Friedrich Schiller.

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

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I had been lost for ever,
But that I fell into an angel's hands !
She, hapless chance, by my impinident looks
Deceived, had vielded to the sweet delusion,
And deem'd herself the idol of my soul.
Moved by the silent anguish of my breast,
With thoughtless generosity, her heart
Nobly determined to return my love ;
Deeming '-'^spectful fear had caused my silence,
She dared to speak, and all her lovely soul
Laid bare before me.


And with calm composure.
You tell this tale ! The Princess Eboli
Saw through your heait ; and doubtless she has pierced
The inmost secret of your hidden love.
You've wrong'd her deeply, and she niles the King.


CABL08 [confidently).
But she is virtuous !


She may be so
From Love's mere selfishness. But much I fear
Such virtue — well I know it : know how little
It hath the power to soar to that ideal,
Which, first conceived in sweet and stately grace,
From the pure soul's maternal soil, puts forth
Spontaneous shoots, nor asks the gard'ner's aid
To nurse its lavish blossoms into life.
Tis but a foreign plant, with labour rear'd,
And warmth that poorly imitates the south.
In a cold soil and an unfriendly clime.
Call it what name you ^vill — or education,

Or principle, or artificial ^drtue

Won from the heat of youth by art and cunning.

In conflicts manifold — all noted down

AVith scrupulous reckonmg to that Heaven's account,

Which is its aim, and will requite its pains.

Ask your own heart ! Can she forgive the Queen

That you should scorn her dearly-purchased virtue.

To pine in hopeless love for Philip's wife


Know'st thou the Princess, then, so well ?


Not I—
I've scarcely seen her twice. And yet thus much
I may remark. To me she still appears
To shun alone the nakedness of vice,
Too weakly proud of her imagined vii'tue.
And then I mark the Queen ! How different, Carlos,
Is eveiything that I behold in her !
In native dignity, sei'ene and calm.
Wearing a careless cheerfulness — unschool'd
In all the train'd restraints of conduct, far
Removed from boldness and timidity.
With fii-m heroic step, she walks along
The narrow middle path of rectitude.
Unconscious of the worship she compels,
Where she of self-approval never dream 'd

84 DON CARLOS. [aCT 11

Saj, does my Carlos in this mirror trace

The features of his Eboli ? The Princess

Was constant while she loved ; love was the price.

The understood condition of her virtue.

You faird to pay that price — 'twill therefore fall

CARLOS (icith uarmih).
No, no ! [Hastily pacing the Ajariment

I tell thee, no I And Eoderigo,
111 it becoD'-es thee, thus to rob thy Carlos
Of his high tmst in human excellence,
His chief, his dearest joy !


Deserve I this?
Friend of my soul, this would I never do —
By Heaven I would not ! this Eboli !
She were an augel to me, and before
Her glory would I bend me prostrate down.
In reverence deep as thine, if she were not
The mistress of thy secret.


See how vain.
How idle are thy fears ! What proofs has she
That will not stamp her maiden brow with shame »
Say will she purchase with her own dishonour
The wretched satisfaction of revenge ?


Ay ! to recall a blush, full many a one
Has doom'd herself to infamy.

CARLOS (u'ii/t increased vehemence)

Nay, that
Is far too harsh — and cruel ! She is proud
And noble ; well I Imow her, and fear nothing
Vain are your efforts to alarm my hopes.
I must speak to my mother.


Now '? for what ?


Because I've nothing more to care for now.
And 1 must know my 4te Only contrive
That I may speak with her.

sc. XV.] Doy CAHf.o« 85


Aiid wilt thou show
This htter to her?


Question me no more,
But quickly find the means that I may see her

MARQUIS [signijicantly).
Didst thou not tell me that thou lov'st thy mother :
And wouldst thou really show this letter to her?

[Carlos y?. res hia eyes on the ground, and remains nhnt.
I read a something. Carlos, in thy looks
Unknown to me before. Thou turn'st thine eyes
Away from me. — Then is it time, and have I
Judged thee aright ? Here, let me see that paper.

[Carlos gives Jiim the letter, and the Marquis tears it.


What! art thou mad? [Moderating his u-armth

In truth — I must confess it,—
That letter was of deepest moment to me.


So it appear'd : on that account I tore it.

[The Marquis casts a penetrating look on the Prince, who
surveys him with doubt and surprise. — A long silence.
Now speak to me with caudour, Carlos. What
Have desecrations of the royal bed
To do with thee — thy love ? Dost thou fear Philip ?
How ai'e a husband's violated duties
Allied with thee and thy audacious hopes ?
Has he sinn'd there, where thou hast placed thy 'ove ?
Now then, iu truth, I leani to comprehend thee —
How ill till now I've understood thy love !


What dost thou think, Roderigo?


Oh, I feel
From what it is that I must wean myself.
Once it was otherwise ! — Yes, once thy soul
Was bounteous, rich, and warm, and there was room
For a whole world in" thy expanded heart.
Those feelings are extinct — all swallow'd up
In one poor petty, selfish passion. Now
Thy heart is wther'd, dead ! No tears hast thou


for the unhappy fate of wretched Flanders —
No, not another tear. 0, Carlos ! see
How poor, how beggarly, thou hast become,
Since all thy love has centered in thyself !
CARLOS {flings himself into a chair. — After a paiiae, with
scarcely suppressed tears,)
Too well I know thou lov'st me now no more !


Not so, my Carlos. Well I understand

This fiery passion : 'tis the misdirection

Of feelings pure and noble in themselves.

The Queen belong'd to thee : the King, thy father,

Despoil'd thee of her — yet till now thou hast

Been modestly distrustful of thy claims.

Philip, perhaps, was worthy of her ! Thou

Scarce dared to breathe his sentence in a whisper

This letter has resolved thy doubts, and proved

Thou art the worthier man. With haughty joy

Thou saw'st before thee rise the doom that waits

On tyranny convicted of a theft.

But thou wert prou-d to be the injured one ;

Wrongs undeserv'd great souls can calmly suffer

Yet here thy fancy played thee false : thy pride

Was touch'd with satisfaction, and thy heart

Al'low'd itself to hope : I plainly saw

This time, at least, thou didst not know thyself

CARLOS {with emotion)
Thou'rt wrong, Roderigo ; for my thoughts were far
Less noble than thy goodness would persuade me


And am T then e'en here so little known ?
See, Carlos, when thou errest, 'tis my way.
Amid a hundred virtues, still to find
That one to which I may impute thy fall.
Now, then, we understand each other better.
And thou shalt have an audience of the Queen.

CARLOS {foiling on his neck).
0, how I blush beside thee!


Take my word,
And leave the rest to mo. A wild, bold thought,
A happy thought is dawTiing in my mind ;


Aud thou slialt hear it from a fairer mouth,
I hasten to the Queen. Perhaps to-morrow
Thy -n-ish may be achieved. Till then, my Carlos,
Forget not this — " That a design conceived
Of loft}' reason, which involves the fate.
The suff rings of mankind, tho' it be baffled
Ten thousand times, should never be abandoned."
Dost hear ? — Remember Flanders.


Yes ! all, all
That thou and virtue bid me not forget.

MARQUIS {going to a window).
The time is up — I hear thy suite approaching.

[They embrace.
Crown Prince again, and vassal.


Dost thou go
Straight to Madrid ?


Yes, straight.


Hold ! one word mare.
How nearly it escaped me ! Yet 'twas news
Of deep importance. " Every letter now
Sent to Brabant is opened by the King ! "
So be upon thy guard. The royal post
Has secret orders.


How have you learnt this ?


Don Raymond Taxis is my trusty friend.
MARQUIS {after a pause).
Well ! — then they may be sent through Germany.

[Exeunt on different sides.


Scene I.

The King's Bedchamber.

On the toilet tico burning lights. In the hacfc-ground several

Pages asleep resting on their knees. The King, in half

undress, stands before the table, with one arm bent ever


the chair, in a reflecting posture. Before him is a medallion
and papers.


Of a ■warm fancy she has ever been !
Who can deny it ? I could nerer love her.
Yet has she never seem'd to miss my lore.
And so 'tis plain — she's false !

[ilfrtAr^s a movement which brings him to himself.— He
looks round with surprise.'] Where have I been?
Is no one watching here, then, save the King ?
The light's burnt out, and yet it is not day.
I must forego my slumbers for to-night.
Take it, kind nature, for enjoy 'd ! No time
Have monarchs to retrieve the nights they lose.

I'm now awake, and day it shall be.

\H.e puts out the candles, and draws aside the window
curtain. He observes the sleeping Pages — remains for
some time standing before them — then rinqs a hell

Asleep within the antechamber too ?

Scene II.
The King, Count Lerma.
LERMA [surprised at seeing the king).
Does not your Majesty feel well?


The left
Pavilion of the palace was in flames :
Did you not hear the alarum ?


No, my Liege


No ! What ? And did I only dream it then ?
Twas surely real ! Does not the Queen sleep there '


She does, your Majesty.


This dream affi'ights me !
In future let the guards be doubled there
As soon as it grows dark. Dost hear ? And yet

Let it be done in secret. — I would not

Why do you gaze on me ?

SC. n.l DON CARLOS. 89


Your blood shot eyes
I mark that beg repose. Dare I vemiud
My Liege of an inestimable life,
And of your subjects, who mth pale dismay,
"Would in such features read of 'restless nights?

But two brief hours of morning sleep would •

KING {with troubled look).

Shall I find sleep within the Escurial : —
Let the King sleep, and he may lose his crown.
The husband, his wife's heart. But no ! not so —
This is but slander. Was it not a woman
Whisper'd the crime to me ? Woman, thy name
Is calumny! — The deed I'll hold unprov'd,
Until a man confirms the fatal truth !

[To the Pages, who in the meanwhile have awaked
Summon Duke Alva ! [Pages go.

Count ! come nearer to me.
[Fixes a searching look on the Count.
Is all this true ? ! for Omniscience now,
Tho' but so long as a man's pulse might beat!
Is it true ? Upon your oath ! Am I deceived ?


My great, my best of Kings !

KING [drawing back).

King ! Nought but King !
And King again ! No better answer than
Mere hollow echo ! When I strike this rock, '

For water, to assuage my burning thirst,
It gives me molten gold.


What true, my Liege ?


! nothing — nothing i Leave me ! Get thee gone !

[The CouNi going, the King calls him back again
Say, are you married '? and are you a father ?


1 am, your JMajesty


What ! married — vet


You dare to watch a night here with your King I
Your hair is grey, and yet you do not blush
To think your wife is honest. Get thee home,
You'll find her lock'd, this moment, in your sou's
Incestuous embrace. Believe your King.
Now go — you stand amazed — you stare at me
With searching eye, because of my grey hairs !
Unhappy man, reflect. Queens never taint
Their virtue thus : — doubt it, and you shall die I

LEEMA {ivith warmth).

Who dare do so ? In all my Monarch's realms
Who has the daring hardihood to breathe
Suspicion on her angel purity ?
To slander thus, the best of Queens —


The best !
The best, from you too ! She has ardent friends,
I find, around. It must have cost her much —
More than methinks she could afford to give.
Y"ou are dismiss'd — Now send the Duke to me


I hear him in the antechamber. [Goiny

KING {tcith a milder tone).
What you observed is very trae. — My head
Bums with the fever of this sleepless night !
What I have utter'd in this waking dream,
Mark you ! — forget ! I am your gracious Iving I

[Presents his hand to kiss. Exit Lerma, opening the
door at the same time to Duke Alva.

Scene III
The King and Duke Alva.
ALVA [approaching the king with an air oj doubt).
This unexpected order, at so strange
Ar\ hour ! [Starts on looking closer at the Iving.

And then those looks !
KING [has seated himself, and taken hold of the medallion
fn the table — Looks at the duke for some time in silence)

And is it true


I have no faithful servant !




A blow
Aim'd at my life in its most vital part !
Full well 'twas known, yet no one wam'd me of it.

ALVA {with a look of astonishment}.
A blow aim'd at your Majesty ! and yet
Escape your Alva's eye ?

KING {showing him letters).

Know you this writing f


It is the Prince's hand.

KING {a pause — ivatches the dtjke closely).
Do you suspect
Then nothing ? — Often ha\e you caution'd me
'Gainst his ambition — Was there nothing more
Than his ambition should have made me tremble ?


Ambition is a word of largest import,
And much it may comprise.


And had you nought
Of special purport to disclose ?

ALVA {after a pause, mysteriously).

Your Majesty
Hath given the kingdom's welfare to my charge :~
On this my inmost, secret thoughts are bent,
And my best vigilance. Beyond this charge
What I may think, suspect, or know, belongs
To me alone. These are the sacred treasures
Which not the vassal only, but the slave —
The very slave — may from a king withhold.
Not all that to my mind seems plain, is yet
Mature enough to meet the Monarch's ear.
Wouhl he be answered — then must I implore
He will not question as a King.

KING (handing the letters).

Read these .


ALVA {reads them, and turns to the king iritJi a look
of terror).
Who was the madman placed these fatal papers
111 my King's hands ?


You know, then, who is meant?
No name you see is mentioned in the paper.

ALVA {stepping hack confused).
1 was too hasty !


But you know !
ALVA (after some consideration).

'Tis spoken !
The King commands, — I dare not now conceal,
ril not deny it — I do know the person.

KING {starting up in violent emotion).
God of Revenge ! inspire me to invent
Some new, unheard-of torture ! Is their ciime
So clear, so plain, so public to the world,
That without e'en the trouble of inquiry
The veriest hint suffices to reveal it ?
This is too much ! I did not dream of this !
I am the last of all, then, to discern it —
The last in all my realm ?

ALVA {throwing himself at the king's feet).
Yes, I confess
My guilt, most gracious Monarch. I'm ashamed
A coward prudence should have tied my tongue
When truth, and justice, and my Sovereign's honour,
Urged me to speak. But since all else are silent,
And since the magic spell of beauty binds
All other tongues, — I dare to give it voice ;
Though well I know, a son's warm protestations,

A \vife's seductive charms and winning tears

king {suddenly with warmth).
Rise, Alva ! thou hast now my royal promise —
Rise, and speak fearlessly !

.4lLva {rising).

Y''our Majesty,
Perchance, may bear in your remembrance still,
What happen'd in the garden at Aranjuez.

so. in.] DON CARLOS 93

You found the Queen deserted by her ladies,
With looks confused — alone, within a bower,


Proceed i What further have I yet to hear ? —


Tho Marchioness of Mondecar was banished
Because she boldly sacrificed herself
To save the Queen ! It has been since discovered,
She did no more than she had been commanded.

Prince Carlos, had been there.

KING {starting).

The Prince ! What more ?


Upon the ground, the footsteps of a man

Were traced, till finally they disappeared

Close to a grotto, leftward of the bower,

Where lay a handkerchief, the Prince had dropped

This waken'd our suspicions. — But besides.

The gardener met the Prince upon the spot, —

Just at the time, as near as we can guess,

Your Majesty appeared within the walk.

KING (recovering from gloomy thought).
And yet she wept when I but seem'd to doubt !
She made me blush before th' assembled court,
Blush to my very self I By Heaven ! I stood
In presence of her virtue, like a culprit.

[A long and deep silence. — He sits down and hides his face
Yes, Alva, you are right ! — All this may lead
To something dreadful — Leave me for a moment


But, gracious sire, all this is not enough

KING (snatching vp the jjapers).
Nor this, nor this?— Nor all the harmony
Of these most damning proofs? Tis clear as day
I knew it long ago — their heinous guilt
Began, when first I took her from your hands.
Here in Madrid. I think I see her now
With look of horror, pale as midnight ghost.
Fixing her eyes upon my hoary hair I
Twas then the treacherous game began !



The Prince,
In welcoming a mother — lost his bride !
Long had they nursed a mutual passion, long
Each others ardent feelings understood,
Which her new state forbade her to indulge.
The fear which still attends love's first avowal
Was long subdued. Seduction, bolder grown.
Spoke in those forms of easy confidence
Which recollections of the past allowed.
Allied by harmony of souls and years.
And now by similar restraints provoked.
They readily obey'd their wild desires.
Reasons of state opposed their early union —
But can it, sire, be thought she ever gave
To the State Council such authority ?
That she subdued the passion of her soul
To scrutinize with more attentive eye
Th election of the cabinet. Her heart
Was bent on love, and won a diadem.

KING [offended, and with bitterness)
You are a nice observer, Duke, and I
Admire your eloquence. I thank you truly.

[Rising coldly and haughtily
But you are right. The Queen has deeply err'd,
In keeping from me letters of such import.
And in concealing the intrusive visit
The Prince paid in the garden : — from a false
Mistaken honour she hath deeply erred,
And I shall question further. [Ringing th* beli.

Who waits now
Within the antechamber? You, Duke Alva,
I need no longer. — Gp.


And has my zeal
A second time displeased your Majesty ?

KING {to a PAGE who enters)
Summon Domingo. Duke, 1 pardon you
For having made me tremble, for a moment.


With secret apprehension, lest yourself
Mi<»ht fall a victim to a foul misdeed


[Exit Ai.VA

Scene IV.
The King, Domingo.
[King walks up and down the room to collect his thoughts
DOMINQO {after contemplating the king for some time nith a
respectful silence).
How joyfully surprised I am to find
Your Majesty so tranquil and collected.


Surprised !


And Heav'n be thank'd my fears were groundless !
Now may I hope the best.


Your fears ! What fearsd you ?


1 dare not hide it from your Majesty

That I have learn'd a secret

KING {gloomily).

And have I
Express 'd a wish to share your secret with you ?
Who ventures to anticipate me thus? —
Too forward, by mine honour !


Gracious monarch !
The place, the occasion, seal of secrecy
'Neath which I leam'd it — free me from this charge.
It was entrusted to me at the seat
Of penitence — entrusted as a crime
That deeply weigh'd upon the tender soul
Of the fair sinner who confess 'd her guilt,
And sought the pardon of offended Heaven.
Too late the Princess weeps a foul misdeed
That may involve the Queen herself in ruin.


Indeed ! Kind soul ! — You ha\e correctly guess'd
The ^iccasion of youi' summons. You must guide me

96 Don CARLOS. [kOT IH.

Through this dark labyrinth wherein blind zeal
Has tangled me. From you I hope for truth.
Be candid with me ; what must I believe,
x\nd what determine ? From your sacred office
I look for strictest truth.


And. if, my liege,
The mildness ever incident to this
My holy calling, did not such restraint
Impose upon me, still I would entreat
Your Majesty, for your own peace of mind.
To urge no farther this discoveiy.
And cease for ever to pursue a secret
Which never can be happily explain'd.
All that is yet discover 'd may be pardon'd.
Let the King say the word — and then the Queen
Has never sinu'd. The ]\Ionarch's will bestows
Virtue and fortune, both with equal ease.
And the Tving's undisturb'd tranquillity
Is. iu itself, sufficient to destroy
The rumours set on foot by calumny.


What ! Rumours ! and of me ! among my subjects !


All falsehood sire ! Naught but the vilest falsehood .
I'll swear 'tis false ! — Yet what's believed by all,
Groundless and unconfirm'd altho' it be,
Works its effect, as sure as truth itself.


Not in this case, by Heaven !


A virtuous name
Is, after all, my Liege, the only prize
WTiich queens and peasants' wives contest together


For which I surely have no need to tremble.

[He looks douhtingly at Domingo.— After a pause.
Priest, thou hast something fearful to impart.
Delay it not. I read it plainly stamp'd
In thy ill-boding looks. Then out with it,

6(". IV. DON CARLOS. '.)J

Whate er it be. Let me no longer tremble
Upon the rack. What do the people sav ?


The people, sire, are liable to err,

Nay err assuredly. What people think

Should not alarm the King. Yet that they should

Presume so far as to indulge such thoughts


Why must I beg this poisonous draught so long ?


The people often muse upon that month
■\Vhich brought your Majesty so near the grave.
From that time, thirty weeks had scarce elapsed,

Before the Queen's delivery was announced

[The KiSG rises and rings the bell DukeAia'a^h-
ters. Domingo alarmed
1 am amazed, your Majesty!

king (going towards alva).
Toledo !
You are a man — defend me from this Priest !
DOMINGO {he and duke alva exchange embarrassed looks. —

After a pause).
Could we have but foreseen that thi? occurrence
Would be revenged upon its mere relater


Said you a bastard ? I had scarce, you say,
Escaped the pangs of death when first she' felt
She should, in nature's time, become a mother.
Explain how this occurred ! 'Twas then, H I
Piemember right, that you. in every church,
Ordered devotions to St. Dominicti,
For the especial wonder he vouchsafed. —
On one side or the other, then, you lie ! —
What would you have me credit ? 0, I see
Full plainly thi'ough you now ! If this dark plot
Had then been ripe, your saint had lost his fame.


This plot ?


How can you with a harmony


So unexampled, in your very thoughts

Concur, and not have first conspired together ?

Would you persuade me thus ? Think you that 1

Perceived not with what eagerness you pounced

Upon your prey ? With what delight you fed

Upon my pain, — my agony of grief?

Full well I mark'd the ardent, burning zeal

With which the Duke forestall'd the mark of grace

I destined for my son. And how this Priest

Presumed to fortify his petty spleen

With my wrath's giant arm ! I am, foi'sooth,

A bow whicli eacli of you may bend at pleasure !

But I have yet a will. And if I needs

Must doubt— perhaps I may begin with yoa


Kewai'd like this, our truth did ne'er expect.


Your truth ! Truth warns of apprehended danger.
T'is malice that speaks only of the past.
What can I gain by your officiousness ?
Should youi' suspicious ripen to full truth.
What follows but the pang of separation,
The melancholy triumph of revenge ?
But no : you only fear — you feed me with
Conjectures vague. To hell's profound abyss
You lead me on, then tlee yourselves away


What other proofs than these are possible.

When our own eyes can scarcely trust themselves ?

KiSG [after a long pause, turning earnestly and soleMidy

towards LOiiiNGo).
The grandees of the realm shall be convened,
And I will sit in judgment. Then step foith
In front of all, if you have courage for it.
And charge her as a strumpet. She shall die —
Die without mercy — and the Prince, too, with her!
But mark me well : if she but clear herself,
That doom shall fall on you. Now dare you show
Honour to truth by such a sacrifice ?

so. y.J DON CARLOS 9fl

Determine. — No, you dare not. You are silent,
Such is the zeal of liars I

ALVA (who has stood at a distance, answers coldly and ctdrnly\

Online LibraryFriedrich SchillerThe works of Frederick Schiller, translated from the German (Volume 3) → online text (page 6 of 37)