Scene: Battlefield of Fehrbellin.
COLONEL KOTTWITZ, COUNT HOHENZOLLERN, CAPTAIN VON DER GOLZ and other officers enter at the head of the cavalry.
KOTTWITZ (outside). Halt! Squadron, halt! Dismount!
HOHENZOLLERN AND GOLZ (entering). Halt, halt!
KOTTWITZ. Hey, friends, who’ll help me off my horse?
HOHENZOLLERN AND GOLZ. Here—here!
[They step outside again.]
KOTTWITZ (still outside).
Thanks to you-ouch! Plague take me! May a son
Be giv’n you for your pains, a noble son
Who’ll do the same for you when you grow sear.
[He enters, followed by_ HOHENZOLLERN, GOLZ and others.]
Oh, in the saddle I am full of youth! When I dismount, though, there’s a battle on As though the spirit and the flesh were parting, In wrath. [Looking about.] Where is our chief, the Prince’s Highness?
HOHENZOLL. The Prince will momentarily return.
KOTTWITZ. Where has he gone?
HOHENZOLLERN. He rode down to a hamlet,
In foliage hidden, so you passed it by.
He will return erelong.
OFFICER. Last night, they say,
His horse gave him a tumble.
HOHENZOLLERN. So they say.
KOTTWITZ. He fell?
HOHENZOLLERN (turning). A matter of no
His horse shied at the mill, but down his flank
He lightly slipped and did himself no harm.
It is not worth the shadow of a thought.
KOTTWITZ (ascending a slight elevation).
A fine day, as I breathe the breath of life!
A day our God, the lofty Lord of earth,
For sweeter things than deadly combat made.
Ruddily gleams the sunlight through the clouds
And with the lark the spirit flutters up
Exultant to the joyous airs of heaven!
GOLZ. Did you succeed in finding Marshal Dorfling?
KOTTWITZ (coming forward).
The Devil, no! What does my lord expect?
Am I a bird, an arrow, an idea,
That he should bolt me round the entire field?
I was at Hackel hillock with the van
And with the rearguard down in Hackel vale.
The one man whom I saw not was the Marshal!
Wherefore I made my way back to my men.
GOLZ. He will be ill-content. He had, it
A matter of some import to confide.
OFFICER. His Highness comes, our commandant, the Prince!
The PRINCE OF HOMBURG with a black bandage on his left hand. The others as before.
KOTTWITZ. My young and very noble prince, God
Look, how I formed the squadrons down that road
While you were tarrying in the nest below.
I do believe you’ll say I’ve done it well.