The PRINCE of HOMBURG enters bearing three Swedish flags, followed by COLONEL KOTTWITZ, bearing two, COUNT HOHENZOLLERN, CAPTAIN GOLZ, COUNT REUSS, each with a flag; and several other officers, corporals, and troopers carrying flags, kettle-drums and standards.
DOeRFLING (spying the PRINCE OF HOMBURG).
The Prince of Homburg!—Truchsz! What did you mean?
Whence came you, Prince?
THE PRINCE (stepping forward a few paces).
From Fehrbellin, my liege,
And bring you thence these trophies of success!
[He lays the three flags before him; the officers, corporals and troopers do likewise, each with his own.]
I hear that you are wounded, dangerously?
THE PRINCE (gaily). Forgive!
COUNT TRUCHSZ. By heaven, I’m amazed!
THE PRINCE. My sorrel fell before the fight began.
This hand a field-leech bandaged up for me
Scarce merits that you call it wounded.
In spite of it you led the cavalry?
THE PRINCE (regarding him).
I? Indeed, I! Must you learn that from me?
Here at your feet I laid the proof of that.
ELECTOR. Relieve him of his sword. He is a prisoner.
DOeRFLING (taken aback).
ELECTOR (stepping among the flags).
Ah, God greet you, Kottwitz!
TRUCHSZ (aside). Curses on it!
KOTTWITZ. By God, I’m utterly—
ELECTOR (looking at him). What did you
Look, what a crop mown for our glory here!—
That flag is of the Swedish Guards, is’t not?
[He takes up a flag, unwinds it and studies it.]
KOTTWITZ. My liege?
DOeRFLING. My lord and master?
ELECTOR. Ah, indeed!
And from the time of Gustaf Adolf too.
How runs the inscription?
KOTTWITZ. I believe—
DOeRFLING. “Per aspera ad astra!”
ELECTOR. That was not verified at Fehrbellin.
My liege, grant me a word.
ELECTOR. What is ’t you wish?
Take all the things-flags, kettle-drums and standards,
And hang them in the church. I plan tomorrow
To use them when we celebrate our triumph!
[The ELECTOR turns to the couriers, takes their
dispatches, opens and
That, by the living God, that is too much!
[After some hesitation, the Colonel takes up his two flags; the other officers and troopers follow suit. Finally, as the three flags of the PRINCE remain untouched, he takes up these also, so that he is now bearing five.]