AN OFFICER (stepping up to the PRINCE).
Prince, I must beg your sword.
HOHENZOLLERN (carrying his flag). Quiet now, friend.
THE PRINCE. Speak! Am I dreaming? Waking? Living? Sane?
GOLZ. Prince, give your sword, I counsel, and say nothing.
THE PRINCE. A prisoner? I?
GOLZ. You heard him say it.
THE PRINCE. And may one know the reason why?
HOHENZOLLERN (emphatically). Not now!
We told you, at the time, you pressed too soon
Into the battle, when the order was
You should not quit your place till you were called.
THE PRINCE. Help, help, friends, help! I’m going mad!
GOLZ (interrupting). Calm! calm!
THE PRINCE. Were the Mark’s armies beaten then?
HOHENZOLLERN (with a stamp of his foot).
The ordinance demands obedience.
THE PRINCE (bitterly).
So—so, so, so!
HOHENZOLLERN (turning away from him).
It will not cost your head.
Tomorrow morning, maybe, you’ll be free.
[The ELECTOR folds his letters and returns
to the circle of
THE PRINCE (after he has unbuckled his sword).
My cousin Frederick hopes to play the Brutus
And sees himself, on linen drawn with chalk,
Already seated in the curule chair.
The foreground filled with Swedish battle-flags,
And on his desk the ordinance of the Mark.
By God, in me he shall not find a son
Who shall revere him ’neath the hangman’s axe!
A German heart of honest cut and grain,
I look for kindness and nobility;
And when he stands before me, frigidly,
This moment, like some ancient man of stone,
I’m sorry for him and I pity him.
[He gives his sword to the officer and goes out.]
ELECTOR. Bring him to camp at Fehrbellin, and
Assemble the court-martial for his trial.
[He enters the church. The flags follow him, and, while he and his retinue kneel in prayer at FROBEN’s coffin, are fastened to the pilasters. Funeral music.]
Scene: Fehrbellin. A prison.
The PRINCE OF HOMBURG. Two troopers as guards
in the rear. COUNT
THE PRINCE. Faith, now, friend Harry! Welcome,
man, you are!
Well, then, I’m free of my imprisonment?
Lord in the heavens be praised!
THE PRINCE. What was that?
So then he’s sent you back your sword again?
THE PRINCE. Me? No.