Friedrich Schiller.

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

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Was all that now remain 'd for me ; and so
I made myself thy enemy to — serve thee
With fuller power — dost thou not hear me, Caries ?


Go on ! — go on ! I hear thee.


To this point
I'm guiltless — But the unaccustom'd beams
Of royal favour dazzled me. The rumour,
As I had well foreseen, soon reach'd thine ears*
But by mistaken delicacy led,
And blinded by the vain desire, to end
My entei'prise alone, I kept conceal'd
From friendship's ear, my hazardous design.
This was my fatal error I Here I fail'd ! —
1 know it. — My self-confidence was madness.
Pardon that confidence — 'twas founded, Carlos,
Upon our friendship "s everlasting base.

[He pauses. — Cahlos passes j7-om torpid silence to violent
That which I feared, befel. Unreal dangers
Alarmed your mind. — The bleeding Queen — the tumult
Within the Palace — Lerma's interference —
And, last of all, my own mysterious silence,
Conspired to overwhelm thy heart with wonder.
Thou waverdst, thought'st me lost; but far too noble
To doubt thy friend's integrity, thy soul
Clothed his defection with a robs of honour.
Nor judged him faithless, till it found a motive

176 Dox cAPvLOs. [act V,

To screen and justify his Lreach of faith.

Forsaken by tliy only friend — 'twas then

Thou sought'st the arms of Princess Eboli —

A demon's arms ! 'Twas she betray "d thee, Carlos 1

I saw thee fly to her — a du'e foreboding

Struck on my heart — I follow'd thee, too late '

Already wert thou prostrate at her feet,

The dread avowal had escaped thy lips —

No way was left to save thee.


No ! — her heart
Was moved, thou dost mistake, her heart was moved


Night overspread my mmd. No remedy,

No refuge, no retreat, was left to me

In nature's boundless compass. Blind despair

Transform'd me to a fury — to a tiger —

I raised my dagger to a woman's breast.

But in that moment — in that dreadful moment —

A radiant sun-beam fell upon my soul.

'• Could I mislead the "King! Could I succeed

In making him think me the criminal !

Howe'er improbable, the very guilt

"Will be enough to win the Iving s belief.

I'll dare the task — a sudden thunderbolt

May make the tyrant start — what want I furthor ?

He stops to think, and Cai'los thus gains time

To fly to Brussels."


And hast thou done this ?


I have despatch'd a letter to Prince William,
Saymg I loved the Queen, and had escaped
The King's mistrust, in the unjust suspicion
Which falsely fell on thee — that I had found
Means, through the Monarch's favour, to obtain
Free access to the Queen. I added, fai-ther.
That I was fearful of discovery —
That thou hadst learn'd my secret, and hadst sped
To Princess Eboli, with hopes through her

warn the Queen — that I had made thee prisoner—-

8C. III.]


And now that all seem'd lost, I had resolved
To fly to Brussels. This same letter I

CARLOS [interrupts him terrified).
Hast surely not entrusted to the Post !
Thou know'st that letters to Brabant and Flanders


Are given to the King ; and as things go,
Taxis would seem to have discharged his dutv


Heavens ! then I'm lost.


How lost ? What meanest thou i


And thou, alas ! art lost together with me —
This dreadful fraud my father ne'er will pardon.


This fraud ! Thou'rt mad ! Who will disclose it to him ?

CARLOS {regards him with a fixed look).
"Who ! Dost thou ask ? I will mvself.


Thou ravest !
Stand back


Away ! For Heaven's sake hold me not
Whilst I stay here, he 's hiring the assassins.


Then is our time more precious — and we still
Have much to say.


What ! Before all is finished ?
[He makes another effort to go. The Marquis hohL
him by the arm, and looks at him impressively.
Carlos ! was 1 so scrupulous — so eager —
When thou, a boy, didst shed thy blood for me '?

CARLOS (xcith emotion, and full of admiration).
Kind Providence !

lieserve thyself for Flandere I


The kingdom is thy destiny — 'tis mine
To give my life for thee.

CARLOS (takes his hand with deep sensibility)'
No, no ! he will not,
Cannot resist a virtue so sublime.
I will conduct thee to him, and together.
Arm linked in arm, will we appear before him.
Then thus will I address him : " Father, see,
This is the way a friend acts towards his friend.
Trust me, 'twill move him — it will touch his heart
He's not without humanity,: — my father
Yes, it will move him. With hot tears, his eyes
Will overflow — and he will pardon us.

[.4 shot is fired through the iron grating. — CASliOt
leaps up.


Whom was that meant for ?

MARQUIS [sinking down).

I believe — for me
CARLOS {falling to the earth with a loud cry of grief).

God of Mercy !


He is quick -the King I —

1 had hoped — a little longer — Carlos — think

Of means of flight — dost hea\ me ? — of thy flight.

Thy mother — knows it all - -I can no more. [Vies.

[Carlos remains by the Corpse, like one bereft of life
After some time the King enters, accompanied by
many Grandees ; and starts, panic-struck, at the
sight. A general and deep silence. The Grandees
range themselves in a semicircle round them both, and
regard the King aiid his Son alternately. The latter
continues without any sign of life. The King regards
him in thoughtful silence.

• Scene IV.

TJie King, Carlos, the Dukes Alva, Feria, and Medina
STD0NL4, Prince of Parma, Count Lerma, Domingo^ and
numerous Grandees.

KING [in a gentle tone).
Thy prayer hath met a gracious hearing, Prince,


And here I come, with all the uoble peers
Of this my Court, to bring thee liberty.

[Caelos raises his eyes and looks around him, like one
aicakened from a dream. His eyes are fixed now or.
the King, noio on the corpse; he gives no ansuer.
Receive thy sword again "We've been too rash I

[He approaches him, holds out his hand, aiid asst.'ics
him to rise.
My son's not in his place; — Carlos arise !
Come to thy father's arms ! His love awaits thee.

CARLOS [receives the embrace of the king ivithout any con^
sciousness. Suddenly recollects himself, pauses and lools
fixedly at him).

Thou smell'st of blood — no, I cannot embrace thee !

[Pushes his father back. All the Grandees are in cowr
motion. Carlos to them :

Nay, stand not there confounded and amaz'd !

What monstrous action have I done ? Defiled

The Anointed of the Lord ! fear me not,

I would not lay a hand on him. Behold

Stamp'd on his forehead is the damning brand !

The hand of God hath mark'd him !

KING {about to go quickly).

Nobles! follow.


Whither ? You stir not from this spot.

[Detaining the King forcibly with both hands, ivhiU
with one he manages to seize the suord which ihe
King had brought with him, and it comes from tite


What! Draw
A sword upon thy father?

ALL THE GRANDEES [drawing their swords).

Regicide !

CARLOS {holding the Ki'so firmly with one hand, the naked

sword in the other).
Put up your swoi'ds ! TMiat ! Think you T am mad ?
I am not so : or you were much to blame


Thus to remind me, that upon the point

Of this my sword, his trembling life doth hover.

I pray you, stand aloof; for souls like mine

Need soothing. There — hold back ! And with the King,

What I have yet to settle, touches not

Your loyalty. See there — his hand is bloody !

Do you not see it ? And now look you here !

[Pointing to the corse
This hath he done with a well practised hand.

KING (to the Grandees, who press anxiously round him).
Retire ! Why do you tremble ? Are we not
Father and son ? I will yet wait and see
To what atrocious crime his nature


Nature !
I know her not. Murder is now the word !
The bonds of all humanity are sever'd.
Thine own hands have dissolved them, through the realm.
Shall I respect a tie, which thou hast scorn 'd ?
O see ! see here ! the foulest deed of blood
That e'er the world beheld. Is there no God ?
That kings, in his creation, work such havoc ?
Is there no God, I ask? Since mothers' wombs
Bore children. One alone — and only One —
So guiltlessly hath died. And art thou sensible
W^hat thou hast done ? no ! he knows it not :
Knows not that he has robb'd — despoil'd the world
Of a more noble, precious, dearer life,
Than he and all his century can boast.

KING (with a tone of softness).
[f I have been too hasty, Carlos — thou.
For whom I have thus acted, should at least
Not call me to account.


Is't possible !
Did you then never guess, how dear to me
Was he, who here lies dead ? Thou lifeless corse 1
Instruct him — aid his wisdom, to resolve
This dark enigma now. He was my friend.


And would you know why he has perish i thus ?
He gave his life for me.


Ha ! my suspicions !


Pardon, thou bleeding corse, that J profane

1'hy virtue, to such ears ! But let him blush

With deep-felt shame, — the crafty politician. —

That his greyheaded A\isdom was o'erreached

E'en by the judgment of a youth ! Yes, Sire !

We two were brothers ! Bound by nobler bands

Than nature ties. His whole life's bright career

Was love. His noble death was love for me.

E'en in the moment, when his brief esteem

Exalted you, he was my own. And when

With fascinating tongue, he sported with

Your haughty, giant mind, 'twas your conceit

To bridle him ; but you became, yourself,

The pliant tool of his exalted plans.

That I became a prisoner — my arrest —

Was his deep friendship's meditated work.

That letter to Prince William, was design'd

To save my life. It was the first deceit

He ever practised ! To ensure my safety,

He rush'd on death himself and nobly perish'd.

You lavish'd on him all your favour, — yet

For me he died. Your heart, your confidence.

You forced upon him. As a toy, he held

Your sceptre and your power, — he cast them from him,

And gave his life for me.

[The King stands motionless, with eyes fixed on th6
ground ; all the Grandees regard him ivith sur-
prise and alarm.

How could it be

That you gave credit to his strange deceit ?

Meanly indeed he valued you, to try

By such coarse artifice to win his ends !

You dared to court his friendship, but gave way

Before a test so simple. O no ! never

For souls like yours, was such a being fonn d !

That well he knew himself, when he rejectful

182 DON CARLOS. [act V.

Your crowns, your gifts, your greatness, and yourself.

This fine-toned lyre broke in your iron hand.

And you could do no more than murder him !

ALVA (never having taken his eyes from the king, anci ohsent-

ing his emotion with uneasiness, approaches him with ap

Keep not this death-like silence. Sire ! Look round,
And speak at least to us !


Once, you were not
Indifferent to him. And deeply once,
You occupied his thoughts. It might have been
His lot, to make you happy. His full heart
Might have enriched you, with its mere abundance
An atom of his soul, had been enough
To make a God of you. You've robb'd yourself —
Plunder'd yourself and me. What could you give.
To raise again a spirit like to this ?

[Deep silence. Many of the Grandees turn away, or
conceal their faces in their mantles.
O ye ! who stand around with terror dumb.
And mute surprise, do not condemn the youth,
Who holds this language to the King, his father !
Look ou this corse ! Behold ! for me he died.
If ye have tears — if, in your veins flows blood.
Not molten brass — look here, and blame me not.

[He turns to the King with more self-possession and
Doubtless you wait the end of this rude scene ?
Here is my sword, for you are still my King.
Think not I fear your vengeance. Murder me,
As you have murder'd this most noble man !
My life is forfeit, — that I know full well.
But what is life to me ? I here renounce
All that this world can offer to my hopes.
Seek among strangers for a son. Here lies
My kingdom.

[He sinks down on the corse, and takes no part irf
what follows. A confused tumult and the noise of a
crowd is heard in the distance. All is deep silence

so. v.] DON CARLOS 183

round the King. His eyes scan the circle over, hut
no one returns his looks.


What ! Will no one make reply ?
Each eye upon the ground, each look abash'd I
My sentence is pronounced. I read it here,
P reclaim 'd in all this Lifeless mute demeanour.
My vassals have condemn'd me.

[Silence as before. The tumult grows louder. A mur-
mur is heard among the Grandees. They exchange
embarrassed looks. Count Lekma at length gently
touches Alva.


Here 's rebellion !
ALVA {in a low voice).
I fear it.


It approaches ! They are coming !

Scene V.

An Officer of the Body Guard. The former.
OFFICER ((urgently).
Rebellion ! Where 's the King ?

[He makes his way through the crowd, up to the Kino

Madrid 's in arms !
To thousands swell'd, the soldiery and people
Surround the palace ; and reports are spread —
That Carlos is a prisoner — that his life
Is threaten'd. And the mob demand to see
Him living, or Madrid will be in flames.

THE GRANDEES [tvith excitement).
Defend the King !

ALVA [to the KING, who remains quiet and unmoved).
Fly, Sire ! your life 's in danger.
As yet we know not who has arm'd the people.

BJNO [rousing from his stupor, and advancing with dignity

among them).
Stands my throne firm, and am I sovereign yet,
Over this Emnire ? No ! I'm Kin" no more.
These cowards weep — moved by a puny boy


They only wait the signal, to desert me
I am betray 'd by rebels !


Dreadful thought !


There ! fling yourselves before him — down before
The j'^oung, the expectant King ; I'm nothing now.
But a forsaken, old, defenceless man !


Spaniards ! is't come to this ?

[All crowd round the King, and fall on their knees lefcre
him with drawn swords. Carlos remains alone with
the corse, deserted by all.

KING [tearing off his mantle and throwing it from him).

There ! clothe him now
With this my royal mantle ; and on high
Bear him, in triumph, o'er my trampled corse !

[He falls senseless in Alva's and Lerma's arms.


For Heaven's sake, help !


sad, disastrous chance !


He faints !

ALVA {leaves the king in lerWs and feria's hands).
Attend his Majesty ! whilst I
Make it my aim to tranquillize Madrid,

[Exit Alva. The King is home off) attended by all the

Scene VI.

Carlos remains behind with the corse. — After a few moments
Louis Mercado appears, looks cautiously round him, and
stands a long time silent behind thg Prince, who does not
observe him


1 come, Prince, from her Majesty the Queen.

[Carlos turiLS away and makes no reply.


My name, Mercado, I'm the Queen's physician :
See my credentials.

{Shows the Prince a signet ring. Carlos remains nill

And the Queen desires
To speak with you to-day — on weighty business.


Nothing is weighty in this world to me.


A charge tho Marquis Posa left with her.

CARLOS (looking up quickly).
Indeed ! I come this instant.


No, not yet,
Most gracious Prince ! you must delay till night.
Each avenue is watch 'd, the guards are doubled,
You ne'er could reach the palace unperceived ;
You would endanger everything.


And yet— ^


I know one means alone that can avail us.

'Tis the Queen's thought, and she suggests it to you;

But it is bold, adventurous and strange !


What is it ?


A report has long prevail'd.
That in the secret vaults, beneath the palace,
At midnight, shrouded in a monk's attire,
The Emperor's departed spirit walks.
The people still give credit to the tale.
And the guards watch the post, with inward terror.
Now, if you but determine to assume
This dress, you may pass freely through the guards.
Until you reach the chamber of the Queen,
Which this small key will open. Your attire
Will save you from attack. But on the spot.
Prince I your decision must be made at once.


The requisite apparel, and the mask.

Are ready in your chamber. 1 must haste

And take the Queen your answer.


And the hour?


Is midnight.


Then inform her I will come.

[Exit Mebcado

Scene VII.
Carlos and Count Leema.


Save yourself, Prince. The King 's enraged against you.
Your liberty, if not your life 's in danger !
Ask me no farther — I have stolen away
To give you warning — fly this very instant.


Heaven will protect me !


As the Queen observed
To me, this moment, you must leave Madrid
This very day, and fly to Brussels, Prince.
Postpone it not I pray you. The commotion
Favours your flight. The Queen, with this design,
Has raised it. No one will presume so far.
As to lay hand on you. Swift steeds await you
At the Carthusian Convent, and behold
Here are your weapons, should you be attacked.

[Lerma (/ices him a dagge'>^ and pistols.


Thanks, thanks. Count Lerma !


This day's sad event
Has moved my inmost soul ! No faithful friend
Will ever love like him. No patriot breathes
But weeps for you. More now I dare not say.

SC. VIII.] 1>0N CARLOS. 187


Count Lerma' he who's gone, consider'd ^'9U
A man of honour.


Farewell, Prince, again !
Success attend you ! Happier times wall come —
But I shall be no more. Receive my homage I

[Falls on one knee,

CARLOS [endeavours to prevent him, with much emotion).
Jsot so — not so, Count ! I am too much moved —
I would not be unmann'd !

LERMA [kissing ]tis hand icith feelinc/).

My children's king !

To die for you, will be their privilege !

It is not mine, alas ! But in those children,

Remember me ! Return in peace to Spain.

May you on Philip's throne, feel as a man,

For you have learn'd to suffer ! Undertake

No bloody deed against your father, Prince !

Philip compell'd his father to yield up

The throne to him ; and this same Philip now,

Trembles at his own son. Think, Prince, of that !

And may Heaven prosper and direct your path !

[Exit quickly. Carlos about to hasten aivay by another
side, but turns rapidly round, and throws himself down
before the corse, which he again folds in his arms He
then hurries from the room.

Scene VIII.

Tlie King's Antechamber.

Ddke Alva and Duke Feria enter in conversation.


The town is quieted. How is the King ?

In the most fearful state. Within his chamber,
He is shut up, and whatsoe'er may happen,
lie will admit no person to his presence.
The tioason of the Marquis, has at once
Changed his whole nature. We no longer Know uioj



I must go to him, nor respect his feelings.
A great discovery which I have made


A new discovery ?


A Carthusian monk
My Guards observed, with stealthy footsteps, creep
Into the Prince's chamber, and inquire
With anxious curiositv, about

The Marquis Posa's death. They seized him straight.
And question'd him. Urged by the fear of death,
He made confession, that he bore about him
Papers of high importance, which the Marquis
Enjoin'd him to deliver to the Prince,
If, before sunset, he should not return.


Well, and what further ?


These same letters state
That Carlos from Madrid must fly, before
The morning dawn.


Indeed !


And that a ship at Cadiz lies
Ready for sea, to carry him to Flushing.
And that the Netherlands but wait his presence,
To shake the Spanish fetters from their arms


Can this be true ?


And other letters say,
A fleet of Soliman's will sail for Rhodes,
According to the treaty, to attack
The Spanish squadron in the Midland seas.


Impossible .


And hence, I understand
The object of the journeys, which of late


The Marquis made thro' Europe 'Twas no less,
Than to rouse all the northern powers to arras
In aid of Flanders' freedom.


Was it so ?


There is, besides, appended to these letters.
The full concerted plan of all the war,
Wliieh is to disunite from Spain's control,
The Netherlands for ever. Nought omitted —
The power and opposition close compared ;
All the resources accurately noted,
Together with the maxims to be followed,
And all the treaties which they should conclude.
The plan is fiendish, but 'tis no less splendid.


The deep designing traitor!


And, moreover.
There is allusion made, in these same letters.
To some mysterious conference, the Prince
Must with his mother hold, upon the eve
Preceding his departure.


That must be
This very day.


At midnight. But for this
I have already taken proper steps.
You see the case is pressing. Not a moment
Is to be lost: open the Monarch's chamber


Impossible ! All entrance is forbidden


ni open then myself — the increasing danger
Must justify my boldness.

[As ne is on the point of approaching the door it opens.
and the King comes out.


'Tis himself!

190 DON CARLOS [act V.

Scene IX.
The King. The preceding.

[AR are alarmed at his appearance, fall hack., and let him past
through them. He appears to he in, a toaking dream like a
sleep-walker. His dress and figure indicate the disorder
caused hy his late fainting. With slow stejjs he walks past
the Grandees and looks at each with a fixed eye, hut without
recognising any of them. At last he stands still, wrapped in
thought, his eyes fixed on the ground, till the emotions of /jt#
mind gradually express themselves in words.


Restore me back the dead ! Yes, I must have him.

DOMINGO {whispering to alva).
Speak to him, Duke.


Ee died despising me !
Have him again I must — and make him think
More nobly of me.

AJ.VA (approaching with fear).

Sire !
KING [looking round the circle).

Who speaks to me ?
Have yuu forgotten who I am ? Why not
Upon your knees, before your Iviug, ye creatures !
Am I not still your King ? I must command
Submission from you. Do you all then slight me,
Because one man despised me ?


Gracious King !
No more of him : a new and mightier foe
Arises in the bosom of your realm.


Prince Carlos— —


Had a friend who died for him. —
For him ! With me, he might have shared an empire.—
How he look'd down upon me ! — From the throne.
Kings look not down so proudly. — It was plain,
How vain his conquest made him. His keen sorrow


Confess 'd how great his loss. — Man weeps not so.
For aught that's perishable. that he might
But live again ! I'd give my Indies for it !
Omnipotence ! thou bring'st no comfort to me :
Thou canst not stretch thine arm into the grave,
To rectify one little act, committed
With hasty rashness, 'gainst the life of man.
The dead return no more. Who dare affirm
That I am happy ? In the tomb he dwells,
Who scom'd to flatter me. What care I now
For all who live ? One spirit, one free being,
And one alone, arose in all this age !
He died despising me !


Our lives are useless i
Spaniards, let 's die at once ! E'en in the grava
This man still robs us of our Monarch's heart.

KING [sits down and leans his head on his arrn),
! had he died for me ! I loved him, too,
And much. Dear to me was he as a son.
In bis young mind, there brightly rose for me,
A new and beauteous morning. "Who can saj
What I had destined for him ? He to me
Was a first love. All Europe may condemn me,
Europe may overwhelm me with its curse,
But I deserved his thanks.


What spell is this ?


And, say, for whom did he desert me thus ?

A Doy, — my son ? no, believe it not !

A Posa would not perish for a boy :

The scanty flame of friendship could not fill

A Posa's heart. It beat for human kind.

His passion was the world, and the whole course

Of future generations yet unborn.

To do them service, he secured a throne —

\nd lost it. Such high treason 'gainst mankind

7ould Posa e'er forgive himself? no ;

i know his feelings better. Not, that he

Carlos preferred to Philip, but the youth — •

192 DON CABLOS. [act V.

The tender pupil, — to the aged Monarch.
The father's evening sunbeam could not ripen
His novel projects. He resei'ved for this,
The young son's orient rays. 'tis undoubted,

Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 11 of 37)