The following play was written in the spring of 1843. Some of our readers may chance to know the little garden of the Hotel Reichmann in Milan. In a room which opens out into the oleander bushes, the trickling fountains, and the sandstone cupids of that garden, the first four acts ripened during four weeks of work. The fifth act followed on the shores of Lake Como.
Amid surroundings which, by their beauty, bring to mind only the laws of the ideal, to hold fast to those burlesque memories from the history of the sandy Mark Brandenburg was, one may feel sure, possible only to a mind which turned in love to its Prussian home, however “treasonable” its other opinions. And yet the romanticism of San Souci, as well as the estheticism of the Berlin Board of Censors, has at all times persecuted the play, now forbidding it, again permitting an occasional performance, and again prohibiting it even after 1848. When the aged and revered Genast from Weimar had played the king a dozen times in the Friedrich-Wilhelmstaedtisches Theater, Hinckeldey’s messengers brought the announcement that the presentation of the piece met with disfavor in high places. Frederick William IV. did everything possible to hamper and curtail the author’s ambitions. But to give truth its due, I will not neglect to mention that this last prohibition was softened by assigning as its motion the allusion made in the play to that legend of the Berlin Castle, “The White Lady,” who is supposed to bring a presage of death to the Prussian royal family.
The Dresden Court Theatre was formerly a model of impartiality. And above all, Emil Devrient’s energetic partisanship for the newer dramatic literature was a great assistance to authors in cases of this kind. This play, like many another, owes to his artistic zeal its introduction to those high-class theatres where alone a German dramatist finds his best encouragement and advance. Unfortunately, the war of 1866 again banished Sword and Queue from the Vienna Burgtheater, where it had won a place for itself.
* * * * *
FREDERICK WILLIAM I., King Of
Prussia, father of Frederick the
THE QUEEN, his wife.
PRINCESS WILHELMINE, their daughter.
THE PRINCE HEREDITARY OF BAIREUTH
GENERAL VON GRUMBKOW } COUNT SCHWERIN } Councilors and Confidants of the King. COUNT WARTENSLEBEN }
COUNT SECKENDORF, Imperial Ambassador
BARONET HOTHAM, Envoy of Great Britain
FRAU VON VIERECK
FRAU VON HOLZENDORF
The Queen’s Ladies.
FRAUeLEIN VON SONNSFELD, Lady-in-waiting to the Princess.
EVERSMANN, the King’s valet.
KAMKE, in the Queen’s service.