Friedrich Schiller.

The works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) online

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Let me be childish, — be thou childish with me !
Freedom invites me ! O let me employ it.
Skimming with A\'inged step light o'er the lea ;
Have I escaped from this mansion of mourning 2
Holds me no more the sad dungeon of care ?
Let me, with joy and with eagerness bmning,
Drink in the free, the celestial air !
Ken. 0, my dear Lady ! but a very little

Is your sad gaol extended ; you behold not
The wall that shuts us in : these plaited tufts
Of trees hide from your sigli^ the hated object.
Mary. . Thanks to these friendly trees, that hide from me
My prison walls, and flatter my illusion !
Happy I now may dream myself, and free ;
Why wake me from my dream's so sweet confusion ?
The extended vault of heaven around me lies.
Free and unfetter'd range my wandering eyes
O'er space's vast immeasurable sea !
From where yon misty mountains rise on high,
I can my empire's boundaries explore ;
And those light clouds which, steering southwards, fly
Seek the mild clime of France's genial shore.
Fast fleeting clouds ! ye meteors that fly ;
Could I but with you sail through the sky !
Teudei'ly greet the dear land of my youth !
Here I am captive ! oppress'd by my foes,
No other than you may carry my woes,
Free thro' the ether your pathway is seen.
Ye own not the power of this tyrant Queen.
KsN* . Alas I dear Lady ! You're beside yourself.



MART STUART.



269



This long-lost, long-sought freedom makes you rave
Mabi. . Yonders a fisher returning to home ; -

Poor though it be, would he lend me his wherrj'.
Quick to congenial shores would I ferry.
Spare is his trade, and labours his doom —
Rich would I freight his vessel with treasure,
Such a draught should be his as he never had seen,
Wealth should he find in his nets without measure,
Would he but rescue a poor captive Queen.
Ken. . Fond, fruitless wishes ' See you not from far,
How we are follow'd by observing spies ? —
A dismal, barb'rous pi-ohibition scares
Each sympathetic being from our path.
Mary . No, gentle Hannah ! Trust me, not in vain

My prison gates are open'd. This small grace
Is harbinger of greater happiness.
No ! 1 mistake not — 'tis the active hand
Of love to which I owe this kind indulgence
I x'ecognise in this the mighty arm
Of Leicester. They will by degrees expand
My prison ; will accustom me, through small,
To greater liberty, until at last
I shall behold the face of him whose hand
Will dash my fetters off, and that for ever.
Ken. O, my dear Queen ! I cannot reconcile

These contradictious. 'Twas but yesterday
That they announc'd your death, and all at once,
To-dav, you have such libertv. Their chains
Are also loos'd, as I have oft been told,
Whom everlasting liberty awaits.

[Hxmting horns at a distance.
Mab'! Heav'st thou the bugle, so blithely resounding?

Hearst thou its echoes through ^^ ood and througli plain 1
Oh, might I now, on my nimble steed bounding.
Join with the jocmid, the fi'olicsome train !

[IJunthiff horns again heard
Again ! O this sad and this pleasing remembrance !
These are the sounds, which, so sprightly and clear.
Oft, when with music the hounds and the horn.
So cheerfully welcomed the break of the morn.
On the heaths of the Highlands deliglited my ear.



270 4IARY STUART. [aCT III.

Scene II
Enter Paulet.
Pxni, . Well ! have I acted right at last, my Lady ?

Do I for once, at least, deserve your thanks ?
Mary. . How ! Do I owe this favour, Sir, to you ?
Paul. . Why not to me ? I visited the Court,

And gave the Queen your Jetter.
Mary. Did you give it ?

In very truth did you deliver it ?

And is this freedom which I now enjoy,

The happy consequence ?
Paulet {significantly). Nor that alone ;

Prepare yourself to see a greater still.
Mary. . A greater still ! What do you mean by that ?
Paul. . You heard the bugle-horns ?
Mary {starting back with foreboding apprehe^ision).

You fiighten me —
Paul. . The Queen is hunting in the neighbourhood —
Mary. What i

Paul. In a few moments she'll appear before you.
Kennedy (hastening towards Mary, and about to fall).

How fare you, dearest Lady ? — you grow pale.
Paul. . How ? Is't not well ? Was it not then your pray'r ?

'Tis granted now, before it was expected ;

You who had ever such a ready speech,

Now summon all your powers of eloquence,

The important time to use them now is come
Mary. . 0, why was I not told of this before ?

Now I am not pi'epar'd for it — not now —

What, as the greatest favour, I besought,

Seems to me now most fearful : — Hannah, come,

Lead me into the house, till I collect

My spirits.
Paulet. Stay ; — you must await her here.

Yes ! — I believe you may be well alarm'd

To stand before your judge.

Scene III.
E?iter the Earl of Shrewsbury
Mart. 'Tis not for thjit,

God ! Far other thoughts possess me uc-.v



SC. III.] MART STUART. 271

0, worthy Shrewsbury ! You come, as though
You were an angel sent to me from heav'n.
I cannot, will not see her. Save me, save me
From the detested sight !
Shrewsbury. Your Majesty,

Command yourself, and summon all your courage ,
'Tis the decisive moment of your fate.
Mary. For years I've waited, and prepared myself.

For this I've studied, weigh'd, and written down
Each word witliin the tablet of my mem'ry,
That was to touch, and move her to compassion.
Forgotten suddenly, effac'd is all,
And nothing lives ■v\athhi me at this moment,
But the fierce, burning feeling of my wrongs
My heart is turn'd to direst hate against her ;
All gentle thoughts, all sweet forgiving words
Are gone, and round me stand with grisly mien.
The fiends of hell, and shake their snaky locks !
Shrew. Command your wild, rebellious blood ; — constrain
The bitterness which fills your heart. No good
Ensues, when hatred is oppos'd to hate.
How much soe'er the inward struggle cost.
You must submit to stern necessity.
The pow'r is in her hand, be therefore humble
Mart. . To her ? I never can.
Shrewsbury. But pray, submit.

Speak with respect, with calmness ! Strive to move
Her magnanimity ; insist not, now,
Upon your rights, not now — 'tis not the season.
Mart. Ah ! wo is me ! I've pray'd for my destruction.
And, as a curse to me, my prayer is heard.
We never should have seen each other — never !—
0, this can never, never come to good.
Eather in love could fire and water meet.
The timid lamb embrace the roaring tiger ! —
I have been hurt too grievously ; she hath
Too grievously oppress'd me ; — no atonement
Can make us friends !
Shrewsbury. First see her, face to fac€ :

Did I not see how she was mov'd at reading
Your letter '? How her eyes were dro^\Tl'd in tears ?
No — she is not unfeeling ; only place



272 MAKY STTJABT. [ACT IIT.

More coufidence in her. It was for this
That I came on before her, to entreat you»
To be collected — to admonish you —

Mary iscizing his hand).

Oh, Talbot ! you have ever been my friend,
Had I but stay'd beneath your Idndly care !
They have, indeed, misused me, Shrewsbuiy.

Shbew. Let all be now forgot, and only think

How to receive her with submissiveness.

Mart. . Is Bui'leisjh with her too, mv evil genius?

Shrew. No one attends her but the Earl of Leicester.

Mart. . Lord Leicester ?

Shrewsburt. Fear not him ; it is not he

Who wishes your destruction ; — 'twas his work,
That here the Queen hath granted you this meeting.

Mart. . Ah ! well I knew it.

Shewsburt. What ?

Paulet. The Queen approaches

[Theij all draw aside; Maky alone remains, leaning
on Kennedt.

Scene IV
The same, Elizabeth, Earl of Leicester, and Retinue.
Elizabeth {to Leicester).

A\Tiat seat is that, my Lord ?
Leicester. 'Tis Fotheringay.

Elizabeth [to Shrewsburt).

My Lord, send back our retinue to London ;
The people crowd too eager in the roads,
Well seek a refuge in this quiet park.

[Talbot sends the train away. She looks stsdfastly
at Mart, as she speaks further icith Paulet.
My honest people love me overmuch.
These signs of joy are quite idolatrous.
Thus should a God be honour 'd, not a mortal
Mart {who the ichole time had leaned, almost fainting, on
Kennedy, rises now, and her eyes meet the steady
piercing look of Elizabeth ; she shudders and
throws herself again upon Kennedt's bosom.).
God ! from out these features speaks no heart.
Eu7. What lady 's that? —

TA jeneral. embarrassed sileru^.



8C. rV.J MABY STUAET. 273

Leicester. You are at Fotheriugay,

My Liese !
Elizabeth [as if surprised, casting an angry look af Leicester).
Who hath done this, my Lord of Leicester ?
Leic. Tis past, my Queen ; — and now that Heav'n hath led

Your footsteps hither, be magnanimous ;

And let sweet pity be triumphant now.
Shrew. O royal mistress ! yield to our entreaties ;

cast your eyes on this unhappy one,
Who stands dissolved in anguish.

[Mary collects herself, and begins to advance to-
ivards Elizabeth, stops shuddering at half
nay : — her action eatresses the most violent
internal struggle.
Elizabeth How, my Lords '

"\^Tiich of you then announc'd to me a prisoner
Bow'd do-wn by wo ? I see a haughty one,
By no means humbled by calamity.
Mart. Well be it so : — to this will I submit.

Farewell high thought, and pride of noble mind !

1 will forget my dignity, and all

My sufferings ; I will fall befoi'e her feet.
Who hath reduced me to this wretchedness.

[She turns towards the Queen
The voice of Heav n decides for you, my sister.
Your liappy brows are now with triumph Crown 'd,
I bless the Power Divine, which thus hath rais'd you

[She kneels.
But in your turn be merciful, my sister ;
Let me not lie before you thus disgraced ;
Stretch forth your hand, your royal hand, to raise
Your sister from the depths of her disti'ess.

Elizabeth [stepping hack).

Y''ou are where it becomes you. Lady Stuart ;
And thankfully I prize my God's protection,
Who hath not suffer'd me to kneel a suppliant
Thus at your feet, as you now luieel at mine

Mart [icith increasing energy of feeling).

Think on all earthly things, vicissitudes.

Oh ! there are gods who punish haughty pride

Respect them, honour them, the dreadful ones



Si 7 4 MARY STUART. ["aCI ni

Wlin thus before thy feet have humbled rae !
Befure these strangers' ejes, dishonour not
Yourself in me : profane not, nor disgrace
The royal blood of Tudor. In my veins
It flows as pure a stream, as in your own.

! for God's pity, stand not so estranged
And inaccessible, like some tall cliff,
Which the ])Ooy sbipwreck'd mariner in vain
Struggles to seize, and labours to embrace.
My all, my life, my fortune now depends
Upon the influence of my words and tears ;
That I may touch your heart, ! set mine free.
If you regard me with those icy looks,

My shudd"ring heart contracts itself, the stream
Of tears is dried, and frigid horror chains
The words of supplication in my bosom !

Elizabeth {cold and severe).

What would you say to me, my Lady Stuart ?

You wish'd to speak with me ; and I, forgetting

The Queen, and all the wrongs I have sustain 'd,

Fulfil the pious duty of the sister.

And grant the boon you wished for of my presence.

Yet I, in yielding to the gen'rous feelings

Of magnanimity, expose myself

To rightful censure, that I stoop so low.

For well you know, you would have had me murder 'd

Mary. ! how shall 1 begin ? 0, how shall I
So artfully arrange my cautious words.
That they may touch, yet not offend your heart ? —
Strengthen my words, Heav'n! and take from them
Whate'er might wound. Alas I I cannot speak
In my own cause, without impeaching you,
And that most heavily, I wish not so ;
You have not, as you ought, behav'd to me ;

1 am a Queen, like you, yet you have held me
Confin'd in prison. As a suppliant

I came to you, yet you in me insulted
The pious use of hospitality ;
Slighting in me the holy law of nations,
Iramur'd me in a dungeon — tore from me
My friends and servants ; to unseemly waul



IC. IV.] MABY STUABT. 276

I was exposed, and hurried to the bar

Of a disgraceful, insolent tribunal.

No more of this ; — in everlasting silence

Be buried all the cruelties I suffer'd !

See — I will throw the blame of all on fate, .

'Twas not youi* fault, no more than it was mine

An evil spirit rose from the abj^ss,

To kindle in our hearts the flames of hate,

By which our tender youth had been divided.

It grew with us, and bad designing men

Fann'd with their ready breath the fatal fire :

Frantics, enthusiasts, with sword and dagger

Arm'd the uncall'd-for hand ! This is the curse

Of kings, that they, divided, tear the world

In pieces Nvith their hatred, and let loose

The raging furies of all hellish strife!

No foreign tongue is now between us, sister,

[Approaching her confidenthj , and with afiattenng
tone
Now stand we face to face ; now, sister, speak ;
Name but my crime, I'll fully satisfy you, —
Alas ! had you vouchsafd to hear me then.
When I so earnest sought to meet your eye,
It never would have come to this, nor would.
Here in this mournful place, have happen'd now
This so distressful, this so moui'nful meeting.
Eliz. My better stars preserv'd me. I was warn'd,
And laid not to my breast the pois'nous adder !
Accuse not fate ! your own deceitful heart
It was, the wild ambition of your house :
As yet no enmities had pass'd between us,
When your imperious micle, the proud priest,
Whose shameless hand grasps at all crowns, attack'

me
With unprovok'd hostility, and taught
You, but too docile, to assume my arms.
To vest yourself with my imperial title,
And meet me in the lists in mortal strife :
What arms employ'd he not to storm my throne ?
The curses of the priests, the people's sword,
The dreadful weapons of religious frenzy ; —

T 2



276



MARY STUABT.



I ACT III.



Ev'n liere in my own Idngdom's peaceful haunts,
He fann'd the flames of civil insurrection ; —
But God is with me, and the haughty priest
Has not maintain'd the field. The blow was aim'd
Full at my head, but yours it is which falls !
Mary. . I'm in the hand of Heav n. You never will

Exert so cruelly the pow'r it gives you.
Eliz Who shall prevent me ? Say, did not your uncle
Set all the kings of Europe the example.
How to conclude a peace with those they hate.
Be mine the school of Saint Bartholomew;
What "s kindred then to me, or nations' laws?
The chiu'ch can break the bands of ev'ry duty ;
It consecrates the regicide, the traitor ;
I only practise what your priests have taught !
Say then, what surety can be offer 'd me,
Should I magnanimously loose your bonds ?
Say, with what lock can I secure your faith,
Which by St. Peter's keys cannot be open'd ?
Force is my only surety ; no alliance
Can be concluded with a race of ^npers.
Maex. . ! this is but your wretched, dai-k suspicion !
For you have constantly regai'ded me
But as a stranger, and an enemy,
Had you declar'd me heir to your dominions,
As is my right, then gratitude and love
In me had fix'd, for you, a faithful friend
And kinswoman.
Elizabeth. Your friendship is abroad.

Your house is Papacy, the monk your brother.
Name you my successor! The treach'rous snaiei
That in my life you might seduce my people ;
And, like a sly Armida, in your net
Entangle all our noble English youth ;
That all might turn to the new rising sun,
Andl—
Mary. sister, rule your realm in peace .

I give up ev'iy claim to these domains —
Alas ! the pinions of my soul are lam'd ;
Greatness entices me no more : your point
Is gain'd ; I am but Mary's shadow now —



gC IV ] MAET STUART.



277



My noble spirit is at last broke down

By long captivity: — youVe done your worst

On me ; you have destroy "d me in my bloom !

Now, end your work, my sister ; — speak at length

The word, which to pronounce has brought you hither ,

For I will ne'er believe, that you are come,

To mock unfeelingly your hapless victim.

Pronounce this word ; — say, " Mary, you are free:

You have already felt my pow'r, — learn now

To honour too my generosity."

Say this, and I will take my life, will take

My freedom, as a present from your hands.

One word makes all undone ; — I wait for it ; —

O let it not be needlessly delay 'd.

"Wo to you, if you end not with this word !

For should you not, like some divinity.

Dispensing noble blessings, quit me now,

Then, sister, not for all this island's wealth,

For all the realms encircled by the deep,

Would I exchange my present lot for yours.

Eliz. . And you confess at last, that you are conquer d :

Are all your schemes run out ? No mo^'e assassins
Now on the road ? Will no adventurer
Attempt again, for you, the sad achievement?
Yes, madam, it is over : — You'll seduce
No mortal more. The world has other cares ; —
None is ambitious of the dang'rous honour
Of being your fourth husband : — You destroy
Your wooers like your husbands.

Mary (startinr/ angrily). Sister, sister !—

Grant me forbearance, all ye powr's of heav'n !

Elizabeth (ir.gards her long, ivith a look of proud contempt;
Those then, my Lord of Leicester, are the charms
Which no man with impunity can view,
Near which no woman dare attempt to stand ?
In sooth, this honour has been cheaply gain'd;
She who to all is common, may with ease
Become the common object of applause

MAiiY. . This is too much !

EuzABETH (laugliing insultingly).

You show us now, indeed,



278 LIARY STOART. [ACT lU

Your real face ; till now 'twas but the mask.

Mary [buminj tcith rage, yet dignified and noble).

My sins were human, and the faults of youth :
Superior force misled me. I have never
Denied or sought to hide it : I despis'd,
All false appearance as became a Queen.
The worst of me is known, and I can say.
That I am better than the fame I bear.
Wo to you ! when, in time to come, the world
Shall draw the robe of honour from your deeds.
With which thy arch-hypocrisy has veil'd
The raging flames of lawless secret lust.
Virtue was not youi" portion from your mother ;
Well know we what it was which brought the head
Of Anna Boleyn to the fatal block.

Shrewsbury (stepping between both Queens).

! Heav'n ! Alas, and must it come to this !
Is tills the moderation, the submission,
My Lady?—

Mary. Moderation ! I've supported

What human nature can support : farewell,
Lamb-hearted resignation, passive patience.
Fly to thy native heaven ; burst at length
Thy bonds, come forward from thy dreary cave,
In all thy fury, long-suppressed rancour !
And thou, who to the anger'd basilisk
Impart 'st the murd'rous glance, 0, arm my tongue
With poison 'd darts !

Shrewsbury. She is beside herself!

Exasperated, mad ! My Liege, forgive her.

[Elizabeth, speechless xcith anger, casts enraged
looks al Mary.

Leicester (in the most violent agitation; he seeks to lead

Elizabeth aivay).
Attend not to her rage ! Away, away,
From this disastrous place !

Mary (raising her voice). A bastard soils,

Profanes the English throne ! The gen'rous Britons
Are cheated by a juggler, [whose whole figure
Is false and painted, heart as well as face !]
If right prevail 'd, you now would in the dust



30. VI.] MARY STTJAET. 279

Before me lie, for I'm your rightful monarch !

[Elizabeth hastily quits the stage ; the Lordt
follow her in the greatest consternation.

Scene V.
Mary, Kennedy.

Ken. . . What have you done ? She has gone hence in wrath

All hope is over now !
Mary [still quite beside herself).

Gone hence in wrath I

She carries death within her heart ! I know it.

[Falling on Kennedy's bosom

Now I am happy, Hannah ! and, at last,

After whole years of sorrow and abasement,

One moment of victoiious revenge !

A weight falls off my heart, a weight of mountains ;

I plung'd the steel in my oppressor's breast !
•?EN. . . Unhappy Lady ! Frenzy overcomes you.

Yes, you have wounded your invet'rate foe ;

'Tis she who wields the lightning, she is Queen,

You have insulted her before her minion.
Mary. . I have abas'd her before Leicester's eyes ;

He saw it, he was witness of my triumph.

How did I hurl her from her haughty height,

He saw it, and his presence strengthen'd me.

Scene VL
Enter MoRTijirER.
Ken. . . Sir ! "What an occurrence I
Mortimer. I heard all —

[Gives the nurse a sign to repair to her post, and
draivs nearer; his whole appearance expressei
the utmost violence of passion.
1 hine is the palm ; — thou trod'st her to the dust ! —
Thou wast the Queen, she was the malefactor ; —
I am transported with thy noble courage ; —
Yes ! I adore thee ; like a Deity,
My sense is dazzled by thy heav'nly
Mary {n-ith viivicity and expectation).

You spoke with Leicester, gave
My present too ? — speak, Sir



280 MART STUART. [aOI Illi

Mortimer {beholding her with glowing looks).

How th;^ uoblc,
Thy royal indignation shone, and cast
A glory round thy beauty ; yes, by Heavens,
Thou art the fairest woman upon earth !

Mary. . Sir, satisfy, I beg you, my impatience ;

What says his Lordship ? Say, Sir, may I hope ?

MoRT . Who ? — he ? — he is a wretch, a very coward,

Hope nought from him ; despise him, and forget him !

Mary. . What say you ?

Mortimer. He deliver, and possess you !

Why let him dare it : — he ! — he must with me
In mortal contest first deserve the prize !

Mary. . You gave him not my letter? Then, indeed,
My hopes are lost !

Mortimer. The coward loves his life.

Whoe'er would rescue you, and call you his,
Must boldly dare aflfront e'en death itself !

Mary. . Will he do nothing for me ?

Mortimer. Speak not of him.

What can he do V What need have we of him ?
I will release you ; I alone.

Maey. Alas !

What pow r have you ?

Mortimer. Deceive yourself no more ;

Think not your case is now as foi'merly ;
The moment that the Queen thus quitted you,
And that your interview had ta'en this turn,
All hope was lost, each way of mercy shut.
Now deeds must speak, now boldness must decide ;
To compass all must all be hazarded ;
You must be free before the morning break.

Mary. . What say you. Sir — to-night ? — impossible !

MoRT. . Hear what has been resolv'd : — I led my friends
Into a private chapel, where a priest
Heard our confession, and, for ev ry sin
We had committed, gave us absolution ;
He gave us absolution too, beforehand.
For ev'ry crime we might commit in future .
He gave us too the final sacrament.
And we are ready for the final journey



BC



vr.]



MABT STUART



281



"Mary. ! -Ahat an awful, dreadful pi^sparation !
MoKT. . We scale, this very night, the castles walls;

The keys are in my pow r ; the guards we murier !
Then from thy chamber bear thee forcibly.
Each living soul must die beneath our hands,
That none remain who might disclose the deed.
Mary. . And Drury, Paulet, my two keepers, they

Would sooner spill their dearest drop of blood.
MoRT. . They fall the very first beneath my steel.
Mary. . What, Sir ! Your imcle ? How ! Your second fathei \
MoET. . Must perish by my hand — I murder him !
Mart. 0, bloody outrage !

Mortimer. We have been absolv'd

Beforehand ; I may perpetrate the worst ; —
T can, I will do so !
Mary. dreadful, dreadful !

MoBT. , And should I be oblig'd to kill the Queen,
I've swora upon the host, it must be done !
Mary. . No, Mortimer ; ere so much blood for me. —
MoRT. . What is the life of all, compar'd to thee,

And to my love ? The bond which holds the world
Together may be loos'd, a second deluge
Come rolling on, and swallow all creation !
Henceforth I value nothing ; ere I quit
My hold on thee, may earth and time be ended !
Mary {retiring).

Heavns ! Sir, what language, and what looks ! Tbeji

scare,
They frighten me !
Mortimer {with unsteady looks, expressive of quiet madness).

Life 's but a moment — death
Is bat a moment too. Why ! let them dra" me
To Tyburn, let them tear me limb from limb,
With red-hot pincers —

[Violently approaching her with extended iimts
If I clasp but thee
Within my arms, thou fervently belov'd !
Mary. . Madman, avaunt !
Mortimer. To rest upon this bosom.

To press upon this passion-breathing mouth —
Mary. . Leave me, for God's sake, Sir ; let me go in —
MoRT. . He is a madman who neglects to clasp



S§S MAEY STUART. [ACT HI

His bliss in folds that never may be loosed,
When Heav'n has kindly giv'n it to his arms.
I will deliver you, and though it oost
A thousand lives, I do it : but I swear,
As God s in Heav'n, I will possess you too !

MiiBT. . O ! Will no God, no angel shelter me?

Dread destiny ! thou thi'ow'st me, in thy wrath,
From one tremendous terror to the other !
Was I then born to waken nought but frenzy ?
Do hate and love conspire alike to fright me ?



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