Friedrich Schiller.

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

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I will do it.

KING (turns round with astonishment and looks at thenVKEfoi
a lon/j time without moving).
That's boldly said ! But thou hast risk'd thy life
In stubboni conflicts for far less a prize.
Hast risk'd it Anth a gamester's recklessness —
For honour's empty bubble. 'SMiat is life
To thee ? I'll not expose the royal blood
To such a madman's power, whose highest hope
Must be, to peld his wretched being up
With some reno^ii. I spurn your offer. Go ;
And wait my orders in the audience chamber.

[EiL'eurtt.

Scene V.

The King alone.
Now give me, gracious Providence ! a man.
Thou'st given me much already. Now vouchsafe me
A man ! for thou alone canst grant the boon.
Thine eye doth penetrate all hidden things.

! give me but a friend : for I am not
Omniscient like to Thee. The ministers.
Whom thou hast chosen for me, thou dost know —
And their deserts : and as their merits claim,

1 value them. Their subjugated vices.
Coerced by rein severe, serve all my ends,
As thy storms purify this nether world.

I thirst for truth. — To reach its tranquil spring,

Through the dark heaps of thick surrounding error,

Is not the lot of kings. Give me the man,

So rai'ely found, of pure and open heart,

Of judgment clear, and eye unprejudiced,

To aid me in the search. — I cast the lots.

And may I find that man, among the thousands

^lio flutter in the sunshine of a court.

IfJe opens an escritoir and takes out a portfolio Af-
after t'urning over the leaves a long tune

H 2



UOO DON cAELOs. [act nt

Nothing but names, mere names are here : — no note

E'en of the services to which they owe

Their place upon the roll ! what can be

Of shorter memory than gratitude ?

Here, in this other list, I read each fault

Most accurately mark'd. That is not well !

3an vengeance stand in need of such a help?

[He reads farther
Count Egmont ! "^Tiat doth he here ? Long ago
The vict'ry of St. Quentin is forgotten.
I place him with the dead.

[He effaces this name and icrites it on the other roll.
after he has read farther.

The Marquis Posa !
The Marquis Posa I — I can scarce recall
This person to my mind. And doubly mark'd!
A proof I destined him for some great purpose.
How is it passible ? This man, till now,
Has ever shmm'd my presence — still has fled
His royal debtor's eye ? The only man,
By Heaven, within the compass of my realm,
"Who does not court my favour. Did he bum
With avaiice, or ambition, long ago
He had appear'd before my throne. I'll try
This wondrous man. He who can thus dispense
With royalty, will doubtless speak the truth.



Scene VI

The Audience Chamher.

Don* Carlos in conversation with the Prince of Parma
DcKEs Alva, Feria, and Medina Sidonia, Count Lerma,
and other Grandees, ivith papers in their hands, awaiting
the King.

MEDINA SIDONIA [seems to be shunned by all the Grandees,
turns towards duke alva, loho, alone and absorbed in
himself, walks up and down).

Duke, you have had an audience of the King

How did you find him minded?



SC, VII.] DON CARLOS. 101

ALVA.

Somewhat ill
For you, and for the news you bring.

MEDINA SIDONIA

My heait
Was lighter 'mid the roar of English cannon,
Than here on Spanish ground.

[Carlos, xvho had reijarded him icith silent symjiathy,
now approaches him and presses his hand.

My warmest thanks.
Prince, for this generous tear!— You may perceive
How all avoid me. Now my fate is seal'd.

CARLOS.

Still hope the best both from my father's favour,
And your own innocence.

MEDINA SIDONIA.

Prince! I have lost
A fleet, more mighty than e'er ploughed the waves.
And what is such a head as mine, to set
'Gainst seventy sunken galleons ? And therewith
Five hopeful sons ! Alas ! that breaks my heart.

Scene VII.

The King enters from his Chamber, attired. The formet
all uncover and inake room on both sides, wJiile they form a
semicircle round him. — Silence

KING [rapidly surveyiny the ichole circle)
Be covered all.

[Don Carlos and the Prince of Fat^'m.a approach Jirsi
and liiss the Ki-SGS hand: he turns uith friendly
mien to the latter, taking no notice of his son.

Your mother, nephew, fain
Would be inform 'd what favour you have won
Kere in Madrid.



'A''hen I have fou



PARMA

That question let her ask
gilt my maiden battle. Sire



102 nox CABL08 [act 111

KING.

Be satisfied, your turn -will come at last.
"When these old props decay.

[To the Duke of Feria.
What brmgs you here ?

FERIA {hneelinri to the king).
The Master, Sire, of Calatrava "s order
This morning died. I here return his cross.

KING (takes the order and looks round the tchole circle).
And ■who is worthiest after him to wear it ?

[He beckons to Duke Alva, uho approaches and bendi
on one knee. The Iving han;/s the order on Im
neck.
You are my ablest General ! Ne'er aspire
To more, and, Duke, my favours shall not fail you.

[He perceives the Duke 0/ Medina Sidon:a,
My Admiral !

MEDINA SIDONIA.

And here you see, great king,
All that remains of the Armada's might,
And of the flower of Spain.

king [after a pause).

God rules above us!
T sent you to contend with men, and not
With rocks and storms. You're welcome to Madrid.

\_Extending his hand to him to kiss
I thank you for preserving in yourself
A faithful sen'ant to me. For as sucli
I value him, my Lords ; and 'tis my will
That you should honour him.

\^He ynotions him to rise and cover himself, then turn*
to the others.

What more remains ?

[To Don Caklos and the Prince of Parma.
Priiices, I thank you !

[They retire ; the other Grandees approach, and kneel-
ififf, hand their papers to the King. He looks oret
them rapidly, and hands them to Duke Alva.
Duke! let these be laid



80. VII.] DOJ; CAttLoS. IC^K

Before m 3 in the Council. Who waits f-irther ?

[No one wnsioers.
How romes it that amidst my train of nobles
The Marquis Posa ne'er appears ? I know
This Marquis Posa served me with distinction.
Does he still live ? Why is he not among you ?

LEEMA.

The Chevalier is just return "d from travel.
Completed through all Europe. He is now
Here in Madrid, and waits a public day
To cast himself before his Sovereign's feet

ALVA.

The Marquis Posa I — Right, he is the same

Bold Knight of Malta, Sire, of wbom renown

Proclaims this gallant deed. Upon a summons

Of the Grand IMaster, all the valiant knights

Assembled in their Island, at that time

Besieged by Soliman. This noble youth,

Scarce numbering eighteen summers, straightway fled

From Alcala, where he pursued his studies,

And suddenly arrived at La Valette.

" This Cross," he said, " was bought for me ; and now

To prove I'm worthy of it." He was one

Of forty knights who lield St. Elmo's Castle,

At mid-day, 'gainst Piali, Ulucciali,

And Mustapha, and Hassera ; the assault

Being thrice repeated. When the Castle fell.

And all the valiant knights were kill'd around him,

He plunged into the ocean, and alone

Reached La Valette in safety. Two months after.

The foe deserts the island, and the knight

Return'd to end his interrupted studies.

FERIA.

It was the Marquis Posa, too, Avho crush 'd
The dread conspiracy in Catalonia ;
An- by his mark'd activity, preserved
That powerful Province to the Spanish Crown.

KINO.

I am amazed ! "What sort of man is this,
Who can deserve so highly, yet awake



104 DON CARLOS. [act III

No pang of envy in the breasts of three

Who speak his praise ? The character he owns

Must be of noble stamp, indeed, or else

A very blank. I'm curious to behold

This wondrous man. ITo Duke Alva

Conduct him to the Council
When mass is over.

[Exit Duke. The King calls Feria.

And do you preside
Here in my place. [Exit.

FERIA

The King is kind to-day

MEDINA SIDONIA.

Call him a god ! So he has proved to me !

FERIA.

You well deserve your fortune, Admiral !
You have my warmest wishes.

ONE OF THE GRANDEES.

Sir, and mine.

A SECOND.

And also mine !

A THIRD.

My heart exults with joy —
So excellent a General !

THE FIRST.

The King
She w'd you no kindness, — 'twas your strict desert.

LERMA (to MEDINA SIDONIA, tnJdiuj leave).
O, how two little words have made your fortune I

[Exeunt ill.

Scene VIII
The King's Cabinet
Marquis Posa, and Duke Alva.
MARQUIS [as he enters)
Does he want me? — What, me ? — Impossible !
You must mistake the name What can he want
With me '

ALVA

To know you



K IX. J DON CARLOS. 105

MARQUIS.

Curiosity i
No more ; and I regret the precious minutes
That I must lose : time passes swiftly by.

ALVA.

I now commend you to your lucky stars.
The Iving is in your hands. Employ this moment
To your own best advantage ; for, remember,
If it is lost, you are alone to blame.

Scene TX.
The Marquis alone.

MARQUIS.

Duke, 'tis well spoken ! Turn to good account
The moment which presents itself but once !
Truly this courtier reads a useful lesson :
If not in his sense good, at least in mine.

[Walks a few steps backwards and forward»
How came I here ? Is it caprice or chance
That shows me now my image in this mirror ?
Why, out of millions, should it picture me —
The most unlikely — and present my form
To the King s memory ? — Was this but chance ? —
Perhaps 'twas something more ! — What else is chance
But the rude stone which from the sculptor's hand
Receives its life ? — Chance comes from Providence,
And man must mould it to his own designs.
What the King wants with me but little matters ;
I know the business I shall have with him
Were but one spark of truth with boldness flung
Into the despot's soul, how fruitful 'twere
In the land hand of Providence ; and so
What first appear "d capricious act of chance.
May be designed for some momentous end.
Whate'er it be, I'll act on this belief.

[He takes a few turns in the room, and stands at lo^l
in iranquil coyitrmvlation before a painting. 'Hie
King appears in the neighhouriiig room, where hf
gives some orders He then enters and stands mo



106 DON CARLOS. [ACT IIX

tionJess at the door, and contemjjl.ttes the Marquis
/or some time ; without being observed.

Scene X.
The luNG, and Marquis Posa.

\The Marquis, as soon as he observes the Iving, comes
forward and sinks on one knee; then rises and re-
mains standing before him ivithout any sign of con-
fusion.

KING {looks at him with surprise).
We've met before then ? —

marquis.
No.

KING.

You did my Crown
Some service ? Why then do you shun my thanks ?
My memory is throng'd with suitors' claims.
One only is Omniscrent. 'Twas your duty
To seek your monarch's eje ! — Why did you not ?

marquis.
Two days have scarce elapsed since my return
From foreign travel. Sire.

KING.

I would not stand
Indebted to a subject ; ask some favour —

marquis.
I enjoy the laws.

KING.

So does the murderer !

MARQUIS.

Then how much more the honest citizen !
My lot contents me, Sii'e.

KING (aside).

By heavens ! a proud
And dauntless mind ! — That was to be expected.
Proud I would have my Spaniards. Better far
The cup should overflow, than not be full.
They say you've left my service ?



I



gC. X.'l DON CARLOS. 107

MAEQUIS.

To make way
For some one worthier, I withdrew.

KING.

'Tis pity.
When spirits such as jours make holiday,
The State must si^er. But perchance you fear'd
To miss the post best suited to your merits.

MABQUIS.

no ! ] doubt not the experienced judge,
Tn human nature sldll'd — his proper study, —
Will have discover'd at a glance wherein

1 may be useful to him, wherein not.
With deepest gratitude, I feel the favour
Wherewith, by so exalted an opinion,

Your Majesty is loading me ; and yet — [He / auses.

KING.

You hesitate ?

MAKQUIS.

I am, I must confess.
Sire, at this moment, unprepared to clothe
My thoughts, as the world's citizen, in phrase
Beseeming to your subject. W^hen I left
The court for ever. Sire, I deem'd myself
Released from the necessity to give
My reasons for this step.

KING.

Are they so weak ?
What do you fear to risk by their disclosure ?

JLAJIQUIS.

My life at farthest, Sire, — were time allow'd
For me to weary you — but this denied —
Then truth itself must suffer. I must choose
Twixt your displeasure and contempt. And if
I must decide, I rather would appear
Worthy of punishment than pity.

KING {with a look of expectation).

Well ?

MARQUIS.

I cannot be the servant of a prince.

[The KisQ looks at him with astoniahment.



108 DON CAELOS. [aCT III.

I vdil not cheat the buyer. Should you deem
Me worthy of your service, you prescribe
A course of duty for me ; you command
My arm in battle, and my head in council.
Then, not my actions, but the applause they meet
At court, becomes their object. But for me,
■ Virtue possesses an intrinsic worth.
I would, myself, create that happiness,
A monarch with my hand, would seek to plant ;
And duty's task would prove an inward joy, _ ^y "

And be my willing choice. Say, like you this ?
Axii in your own creation, could you bear
A new creator? For I ne'er could stoop
To be the chisel, where I fain would be
The sculptor's self. I dearly love mankind,
Mv gracious Liege, but in a monarchy,
I dare not love another than myself.

KING.

This ardour is most laudable. You wish

To do good deeds to others ; how you do them.

Is but of small account to patriots,

Or to the wise. Choose then within these realms

The office, where you best may satisfy

This noble impulse.

MAEQUIS.

"Tis not to be found.

KING.

How !

MAEQUIS

What your Majesty would spread abroad.
Through these my hands — is it the good of men ?
Is it the happiness that my pure love
Would to mankind impart '? Before such bliss
Monarchs would tremble. No ! Court policy
Has raised up new enjoyments for mankind,
Which she is always rich enough to grant ;
And waken'd, in the hearts of men, new wishes
Which such enjoyments only can content.
In her own mint, she coins the truth — such truth! —
As she herself can tolerate : all forms



SC, X.J E-OH CARLOS. 109

Unlike her own are broken. But is that
Which can content the court, enough for mo ?
Must my affection for my brother, pledge
Itself to -work my brother injury ?
To call him happy, ^yhen he dare not think ?
Sire choose not me, to spread the happiness
"\Miich you have stamp'd for us. I must decline
To circulate such coin. I cannot be
The servant of a prince.

KING isiiddenly).

You are, perhaps,
A Protestant ?

MARQUIS (after some refiectioii).

Om' creeds, my liege, are one. [A fausi
I am misunderstood. I fear'd as much.
You see the yeil torn by my hand aside
From all the mysteries of Majesty.
"VMio can assure you I shall still regard ^
As sacred, that which ceases to alarm me ?
I may seem dangerous, because I thiuk ' {_/^'~^^

Aboye myself. — I am not so, my Liege ; V

My wishes lie corroding here. The rage

[Laying his hand on his breast
For innoyation, which but serves t' increase
The heavy weight of chains it cannot break.
Shall never fire my blood ! The world is yet
Unripe for my Ideal ; and I live
A citizen of ages yet to come.
But does a fancied picture break your rest ?
A breath of yours destroys it.

KING.

Say am I
The first to whom your views are known ?

MARQUIS.

You are
KING [rises, walks a feu- j^aces, and then stops opposite tlie

MARQUIS— as?de).
This tone, at least, is new ; but flattery
Exhausts itseK. And men of talent still
Disdain to imitate. So let us test
Its opposite for once. ^Miy should I not "



no DON CARLOS. [act 111

Thero is a charm in novelty. — Should we

Be so agreed, I will bethink rae now

Of some new State employment, in whose duties

Your powerful mind

MARQDIS.

Sire, I perceive how suiall,
How mean, your notions are of manly worth.
Suspecting, in an honest man's discourse,
Nought but a flatterer's artifice, — methinks
.1 can explain the cause of this your error.
Mankind compel you to it. With free choice
They have disclaim'd their true nobility,
Lower'd themselves to their degraded state. —
Before man's inward worth, as from a phantom,
They fly in terror, — and contented with
Their poverty, they ornament their chains
With slavish prudence ; and they call it virtue.
To bear them with a show of resignation.
Thus did you find the world, and thus it was
By your great father handed o'er to you.
In this debased condition — how could you
Kespect manldnd ?

KING.

Your words contain some truth.

MABQUIS.

Alas ! that when from the Creator's hand
You took manldnd, and moulded him to suit
Your own ideas, making yourself the god
Of this new creature, you should overlook
That you yourself remained a human being—
A very man, as from God's hands you came. —
Still did you feel a mortal's wants and pains.
You needed sympathy ; but to a God
One can but sacrifice, and pray, and tremble- —
Wretched exchange ! Perversion most unblest
Of sacred nature ! — Once degrade mankind.
And make him but a thing to play upon.
Who then can share the harmony with you.?

KING [aside]
By Heaven, he moves me !



SC. X.J DON 0AEL03. 1 I 1

MARQUIS.

But this sacrifice
To you is valueless You thus become
A thing apart, a species of your own —
This is the price you pay for being a god !
'Twere dreadful were it not so, and if you
Gain'd nothing by the misery of millions!
And if the very freedom you destroy 'd
Were the sole blessing, that could make you happy !
Dismiss me, Sire, I pray you ; for my theme
Bears me too far — my heart is full — too strong
The charm, to stand before the only man
To whom I may reveal it.

[The Count Lerma enters, and whispers a Jew icords to

the King, who signs him to withdraw, and continuet

sitting in his former posture

KING {to the MARQUIS, after lerma is gone)

Nay, continue

MARQUIS {after a pause)
I feel, Sire — all the worth

KINO.

Proceed — you had
Yet more to say to me

MARQUIS

Your Majesty,
I lately pass'd through Flanders and Brabant,
So many rich and blooming provinces,
Fiird with a valiant, great, and honest people !
To be the father of a race like this,
I thought must be divine indeed ! and then
I stumbled on a heap of burnt men's bones !

[He stops, he fixes a penetrating look on the Kino, who

endeavours to return his glance ; but he looks on the

ground embarrassed and confused.
True, you are forced to act so ; but that you
Could dare fulfil your task — this fills my soul
With shuddering horror ! 'tis pity that
The Victim, weltering in his blood, must ceaso
To chant the praises of his sacrificer I



J 12 DON CAELOS. [aCT III.

And that mere men — not beings loftier far —
Should write the history of the world. But soon
A milder age will follow that of Philip,
An age of truer wisdom : — hand in hand,
Tlie subjects" welfai-e, and the Sovereign's greatness,
Will walk in union. Then the careful state
AVill spare her children, and necessity
Xo longer glory to be thus inhimian.

KING.

When, think you, would that blessed age arrive.
If I had shrunk before the curse of this ?
Behold my Spain, see here the burgher's good
Blooms in eternal and unclouded peace.
A peace like this will I bestow on Flanders.

MAEQUis {hastily).
The churchyard's peace ! And do you hope to end
What you have now begim ? Say, do you hope
To check the ripening change of Christendom,
The universal spring, that shall renew
The earth's fair form ? Would you alone, in Europe,
Fling yourself do'^'n before the rapid wheel
Of destiny — which rolls its ceaseless course —
And seize its spokes with human arm. Yain thought I
Already thousands have your kingdom fled.
In joyful poverty : the honest bui'gher
For his faith exiled, was your noblest subject !
See, with a mother's arms, Elizabeth
Welcomes the fugitives, and Britain blooms
In rich luxuriance, from our country's aits.
Bereft of the new Christian's industry,
Grenada lies forsaken, and all Europe,
P^xulting. sees its foe oppress'd vrith wounds,
By its own hands inflicted I

[The King is moved ; ike Marquis observes it, and ad
varices a step nearer.

You would plant
For all eternity — and yet the seeds
You sow around you are the seeds of death I
This hopeless task, with nature's laws at strife.
Will ne'er sm-vive the spirit of its founder.
You labour for ingratitude : — m vain,



SC. X.] DON CAKLOS. 113

With nature jou engage in desperate struggle —
In vain you waste your liigh and royal life,
In projects of destruction. Man is greater
Than you esteem him. He ■s\"ill burst the chains
Of a long slumber, and reclaim once more
His just and hallow'd rights. With Nero's name.
And fell Busiris', will he couple yours :
And — all ! you once desen'ed a better fate.

KING.

How know you that ?

MARQUIS.

In very truth you did —
Yes, I repeat it — by the Almighty power !
Restore us all you have deprived us of,
And, generous as strong, let happiness
Flow from your horn of plenty — let man's mind
Ripen in your vast empire — give us back
All you have taken from us — and become,
Amidst a thousand kings, a king indeed !

[He advances boldly, and fixes on him a look of earnest-
ness and enthusiasm.
O ! that the eloquence of all those myriads,
T\Tiose fate depends on this momentous hour.
Could hover on my lips, and fan the spark
That lights thine eye into a glorious tlame !
Renounce the mimicry of godlike powers
'^^^Iich levels us to nothing. Be, in truth.
An image of the Deity himself I
Never did mortal man possess so much.
For purpose so divine. The kings of Europe
Pay homage to the name of Spain. Be you
The leader of these kings. One pen-stroke now.
One motion of your hand, can new create
The earth ! — but grant us liberty of thought

[Casts himself at his feet.
SING [surprised, turns aicay his face, then again holes towards

the marquis).

Enthusiast most strange ! arise ; but I

marquis.
Look round on all the glorious face of nature,
Ou freedom it is founded — see how rich,



I I 1 DON CARLOS [ACT III.

Tlirough freedom, it has grown. The great Creator

Bestows upon the worm its drop of dew,

And gives free-will a triumph, in abodes

Where lone corruption reigns. See -your creatiou,

How small, how poor ! The rustling of a leaf

Alarms the mighty lord of Christendom.

Each virtue makes you quake with fear. While he.

Not to disturb fair freedom's blest appearance.

PeiTDits the frightful ravages of evil

To waste his fair domains. The great Creator,

We see not — he conceals himself within

His own eternal laws. The sceptic sees

Their operation, but beholds not Him.

" Wherefore a God ! '" he cries, " the world itself

Suffices for itself ! " And Christian prayer

Ne'er praised him more, than doth this blasphemy.

KING.

And will you undertake to raise up this
Exalted standard of weak human nature
In my dominions ?

MARQriS.

You can do it. Sire !
Who else? Devote to your own people's bliss,
The kingly power, which has too long enrich 'd
The greatness of the throne alone. Restore
The prostrate dignity of human nature.
And let the subject be, what once he was.
The end and object of the monarch's care,
Bound by no duty, save a brother's love.
And when mankind is to itself restored,
Roused to a sense of its own innate worth.
When freedom's lofty virtues proudly flourish —
Then, Sire, when you have made your own wide realms
The happiest in the wox'ld, it then may be
Your duty, to subdus the universe.

KING {after a long pause).
I've heard you to the end. Far differently
I find, than in the minds of other men.
The world exists in yours. And you shall not
By foreign laws be judged. I am the first
To whom you have your sof^ret self disclosed ;



SC. X.] DON TARLOS. 115

I know it — so believe it — for the sake
Of this forbearance — that you have till now
Conceal'd these sentiments, although embraced
With so much ardour, — for this cautious prudeuco,
1 will forget, young man, that I have learn'd them.
And how I leani'd them. Rise ! I will confute
Your youthful dreams, by my matured experience.
Not by my power as king. Such is my will,
And therefore act I thus. Poison itself
May, in a worthy nature, be transform 'd
To some benignant use. —But, Sir, beware
My Inquisition ! 'T would afflict me much —

MAEQUIS.

Indeed !

KING [lost in surprise).
Ne'er met I such a man as this.
No, Marquis, no ! you wrong me ! Not to you
"Will I become a Nero — not to you ! —
All happiness shall not be blasted round me.
And you at least, beneath my very eyes.
May dare continue to remain a man.

MARQUIS [quickly).
And, Sire ! my fellow subjects ? Not for me.
Nor my own cause, I pleaded. Sire ! your subjects—



Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 7 of 37)