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- POEMS - 40/52 -


ALBERT. Your pardon, my dear madam. When I look at you, I almost forget there is another woman in the world. (Kisses FREDERICA's hand, who turns away with evident confusion.)--But for the present I must leave you, to join Mr. Wedgewood. [Exit.

COUNT (noticing them.) (Aside.) So, so, Frederica--fairly caught, I perceive! (To Frederica.) Ah, sister, sister! as in all things else, there is a destiny in love.

DUET--LANSIKA and FREDERICA. From my fate there's no retreating-- Love commands, and I obey; How with joy my heart is beating At the fortunes of to-day! Life is filled with strange romances-- Love is blind, the poets say; When he comes unsought, the chance is Of his own accord he'll stay.

Love can ne'er be forced to tarry; Chain him--he'll the bonds remove: Paired, not matched, too many marry-- All should wed alone for love. Let him on the bridal-even Trim his lamp with constant ray; And the flame will light to heaven, When the world shall fade away!

[Exeunt

Scene IV.

The whole depth of the stage is made use of in this scene, which represents an open country. A Camp and Soldiers at a distance. Music. Enter HANS, GERTRUDE, and Peasantry: Lads and Lasses dancing.

CHORUS of PEASANTS. Lads and lasses, trip away to the cheerful roundelay! At the sound of tambourine, Care is banished from the scene, And a happy train we bound, To the pipe and tabour's sound. Merrily, merrily trip away, 'Tis a nation's holiday! Merrily, merrily, merrilie, Bound with sprits light and free! Let's be jocund while we may; And dance--dance--dance-- And dance the happy hours away!

When the gleaming line shall come, To the sound of trump and drum; Headed by advancing steeds, Whom the king in person leads-- Let us hail him in his state, For the king's both good and great! Merrily, merrily trip away, 'Tis a nation's holiday! Merrily, merrily, merrilie, Bound with sprits light and free! Let's be jocund while we may; And dance--dance--dance-- And dance the happy hours away!

(Immediately after chorus, a grand march is commenced in he distance, which becomes more and more distinct as the troops advance. The PEASANTS form in groups. HANS speaks during the first part of the march.)

HANS. Here we are, Gertrude, many miles from our own village--and all for vat? To please you--(aside) and to shell a few color to der artishes, vich I pring along mit me for der purpose; but I need not tell her dat.--Here, stand aside, and don't be looking after de sholders!

(GERTRUDE and HANS stand aside. Grand march. Enter a corps of Grenadiers and other troops, who form on the right of the stage. Roll of drums. The troops present arms. Enter FREDERICK, in a furious passion, followed by general and staff Officers, and Count LANISKA. The KING acknowledges the salute, lifts his hat, and puts it on again furiously. HAROLD and Corporal are in the ranks of the Grenadiers. Throughout the scene the KING speaks hurriedly.)

KING. General!

FIRST GENERAL. Your Majesty.

KING. How comes it there is such a lack of discipline in your division? Disband THAT regiment at once, and draft a few of the men from the right wing into other regiments ordered for immediate service! The sooner THEY are shot the better!

FIRST GENERAL. Yes, sire. [Exit.

KING. Generals--most of you have served the greater part of your lives with me. We have grown gray-headed in the service of our country, and we therefore know best ourselves the dangers, difficulties, and glory in which we have shared. While we maintain the discipline of the army, we may defy any power that Europe can march against us--relax that, and we become an easy prey to the spoiler.

SECOND GENERAL. Your majesty shall have no cause of complain in the future.

KING. Make sure of that!--Soldiers, I rely in my operations entirely upon your well-known zeal in my service, and I shall acknowledge it with gratitude as long as I live; but at the same time I require of you that you look upon it as your most sacred duty to show kindness and mercy to all prisoners that the fortunes of war may throw in your power.

SECOND GENERAL. That duty, sire, you have taught us all our lives.

KING (taking snuff.) Good!--Have any of my grenadiers anything to say to me before the parade is dismissed?

HAROLD (recovering arms.) Your Majesty!

KING. Speak out, Harold!

HAROLD. The grenadiers have noticed with deep regret that you fatigue yourself of late too much with the cares of the army. We protest against it--

KING. Zounds and fury!--Here's rebellion! YOU protest against it?

HAROLD (bluntly.) We do. You are getting to be an old man--a very old man--and are too much afoot.

KING. I can do as I like about it, I suppose?

HAROLD. Certainly not; and you will, therefore, in future, be good enough to use your carriage more and your legs less.

KING. What do the grenadiers FEAR?

HAROLD. We fear nothing but the loss of your health, the loss of your life, or the loss of your favor, sire.

KING. Don't you fear the loss of my temper at your bluntness--eh, old comrade?

HAROLD. No, sire; we know you like it.

KING. I do indeed. You are in the right, my brave compatriots--for my advanced age and increasing infirmities admonish me that I shall be under the necessity of following your advice. But on the day of battle, you shall see me on horseback--ON HORSEBACK--and in the thickest of the fight! (Crosses the stage, as a BURGOMASTER enters, kneels, and presents a petition.) What have we here?

BURGOMASTER. Sire--the common council has imprisoned a citizen, upon an accusation that he has sinned against heaven, the king, and the right worshipful the common council. We humbly beg to know what Your Majesty's pleasure is with regard to the punishment of so unparalleled and atrocious an offender?

KING. If the prisoner has sinned against heaven, and is not a fool or a madman, he will make his peace with it without delay. This is a Power (taking off his hat--all the characters make their obeisance) that kings themselves must bow to in reverential awe. (Resumes his hat.)

BURGOMASTER. But he has also sinned against your high and mighty majesty--

KING. Tush, tush, man!

BURGOMASTER (profoundly.) On my official veracity, sire.

KING. Well, well, for that I pardon him--

BURGOMASTER. And he has likewise sinned against the right worshipful the common council.

KING. The reprobate!--


POEMS - 40/52

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