Friedrich Schiller.

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

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I am call'd

The ricliest monarch in the Clu'istian world ;
Tlie sun in my dominions never sets.
All this another hath possess 'd before,
And many another -svill possess hereafter.
That is mine own. All that the monurch hath
Belongs to chance — Elizabeth to Philip.
This is the point in which I feel I"m mortal.


What fear you. Sire ?


Should these grey hairs not fear ?
But the same instant that my fear begins,
It dies away for ever. [To the (xrandees.

I run o'er
The nobles of my Court, and miss the foremost.
Where is my son, Don Carlos ? [No one answers.

He begins
To give me cause of fear. He shuns my presence,
Since he came back from school at Alcala.
His blood is hot. Why is his look so cold ?
His bearing all so stately and reserved ?
Be watchful, Duke, I charge you.


So I am :
Long as a heart against this corslet beats.
So long may Philip slumber undisturb'd ;
And as God's Cherub guards the gates of heavec,
So doth Duke Alva guard your royal throne.


Dare I, in all humility, presume

To oppose the judgment of earth's wisest King?

Too deeply I revere his gracious sire,

To judge the son so harshly. 1 fear much

From his hot blood, but nothing from his heart.


Lerma, your speech is faix', to soothe the father,
But Alva here will be the monarch's shield —
No more of tliis.

32 DON CARLOS. [act I,

[Turning to his Suite
Now speed we to Madrid,
Our royal duties summon us. The plague
Of heresy is rife among my people ;
Rebellion stalks within my Netherlands —
The times are imminent. We must arrest
These erring spirits by some dread example.
The solemn oath which every Christian King
Hath sworn to keep, I will redeem to-morrow
'Twill be a day of doom unparallel'd.
Our Court is bidden to the festival.

[He leads off the Queen, the rest follow

Scene VII.

Don Carlos [with letters in his hand), and Marqcts Po'^a
enter from opposite sides.


I am resolved — Flanders shall yet be saved :
So runs her suit — and that's enough for me !


There's not another moment to be lost :
'Tis said Duke Alva, in the Cabinet,
Is named already as the Governor.


Betimes, to-morrow, will I seek the King,

And ask this office for myself. It is

The first request I ever made to him.

And he can scarce refuse. My presence here

Has long been irksome to him. He will grasp

This fair pretence my absence to secure.

And shall I confess to thee, Roderigo ? —

My hopes go further. Face to face with him,

'Tis possible, the pleading of a son

May reinstate him in his father's favour.

He ne'er hath heard the voice of nature speak ;

Then let me try for once, my Roderigo,

What power she hath when breathing from my lips.


Now do I hear my Carlos' voice once more •
Now ai'e you all yourself again !



The x>receding. Count Lkkma


Your Grace,
flis Majesty has left Aranjuez ;
And I am bidden


Very well, my lord —
I shall o'ertake the King —

MARQUIS (affecting to take leave with ceremony \

Your Highness, then.
Has nothing further to intrust to me ? '


Nothing. A pleasant journey to Madrid I
You may, hereafter, tell me more of Flanders.

[To Lerma, u-ho is u-aititvj for him.
Proceed, my lord ! Ill follow thee anon.

Scene IX.
Don Carlos, Marquis Posa


I understood thy hint, and thank thee for it.

A stranger's presence can alone excuse

This forced and measured tone. Are we not brothers ?

In future, let this puppet-play of rank

Be banish'd from our friendship. Think that we

Had met at some gay masking festival,

Thou in the habit of a slave, and I

Robed, for a jest, in the imperial purple.

Throughout the revel we respect the cheat,

And play our parts with sportive earnestness,

Tripping it gaily with the merry throng ;

But should thy Carlos beckon through his mask,

Thou'dst press his hand in silence as he pass'd.

And we should be as one.


The dream's divine/
But are you sure, that it will last for ever ?
Is Carlos, then, so certain of himself.
As to despise the charrcs of boundless sway?
A day will come— an all-important dny —



When this heroic mind — I warn you now —
Will sink o'erwhelm'cl by too severe a test.
Don Philip dies ; and Carlos mounts the throne.
The mightiest throne in Christendom. How vast
The gulph that yawns betwixt mankind and him
A god to-day, who yesterday was man !
Steel'd to all human weakness — to the voice
Of heavenly duty deaf. Humanity, —
To-day a word of import in his ear, —
Barters itself, and grovels 'mid the throng
Of gaping parasites ; — his sympathy
For liuman wo is turn'd to cold neglect,
His virtue sunk in loose voluptuous joys.
Peru supplies him riches for his folly.
His court engenders devils for his vices.
Luird in this heaven the work of crafty slaves,
He sleeps a charmed sleep ; and while his dream
Endures, his godhead lasts. And wo to him.
Who'd break, in pity, this lethargic trance !
What could Koderigo do ? Friendship is true,
And bold as true. But her bright flashing beams
Were much too fierce for sickly majesty :
You would not brook a subject's stern appeal,
Nor I, a monarch's pride !


Fearful and true,
Thy portraiture of monarchs. Yes — thou'rt right.
But 'tis their lusts that thus corrupt their hearts,
And hurry them to vice. I still am pure.
A youth scarce numbering three-and-twenty years.
^Vhat thousands waste in riotous delights,
Without remorse — the mind's more precious part~
The bloom and strength of manhood — I have kept,
Hoarding their treasures for the future king.
What could unseat my Posa from my heart.
If women fail to do it ? * \


1, myself!
Say, could I love you, Carlos, warm as now,
If I must fear you ?



That will never be.
What need hast thou of me ? What cause hast thou
To stoop thy knee, a suppliant at the throne ?
Does gold allure thee ? Thou'rt a richer subject,
Than I shall be a king ! Dost covet honours?
E'en in thy youth, fame's brimming chalice stood
Full in thy grasp — thou flung'st the toy away.
Which of us, then, must be the other's debtor,
And which the creditor ? Thou standest mute.
Dost tremble for the trial ? Art thou, then.
Uncertain of thyself?


Carlos, I yield !
Here is my hand.


Is it mine own?


For ever —
In the most pregnant meaning of the word !


And wilt thou prove hereafter to the King,
As true and warm as to the Prince to-day ?


I swear !


And when round my unguarded heart
The serpent flattery -vNinds its subtle coil.
Should e'er these eyes of mine forget the tears
They once were wont to shed ; or should these ears
Be closed to mercy's plea, — say, wilt thou, then,
The fearless guardian of my virtue, throw
Thine iron grasp upon me, and call up
My genius by its mighty name ?


I will


And now one other favour let me beg.
Do call me thou ! Long have I envied this
Dear privilege of friendship to thine equals.
The brother's thou beguiles my ear, mv heaxt.

D 9


With sweet suggestions of equality.

Naj', no reply — I guess what thou wouldst say —

To thee this seems a trifle — but to me,

A monarch's son, 'tis much. Say, wilt thou be

A brother to me ?


Yes ; thy brother, yes !


Now to the King — mj^ fears are at an end •

Thus, arm in arm with thee, I dare defy

The universal world into the lists [Exennt


Scene I.
The Royal Palace at Madrid.
King Philip under a canopy; Duke Alva, at some distance,
with his head covered ; Carlos.


The kingdom takes precedence — -uillingly
Doth Carlos to the Minister give place —
He speaks for Spain ; I am but of the household.

[Bows and steps backward


The Duke remains — the Infanta may proceed.

CARLOS {turning to alva).
Then must I put it to your honour, sir.
To yield my father for a while to me.
A son, you know, may to a father's ear
Unbosom much, in fulness of his heart,
That not befits a stranger "s ear. The King
Shall not be taken from you, sir — I seek
Tlie father only for one little hour.


Here stands his friend.


And have I e'er deser/ed
To think the Duke should be a friend of mine ?


Or tried to make him one ? I scarce can love

Those sons who choose more wisely than their fathers.




And can Duke Alva's knightly spirit brook

To look on such a scene ? Now, as I live,

I -svould not play the busy meddler's part,

"Who thrusts himself, uiiask'd, 'twixt sire and son,

And there intinides without a blush, condemn 'd

By his own conscious insignificance,

Xo, not, by Heaven, to win a diadem !

KING [rising, tcith an angry look at the Prince).
Retire, my lord !

[Alva joes to the principal door, through which Carlos
had entered, the King ;;on/?s to the other.
No, to the Cabinet,
Until I call you.

Scene II.

King Philip. Don Carlos.

CARLOS (as soon as the duke has left the Apartment, adva>.ce&
to the KING, throics himself at Ids feet, and then, ivith

My father once again !
Thanks, endless thanks, for this unwonted favour !
Your hand, my father ! delightful day !
The rapture of this kiss has long been strange
To your poor Carlos. Wherefore have I been
Shut from my father's heart ? ^^Tiat have I done ?


Carlos, thou art a novice in these arts —
Forbear, I like them not

CARLOS [risingl

And is it so !
I hear yom- courtiers in those words, my father !
All is not well, by Heaven, all is not true,
That a priest says, and a priest's creatures plot.
I am not wicked, father ; ardent blood
Is all my failing ; — all my crime is youth ; —
Wicked I am not — no, in truth, not wicked; —
Tho' many an impulse wild assails my heart,
Yet is it still untainted.



I knoT^ it — like thy prayers-

Ay, 'tis pure —


Now, then, or never!—
We are, for once, alone — the barrier
Of courtly form, that sever'd sire and son,
Has fallen ! Now a golden ray of hope
Illumes my soul— a sweet presentiment
Pervades my heart — and heaven itself inclines
With choirs of joyous angels, to the earth,
And full of soft emotion, the thrice blest
Looks down upon this great, this glorious scene ! —
Pardon, my father !

[He falls oil his knees before him.


Rise, and leave me.


Father !

KING {tearing himself from him).
This trifling grows too bold.


A son's devotion
Too bold ! Alas !


And, to crown all, in tears '
Degraded boy ! Away, and quit my sight 1


Now, then, or never! — Pardon, my father!


Away, and leave my sight ! Return to me
Disgraced, defeated, from the battle-field,
Thy sire shall meet thee with extended arms :
But thus in tears, I spurn thee from my feet
A coward's guilt alone should wash its stains
In such ignoble streams. The man who weeps
Without a blush, will ne'er want cause for tears !


Who is this man ? By what mistake of Nature
Has he thus stray 'd amongst mankind ? A tear
Is man's unerring, lasting attribute.

SC. n.] DON CARLOS. 30

Whose eye is dry -was ne'er of womau bom !

! teach the eye that ne'er hath overflowed,
The timely science of a tear — thou'lt need
The moist relief in some dark hour of woe


Think'st thou to shake thy father's strong mistrust
With specious -words ?


Mistrust! Then I'll remove ii —
Here will I hang upon my father's breast,
Strain at his heart with vigour, till each shred
Of that mistrust, which, with a rock's endurance,
Clings firmly round it, piecemeal fall away.
And Avho are they who drive me from the King
My father's favour?— Wliat requital hath
A monk to give a father for a son ? —
What compensation can the Duke supply
For a deserted and a childless age ?
Wouldst thou be loved ? Here in this bosom sprmgs
A fresher, purer fountain, than e'er flowed
From those dark, stagnant, muddy reservoirs,
Which Philip's gold must fii-st imlock.


No more,
Presuming boy ! For know the hearts thou slanderest.
Are the approved, true servants of my choice.
'Tis meet that thou do honour to them.


Never !

1 know my worth — all that your Alva dares —
That, and much more, can Carlos. What cares he,
A hireling ! for the welfare of the realm

That never can be his ? What careth he,
If Philip's hair grow gray with hoaiy age?
Your Carlos would have loved you : — ! I dread
To think that you the royal throne must fill
Deserted and alone.

KING {seemingly struck by this idea, stands in deep thought'.

after a pause).
I am alone !
CARLOS [approaching him u'ith eagerness)
"Vou have been sc till now Hate me no more,

40 DON CAKIX)8. [act II.

Ard I will love you dearly, as a son :

But hate me now no longer ! ! how sweet,

Divinely sweet it is, to feel our being

Reflected in another's beauteous soul ;

To see our joys gladden another's cheek,

Our pains bring anguish to another's bosom,

Our sorrows fill another's eye \^'ith tears !

How sweet, how glorious is it, hand in hand,

With a dear child, in inmost soul beloved.

To tread once more the rosy paths of youth,

And dream life's fond illusions o'er again !

How proud to live through endless centuries,

Immortal in the virtues of a son ;

How sweet to plant what his dear hand shall reap ;

To gather what will yield him rich return,

And guess how high his thanks will one day rise !

My father, of this early paradise

Your monks most wisely speak not.

KING [not without emotion).

0, my son,
Thou hast condemn'd thyself, in painting thus
A bliss this heart hath ne'er enjoyed from thee !


Th' Omniscient be my judge ! You till this hour
Have still debarr'd me from your heart, and all
Participation in your royal cares.
The heir of Spain has been a very stranger
In Spanish land — a prisoner in the realm
Where he must one day rule. Say, was this just,
Or kind? And often have I blush'd for shame,
And stood with eyes abash'd, to learn perchance,
From foreign envoys, or the general rumour,
Thy courtly doings at Aranjuez.


Thy blood flows far too hotly in thy veins.
Thou wouldst but ruin all.


But try me, father !
'Tis time my blood flows hotly in my veins.
Full three-and-twenty years 1 now have lived,
And nought achieved for immoitality
I am aroused — I feel my inward powers —

so. n.j


My title to the throne arouses me
From slumber, like an angry creditor ;
And all the mis-spent hours of early youth,
Like debts of honour, clamour in mine ears
It comes at length, the glorious moment comes
That claims full interest on the entrusted taieat
The annals of the ^vo^•ld, ancestral fame,
And glory's echoing trumpet urge me on.
Now is the blessed hour at length arrived
That opens wide to me the lists of honour,
^ly King, my father ! — d;ire I utter now
The suit which led me hither ?


Still a suit?
Unfold it.


The rebellion m Brabant
Increases to a height — the traitors' madness
By stem, but prudent, vigour must be met.
The Duke, to quell the wild enthusiasm.
Invested with the sovereign's power, will lead
An army into Flanders. 0, how full
Of glory is such office ! — and how suited
To open wide the temple of renown
To me, your son ! To my hand, then, King,
Entrust the army ; in thy Flemish lands
I am well loved, and I will freely gage
My life, for their fidelity and truth.


Thou speakest like a dreamer. This high olfice
Demands a man — and not a stripling's arm.


It but demands a human being, father :
And that is what Duke Alva ne'er hath been


Terror alone can tie rebellion's hands :
Humanity were madness. Thy soft soul
Is tender, son : they'll tremble at the Duke.
Desist from thy request.



Despatch me, Sire,
To Flanders ■with the army — dare rely
E'en on my tender soul. The name of Prince,
The royal name emblazoned on my standard,
Conquers where Alva's butchers but dismay
Here on my knees I crave it — this the first
Petition of my life. — Trust Flanders to me.

KIN (J (contemplating caelos icith a piercing look).
Trust my best army to thy thirst for rule.
And put a dagger in my mm-derer's hand !


Great God ! and is this all — is this the fniit
Of a momentous hour so long desired !

[After some thought, in a milder tone.
Oh, speak to me more kindly — send me not
Thus comfortless away — dismiss me not
With this afflicting answer, oh, my father!
Use me more tenderly, indeed I need it.
This is the last resource of wild despair —
It conquers eveiy pow'r of firm resolve
To bear it as a man — this deep contempt —
My ev'ry suit denied : Let me away —
Unheai'd and foil'd in all my fondest hopes,
I take my leave. Now Alva and Domingo
May proudly sit in triumph, where your son
Lies weeping in the dust. Your crowd of courtiers,
And your long train of clinging, trembling nobles,
Yom' tribe of sallow monks, so deadly pale,
All witness'd how you granted me this audience.
Let me not be disgraced — O, strike me not
With this most deadly wound — nor lay me bare
To sneeiing insolence of menial taunts!
" That strangers riot on your bounty, whilst
Carlos, your son, may supplicate in vain."
And as a pledge that you would have me honour 'd.
Despatch me straight to Flanders with the army.


Urge thy request no further — as thou wouldst
Avoid the King's displeasure.

sc. in.] i>o:>? «:aklos 43


I must brave
My King's displeasure, and prefer my suit
Once more, it is the last. Trust Flanders to me !
I must away from Spain. To linger here
Is to draw breath beneath the headsman's axe :
The air lies heavy on me in ^Madrid,
Like murder on a guilty soul — a change,
An instant change of clime alone can cure me.
If you would save my life, despatch me straight
Without delay to Flanders.

KING {with affected coldness).
Like thee, my son — need to be tended clos3.
And ever watched by the physician's eye —
Thou stay'st in Spain — the Duke -will go to Flanders.

CAELOS (ivildly).
Assist me, ye good angels !

KING [startutg).

Hold, what mean
These looks so wild ?


Father, do you abide
Immoveably by this determination?


It was the Kind's.


Then my commission's done.

[Eant in violent emotion-

Scene III.

King, sunk in gloomy contemplation, walks a few steps up and
down; Alva approaches with emharrassment.


Hold yourself ready to depart for Brussels,
Upon a moment's notice.


I am ready
All is prepared, my Liege.

44 DON r ART. OS. [act it.


And your credentials
Lie ready seal'd "within my cabinet, —
Meanwhile obtain an audience of the Queen,
And bid the Piince fai-ewell


As I came in
I met him -with a look of fi-enzy yrild
Quitting the chamber; and jour Majesty
Is strangely moyed, methinks, and bears the marks
Of deep excitement — can it be the theme
Of your discourse


Concerned the Duke of Alva.
[The King keeps his eye stedfastly Jixed on him
I'm pleas "d that Carlos hates my councillors,
But I'm disturb 'd that he — despises them.

[AxyA, colouring deeply, is about to speak.
Xo answer now ; propitiate the Prince.




Tell me, who it was that wam"d me fijst
Of my son's dai-k designs ? I listened then
To you. and not to him. I will have proof.
And for the future, mai-k me, Carlos stands
Nearer the throne — now Duke — you may retire.

\Tlie Ki>'G retires into his cabinet. Exit DuKK by
another door.

Scene IV.

The Antechamber to the Queens Apartments. Don Caklos
enters in conversation icith a Page. The Attendants retire
at his approach.


For me this letter ? And a key I How's this ?

And both delivered ^nlh such mystery I

Come nearer bov : — from whom didst thou receive theui I

6C. IV.] DON CAEL03 45

PAGE (jnysterioushj).

It seem'd to me the Lady would be guess'd
Rather than be described.

CAKLOS [starting).

The Lady, what !
Who art thou, Boy? [Looking earnestly at the Page


A Page that serves the Queen.
CAELOS (affrighted, putting his hand to the Page's mouth)
Hold, on youi' life ! I know enough : no more.

[He tears open the letter hastily, and retires to read it,
meamvhile Duke Alva comes, and passing the Prince,
goes unperceived by him into the Queen's apartment
Carlos trembles violently and changes colour ; when he
has read the letter he remains a long time speechless, his
eyes steadfastly fixed on it, at last he turns to the Page.
She gave you this herself ?


With her own hands.


She gave this letter to you then herself?
Deceive me not : I ne'er have seen her writing.
And T must credit thee, if thou canst swear it ;
But if thy tale be false, confess it straight,
Nor put this fraud on me.


This fraud, on whom?
OaBLOS (looking once more at the letter, then at the page with
doubt and earnestness).
Your parents — are they living? and your father —
Serves he the King ? — Is he a Spaniard born ? —


He fell a Colonel on St. Quentin's field,
Sen-ed in the cavalry of Savoy's Duke —
His name Alonzo, Count of Henarez.

CARLOS {taking his hand, aiid looking fixedly hi hia eyes).
The King gave you this letter ?

PAGE (with emotion).

Gracious Prince,
Have I deserved these doubts ?

46 TiON CARLOS. [act n.

CARLOS [reading the letter).

" This key unlocks
The back apartments in the Queen's paviliou.
The furthest room lies next a cabinet
Wherein no listener's foot dare penetrate ;
Here may the voice of love without restraint
Confess those tender feelings, which till now
The heart with silent looks alone hath spoken.
The timid lover gains an audience here,
And sweet reward repays his secret sorrow."

[As if awakening J rom a reterie.
I am not in a dream, I do not rave, —
This is my right hand, this my sword — and these
Are written words. 'Tis true — ^it is no dream.
I am beloved, I feel I am beloved.

[Unable to contain himself, he rushes hastily through the
room, and raises his arms to heaven.


Follow me, Prince, and I will lead the way.


Then let me first collect my scatter'd thoughts.

The alarm of joy still trembles in my bosom.

Did I e'er lift my fondest hopes so high.

Or tinist my fancy to so bold a flight ?

Show me the man can leam thus suddenly

To be a god. I am not ■what I was.

I feel anoth3r heaven — another sun

That was not here before. She loves — she loves m© !

PAGE (leading him forward).
But this is not the place : Prince ! you forget.


The King ! Ily father !

[His arms sink, he casts a timid look around, then col-
lecting himself.

This is dreadful ! — Yes,
You're right, my friend. I thank you : I was not
Just then myself. To be compell'd to silence,
And buiy in my heart this mighty bliss,
Is terrible !

[Taking the Page by the hand, and leading him aside.
Now hear ! "WTiat thou hast seen,
*lnd what not seen, must be within thv breast


Entomb'd as in the grave. So now depart ;
I shall not need thy guidance ; they must not
Surprise us hers ! Now go.

\The Page is ahout to depart.

Yet hold, a word !
[The Page retui-ns. — C ab.i.os lays his hand on his
shoulder, and looks him steadily in the face.
A direful secret hast thou in thy keeping,
Which, like a poison of terrific power,
Shivers the cup that holds it into atoms.
Guard eveiy look of tliine, nor let thy head
Guess at thy bosom's secret. Be thou like
The senseless speaking trumpet that receiveir
xind echoes back the voice, but hears it not.
rhou art a boy ! Be ever so — continue
The pranks of youth. My correspondent cliose
Her messenger of love -^ith prudent skill !
The King will ne'er suspect a serpent here.


And I, my Prince, shall feel right proud to know
I am one secret richer than the King.


Vain, foolish boy ! — 'tis this should make thee tremble

Approach me ever with a cold respect :

Ne'er be induced by idle pride to boast

flew gracious is the Prince ! No deadlier sin

Canst thou commit, my son, than pleasing me

What'er thou hast in future for my ear,

Give not to words — entnist not to thy lips.

Ne'er on that common high road of the thoughts

Permit thy news to travel. — Speak with an eye,

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