THE PRINCE (whispering).
Natalie! Oh, my girl! Oh, my beloved!
ELECTOR. Make haste! Away!
HOHENZOLLERN. What did the fool say?
[They all ascend the stair to the terrace.]
THE PRINCE. Frederick, my prince! my father!
HOHENZOLLERN. Hell and devils!
ELECTOR (backing away from him).
Open the gate for me!
THE PRINCE. Oh, mother mine!
HOHENZOLL. The raving idiot!
ELECTRESS. Whom did he call thus?
THE PRINCE (clutching at the wreath).
Beloved, why do you recoil? My Natalie!
[He snatches a glove from the PRINCESS’ hand.]
HOHENZOLL. Heaven and earth! What laid he hands on there?
COURTIER. The wreath?
NATALIE. No, no!
HOHENZOLLERN (opening the door). Hither!
This way, my
So the whole scene may vanish from his eye!
ELECTOR. Back to oblivion, with you, oblivion,
Sir Prince of Homburg! On the battle-field,
If you be so disposed, we meet again!
Such matters men attain not in a dream!
[They all go out; the door crashes shut in the PRINCE’S face. Pause.]
The PRINCE OF HOMBURG remains standing before the door a moment in perplexity; then dreamily descends from the terrace, the hand holding the glove pressed against his forehead. At the foot of the stair he turns again, gazing up at the door.
Enter COUNT HOHENZOLLERN by the wicket below. A page follows him. The PRINCE OF HOMBURG.
Count! Listen, do! Most worshipful Sir
Grasshopper! Well? What’s wanted?
PAGE. I am sent—
HOHENZOLL. Speak softly now, don’t wake
him with your chirping!
Come now! What’s up?
PAGE. The Elector sent me hither.
He charges you that, when the Prince awakes,
You breathe no word to him about the jest
It was his pleasure to allow himself.
You skip off to the wheatfield for some sleep.
I knew that, hours ago. So run along.
COUNT HOHENZOLLERN and the PRINCE of HOMBURG.
HOHENZOLLERN (taking a position some distance behind
the PRINCE who
is still gazing fixedly up toward the terrace).
[The PRINCE drops to the ground.]
And there he lies!
You could not do it better with a bullet.
[He approaches him.]
Now I am eager for the fairy-tale
He’ll fabricate to show the reason why
Of all the world he chose this place to sleep in.