for they affirm
That he is in the palace here, a prisoner;
And if thou dost not instantly deliver him,
They will find means to free him with the sword.
[All stand amazed.]
What shall we make of this?
Said I not so?
O my prophetic heart! he is still here.
He has not betray’d me—he could not betray me.
I never doubted of it.
If he be
Still here, then all goes well; for I know what
Will keep him here forever.
It can’t be.
His father has betray’d us, is gone over
To the Emperor—the son could not have ventured
To stay behind.
THEKLA (her eyes fixed on the door).
There he is!
To these enter MAX PICCOLOMINI
Yes! here he is! I can endure no longer
To creep on tiptoe round this house, and lurk
In ambush for a favorable moment:
This loitering, this suspense exceeds my powers.
[Advancing to THEKLA, who has thrown herself into her mother’s arms.]
Turn not thine eyes away. O look upon me!
Confess it freely before all. Fear no one.
Let who will hear that we both love each other;
Wherefore continue to conceal it? Secrecy
Is for the happy—misery, hopeless misery,
Needeth no veil! Beneath a thousand suns
It dares act openly.
[He observes the COUNTESS looking on THEKLA with expressions of triumph.]
No, Lady! No!
Expect not, hope it not. I am not come
To stay: to bid farewell, farewell forever.
For this I come! ’Tis over! I must leave thee!
Thekla, I must—must leave thee! Yet thy hatred
Let me not take with me. I pray thee, grant me
One look of sympathy, only one look.
Say that thou dost not hate me. Say it to me,
[Grasps her hand.]
O God! I cannot leave this spot—I
Cannot let go this hand. O tell me, Thekla!
That thou dost suffer with me, art convinced
That I cannot act otherwise.
[THEKLA, avoiding his look, points with her hand to her father. MAX turns round to the Duke, whom he had not till then perceived.]
Thou here? It was not thou whom here I sought.
I trusted never more to have beheld thee.
My business is with her alone. Here will I
Receive a full acquittal from this heart—
For any other I am no more concern’d.