The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Volume Iv Part 60

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HOHENZOLLERN (softly).

You skip off to the wheatfield for some sleep.

I knew that, hours ago. So run along.

SCENE IV

COUNT HOHENZOLLERN _and the_ PRINCE of HOMBURG.

HOHENZOLLERN (_taking a position some distance behind the_ PRINCE _who is still gazing fixedly up toward the terrace_).

Arthur!

[_The_ PRINCE _drops to the ground._]

And there he lies!

You could not do it better with a bullet.

[_He approaches him._]

Now I am eager for the fairy-tale He’ll fabricate to show the reason why Of all the world he chose this place to sleep in.

[_He bends over him._]

Arthur! Hi! Devil’s own! What are you up to?

What are you doing here at dead of night?

THE PRINCE. Ah, dear, old fellow!

HOHENZOLLERN. Well, I’m hanged! See here!

The cavalry’s a full hour down the road And you, their colonel, you lie here and sleep.

THE PRINCE. What cavalry?

HOHENZOLLERN. The Mamelukes, of course!

Sure as I live and breathe, the man’s forgot That he commands the riders of the Mark!

THE PRINCE (rising).

My helmet, quick then! My cuira.s.s!

HOHENZOLLERN. Where are they?

THE PRINCE. Off to the right there, Harry.–On the stool.

HOHENZOLL. Where? On the stool?

THE PRINCE. I laid them there, I thought–

HOHENZOLLERN (regarding him).

Then go and get them from the stool yourself.

THE PRINCE. What’s this glove doing here

[He stares at the glove in his hand.]

HOHENZOLLERN. How should I know?

[Aside.] Curses! He must have torn that un.o.bserved from the lady niece’s arm. [Abruptly.] Quick now, be off!

What are you waiting for?

THE PRINCE (casting the glove away again).

I’m coming, coming.

Hi, Frank! The knave I told to wake me must have–

HOHENZOLLERN (regarding him).

It’s raving mad he is!

THE PRINCE. Upon my oath, Harry, my dear, I don’t know where I am.

HOHENZOLL. In Fehrbellin, you muddle-headed dreamer– You’re in a by-path of the Castle gardens.

THE PRINCE (to himself).

Engulf me, Night! Unwittingly once more In slumber through the moonshine have I strayed! [He pulls himself together.]

Forgive me! Now I know! Last night, recall, The heat was such one scarce could lie in bed.

I crept exhausted hither to this garden, And because Night with so sweet tenderness Encompa.s.sed me, fair-haired and odorous Night– Even as the Persian bride wraps close her lover, Lo, here I laid my head upon her lap.

What is the clock now?

HOHENZOLLERN. Half an hour of midnight.

THE PRINCE. And you aver the troops are on the march?

HOHENZOLL. Upon my word, sharp, stroke of ten, as planned.

The Princess Orange regiment in van, By this undoubtedly has reached the heights Of Hackelwitz, there in the face of Wrangel To cloak the army’s hid approach at dawn.

THE PRINCE. Well, no harm’s done. Old Kottwitz captains her And he knows every purpose of this march.

I should have been compelled, at all events By two, to come back hither for the council: Those were the orders. So it’s just as well I stayed in the beginning. Let’s be off.

The Elector has no inkling?

HOHENZOLLERN. Bah! How should he?

He’s tight abed and snoozing long ago.

[_They are about to depart when the_ PRINCE _starts, turns, and picks up the glove_.]

THE PRINCE. I dreamed such an extraordinary dream!

It seemed as though the palace of a king, Radiant with gold and silver, suddenly Oped wide its doors, and from its terrace high The galaxy of those my heart loves best Came down to me: The Elector and his Lady and the–third– What is her name?

HOHENZOLLERN. Whose?

THE PRINCE (_searching his memory_). Why, the one I mean!

A mute must find his tongue to speak her name.