THE PRINCE (folds the note and gives it to the
then, as he turns again to the ELECTRESS,
softly lays his arm about NATALIE’s waist).
I have a wish,
A something timorously to confide
I thought I might give vent to on the road.
NATALIE (tearing herself away).
Bork! Quick! My scarf, I beg—
ELECTRESS. A wish to me?
Princess, the scarf is round your neck.
THE PRINCE (to the ELECTRESS). Indeed!
Can you not guess?
THE PRINCE. Not a syllable?
What matter? Not a suppliant on earth
Could I deny today, whate’er he ask,
And you, our battle-hero, least of all!
THE PRINCE. Mother! Oh, what did you speak?
May I interpret them to suit me best?
ELECTRESS. Be off, I say! More, later, as
Come, let me have your arm.
THE PRINCE. Oh, Caesar Divus!
Lo, I have set a ladder to thy star!
[He leads the ladies out. Exeunt omnes.]
Scene: Berlin. Pleasure garden outside the old palace. In the background the palace chapel with a staircase leading up to it. Tolling of bells. The church is brightly illuminated. The body of FROBEN is carried by and set on a splendid catafalque. The ELECTOR, FIELD-MARSHAL DOeRFLING, COLONEL HENNINGS, COUNT TRUCHSZ and several other colonels and minor officers enter. From the opposite side enter various officers with dispatches. In the church as well as in the square are men, women and children of all ages.
ELECTOR. What man soever led the cavalry
Upon the day of battle, and, before
The force of Colonel Hennings could destroy
The bridges of the foe, of his own will
Broke loose, and forced the enemy to flight
Ere I gave order for it, I assert
That man deserves that he be put to death;
I summon him therefore to be court-martialed.—
Prince Homburg, then, you say, was not the man?
TRUCHSZ. No, my liege lord!
ELECTOR. What proof have you of that?
TRUCHSZ. Men of the cavalry can testify,
Who told me of ’t before the fight began:
The Prince fell headlong from his horse, and, hurt
At head and thigh, men found him in a church
Where some one bound his deep and dangerous wounds.
ELECTOR. Enough! Our victory this day is
And in the church tomorrow will I bear
My gratitude to God. Yet though it were
Mightier tenfold, still would it not absolve
Him through whom chance has granted it to me.
More battles still than this have I to fight,
And I demand subjection to the law.
Whoever led the cavalry to battle,
I reaffirm has forfeited his head,
And to court-martial herewith order him.—
Come, follow me, my friends, into the church.