[He hides his face in his hands; NATALIE turns again to the ELECTRESS.]
A sergeant enters in haste. The others as before.
SERGEANT. By the Almighty God, my Prince, I scarce
Dare bring to you the rumor that’s abroad!—
The Elector lives!
THE PRINCE. He lives!
SERGEANT. By heaven above!
Count Sparren brought the joyful news but now!
NATALIE. Lord of my days! Oh, mother, did you hear?
[She falls down at the feet of the ELECTRESS and embraces her.]
THE PRINCE. But say! Who brings the news
SERGEANT. Count George of Sparren,
Who saw him, hale and sound, with his own eyes
At Hackelwitz amid the Truchszian corps.
THE PRINCE. Quick! Run, old man! And bring him in to me!
[The SERGEANT goes out.]
COUNT SPARREN and the Sergeant enter. The others as before.
ELECTRESS. Oh, do not cast me twice down the abyss!
NATALIE. No, precious mother mine!
ELECTRESS. And Frederick lives?
NATALIE (holding her up with both hands).
The peaks of life receive you once again!
Here is the officer!
THE PRINCE. Ah, Count von Sparren!
You saw His Highness fresh and well disposed
At Hackelwitz amid the Truchszian corps?
SPARREN. Indeed, Your Highness, in the vicarage
Where, compassed by his staff, he gave commands
For burial of both the armies’ dead.
Dear heaven! On thy breast—
ELECTRESS. My daughter dear!
NATALIE. Oh, but this rapture is well-nigh too great!
[She buries her face in her aunt’s lap.]
THE PRINCE. Did I not see him, when I stood afar
Heading my cavalry, dashed down to earth,
His horse and he shivered by cannon-shot?
SPARREN. Indeed, the horse pitched with his rider
But he who rode him, Prince, was not our liege.
THE PRINCE. What? Not our liege?
NATALIE. Oh, wonderful!
[She rises and remains standing beside the ELECTRESS.]
THE PRINCE. Speak then!
Weighty as gold each word sinks to my heart.
SPARREN. Then let me give you tidings of a deed
So moving, ear has never heard its like.
Our country’s liege, who, to remonstrance deaf,
Rode his white horse again, the gleaming white
That Froben erstwhile bought for him in England,
Became once more, as ever was the case,
The target for the foe’s artillery.
Scarce could the members of his retinue
Within a ring of hundred yards approach