Egmont eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 108 pages of information about Egmont.

Machiavel.  So important a step thus suddenly?  Regent.  ’Tis harder than you imagine.  He who is accustomed to rule, to hold daily in his hand the destiny of thousands, descends from the throne as into the grave.  Better thus, however, than linger a spectre among the living, and with hollow aspect endeavour to maintain a place which another has inherited, and already possesses and enjoys.

SCENE II.—­Clara’s dwelling

Clara and her Mother

Mother.  Such a love as Brackenburg’s I have never seen; I thought it was to be found only in romance books.

Clara (walking up and down the room, humming a song). 
With love’s thrilling rapture
What joy can compare!

Mother.  He suspects thy attachment to Egmont; and yet, if thou wouldst but treat him a little kindly, I do believe he would marry thee still, if thou wouldst have him.

Clara (sings). 
And tearful,
With thought-teeming brain;
And fearing
In passionate pain;
Now shouting in triumph,
Now sunk in despair;—­
With love’s thrilling rapture
What joy can compare!

Mother.  Have done with such baby-nonsense!

Clara.  Nay, do not abuse it; ’tis a song of marvellous virtue.  Many a time have I lulled a grown child to sleep with it.

Mother.  Ay!  Thou canst think of nothing but thy love.  If it only did not put everything else out of thy head.  Thou shouldst have more regard for Brackenburg, I tell thee.  He may make thee happy yet some day.

Clara.  He?

Mother.  Oh, yes!  A time will come!  You children live only in the present, and give no ear to our experience.  Youth and happy love, all has an end; and there comes a time when one thanks God if one has any corner to creep into.

Clara (shudders, and after a pause stands up).  Mother, let that time come—­ like death.  To think of it beforehand is horrible!  And if it come!  If we must—­then—­we will bear ourselves as we may.  Live without thee, Egmont!  (Weeping.) No!  It is impossible.

[Enter Egmont (enveloped in a horseman’s cloak, his hat drawn over his face).

Egmont.  Clara!

Clara (utters a cry and starts back).  Egmont! (She hastens towards him.) Egmont! (She embraces and leans upon him.) O thou good, kind, sweet Egmont!  Art thou come?  Art thou here indeed!

Egmont.  Good evening, Mother?

Mother.  God save you, noble sir!  My daughter has well-nigh pined to death, because you have stayed away so long; she talks and sings about you the live-long day.

Egmont.  You will give me some supper?

Mother.  You do us too much honour.  If we only had anything—­

Clara.  Certainly!  Be quiet, Mother; I have provided everything; there is something prepared.  Do not betray me, Mother.

Mother.  There’s little enough.

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Egmont from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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