HOHENZOLLERN. The lords’
We gave our word of honor to appear.
ELECTOR (after a short pause).
You are dismissed!
GOLZ. Come, follow, gentlemen!
[The officers go out.]
The ELECTOR. Later, two footmen.
ELECTOR. Most curious! Were I the Dey of
I’d sound alarm at such a dubious move,
Lay on my desk despair’s thin silken cord,
And at my palisaded castle-gate
Set up my heavy guns and howitzers.
But since it’s just Hans Kottwitz from the Priegnitz
Who marches on me of his own sweet will
I’ll treat the matter in the Mark’s own way;
Of the three curls that gleam so silvery
On his old skull, I’ll take firm hold of one
And lead him calmly with his squadrons twelve
To Arnstein, his headquarters, back again.
Why wake the city from its slumber thus?
[He goes to the window a moment, then returns to the table and rings a bell. Two lackeys enter.]
Do run below and ask, as for yourself,
What’s doing in the City Hall.
1st LACKEY. At once!
[He goes out.]
ELECTOR (to the other).
But you go now and fetch me my apparel.
[The lackey goes and brings it. The ELECTOR attires himself and dons his princely insignia.]
FIELD-MARSHAL DOeRFLING enters. The others as before.
DOeRFLING. Rebellion, my Elector!
ELECTOR (still occupied with his clothes).
You know that I detest to have my room
Without a warning word, invaded thus.
What do you want?
MARSHAL. Forgive me! An affair
Of special consequence has brought me hither.
Unordered, Colonel Kottwitz moved his force
Into the city; hundred officers
Are gathered round him in the armor-hall.
From hand to hand a paper passes round
That purposes encroachment on your rights.
ELECTOR. I am informed of it. What can it
Except a ferment friendly to the Prince
On whom the law has laid the sentence, death?
MARSHAL. ’Tis so, by God on high! You struck it right!
ELECTOR. Well, then, and good. My heart is in their midst.
MARSHAL. The rumor goes the maniacs intend
This very night to hand you their petition
Here in the Castle; and should you persist
In carrying out, irreconcilably,
The sentence—scarce I dare to bring you this!—
To liberate him from his bonds by force!
Come now, who told you that?
MARSHAL. Who told me that?
The lady Retzow, cousin of my wife,
Whom you may trust. She spent this evening
In Bailiff Retzow’s, in her uncle’s house,
And heard some officers who came from camp
Brazenly utter this audacious plan.