Infomotions, Inc.The Dynasts / Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928



Author: Hardy, Thomas, 1840-1928
Title: The Dynasts
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): napoleon; wellington; marie louise; sire; emperor; aerial music
Contributor(s): Bell, Clara, 1834-1927 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 143,806 words (average) Grade range: 9-11 (high school) Readability score: 63 (easy)
Identifier: etext4043
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Title: The Dynasts

Author: Thomas Hardy

Release Date: May, 2003  [Etext #4043]
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[The actual date this file first posted = 10/19/01]

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THE DYNASTS



AN EPIC-DRAMA OF THE WAR WITH NAPOLEON,
 IN THREE PARTS, NINETEEN ACTS, AND
   ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SCENES


The Time covered by the Action being about ten Years



"And I heard sounds of insult, shame, and wrong,
     And trumpets blown for wars."




PREFACE


The Spectacle here presented in the likeness of a Drama is concerned
with the Great Historical Calamity, or Clash of Peoples, artificially
brought about some hundred years ago.

The choice of such a subject was mainly due to three accidents of
locality.  It chanced that the writer was familiar with a part of
England that lay within hail of the watering-place in which King
George the Third had his favourite summer residence during the war
with the first Napoleon, and where he was visited by ministers and
others who bore the weight of English affairs on their more or less
competent shoulders at that stressful time.  Secondly, this district,
being also near the coast which had echoed with rumours of invasion
in their intensest form while the descent threatened, was formerly
animated by memories and traditions of the desperate military
preparations for that contingency.  Thirdly, the same countryside
happened to include the village which was the birthplace of Nelson's
flag-captain at Trafalgar.

When, as the first published result of these accidents, _The Trumpet
Major_ was printed, more than twenty years ago, I found myself in
the tantalizing position of having touched the fringe of a vast
international tragedy without being able, through limits of plan,
knowledge, and opportunity, to enter further into its events; a
restriction that prevailed for many years.  But the slight regard
paid to English influence and action throughout the struggle by
those Continental writers who had dealt imaginatively with Napoleon's
career, seemed always to leave room for a new handling of the theme
which should re-embody the features of this influence in their true
proportion; and accordingly, on a belated day about six years back,
the following drama was outlined, to be taken up now and then at wide
intervals ever since.

It may, I think, claim at least a tolerable fidelity to the facts of
its date as they are give in ordinary records.  Whenever any evidence
of the words really spoken or written by the characters in their
various situations was attainable, as close a paraphrase has been
aimed at as was compatible with the form chosen.  And in all cases
outside the oral tradition, accessible scenery, and existing relics,
my indebtedness for detail to the abundant pages of the historian,
the biographer, and the journalist, English and Foreign, has been,
of course, continuous.

It was thought proper to introduce, as supernatural spectators
of the terrestrial action, certain impersonated abstractions, or
Intelligences, called Spirits.  They are intended to be taken by the
reader for what they may be worth as contrivances of the fancy merely.
Their doctrines are but tentative, and are advanced with little eye
to a systematized philosophy warranted to lift "the burthen of the
mystery" of this unintelligible world.  The chief thing hoped for
them is that they and their utterances may have dramatic plausibility
enough to procure for them, in the words of Coleridge, "that willing
suspension of disbelief for the moment which constitutes poetic
faith."  The wide prevalence of the Monistic theory of the Universe
forbade, in this twentieth century, the importation of Divine
personages from any antique Mythology as ready-made sources or
channels of Causation, even in verse, and excluded the celestial
machinery of, say, _Paradise Lost_, as peremptorily as that of the
_Iliad_ or the _Eddas_.  And the abandonment of the masculine pronoun
in allusions to the First or Fundamental Energy seemed a necessary
and logical consequence of the long abandonment by thinkers of the
anthropomorphic conception of the same.

These phantasmal Intelligences are divided into groups, of which one
only, that of the Pities, approximates to "the Universal Sympathy of
human nature--the spectator idealized"(1) of the Greek Chorus; it is
impressionable and inconsistent in its views, which sway hither and
thither as wrought on by events.  Another group approximates to the
passionless Insight of the Ages.  The remainder are eclectically
chosen auxiliaries whose signification may be readily discerned.
In point of literary form, the scheme of contrasted Choruses and
other conventions of this external feature was shaped with a single
view to the modern expression of a modern outlook, and in frank
divergence from classical and other dramatic precedent which ruled
the ancient voicings of ancient themes.

It may hardly be necessary to inform readers that in devising this
chronicle-piece no attempt has been made to create that completely
organic structure of action, and closely-webbed development of
character and motive, which are demanded in a drama strictly self-
contained.  A panoramic show like the present is a series of historical
"ordinates" (to use a term in geometry): the subject is familiar to
all; and foreknowledge is assumed to fill in the junctions required
to combine the scenes into an artistic unity.  Should the mental
spectator be unwilling or unable to do this, a historical presentment
on an intermittent plan, in which the _dramatis personae_ number some
hundreds, exclusive of crowds and armies, becomes in his individual
case unsuitable.

In this assumption of a completion of the action by those to whom
the drama is addressed, it is interesting, if unnecessary, to name
an exemplar as old as Aeschylus, whose plays are, as Dr. Verrall
reminds us,(2) scenes from stories taken as known, and would be
unintelligible without supplementary scenes of the imagination.

Readers will readily discern, too, that _The Dynasts_ is intended
simply for mental performance, and not for the stage.  Some critics
have averred that to declare a drama(3) as being not for the stage is
to make an announcement whose subject and predicate cancel each
other.  The question seems to be an unimportant matter of terminology.
Compositions cast in this shape were, without doubt, originally
written for the stage only, and as a consequence their nomenclature
of "Act," "Scene," and the like, was drawn directly from the vehicle
of representation.  But in the course of time such a shape would
reveal itself to be an eminently readable one; moreover, by dispensing
with the theatre altogether, a freedom of treatment was attainable
in this form that was denied where the material possibilities of
stagery had to be rigorously remembered.  With the careless
mechanicism of human speech, the technicalities of practical mumming
were retained in these productions when they had ceased to be
concerned with the stage at all.

To say, then, in the present case, that a writing in play-shape is
not to be played, is merely another way of stating that such writing
has been done in a form for which there chances to be no brief
definition save one already in use for works that it superficially
but not entirely resembles.

Whether mental performance alone may not eventually be the fate of
all drama other than that of contemporary or frivolous life, is a
kindred question not without interest.  The mind naturally flies to
the triumphs of the Hellenic and Elizabethan theatre in exhibiting
scenes laid "far in the Unapparent," and asks why they should not
be repeated.  But the meditative world is older, more invidious,
more nervous, more quizzical, than it once was, and being unhappily
perplexed by--


                Riddles of Death Thebes never knew,


may be less ready and less able than Hellas and old England were to
look through the insistent, and often grotesque, substance at the
thing signified.

In respect of such plays of poesy and dream a practicable compromise
may conceivably result, taking the shape of a monotonic delivery of
speeches, with dreamy conventional gestures, something in the manner
traditionally maintained by the old Christmas mummers, the curiously
hypnotizing impressiveness of whose automatic style--that of persons
who spoke by no will of their own--may be remembered by all who ever
experienced it.  Gauzes or screens to blur outlines might still
further shut off the actual, as has, indeed, already been done in
exceptional cases.  But with this branch of the subject we are not
concerned here.

T.H.
September 1903.





CONTENTS.



THE DYNASTS:  AN EPIC-DRAMA OF THE WAR WITH NAPOLEON



Preface


PART FIRST


Characters


Fore Scene.  The Overworld


Act First:--

    Scene    I. England.  A Ridge in Wessex
      "     II. Paris.  Office of the Minister of Marine
      "    III. London.  The Old House of Commons
      "     IV. The Harbour of Boulogne
      "      V. London.  The House of a Lady of Quality
      "     IV. Milan.  The Cathedral


Act Second:--

    Scene    I. The Dockyard, Gibraltar
      "     II. Off Ferrol
      "    III. The Camp and Harbour of Boulogne
      "     IV. South Wessex.  A Ridge-like Down near the Coast
      "      V. The Same.  Rainbarrows' Beacon, Egdon Heath


Act Third:--

    Scene     I. The Chateau at Pont-de-Briques
      "      II. The Frontiers of Upper Austria and Bavaria
      "     III. Boulogne.  The St. Omer Road


Act Fourth:--

    Scene     I. King George's Watering-place, South Wessex
      "      II. Before the City of Ulm
      "     III. Ulm.  Within the City
      "      IV. Before Ulm.  The Same Day
      "       V. The Same.  The Michaelsberg
      "      VI. London.  Spring Gardens


Act Fifth:--

    Scene    I. Off Cape Trafalgar
      "     II. The Same.  The Quarter-deck of the "Victory"
      "    III. The Same.  On Board the "Bucentaure"
      "     IV. The Same.  The Cockpit of the "Victory"
      "      V. London.  The Guildhall
      "     VI. An Inn at Rennes
      "    VII. King George's Watering-place, South Wessex


Act Sixth:--

    Scene    I. The Field of Austerlitz.  The French Position
      "     II. The Same.  The Russian Position
      "    III. The Same.  The French Position
      "     IV. The Same.  The Russian Position
      "      V. The Same.  Near the Windmill of Paleny
      "     VI. Shockerwick House, near Bath
      "    VII. Paris.  A Street leading to the Tuileries
      "   VIII. Putney.  Bowling Green House





PART SECOND


Characters


Act First:--

    Scene    I. London.  Fox's Lodgings, Arlington Street
      "     II. The Route between London and Paris
      "    III. The Streets of Berlin
      "     IV. The Field of Jena
      "      V. Berlin.  A Room overlooking a Public Place
      "     VI. The Same
      "    VII. Tilsit and the River Niemen
      "   VIII. The Same


Act Second:--

    Scene    I. The Pyrenees and Valleys adjoining
      "     II. Aranjuez, near Madrid.  A Room in the Palace of
                    Godoy, the "Prince of Peace"
      "    III. London.  The Marchioness of Salisbury's
      "     IV. Madrid and its Environs
      "      V. The Open Sea between the English Coasts and the
                    Spanish Peninsula
      "     VI. St. Cloud.  The Boudoir of Josephine
      "    VII. Vimiero


Act Third:--

    Scene    I. Spain.  A Road near Astorga
      "     II. The Same
      "    III. Before Coruna
      "     IV. Coruna.  Near the Ramparts
      "      V. Vienna.  A Cafe in the Stephans-Platz


Act Fourth:--

    Scene    I. A Road out of Vienna
      "     II. The Island of Lobau, with Wagram beyond
      "    III. The Field of Wagram
      "     IV. The Field of Talavera
      "      V. The Same
      "     VI. Brighton.  The Royal Pavilion
      "    VII. The Same
      "   VIII. Walcheren


Act Fifth:--

    Scene    I. Paris.  A Ballroom in the House of Cambaceres
      "     II. Paris.  The Tuileries
      "    III. Vienna.  A Private Apartment in the Imperial Palace
      "     IV. London.  A Club in St. James's Street
      "      V. The old West Highway out of Vienna
      "     VI. Courcelles
      "    VII. Petersburg.  The Palace of the Empress-Mother
      "   VIII. Paris.  The Grand Gallery of the Louvre and the
                    Salon-Carre adjoining


Act Fifth:--

    Scene    I. The Lines of Torres Vedras
      "     II. The Same.  Outside the Lines
      "    III. Paris.  The Tuileries
      "     IV. Spain.  Albuera
      "      V. Windsor Castle.  A Room in the King's Apartments
      "     VI. London.  Carlton House and the Streets adjoining
      "    VII. The Same.  The Interior of Carlton House





PART THIRD


Characters


Act First:--

    Scene     I. The Banks of the Niemen, near Kowno
      "      II. The Ford of Santa Marta, Salamanca
      "     III. The Field of Salamanca
      "      IV. The Field of Borodino
      "       V. The Same
      "      VI. Moscow
      "     VII. The Same.  Outside the City
      "    VIII. The Same.  The Interior of the Kremlin
      "      IX. The Road from Smolensko into Lithuania
      "       X. The Bridge of the Beresina
      "      XI. The Open Country between Smorgoni and Wilna
      "     XII. Paris.  The Tuileries


Act Second:--

    Scene    I. The Plain of Vitoria
      "     II. The Same, from the Puebla Heights
      "    III. The Same.  The Road from the Town
      "     IV. A Fete at Vauxhall Gardens


Act Third:--

    Scene    I. Leipzig.  Napoleon's Quarters in the Reudnitz Suburb
      "     II. The Same.  The City and the Battlefield
      "    III. The Same, from the Tower of the Pleissenburg
      "     IV. The Same.  At the Thonberg Windmill
      "      V. The Same.  A Street near the Ranstadt Gate
      "     VI. The Pyrenees.  Near the River Nivelle


Act Fourth:--

    Scene    I. The Upper Rhine
      "     II. Paris.  The Tuileries
      "    III. The Same. The Apartments of the Empress
      "     IV. Fontainebleau.  A Room in the Palace
      "      V. Bayonne.  The British Camp
      "     VI. A Highway in the Outskirts of Avignon
      "    VII. Malmaison.  The Empress Josephine's Bedchamber
      "   VIII. London.  The Opera-House


Act Fifth:--

    Scene    I. Elba.  The Quay, Porto Ferrajo
      "     II. Vienna. The Imperial Palace
      "    III. La Mure, near Grenoble
      "     IV. Schonbrunn
      "      V. London.  The Old House of Commons
      "     VI. Wessex.  Durnover Green, Casterbridge


Act Sixth:--

    Scene    I. The Belgian Frontier
      "     II. A Ballroom in Brussels
      "    III. Charleroi.  Napoleon's Quarters
      "     IV. A Chamber overlooking a Main Street in Brussels
      "      V. The Field of Ligny
      "     VI. The Field of Quatre-Bras
      "    VII. Brussels.  The Place Royale
      "   VIII. The Road to Waterloo


Act Seventh:--

    Scene    I. The Field of Waterloo
      "     II. The Same.  The French Position
      "    III. Saint Lambert's Chapel Hill
      "     IV. The Field of Waterloo.  The English Position
      "      V. The Same.  The Women's Camp near Mont Saint-Jean
      "     VI. The Same.  The French Position
      "    VII. The Same.  The English Position
      "   VIII. The Same.  Later
      "     IX. The Wood of Bossu


After Scene.  The Overworld





PART FIRST



CHARACTERS


I. PHANTOM INTELLIGENCES


  THE ANCIENT SPIRIT OF THE YEARS/CHORUS OF THE YEARS.

  THE SPIRIT OF THE PITIES/CHORUS OF THE PITIES.

  SPIRITS SINISTER AND IRONIC/CHORUSES OF SINISTER AND IRONIC SPIRITS.

  THE SPIRIT OF RUMOUR/CHORUS OF RUMOURS.

  THE SHADE OF THE EARTH.

  SPIRIT-MESSENGERS.

  RECORDING ANGELS.


II. PERSONS (The names in lower case are mute figures.)


MEN

  GEORGE THE THIRD.
  The Duke of Cumberland
  PITT.
  FOX.
  SHERIDAN.
  WINDHAM.
  WHITBREAD.
  TIERNEY.
  BATHURST AND FULLER.
  Lord Chancellor Eldon.
  EARL OF MALMESBURY.
  LORD MULGRAVE.
  ANOTHER CABINET MINISTER.
  Lord Grenville.
  Viscount Castlereagh.
  Viscount Sidmouth.
  ANOTHER NOBLE LORD.
  ROSE.
  Canning.
  Perceval.
  Grey.
  Speaker Abbot.
  TOMLINE, BISHOP OF LINCOLN.
  SIR WALTER FARQUHAR.
  Count Munster.
  Other Peers, Ministers, ex-Ministers, Members of Parliament,
     and Persons of Quality.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  NELSON.
  COLLINGWOOD.
  HARDY.
  SECRETARY SCOTT.
  DR. BEATTY.
  DR. MAGRATH.
  DR. ALEXANDER SCOTT.
  BURKE, PURSER.
  Lieutenant Pasco.
  ANOTHER LIEUTENANT.
  POLLARD, A MIDSHIPMAN.
  Captain Adair.
  Lieutenants Ram and Whipple.
  Other English Naval Officers.
  Sergeant-Major Secker and Marines.
  Staff and other Officers of the English Army.
  A COMPANY OF SOLDIERS.
  Regiments of the English Army and Hanoverian.
  SAILORS AND BOATMEN.
  A MILITIAMAN.
  Naval Crews.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  The Lord Mayor and Corporation of London.
  A GENTLEMAN OF FASHION.
  WILTSHIRE, A COUNTRY GENTLEMAN
  A HORSEMAN.
  TWO BEACON-WATCHERS.
  ENGLISH CITIZENS AND BURGESSES.
  COACH AND OTHER HIGHWAY PASSENGERS.
  MESSENGERS, SERVANTS, AND RUSTICS.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.
  DARU, NAPOLEON'S WAR SECRETARY.
  LAURISTON, AIDE-DE-CAMP.
  MONGE, A PHILOSOPHER.
  BERTHIER.
  MURAT, BROTHER-IN-LAW OF NAPOLEON.
  SOULT.
  NEY.
  LANNES.
  Bernadotte.
  Marmont.
  Dupont.
  Oudinot.
  Davout.
  Vandamme.
  Other French Marshals.
  A SUB-OFFICER.

. . . . . . . . . .

  VILLENEUVE, NAPOLEON'S ADMIRAL.
  DECRES, MINISTER OF MARINE.
  FLAG-CAPTAIN MAGENDIE.
  LIEUTENANT DAUDIGNON.
  LIEUTENANT FOURNIER.
  Captain Lucas.
  OTHER FRENCH NAVAL OFFICERS AND PETTY OFFICERS.
  Seamen of the French and Spanish Navies.
  Regiments of the French Army.
  COURIERS.
  HERALDS.
  Aides, Officials, Pages, etc.
  ATTENDANTS.
  French Citizens.

. . . . . . . . . .

  CARDINAL CAPRARA.
  Priests, Acolytes, and Choristers.
  Italian Doctors and Presidents of Institutions.
  Milanese Citizens.

. . . . . . . . . . 

  THE EMPEROR FRANCIS.
  THE ARCHDUKE FERDINAND.
  Prince John of Lichtenstien.
  PRINCE SCHWARZENBERG.
  MACK, AUSTRIAN GENERAL.
  JELLACHICH.
  RIESC.
  WEIROTHER.
  ANOTHER AUSTRIAN GENERAL.
  TWO AUSTRIAN OFFICERS.

. . . . . . . . . .

  The Emperor Alexander.
  PRINCE KUTUZOF, RUSSIAN FIELD-MARSHAL.
  COUNT LANGERON.
  COUNT BUXHOVDEN.
  COUNT MILORADOVICH.
  DOKHTOROF.

. . . . . . . . . . 

  Giulay, Gottesheim, Klenau, and Prschebiszewsky.
  Regiments of the Austrian Army.
  Regiments of the Russian Army.


WOMEN

  Queen Charlotte.
  English Princesses.
  Ladies of the English Court.
  LADY HESTER STANHOPE.
  A LADY.
  Lady Caroline Lamb, Mrs. Damer, and other English Ladies.

. . . . . . . . . .

  THE EMPRESS JOSEPHINE.
  Princesses and Ladies of Josephine's Court.
  Seven Milanese Young Ladies.

. . . . . . . . . .

  City- and Towns-women.
  Country-women.
  A MILITIAMAN'S WIFE.
  A STREET-WOMAN.
  Ship-women.
  Servants.




FORE SCENE


THE OVERWORLD


  [Enter the Ancient Spirit and Chorus of the Years, the Spirit
  and Chorus of the Pities, the Shade of the Earth, the Spirits
  Sinister and Ironic with their Choruses, Rumours, Spirit-
  Messengers, and Recording Angels.]


SHADE OF THE EARTH

     What of the Immanent Will and Its designs?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     It works unconsciously, as heretofore,
     Eternal artistries in Circumstance,
     Whose patterns, wrought by rapt aesthetic rote,
     Seem in themselves Its single listless aim,
     And not their consequence.


CHORUS OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

          Still thus?  Still thus?
          Ever unconscious!
          An automatic sense
          Unweeting why or whence?
     Be, then, the inevitable, as of old,
     Although that SO it be we dare not hold!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Hold what ye list, fond believing Sprites,
     You cannot swerve the pulsion of the Byss,
     Which thinking on, yet weighing not Its thought,
     Unchecks Its clock-like laws.


SPIRIT SINISTER (aside)

               Good, as before.
     My little engines, then, will still have play.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Why doth It so and so, and ever so,
     This viewless, voiceless Turner of the Wheel?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     As one sad story runs, It lends Its heed
     To other worlds, being wearied out with this;
     Wherefore Its mindlessness of earthly woes.
     Some, too, have told at whiles that rightfully
     Its warefulness, Its care, this planet lost
     When in her early growth and crudity
     By bad mad acts of severance men contrived,
     Working such nescience by their own device.--
     Yea, so it stands in certain chronicles,
     Though not in mine.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               Meet is it, none the less,
     To bear in thought that though Its consciousness
     May be estranged, engrossed afar, or sealed,
     Sublunar shocks may wake Its watch anon?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Nay.  In the Foretime, even to the germ of Being,
     Nothing appears of shape to indicate
     That cognizance has marshalled things terrene,
     Or will (such is my thinking) in my span.
     Rather they show that, like a knitter drowsed,
     Whose fingers play in skilled unmindfulness,
     The Will has woven with an absent heed
     Since life first was; and ever will so weave.


SPIRIT SINISTER

     Hence we've rare dramas going--more so since
     It wove Its web in the Ajaccian womb!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Well, no more this on what no mind can mete.
     Our scope is but to register and watch
     By means of this great gift accorded us--
     The free trajection of our entities.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     On things terrene, then, I would say that though
     The human news wherewith the Rumours stirred us
     May please thy temper, Years, 'twere better far
     Such deeds were nulled, and this strange man's career
     Wound up, as making inharmonious jars
     In her creation whose meek wraith we know.
     The more that he, turned man of mere traditions,
     Now profits naught.  For the large potencies
     Instilled into his idiosyncrasy--
     To throne fair Liberty in Privilege' room--
     Are taking taint, and sink to common plots
     For his own gain.


SHADE OF THE EARTH

               And who, then, Cordial One,
     Wouldst substitute for this Intractable?


CHORUS OF THE EARTH

     We would establish those of kindlier build,
          In fair Compassions skilled,
     Men of deep art in life-development;
     Watchers and warders of thy varied lands,
     Men surfeited of laying heavy hands,
          Upon the innocent,
     The mild, the fragile, the obscure content
     Among the myriads of thy family.
     Those, too, who love the true, the excellent,
     And make their daily moves a melody.


SHADE OF THE EARTH

     They may come, will they.  I am not averse.
     Yet know I am but the ineffectual Shade
     Of her the Travailler, herself a thrall
     To It; in all her labourings curbed and kinged!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Shall such be mooted now?  Already change
     Hath played strange pranks since first I brooded here.
     But old Laws operate yet; and phase and phase
     Of men's dynastic and imperial moils
     Shape on accustomed lines.  Though, as for me,
     I care not thy shape, or what they be.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     You seem to have small sense of mercy, Sire?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Mercy I view, not urge;--nor more than mark
     What designate your titles Good and Ill.
     'Tis not in me to feel with, or against,
     These flesh-hinged mannikins Its hand upwinds
     To click-clack off Its preadjusted laws;
     But only through my centuries to behold
     Their aspects, and their movements, and their mould.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     They are shapes that bleed, mere mannikins or no,
     And each has parcel in the total Will.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Which overrides them as a whole its parts
     In other entities.


SPIRIT SINISTER (aside)

               Limbs of Itself:
     Each one a jot of It in quaint disguise?
     I'll fear all men henceforward!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Go to.  Let this terrestrial tragedy--


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Nay, Comedy--


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               Let this earth-tragedy
     Whereof we spake, afford a spectacle
     Forthwith conned closelier than your custom is.--


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     How does it stand?  (To a Recording Angel)
          Open and chant the page
     Thou'st lately writ, that sums these happenings,
     In brief reminder of their instant points
     Slighted by us amid our converse here.


RECORDING ANGEL (from a book, in recitative)

     Now mellow-eyed Peace is made captive,
          And Vengeance is chartered
     To deal forth its dooms on the Peoples
          With sword and with spear.

     Men's musings are busy with forecasts
          Of muster and battle,
     And visions of shock and disaster
          Rise red on the year.

     The easternmost ruler sits wistful,
          And tense he to midward;
     The King to the west mans his borders
          In front and in rear.

     While one they eye, flushed from his crowning,
          Ranks legions around him
     To shake the enisled neighbour nation
          And close her career!


SEMICHORUS I OF RUMOURS (aerial music)

     O woven-winged squadrons of Toulon
          And fellows of Rochefort,
     Wait, wait for a wind, and draw westward
          Ere Nelson be near!

     For he reads not your force, or your freightage
          Of warriors fell-handed,
     Or when they will join for the onset,
          Or whither they steer!


SEMICHORUS II

     O Nelson, so zealous a watcher
          Through months-long of cruizing,
     Thy foes may elide thee a moment,
          Put forth, and get clear;

     And rendezvous westerly straightway
          With Spain's aiding navies,
     And hasten to head violation
          Of Albion's frontier!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Methinks too much assurance thrills your note
     On secrets in my locker, gentle sprites;
     But it may serve.--Our thought being now reflexed
     To forces operant on this English isle,
     Behoves it us to enter scene by scene,
     And watch the spectacle of Europe's moves
     In her embroil, as they were self-ordained
     According to the naive and liberal creed
     Of our great-hearted young Compassionates,
     Forgetting the Prime Mover of the gear,
     As puppet-watchers him who pulls the strings.--
     You'll mark the twitchings of this Bonaparte
     As he with other figures foots his reel,
     Until he twitch him into his lonely grave:
     Also regard the frail ones that his flings
     Have made gyrate like animalcula
     In tepid pools.--Hence to the precinct, then,
     And count as framework to the stagery
     Yon architraves of sunbeam-smitten cloud.--
     So may ye judge Earth's jackaclocks to be
     No fugled by one Will, but function-free.

  [The nether sky opens, and Europe is disclosed as a prone and
  emaciated figure, the Alps shaping like a backbone, and the
  branching mountain-chains like ribs, the peninsular plateau of
  Spain forming a head.  Broad and lengthy lowlands stretch from
  the north of France across Russia like a grey-green garment hemmed
  by the Ural mountains and the glistening Arctic Ocean.

  The point of view then sinks downwards through space, and draws
  near to the surface of the perturbed countries, where the peoples,
  distressed by events which they did not cause, are seen writhing,
  crawling, heaving, and vibrating in their various cities and
  nationalities.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS (to the Spirit of the Pities)

     As key-scene to the whole, I first lay bare
     The Will-webs of thy fearful questioning;
     For know that of my antique privileges
     This gift to visualize the Mode is one
     (Though by exhaustive strain and effort only).
     See, then, and learn, ere my power pass again.

  [A new and penetrating light descends on the spectacle, enduring
  men and things with a seeming transparency, and exhibiting as one
  organism the anatomy of life and movement in all humanity and
  vitalized matter included in the display.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Amid this scene of bodies substantive
     Strange waves I sight like winds grown visible,
     Which bear men's forms on their innumerous coils,
     Twining and serpenting round and through.
     Also retracting threads like gossamers--
     Except in being irresistible--
     Which complicate with some, and balance all.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     These are the Prime Volitions,--fibrils, veins,
     Will-tissues, nerves, and pulses of the Cause,
     That heave throughout the Earth's compositure.
     Their sum is like the lobule of a Brain
     Evolving always that it wots not of;
     A Brain whose whole connotes the Everywhere,
     And whose procedure may but be discerned
     By phantom eyes like ours; the while unguessed
     Of those it stirs, who (even as ye do) dream
     Their motions free, their orderings supreme;
     Each life apart from each, with power to mete
     Its own day's measures; balanced, self complete;
     Though they subsist but atoms of the One
     Labouring through all, divisible from none;
  But this no further now.  Deem yet man's deeds self-done.


GENERAL CHORUS OF INTELLIGENCES (aerial music)

          We'll close up Time, as a bird its van,
          We'll traverse Space, as spirits can,
          Link pulses severed by leagues and years,
          Bring cradles into touch with biers;
     So that the far-off Consequence appear
          Prompt at the heel of foregone Cause.--
          The PRIME, that willed ere wareness was,
     Whose Brain perchance is Space, whose Thought its laws,
          Which we as threads and streams discern,
          We may but muse on, never learn.



END OF THE FORE SCENE




ACT FIRST


SCENE I

ENGLAND.  A RIDGE IN WESSEX

  [The time is a fine day in March 1805.  A highway crosses the
  ridge, which is near the sea, and the south coast is seen
  bounding the landscape below, the open Channel extending beyond.]


SPIRITS OF THE YEARS

     Hark now, and gather how the martial mood
     Stirs England's humblest hearts.  Anon we'll trace
     Its heavings in the upper coteries there.


SPIRIT SINISTER

Ay; begin small, and so lead up to the greater.  It is a sound
dramatic principle.  I always aim to follow it in my pestilences,
fires, famines, and other comedies.  And though, to be sure, I did
not in my Lisbon earthquake, I did in my French Terror, and my St.
Domingo burlesque.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     THY Lisbon earthquake, THY French Terror.  Wait.
     Thinking thou will'st, thou dost but indicate.

  [A stage-coach enters, with passengers outside.  Their voices
  after the foregoing sound small and commonplace, as from another
  medium.]


FIRST PASSENGER

There seems to be a deal of traffic over Ridgeway, even at this time
o' year.


SECOND PASSENGER

Yes.  It is because the King and Court are coming down here later
on.  They wake up this part rarely! . . . See, now, how the Channel
and coast open out like a chart.  That patch of mist below us is the
town we are bound for.  There's the Isle of Slingers beyond, like a
floating snail.  That wide bay on the right is where the "Abergavenny,"
Captain John Wordsworth, was wrecked last month.  One can see half
across to France up here.


FIRST PASSENGER

Half across.  And then another little half, and then all that's
behind--the Corsican mischief!


SECOND PASSENGER

Yes.  People who live hereabout--I am a native of these parts--feel
the nearness of France more than they do inland.


FIRST PASSENGER

That's why we have seen so many of these marching regiments on the
road.  This year his grandest attempt upon us is to be made, I reckon.


SECOND PASSENGER

May we be ready!


FIRST PASSENGER

Well, we ought to be.  We've had alarms enough, God knows.

  [Some companies of infantry are seen ahead, and the coach presently
  overtakes them.]


SOLDIERS (singing as they walk)

     We be the King's men, hale and hearty,
     Marching to meet one Buonaparty;
     If he won't sail, lest the wind should blow,
     We shall have marched for nothing, O!
                            Right fol-lol!

     We be the King's men, hale and hearty,
     Marching to meet one Buonaparty;
     If he be sea-sick, says "No, no!"
     We shall have marched for nothing, O!
                            Right fol-lol!

  [The soldiers draw aside, and the coach passes on.]


SECOND PASSENGER

Is there truth in it that Bonaparte wrote a letter to the King last
month?


FIRST PASSENGER

Yes, sir.  A letter in his own hand, in which he expected the King
to reply to him in the same manner.


SOLDIERS (continuing, as they are left behind)

     We be the King's men, hale and hearty,
     Marching to meet one Buonaparty;
     Never mind, mates; we'll be merry, though
     We may have marched for nothing, O!
                          Right fol-lol!


THIRD PASSENGER

And was Boney's letter friendly?


FIRST PASSENGER

Certainly, sir.  He requested peace with the King.


THIRD PASSENGER

And why shouldn't the King reply in the same manner?


FIRST PASSENGER

What!  Encourage this man in an act of shameless presumption, and
give him the pleasure of considering himself the equal of the King
of England--whom he actually calls his brother!


THIRD PASSENGER

He must be taken for what he is, not for what he was; and if he calls
King George his brother it doesn't speak badly for his friendliness.


FIRST PASSENGER

Whether or no, the King, rightly enough, did not reply in person,
but through Lord Mulgrave our Foreign Minister, to the effect that
his Britannic Majesty cannot give a specific answer till he has
communicated with the Continental powers.


THIRD PASSENGER

Both the manner and the matter of the reply are British; but a huge
mistake.


FIRST PASSENGER

Sir, am I to deem you a friend of Bonaparte, a traitor to your
country---


THIRD PASSENGER

Damn my wig, sir, if I'll be called a traitor by you or any Court
sycophant at all at all!

  [He unpacks a case of pistols.]


SECOND PASSENGER

Gentlemen forbear, forbear!  Should such differences be suffered to
arise on a spot where we may, in less than three months, be fighting
for our very existence?  This is foolish, I say.  Heaven alone, who
reads the secrets of this man's heart, can tell what his meaning and
intent may be, and if his letter has been answered wisely or no.

  [The coach is stopped to skid the wheel for the descent of the
  hill, and before it starts again a dusty horseman overtakes it.]


SEVERAL PASSENGERS

A London messenger!  (To horseman) Any news, sir?  We are from
Bristol only.


HORSEMAN

Yes; much.  We have declared war against Spain, an error giving
vast delight to France.  Bonaparte says he will date his next
dispatches from London, and the landing of his army may be daily
expected.

  [Exit horseman.]


THIRD PASSENGER

Sir, I apologize.  He's not to be trusted!  War is his name, and
aggression is with him!

  [He repacks the pistols.  A silence follows.  The coach and
  passengers move downwards and disappear towards the coast.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Ill chanced it that the English monarch George
     Did not respond to the said Emperor!


SPIRIT SINISTER

     I saw good sport therein, and paean'd the Will
     To unimpel so stultifying a move!
     Which would have marred the European broil,
     And sheathed all swords, and silenced every gun
     That riddles human flesh.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               O say no more;
     If aught could gratify the Absolute
     'Twould verily be thy censure, not thy praise!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     The ruling was that we should witness things
     And not dispute them.  To the drama, then.
     Emprizes over-Channel are the key
     To this land's stir and ferment.--Thither we.

  [Clouds gather over the scene, and slowly open elsewhere.]



SCENE II

PARIS.  OFFICE OF THE MINISTER OF MARINE

  [ADMIRAL DECRES seated at a table.  A knock without.]


DECRES

Come in!  Good news, I hope!

  [An attendant enters.]


ATTENDANT
A courier, sir.


DECRES

Show him in straightway.

  [The attendant goes out.]

     From the Emperor
As I expected!


COURIER

     Sir, for your own hand
And yours alone.


DECRES

     Thanks.  Be in waiting near.

  [The courier withdraws.]


DECRES reads:

"I am resolved that no wild dream of Ind,
And what we there might win; or of the West,
And bold re-conquest there of Surinam
And other Dutch retreats along those coasts,
Or British islands nigh, shall draw me now
From piercing into England through Boulogne
As lined in my first plan.  If I do strike,
I strike effectively; to forge which feat
There's but one way--planting a mortal wound
In England's heart--the very English land--
Whose insolent and cynical reply
To my well-based complaint on breach of faith
Concerning Malta, as at Amiens pledged,
Has lighted up anew such flames of ire
As may involve the world.--Now to the case:
Our naval forces can be all assembled
Without the foe's foreknowledge or surmise,
By these rules following; to whose text I ask
Your gravest application; and, when conned,
That steadfastly you stand by word and word,
Making no question of one jot therein.

"First, then, let Villeneuve wait a favouring wind
For process westward swift to Martinique,
Coaxing the English after.  Join him there
Gravina, Missiessy, and Ganteaume;
Which junction once effected all our keels--
While the pursuers linger in the West
At hopeless fault.--Having hoodwinked them thus,
Our boats skim over, disembark the army,
And in the twinkling of a patriot's eye
All London will be ours.

"In strictest secrecy carve this to shape--
Let never an admiral or captain scent
Save Villeneuve and Ganteaume; and pen each charge
With your own quill.  The surelier to outwit them
I start for Italy; and there, as 'twere
Engrossed in fetes and Coronation rites,
Abide till, at the need, I reach Boulogne,
And head the enterprize.--NAPOLEON."

  [DECRES reflects, and turns to write.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     He buckles to the work.  First to Villeneuve,
     His onetime companion and his boyhood's friend,
     Now lingering at Toulon, he jots swift lines,
     The duly to Ganteaume.--They are sealed forthwith,
     And superscribed: "Break not till on the main."

  [Boisterous singing is heard in the street.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     I hear confused and simmering sounds without,
     Like those which thrill the hives at evenfall
     When swarming pends.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               They but proclaim the crowd,
     Which sings and shouts its hot enthusiasms
     For this dead-ripe design on England's shore,
     Till the persuasion of its own plump words,
     Acting upon mercurial temperaments,
     Makes hope as prophecy.  "Our Emperor
     Will show himself (say they) in this exploit
     Unwavering, keen, and irresistible
     As is the lightning prong.  Our vast flotillas
     Have been embodied as by sorcery;
     Soldiers made seamen, and the ports transformed
     To rocking cities casemented with guns.
     Against these valiants balance England's means:
     Raw merchant-fellows from the counting-house,
     Raw labourers from the fields, who thumb for arms
     Clumsy untempered pikes forged hurriedly,
     And cry them full-equipt.  Their batteries,
     Their flying carriages, their catamarans,
     Shall profit not, and in one summer night
     We'll find us there!"


RECORDING ANGEL

           And is this prophecy true?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Occasion will reveal.


SHADE OF EARTH

               What boots it, Sire,
     To down this dynasty, set that one up,
     Goad panting peoples to the throes thereof,
     Make wither here my fruit, maintain it there,
     And hold me travailling through fineless years
     In vain and objectless monotony,
     When all such tedious conjuring could be shunned
     By uncreation?  Howsoever wise
     The governance of these massed mortalities,
     A juster wisdom his who should have ruled
     They had not been.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Nay, something hidden urged
     The giving matter motion; and these coils
     Are, maybe, good as any.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     But why any?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Sprite of Compassions, ask the Immanent!
     I am but an accessory of Its works,
     Whom the Ages render conscious; and at most
     Figure as bounden witness of Its laws.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     How ask the aim of unrelaxing Will?
     Tranced in Its purpose to unknowingness?
     (If thy words, Ancient Phantom, token true.)


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Thou answerest well.  But cease to ask of me.
     Meanwhile the mime proceeds.--We turn herefrom,
     Change our homuncules, and observe forthwith
     How the High Influence sways the English realm,
     And how the jacks lip out their reasonings there.

  [The Cloud-curtain draws.]



SCENE III

LONDON.  THE OLD HOUSE OF COMMONS

  [A long chamber with a gallery on each side supported by thin
  columns having gilt Ionic capitals.  Three round-headed windows
  are at the further end, above the Speaker's chair, which is backed
  by a huge pedimented structure in white and gilt, surmounted by the
  lion and the unicorn.  The windows are uncurtained, one being open,
  through which some boughs are seen waving in the midnight gloom
  without.  Wax candles, burnt low, wave and gutter in a brass
  chandelier which hangs from the middle of the ceiling, and in
  branches projecting from the galleries.

  The House is sitting, the benches, which extend round to the
  Speaker's elbows, being closely packed, and the galleries
  likewise full.  Among the members present on the Government
  side are PITT and other ministers with their supporters,
  including CANNING, CASTLEREAGH, LORD C. SOMERSET, ERSKINE,
  W. DUNDAS, HUSKISSON, ROSE, BEST, ELLIOT, DALLAS, and the
  general body of the party.  On the opposite side are noticeable
  FOX, SHERIDAN, WINDHAM, WHITBREAD, GREY, T. GRENVILLE, TIERNEY,
  EARL TEMPLE, PONSONBY, G. AND H. WALPOLE, DUDLEY NORTH, and
  TIMOTHY SHELLEY.  Speaker ABBOT occupies the Chair.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     As prelude to the scene, as means to aid
     Our younger comrades in its construing,
     Pray spread your scripture, and rehearse in brief
     The reasonings here of late--to whose effects
     Words of to-night form sequence.

  [The Recording Angels chant from their books, antiphonally, in a
  minor recitative.]


ANGEL I (aerial music)

     Feeble-framed dull unresolve, unresourcefulness,
     Sat in the halls of the Kingdom's high Councillors,
     Whence the grey glooms of a ghost-eyed despondency
     Wanned as with winter the national mind.


ANGEL II

     England stands forth to the sword of Napoleon
     Nakedly--not an ally in support of her;
     Men and munitions dispersed inexpediently;
     Projects of range and scope poorly defined.


ANGEL I

     Once more doth Pitt deem the land crying loud to him.--
     Frail though and spent, and an-hungered for restfulness
     Once more responds he, dead fervours to energize,
     Aims to concentre, slack efforts to bind.


ANGEL II

     Ere the first fruit thereof grow audible,
     Holding as hapless his dream of good guardianship,
     Jestingly, earnestly, shouting it serviceless,
     Tardy, inept, and uncouthly designed.


ANGELS I AND II

     So now, to-night, in slashing old sentences,
     Hear them speak,--gravely these, those with gay-heartedness,--
     Midst their admonishments little conceiving how
     Scarlet the scroll that the years will unwind!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES (to the Spirit of the Years)

     Let us put on and suffer for the nonce
     The feverish fleshings of Humanity,
     And join the pale debaters here convened.
     So may thy soul be won to sympathy
     By donning their poor mould.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               I'll humour thee,
     Though my unpassioned essence could not change
     Did I incarn in moulds of all mankind!


SPIRIT IRONIC

'Tis enough to make every little dog in England run to mixen to
hear this Pitt sung so strenuously!  I'll be the third of the
incarnate, on the chance of hearing the tune played the other way.


SPIRIT SINISTER

And I the fourth.  There's sure to be something in my line toward,
where politicians gathered together!

  [The four Phantoms enter the Gallery of the House in the disguise
  of ordinary strangers.]


SHERIDAN (rising)

The Bill I would have leave to introduce
Is framed, sir, to repeal last Session's Act,
By party-scribes intituled a Provision
For England's Proper Guard; but elsewhere known
As Mr. Pitt's new Patent Parish Pill.  (Laughter.)

The ministerial countenances, I mark,
Congeal to dazed surprise at my straight motion--
Why, passes sane conjecture.  It may be
That, with a haughty and unwavering faith
In their own battering-rams of argument,
They deemed our buoyance whelmed, and sapped, and sunk
To our hope's sheer bottom, whence a miracle
Was all could friend and float us; or, maybe,
They are amazed at our rude disrespect
In making mockery of an English Law
Sprung sacred from the King's own Premier's brain!
--I hear them snort; but let them wince at will,
My duty must be done; shall be done quickly
By citing some few facts.

          An Act for our defence!
It weakens, not defends; and oversea
Swoln France's despot and his myrmidons
This moment know it, and can scoff thereat.
Our people know it too--those who can peer
Behind the scenes of this poor painted show
Called soldiering!--The Act has failed, must fail,
As my right honourable friend well proved
When speaking t'other night, whose silencing
By his right honourable _vis a vis_
Was of the genuine Governmental sort,
And like the catamarans their sapience shaped
All fizzle and no harm.  (Laughter.)  The Act, in brief,
Effects this much: that the whole force of England
Is strengthened by--eleven thousand men!
So sorted that the British infantry
Are now eight hundred less than heretofore!

In Ireland, where the glamouring influence
Of the right honourable gentleman
Prevails with magic might, ELEVEN men
Have been amassed.  And in the Cinque-Port towns,
Where he is held in absolute veneration,
His method has so quickened martial fire
As to bring in--one man.  O would that man
Might meet my sight!  (Laughter.)  A Hercules, no doubt,
A god-like emanation from this Act,
Who with his single arm will overthrow
All Buonaparte's legions ere their keels
Have scraped one pebble of our fortless shore! . . .
Such is my motion, sir, and such my mind.

[He sits down amid cheers.  The candle-snuffers go round, and Pitt
rises.  During the momentary pause before he speaks the House assumes
an attentive stillness, in which can be heard the rustling of the
trees without, a horn from an early coach, and the voice of the watch
crying the hour.]


PITT

Not one on this side but appreciates
Those mental gems and airy pleasantries
Flashed by the honourable gentleman,
Who shines in them by birthright.  Each device
Of drollery he has laboured to outshape,
(Or treasured up from others who have shaped it,)
Displays that are the conjurings of the moment,
(Or mellowed and matured by sleeping on)--
Dry hoardings in his book of commonplace,
Stored without stint of toil through days and months--
He heaps into one mass, and light and fans
As fuel for his flaming eloquence,
Mouthed and maintained without a thought or care
If germane to the theme, or not at all.

Now vain indeed it were should I assay
To match him in such sort.  For, sir, alas,
To use imagination as the ground
Of chronicle, take myth and merry tale
As texts for prophecy, is not my gift
Being but a person primed with simple fact,
Unprinked by jewelled art.--But to the thing.

The preparations of the enemy,
Doggedly bent to desolate our land,
Advance with a sustained activity.
They are seen, they are known, by you and by us all.
But they evince no clear-eyed tentative
In furtherance of the threat, whose coming off,
Ay, years may yet postpone; whereby the Act
Will far outstrip him, and the thousands called
Duly to join the ranks by its provisions,
In process sure, if slow, will ratch the lines
Of English regiments--seasoned, cool, resolved--
To glorious length and firm prepotency.
And why, then, should we dream of its repeal
Ere profiting by its advantages?
Must the House listen to such wilding words
As this proposal, at the very hour
When the Act's gearing finds its ordered grooves
And circles into full utility?
The motion of the honourable gentleman
Reminds me aptly of a publican
Who should, when malting, mixing, mashing's past,
Fermenting, barrelling, and spigoting,
Quick taste the brew, and shake his sapient head,
And cry in acid voice: The ale is new!
Brew old, you varlets; cast this slop away!  (Cheers.)

But gravely, sir, I would conclude to-night,
And, as a serious man on serious things,
I now speak here. . . . I pledge myself to this:
Unprecedented and magnificent
As were our strivings in the previous war,
Our efforts in the present shall transcend them,
As men will learn.  Such efforts are not sized
By this light measuring-rule my critic here
Whips from his pocket like a clerk-o'-works! . . .
Tasking and toilsome war's details must be,
And toilsome, too, must be their criticism,--
Not in a moment's stroke extemporized.

The strange fatality that haunts the times
Wherein our lot is cast, has no example.
Times are they fraught with peril, trouble, gloom;
We have to mark their lourings, and to face them.
Sir, reading thus the full significance
Of these big days, large though my lackings be,
Can any hold of those who know my past
That I, of all men, slight our safeguarding?
No: by all honour no!--Were I convinced
That such could be the mind of members here,
My sorrowing thereat would doubly shade
The shade on England now!  So I do trust
All in the House will take my tendered word,
And credit my deliverance here to-night,
That in this vital point of watch and ward
Against the threatenings from yonder coast
We stand prepared; and under Providence
Shall fend whatever hid or open stroke
A foe may deal.

  [He sits down amid loud ministerial cheers, with symptoms of
  great exhaustion.]


WINDHAM

The question that compels the House to-night
Is not of differences in wit and wit,
But if for England it be well or no
To null the new-fledged Act, as one inept
For setting up with speed and hot effect
The red machinery of desperate war.--
Whatever it may do, or not, it stands,
A statesman' raw experiment.  If ill,
Shall more experiments and more be tried
In stress of jeopardy that stirs demand
For sureness of proceeding?  Must this House
Exchange safe action based on practised lines
For yet more ventures into risks unknown
To gratify a quaint projector's whim,
While enemies hang grinning round our gates
To profit by mistake?

           My friend who spoke
Found comedy in the matter.  Comical
As it may be in parentage and feature,
Most grave and tragic in its consequence
This Act may prove.  We are moving thoughtlessly,
We squander precious, brief, life-saving time
On idle guess-games.  Fail the measure must,
Nay, failed it has already; and should rouse
Resolve in its progenitor himself
To move for its repeal!  (Cheers.)


WHITBREAD

I rise but to subjoin a phrase or two
To those of my right honourable friend.
I, too, am one who reads the present pinch
As passing all our risks heretofore.
For why?  Our bold and reckless enemy,
Relaxing not his plans, has treasured time
To mass his monstrous force on all the coigns
From which our coast is close assailable.
Ay, even afloat his concentrations work:
Two vast united squadrons of his sail
Move at this moment viewless on the seas.--
Their whereabouts, untraced, unguessable,
Will not be known to us till some black blow
Be dealt by them in some undreamt-of quarter
To knell our rule.

That we are reasonably enfenced therefrom
By such an Act is but a madman's dream. . . .
A commonwealth so situate cries aloud
For more, far mightier, measures!  End an Act
In Heaven's name, then, which only can obstruct
The fabrication of more trusty tackle
For building up an army!  (Cheers.)


BATHURST

          Sir, the point
To any sober mind is bright as noon;
Whether the Act should have befitting trial
Or be blasphemed at sight.  I firmly hold
The latter loud iniquity.--One task
Is theirs who would inter this corpse-cold Act--
(So said)--to bring to birth a substitute!
Sir, they have none; they have given no thought to one,
And this their deeds incautiously disclose
Their cloaked intention and most secret aim!
With them the question is not how to frame
A finer trick to trounce intrusive foes,
But who shall be the future ministers
To whom such trick against intrusive foes,
Whatever it may prove, shall be entrusted!
They even ask the country gentlemen
To join them in this job.  But, God be praised,
Those gentlemen are sound, and of repute;
Their names, their attainments, and their blood,
                             (Ironical Opposition cheers.)
Safeguard them from an onslaught on an Act
For ends so sinister and palpable!  (Cheers and jeerings.)


FULLER

I disapprove of censures of the Act.--
All who would entertain such hostile thought
Would swear that black is white, that night is day.
No honest man will join a reckless crew
Who'd overthrow their country for their gain!  (Laughter.)


TIERNEY

It is incumbent on me to declare
In the last speaker's face my censure, based
On grounds most clear and constitutional.--
An Act it is that studies to create
A standing army, large and permanent;
Which kind of force has ever been beheld
With jealous-eyed disfavour in this House.
It makes for sure oppression, binding men
To serve for less than service proves it worth
Conditioned by no hampering penalty.
For these and late-spoke reasons, then, I say,
Let not the Act deface the statute-book,
But blot it out forthwith.  (Hear, hear.)


FOX (rising amid cheers)

          At this late hour,
After the riddling fire the Act has drawn on't,
My words shall hold the House the briefest while.
Too obvious to the most unwilling mind
It grows that the existence of this law
Experience and reflection have condemned.
Professing to do much, it makes for nothing;
Not only so; while feeble in effect
It shows it vicious in its principle.
Engaging to raise men for the common weal
It sets a harmful and unequal tax
Capriciously on our communities.--
The annals of a century fail to show
More flagrant cases of oppressiveness
Than those this statute works to perpetrate,
Which (like all Bills this favoured statesman frames,
And clothes with tapestries of rhetoric
Disguising their real web of commonplace)
Though held as shaped for English bulwarking,
Breathes in its heart perversities of party,
And instincts toward oligarchic power,
Galling the many to relieve the few!  (Cheers.)

Whatever breadth and sense of equity
Inform the methods of this minister,
Those mitigants nearly always trace their root
To measures that his predecessors wrought.
And ere his Government can dare assert
Superior claim to England's confidence,
They owe it to their honour and good name
To furnish better proof of such a claim
Than is revealed by the abortiveness
Of this thing called an Act for our Defence.

To the great gifts of its artificer
No member of this House is more disposed
To yield full recognition than am I.
No man has found more reason so to do
Through the long roll of disputatious years
Wherein we have stood opposed. . . .
But if one single fact could counsel me
To entertain a doubt of those great gifts,
And cancel faith in his capacity,
That fact would be the vast imprudence shown
In staking recklessly repute like his
On such an Act as he has offered us--
So false in principle, so poor in fruit.
Sir, the achievements and effects thereof
Have furnished not one fragile argument
Which all the partiality of friendship
Can kindle to consider as the mark
Of a clear, vigorous, freedom-fostering mind!

  [He sits down amid lengthy cheering from the Opposition.]


SHERIDAN

My summary shall be brief, and to the point.--
The said right honourable Prime Minister
Has thought it proper to declare my speech
The jesting of an irresponsible;--
Words from a person who has never read
The Act he claims him urgent to repeal.
Such quips and qizzings (as he reckons them)
He implicates as gathered from long hoards
Stored up with cruel care, to be discharged
With sudden blaze of pyrotechnic art
On the devoted, gentle, shrinking head
O' the right incomparable gentleman!  (Laughter.)
But were my humble, solemn, sad oration  (Laughter.)
Indeed such rattle as he rated it,
Is it not strange, and passing precedent,
That the illustrious chief of Government
Should have uprisen with such indecent speed
And strenuously replied?  He, sir, knows well
That vast and luminous talents like his own
Could not have been demanded to choke off
A witcraft marked by nothing more of weight
Than ignorant irregularity!
_Nec Deus intersit_--and so-and-so--
Is a well-worn citation whose close fit
None will perceive more clearly in the Fane
Than its presiding Deity opposite.  (Laughter.)
His thunderous answer thus perforce condemns him!

Moreover, to top all, the while replying,
He still thought best to leave intact the reasons
On which my blame was founded!
                        Thus, them, stands
My motion unimpaired, convicting clearly
Of dire perversion that capacity
We formerly admired.--  (Cries of "Oh, oh.")
                          This minister
Whose circumventions never circumvent,
Whose coalitions fail to coalesce;
This dab at secret treaties known to all,
This darling of the aristocracy--

(Laughter, "Oh, oh," cheers, and cries of "Divide.")

Has brought the millions to the verge of ruin,
By pledging them to Continental quarrels
Of which we see no end!  (Cheers.)

  [The members rise to divide.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     It irks me that they thus should Yea and Nay
     As though a power lay in their oraclings,
     If each decision work unconsciously,
     And would be operant though unloosened were
     A single lip!


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

                There may react on things
     Some influence from these, indefinitely,
     And even on That, whose outcome we all are.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Hypotheses!--More boots it to remind
     The younger here of our ethereal band
     And hierarchy of Intelligences,
     That this thwart Parliament whose moods we watch--
     So insular, empiric, un-ideal--
     May figure forth in sharp and salient lines
     To retrospective eyes of afterdays,
     And print its legend large on History.
     For one cause--if I read the signs aright--
     To-night's appearance of its Minister
     In the assembly of his long-time sway
     Is near his last, and themes to-night launched forth
     Will take a tincture from that memory,
     When me recall the scene and circumstance
     That hung about his pleadings.--But no more;
     The ritual of each party is rehearsed,
     Dislodging not one vote or prejudice;
     The ministers their ministries retain,
     And Ins as Ins, and Outs as Outs, remain.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Meanwhile what of the Foeman's vast array
     That wakes these tones?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Abide the event, young Shade:
     Soon stars will shut and show a spring-eyed dawn,
     And sunbeams fountain forth, that will arouse
     Those forming bands to full activity.

  [An honourable member reports that he spies strangers.]

     A timely token that we dally here!
     We now cast off these mortal manacles,
     And speed us seaward.

  [The Phantoms vanish from the Gallery.  The members file out
  to the lobbies.  The House and Westminster recede into the
  films of night, and the point of observation shifts rapidly
  across the Channel.]



SCENE IV

THE HARBOUR OF BOULOGNE

  [The morning breaks, radiant with early sunlight.  The French
  Army of Invasion is disclosed.  On the hills on either side
  of the town and behind appear large military camps formed of
  timber huts.  Lower down are other camps of more or less
  permanent kind, the whole affording accommodation for one
  hundred and fifty thousand men.

  South of the town is an extensive basin surrounded by quays,
  the heaps of fresh soil around showing it to be a recent
  excavation from the banks of the Liane.  The basin is crowded
  with the flotilla, consisting of hundreds of vessels of sundry
  kinds: flat-bottomed brigs with guns and two masts; boats of
  one mast, carrying each an artillery waggon, two guns, and a
  two-stalled horse-box; transports with three low masts; and
  long narrow pinnaces arranged for many oars.

  Timber, saw-mills, and new-cut planks spread in profusion
  around, and many of the town residences are seen to be adapted
  for warehouses and infirmaries.]


DUMB SHOW

Moving in this scene are countless companies of soldiery, engaged
in a drill practice of embarking and disembarking, and of hoisting
horses into the vessels and landing them again.  Vehicles bearing
provisions of many sorts load and unload before the temporary
warehouses.  Further off, on the open land, bodies of troops are at
field-drill.  Other bodies of soldiers, half stripped and encrusted
with mud, are labouring as navvies in repairing the excavations.

An English squadron of about twenty sail, comprising a ship or two of
the line, frigates, brigs, and luggers, confronts the busy spectacle
from the sea.

The Show presently dims and becomes broken, till only its flashes and
gleams are visible.  Anon a curtain of cloud closes over it.



SCENE V

LONDON.  THE HOUSE OF A LADY OF QUALITY

  [A fashionable crowd is present at an evening party, which
  includes the DUKES of BEAUFORT and RUTLAND, LORDS MALMESBURY,
  HARROWBY, ELDON, GRENVILLE, CASTLEREAGH, SIDMOUTH, and MULGRAVE,
  with their ladies; also CANNING, PERCEVAL, TOWNSHEND, LADY
  ANNE HAMILTON, MRS. DAMER, LADY CAROLINE LAMB, and many other
  notables.]


A GENTLEMAN (offering his snuff-box)

So, then, the Treaty anxiously concerted
Between ourselves and frosty Muscovy
Is duly signed?


A CABINET MINISTER

          Was signed a few days back,
And is in force.  And we do firmly hope
The loud pretensions and the stunning dins
Now daily heard, these laudable exertions
May keep in curb; that ere our greening land
Darken its leaves beneath  the Dogday suns,
The independence of the Continent
May be assured, and all the rumpled flags
Of famous dynasties so foully mauled,
Extend their honoured hues as heretofore.


GENTLEMAN

So be it.  Yet this man is a volcano;
And proven 'tis, by God, volcanos choked
Have ere now turned to earthquakes!


LADY

          What the news?--
The chequerboard of diplomatic moves
Is London, all the world knows: here are born
All inspirations of the Continent--
So tell!

GENTLEMAN

     Ay.  Inspirations now abound!


LADY

Nay, but your looks are grave!  That measured speech
Betokened matter that will waken us.--
Is it some piquant cruelty of his?
Or other tickling horror from abroad
The packet has brought in?


GENTLEMAN

     The treaty's signed!


MINISTER

Whereby the parties mutually agree
To knit in union and in general league
All outraged Europe.


LADY

          So to knit sounds well;
But how ensure its not unravelling?


MINISTER

Well; by the terms.  There are among them these:
Five hundred thousand active men in arms
Shall strike (supported by the Britannic aid
In vessels, men, and money subsidies)
To free North Germany and Hanover
From trampling foes; deliver Switzerland,
Unbind the galled republic of the Dutch,
Rethrone in Piedmont the Sardinian King,
Make Naples sword-proof, un-French Italy
From shore to shore; and thoroughly guarantee
A settled order to the divers states;
Thus rearing breachless barriers in each realm
Against the thrust of his usurping hand.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     They trow not what is shaping otherwhere
     The while they talk this stoutly!


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

          Bid me go
     And join them, and all blandly kindle them
     By bringing, ere material transit can,
     A new surprise!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

          Yea, for a moment, wouldst.

  [The Spirit of Rumour enters the apartment in the form of a
  personage of fashion, newly arrived.  He advances and addresses
  the group.]


SPIRIT

     The Treaty moves all tongues to-night.--Ha, well--
     So much on paper!


GENTLEMAN

          What on land and sea?
You look, old friend, full primed with latest thence.


SPIRIT

     Yea, this.  The Italy our mighty pact
     Delivers from the French and Bonaparte
     Makes haste to crown him!--Turning from Boulogne
     He speeds toward Milan, there to glory him
     In second coronation by the Pope,
     And set upon his irrepressible brow
     Lombardy's iron crown.

  [The Spirit of Rumour mingles with the throng, moves away, and
  disappears.]


LADY

     Fair Italy,
Alas, alas!


LORD

          Yet thereby English folk
Are freed him.--Faith, as ancient people say,
It's an ill wind that blows good luck to none!


MINISTER

Who is your friend that drops so airily
This precious pinch of salt on our raw skin?


GENTLEMAN

Why, Norton.  You know Norton well enough?


MINISTER

Nay, 'twas not he.  Norton of course I know.
I thought him Stewart for a moment, but---


LADY

But I well scanned him--'twas Lord Abercorn;
For, said I to myself, "O quaint old beau,
To sleep in black silk sheets so funnily:--
That is, if the town rumour on't be true.


LORD

My wig, ma'am, no!  'Twas a much younger man.


GENTLEMAN

But let me call him!  Monstrous silly this,
That don't know my friends!

  [They look around.  The gentleman goes among the surging and
  babbling guests, makes inquiries, and returns with a perplexed
  look.]


GENTLEMAN

          They tell me, sure,
That he's not here to-night!


MINISTER

          I can well swear
It was not Norton.--'Twas some lively buck,
Who chose to put himself in masquerade
And enter for a whim.  I'll tell our host.
--Meantime the absurdity of his report
Is more than manifested.  How knows he
The plans of Bonaparte by lightning-flight,
Before another man in England knows?


LADY

Something uncanny's in it all, if true.
Good Lord, the thought gives me a sudden sweat,
That fairly makes my linen stick to me!


MINISTER

Ha-ha!  'Tis excellent.  But we'll find out
Who this impostor was.

  [They disperse, look furtively for the stranger, and speak of
  the incident to others of the crowded company.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

          Now let us vision onward, till we sight
          Famed Milan's aisles of marble, sun-alight,
     And there behold, unbid, the Coronation-rite.

  [The confused tongues of the assembly waste away into distance,
  till they are heard but as the babblings of the sea from a 
  high cliff, the scene becoming small and indistinct therewith.
  This passes into silence, and the whole disappears.]



SCENE VI

MILAN. THE CATHEDRAL

  [The interior of the building on a sunny May day.

  The walls, arched, and columns are draped in silk fringed with
  gold.  A gilded throne stand in front of the High Altar.  A
  closely packed assemblage, attired in every variety of rich
  fabric and fashion, waits in breathless expectation.]


DUMB SHOW

From a private corridor leading to a door in the aisle the EMPRESS
JOSEPHINE enters, in a shining costume, and diamonds that collect
rainbow-colours from the sunlight piercing the clerestory windows.
She is preceded by PRINCESS ELIZA, and surrounded by her ladies.
A pause follows, and then comes the procession of the EMPEROR,
consisting of hussars, heralds, pages, aides-de-camp, presidents
of institutions, officers of the state bearing the insignia of the
Empire and of Italy, and seven ladies with offerings.  The Emperor
himself in royal robes, wearing the Imperial crown, and carrying the
sceptre.  He is followed my ministers and officials of the household.
His gait is rather defiant than dignified, and a bluish pallor
overspreads his face.

He is met by the Cardinal Archbishop of CAPRARA and the clergy, who
burn incense before him as he proceeds towards  the throne.  Rolling
notes of music burn forth, and loud applause from the congregation.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     What is the creed that these rich rites disclose?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     A local cult, called Christianity,
     Which the wild dramas of the wheeling spheres
     Include, with divers other such, in dim
     Pathetical and brief parentheses,
     Beyond whose span, uninfluenced, unconcerned,
     The systems of the suns go sweeping on
     With all their many-mortaled planet train
     In mathematic roll unceasingly.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     I did not recognize it here, forsooth;
     Though in its early, lovingkindly days
     Of gracious purpose it was much to me.


ARCHBISHOP (addressing Bonaparte)

Sire, with that clemency and right goodwill
Which beautify Imperial Majesty,
You deigned acceptance of the homages
That we the clergy and the Milanese
Were proud to offer when your entrance here
Streamed radiance on our ancient capital.
Please, then, to consummate the boon to-day
Beneath this holy roof, so soon to thrill
With solemn strains and lifting harmonies
Befitting such a coronation hour;
And bend a tender fatherly regard
On this assembly, now at one with me
To supplicate the Author of All Good
That He endow your most Imperial person
With every Heavenly gift.


  [The procession advances, and the EMPEROR seats himself on the
  throne, with the banners and regalia of the Empire on his right,
  and those of Italy on his left hand.  Shouts and triumphal music
  accompany the proceedings, after which Divine service commences.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Thus are the self-styled servants of the Highest
     Constrained by earthly duress to embrace
     Mighty imperiousness as it were choice,
     And hand the Italian sceptre unto one
     Who, with a saturnine, sour-humoured grin,
     Professed at first to flout antiquity,
     Scorn limp conventions, smile at mouldy thrones,
     And level dynasts down to journeymen!--
     Yet he, advancing swiftly on that track
     Whereby his active soul, fair Freedom's child
     Makes strange decline, now labours to achieve
     The thing it overthrew.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Thou reasonest ever thuswise--even if
     A self-formed force had urged his loud career.


SPIRIT SINISTER

     Do not the prelate's accents falter thin,
     His lips with inheld laughter grow deformed,
     While blessing one whose aim is but to win
     The golden seats that other b---s have warmed?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Soft, jester; scorn not puppetry so skilled,
     Even made to feel by one men call the Dame.


SHADE OF THE EARTH

     Yea; that they feel, and puppetry remain,
     Is an owned flaw in her consistency
     Men love to dub Dame Nature--that lay-shape
     They use to hang phenomena upon--
     Whose deftest mothering in fairest sphere
     Is girt about by terms inexorable!


SPIRIT SINISTER

The lady's remark is apposite, and reminds me that I may as well
hold my tongue as desired.  For if my casual scorn, Father Years,
should set thee trying to prove that there is any right or reason
in the Universe, thou wilt not accomplish it by Doomsday!  Small
blame to her, however; she must cut her coat according to her
cloth, as they would say below there.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     O would that I could move It to enchain thee,
     And shut thee up a thousand years!--(to cite
     A grim terrestrial tale of one thy like)
     Thou Iago of the Incorporeal World,
     "As they would say below there."


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               Would thou couldst!
     But move That scoped above percipience, Sire,
     It cannot be!


SHADE OF THE EARTH

     The spectacle proceeds.


SPIRIT SINISTER

And we may as well give all attention thereto, for the evils at
work in other continents are not worth eyesight by comparison.

  [The ceremonial in the Cathedral continues.  NAPOLEON goes to
  the front of the altar, ascends the steps, and, taking up the
  crown of Lombardy, places it on his head.]


NAPOLEON

'Tis God has given it to me.  So be it.
Let any who shall touch it now beware!  (Reverberations of applause.)

  [The Sacrament of the Mass.  NAPOLEON reads the Coronation Oath in
  a loud voice.]


HERALDS

Give ear!  Napoleon, Emperor of the French
And King of Italy, is crowned and throned!


CONGREGATION

Long live the Emperor and King.  Huzza!

  [Music.  The Te Deum.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     That vulgar stroke of vauntery he displayed
     In planting on his brow the Lombard crown,
     Means sheer erasure of the Luneville pacts,
     And lets confusion loose on Europe's peace
     For many an undawned year!  From this rash hour
     Austria but waits her opportunity
     By secret swellings of her armaments
     To link her to his foes.--I'll speak to him.

  [He throws a whisper into NAPOLEON'S ear.]

               Lieutenant Bonaparte,
     Would it not seemlier be to shut thy heart
     To these unhealthy splendours?--helmet thee
     For her thou swar'st-to first, fair Liberty?


NAPOLEON

Who spoke to me?


ARCHBISHOP

     Not I, Sire.  Not a soul.


NAPOLEON

Dear Josephine, my queen, didst call my name?


JOSEPHINE

I spoke not, Sire.


NAPOLEON

          Thou didst not, tender spouse;
     I know it.  Such harsh utterance was not thine.
     It was aggressive Fancy, working spells
     Upon a mind o'erwrought!

  [The service closes.  The clergy advance with the canopy to the
  foot of the throne, and the procession forms to return to the
  Palace.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Officious sprite,
     Thou art young, and dost not heed the Cause of things
     Which some of us have inkled to thee here;
     Else wouldst thou not have hailed the Emperor,
     Whose acts do but outshape Its governing.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     I feel, Sire, as I must!  This tale of Will
     And Life's impulsion by Incognizance
     I cannot take!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Let me then once again
     Show to thy sceptic eye the very streams
     And currents of this all-inhering Power,
     And bring conclusion to thy unbelief.

  [The scene assumes the preternatural transparency before mentioned,
  and there is again beheld as it were the interior of a brain which
  seems to manifest the volitions of a Universal Will, of whose
  tissues the personages of the action form portion.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Enough.  And yet for very sorriness
     I cannot own the weird phantasma real!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Affection ever was illogical.


SPIRIT IRONIC (aside)

How should the Sprite own to such logic--a mere juvenile-- who only
came into being in what the earthlings call their Tertiary Age!

  [The scene changes.  The exterior of the Cathedral takes the place
  of the interior, and the point of view recedes, the whole fabric
  smalling into distance and becoming like a rare, delicately carved
  alabaster ornament.  The city itself sinks to miniature, the Alps
  show afar as a white corrugation, the Adriatic and the Gulf of
  Genoa appear on this and on that hand, with Italy between them,
  till clouds cover the panorama.]




ACT SECOND


SCENE I

THE DOCKYARD, GIBRALTAR

  [The Rock is seen rising behind the town and the Alameda Gardens,
  and the English fleet rides at anchor in the Bay, across which the
  Spanish shore from Algeciras to Carnero Point shuts in the West.
  Southward over the Strait is the African coast.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Our migratory Proskenion now presents
     An outlook on the storied Kalpe Rock,
     As preface to the vision of the Fleets
     Spanish and French, linked for fell purposings.


RECORDING ANGEL (reciting)

     Their motions and manoeuvres, since the fame
     Of Bonaparte's enthronment at Milan
     Swept swift through Europe's dumbed communities,
     Have stretched the English mind to wide surmise.
     Many well-based alarms (which strange report
     Much aggravates) as to the pondered blow,
     Flutter the public pulse; all points in turn--
     Malta, Brazil, Wales, Ireland, British Ind--
     Being held as feasible for force like theirs,
     Of lavish numbers and unrecking aim.

     "Where, where is Nelson?" questions every tongue;--
     "How views he so unparalleled a scheme?"
     Their slow uncertain apprehensions ask.
     "When Villeneuve puts to sea with all his force,
     What may he not achieve, if swift his course!"


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     I'll call in Nelson, who has stepped ashore
     For the first time these thrice twelvemonths and more,
     And with him one whose insight has alone
     Pierced the real project of Napoleon.

  [Enter NELSON and COLLINGWOOD, who pace up and down.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Note Nelson's worn-out features.  Much has he
     Suffered from ghoulish ghast anxiety!


NELSON

In short, dear Coll, the letter which you wrote me
Had so much pith that I was fain to see you;
For I am sure that you indeed divine
The true intent and compass of a plot
Which I have spelled in vain.


COLLINGWOOD

          I weighed it thus:
Their flight to the Indies being to draw us off,
That and no more, and clear these coasts of us--
The standing obstacle to his device--
He cared not what was done at Martinique,
Or where, provided that the general end
Should not be jeopardized--that is to say,
The full-united squadron's quick return.--
Gravina and Villeneuve, once back to Europe,
Can straight make Ferrol, raise there the blockade,
Then haste to Brest, there to relieve Ganteaume,
And next with four-or five-and fifty sail
Bear down upon our coast as they see fit.--
I read they aim to strike at Ireland still,
As formerly, and as I wrote to you.


NELSON

So far your thoughtful and sagacious words
Have hit the facts.  But 'tis no Irish bay
The villains aim to drop their anchors in;
My word for it: they make the Wessex shore,
And this vast squadron handled by Villeneuve
Is meant to cloak the passage of their strength,
Massed on those transports--we being kept elsewhere
By feigning forces.--Good God, Collingwood,
I must be gone!  Yet two more days remain
Ere I can get away.--I must be gone!


COLLINGWOOD

Wherever you may go to, my dear lord,
You carry victory with you.  Let them launch,
Your name will blow them back, as sou'west gales
The gulls that beat against them from the shore.


NELSON

Good Collingwood, I know you trust in me;
But ships are ships, and do not kindly come
Out of the slow docks of the Admiralty
Like wharfside pigeons when they are whistled for:--
And there's a damned disparity of force,
Which means tough work awhile for you and me!

  [The Spirit of the Years whispers to NELSON.]

And I have warnings, warnings, Collingwood,
That my effective hours are shortening here;
Strange warnings now and then, as 'twere within me,
Which, though I fear them not, I recognize! . . .
However, by God's help, I'll live to meet
These foreign boasters; yea, I'll finish them;
And then--well, Gunner Death may finish me!

COLLINGWOOD

View not your life so gloomily, my lord:
One charmed, a needed purpose to fulfil!


NELSON

Ah, Coll.  Lead bullets are not all that wound. . . .
I have a feeling here of dying fires,
A sense of strong and deep unworded censure,
Which, compassing about my private life,
Makes all my public service lustreless
In my own eyes.--I fear I am much condemned
For those dear Naples and Palermo days,
And her who was the sunshine of them all! . . .
He who is with himself dissatisfied,
Though all the world find satisfaction in him,
Is like a rainbow-coloured bird gone blind,
That gives delight it shares not.  Happiness?
It's the philosopher's stone no alchemy
Shall light on this world I am weary of.--
Smiling I'd pass to my long home to-morrow
Could I with honour, and my country's gain.
--But let's adjourn.  I waste your hours ashore
By such ill-timed confessions!

  [They pass out of sight, and the scene closes.]



SCENE II.

OFF FERROL

  [The French and Spanish combined squadrons.  On board the French
  admiral's flag-ship.  VILLENEUVE is discovered in his cabin, writing
  a letter.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     He pens in fits, with pallid restlessness,
     Like one who sees Misfortune walk the wave,
     And can nor face nor flee it.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               He indites
     To his long friend the minister Decres
     Words that go heavily! . . .


VILLENEUVE (writing

"I am made the arbiter in vast designs
Whereof I see black outcomes.  Do I this
Or do I that, success, that loves to jilt
Her anxious wooer for some careless blade,
Will not reward me.  For, if I must pen it,
Demoralized past prayer in the marine--
Bad masts, bad sails, bad officers, bad men;
We cling to naval technics long outworn,
And time and opportunity do not avail me
To take up new.  I have long suspected such,
But till I saw my helps, the Spanish ships,
I hoped somewhat.--Brest is my nominal port;
Yet if so, Calder will again attack--
Now reinforced by Nelson or Cornwallis--
And shatter my whole fleet. . . . Shall I admit
That my true inclination and desire
Is to make Cadiz straightway, and not Brest?
Alas! thereby I fail the Emperor;
But shame the navy less.--
                Your friend, VILLENEUVE

  [GENERAL LAURISTON enters.]


LAURISTON

Admiral, my missive to the Emperor,
Which I shall speed by special courier
From Ferrol this near eve, runs thus and thus:--
"Gravina's ships, in Ferrol here at hand,
Embayed but by a temporary wind,
Are all we now await.  Combined with these
We sail herefrom to Brest; there promptly give
Cornwallis battle, and release Ganteaume;
Thence, all united, bearing Channelwards:
A step that sets in motion the first wheel
In the proud project of your Majesty
Now to be engined to the very close,
To wit: that a French fleet shall enter in
And hold the Channel four-and-twenty hours."--
Such clear assurance to the Emperor
That our intent is modelled on his will
I hasten to dispatch to him forthwith.(4)


VILLENEUVE

Yes, Lauriston.  I sign to every word.

  [Lauriston goes out.  VILLENEUVE remains at his table in reverie.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     We may impress him under visible shapes
     That seem to shed a silent circling doom;
     He's such an one as can be so impressed,
     And this much is among our privileges,
     Well bounded as they be.--Let us draw near him.

  [The Spirits of Years and of the Pities take the form of sea-birds,
  which alight on the stern-balcony of VILLENEUVE's ship, immediately
  outside his cabin window.  VILLENEUVE after a while looks up and
  sees the birds watching him with large piercing eyes.]


VILLENEUVE

My apprehensions even outstep their cause,
As though some influence smote through yonder pane.

  [He gazes listlessly, and resumes his broodings.]

---Why dared I not disclose to him my thought,
As nightly worded by the whistling shrouds,
That Brest will never see our battled hulls
Helming to north in pomp of cannonry
To take the front in this red pilgrimage!
---If so it were, now, that I'd screen my skin
From risks of bloody business in the brunt,
My acts could scarcely wear a difference.
Yet I would die to-morrow--not ungladly--
So far removed is carcase-care from me.
For no self do these apprehensions spring,
But for the cause.--Yes, rotten is our marine,
Which, while I know, the Emperor knows not,
And the pale secret chills!  Though some there be
Would beard contingencies and buffet all,
I'll not command a course so conscienceless.
Rather I'll stand, and face Napoleon's rage
When he shall learn what mean the ambiguous lines
That facts have forced from me.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES (to the Spirit of Years)

     O Eldest-born of the Unconscious Cause--
     If such thou beest, as I can fancy thee--
     Why dost thou rack him thus?  Consistency
     Might be preserved, and yet his doom remain.
     His olden courage is without reproach;
     Albeit his temper trends toward gaingiving!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     I say, as I have said long heretofore,
     I know but narrow freedom.  Feel'st thou not
     We are in Its hand, as he?--Here, as elsewhere,
     We do but as we may; no further dare.

  [The birds disappear, and the scene is lost behind sea-mist.]



SCENE III

THE CAMP AND HARBOUR OF BOULOGNE

  [The English coast in the distance.  Near the Tour d'Ordre stands
  a hut, with sentinels and aides outside; it is NAPOLEON's temporary
  lodging when not at his headquarters at the Chateau of Pont-de-
  Briques, two miles inland.]


DUMB SHOW

A courier arrives with dispatches, and enters the Emperor's quarters,
whence he emerges and goes on with other dispatches to the hut of
DECRES, lower down.  Immediately after, NAPOLEON comes out from his
hut with a paper in his hand, and musingly proceeds towards an
eminence commanding the Channel.

Along the shore below are forming in a far-reaching line more
than a hundred thousand infantry.  On the downs in the rear of
the camps fifteen thousand cavalry are manoeuvring, their
accoutrements flashing in the sun like a school of mackerel.
The flotilla lies in and around the port, alive with moving
figures.

With his head forward and his hands behind him the Emperor surveys
these animated proceedings in detail, but more frequently turns his
face toward the telegraph on the cliff to the southwest, erected to
signal when VILLENEUVE and the combined squadrons shall be visible
on the west horizon.

He summons one of the aides, who descends to the hut of DECRES.
DECRES comes out from his hut, and hastens to join the Emperor.
Dumb show ends.

  [NAPOLEON and DECRES advance to the foreground of the scene.]


NAPOLEON

Decres, this action with Sir Robert Calder
Three weeks ago, whereof we dimly heard,
And clear details of which I have just unsealed,
Is on the whole auspicious for our plan.
It seems that twenty of our ships and Spain's--
None over eighty-gunned, and some far less--
Engaged the English off Cape Finisterre
With fifteen vessels of a hundred each.
We coolly fought and orderly as they,
And, but for mist, we had closed with victory.
Two English were much mauled, some Spanish damaged,
And Calder then drew off with his two wrecks
And Spain's in tow, we giving chase forthwith.
Not overtaking him our admiral,
Having the coast clear for his purposes,
Entered Coruna, and found order there
To open the port of Brest and come on hither.
Thus hastes the moment when the double fleet
Of Villeneuve and of Ganteaume should appear.

  [He looks again towards the telegraph.]


DECRES (with hesitation)

And should they not appear, your Majesty?


NAPOLEON

Not?  But they will; and do it early, too!
There's nothing hinders them.  My God, they must,
For I have much before me when this stroke
At England's dealt.  I learn from Talleyrand
That Austrian preparations threaten hot,
While Russia's hostile schemes are ripening,
And shortly must be met.--My plan is fixed:
I am prepared for each alternative.
If Villeneuve come, I brave the British coast,
Convulse the land with fear ('tis even now
So far distraught, that generals cast about
To find new modes of warfare; yea, design
Carriages to transport their infantry!).--
Once on the English soil I hold it firm,
Descend on London, and the while my men
Salute the dome of Paul's I cut the knot
Of all Pitt's coalitions; setting free
From bondage to a cold manorial caste
A people who await it.

  [They stand and regard the chalky cliffs of England, till NAPOLEON
  resumes]:

          Should it be
Even that my admirals fail to keep the tryst--
A thing scarce thinkable, when all's reviewed--
I strike this seaside camp, cross Germany,
With these two hundred thousand seasoned men,
And pause not till within Vienna's walls
I cry checkmate.  Next, Venice, too, being taken,
And Austria's other holdings down that way,
The Bourbons also driven from Italy,
I strike at Russia--each in turn, you note,
Ere they can act conjoined.
          Report to me
What has been scanned to-day upon the main,
And on your passage down request them there
To send Daru this way.


DECRES (as he withdraws)

The Emperor can be sanguine.  Scarce can I.
His letters are more promising than mine.
Alas, alas, Villeneuve, my dear old friend,
Why do you pen me this at such a time!

[He retires reading VILLENEUVE'S letter.  The Emperor walks up and
down till DARU, his private secretary, joins him.]


NAPOLEON

Come quick, Daru; sit down upon the grass,
And write whilst I am in mind.

          First to Villeneuve:--

"I trust, Vice-Admiral, that before this date
Your fleet has opened Brest, and gone.  If not,
These lines will greet you there.  But pause not, pray:
Waste not a moment dallying.  Sail away:
Once bring my coupled squadrons Channelwards
And England's soil is ours.  All's ready here,
The troops alert, and every store embarked.
Hold the nigh sea but four-and-twenty hours
And our vast end is gained."

          Now to Ganteaume:--

"My telegraphs will have made known to you
My object and desire to be but this,
That you forbid Villeneuve to lose an hour
In getting fit and putting forth to sea,
To profit by the fifty first-rate craft
Wherewith I now am bettered.  Quickly weigh,
And steer you for the Channel with all your strength.
I count upon your well-known character,
Your enterprize, your vigour, to do this.
Sail hither, then; and we will be avenged
For centuries of despite and contumely."


DARU

Shall a fair transcript, Sire, be made forthwith?


NAPOLEON

This moment.  And the courier will depart
And travel without pause.

  [DARU goes to his office a little lower down, and the Emperor
  lingers on the cliffs looking through his glass.

  The point of view shifts across the Channel, the Boulogne cliffs
  sinking behind the water-line.]



SCENE IV

SOUTH WESSEX.  A RIDGE-LIKE DOWN NEAR THE COAST

  [The down commands a wide view over the English Channel in front
  of it, including the popular Royal watering-place, with the Isle
  of Slingers and its roadstead, where men-of-war and frigates are
  anchored.  The hour is ten in the morning, and the July sun glows
  upon a large military encampment round about the foreground, and
  warms the stone field-walls that take the place of hedges here.

  Artillery, cavalry, and infantry, English and Hanoverian, are
  drawn up for review under the DUKE OF CUMBERLAND and officers
  of the staff, forming a vast military array, which extends
  three miles, and as far as the downs are visible.

  In the centre by the Royal Standard appears KING GEORGE on
  horseback, and his suite.  In a coach drawn by six cream-
  coloured Hanoverian horses, QUEEN CHARLOTTE sits with three
  Princesses; in another carriage with four horses are two more
  Princesses.  There are also present with the Royal Party the
  LORD CHANCELLOR, LORD MULGRAVE, COUNT MUNSTER, and many other
  luminaries of fashion and influence.

  The Review proceeds in dumb show; and the din of many bands
  mingles with the cheers.  The turf behind the saluting-point
  is crowded with carriages and spectators on foot.]


A SPECTATOR

And you've come to the sight, like the King and myself?  Well, one
fool makes many.  What a mampus o' folk it is here to-day!  And what
a time we do live in, between wars and wassailings, the goblin o'
Boney, and King George in flesh and blood!


SECOND SPECTATOR

Yes.  I wonder King George is let venture down on this coast, where
he might be snapped up in a moment like a minney by a her'n, so near
as we be to the field of Boney's vagaries!  Begad, he's as like to
land here as anywhere.  Gloucester Lodge could be surrounded, and
George and Charlotte carried off before he could put on his hat, or
she her red cloak and pattens!


THIRD SPECTATOR

'Twould be so such joke to kidnap 'em as you think.  Look at the
frigates down there.  Every night they are drawn up in a line
across the mouth of the Bay, almost touching each other; and
ashore a double line of sentinels, well primed with beer and
ammunition, one at the water's edge and the other on the
Esplanade, stretch along the whole front.  Then close to the
Lodge a guard is mounted after eight o'clock; there be pickets
on all the hills; at the Harbour mouth is a battery of twenty
four-pounders; and over-right 'em a dozen six-pounders, and
several howitzers.  And next look at the size of the camp of
horse and foot up here.


FIRST SPECTATOR

Everybody however was fairly gallied this week when the King went
out yachting, meaning to be back for the theatre; and the eight or
nine o'clock came, and never a sign of him.  I don't know when 'a
did land; but 'twas said by all that it was a foolhardy pleasure
to take.


FOURTH SPECTATOR

He's a very obstinate and comical old gentleman; and by all account
'a wouldn't make port when asked to.


SECOND SPECTATOR

Lard, Lard, if 'a were nabbed, it wouldn't make a deal of difference!
We should have nobody to zing, and play singlestick to, and grin at
through horse-collars, that's true.  And nobody to sign our few
documents.  But we should rub along some way, goodnow.


FIRST SPECTATOR

Step up on this barrow; you can see better.  The troopers now passing
are the York Hussars--foreigners to a man, except the officers--the
same regiment the two young Germans belonged to who were shot four
years ago.  Now come the Light Dragoons; what a time they take to
get all past!  Well, well! this day will be recorded in history.


SECOND SPECTATOR

Or another soon to follow it!  (He gazes over the Channel.)  There's
not a speck of an enemy upon that shiny water yet; but the Brest
fleet is zaid to have put to sea, to act in concert with the army
crossing from Boulogne; and if so the French will soon be here; when
God save us all!  I've took to drinking neat, for, say I, one may
as well have innerds burnt out as shot out, and 'tis a good deal
pleasanter for the man that owns 'em.  They say that a cannon-ball
knocked poor Jim Popple's maw right up into the futtock-shrouds at
the Nile, where 'a hung like a nightcap out to dry.  Much good to
him his obeying his old mother's wish and refusing his allowance
o' rum!

  [The bands play and the Review continues till past eleven o'clock.
  Then follows a sham fight.  At noon precisely the royal carriages
  draw off the ground into the highway that leads down to the town
  and Gloucester Lodge, followed by other equipages in such numbers
  that the road is blocked.  A multitude comes after on foot.
  Presently the vehicles manage to proceed to the watering-place, and
  the troops march away to the various camps as a sea-mist cloaks the
  perspective.]



SCENE V

THE SAME.  RAINBARROW'S BEACON, EGDON HEATH

  [Night in mid-August of the same summer.  A lofty ridge of
  heathland reveals itself dimly, terminating in an abrupt slope,
  at the summit of which are three tumuli.  On the sheltered side
  of the most prominent of these stands a hut of turves with a
  brick chimney.  In front are two ricks of fuel, one of heather
  and furze for quick ignition, the other of wood, for slow burning.
  Something in the feel of the darkness and in the personality of
  the spot imparts a sense of uninterrupted space around, the view
  by day extending from the cliffs of the Isle of Wight eastward
  to Blackdon Hill by Deadman's Bay westward, and south across the
  Valley of the Froom to the ridge that screens the Channel.

  Two men with pikes loom up, on duty as beacon-keepers beside the
  ricks.]


OLD MAN

Now, Jems Purchess, once more mark my words.  Black'on is the point
we've to watch, and not Kingsbere; and I'll tell 'ee for why.  If he
do land anywhere hereabout 'twill be inside Deadman's Bay, and the
signal will straightaway come from Black'on.  But there thou'st
stand, glowering and staring with all thy eyes at Kingsbere!  I tell
'ee what 'tis, Jem Purchess, your brain is softening; and you be
getting too old for business of state like ours!


YOUNG MAN

You've let your tongue wrack your few rames of good breeding, John.


OLD MAN

The words of my Lord-Lieutenant was, whenever you see Kingsbere-Hill
Beacon fired to the eastward, or Black'on to the westward, light up;
and keep your second fire burning for two hours.  Was that our
documents or was it not?


YOUNG MAN

I don't gainsay it.  And so I keep my eye on Kingsbere because that's
most likely o' the two, says I.


OLD MAN

That shows the curious depths of your ignorance.  However, I'll have
patience, and say on.  Didst ever larn geography?


YOUNG MAN

No.  Nor no other corrupt practices.


OLD MAN

Tcht-tcht!--Well, I'll have patience, and put it to him in another
form.  Dost know the world is round--eh?  I warrant dostn't!


YOUNG MAN

I warrant I do!


OLD MAN

How d'ye make that out, when th'st never been to school?


YOUNG MAN

I larned it at church, thank God.


OLD MAN

Church?  What have God A'mighty got to do with profane knowledge?
Beware that you baint blaspheming, Jems Purchess!


YOUNG MAN

I say I did, whether or no!  'Twas the zingers up in gallery that
I had it from.  They busted out that strong with "the round world
and they that dwell therein," that we common fokes down under could
do no less than believe 'em.


OLD MAN

Canst be sharp enough in the wrong place as usual--I warrant canst!
However, I'll have patience with 'en and say on!--Suppose, now, my
hat is the world; and there, as might be, stands the Camp of Belong,
where Boney is.  The world goes round, so, and Belong goes round too.
Twelve hours pass; round goes the world still--so.  Where's Belong
now?

  [A pause.  Two other figures, a man's and a woman's, rise against
  the sky out of the gloom.]


OLD MAN (shouldering his pike)

Who goes there?  Friend or foe, in the King's name!


WOMAN

Piece o' trumpery!  "Who goes" yourself!  What d'ye talk o', John
Whiting!  Can't your eyes earn their living any longer, then, that
you don't know your own neighbours?  'Tis Private Cantle of the
Locals and his wife Keziar, down at Bloom's-End--who else should
it be!


OLD MAN (lowering his pike)

A form o' words, Mis'ess Cantle, no more; ordained by his Majesty's
Gover'ment to be spoke by all we on sworn duty for the defence o' the
country.  Strict rank-and-file rules is our only horn of salvation in
these times.--But, my dear woman, why ever have ye come lumpering up
to Rainbarrows at this time o' night?


WOMAN

We've been troubled with bad dreams, owing to the firing out at sea
yesterday; and at last I could sleep no more, feeling sure that
sommat boded of His coming.  And I said to Cantle, I'll ray myself,
and go up to Beacon, and ask if anything have been heard or seen to-
night.  And here we be.


OLD MAN

Not a sign or sound--all's as still as a churchyard.  And how is
your good man?


PRIVATE (advancing)

Clk.  I be all right!  I was in the ranks, helping to keep the ground
at the review by the King this week.  We was a wonderful sight--
wonderful!  The King said so again and again.--Yes, there was he, and
there was I, though not daring to move a' eyebrow in the presence of
Majesty.  I have come home on a night's leave--off there again to-
morrow.  Boney's expected every day, the Lord be praised!  Yes, our
hopes are to be fulfilled soon, as we say in the army.


OLD MAN

There, there, Cantle; don't ye speak quite so large, and stand
so over-upright.  Your back is as holler as a fire-dog's.  Do ye
suppose that we on active service here don't know war news?  Mind
you don't go taking to your heels when the next alarm comes, as you
did at last year's.


PRIVATE

That had nothing to do with fighting, for I'm as bold as a lion when
I'm up, and "Shoulder Fawlocks!" sounds as common as my own name to
me.  'Twas--- (lowering his voice.)  Have ye heard?


OLD MAN

To be sure we have.


PRIVATE

Ghastly, isn't it!


OLD MAN

Ghastly!  Frightful!


YOUNG MAN (to Private)

He don't know what it is!  That's his pride and puffery.  What is it
that' so ghastly--hey?


PRIVATE

Well, there, I can't tell it.  'Twas that that made the whole eighty
of our company run away--though we be the bravest of the brave in
natural jeopardies, or the little boys wouldn't run after us and
call us and call us the "Bang-up-Locals."


WOMAN (in undertones)

I can tell you a word or two on't.  It is about His victuals.  They
say that He lives upon human flesh, and has rashers o' baby every
morning for breakfast--for all the world like the Cernal Giant in
old ancient times!


YOUNG MAN

Ye can't believe all ye hear.


PRIVATE

I only believe half.  And I only own--such is my challengeful
character--that perhaps He do eat pagan infants when He's in the
desert.  But not Christian ones at home.  Oh no--'tis too much.


WOMAN

Whether or no, I sometimes--God forgive me!--laugh wi' horror at
the queerness o't, till I am that weak I can hardly go round the
house.  He should have the washing of 'em a few times; I warrant
'a wouldn't want to eat babies any more!

  [A silence, during which they gaze around at the dark dome of the
  starless sky.]


YOUNG MAN

There'll be a change in the weather soon, by the look o't.  I can
hear the cows moo in Froom Valley as if I were close to 'em, and
the lantern at Max Turnpike is shining quite plain.


OLD MAN

Well, come in and taste a drop o' sommat we've got here, that will
warm the cockles of your heart as ye wamble homealong.  We housed
eighty tuns last night for them that shan't be named--landed at
Lullwind Cove the night afore, though they had a narrow shave with
the riding-officers this run.

  [They make toward the hut, when a light on the west horizon becomes
  visible, and quickly enlarges.]


YOUNG MAN

He's come!


OLD MAN

Come he is, though you do say it!  This, then, is the beginning of
what England's waited for!

  [They stand and watch the light awhile.]


YOUNG MAN

Just what you was praising the Lord for by-now, Private Cantle.


PRIVATE

My meaning was---


WOMAN (simpering)

Oh that I hadn't married a fiery sojer, to make me bring fatherless
children into the world, all through his dreadful calling!  Why
didn't a man of no sprawl content me!


OLD MAN (shouldering his pike)

We can't heed your innocent pratings any longer, good neighbours,
being in the King's service, and a hot invasion on.  Fall in, fall
in, mate.  Straight to the tinder-box.  Quick march!

  [The two men hasten to the hut, and are heard striking a flint
  and steel.  Returning with a lit lantern they ignite a blaze.
  The private of the Locals and his wife hastily retreat by the
  light of the flaming beacon, under which the purple rotundities
  of the heath show like bronze, and the pits like the eye-sockets
  of a skull.]


SPIRIT SINISTER

This is good, and spells blood.  (To the Chorus of the Years.)  I
assume that It means to let us carry out this invasion with pleasing
slaughter, so as not to disappoint my hope?


SEMICHORUS I OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

     We carry out?  Nay, but should we
     Ordain what bloodshed is to be it!


SEMICHORUS II 

     The Immanent, that urgeth all,
     Rules what may or may not befall!


SEMICHORUS I

     Ere systemed suns were globed and lit
     The slaughters of the race were writ,


SEMICHORUS II

     And wasting wars, by land and sea,
     Fixed, like all else, immutably!


SPIRIT SINISTER

Well; be it so.  My argument is that War makes rattling good
history; but Peace is poor reading.  So I back Bonaparte for
the reason that he will give pleasure to posterity.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

Gross hypocrite!


CHORUS OF THE YEARS

          We comprehend him not.

  [The day breaks over the heathery upland, on which the beacon
  is still burning.  The morning reveals the white surface of a
  highway which, coming from the royal watering-place beyond the
  hills, stretched towards the outskirts of the heath and passes
  away eastward.]


DUMB SHOW

Moving figures and vehicles dot the surface of the road, all
progressing in one direction, away from the coast.  In the
foreground the shapes appear as those of civilians, mostly on
foot, but many in gigs and tradesmen's carts and on horseback.
When they reach an intermediate hill some pause and look back;
others enter on the next decline landwards without turning
their heads.

From the opposite horizon numerous companies of volunteers, in the
local uniform of red with green facings,(5) are moving coastwards in
companies; as are also irregular bodies of pikemen without uniform;
while on the upper slopes of the downs towards the shore regiments
of the line are visible, with cavalry and artillery; all passing
over to the coast.

At a signal from the Chief Intelligences two Phantoms of Rumour enter
on the highway in the garb of country-men.


FIRST PHANTOM (to Pedestrians)

Wither so fast, good neighbours, and before breakfast, too?  Empty
bellies be bad to vamp on.


FIRST PEDESTRIAN

He's landed west'ard, out by Abbot's Beach.  And if you have property
you'll save it and yourselves, as we are doing!


SECOND PEDESTRIAN

All yesterday the firing at Boulogne
Was like the seven thunders heard in Heaven
When the fierce angel spoke.  So did he draw
Full-manned, flat-bottomed for the shallowest shore,
Dropped down to west, and crossed our frontage here.
Seen from above they specked the water-shine
As will a flight of swallows toward dim eve,
Descending on a smooth and loitering stream
To seek some eyot's sedge.


SECOND PHANTOM

     We are sent to enlighten you and ease your soul.
     Even now a courier canters to the port
     To check the baseless scare.


FIRST PEDESTRIAN

These be inland men who, I warrant 'ee, don't know a lerret from a
lighter!  Let's take no heed of such, comrade; and hurry on!


FIRST PHANTOM

          Will you not hear
     That what was seen behind the midnight mist,
     Their oar-blades tossing twinkles to the moon,
     Was but a fleet of fishing-craft belated
     By reason of the vastness of their haul?


FIRST PEDESTRIAN

Hey?  And d'ye know it?--Now I look back to the top o' Rudgeway
the folk seem as come to a pause there.--Be this true, never again
do I stir my stumps for any alarm short of the Day of Judgment!
Nine times has my rheumatical rest been broke in these last three
years by hues and cries of Boney upon us.  'Od rot the feller;
now he's made a fool of me once more, till my inside is like a
wash-tub, what wi' being so gallied, and running so leery!--But
how if you be one of the enemy, sent to sow these tares, so to
speak it, these false tidings, and coax us into a fancied safety?
Hey, neighbours?  I don't, after all, care for this story!


SECOND PEDESTRIAN

Onwards again!
If Boney's come, 'tis best to be away;
And if he's not, why, we've a holiday!

  [Exeunt Pedestrians.  The Spirits of Rumour vanish, while the scene
  seems to become involved in the smoke from the beacon, and slowly
  disappears.(6)]




ACT THIRD


SCENE I

BOULOGNE.  THE CHATEAU AT PONT-DE-BRIQUES

  [A room in the Chateau, which is used as the Imperial quarters.
  The EMPEROR NAPOLEON, and M. GASPARD MONGE, the mathematician
  and philosopher, are seated at breakfast.]


OFFICER

Monsieur the Admiral Decres awaits
A moment's audience with your Majesty,
Or now, or later.


NAPOLEON

          Bid him in at once--
At last Villeneuve has raised the Brest blockade!

  [Enter DECRES.]

What of the squadron's movements, good Decres?
Brest opened, and all sailing Channelwards,
Like swans into a creek at feeding-time?


DECRES

Such news was what I'd hoped, your Majesty,
To send across this daybreak.  But events
Have proved intractable, it seems, of late;
And hence I haste in person to report
The featless facts that just have dashed my---


NAPOLEON (darkening)

     Well?


DECRES

Sire, at the very juncture when the fleets
Sailed out from Ferrol, fever raged aboard
"L'Achille" and "l'Algeciras": later on,
Mischief assailed our Spanish comrades' ships;
Several ran foul of neighbours; whose new hurts,
Being added to their innate clumsiness,
Gave hap the upper hand; and in quick course
Demoralized the whole; until Villeneuve,
Judging that Calder now with Nelson rode,
And prescient of unparalleled disaster
If he pushed on in so disjoint a trim,
Bowed to the inevitable; and thus, perforce,
Leaving to other opportunity
Brest and the Channel scheme, with vast regret
Steered southward into Cadiz.


NAPOLEON (having risen from the table)

          What!--Is, then,
My scheme of years to be disdained and dashed
By this man's like, a wretched moral coward,
Whom you must needs foist on me as one fit
For full command in pregnant enterprise!


MONGE (aside)

I'm one too many here!  Let me step out
Till this black squall blows over.  Poor Decres.
Would that this precious project, disinterred
From naval archives of King Louis' reign,
Had ever lingered fusting where 'twas found.(7)

[Exit Monge.]


NAPOLEON

To help a friend you foul a country's fame!--
Decres, not only chose you this Villeneuve,
But you have nourished secret sour opinions
Akin to his, and thereby helped to scathe
As stably based a project as this age
Has sunned to ripeness.  Ever the French Marine
Have you decried, ever contrived to bring
Despair into the fleet!  Why, this Villeneuve,
Your man, this rank incompetent, this traitor--
Of whom I asked no more than fight and lose,
Provided he detain the enemy--
A frigate is too great for his command!
what shall be said of one who, at a breath,
When a few casual sailors find them sick,
When falls a broken boom or slitten sail,
When rumour hints that Calder's tubs and Nelson's
May join, and bob about in company,
Is straightway paralyzed, and doubles back
On all his ripened plans!--
Bring him, ay, bodily; hale him out from Cadiz,
Compel him up the Channel by main force,
And, having doffed him his supreme command,
Give the united squadrons to Ganteaume!


DECRES

Your Majesty, while umbraged, righteously,
By an event my tongue dragged dry to tell,
Makes my hard situation over-hard
By your ascription to the actors in't
Of motives such and such.  'Tis not for me
To answer these reproaches, Sire, and ask
Why years-long mindfulness of France's fame
In things marine should win no confidence.
I speak; but am unable to convince!

True is it that this man has been my friend
Since boyhood made us schoolmates; and I say
That he would yield the heel-drops of his heart
With joyful readiness this day, this hour,
To do his country service.  Yet no less
Is it his drawback that he sees too far.
And there are times, Sire, when a shorter sight
Charms Fortune more.  A certain sort of bravery
Some people have--to wit, this same Lord Nelson--
Which is but fatuous faith in one's own star
Swoln to the very verge of childishness,
(Smugly disguised as putting trust in God,
A habit with these English folk); whereby
A headstrong blindness to contingencies
Carries the actor on, and serves him well
In some nice issues clearer sight would mar.
Such eyeless bravery Villeneuve has not;
But, Sire, he is no coward.


NAPOLEON

Well, have it so!--What are we going to do?
My brain has only one wish--to succeed!


DECRES

My voice wanes weaker with you, Sire; is nought!
Yet these few words, as Minister of Marine,
I'll venture now.--My process would be thus:--
Our projects for a junction of the fleets
Being well-discerned and read by every eye
Through long postponement, England is prepared.
I would recast them.  Later in the year
Form sundry squadrons of this massive one,
Harass the English till the winter time,
Then rendezvous at Cadiz; where leave half
To catch the enemy's eye and call their cruizers,
While rounding Scotland with the other half,
You make the Channel by the eastern strait,
Cover the passage of our army-boats,
And plant the blow.


NAPOLEON

          And what if they perceive
Our Scottish route, and meet us eastwardly?


DECRES

I have thought of it, and planned a countermove;
I'll write the scheme more clearly and at length,
And send it hither to your Majesty.


NAPOLEON

Do so forthwith; and send me in Daru.

  [Exit DECRES.  Re-enter MONGE.]

Our breakfast, Monge, to-day has been cut short,
And these discussions on the ancient tongues
Wherein you shine, must yield to modern moils.
Nay, hasten not away; though feeble wills,
Incompetence, ay, imbecility,
In some who feign to serve the cause of France,
Do make me other than myself just now!--
Ah--here's Daru.

  [DARU enters.  MONGE takes his leave.]

Daru, sit down and write.  Yes, here, at once,
This room will serve me now.  What think you, eh?
Villeneuve has just turned tail and run to Cadiz.
So quite postponed--perhaps even overthrown--
My long-conned project against yonder shore
As 'twere a juvenile's snow-built device
But made for melting!  Think of it, Daru,--
My God, my God, how can I talk thereon!
A plan well judged, well charted, well upreared,
To end in nothing! . . . Sit you down and write.

  [NAPOLEON walks up and down, and resumes after a silence.]

Write this.--A volte-face 'tis indeed!--Write, write!


DARU (holding pen to paper)

I wait, your Majesty.


NAPOLEON

          First Bernadotte--
Yes; "Bernadotte moves out from Hanover
Through Hesse upon Wurzburg and the Danube.--
Marmont from Holland bears along the Rhine,
And joins at Mainz and Wurzburg Bernadotte . . .

While these prepare their routes the army here
Will turn its back on Britain's tedious shore,
And, closing up with Augereau at Brest,
Set out full force due eastward. . . .
By the Black forest feign a straight attack,
The while our purpose is to skirt its left,
Meet in Franconia Bernadotte and Marmont;
Traverse the Danube somewhat down from Ulm;
Entrap the Austrian column by their rear;
Surround them, cleave them; roll upon Vienna,
Where, Austria settled, I engage the Tsar,
While Massena detains in Italy
The Archduke Charles.

          Foreseeing such might shape,
Each high-and by-way to the Danube hence
I have of late had measured, mapped, and judged;
Such spots as suit for depots chosen and marked;
Each regiment's daily pace and bivouac
Writ tablewise for ready reference;
All which itineraries are sent herewith."

So shall I crush the two gigantic sets
Upon the Empire, now grown imminent.
--Let me reflect.--First Bernadotte---but nay,
The courier to Marmont must go first.
Well, well.--The order of our march from hence
I will advise. . . . My knock at George's door
With bland inquiries why his royal hand
Withheld due answer to my friendly lines,
And tossed the irksome business to his clerks,
Is thus perforce delayed.  But not for long.
Instead of crossing, thitherward I tour
By roundabout contrivance not less sure!


DARU

I'll bring the writing to your Majesty.

  [NAPOLEON and DARU go out severally.]


CHORUS OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

          Recording Angel, trace
     This bold campaign his thought has spun apace--
     One that bids fair for immortality
     Among the earthlings--if immortal deeds
     May be ascribed to so extemporary
          And transient a race!
     It will be called, in rhetoric and rhyme,
          As son to sire succeeds,
     A model for the tactics of all time;
     "The Great Campaign of that so famed year Five,"
     By millions of mankind not yet alive.



SCENE II

THE FRONTIERS OF UPPER AUSTRIA AND BAVARIA

  [A view of the country from mid-air, at a point south of the
  River Inn, which is seen as a silver thread, winding northward
  between its junction with the Salza and the Danube, and forming
  the boundaries of the two countries.  The Danube shows itself as
  a crinkled satin riband, stretching from left to right in the
  far background of the picture, the Inn discharging its waters
  into the larger river.]


DUMB SHOW

A vast Austrian army creeps dully along the mid-distance, in
the detached masses and columns of a whitish cast.  The columns
insensibly draw nearer to each other, and are seen to be converging
from the east upon the banks of the Inn aforesaid.


A RECORDING ANGEL (in recitative)

     This movement as of molluscs on a leaf,
     Which from our vantage here we scan afar,
     Is one manoeuvred by the famous Mack
     To countercheck Napoleon, still believed
     To be intent on England from Boulogne,
     And heedless of such rallies in his rear.
     Mack's enterprise is now to cross Bavaria--
     Beneath us stretched in ripening summer peace
     As field unwonted for these ugly jars--

     Outraged Bavaria, simmering in disquiet
     At Munich down behind us, Isar-fringed,
     And torn between his fair wife's hate of France
     And his own itch to gird at Austrian bluff
     For riding roughshod through his territory,
     Wavers from this to that.  The while Time hastes
     The eastward streaming of Napoleon's host,
     As soon we see.

The silent insect-creep of the Austrian columns towards the banks of
the Inn continues to be seen till the view fades to nebulousness and
dissolves.



SCENE III

BOULOGNE.  THE ST. OMER ROAD

  [It is morning at the end of August, and the road stretches out
  of the town eastward.

  The divisions of the "Army-for-England" are making preparations
  to march.  Some portions are in marching order.  Bands strike
  up, and the regiments start on their journey towards the Rhine
  and Danube.  Bonaparte and his officers watch the movements from
  an eminence.  The soldiers, as they pace along under their eagles
  with beaming eyes, sing "Le Chant du Depart," and other martial
  songs, shout "Vive l'Empereur!" and babble of repeating the days
  of Italy, Egypt, Marengo, and Hohenlinden.]


NAPOLEON

Anon to England!


CHORUS OF INTELLIGENCES (aerial music)

     If Time's weird threads so weave!

  [The scene as it lingers exhibits the gradual diminishing of
  the troops along the roads through the undulating August
  landscape, till each column is seen but as a train of dust;
  and the disappearance of each marching mass over the eastern
  horizon.]




ACT FOURTH


SCENE I

KING GEORGE'S WATERING-PLACE, SOUTH WESSEX

  [A sunny day in autumn.  A room in the red-brick royal residence
  know as Gloucester Lodge.(8)

  At a front triple-lighted window stands a telescope on a tripod.
  Through the open middle sash is visible the crescent-curved
  expanse of the Bay as a sheet of brilliant translucent green,
  on which ride vessels of war at anchor.  On the left hand white
  cliffs stretch away till they terminate in St. Aldhelm's Head,
  and form a background to the level water-line on that side.  In
  the centre are the open sea and blue sky.  A near headland rises
  on the right, surmounted by a battery, over which appears the
  remoter bald grey brow of the Isle of Slingers.
  
  In the foreground yellow sands spread smoothly, whereon there
  are sundry temporary erections for athletic sports; and closer
  at hand runs an esplanade on which a fashionable crowd is
  promenading.  Immediately outside the Lodge are companies of
  soldiers, groups of officers, and sentries.
  
  Within the room the KING and PITT are discovered.  The KING'S
  eyes show traces of recent inflammation, and the Minister has
  a wasted look.]


KING

Yes, yes; I grasp your reasons, Mr. Pitt,
And grant you audience gladly.  More than that,
Your visit to this shore is apt and timely,
And if it do but yield you needful rest
From fierce debate, and other strains of office
Which you and I in common have to bear,
'Twill be well earned.  The bathing is unmatched
Elsewhere in Europe,--see its mark on me!--
The air like liquid life.--But of this matter:
What argue these late movements seen abroad?
What of the country now the session's past;
What of the country, eh? and of the war?


PITT

The thoughts I have laid before your Majesty
Would make for this, in sum:--
That Mr. Fox, Lord Grenville, and their friends,
Be straightway asked to join.  With Melville gone,
With Sidmouth, and with Buckinghamshire too,
The steerage of affairs has stood of late
Somewhat provisional, as you, sir, know,
With stop-gap functions thrust on offices
Which common weal can tolerate but awhile.
So, for the weighty reasons I have urged,
I do repeat my most respectful hope
To win your Majesty's ungrudged assent
To what I have proposed.


KING

          But nothing, sure,
Has been more plain to all, dear Mr. Pitt,
Than that your own proved energy and scope
Is ample, without aid, to carry on
Our just crusade against the Corsican.
Why, then, go calling Fox and Grenville in?
Such helps we need not.  Pray you think upon't,
And speak to me again.--We've had alarms
Making us skip like crackers at our heels,
That Bonaparte had landed close hereby.


PITT

Such rumours come as regularly as harvest.


KING

And now he has left Boulogne with all his host?
Was it his object to invade at all,
Or was his vast assemblage there a blind?


PITT

Undoubtedly he meant invasion, sir,
Had fortune favoured.  He may try it yet.
And, as I said, could we but close with Fox---


KING

But, but;--I ask, what is his object now?
Lord Nelson's Captain--Hardy--whose old home
Stands in a peaceful vale hard by us here--
Who came two weeks ago to see his friends,
I talked to in this room a lengthy while.
He says our navy still is in thick night
As to the aims by sea of Bonaparte
Now the Boulogne attempt has fizzled out,
And what he schemes afloat with Spain combined.
The "Victory" lay that fortnight at Spithead,
And Nelson since has gone aboard and sailed;
Yes, sailed again.  The "Royal Sovereign" follows,
And others her.  Nelson was hailed and cheered
To huskiness while leaving Southsea shore,
Gentle and simple wildly thronging round.


PITT

Ay, sir.  Young women hung upon his arm,
And old ones blessed, and stroked him with their hands.


KING

Ah--you have heard, of course.  God speed him, Pitt.


PITT

Amen, amen!


KING

          I read it as a thing
Of signal augury, and one which bodes
Heaven's confidence in me and in my line,
That I should rule as King in such an age! . . .
Well, well.--So this new march of Bonaparte's
Was unexpected, forced perchance on him?


PITT

It may be so, your Majesty; it may.
Last noon the Austrian ambassador,
Whom I consulted ere I posted down,
Assured me that his latest papers word
How General Mack and eighty thousand men
Have made good speed across Bavaria
To wait the French and give them check at Ulm,
That fortress-frontier-town, entrenched and walled,
A place long chosen as a vantage-point
Whereon to encounter them as they outwind
From the blind shades and baffling green defiles
Of the Black Forest, worn with wayfaring.
Here Mack will intercept his agile foe
Hasting to meet the Russians in Bohemia,
And cripple him, if not annihilate.

Thus now, sir, opens out this Great Alliance
Of Russia, Austria, England, whereto I
Have lent my earnest efforts through long months,
And the realm gives her money, ships, and men.--
It claps a muffler round the Cock's steel spurs,
And leaves me sanguine on his overthrow.
But, then,--this coalition of resources
Demands a strong and active Cabinet
To aid your Majesty's directive hand;
And thus I urge again the said additions--
These brilliant intellects of the other side
Who stand by Fox.  With us conjoined, they---


KING

What, what, again--in face of my sound reasons!
Believe me, Pitt, you underrate yourself;
You do not need such aid.  The splendid feat
Of banding Europe in a righteous cause
That you have achieved, so soon to put to shame
This wicked bombardier of dynasties
That rule by right Divine, goes straight to prove
We had best continue as we have begun,
And call no partners to our management.
To fear dilemmas horning up ahead
Is not your wont.  Nay, nay, now, Mr. Pitt,
I must be firm.  And if you love your King
You'll goad him not so rashly to embrace
This Fox-Grenville faction and its friends.
Rather than Fox, why, give me civil war!
Hey, what?  But what besides?


PITT

I say besides, sir, . . . nothing!

  [A silence.]


KING (cheerfully)

The Chancellor's here, and many friends of mine: Lady Winchelsea,
Lord and Lady Chesterfield, Lady Bulkeley, General Garth, and Mr.
Phipps the oculist--not the least important to me.  He is a worthy
and a skilful man.  My eyes, he says, are as marvellously improved
in durability as I know them to be in power.  I have arranged to go
to-morrow with the Princesses, and the Dukes of Cumberland, Sussex,
and Cambridge (who are also here) for a ride on the Ridgeway, and
through the Camp on the downs.  You'll accompany us there?


PITT

I am honoured by your Majesty's commands.

  [PITT looks resignedly out of the window.]

What curious structure do I see outside, sir?


KING

It's but a stage, a type of all the world.  The burgesses have
arranged it in my honour.  At six o'clock this evening there are
to be combats at single-stick to amuse the folk; four guineas
the prize for the man who breaks most heads.  Afterward there
is to be a grinning match through horse-collars--a very humorous
sport which I must stay here and witness; for I am interested in
whatever entertains my subjects.


PITT

Not one in all the land but knows it, sir.


KING

Now, Mr. Pitt, you must require repose;
Consult your own convenience then, I beg,
On when you leave.

PITT

     I thank your Majesty.

  [He departs as one whose purpose has failed, and the scene shuts.]



SCENE II

BEFORE THE CITY OF ULM

  [A prospect of the city from the east, showing in the foreground
  a low-lying marshy country bounded in mid-distance by the banks
  of the Danube, which, bordered by poplars and willows, flows
  across the picture from the left to the Elchingen Bridge near
  the right of the scene, and is backed by irregular heights and
  terraces of espaliered vines.  Between these and the river stands
  the city, crowded with old gabled houses and surrounded by walls,
  bastions, and a ditch, all the edifices being dominated by the
  nave and tower of the huge Gothic Munster.

  On the most prominent of the heights at the back--the Michaelsberg
  --to the upper-right of the view, is encamped the mass of the
  Austrian army, amid half-finished entrenchments.  Advanced posts
  of the same are seen south-east of the city, not far from the 
  advanced corps of the French Grand-Army under SOULT, MARMONT,
  LANNES, NEY, and DUPONT, which occupy in a semicircle the whole
  breadth of the flat landscape in front, and extend across the
  river to higher ground on the right hand of the panorama.
  
  Heavy mixed drifts of rain and snow are descending impartially
  on the French and on the Austrians, the downfall nearly blotting
  out the latter on the hills.  A chill October wind wails across
  the country, and the poplars yield slantingly to the gusts.]


DUMB SHOW

Drenched peasants are busily at work, fortifying the heights of
the Austrian position in the face of the enemy.  Vague companies
of Austrians above, and of the French below, hazy and indistinct
in the thick atmosphere, come and go without apparent purpose
near their respective lines.

Closer at hand NAPOLEON, in his familiar blue-grey overcoat, rides
hither and thither with his marshals, haranguing familiarly the
bodies of soldiery as he passes them, and observing and pointing
out the disposition of the Austrians to his companions.

Thicker sheets of rain fly across as the murk of evening increases,
which at length entirely obscures the prospect, and cloaks its
bleared lights and fires.



SCENE III

ULM.  WITHIN THE CITY

  [The interior of the Austrian headquarters on the following
  morning.  A tempest raging without.
  
  GENERAL MACK, haggard and anxious, the ARCHDUKE FERDINAND, PRINCE
  SCHWARZENBERG, GENERAL JELLACHICH, GENERALS RIESC, BIBERBACH, and
  other field officers discovered, seated at a table with a map
  spread out before them.  A wood fire blazes between tall andirons
  in a yawning fireplace.  At every more than usually boisterous
  gust of wind the smoke flaps into the room.]


MACK

The accursed cunning of our adversary
Confounds all codes of honourable war,
Which ever have held as granted that the track
Of armies bearing hither from the Rhine--
Whether in peace or strenuous invasion--
Should pierce the Schwarzwald, and through Memmingen,
And meet us in our front.  But he must wind
And corkscrew meanly round, where foot of man
Can scarce find pathway, stealing up to us
Thiefwise, by out back door!  Nevertheless,
If English war-fleets be abreast Boulogne,
As these deserters tell, and ripe to land there,
It destines Bonaparte to pack him back
Across the Rhine again.  We've but to wait,
And see him go.


ARCHDUKE

But who shall say if these bright tales be true?


MACK

Even then, small matter, your Imperial Highness;
The Russians near us daily, and must soon--
Ay, far within the eight days I have named--
Be operating to untie this knot,
If we hold on.


ARCHDUKE

          Conjectures these--no more;
I stomach not such waiting.  Neither hope
Has kernel in it.  I and my cavalry
With caution, when the shadow fall to-night,
Can bore some hole in this engirdlement;
Outpass the gate north-east; join General Werneck,
And somehow cut our way Bohemia-wards:
Well worth the hazard, in our straitened case!


MACK (firmly)

The body of our force stays here with me.
And I am much surprised, your Highness, much,
You mark not how destructive 'tis to part!
If we wait on, for certain we should wait
In our full strength, compacted, undispersed
By such partition as your Highness plans.


SCHWARZENBERG

There's truth in urging we should not divide,
But weld more closely.--Yet why stay at all?
Methinks there's but one sure salvation left,
To wit, that we conjunctly march herefrom,
And with much circumspection, towards the Tyrol.
The subtle often rack their wits in vain--
Assay whole magazines of strategy--
To shun ill loomings deemed insuperable,
When simple souls by stumbling up to them
Find the grim shapes but air.  But let use grant
That the investing French so ring us in
As to leave not a span for such exploit;
Then go we--throw ourselves upon their steel,
And batter through, or die!--
What say you, Generals?  Speak your minds, I pray.


JELLACHICH

I favour marching out--the Tyrol way.


RIESC

Bohemia best!  The route thereto is open.


ARCHDUKE

My course is chosen.  O this black campaign,
Which Pitt's alarmed dispatches pricked us to,
All unforseeing!  Any risk for me
Rather than court humiliation here!

  [MACK has risen during the latter remarks, walked to the
  window, and looked out at the rain.  He returns with an air
  of embarrassment.]


MACK (to Archduke)

It is my privilege firmly to submit
That your Imperial Highness undertake
No venturous vaulting into risks unknown.--
Assume that you, Sire, as you have proposed,
With your light regiments and the cavalry,
Detach yourself from us, to scoop a way
By circuits northwards through the Rauhe Alps
And Herdenheim, into Bohemia:
Reports all point that you will be attacked,
Enveloped, borne on to capitulate.
What worse can happen here?--
Remember, Sire, the Emperor deputes me,
Should such a clash arise as has arisen,
To exercise supreme authority.
The honour of our arms, our race, demands
That none of your Imperial Highness' line
Be pounded prisoner by this vulgar foe,
Who is not France, but an adventurer,
Imposing on that country for his gain.


ARCHDUKE

But it seems clear to me that loitering here
Is full as like to compass our surrender
As moving hence.  And ill it therefore suits
The mood of one of my high temperature
To pause inactive while await me means
Of desperate cure for these so desperate ills!

  [The ARCHDUKE FERDINAND goes out.   A troubled, silence follows,
  during which the gusts call into the chimney, and raindrops spit
  on the fire.]


SCHWARZENBERG

The Archduke bears him shrewdly in this course.
We may as well look matters in the face,
And that we are cooped and cornered is most clear;
Clear it is, too, that but a miracle
Can work to loose us!  I have stoutly held
That this man's three years' ostentatious scheme
To fling his army on the tempting shores
Of our Allies the English was a--well--
Scarce other than a trick of thimble-rig
To still us into false security.


JELLACHICH

Well, I know nothing.  None needs list to me,
But, on the whole, to southward seems the course
For lunging, all in force, immediately.

  [Another pause.]


SPIRIT SINISTER

     The Will throws Mack again into agitation:
     Ho-ho--what he'll do now!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               Nay, hard one, nay;
     The clouds weep for him!


SPIRIT SINISTER

               If he must;
     And it's good antic at a vacant time!

  [MACK goes restlessly to the door, and is heard pacing about
  the vestibule, and questioning the aides and other officers
  gathered there.]


A GENERAL

He wavers like this smoke-wreath that inclines
Or north, or south, as the storm-currents rule!


MACK (returning)

Bring that deserter hither once again.

  [A French soldier is brought in, blindfolded and guarded.  The
  bandage is removed.]

Well, tell us what he says.


AN OFFICER (after speaking to the prisoner in French)

          He still repeats
That the whole body of the British strength
Is even now descending on Boulogne,
And that self-preservation must, if need,
Clear us from Bonaparte ere many days,
Who momently is moving.


MACK

     Still retain him.

  [He walks to the fire, and stands looking into it.  The soldier
  is taken out.]


JELLACHICH (bending over the map in argument with RIESC)

I much prefer our self-won information;
And if we have Marshal Soult at Landsberg here,
(Which seems to be truth, despite this man,)
And Dupont hard upon us at Albeck,
With Ney not far from Gunzburg; somewhere here,
Or further down the river, lurking Lannes,
Our game's to draw off southward--if we can!


MACK (turning)

I have it.  This we'll do.  You Jellachich,
Unite with Spangen's troops at Memmingen,
To fend off mischief there.  And you, Riesc,
Will make your utmost haste to occupy
The bridge and upper ground at Elchingen,
And all along the left bank of the stream,
Till you observe whereon to concentrate
And sever their connections.  I couch here,
And hold the city till the Russians come.


A GENERAL (in a low voice)

Disjunction seems of all expedients worst:
If any stay, then stay should every man,
Gather, inlace, and close up hip to hip,
And perk and bristle hedgehog-like with spines!


MACK

The conference is ended, friends, I say,
And orders will be issued here forthwith.

  [Guns heard.]


AN OFFICER

Surely that's from the Michaelsberg above us?


MACK

Never care.  Here we stay.  In five more days
The Russians hail, and we regain our bays.

  [Exeunt severally.]



SCENE IV

BEFORE ULM.  THE SAME DAY

  [A high wind prevails, and rain falls in torrents.  An elevated
  terrace near Elchingen forms the foreground.]


DUMB SHOW

From the terrace BONAPARTE surveys and dictates operations against
the entrenched heights of the Michaelsberg that rise in the middle
distance on the right above the city.  Through the gauze of
descending waters the French soldiery can be discerned climbing
to the attack under NEY.

They slowly advance, recede, re-advance, halt.  A time of suspense
follows.  Then they are seen in a state of irregular movement, even
confusion; but in the end they carry the heights with the bayonet.

Below the spot whereon NAPOLEON and his staff are gathered,
glistening wet and plastered with mud, obtrudes on the left the
village of Elchingen, now in the hands of the French.  Its white-
walled monastery, its bridge over the Danube, recently broken by
the irresistible NEY, wear a desolated look, and the stream, which
is swollen by the rainfall and rasped by the storm, seems wanly to
sympathize.

Anon shells are dropped by the French from the summits they have
gained into the city below.  A bomb from an Austrian battery falls
near NAPOLEON, and in bursting raises a fountain of mud.  The
Emperor retreats with his officers to a less conspicuous station.

Meanwhile LANNES advances from a position near NAPOLEON till his
columns reach the top of the Frauenberg hard by.  The united corps
of LANNES and NEY descend on the inner slope of the heights towards
the city walls, in the rear of the retreating Austrians.  One
of the French columns scales a bastion, but NAPOLEON orders the
assault to be discontinued, and with the wane of day the spectacle
disappears.



SCENE V

THE SAME.  THE MICHAELSBERG

  [A chilly but rainless noon three days later.  At the back of the
  scene, northward, rise the Michaelsberg heights; below stretches
  the panorama of the city and the Danube.  On a secondary eminence
  forming a spur of the upper hill, a fire of logs is burning, the
  foremost group beside it being NAPOLEON and his staff, the former
  in his shabby greatcoat and plain turned-up hat, walking to and
  fro with his hands behind him, and occasionally stopping to warm
  himself.  The French infantry are drawn up in a dense array at
  the back of these.

  The whole Austrian garrison of Ulm marches out of the city gate
  opposite NAPOLEON.  GENERAL MACK is at the head, followed by
  GIULAY, GOTTESHEIM, KLINAU, LICHTENSTEIN, and many other officers,
  who advance to BONAPARTE and deliver their swords.]


MACK

Behold me, Sire.  Mack the unfortunate!


NAPOLEON

War, General, ever has its ups and downs,
And you must take the better and the worse
As impish chance or destiny ordains.
Come near and warm you here.  A glowing fire
Is life on the depressing, mired, moist days
Of smitten leaves down-dropping clammily,
And toadstools like the putrid lungs of men.
(To his Lieutenants.)  Cause them so stand to right and left of me.

  [The Austrian officers arrange themselves as directed, and the
  body of the Austrians now file past their Conqueror, laying down
  their arms as they approach; some with angry gestures and words,
  others in moody silence.]

Listen, I pray you, Generals gathered her.
I tell you frankly that I know not why
Your master wages this wild war with me.
I know not what he seeks by such injustice,
Unless to give me practice in my trade--
That of a soldier--whereto I was bred:
Deemed he my craft might slip from me, unplied?
Let him now own me still a dab therein!


MACK

Permit me, your Imperial Majesty,
To speak one word in answer; which is this,
No war was wished for by my Emperor:
Russia constrained him to it!


NAPOLEON

          If that be,
You are no more a European power.--
I would point out to him that my resources
Are not confined to these my musters here;
My prisoners of war, in route for France,
Will see some marks of my resources there!
Two hundred thousand volunteers, right fit,
Will join my standards at a single nod,
And in six weeks prove soldiers to the bone,
Whilst you recruits, compulsion's scavengings,
Scarce weld to warriors after toilsome years.

But I want nothing on this Continent:
The English only are my enemies.
Ships, colonies, and commerce I desire,
Yea, therewith to advantage you as me.
Let me then charge your Emperor, my brother,
To turn his feet the shortest way to peace.--
All states must have an end, the weak, the strong;
Ay; even may fall the dynasty of Lorraine!

  [The filing past and laying down of arms by the Austrian army
  continues with monotonous regularity, as if it would never end.]


NAPOLEON (in a murmur, after a while)

Well, what cares England!  She has won her game;
I have unlearnt to threaten her from Boulogne. . . .

Her gold it is that forms the weft of this
Fair tapestry of armies marshalled here!
Likewise of Russia's drawing steadily nigh.
But they may see what these see, by and by.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     So let him speak, the while we clearly sight him
     Moved like a figure on a lantern-slide.
     Which, much amazing uninitiate eyes,
     The all-compelling crystal pane but drags
     Wither the showman wills.


SPIRIT IRONIC

          And yet, my friend,
     The Will itself might smile at this collapse
     Of Austria's men-at-arms, so drolly done;
     Even as, in your phantasmagoric show,
     The deft manipulator of the slide
     Might smile at his own art.


CHORUS OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

          Ah, no: ah, no!
     It is impassible as glacial snow.--
          Within the Great Unshaken
          These painted shapes awaken
     A lesser thrill than doth the gentle lave
     Of yonder bank by Danube's wandering wave
     Within the Schwarzwald heights that give it flow!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     But O, the intolerable antilogy
     Of making figments feel!


SPIRIT IRONIC

          Logic's in that.
     It does not, I must own, quite play the game.


CHORUS OF IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

     And this day wins for Ulm a dingy fame,
     Which centuries shall not bleach from her name!

  [The procession of Austrians continues till the scene is hidden
  by haze.]



SCENE VI

LONDON.  SPRING GARDENS

  [Before LORD MALMESBURY'S house, on a Sunday morning in the
  same autumn.  Idlers pause and gather in the background.

  PITT enters, and meets LORD MULGRAVE.]


MULGRAVE

Good day, Pitt.  Ay, these leaves that skim the ground
With withered voices, hint that sunshine-time
Is well-nigh past.--And so the game's begun
Between him and the Austro-Russian force,
As second movement in the faceabout
From Boulogne shore, with which he has hocussed us?--
What has been heard on't?  Have they clashed as yet?


PITT

The Emperor Francis, partly at my instance,
Has thrown the chief command on General Mack,
A man most capable and far of sight.
He centres by the Danube-bank at Ulm,
A town well-walled, and firm for leaning on
To intercept the French in their advance
From the Black Forest toward the Russian troops
Approaching from the east.  If Bonaparte
Sustain his marches at the break-neck speed
That all report, they must have met ere now.
--There is a rumour . . . quite impossible! . . .


MULGRAVE

You still have faith in Mack as strategist?
There have been doubts of his far-sightedness.


PITT (hastily)

I know, I know.--I am calling here at Malmesbury's
At somewhat an unceremonious time
To ask his help to translate this Dutch print
The post has brought.  Malmesbury is great at Dutch,
Learning it long at Leyden, years ago.

  [He draws a newspaper from his pocket, unfolds it, and glances
  it down.]

There's news here unintelligible to me
Upon the very matter!  You'll come in?

  [They call at LORD MAMESBURY'S.  He meets them in the hall, and
  welcomes them with an apprehensive look of foreknowledge.]


PITT

Pardon this early call.  The packet's in,
And wings me this unreadable Dutch paper,
So, as the offices are closed to-day,
I have brought it round to you.

(Handling the paper.)

          What does it say?
For God's sake, read it out.  You know the tongue.


MALMESBURY (with hesitation)

I have glanced it through already--more than once--
A copy having reached me, too, by now . . .
We are in the presence of a great disaster!
See here.  It says that Mack, enjailed in Ulm
By Bonaparte--from four side shutting round--
Capitulated, and with all his force
Laid down his arms before his conqueror!

  [PITT's face changes.  A silence.]


MULGRAVE

Outrageous!  Ignominy unparalleled!


PITT

By God, my lord, these statement must be false!
These foreign prints are trustless as Cheap Jack
Dumfounding yokels at a country fair.
I heed no word of it.--Impossible.
What!  Eighty thousand Austrians, nigh in touch
With Russia's levies that Kutuzof leads,
To lay down arms before the war's begun?
'Tis too much!


MALMESBURY

          But I fear it is too true!
Note the assevered source of the report--
One beyond thought of minters of mock tales.
The writer adds that military wits
Cry that the little Corporal now makes war
In a new way, using his soldiers' legs
And not their arms, to bring him victory.
Ha-ha!  The quip must sting the Corporal's foes.

PITT (after a pause)

O vacillating Prussia!  Had she moved,
Had she but planted one foot firmly down,
All this had been averted.--I must go.
'Tis sure, 'tis sure, I labour but in vain!

  [MALMESBURY accompanies him to the door, and PITT walks away
  disquietedly towards Whitehall, the other two regarding him
  as he goes.]


MULGRAVE

Too swiftly he declines to feebleness,
And these things well might shake a stouter frame!


MALMESBURY

Of late the burden of all Europe's cares,
Of hiring and maintaining half her troops,
His single pair of shoulders has upborne,
Thanks to the obstinacy of the King.--
His thin, strained face, his ready irritation,
Are ominous signs.  He may not be for long.


MULGRAVE

He alters fast, indeed,--as do events.


MALMESBURY

His labour's lost; and all our money gone!
It looks as if this doughty coalition
On which we have lavished so much pay and pains
Would end in wreck.


MULGRAVE

          All is not over yet;
The gathering Russian forces are unbroke.


MALMESBURY

Well; we shall see.  Should Boney vanquish these,
And silence all resistance on that side,
His move will then be backward to Boulogne,
And so upon us.


MULGRAVE

     Nelson to our defence!


MALMESBURY

Ay; where is Nelson?  Faith, by this time
He may be sodden; churned in Biscay swirls;
Or blown to polar bears by boreal gales;
Or sleeping amorously in some calm cave
On the Canaries' or Atlantis' shore
Upon the bosom of his Dido dear,
For all that we know!  Never a sound of him
Since passing Portland one September day--
To make for Cadiz; so 'twas then believed.


MULGRAVE

He's staunch.  He's watching, or I am much deceived.

  [MULGRAVE departs.  MALMESBURY goes within.  The scene shuts.]




ACT FIFTH


SCENE I

OFF CAPE TRAFALGAR

  [A bird's eye view of the sea discloses itself.  It is daybreak,
  and the broad face of the ocean is fringed on its eastern edge
  by the Cape and the Spanish shore.  On the rolling surface
  immediately beneath the eye, ranged more or less in two parallel
  lines running north and south, one group from the twain standing
  off somewhat, are the vessels of the combined French and Spanish
  navies, whose canvases, as the sun edges upward, shine in its
  rays like satin.

  On the western horizon two columns of ships appear in full sail,
  small as moths to the aerial vision.  They are bearing down
  towards the combined squadrons.]


RECORDING ANGEL I (intoning from his book)

     At last Villeneuve accepts the sea and fate,
     Despite the Cadiz council called of late,
     Whereat his stoutest captains--men the first
               To do all mortals durst--
     Willing to sail, and bleed, and bear the worst,
     Short of cold suicide, did yet opine
     That plunging mid those teeth of treble line
               In jaws of oaken wood
     Held open by the English navarchy
     With suasive breadth and artful modesty,
     Would smack of purposeless foolhardihood.


RECORDING ANGEL II

     But word came, writ in mandatory mood,
     To put from Cadiz, gain Toulon, and straight
     At a said sign on Italy operate.
     Moreover that Villeneuve, arrived as planned,
     Would find Rosily in supreme command.--
     Gloomy Villeneuve grows rash, and, darkly brave,
     Leaps to meet war, storm, Nelson--even the grave.


SEMICHORUS I OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

     Ere the concussion hurtle, draw abreast
               Of the sea.


SEMICHORUS II

     Where Nelson's hulls are rising from the west,
               Silently.


SEMICHORUS I


     Each linen wing outspread, each man and lad
               Sworn to be


SEMICHORUS II

     Amid the vanmost, or for Death, or glad
               Victory!

  [The point of sight descends till it is near the deck of the
  "Bucentaure," the flag-ship of VILLENEUVE.  Present thereupon
   are the ADMIRAL, his FLAG-CAPTAIN MAGENDIE, LIEUTENANT
   DAUDIGNON, other naval officers and seamen.]


MAGENDIE

All night we have read their signals in the air,
Whereby the peering frigates of their van
Have told them of our trend.


VILLENEUVE

          The enemy
Makes threat as though to throw him on our stern:
Signal the fleet to wear; bid Gravina
To come in from manoeuvring with his twelve,
And range himself in line.

  [Officers murmur.]

          I say again
Bid Gravina draw hither with his twelve,
And signal all to wear!--and come upon
The larboard tack with every bow anorth!--
So we make Cadiz in the worst event.
And patch our rags up there.  As we head now
Our only practicable thoroughfare
Is through Gibraltar Strait--a fatal door!

Signal to close the line and leave no gaps.
Remember, too, what I have already told:
Remind them of it now.  They must not pause
For signallings from me amid a strife
Whose chaos may prevent my clear discernment,
Or may forbid my signalling at all.
The voice of honour then becomes the chief's;
Listen they thereto, and set every stitch
To heave them on into the fiercest fight.
Now I will sum up all: heed well the charge;
EACH CAPTAIN, PETTY OFFICER, AND MAN
IS ONLY AT HIS POST WHEN UNDER FIRE.

  [The ships of the whole fleet turn their bows from south to
  north as directed, and close up in two parallel curved columns,
  the concave side of each column being towards the enemy, and
  the interspaces of the first column being, in general, opposite
  the hulls of the second.]


AN OFFICER (straining his eyes towards the English fleet)

How they skip on!  Their overcrowded sail
Bulge like blown bladders in a tripeman's shop
The market-morning after slaughterday!


PETTY OFFICER

It's morning before slaughterday with us,
I make so bold to bode!

  [The English Admiral is seen to be signalling to his fleet.  The
  signal is: "ENGLAND EXPECTS EVERY MAN TO DO HIS DUTY."  A loud
  cheering from all the English ships comes undulating on the wind
  when the signal is read.]


VILLENEUVE

They are signalling too--Well, business soon begins!
You will reserve your fire.  And be it known
That we display no admirals' flags at all
Until the action's past.  'Twill puzzle them,
And work to our advantage when we close.--
Yes, they are double-ranked, I think, like us;
But we shall see anon.


MAGENDIE

          The foremost one
Makes for the "Santa Ana."  In such case
The "Fougueux" might assist her.


VILLENEUVE

         Be it so--
There's time enough.--Our ships will be in place,
And ready to speak back in iron words
When theirs cry Hail! in the same sort of voice.

  [They prepare to receive the northernmost column of the enemy's
  ships headed by the "Victory," trying the distance by an occasional
  single shot.  During their suspense a discharge is heard southward,
  and turning they behold COLLINGWOOD at the head of his column in
  the "Royal Sovereign," just engaging with the Spanish "Santa Ana."
  Meanwhile the "Victory's" mizzen-topmast, with spars and a quantity
  of rigging, is seen to have fallen, her wheel to be shot away, and
  her deck encumbered with dead and wounded men.]


VILLENEUVE

'Tis well!  But see; their course is undelayed,
And still they near in clenched audacity!


DAUDIGNON

Which aim deft Lucas o' the "Redoubtable"
Most gallantly bestirs him to outscheme.--
See, how he strains, that on his timbers fall
Blows that were destined for his Admiral!

  [During this the French ship "Redoubtable" is moving forward
  to interpose itself between the approaching "Victory" and the
  "Bucentaure."]


VILLENEUVE

Now comes it!  The "Santisima Trinidad,"
The old "Redoubtable's" hard sides, and ours,
Will take the touse of this bombastic blow.
Your grapnels and your boarding-hatchets--ready!
We'll dash our eagle on the English deck,
And swear to fetch it!


CREW

          Ay!  We swear.  Huzza
Long live the Emperor!

  [But the "Victory" suddenly swerves to the rear of the "Bucentaure,"
  and crossing her stern-waters, discharges a broadside into her and
  the "Redoubtable" endwise, wrapping the scene in folds of smoke.
  The point of view changes.]



SCENE II

THE SAME.  THE QUARTER-DECK OF THE "VICTORY"

  [The van of each division of the English fleet has drawn to the
  windward side of the combined fleets of the enemy, and broken
  their order, the "Victory" being now parallel to and alongside
  the "Redoubtable," the "Temeraire" taking up a station on the
  other side of that ship.  The "Bucentaure" and the "Santisima
  Trinidad" become jammed together a little way ahead.  A smoke
  and din of cannonading prevail, amid which the studding-sail
  booms are shot away.

  NELSON, HARDY, BLACKWOOD, SECRETARY SCOTT, LIEUTENANT PASCO,
  BURKE the Purser, CAPTAIN ADAIR of the Marines, and other
  officers are on or near the quarter-deck.]


NELSON

See, there, that noble fellow Collingwood,
How straight he helms his ship into the fire!--
Now you'll haste back to yours (to BLACKWOOD).
     --We must henceforth
Trust to the Great Disposer of events,
And justice of our cause! . . .

[BLACKWOOD leaves.  The battle grows hotter.  A double-headed shot
cuts down seven or eight marines on the "Victory's" poop.]

Captain Adair, part those marines of yours,
And hasten to disperse them round the ship.--
Your place is down below, Burke, not up here;
Ah, yes; like David you would see the battle!

  [A heavy discharge of musket-shot comes from the tops of the
  "Santisima Trinidad.  ADAIR and PASCO fall.  Another swathe
  of Marines is mowed down by chain-shot.]


SCOTT

My lord, I use to you the utmost prayers
That I have privilege to shape in words:
Remove your stars and orders, I would beg;
That shot was aimed at you.


NELSON

They were awarded to me as an honour,
And shall I do despite to those who prize me,
And slight their gifts?  No, I will die with them,
If die I must.

  [He walks up and down with HARDY.]


HARDY

          At least let's put you on
Your old greatcoat, my lord--(the air is keen.).--
'Twill cover all.  So while you still retain
Your dignities, you baulk these deadly aims


NELSON

Thank 'ee, good friend.  But no,--I haven't time,
I do assure you--not a trice to spare,
As you well will see.

  [A few minutes later SCOTT falls dead, a bullet having pierced
  his skull.  Immediately after a shot passes between the Admiral
  and the Captain, tearing the instep of Hardy's shoe, and striking
  away the buckle.  They shake off the dust and splinters it has
  scattered over them.  NELSON glances round, and perceives what
  has happened to his secretary.]


NELSON

Poor Scott, too, carried off!  Warm work this, Hardy;
Too warm to go on long.


HARDY

          I think so, too;
Their lower ports are blocked against our hull,
And our charge now is less.  Each knock so near
Sets their old wood on fire.


NELSON

          Ay, rotten as peat.
What's that?  I think she has struck, or pretty nigh!

  [A cracking of musketry.]


HARDY

Not yet.--Those small-arm men there, in her tops,
Thin our crew fearfully.  Now, too, our guns
Have dipped full down, or they would rake
The "Temeraire" there on the other side.


NELSON

True.--While you deal good measure out to these,
Keep slapping at those giants over here--
The "Trinidad," I mean, and the "Bucentaure,"
To win'ard--swelling up so pompously.


HARDY

I'll see no slackness shall be shown that way.

  [They part and go in their respective directions.  Gunners, naked
  to the waist and reeking with sweat, are now in swift action on
  the several decks, and firemen carry buckets of water hither and
  thither.  The killed and wounded thicken around, and are being
  lifted and examined by the surgeons.  NELSON and HARDY meet again.]


NELSON

Bid still the firemen bring more bucketfuls,
And dash the water into each new hole
Our guns have gouged in the "Redoubtable,"
Or we shall all be set ablaze together.


HARDY

Let me once more advise, entreat, my lord,
That you do not expose yourself so clearly.
Those fellows in the mizzen-top up there
Are peppering round you quite perceptibly.


NELSON

Now, Hardy, don't offend me.  They can't aim;
They only set their own rent sails on fire.--
But if they could, I would not hide a button
To save ten lives like mine.  I have no cause
To prize it, I assure 'ee.--Ah, look there,
One of the women hit,--and badly, too.
Poor wench!  Let some one shift her quickly down.


HARDY

My lord, each humblest sojourner on the seas,
Dock-labourer, lame longshore-man, bowed bargee,
Sees it as policy to shield his life
For those dependent on him.  Much more, then,
Should one upon whose priceless presence here
Such issues hang, so many strivers lean,
Use average circumspection at an hour
So critical for us all.


NELSON

          Ay, ay.  Yes, yes;
I know your meaning, Hardy,; and I know
That you disguise as frigid policy
What really is your honest love of me.
But, faith, I have had my day.  My work's nigh done;
I serve all interests best by chancing it
Here with the commonest.--Ah, their heavy guns
Are silenced every one!  Thank God for that.


HARDY

'Tis so.  They only use their small arms now.

  [He goes to larboard to see what is progressing on that side
  between his ship and the "Santisima Trinidad."]


OFFICER (to seaman)

Swab down these stairs.  The mess of blood about
Makes 'em so slippery that one's like to fall
In carrying the wounded men below.

  [While CAPTAIN HARDY is still a little way off, LORD NELSON turns
  to walk aft, when a ball from one of the muskets in the mizzen-
  top of the "Redoubtable" enters his left shoulder.  He falls upon
  his face on the deck.  HARDY looks round, and sees what has
  happened.]


HARDY (hastily)

Ah--what I feared, and strove to hide I feared! . . .

  [He goes towards NELSON, who in the meantime has been lifted by
  SERGEANT-MAJOR SECKER and two seamen.]


NELSON

Hardy, I think they've done for me at last!


HARDY

I hope not!


NELSON

          Yes.  My backbone is shot through.
I have not long to live.

  [The men proceed to carry him below.]

          Those tiller ropes
They've torn away, get instantly repaired!

  [At sight of him borne along wounded there is great agitation
  among the crew.]

Cover my face.  There will be no good be done
By drawing their attention off to me.
Bear me along, good fellows; I am but one
Among the many darkened here to-day!

  [He is carried on to the cockpit over the crowd of dead and
  wounded.]

Doctor, I'm gone.  I am waste o' time to you.


HARDY (remaining behind)

Hills, go to Collingwood and let him know
That we've no Admiral here.

  [He passes on.]


A LIEUTENANT

Now quick and pick him off who did the deed--
That white-bloused man there in the mizzen-top.


POLLARD, a midshipman (shooting)

No sooner said than done.  A pretty aim!

  [The Frenchman falls dead upon the poop.

  The spectacle seems now to become enveloped in smoke, and the
  point of view changes.]



SCENE III

THE SAME.  ON BOARD THE "BUCENTAURE"

  [The bowsprit of the French Admiral's ship is stuck fast in the
  stern-gallery of the "Santisima Trinidad," the starboard side of
  the "Bucentaure" being shattered by shots from two English three-
  deckers which are pounding her on that hand.  The poop is also
  reduced to ruin by two other English ships that are attacking
  her from behind.

  On the quarter-deck are ADMIRAL VILLENEUVE, the FLAG-CAPTAIN
  MAGENDIE, LIEUTENANTS DAUDIGNON, FOURNIER, and others, anxiously
  occupied.  The whole crew is in desperate action of battle and
  stumbling among the dead and dying, who have fallen too rapidly
  to be carried below.]


VILLENEUVE

We shall be crushed if matters go on thus.--
Direct the "Trinidad" to let her drive,
That this foul tangle may be loosened clear!


DAUDIGNON

It has been tried, sir; but she cannot move.


VILLENEUVE

Then signal to the "Hero" that she strive
Once more to drop this way.

MAGENDIE

          We may make signs,
But in the thickened air what signal's marked?--
'Tis done, however.


VILLENEUVE

          The "Redoubtable"
And "Victory" there,--they grip in dying throes!
Something's amiss on board the English ship.
Surely the Admiral's fallen?


A PETTY OFFICER

          Sir, they say
That he was shot some hour, or half, ago.--
With dandyism raised to godlike pitch
He stalked the deck in all his jewellery,
And so was hit.


MAGENDIE

          Then Fortune shows her face!
We have scotched England in dispatching him.  (He watches.)
Yes!  He commands no more; and Lucas, joying,
Has taken steps to board.  Look, spars are laid,
And his best men are mounting at his heels.


VILLENEUVE

Ah, God--he is too late!  Whence came the hurl
Of heavy grape?  The smoke prevents my seeing
But at brief whiles.--The boarding band has fallen,
Fallen almost to a man.--'Twas well assayed!


MAGENDIE

That's from their "Temeraire," whose vicious broadside
Has cleared poor Lucas' decks.


VILLENEUVE

          And Lucas, too.
I see him no more there.  His red planks show
Three hundred dead if one.  Now for ourselves!

  [Four of the English three-deckers have gradually closed round
  the "Bucentaure," whose bowsprit still sticks fast in the gallery
  of the "Santisima Trinidad."  A broadside comes from one of the
  English, resulting in worse havoc on the "Bucentaure."  The main
  and mizzen masts of the latter fall, and the boats are beaten to
  pieces.  A raking fire of musketry follows from the attacking
  ships, to which the "Bucentaure" heroically continues still to
  keep up a reply.

  CAPTAIN MAGENDIE falls wounded.  His place is taken by LIEUTENANT
  DAUDIGNON.]


VILLENEUVE

Now that the fume has lessened, code my biddance
Upon our only mast, and tell the van
At once to wear, and come into the fire.
(Aside) If it be true that, as HE sneers, success
Demands of me but cool audacity,
To-day shall leave him nothing to desire!

  [Musketry continues.  DAUDIGNON falls.  He is removed, his post
  being taken by LIEUTENANT FOURNIER.  Another crash comes, and
  the deck is suddenly encumbered with rigging.]


FOURNIER

There goes our foremast!  How for signalling now?


VILLENEUVE

To try that longer, Fournier, is in vain
Upon this haggard, scorched, and ravaged hulk,
Her decks all reeking with such gory shows,
Her starboard side in rents, her stern nigh gone!
How does she keep afloat?--
"Bucentaure," O lucky good old ship!
My part in you is played.  Ay--I must go;
I must tempt Fate elsewhere,--if but a boat
Can bear me through this wreckage to the van.


FOURNIER

Our boats are stove in, or as full of holes
As the cook's skimmer, from their cursed balls!

  [Musketry.  VILLENEUVE'S Head-of-Staff, DE PRIGNY, falls wounded,
  and many additional men.  VILLENEUVE glances troublously from
  ship to ship of his fleet.]


VILLENEUVE

How hideous are the waves, so pure this dawn!--
Red-frothed; and friends and foes all mixed therein.--
Can we in some way hail the "Trinidad"
And get a boat from her?

  [They attempt to distract the attention of the "Santisima
  Trinidad" by shouting.]

          Impossible;
Amid the loud combustion of this strife
As well try holloing to the antipodes! . . .
So here I am.  The bliss of Nelson's end
Will not be mine; his full refulgent eve
Becomes my midnight!  Well; the fleets shall see
That I can yield my cause with dignity.

  [The "Bucentaure" strikes her flag.  A boat then puts off from the
  English ship "Conqueror," and VILLENEUVE, having surrendered his
  sword, is taken out from the "Bucentaure."  But being unable to
  regain her own ship, the boat is picked up by the "Mars," and
  the French admiral is received aboard her.  Point of view changes.]



SCENE IV

THE SAME.  THE COCKPIT OF THE "VICTORY"

  [A din of trampling and dragging overhead, which is accompanied
  by a continuos ground-bass roar from the guns of the warring
  fleets, culminating at times in loud concussions.  The wounded
  are lying around in rows for treatment, some groaning, some
  silently dying, some dead.  The gloomy atmosphere of the low-
  beamed deck is pervaded by a thick haze of smoke, powdered wood,
  and other dust, and is heavy with the fumes of gunpowder and
  candle-grease, the odour of drugs and cordials, and the smell
  from abdominal wounds.

  NELSON, his face now pinched and wan with suffering, is lying
  undressed in a midshipman's berth, dimly lit by a lantern.  DR.
  BEATTY, DR. MAGRATH, the Rev. DR. SCOTT the Chaplain, BURKE the
  Purser, the Steward, and a few others stand around.]


MAGRATH (in a low voice)

Poor Ram, and poor Tom Whipple, have just gone..


BEATTY

There was no hope for them.

NELSON (brokenly)

     Who have just died?


BEATTY

Two who were badly hit by now, my lord;
Lieutenant Ram and Mr. Whipple.


NELSON

          Ah!
So many lives--in such a glorious cause. . . .
I join them soon, soon, soon!--O where is Hardy?
Will nobody bring Hardy to me--none?
He must be killed, too.  Surely Hardy's dead?


A MIDSHIPMAN

He's coming soon, my lord.  The constant call
On his full heed of this most mortal fight
Keeps him from hastening hither as he would.


NELSON

I'll wait, I'll wait.  I should have thought of it.

  [Presently HARDY comes down.  NELSON and he grasp hands.]

Hardy, how goes the day with us and England?


HARDY

Well; very well, thank God for't, my dear lord.
Villeneuve their Admiral has this moment struck,
And put himself aboard the "Conqueror."
Some fourteen of their first-rates, or about,
Thus far we've got.  The said "Bucentaure" chief:
The "Santa Ana," the "Redoubtable,"
The "Fougueux," the "Santisima Trinidad,"
"San Augustino, "San Francisco," "Aigle";
And our old "Swiftsure," too, we've grappled back,
To every seaman's joy.  But now their van
Has tacked to bear round on the "Victory"
And crush her by sheer weight of wood and brass:
Three of our best I am therefore calling up,
And make no doubt of worsting theirs, and France.


NELSON

That's well.  I swore for twenty.--But it's well.


HARDY

We'll have 'em yet!  But without you, my lord,
We have to make slow plodding do the deeds
That sprung by inspiration ere you fell;
And on this ship the more particularly.


NELSON

No, Hardy.--Ever 'twas your settled fault
So modestly to whittle down your worth.
But I saw stuff in you which admirals need
When, taking thought, I chose the "Victory's" keel
To do my business with these braggarts in.
A business finished now, for me!--Good friend,
Slow shades are creeping me. . . I scarce see you.


HARDY

The smoke from ships upon our win'ard side,
And the dust raised by their worm-eaten hulks,
When our balls touch 'em, blind the eyes, in truth.


NELSON

No; it is not that dust; 'tis dust of death
That darkens me.

  [A shock overhead.  HARDY goes up.  On or two other officers go up,
  and by and by return.]

     What was that extra noise?


OFFICER

The "Formidable' passed us by, my lord,
And thumped a stunning broadside into us.--
But, on their side, the "Hero's" captain's fallen;
The "Algeciras" has been boarded, too,
By Captain Tyler, and the captain shot:
Admiral Gravina desperately holds out;
They say he's lost an arm.


NELSON

          And we, ourselves--
Who have we lost on board here?  Nay, but tell me!


BEATTY

Besides poor Scott, my lord, and Charles Adair,
Lieutenant Ram, and Whipple, captain's clerk,
There's Smith, and Palmer, midshipmen, just killed.
And fifty odd of seamen and marines.


NELSON

Poor youngsters!  Scarred old Nelson joins you soon.


BEATTY

And wounded: Bligh, lieutenant; Pasco, too,
and Reeves, and Peake, lieutenants of marines,
And Rivers, Westphall, Bulkeley, midshipmen,
With, of the crew, a hundred odd just now,
Unreckoning those late fallen not brought below.


BURKE

That fellow in the mizzen-top, my lord,
Who made it his affair to wing you thus,
We took good care to settle; and he fell
Like an old rook, smack from his perch, stone dead.


NELSON

'Twas not worth while!--He was, no doubt, a man
Who in simplicity and sheer good faith
Strove but to serve his country.  Rest be to him!
And may his wife, his friends, his little ones,
If such be had, be tided through their loss,
And soothed amid the sorrow brought by me.

  [HARDY re-enters.]

Who's that?  Ah--here you come!  How, Hardy, now?


HARDY

The Spanish Admiral's rumoured to be wounded,
We know not with what truth.  But, be as 'twill,
He sheers away with all he could call round,
And some few frigates, straight to Cadiz port.

  [A violent explosion is heard above the confused noises on deck.
  A midshipman goes above and returns.]


MIDSHIPMAN (in the background)

It is the enemy's first-rate, the "Achille,"
Blown to a thousand atoms!--While on fire,
Before she burst, the captain's woman there,
Desperate for life, climbed from the gunroom port
Upon the rudder-chains; stripped herself stark,
And swam for the Pickle's boat.  Our men in charge,
Seeing her great breasts bulging on the brine,
Sang out, "A mermaid 'tis, by God!"--then rowed
And hauled her in.--


BURKE

          Such unbid sights obtrude
On death's dyed stage!


MIDSHIPMAN

          Meantime the "Achille" fought on,
Even while the ship was blazing, knowing well
The fire must reach their powder; which it did.
The spot is covered now with floating men,
Some whole, the main in parts; arms, legs, trunks, heads,
Bobbing with tons of timber on the waves,
And splinter looped with entrails of the crew.


NELSON (rousing)

Our course will be to anchor.  Let me know.


HARDY

But let me ask, my lord, as needs I must,
Seeing your state, and that our work's not done,
Shall I, from you, bid Admiral Collingwood
Take full on him the conduct of affairs?


NELSON (trying to raise himself)

Not while I live, I hope!  No, Hardy; no.
Give Collingwood my order.  Anchor all!


HARDY (hesitating)

You mean the signal's to be made forthwith?


NELSON

I do!--By God, if but our carpenter
Could rig me up a jury-backbone now,
To last one hour--until the battle's done,
I'd see to it!  But here I am--stove in--
Broken--all logged and done for!  Done, ay done!


BEATTY (returning from the other wounded)

My lord, I must implore you to lie calm!
You shorten what at best may not be long.


NELSON (exhausted)

I know, I know, good Beatty!  Thank you well
Hardy, I was impatient.  Now I am still.
Sit here a moment, if you have time to spare?

  [BEATTY and others retire, and the two abide in silence, except
  for the trampling overhead and the moans from adjoining berths.
  NELSON is apparently in less pain, seeming to doze.]


NELSON (suddenly)

What are you thinking, that you speak no word?


HARDY (waking from a short reverie)

Thoughts all confused, my lord:--their needs on deck,
Your own sad state, and your unrivalled past;
Mixed up with flashes of old things afar--
Old childish things at home, down Wessex way.
In the snug village under Blackdon Hill
Where I was born.  The tumbling stream, the garden,
The placid look of the grey dial there,
Marking unconsciously this bloody hour,
And the red apples on my father's trees,
Just now full ripe.


NELSON

          Ay, thus do little things
Steal into my mind, too.  But ah, my heart
Knows not your calm philosophy!--There's one--
Come nearer  to me, Hardy.--One of all,
As you well guess, pervades my memory now;
She, and my daughter--I speak freely to you.
'Twas good I made that codicil this morning
That you and Blackwood witnessed.  Now she rests
Safe on the nation's honour. . . . Let her have
My hair, and the small treasured things I owned,
And take care of her, as you care for me!

  [HARDY promises.]


NELSON (resuming in a murmur)

Does love die with our frame's decease, I wonder,
Or does it live on ever? . . .

  [A silence.  BEATTY approaches.]


HARDY
          Now I'll leave,
See if your order's gone, and then return.


NELSON (symptoms of death beginning to change his face)

Yes, Hardy; yes; I know it.  You must go.--
Here we shall meet no more; since Heaven forfend
That care for me should keep you idle now,
When all the ship demands you.  Beatty, too.
Go to the others who lie bleeding there;
Them can you aid.  Me you can render none!
My time here is the briefest.--If I live
But long enough I'll anchor. . . . But--too late--
My anchoring's elsewhere ordered! . . . Kiss me, Hardy:

  [HARDY bends over him.]

I'm satisfied.  Thank God, I have done my duty!

  [HARDY brushes his eyes with his hand, and withdraws to go above,
  pausing to look back before he finally disappears.]


BEATTY (watching Nelson)

Ah!--Hush around! . . .
He's sinking.  It is but a trifle now
Of minutes with him.  Stand you, please, aside,
And give him air.

  [BEATTY, the Chaplain, MAGRATH, the Steward, and attendants
  continue to regard NELSON.  BEATTY looks at his watch.]


BEATTY

Two hours and fifty minutes since he fell,
And now he's going.

  [They wait.  NELSON dies.]


CHAPLAIN

          Yes. . . . He has homed to where
There's no more sea.


BEATTY

          We'll let the Captain know,
Who will confer with Collingwood at once.
I must now turn to these.

  [He goes to another part of the cockpit, a midshipman ascends to
  the deck, and the scene overclouds.]


CHORUS OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     His thread was cut too slowly!  When he fell.
          And bade his fame farewell,
     He might have passed, and shunned his long-drawn pain,
          Endured in vain, in vain!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Young Spirits, be not critical of That
     Which was before, and shall be after you!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     But out of tune the Mode and meritless
     That quickens sense in shapes whom, thou hast said,
     Necessitation sways!  A life there was
     Among these self-same frail ones--Sophocles--
     Who visioned it too clearly, even while
     He dubbed the Will "the gods."  Truly said he,
     "Such gross injustice to their own creation
     Burdens the time with mournfulness for us,
     And for themselves with shame."(9)--Things mechanized
     By coils and pivots set to foreframed codes
     Would, in a thorough-sphered melodic rule,
     And governance of sweet consistency,
     Be cessed no pain, whose burnings would abide
     With That Which holds responsibility,
     Or inexist.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               Yea, yea, yea!
               Thus would the Mover pay
               The score each puppet owes,
     The Reaper reap what his contrivance sows!
     Why make Life debtor when it did not buy?
     Why wound so keenly Right that it would die?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Nay, blame not!  For what judgment can ye blame?--
     In that immense unweeting Mind is shown
     One far above forethinking; processive,
     Yet superconscious; a Clairvoyancy
     That knows not what It knows, yet works therewith.--
     The cognizance ye mourn, Life's doom to feel,
     If I report it meetly, came unmeant,
     Emerging with blind gropes from impercipience
     By listless sequence--luckless, tragic Chance,
     In your more human tongue.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               And hence unneeded
     In the economy of Vitality,
     Which might have ever kept a sealed cognition
     As doth the Will Itself.


CHORUS OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

               Nay, nay, nay;
               Your hasty judgments stay,
               Until the topmost cyme
     Have crowned the last entablature of Time.
     O heap not blame on that in-brooding Will;
     O pause, till all things all their days fulfil!



SCENE V

LONDON.  THE GUILDHALL

  [A crowd of citizens has gathered outside to watch the carriages
  as they drive up and deposit guests invited to the Lord Mayor's
  banquet, for which event the hall is brilliantly lit within.  A
  cheer rises when the equipage of any popular personage arrives
  at the door.


FIRST CITIZEN

Well, well!  Nelson is the man who ought to have been banqueted
to-night.  But he is coming to Town in a coach different from these.!


SECOND CITIZEN

Will they bring his poor splintered body home?


FIRST CITIZEN

Yes.  They say he's to be tombed in marble, at St. Paul's or
Westminster.  We shall see him if he lays in state.  It will
make a patriotic spectacle for a fine day.


BOY

How can you see a dead man, father, after so long?


FIRST CITIZEN

They'll embalm him, my boy, as they did all the great Egyptian
admirals.


BOY

His lady will be handy for that, won't she?


FIRST CITIZEN

Don't ye ask awkward questions.


SECOND CITIZEN

Here's another coming!


FIRST CITIZEN

That's my Lord Chancellor Eldon.  Wot he'll say, and wot he'll look!
Mr. Pitt will be here soon.


BOY

I don't like Billy.  He killed Uncle John's parrot.


SECOND CITIZEN

How may ye make that out, youngster?


BOY

Mr. Pitt made the war, and the war made us want sailors; and Uncle
John went for a walk down Wapping High Street to talk to the pretty
ladies one evening; and there was a press all along the river that
night--a regular hot one--and Uncle John was carried on board a
man-of-war to fight under Nelson; and nobody minded Uncle John's
parrot, and it talked itself to death.  So Mr. Pitt killed Uncle
John's parrot; see it, sir?


SECOND CITIZEN

You had better have a care of this boy, friend.  His brain is too
precious for the common risks of Cheapside.  Not but what he might
as well have said Boney killed the parrot when he was about it.
And as for Nelson--who's now sailing shinier seas than ours, if
they've rubbed Her off his slate where he's gone to,--the French
papers say that our loss in him is greater than our gain in ships;
so that logically the victory is theirs.  Gad, sir, it's almost
true!

  [A hurrahing is heard from Cheapside, and the crowd in that
  direction begins to hustle and show excitement.]


FIRST CITIZEN

He's coming, he's coming!  Here, let me lift you up, my boy.-- Why,
they have taken out the horses, as I am man alive!


SECOND CITIZEN

Pitt for ever!--Why, here's a blade opening and shutting his mouth
like the rest, but never a sound does he raise!

THIRD CITIZEN

I've not too much breath to carry me through my day's work, so I
can't afford to waste it in such luxuries as crying Hurrah to
aristocrats.  If ye was ten yards off y'd think I was shouting
as loud as any.


SECOND CITIZEN

It's a very mean practice of ye to husband yourself at such a time,
and gape in dumbshow like a frog in Plaistow Marshes.


THIRD CITIZEN

No, sir; it's economy; a very necessary instinct in these days of
ghastly taxations to pay half the armies in Europe!  In short, in
the word of the Ancients, it is scarcely compass-mentas to do
otherwise!  Somebody must save something, or the country will be
as bankrupt as Mr. Pitt himself is, by all account; though he
don't look it just now.

  [PITT's coach passes, drawn by a troop of running men and boy.
  The Prime Minister is seen within, a thin, erect, up-nosed
  figure, with a flush of excitement on his usually pale face.
  The vehicle reached the doorway to the Guildhall and halts with
  a jolt.  PITT gets out shakily, and amid cheers enters the
  building.]


FOURTH CITIZEN

Quite a triumphal entry.  Such is power;
Now worshipped, now accursed!  The overthrow
Of all Pitt's European policy
When his hired army and his chosen general
Surrendered them at Ulm a month ago,
Is now forgotten!  Ay; this Trafalgar
Will botch up many a ragged old repute,
Make Nelson figure as domestic saint
No less than country's saviour, Pitt exalt
As zenith-star of England's firmament,
And uncurse all the bogglers of her weal
At this adventurous time.


THIRD CITIZEN

Talk of Pitt being ill.  He looks hearty as a buck.


FIRST CITIZEN

It's the news--no more.  His spirits are up like a rocket for the
moment.


BOY

Is it because Trafalgar is near Portugal that he loves Port wine?


SECOND CITIZEN

Ah, as I said, friend; this boy must go home and be carefully put
to bed!


FIRST CITIZEN


Well, whatever William's faults, it is a triumph for his virtues
to-night!

  [PITT having disappeared, the Guildhall doors are closed, and
  the crowd slowly disperses, till in the course of an hour the
  street shows itself empty and dark, only a few oil lamps burning.

  The SCENE OPENS, revealing the interior of the Guildhall, and
  the brilliant assembly of City magnates, Lords, and Ministers
  seated there, Mr. PITT occupying a chair of honour by the Lord
  Mayor.  His health has been proposed as that of the Saviour of
  England, and drunk with acclamations.]


PITT (standing up after repeated calls)

My lords and gentlemen:--You have toasted me
As one who has saved England and her cause.
I thank you, gentlemen, unfeignedly.
But--no man has saved England, let me say:
England has saved herself, by her exertions:
She will, I trust, save Europe by her example!

  [Loud applause, during which he sits down, rises, and sits down
  again.  The scene then shuts, and the night without has place.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Those words of this man Pitt--his last large words,
     As I may prophesy--that ring to-night
     In their first mintage to the feasters here,
     Will spread with ageing, lodge, and crystallize,
     And stand embedded in the English tongue
     Till it grow thin, outworn, and cease to be.--
     So is't ordained by That Which all ordains;
     For words were never winged with apter grace.
     Or blent with happier choice of time and place,
   To hold the imagination of this strenuous race.



SCENE VI(10)

AN INN AT RENNES

  [Night.  A sleeping-chamber.  Two candles are burning near a bed
  in an alcove, and writing-materials are on the table.

  The French admiral, VILLENEUVE, partly undressed, is pacing up
  and down the room.]


VILLENEUVE

These hauntings have at last nigh proved to me
That this thing must be done.  Illustrious foe
And teacher, Nelson: blest and over blest
In thy outgoing at the noon of strife
When glory clasped thee round; while wayward Death
Refused my coaxings for the like-timed call!
Yet I did press where thickest missiles fell,
And both by precept and example showed
Where lay the line of duty, patriotism,
And honour, in that combat of despair.

  [He see himself in the glass as he passes.]

Unfortunate Villeneuve!--whom fate has marked
To suffer for too firm a faithfulness.--
An Emperor's chide is a command to die.--
By him accursed, forsaken by my friend,
Awhile stern England's prisoner, then unloosed
Like some poor dolt unworth captivity,
Time serves me now for ceasing.  Why not cease? . . .
When, as Shades whisper in the chasmal night,
"Better, far better, no percipience here."--
O happy lack, that I should have no child
To come into my hideous heritage,
And groan beneath the burden of my name!(11)


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     I'll speak.  His mood is ripe for such a parle.
(Sending a voice into VILLENEUVE'S ear.)

     Thou dost divine the hour!


VILLENEUVE

          But those stern Nays,
That heretofore were audible to me
At each unhappy time I strove to pass?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Have been annulled.  The Will grants exit freely;
     Yea, It says "Now."  Therefore make now thy time.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     May his sad sunken soul merge into nought
     Meekly and gently as a breeze at eve!


VILLENEUVE

From skies above me and the air around
Those callings which so long have circled me
At last do whisper "Now."  Now it shall be!

  [He seals a letter, and addresses it to his wife; then takes a
  dagger from his accoutrements that are hanging alongside, and,
  lying down upon his back on the bed, stabs himself determinedly
  in many places, leaving the weapon in the last wound.]

Ungrateful master; generous foes; Farewell!

  [VILLENEUVE dies; and the scene darkens.]



SCENE VII

KING GEORGE'S WATERING-PLACE, SOUTH WESSEX

  [The interior of the "Old Rooms" Inn.  Boatmen and burghers are
  sitting on settles round the fire, smoking and drinking.


FIRST BURGHER

So they've brought him home at last, hey?  And he's to be solemnized
with a roaring funeral?


FIRST BOATMAN

Yes, thank God. . . . 'Tis better to lie dry than wet, if canst do it
without stinking on the road gravewards.  And they took care that he
shouldn't.


SECOND BOATMAN

'Tis to be at Paul's; so they say that know.  And the crew of the
"Victory" have to walk in front, and Captain Hardy is to carry his
stars and garters on a great velvet pincushion.


FIRST BURGHER

Where's the Captain now?


SECOND BOATMAN (nodding in the direction of Captain Hardy's house)

Down at home here biding with his own folk a bit.  I zid en walking
with them on the Esplanade yesterday.  He looks ten years older than
he did when he went.  Ay--he brought the galliant hero home!


SECOND BURGHER

Now how did they bring him home so that he could lie in state
afterwards to the naked eye!


FIRST BOATMAN

Well, as they always do,--in a cask of sperrits.


SECOND BURGHER

Really, now!


FIRST BOATMAN (lowering his voice)

But what happened was this.  They were a long time coming, owing to
contrary winds, and the "Victory" being little more than a wreck.
And grog ran short, because they'd used near all they had to peckle
his body in.  So--they broached the Adm'l!


SECOND BURGHER

How?


FIRST BOATMAN

Well; the plain calendar of it is, that when he came to be unhooped,
it was found that the crew had drunk him dry.  What was the men to
do?  Broke down by the battle, and hardly able to keep afloat, 'twas
a most defendable thing, and it fairly saved their lives.  So he was
their salvation after death as he had been in the fight.  If he
could have knowed it, 'twould have pleased him down to the ground!
How 'a would have laughed through the spigot-hole: "Draw on, my
hearties!  Better I shrivel that you famish."  Ha-ha!


SECOND BURGHER

It may be defendable afloat; but it seems queer ashore.


FIRST BOATMAN

Well, that's as I had it from one that knows--Bob Loveday of
Overcombe--one of the "Victory" men that's going to walk in the
funeral.  However, let's touch a livelier string.  Peter Green,
strike up that new ballet that they've lately had prented here,
and were hawking about town last market-day.



SONG

THE NIGHT OF TRAFALGAR


I

In the wild October night-time, when the wind raved round the land,
And the Back-sea(12) met the Front-sea, and our doors were blocked
  with sand,
And we heard the drub of Dead-man's Bay, where bones of thousands are,
We knew not what the day had done for us at Trafalgar.
                  (All) Had done,
                        Had done,
                  For us at Trafalgar!


II

"Pull hard, and make the Nothe, or down we go!" one says, says he.
We pulled; and bedtime brought the storm; but snug at home slept we.
Yet all the while our gallants after fighting through the day,
Were beating up and down the dark, sou'-west of Cadiz Bay.
                        The dark,
                        The dark,
                  Sou'-west of Cadiz Bay!


III

The victors and the vanquished then the storm it tossed and tore,
As hard they strove, those worn-out men, upon that surly shore;
Dead Nelson and his half-dead crew, his foes from near and far,
Were rolled together on the deep that night at Trafalgar!
                        The deep,
                        The deep,
                  That night at Trafalgar!

  [The Cloud-curtain draws.]


CHORUS OF THE YEARS

     Meanwhile the month moves on to counter-deeds
          Vast as the vainest needs,
     And fiercely the predestined plot proceeds.




ACT SIXTH


SCENE I

THE FIELD OF AUSTERLITZ.  THE FRENCH POSITION

  [The night is the 1st of December following, and the eve of the
  battle.  The view is from the elevated position of the Emperor's
  bivouac.  The air cuts keen and the sky glistens with stars, but
  the lower levels are covered with a white fog stretching like a
  sea, from which the heights protrude as dusky rocks.

  To the left are discernible high and wooded hills.  In the front
  mid-distance the plateau of Pratzen outstands, declining suddenly
  on the right to a low flat country covered with marshes and pools
  now mostly obscured.  On the plateau itself are seen innumerable
  and varying lights, marking the bivouac of the centre divisions
  of the Austro-Russian army.  Close to the foreground the fires of
  the French are burning, surrounded by soldiery.  The invisible
  presence of the countless thousand of massed humanity that compose
  the two armies makes itself felt indefinably.

  The tent of NAPOLEON rises nearest at hand, with sentinel and
  other military figures looming around, and saddled horses held
  by attendants.  The accents of the Emperor are audible, through
  the canvas from inside, dictating a proclamation.]


VOICE OF NAPOLEON

"Soldiers, the hordes of Muscovy now face you,
To mend the Austrian overthrow at Ulm!
But how so?  Are not these the self-same bands
You met and swept aside at Hollabrunn,
And whose retreating forms, dismayed to flight,
Your feet pursued along the trackways here?

"Our own position, massed and menacing,
Is rich in chance for opportune attack;
For, say they march to cross and turn our right--
A course almost at their need--their stretching flank
Will offer us, from points now prearranged---"


VOICE OF A MARSHAL

Shows it, your Majesty, the wariness
That marks your usual far-eye policy,
To openly announce your tactics thus
Some twelve hours ere their form can actualize?


THE VOICE OF NAPOLEON

The zest such knowledge will impart to all
Is worth the risk of leakages.  (To Secretary)
Write on.

(Dictation resumed)

"Soldiers, your sections I myself shall lead;
But ease your minds who would expostulate
Against my undue rashness.  If your zeal
Sow hot confusion in the hostile files
As your old manner is, and in our rush
We mingle with our foes, I'll use fit care.
Nevertheless, should issues stand at pause
But for a wink-while, that time you will eye
Your Emperor the foremost in the shock,
Taking his risk with every ranksman here.
For victory, men, must be no thing surmised,
As that which may or may not beam on us,
Like noontide sunshine on a dubious morn;
It must be sure!--The honour and the fame
Of France's gay and gallant infantry--
So dear, so cherished all the Empire through--
Binds us to compass it!
          Maintain the ranks;
Let none be thinned by impulse or excuse
Of bearing back the wounded: and, in fine,
Be every one in this conviction firm:--
That 'tis our sacred bond to overthrow
These hirelings of a country not their own:
Yea, England's hirelings, they!--a realm stiff-steeled
In deathless hatred of our land and lives.

"The campaign closes with this victory;
And we return to find our standards joined
By vast young armies forming now in France.
Forthwith resistless, Peace establish we,
Worthy of you, the nation, and of me!"
                                       "NAPOLEON."
                   (To his Marshals)

So shall we prostrate these paid slaves of hers--
England's, I mean--the root of all the war.


VOICE OF MURAT

The further details sent of Trafalgar
Are not assuring.


VOICE OF LANNES

     What may the details be?


VOICE OF NAPOLEON (moodily)

We learn that six-and-twenty ships of war,
During the fight and after, struck their flags,
And that the tigerish gale throughout the night
Gave fearful finish to the English rage.
By luck their Nelson's gone, but gone withal
Are twenty thousand prisoners, taken off
To gnaw their finger-nails in British hulks.
Of our vast squadrons of the summer-time
But rags and splintered remnants now remain.--
Thuswise Villeneuve, poor craven, quitted him!
And England puffed to yet more bombastry.
--Well, well; I can't be everywhere.  No matter;
A victory's brewing here as counterpoise!
These water-rats may paddle in their salt slush,
And welcome.  'Tis not long they'll have the lead.
Ships can be wrecked by land!


ANOTHER VOICE

          And how by land,
Your Majesty, if one may query such?


VOICE OF NAPOLEON (sardonically)

I'll bid all states of Europe shut their ports
To England's arrogant bottoms, slowly starve
Her bloated revenues and monstrous trade,
Till all her hulls lie sodden in their docks,
And her grey island eyes in vain shall seek
One jack of hers upon the ocean plains!


VOICE OF SOULT	

A few more master-strokes, your Majesty,
Must be dealt hereabout to compass such!


VOICE OF NAPOLEON

God, yes!--Even here Pitt's guineas are the foes:
'Tis all a duel 'twixt this Pitt and me;
And, more than Russia's host, and Austria's flower,
I everywhere to-night around me feel
As from an unseen monster haunting nigh
His country's hostile breath!--But come: to choke it
By our to-morrow's feats, which now, in brief,
I recapitulate.--First Soult will move
To forward the grand project of the day:
Namely: ascend in echelon, right to front,
With Vandamme's men, and those of Saint Hilaire:
Legrand's division somewhere further back--
Nearly whereat I place my finger here--
To be there reinforced by tirailleurs:
Lannes to the left here, on the Olmutz road,
Supported by Murat's whole cavalry.
While in reserve, here, are the grenadiers
Of Oudinot, the corps of Bernadotte,
Rivaud, Drouet, and the Imperial Guard.


MARSHAL'S VOICES

Even as we understood, Sire, and have ordered.
Nought lags but day, to light our victory!


VOICE OF NAPOLEON

Now let us up and ride the bivouacs round,
And note positions ere the soldiers sleep.
--Omit not from to-morrow's home dispatch
Direction that this blow of Trafalgar
Be hushed in all the news-sheets sold in France,
Or, if reported, let it be portrayed
As a rash fight whereout we came not worst,
But were so broken by the boisterous eve
That England claims to be the conqueror.

  [There emerge from the tent NAPOLEON and the marshals, who all
  mount the horses that are led up, and proceed through the frost
  and time towards the bivouacs.  At the Emperor's approach to the
  nearest soldiery they spring up.]


SOLDIERS

The Emperor!  He's here!  The Emperor's here!


AN OLD GRENADIER (approaching Napoleon familiarly)

We'll bring thee Russian guns and flags galore.
To celebrate thy coronation-day!

  [They gather into wisps the straw, hay, and other litter on which
  they have been lying, and kindling these at the dying fires, wave
  them as torches.  This is repeated as each fire is reached, till
  the whole French position is one wide illumination.  The most
  enthusiastic of the soldiers follow the Emperor in a throng as
  he progresses, and his whereabouts in the vast field is denoted
  by their cries.]


CHORUS OF PITIES (aerial music)

     Strange suasive pull of personality!


CHORUS OF IRONIC SPIRITS

     His projects they unknow, his grin unsee!


CHORUS OF THE PITIES

     Their luckless hearts say blindly--He!

  [The night-shades close over.]



SCENE II

THE SAME.  THE RUSSIAN POSITION

  [Midnight at the quarters of FIELD-MARSHAL PRINCE KUTUZOF at
  Kresnowitz.  An inner apartment is discovered, roughly adapted
  as a council-room.  On a table with candles is unfolded a large
  map of Austerlitz and its environs.

  The Generals are assembled in consultation round the table,
  WEIROTHER pointing to the map, LANGERON, BUXHOVDEN, and
  MILORADOVICH standing by, DOKHTOROF bending over the map,
  PRSCHEBISZEWSKY(13) indifferently walking up and down.  KUTUZOF,
  old and weary, with a scarred face and only one eye, is seated
  in a chair at the head of the table, nodding, waking, and
  nodding again.  Some officers of lower grade are in the
  background, and horses in waiting are heard hoofing and champing
  outside.

  WEIROTHER speaks, referring to memoranda, snuffing the nearest
  candle, and moving it from place to place on the map as he
  proceeds importantly.]


WEIROTHER

Now here, our right, along the Olmutz Road
Will march and oust our counterfacers there,
Dislodge them from the Sainton Hill, and thence
Advance direct to Brunn.--You heed me, sirs?--
The cavalry will occupy the plain:
Our centre and main strength,--you follow me?--
Count Langeron, Dokhtorof, with Prschebiszewsky
And Kollowrath--now on the Pratzen heights--
Will down and cross the Goldbach rivulet,
Seize Tilnitz, Kobelnitz, and hamlets nigh,
Turn the French right, move onward in their rear,
Cross Schwarsa, hold the great Vienna road:--
So, with the nightfall, centre, right, and left,
Will rendezvous beneath the walls of Brunn.


LANGERON (taking a pinch of snuff)

Good, General; very good!--if Bonaparte
Will kindly stand and let you have your way.
But what if he do not!--if he forestall
These sound slow movements, mount the Pratzen hills
When we descend, fall on OUR rear forthwith,
While we go crying for HIS rear in vain?


KUTUZOF (waking up)

Ay, ay, Weirother; that's the question--eh?


WEIROTHER (impatiently)

If Bonaparte had meant to climb up there,
Being one so spry and so determinate,
He would have set about it ere this eve!
He has not troops to do so, sirs, I say:
His utmost strength is forty thousand men.


LANGERON

Then if so weak, how can so wise a brain
Court ruin by abiding calmly here
The impact of a force so large as ours?
He may be mounting up this very hour!
What think you, General Miloradovich?


MILORADOVICH

I?  What's the use of thinking, when to-morrow
Will tell us, with no need to think at all!


WEIROTHER

Pah!  At this moment he retires apace.
His fires are dark; all sounds have ceased that way
Save voice of owl or mongrel wintering there.
But, were he nigh, these movements I detail
Would knock the bottom from his enterprize.


KUTUZOF (rising)

Well, well.  Now this being ordered, set it going.
One here shall make fair copies of the notes,
And send them round.  Colonel van Toll I ask
To translate part.--Generals, it grows full late,
And half-a-dozen hours of needed sleep
Will aid us more than maps.  We now disperse,
And luck attend us all.  Good-night.  Good-night.

  [The Generals and other officers go out severally.]

Such plans are--paper!  Only to-morrow's light
Reveals the true manoeuvre to my sight!

  [He flaps out with his hand all the candles but one or two,
  slowly walks outside the house, and listens.  On the high
  ground in the direction of the French lines are heard shouts,
  and a wide illumination grows and strengthens; but the hollows
  are still mantled in fog.]

Are these the signs of regiments out of heart,
And beating backward from an enemy!


  [He remains pondering.  On the Pratzen heights immediately in front
  there begins a movement among the Russians, signifying that the plan
  which involves desertion of that vantage-ground is about to be put
  in force.  Noises of drunken singing arise from the Russian lines at
  various points elsewhere.
  
  The night shades involve the whole.]



SCENE III

THE SAME.  THE FRENCH POSITION

  [Shortly before dawn on the morning of the 2nd of December.  A
  white frost and fog still prevail in the low-lying areas; but
  overhead the sky is clear.  A dead silence reigns.

  NAPOLEON, on a grey horse, closely attended by BERTHIER, and
  surrounded by MARSHALS SOULT, LANNES, MURAT, and their aides-de
  camp, all cloaked, is discernible in the gloom riding down
  from the high ground before Bellowitz, on which they have
  bivouacked, to the village of Puntowitz on the Goldbach stream,
  quite near the front of the Russian position of the day before
  on the Pratzen crest.  The Emperor and his companions come to
  a pause, look around and upward to the hills, and listen.]


NAPOLEON

Their bivouac fires, that lit the top last night,
Are all extinct.


LANNES

          And hark you, Sire; I catch
A sound which, if I err not, means the thing
We have hoped, and hoping, feared fate would not yield!


NAPOLEON

My God, it surely is the tramp of horse
And jolt of cannon downward from the hill
Toward our right here, by the swampy lakes
That face Davout?  Thus, as I sketched, they work!


MURAT

Yes!  They already move upon Tilnitz.


NAPOLEON

Leave them alone!  Nor stick nor stone we'll stir
To interrupt them.  Nought that we can scheme
Will help us like their own stark sightlessness!--
Let them get down to those white lowlands there,
And so far plunge in the level that no skill,
When sudden vision flashes on their fault,
Can help them, though despair-stung, to regain
The key to mastery held at yestereve!

Meantime move onward these divisions here
Under the fog's kind shroud; descend the slope,
And cross the stream below the Russian lines:
There halt concealed, till I send down the word.

  [NAPOLEON and his staff retire to the hill south-east of Bellowitz
  and the day dawns pallidly.]

'Tis good to get above that rimy cloak
And into cleaner air.  It chilled me through.

  [When they reach the summit they are over the fog: and suddenly
  the sun breaks forth to the left of Pratzen, illuminating the
  ash-hued face of NAPOLEON and the faces of those around him.
  All eyes are turned first to the sun, and thence to look for
  the dense masses of men that had occupied the upland the night
  before.]

MURAT

I see them not.  The plateau seems deserted!


NAPOLEON

Gone; verily!--Ah, how much will you bid,
An hour hence, for the coign abandoned now!
The battle's ours.--It was, then, their rash march
Downwards to Tilnitz and the Goldbach swamps
Before dawn, that we heard.--No hurry, Lannes!
Enjoy this sun, that rests its chubby jowl
Upon the plain, and thrusts its bristling beard
Across the lowlands' fleecy counterpane,
Peering beneath our broadest hat-brims' shade. . . .
Soult, how long hence to win the Pratzen top?


SOULT

Some twenty minutes or less, your Majesty:
Our troops down there, still mantled by the mist,
Are half upon the way.


NAPOLEON

          Good!  Set forthwith
Vandamme and Saint Hilaire to mount the slopes---

  [Firing begins in the marsh to the right by Tilnitz and the pools,
  though the thick air yet hides the operations.]

O, there you are, blind boozy Buxhovden!
Achieve your worst.  Davout will hold you firm.

  [The head of and aide-de-camp rises through the fog on that
  side, and he hastens up to NAPOLEON and his companions, to whom
  the officer announces what has happened.  DAVOUT rides off,
  disappearing legs first into the white stratum that covers the
  attack.]

Lannes and Murat, you have concern enough
Here on the left, with Prince Bagration
And all the Austro-Russian cavalry.
Haste off.  The victory promising to-day
Will, like a thunder-clap, conclude the war!

  [The Marshals with their aides gallop away towards their respective
  divisions.  Soon the two divisions under SOULT are seen ascending
  in close column the inclines of the Pratzen height.  Thereupon the
  heads of the Russian centre columns disclose themselves, breaking
  the sky-line of the summit from the other side, in a desperate
  attempt to regain the position vacated by the Russian left.  A
  fierce struggle develops there between SOULT'S divisions and these,
  who, despite their tardy attempt to recover the lost post of
  dominance, are pressed by the French off the slopes into the
  lowland.]


SEMICHORUS I OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     O Great Necessitator, heed us now!
          If it indeed must be
     That this day Austria smoke with slaughtery,
     Quicken the issue as Thou knowest how;
     And dull their lodgment in a flesh that galls!


SEMICHORUS II

     If it be in the future human story
     To lift this man to yet intenser glory,
          Let the exploit be done
          With the least sting, or none,
     To those, his kind, at whose expense such pitch is won!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Again ye deprecate the World-Soul's way
     That I so long have told?  Then note anew
     (Since ye forget) the ordered potencies,
     Nerves, sinews, trajects, eddies, ducts of It
     The Eternal Urger, pressing change on change.

  [At once, as earlier, a preternatural clearness possesses the
  atmosphere of the battle-field, in which the scene becomes
  anatomized and the living masses of humanity transparent.  The
  controlling Immanent Will appears therein, as a brain-like
  network of currents and ejections, twitching, interpenetrating,
  entangling, and thrusting hither and thither the human forms.]


SEMICHORUS I OF IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

     O Innocents, can ye forget
     That things to be were shaped and set
     Ere mortals and this planet met?


SEMICHORUS II

     Stand ye apostrophizing That
     Which, working all, works but thereat
     Like some sublime fermenting-vat.


SEMICHORUS I

     Heaving throughout its vast content
     With strenuously transmutive bent
     Though of its aim insentient?--


SEMICHORUS II

     Could ye have seen Its early deeds
     Ye would not cry, as one who pleads
     For quarter, when a Europe bleeds!


SEMICHORUS I

     Ere ye, young Pities, had upgrown
     From out the deeps where mortals moan
     Against a ruling not their own,


SEMICHORUS II

     He of the Years beheld, and we,
     Creation's prentice artistry
     Express in forms that now unbe


SEMICHORUS I

     Tentative dreams from day to day;
     Mangle its types, re-knead the clay
     In some more palpitating way;


SEMICHORUS II

     Beheld the rarest wrecked amain,
     Whole nigh-perfected species slain
     By those that scarce could boast a brain;


SEMICHORUS I

     Saw ravage, growth, diminish, add,
     Here peoples sane, there peoples mad,
     In choiceless throws of good and bad;


SEMICHORUS II

     Heard laughters at the ruthless dooms
     Which tortured to the eternal glooms
     Quick, quivering hearts in hecatombs.


CHORUS

     Us Ancients, then, it ill befits
     To quake when Slaughter's spectre flits
     Athwart this field of Austerlitz!


SHADE OF THE EARTH

     Pain not their young compassions by such lore,
     But hold you mute, and read the battle yonder:
     The moment marks the day's catastrophe.



SCENE IV

THE SAME.  THE RUSSIAN POSITION

  [It is about noon, and the vital spectacle is now near the village
  of Tilnitz.  The fog has dispersed, and the sun shines clearly,
  though without warmth, the ice on the pools gleaming under its
  radiance.
  
  GENERAL BUXHOVDEN and his aides-de-camp have reined up, and remain
  at pause on a hillock.  The General watches through a glass his
  battalions, which are still disputing the village.  Suddenly
  approach down the track from the upland of Pratzen large companies
  of Russian infantry helter-skelter.  COUNT LANGERON is beheld to
  be retreating with them; and soon, pale and agitated, he hastens
  up to GENERAL BUXHOVDEN, whose face is flushed.]


LANGERON

While they are upon us you stay idle here!
Prschebiszewsky's column is distraught and rent,
And more than half my own made captive!  Yea,
Kreznowitz carried, and Sokolnitz hemmed:
The enemy's whole strength will stound you soon!


BUXHOVDEN

You seem to see the enemy everywhere.


LANGERON

You cannot see them, be they here or no!


BUXHOVDEN

I only wait Prschebiszewsky's nearing corps
To join Dokhtorof's to them.  Here they come.

  [SOULT, supported by BERNADOTTE and OUDINOT, having cleared and
  secured the Pratzen height, his battalions are perceived descending
  from it on this side, behind DOKHTOROF'S division, so placing the
  latter between themselves and the pools.]


LANGERON

You cannot tell the Frenchmen from ourselves!
These are the victors.--Ah--Dokhtorof--lost!

  [DOKHTOROF'S troops are seen to be retreating towards the water.
  The watchers stand in painful tenseness.]


BUXHOVDEN

Dokhtorof tell to save him as he may!
We, Count, must gather up our shaken flesh
And hurry them by the road through Austerlitz.

  [BUXHOVDEN'S regiments and the remains of LANGERON'S are rallied
  and collected, and they retreat by way of the hamlet of Aujezd.
  As they go over the summit of a hill BUXHOVDEN looks back.
  LANGERON'S columns, which were behind his own, have been cut
  off by VANDAMME'S division coming down from the Pratzen plateau.
  This and some detachments from DOKHTOROF'S column rush towards
  the Satschan lake and endeavour to cross it on the ice.  It
  cracks beneath their weight.  At the same moment NAPOLEON and
  his brilliant staff appear on the top of the Pratzen.

  The Emperor watches the scene with a vulpine smile; and directs
  a battery near at hand to fire down upon the ice on which the
  Russians are crossing.  A ghastly crash and splashing follows
  the discharge, the shining surface breaking into pieces like a
  mirror, which fly in all directions.  Two thousand fugitives are
  engulfed, and their groans of despair reach the ears of the
  watchers like ironical huzzas.

  A general flight of the Russian army from wing to wing is now
  disclosed, involving in its current the EMPEROR ALEXANDER and
  the EMPEROR FRANCIS, with the reserve, who are seen towards
  Austerlitz endeavouring to rally their troops in vain.  They
  are swept along by the disordered soldiery.]



SCENE V

THE SAME.  NEAR THE WINDMILL OF PALENY

  [The mill is about seven miles to the southward, between French
  advanced posts and the Austrians.

  A bivouac fire is burning.  NAPOLEON, in grey overcoat and
  beaver hat turned up front to back, rides to the spot with
  BERTHIER, SAVARY, and his aides, and alights.  He walks to
  and fro complacently, meditating or talking to BERTHIER.  Two
  groups of officers, one from each army, stand in the background
  on their respective sides.]


NAPOLEON

What's this of Alexander?  Weep, did he,
Like his old namesake, but for meaner cause?
Ha, ha!


BERTHIER

Word goes, you Majesty, that Colonel Toll,
One of Field-Marshal Price Kutuzof's staff,
In the retreating swirl of overthrow,
Found Alexander seated on a stone,
Beneath a leafless roadside apple-tree,
Out here by Goding on the Holitsch way;
His coal-black uniform and snowy plume
Unmarked, his face disconsolate, his grey eyes
Mourning in tears the fate of his brave array--
All flying southward, save the steadfast slain.


NAPOLEON

Poor devil!--But he'll soon get over it--
Sooner than his employers oversea!--
Ha!--this well make friend Pitt and England writhe,
And cloud somewhat their lustrous Trafalgar.

  [An open carriage approaches from the direction of Holitsch,
  accompanied by a small escort of Hungarian guards.  NAPOLEON
  walks forward to meet it as it draws up, and welcomes the
  Austrian Emperor, who alights.  He is wearing a grey cloak
  over a white uniform, carries a light walking-cane, and is
  attended by PRINCE JOHN OF LICHTENSTEIN, SWARZENBERG, and
  others.  His fresh-coloured face contrasts strangely with the
  bluish pallor of NAPOLEON'S; but it is now thin and anxious.

  They formally embrace.  BERTHIER, PRINCE JOHN, and the rest
  retire, and the two Emperors are left by themselves before the
  fire.]


NAPOLEON

Here on the roofless ground do I receive you--
My only mansion for these two months past!


FRANCIS

Your tenancy thereof has brought such fame
That it must needs be one which charms you, Sire.


NAPOLEON

Good!  Now this war.  It has been forced on me
Just at a crisis most inopportune,
When all my energies and arms were bent
On teaching England that her watery walls
Are no defence against the wrath of France
Aroused by breach of solemn covenants.


FRANCIS

I had no zeal for violating peace
Till ominous events in Italy
Revealed the gloomy truth that France aspires
To conquest there, and undue sovereignty.
Since when mine eyes have seen no sign outheld
To signify a change of purposings.


NAPOLEON

Yet there were terms distinctly specified
To General Giulay in November past,
Whereon I'd gladly fling the sword aside.
To wit: that hot armigerent jealousy
Stir us no further on transalpine rule,
I'd take the Isonzo River as our bounds.


FRANCIS

Roundly, that I cede all!--And how may stand
Your views as to the Russian forces here?


NAPOLEON

You have all to lose by that alliance, Sire.
Leave Russia.  Let the Emperor Alexander
Make his own terms; whereof the first must be
That he retire from Austrian territory.
I'll grant an armistice therefor.  Anon
I'll treat with him to weld a lasting peace,
Based on some simple undertakings; chief,
That Russian armies keep to the ports of his domain.
Meanwhile to you I'll tender this good word:
Keep Austria to herself.  To Russia bound,
You pay your own costs with your provinces,
Alexander's likewise therewithal.


FRANCIS

I see as much, and long have seen it, Sire;
And standing here the vanquished, let me own
What happier issues might have left unsaid:
Long, long I have lost the wish to bind myself
To Russia's purposings and Russia's risks;
Little do I count these alliances
With Powers that have no substance seizable!

  [As they converse they walk away.]


AN AUSTRIAN OFFICER

O strangest scene of an eventful life,
This junction that I witness here to-day!
An Emperor--in whose majestic veins
Aeneas and the proud Caesarian line
Claim yet to live; and, those scarce less renowned,
The dauntless Hawks'-Hold Counts, of gallantry
So great in fame one thousand years ago--
To bend with deference and manners mild
In talk with this adventuring campaigner,
Raised but by pikes above the common herd!


ANOTHER AUSTRIAN OFFICER

Ay!  There be Satschan swamps and Pratzen heights
In royal lines, as here at Austerlitz.

  [The Emperors again draw near.]


FRANCIS

Then, to this armistice, which shall be called
Immediately at all points, I agree;
And pledge my word that my august ally
Accept it likewise, and withdraw his force
By daily measured march to his own realm.


NAPOLEON

For him I take your word.  And pray believe
That rank ambitions are your own, not mine;
That though I have postured as your enemy,
And likewise Alexander's, we are one
In interests, have in all things common cause.

One country sows these mischiefs Europe through
By her insidious chink of luring ore--
False-featured England, who, to aggrandize
Her name, her influence, and her revenues,
Schemes to impropriate the whole world's trade,
And starves and bleeds the folk of other lands.
Her rock-rimmed situation walls her off
Like a slim selfish mollusk in its shell
From the wide views and fair fraternities
Which on the mainland we reciprocate,
And quicks her quest for profit in our woes!


FRANCIS

I am not competent, your Majesty,
To estimate that country's conscience now,
Nor engage on my ally's behalf
That English ships be shut from Russian trade.
But joyful am I that in all things else
My promise can be made; and that this day
Our conference ends in friendship and esteem.


NAPOLEON

I will send Savary at to-morrow's blink
And make all lucid to the Emperor.
For us, I wholly can avow as mine
The cordial spirit of your Majesty.

  [They retire towards the carriage of FRANCIS.  BERTHIER, SAVARY,
  LICHTENSTEIN, and the suite of officers advance from the background,
  and with mutual gestures of courtesy and amicable leave-takings
  the two Emperors part company.]


CHORUS OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     Each for himself, his family, his heirs;
     For the wan weltering nations who concerns, who cares?


CHORUS OF IRONIC SPIRITS

     A pertinent query, in truth!--
     But spoil not the sport by your ruth:
          'Tis enough to make half
          Yonder zodiac laugh
     When rulers begin to allude
          To their lack of ambition,
          And strong opposition
     To all but the general good!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Hush levities.  Events press: turn ye westward.

  [A nebulous curtain draws slowly across.]



SCENE VI

SHOCKERWICK HOUSE, NEAR BATH

  [The interior of the Picture Gallery.  Enter WILTSHIRE, the owner,
  and Pitt, who looks emaciated and walks feebly.]


WILTSHIRE (pointing to a portrait)

Now here you have the lady we discussed:
A fine example of his manner, sir?


PITT

It is a fine example, sir, indeed,--
With that transparency amid the shades,
And those thin blue-green-grayish leafages
Behind the pillar in the background there,
Which seem the leaves themselves.--Ah, this is Quin.

  [Moving to another picture.]


WILTSHIRE

Yes, Quin.  A man of varied parts, though rough
And choleric at times.  Yet, at his best,
As Falstaff, never matched, they say.  But I
Had not the fate to see him in the flesh.


PITT

Churchill well carves him in his "Character":--
"His eyes, in gloomy socket taught to roll,
Proclaimed the sullen habit of his soul.
In fancied scenes, as in Life's real plan,
He could not for a moment sink the man:
Nature, in spite of all his skill, crept in;
Horatio, Dorax, Falstaff--stile 'twas Quin."
--He was at Bath when Gainsborough settled there
In that house in the Circus which we know.--
I like the portrait much.--The brilliancy
Of Gainsborough lies in this his double sway:
Sovereign of landscape he; of portraiture
Joint monarch with Sir Joshua. . . . Ah?--that's--hark!
Is that the patter of horses's hoofs
Along the road?


WILTSHIRE

     I notice nothing, sir.


PITT

It is a gallop, growing quite distinct.
And--can it be a messenger for me!


WILTSHIRE

I hope no ugly European news
To stop the honour of this visit, sir!

  [They listen.  The gallop of the horse grows louder, and is
  checked at the door of the house.  There is a hasty knocking,
  and a courier, splashed with mud from hard riding, is shown
  into the gallery.  He presents a dispatch to PITT, who sits
  down and hurriedly opens it.]


PITT (to himself)

O heavy news indeed! . . . Disastrous; dire!

  [He appears overcome as he sits, and covers his forehead with
  his hand.]


WILTSHIRE

I trust you are not ill, sir?


PITT (after some moments)

          Could I have
A little brandy, sir, quick brought to me?


WILTSHIRE

In one brief minute.

  [Brandy is brought in, and PITT takes it.]


PITT

Now leave me, please, alone.  I'll call anon.
Is there a map of Europe handy here?

  [WILTSHIRE fetches a map from the library, and spreads it before
  the minister.  WILTSHIRE, courier, and servant go out.]

O God that I should live to see this day!

  [He remains awhile in a profound reverie; then resumes the reading
  of the dispatch.]

"Defeated--the Allies--quite overthrown
At Austerlitz--last week."--Where's Austerlitz?
--But what avails it where the place is now;
What corpse is curious on the longitude
And situation of his cemetery! . . .
The Austrians and the Russians overcome,
That vast adventuring army is set free
To bend unhindered strength against our strand. . . .
So do my plans through all these plodding years
Announce them built in vain!
His heel on Europe, monarchies in chains
To France, I am as though I had never been!

  [He gloomily ponders the dispatch and the map some minutes longer.
  At last he rises with difficulty, and rings the bell.  A servant
  enters.]

Call up my carriage, please you, now at once;
And tell your master I return to Bath
This moment--I may want a little help
In getting to the door here.


SERVANT

          Sir, I will,
And summon you my master instantly.

  [He goes out and re-enters with WILTSHIRE.  PITT is assisted from
  the room.]


PITT

Roll up that map.  'Twill not be needed now
These ten years!  Realms, laws, peoples, dynasties,
Are churning to a pulp within the maw
Of empire-making Lust and personal Gain!

 [Exeunt PITT, WILTSHIRE, and the servant; and in a few minutes the
 carriage is heard driving off, and the scene closes.]



SCENE VII

PARIS.  A STREET LEADING TO THE TUILERIES

  [It is night, and the dim oil lamps reveal a vast concourse of
  citizens of both sexes around the Palace gates and in the 
  neighbouring thoroughfares.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS  (to the Spirit of Rumour)

     Thou may'st descend and join this crowd awhile,
     And speak what things shall come into they mouth.


SPIRIT SINISTER

I'll harken!  I wouldn't miss it for the groans on another
Austerlitz!

  [The Spirit of Rumour enters on the scene in the disguise of a
  young foreigner.]


SPIRIT (to a street-woman)

     Lady, a late hour this to be afoot!


WOMAN

Poor profit, then, to me from my true trade,
Wherein hot competition is so rife
Already, since these victories brought to town
So many foreign jobbers in my line,
That I'd best hold my tongue from praise of fame!
However, one is caught by popular zeal,
And though five midnights have not brought a sou,
I, too, chant _Jubilate_ like the rest.--

In courtesies have haughty monarchs vied
Towards the Conqueror! who, with men-at-arms
One quarter theirs, has vanquished by his nerve
Vast mustering four-hundred-thousand strong,
And given new tactics to the art of war
Unparalleled in Europe's history!


SPIRIT

     What man is this, whose might thou blazonest so--
     Who makes the earth to tremble, shakes old thrones,
     And turns the plains to wilderness?


WOMAN

          Dost ask
As ignorant, yet asking can define?
What mean you, traveller?


SPIRIT

               I am a stranger here,
     A wandering wight, whose life has not been spent
     This side the globe, though I can speak the tongue.


WOMAN

Your air has truth in't; but your state is strange!
Had I a husband he should tackle thee.


SPIRIT

     Dozens thou hast had--batches more than she
     Samaria knew, if now thou hast not one!


WOMAN

Wilt take the situation from this hour?


SPIRIT

     Thou know'st not what thy frailty asks, good dame!


WOMAN

Well, learn in small the Emperor's chronicle,
As gleaned from what my soldier-husbands say:--
some five-and-forty standards of his foes
Are brought to Paris, borne triumphantly
In proud procession through the surging streets,
Ever as brands of fame to shine aloft
In dim-lit senate-halls and city aisles.


SPIRIT

     Fair Munich sparkled with festivity
     As there awhile he tarried, and was met
     By the gay Josephine your Empress here.--
     There, too, Eugene--


WOMAN

          Napoleon's stepson he---


SPIRIT

     Received for gift the hand of fair Princess
     Augusta (daughter of Bavaria's crown,
     Forced from her plighted troth to Baden's heir),
     And, to complete his honouring, was hailed
     Successor to the throne of Italy.


WOMAN

How know you, ere this news has got abroad?


SPIRIT

     Channels have I the common people lack.--
     There, on the nonce, the forenamed Baden prince
     Was joined to Stephanie Beauharnais, her
     Who stands as daughter to the man we wait,
     Some say as more.


WOMAN
          They do?  Then such not I.
Can revolution's dregs so soil thy soul
That thou shouldst doubt the eldest son thereof?
'Tis dangerous to insinuate nowadays!


SPIRIT

     Right!  Lady many-spoused, more charity
     Upbrims in thee than in some loftier ones
     Who would not name thee with their white-washed tongues.--
     Enough.  I am one whom, didst thou know my name,
     Thou would'st not grudge a claim to speak his mind.


WOMAN

A thousand pardons, sir.


SPIRIT

          Resume thy tale
     If so thou wishest.


WOMAN

     Nay, but you know best---


SPIRIT

     How laurelled progress through applauding crowds
     Have marked his journey home.  How Strasburg town,
     Stuttgart, Carlsruhe, acclaimed him like the rest:
     How pageantry would here have welcomed him,
     Had not his speed outstript intelligence
     --Now will a glimpse of him repay thee.  Hark!

  [Shouts arise and increase in the distance, announcing BONAPARTE'S
  approach.]

     Well, Buonaparte has revived by land,
     But not by sea.  On that thwart element
     Never will he incorporate his dream,
     And float as master!


WOMAN

     What shall hinder him?


SPIRIT

     That which has hereto.  England, so to say.


WOMAN

But she's in straits.  She lost her Nelson now,
(A worthy man: he loved a woman well!)
George drools and babbles in a darkened room;
Her heaven-born Minister declines apace;
All smooths the Emperor's sway.


SPIRIT

          Tales have two sides,
     Sweet lady.  Vamped-up versions reach thee here.--
     That Austerlitz was lustrous none ignores,
     But would it shock thy garrulousness to know
     That the true measure of this Trafalgar--
     Utter defeat, ay, France's naval death--
     Your Emperor bade be hid?


WOMAN

          The seer's gift
Has never plenteously endowed me, sir,
As in appearance you.  But to plain sense
Thing's seem as stated.


SPIRIT

          We'll let seemings be.--
     But know, these English take to liquid life
     Right patly--nursed therefor in infancy
     By rimes and rains which creep into their blood,
     Till like seeks like.  The sea is their dry land,
     And, as on cobbles you, they wayfare there.


WOMAN

Heaven prosper, then, their watery wayfarings
If they'll leave us the land!--(The Imperial carriage appears.)
     The Emperor!--
Long live the Emperor!--He's the best by land.

  [BONAPARTE'S carriage arrives, without an escort.  The street
  lamps shine in, and reveal the EMPRESS JOSEPHINE seated beside
  him.  The plaudits of the people grow boisterous as they hail
  him Victor of Austerlitz.  The more active run after the carriage,
  which turns in from the Rue St. Honore to the Carrousel, and
  thence vanishes into the Court of the Tuileries.]


WOMAN

May all success attend his next exploit!


SPIRIT

     Namely: to put the knife in England's trade,
     And teach her treaty-manners--if he can!


WOMAN

I like not your queer knowledge, creepy man.
There's weirdness in your air.  I'd call you ghost
Had not the Goddess Reason laid all such
Past Mother Church's cunning to restore.
--Adieu.  I'll not be yours to-night.  I'd starve first!

  [She withdraws.  The crowd wastes away, and the Spirit vanishes.]



SCENE VIII

PUTNEY.  BOWLING GREEN HOUSE

  [PITT'S bedchamber, from the landing without.  It is afternoon.
  At the back of the room as seen through the doorway is a curtained
  bed, beside which a woman sits, the LADY HESTER STANHOPE.  Bending
  over a table at the front of the room is SIR WALTER FARQUHAR, the
  physician.  PARSLOW the footman and another servant are near the
  door.  TOMLINE, the Bishop of Lincoln, enters.]


FARQUHAR (in a subdued voice)

I grieve to call your lordship up again,
But symptoms lately have disclosed themselves
That mean the knell to the frail life in him.
And whatsoever thing of gravity
It may be needful to communicate,
Let them be spoken now.  Time may not serve
If they be much delayed.


TOMLINE

          Ah, stands it this? . . .
The name of his disease is--Austerlitz!
His brow's inscription has been Austerlitz
From that dire morning in the month just past
When tongues of rumour twanged the word across
From its hid nook on the Moravian plains.


FARQUHAR

And yet he might have borne it, had the weight
Of governmental shackles been unclasped,
Even partly, from his limbs last Lammastide,
When that despairing journey to the King
At Gloucester Lodge by Wessex shore was made
To beg such.  But relief the King refused.
"Why want you Fox?  What--Grenville and his friends?"
He harped.  "You are sufficient without these--
Rather than Fox, why, give me civil war!"
And fibre that would rather snap than shrink
Held out no longer.  Now the upshot nears.

  [LADY HESTER STANHOPE turns her head and comes forward.]


LADY HESTER

I am grateful you are here again, good friend!
He's sleeping some light seconds; but once more
Has asked for tidings of Lord Harrowby,
And murmured of his mission to Berlin
As Europe's haggard hope; if, sure, it be
That any hope remain!


TOMLINE

          There's no news yet.--
These several days while I have been sitting by him
He has inquired the quarter of the wind,
And where that moment beaked the stable-cock.
When I said "East," he answered "That is well!
Those are the breezes that will speed him home!"
So cling his heart-strings to his country's cause.


FARQUHAR

I fear that Wellesley's visit here by now
Strung him to tensest strain.  He quite broke down,
And has fast faded since.


LADY HESTER

          Ah! now he wakes.
Please come and speak to him as you would wish (to TOMLINE).

  [LADY HESTER, TOMLINE,and FARQUHAR retire behind the bed, where
  in a short time voices are heard in prayer.  Afterwards the
  Bishop goes to a writing-table, and LADY HESTER comes to the
  doorway.  Steps are heard on the stairs, and PITT'S friend ROSE,
  the President of the Board of Trade, appears on the landing and
  makes inquiries.]


LADY HESTER (whispering)

He wills the wardenry of his affairs
To his old friend the Bishop.  But his words
Bespeak too much anxiety for me,
And underrate his services so far
That he has doubts if his high deeds deserve
Such size of recognition by the State
As would award slim pensions to his kin.
He had been fain to write down his intents,
But the quill dropped from his unmuscled hand.--
Now his friend Tomline pens what he dictates
And gleans the lippings of his last desires.

  [ROSE and LADY HESTER turn.  They see the Bishop bending over
  the bed with a sheet of paper on which he has previously been
  writing.  A little later he dips a quill and holds it within
  the bed-curtain, spreading the paper beneath.  A thin white
  hand emerges from behind the curtain and signs the paper.  The
  Bishop beckons forward the two servants, who also sign.

  FARQUHAR on one side of the bed, and TOMLINE on the other, are
  spoken to by the dying man.  The Bishop afterwards withdraws
  from the bed and comes to the landing where the others are.]


TOMLINE

A list of his directions has been drawn,
And feeling somewhat more at mental ease
He asks Sir Walter if he has long to live.
Farquhar just answered, in a soothing tone,
That hope still frailly breathed recovery.
At this my dear friend smiled and shook his head,
As if to say: "I can translate your words,
But I reproach not friendship's lullabies."


ROSE

Rest he required; and rest was not for him.

  [FARQUHAR comes forward as they wait.]


FARQUHAR

His spell of concentration on these things,
Determined now, that long have wasted him,
Have left him in a numbing lethargy,
From which I fear he may not rouse to strength
For speech with earth again.


ROSE

     But hark.  He does.

  [The listen.]


PITT

My country!  How I leave my country! . . .


TOMLINE

          Ah,--
Immense the matter those poor words contain!


ROSE

Still does his soul stay wrestling with that theme,
And still it will, even semi-consciously,
Until the drama's done.

  [They continue to converse by the doorway in whispers.  PITT
  sinks slowly into a stupor, from which he never awakens.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES (to Spirit of the Years)

     Do you intend to speak to him ere the close?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Nay, I have spoke too often!  Time and time,
     When all Earth's light has lain on the nether side,
     And yapping midnight winds have leapt on the roofs,
     And raised for him an evil harlequinade
     Of national disasters in long train,
     That tortured him with harrowing grimace,
     Now I would leave him to pass out in peace,
     And seek the silence unperturbedly.


SPIRIT SINISTER

     Even ITS official Spirit can show ruth
     At man's fag end, when his destruction's sure!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     It suits us ill to cavil each with each.
     I might retort.  I only say to thee
     ITS slaves we are: ITS slaves must ever be!


CHORUS (aerial music)

     Yea, from the Void we fetch, like these,
          And tarry till That please
     To null us by Whose stress we emanate.--
          Our incorporeal sense,
     Our overseeings, our supernal state,
          Our readings Why and Whence,
     Are but the flower of Man's intelligence;
     And that but an unreckoned incident
     Of the all-urging Will, raptly magnipotent.

  [A gauze of shadow overdraws.]






PART SECOND



CHARACTERS


I. PHANTOM INTELLIGENCES

  
  THE ANCIENT SPIRIT OF THE YEARS/CHORUS OF THE YEARS.

  THE SPIRIT OF THE PITIES/CHORUS OF THE PITIES.

  SPIRITS SINISTER AND IRONIC/CHORUSES OF SINISTER AND IRONIC SPIRITS.

  THE SPIRIT OF RUMOUR/CHORUS OF RUMOURS.

  THE SHADE OF THE EARTH.

  SPIRIT-MESSENGERS.

  RECORDING ANGELS.


II. PERSONS (The names in lower case are mute figures.)


MEN

  GEORGE THE THIRD.
  THE PRINCE OF WALES, afterwards PRINCE REGENT.
  The Royal Dukes.
  FOX.
  PERCEVAL.
  CASTLEREAGH.
  AN UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE.
  SHERIDAN.
  TWO YOUNG LORDS.
  Lords Yarmouth and Keith.
  ANOTHER LORD.
  Other Peers, Ambassadors, Ministers, ex-Ministers, Members of
    Parliament, and Persons of Quality and Office.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  Sir Arthur Wellesley, afterwards Lord Wellington.
  SIR JOHN MOORE.
  SIR JOHN HOPE.
  Sir David Baird.
  General Beresford.
  COLONEL ANDERSON.
  COLONEL GRAHAM.
  MAJOR COLBORNE, principal Aide-de-Camp to MOORE.
  CAPTAIN HARDINGE.
  Paget, Fraser, Hill, Napier.
  A CAPTAIN OF HUSSARS AND OTHERS.
  Other English Generals, Colonels, Aides, Couriers, and Military
    Officers.
  TWO SPIES.
  TWO ARMY SURGEONS.
  AN ARMY CHAPLAIN.
  A SERGEANT OF THE FORTY-THIRD.
  TWO SOLDIERS OF THE NINTH.
  English Forces.
  DESERTERS AND STRAGGLERS.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  DR. WILLIS.
  SIR HENRY HALFORD.
  DR. HEBERDEN.
  DR. BAILLIE.
  THE KING'S APOTHECARY.
  A GENTLEMAN.
  TWO ATTENDANTS ON THE KING.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  MEMBERS OF A LONDON CLUB.
  AN ENGLISHMAN IN VIENNA.
  TROTTER, SECRETARY TO FOX.
  MR. BAGOT.
  MR. FORTH, MASTER OF CEREMONIES.
  SERVANTS.
  A Beau, A Constable, etc.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.
  Joseph Bonaparte.
  Louis and Jerome Bonaparte, and other Members of Napoleon's Family.
  CAMBACERES, ARCH-CHANCELLOR.
  TALLEYRAND.
  PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE.
  Caulaincourt.
  Lebrun, Duroc, Prince of Neufchatel, Grand-Duke of Berg.
  Eugene de Beauharnais.
  CHAMPAGNY, FOREIGN MINISTER
  DE BAUSSET, CHAMBERLAIN.
  MURAT.
  SOULT.
  MASSENA.
  BERTHIER.
  JUNOT.
  FOY.
  LOISON.
  Ney, Lannes, and other French Marshals, general and regimental
    Officers, Aides, and Couriers.
  TWO FRENCH SUBALTERNS.
  ANOTHER FRENCH OFFICER.
  French Forces.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  Grand Marshal, Grand Almoners, Heralds, and other Officials at
    Napoleon's  marriage.
  ABBE DE PRADT, CHAPEL-MASTER.
  Corvisart, First Physician to Marie Louis.
  BOURDIER, SECOND PHYSICIAN to Marie Louise.
  DUBOIS, ACCOUCHEUR to Marie Louise.
  Maskers at a Ball.
  TWO SERVANTS AT THE TUILERIES.
  A PARISIAN CROWD.
  GUILLET DE GEVRILLIERE, A CONSPIRATOR.
  Louis XVIII. of France.
  French Princes in England.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  THE KING OF PRUSSIA.
  Prince Henry of Prussia.
  Prince Royal of Bavaria.
  PRINCE HOHENLOHE.
  Generals Ruchel, Tauenzien, and Attendant Officers.
  Prussian Forces.
  PRUSSIAN STRAGGLERS.
  BERLIN CITIZENS.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  CARLOS IV., KING OF SPAIN.
  FERNANDO, PRINCE OF ASTURIAS, Son to the King.
  GODOY, "PRINCE OF PEACE," Lover of the Queen.
  COUNT OF MONTIJO.
  VISCOUNT MATEROSA, Spanish Deputy.
  DON DIEGO DE LA VEGA, Spanish Deputy.
  Godoy's Guards and other Soldiery.
  SPANISH CITIZENS.
  A SERVANT TO GODOY.
  Spanish Forces.
  Camp-Followers.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  FRANCIS, EMPEROR OF AUSTRIA.
  METTERNICH.
  ANOTHER AUSTRIAN MINISTER.
  SCHWARZENBERG.
  D'AUDENARDE, AN EQUERRY.
  AUSTRIAN OFFICERS.
  AIDES-DE-CAMP.
  Austrian Forces.
  Couriers and Secretaries.
  VIENNESE CITIZENS.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  THE EMPEROR ALEXANDER.
  The Grand-Duke Constantine.
  Prince Labanoff.
  Count Lieven.
  Generals Bennigsen, Ouwaroff, and others.
  Officers in attendance on Alexander.


WOMEN

  CAROLINE, PRINCESS OF WALES.
  DUCHESS OF YORK.
  DUCHESS OF RUTLAND.
  MARCHIONESS OF SALISBURY.
  MARCHIONESS OF HERTFORD.
  Other Peeresses.
  MRS. FITZHERBERT.
  Ambassadors' Wives, Wives of Minister and Members of Parliament,
    and other Ladies of Note.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  THE EMPRESS JOSEPHINE.
  HORTENSE, QUEEN OF HOLLAND.
  The Mother of Napoleon.
  Princess Pauline, and others of Napoleon's Family.
  DUCHESS OF MONTEBELLO.
  MADAME DE MONTESQUIOU.
  MADAME BLAISE, NURSE TO MARIE LOUIS.
  Wives of French Ministers, and of other Officials.
  Other Ladies of the French Court.
  DUCHESS OF ANGOULEME.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  LOUISA, QUEEN OF PRUSSIA.
  The Countess Voss, Lady-in-Waiting.
  BERLIN LADIES.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  MARIA LUISA, QUEEN OF SPAIN.
  THEREZA OF BOURBON, WIFE OF GODOY.
  DONA JOSEFA TUDO, MISTRESS OF GODOY.
  Lady-in-Waiting to the Queen.
  A Servant.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  M. LOUISA BEATRIX, EMPRESS OF AUSTRIA.
  THE ARCHDUCHESS MARIE LOUISA, afterwards the EMPRESS MARIE LOUISE.
  MADAME METTERNICH.
  LADIES OF THE AUSTRIAN COURT.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  THE EMPRESS-MOTHER OF RUSSIA.
  GRAND-DUCHESS ANNE OF RUSSIA.




ACT FIRST


SCENE I

LONDON.  FOX'S LODGINGS, ARLINGTON STREET

  [FOX, the Foreign Secretary in the new Ministry of All-the-Talents,
  sits at a table writing.  He is a stout, swarthy man, with shaggy
  eyebrows, and his breathing is somewhat obstructed.  His clothes
  look as though they had been slept in.  TROTTER, his private
  secretary, is writing at another table near.  A servant enters.]


SERVANT

Another stranger presses to see you, sir.


FOX (without raising his eyes)

Oh, another.  What's he like?


SERVANT

A foreigner, sir; though not so out-at-elbows as might be thought
from the denomination.  He says he's from Gravesend, having lately
left Paris, and that you sent him a passport.  He comes with a
police-officer.


FOX

Ah, to be sure.  I remember.  Bring him in, and tell the officer
to wait outside.  (Servant goes out.)  Trotter, will you leave us
for a few minutes?  But be within hail.

  [The secretary retires, and the servant shows in a man who calls
  himself GUILLET DE GEVRILLIERE--a tall, thin figure of thirty,
  with restless eyes.  The door being shut behind him, he is left
  alone with the minister.  FOX points to a seat, leans back, and
  surveys his visitor.]


GEVRILLIERE

Thanks to you, sir, for this high privilege
Of hailing England, and of entering here.
Without a fore-extended confidence
Like this of yours, my plans would not have sped.  (A Pause.)
Europe, alas! sir, has her waiting foot
Upon the sill of further slaughter-scenes!


FOX

I fear it is so!--In your lines you wrote,
I think, that you are a true Frenchman born?


GEVRILLIERE

I did, sir.

FOX

     How contrived you, then, to cross?


GEVRILLIERE

It was from Embden that I shipped for Gravesend,
In a small sailer called the "Toby," sir,
Masked under Prussian colours.  Embden I reached
On foot, on horseback, and by sundry shifts,
From Paris over Holland, secretly.


FOX

And you are stored with tidings of much pith,
Whose tenour would be priceless to the state?


GEVRILLIERE

I am.  It is, in brief, no more nor less
Than means to mitigate and even end
These welfare-wasting wars; ay, usher in
A painless spell of peace.


FOX

          Prithee speak on.
No statesman can desire it more than I.


GEVRILLIERE (looking to see that the door is shut)

No nation, sir, can live its natural life,
Or think its thoughts in these days unassailed,
No crown-capt head enjoy tranquillity.
The fount of such high spring-tide of disorder,
Fevered disquietude, and forceful death,
Is One,--a single man.  He--need I name?--
The ruler is of France.


FOX

          Well, in the past
I fear that it has liked so.  But we see
Good reason still to hope that broadening views,
Politer wisdom now is helping him
To saner guidance of his arrogant car.


GEVRILLIERE

The generous hope will never be fulfilled!
Ceasing to bluff, then ceases he to be.
None sees that written largelier than himself.


FOX

Then what may be the valued revelation
That you can unlock in such circumstance?
Sir, I incline to spell you as a spy,
And not the honest help for honest men
You gave you out to be!

GEVRILLIERE

          I beg, sir,
To spare me that suspicion.  Never a thought
Could be more groundless.  Solemnly I vow
That notwithstanding what his signals show
The Emperor of France is as I say.--
Yet bring I good assurance, and declare
A medicine for all bruised Europe's sores!


FOX (impatiently)

Well, parley to the point, for I confess
No new negotiation do I note
That you can open up to work such cure.


GEVRILLIERE

The sovereign remedy for an ill effect
Is the extinction of its evil cause.
Safely and surely how to compass this
I have the weighty honour to disclose,
Certain immunities being guaranteed
By those your power can influence, and yourself.


FOX (astonished)

Assassination?


GEVRILLIERE

          I care  not for names!
A deed's true name is as its purpose is.
The lexicon of Liberty and Peace
Defines not this deed as assassination;
Though maybe it is writ so in the tongue
Of courts and universal tyranny.

FOX

Why brought you this proposal here to me?


GEVRILLIERE

My knowledge of your love of things humane,
Things free, things fair, of truth, of tolerance,
Right, justice, national felicity,
Prompted belief and hope in such a man!--
The matter is by now well forwarded,
A house at Plassy hired as pivot-point
From which the sanct intention can be worked,
And soon made certain.  To our good allies
No risk attaches; merely to ourselves.


FOX (touching a private bell)

Sir, your unconscienced hardihood confounds me.
And your mind's measure of my character
Insults it sorely.  By your late-sent lines
Of specious import, by your bland address,
I have been led to prattle hopefully
With a cut-throat confessed!

  [The head constable and the secretary enter at the same moment.]

          Ere worse befall,
Sir, up and get you gone most dexterously!
Conduct this man: lose never sight of him (to the officer)
Till haled aboard some anchor-weighing craft
Bound to remotest coasts from us and France.


GEVRILLIERE (unmoved)

How you may handle me concerns me little.
The project will as roundly ripe itself
Without as with me.  Trusty souls remain,
Though my far bones bleach white on austral shores!--
I thank you for the audience.  Long ere this
I might have reft your life!  Ay, notice here--

  (He produces a dagger; which is snatched from him.)

They need not have done that!  Even had you risen
To wrestle with, insult, strike, pinion me,
It would have lain unused.  In hands like mine
And my allies', the man of peace is safe,
Treat as he may our corporal tenement
In his misreading of a moral code.

  [Exeunt GEVRILLIERE and the constable.]


FOX

Trotter, indeed you well may stare at me!
I look warm, eh?--and I am windless, too;
I have sufficient reason to be so.
That dignified and pensive gentleman
Was a bold bravo, waiting for his chance.
He sketched a scheme for murdering Bonaparte,
Either--as in my haste I understood--
By shooting from a window as he passed,
Or by some other wry and stealthy means
That haunt sad brains which brood on despotism,
But lack the tools to justly cope therewith! . . .
On later thoughts I feel not fully sure
If, in my ferment, I did right in this.
No; hail at once the man in charge of him,
And give the word that he is to be detained.

  [The secretary goes out.  FOX walks to the window in deep
  reflection till the secretary returns.]


SECRETARY

I was in time, sir.  He has been detained.


FOX

Now what does strict state-honour ask of me?--
No less than that I bare this poppling plot
To the French ruler and our fiercest foe!--
Maybe 'twas but a hoax to pocket pay;
And yet it can mean more . . .
The man's indifference to his own vague doom
Beamed out as one exalted trait in him,
And showed the altitude of his rash dream!--
Well, now I'll get me on to Downing Street,
There to draw up a note to Talleyrand
Retailing him the facts.--What signature
Subscribed this desperate fellow when he wrote?


SECRETARY

"Guillet de la Gevrilliere."  Here it stands.


FOX

Doubtless it was a false one.  Come along.  (Looking out the window.)
Ah--here's Sir Francis Vincent: he'll go with us.
Ugh, what a twinge!  Time signals that he draws
Towards the twelfth stroke of my working-day!
I fear old England soon must voice her speech
With Europe through another mouth than mine!


SECRETARY

I trust not, sir.  Though you should rest awhile.
The very servants half are invalid
From the unceasing labours of your post,
And these cloaked visitors of every clime
That market on your magnanimity
To gain an audience morning, night, and noon,
Leaving you no respite.


FOX

          'Tis true; 'tis true.--
How I shall love my summer holiday
At pleasant Saint-Ann's Hill!

  [He leans on the secretary's arm, and they go out.]



SCENE II

THE ROUTE BETWEEN LONDON AND PARIS

  [A view now nocturnal, now diurnal, from on high over the Straits
  of Dover, and stretching from city to city.  By night Paris and
  London seem each as a little swarm of lights surrounded by a halo;
  by day as a confused glitter of white and grey.  The Channel
  between them is as a mirror reflecting the sky, brightly or
  faintly, as the hour may be.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     What mean these couriers shooting shuttlewise
     To Paris and to London, turn and turn?


RUMOURS (chanting in antiphons)

I

The aforesaid tidings fro the minister, spokesman in England's
     cause to states afar,


II

Traverse the waters borne by one of such; and thereto Bonaparte's
     responses are:

I

"The principles of honour and of truth which ever actuate the
     sender's mind


II

"Herein are written largely!  Take our thanks: we read that
     this conjuncture undesigned


I

"Unfolds felicitous means of showing you that still our eyes
     are set, as yours, on peace,


II

"To which great end the Treaty of Amiens must be the ground-
     work of our amities."


I

From London then: "The path to amity the King of England
     studies to pursue;


II

"With Russia hand in hand he is yours to close the long
     convulsions thrilling Europe through."


I

Still fare the shadowy missioners across, by Dover-road and
     Calais Channel-track,


II

From Thames-side towers to Paris palace-gates; from Paris
     leisurely to London back.


I

Till thus speaks France: "Much grief it gives us that, being
     pledged to treat, one Emperor with one King,


II

"You yet have struck a jarring counternote and tone that keys
     not with such promising.


I

"In these last word, then, of this pregnant parle; I trust I
     may persuade your Excellency


II

"That in no circumstance, on no pretence, a party to our pact can
     Russia be."


SPIRIT SINISTER

Fortunately for the manufacture of corpses by machinery Napoleon
sticks to this veto, and so wards off the awkward catastrophe of
a general peace descending upon Europe.  Now England.


RUMOURS (continuing)

I

Thereon speeds down through Kent and Picardy, evenly as some
     southing sky-bird's shade:


II

"We gather not from your Imperial lines a reason why our words
     should be reweighed.

I

"We hold Russia not as our ally that is to be: she stands fully-
     plighted so;


II

"Thus trembles peace upon this balance-point: will you that
     Russia be let in or no?"


I

Then France rolls out rough words across the strait: "To treat
     with you confederate with the Tsar,


II

"Presumes us sunk in sloughs of shamefulness from which we yet
     stand gloriously afar!


I

"The English army must be Flanders-fed, and entering Picardy with
     pompous prance,


II

"To warrant such!  Enough.  Our comfort is, the crime of further
     strife lies not with France."


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Alas! what prayer will save the struggling lands,
     Whose lives are ninepins to these bowling hands?


CHORUS OF RUMOURS

     France secretly with--Russia plights her troth!
     Britain, that lonely isle, is slurred by both.


SPIRIT SINISTER

It is as neat as an uncovered check at chess!  You may now mark
Fox's blank countenance at finding himself thus rewarded for the
good turn done to Bonaparte, and at the extraordinary conduct of
his chilly friend the Muscovite.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     His hand so trembles it can scarce retain
     The quill wherewith he lets Lord Yarmouth know
     Reserve is no more needed!


SPIRIT IRONIC

Now enters another character of this remarkable little piece--Lord
Lauderdale--and again the messengers fly!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     But what strange figure, pale and noiseless, comes,
     By us perceived, unrecognized by those,
     Into the very closet and retreat
     Of England's Minister?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               The Tipstaff he
     Of the Will, the Many-masked, my good friend Death.--
     The statesman's feeble form you may perceive
     Now hustled into the Invisible,
     And the unfinished game of Dynasties
     Left to proceed without him!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               Here, then, ends
     My hope for Europe's reason-wrought repose!
     He was the friend of peace--did his great best
     To shed her balms upon humanity;
     And now he's gone!  No substitute remains.


SPIRIT IRONIC

Ay; the remainder of the episode is frankly farcical.  Negotiations
are again affected; but finally you discern Lauderdale applying for
passports; and the English Parliament declares to the nation that
peace with France cannot be made.


RUMOURS (concluding)

I

The smouldering dudgeon of the Prussian king, meanwhile, upon the
     horizon's rim afar


II

Bursts into running flame, that all his signs of friendliness were
     met by moves for war.


I

Attend and hear, for hear ye faintly may, his manifesto made at
     Erfurt town,


II

That to arms only dares he now confide the safety and the honour
     of his crown!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Draw down the curtain, then, and overscreen
     This too-protracted verbal fencing-scene;
     And let us turn to clanging foot and horse,
     Ordnance, and all the enginry of Force!

  [Clouds close over the perspective.]



SCENE III

THE STREETS OF BERLIN

  [It is afternoon, and the thoroughfares are crowded with citizens
  in an excited and anxious mood.  A central path is left open for
  some expected arrival.

  There enters on horseback a fair woman, whose rich brown curls
  stream flutteringly in the breeze, and whose long blue habit
  flaps against the flank of her curvetting white mare.  She is
  the renowned LOUISA, QUEEN OF PRUSSIA, riding at the head of a
  regiment of hussars and wearing their uniform.  As she prances
  along the thronging citizens acclaim her enthusiastically.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Who is this fragile fair, in fighting trim?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     She is the pride of Prussia, whose resolve
     Gives ballast to the purpose of her spouse,
     And holds him to what men call governing.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Queens have engaged in war; but war's loud trade
     Rings with a roar unnatural, fitful, forced,
     Practised by woman's hands!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Of her view
     The enterprise is that of scores of men,
     The strength but half-a-ones.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

          Would fate had ruled
     The valour had been his, hers but the charm!


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     But he has nothing on't, and she has all.
     The shameless satires of the bulletins
     dispatched to Paris, thence the wide world through,
     Disturb the dreams of her by those who love her,
     And thus her brave adventurers for the realm
     Have blurred her picture, soiled her gentleness,
     And wrought her credit harm.


FIRST CITIZEN (vociferously)

Yes, by God: send and ultimatum to Paris, by God; that's what we'll
do, by God.  The Confederation of the Rhine was the evil thought of
an evil man bent on ruining us!


SECOND CITIZEN

This country double-faced and double-tongued,
This France, or rather say, indeed, this Man--
(Peoples are honest dealers in the mass)--
This man, to sign a stealthy scroll with Russia
That shuts us off from all indemnities,
While swearing faithful friendship with our King,
And, still professing our safe wardenry,
To fatten other kingdoms at our cost,
Insults us grossly, and makes Europe clang
With echoes of our wrongs.  The little states
Of this antique and homely German land
Are severed from their blood-allies and kin--
Hereto of one tradition, interest, hope--
In calling lord this rank adventurer,
Who'll thrust them as a sword against ourselves.--
Surely Great Frederick sweats within his tomb!


THIRD CITIZEN

Well, we awake, though we have slumbered long,
And She is sent by Heaven to kindle us.

  [The QUEEN approaches to pass back again with her suite.  The
  vociferous applause is repeated.  They regard her as she nears.]

To cry her Amazon, a blusterer,
A brazen comrade of the bold dragoons
Whose uniform she dons!  Her, whose each act
Shows but a mettled modest woman's zeal,
Without a hazard of her dignity
Or moment's sacrifice of seemliness,
To fend off ill from home!


FOURTH CITIZEN (entering)

The tidings fly that Russian Alexander
Declines with emphasis to ratify
The pact of his ambassador with France,
And that the offer made the English King
To compensate the latter at our cost
Has not been taken.

THIRD CITIZEN

          And it never will be!
Thus evil does not always flourish, faith.
Throw down the gage while god is fair to us;
He may be foul anon!

(A pause.)


FIFTH CITIZEN (entering)

Our ambassador Lucchesini is already leaving Paris.  He could stand
the Emperor no longer, so the Emperor takes his place, has decided
to order his snuff by the ounce and his candles by the pound, lest
he should not be there long enough to use more.

  [The QUEEN goes by, and they gaze at here and at the escort of
  soldiers.]

Haven't we soldiers?  Haven't we the Duke of Brunswick to command
'em?  Haven't we provisions, hey?  Haven't we fortresses and an
Elbe, to bar the bounce of an invader?

  [The cavalcade passes out of sight and the crowd draws off.]

FIRST CITIZEN

By God, I must to beer and 'bacco, to soften my rage!

  [Exeunt citizens.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     So doth the Will objectify Itself
     In likeness of a sturdy people's wrath,
     Which takes no count of the new trends of time,
     Trusting ebbed glory in a present need.--
     What if their strength should equal not their fire,
     And their devotion dull their vigilance?--
     Uncertainly, by fits, the Will doth work
     In Brunswick's blood, their chief, as in themselves;
     It ramifies in streams that intermit
     And make their movement vague, old-fashioned, slow
     To foil the modern methods counterposed!

  [Evening descends on the city, and it grows dusk.  The soldiers
  being dismissed from duty, some young officers in a frolic of
  defiance halt, draw their swords and whet them on the steps of
  the FRENCH AMBASSADOR'S residence as they pass.  The noise of
  whetting is audible through the street.]


CHORUS OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

          The soul of a nation distrest
               Is aflame,
          And heaving with eager unrest
               In its aim
  To assert its old prowess, and stouten its chronicled fame!


SEMICHORUS I

          It boils in a boisterous thrill
               Through the mart,
          Unconscious well-nigh as the Will
               Of its part:
 Would it wholly might be so, and feel not the forthcoming smart!


SEMICHORUS II

          In conclaves no voice of reflection
               Is heard,
          King, Councillors, grudge circumspection
               A word,
  And victory is visioned, and seemings as facts are averred.


CHORUS

          Yea, the soul of a nation distrest
               Is aflame,
          And heaving with eager unrest
               In its aim
  At supreme desperations to blazon the national name!

  [Midnight strikes, lights are extinguished one by one, and the
  scene disappears.]



SCENE IV

THE FIELD OF JENA

  [Day has just dawned through a grey October haze.  The French,
  with their backs to the nebulous light, loom out and show
  themselves to be already under arms; LANNES holding the centre,
  NEY the right, SOULT the extreme right, and AUGEREAU the left.
  The Imperial Guard and MURAT'S cavalry are drawn up on the
  Landgrafenberg, behind the centre of the French position.  In
  a valley stretching along to the rear of this height flows
  northward towards the Elbe the little river Saale, on which
  the town of Jena stands.

  On the irregular plateaux in front of the French lines, and almost
  close to the latter, are the Prussians un TAUENZIEN; and away on
  their right rear towards Weimar the bulk of the army under PRINCE
  HOHENLOHE.  The DUKE OF BRUNSWICK (father of the Princess of
  Wales) is twelve miles off with his force at Auerstadt, in the
  valley of the Ilm.

  Enter NAPOLEON, and men bearing torches who escort him.  He moves
  along the front of his troops, and is lost to view behind the
  mist and surrounding objects.  But his voice is audible.]


NAPOLEON

Keep you good guard against their cavalry,
In past repute the formidablest known,
And such it may be now; so asks our heed.
Receive it, then, in square, unflinchingly.--
Remember, men, last year you captured Ulm,
So make no doubt that you will vanquish these!


SOLDIERS

Long live the Emperor!  Advance, advance!


DUMB SHOW

Almost immediately glimpses reveal that LANNES' corps is moving
forward, and amid an unbroken clatter of firelocks spreads out
further and wider upon the stretch of country in front of the
Landgrafenberg.  The Prussians, surprised at discerning in the
fog such masses of the enemy close at hand, recede towards the
Ilm.

From PRINCE HOHENLOHE, who is with the body of the Prussians on
the Weimar road to the south, comes perspiring the bulk of the
infantry to rally the retreating regiments of TAUENZIEN, and he
hastens up himself with the cavalry and artillery.  The action
is renewed between him and NEY as the clocks of Jena strike ten.

But AUGEREAU is seen coming to Ney's assistance on one flank of
the Prussians, SOULT bearing down on the other, while NAPOLEON
on the Landgrafenberg orders the Imperial Guard to advance.  The
doomed Prussians are driven back, this time more decisively,
falling in great numbers and losing many as prisoners as they
reel down the sloping land towards the banks of the Ilm behind
them.  GENERAL RUCHEL, in a last despairing effort to rally,
faces the French onset in person and alone.  He receives a bullet
through the chest and falls dead.

The crisis of the struggle is reached, though the battle is not
over.  NAPOLEON, discerning from the Landgrafenberg that the
decisive moment has come, directs MURAT to sweep forward with all
his cavalry.  It engages the shattered Prussians, surrounds them,
and cuts them down by thousands.

From behind the horizon, a dozen miles off, between the din of guns
in the visible battle, there can be heard an ominous roar, as of a
second invisible battle in progress there.  Generals and other
officers look at each other and hazard conjectures between whiles,
the French with exultation, the Prussians gloomily.


HOHENLOHE

That means the Duke of Brunswick, I conceive,
Impacting on the enemy's further force
Led by, they say, Davout and Bernadotte.
God grant his star less lurid rays then ours,
Or this too pregnant, hoarsely-groaning day
Shall, ere its loud delivery be done,
Have twinned disasters to the fatherland
That fifty years will fail to sepulchre!


Enter a straggler on horseback.


STRAGGLER

Prince, I have circuited by Auerstadt,
And bring ye dazzling tidings of the fight,
Which, if report by those who saw't be true,
Has raged thereat from clammy day-dawn on,
And left us victors!


HOHENLOHE

          Thitherward go I,
And patch the mischief wrought upon us here!


Enter a second and then a third straggler.

Well, wet-faced men, whence come ye?  What d'ye bring?


STRAGGLER II

Your Highness, I rode straight from Hassenhausen,
Across the stream of battle as it boiled
Betwixt that village and the banks of Saale,
And such the turmoil that no man could speak
On what the issue was!


HOHENLOHE (To Straggler III)

     Can you add aught?


STRAGGLER III

Nothing that's clear, your Highness.


HOHENLOHE

          Man, your mien
Is that of one who knows, but will not say.
Detain him here.


STRAGGLER III

          The blackness of my news,
Your Highness, darks my sense! . . . I saw this much:
His charging grenadiers, received in the face
A grape-shot stroke that gouged out half of it,
Proclaiming then and there his life fordone.


HOHENLOHE

Fallen?  Brunswick!  Reed in council, rock in fire . . .
Ah, this he looked for.  Many a time of late
Has he, by some strange gift of foreknowing,
Declared his fate was hovering in such wise!


STRAGGLER III

His aged form being borne beyond the strife,
The gallant Moellendorf, in flushed despair,
Swore he would not survive; and, pressing on,
He, too, was slaughtered.  Patriotic rage
Brimmed marshals' breasts and men's.  The King himself
Fought like the commonest.  But nothing served.
His horse is slain; his own doom yet unknown.
Prince William, too, is wounded.  Brave Schmettau
Is broke; himself disabled.  All give way,
And regiments crash like trees at felling-time!


HOHENLOHE

No more.  We match it here.  The yielding lines
Still sweep us backward.  Backward we must go!

  [Exeunt HOHENLOHE, Staff, stragglers, etc.]


The Prussian retreat from Jena quickens to a rout, many thousands
taken prisoners by MURAT, who pursues them to Weimar, where the
inhabitants fly shrieking through the streets.

The October day closes in to evening.  By this time the troops
retiring with the King of Prussia from the second battlefield
of Auerstadt have intersected RUCHEL'S and HOHENLOHE'S flying
battalions from Jena.  The crossing streams of fugitives strike
panic into each other, and the tumult increases with the
thickening darkness till night renders the scene invisible,
and nothing remains but a confused diminishing noise, and fitful
lights here and there.



SCENE V

BERLIN.  A ROOM OVERLOOKING A PUBLIC PLACE

  [A fluttering group of ladies is gathered at the window, gazing
  out and conversing anxiously.  The time draws towards noon, when
  the clatter of a galloping horse's hoofs is heard echoing up the
  long Potsdamer-Strasse, and presently turning into the Leipziger-
  Strasse reaches the open space commanded by the ladies' outlook.
  It ceases before a Government building opposite them, and the
  rider disappears into the courtyard.]


FIRST LADY

Yes: surely he is a courier from the field!


SECOND LADY

Shall we not hasten down, and take from him
The doom his tongue may deal us?


THIRD LADY

          We shall catch
As soon by watching here as hastening hence
The tenour of his new.  (They wait.)  Ah, yes: see--see
The bulletin is straightway to be nailed!
He was, then, from the field. . . .

  [They wait on while the bulletin is affixed.]


SECOND LADY

I cannot scan the words the scroll proclaims;
Peer as I will, these too quick-thronging dreads
Bring water to the eyes.  Grant us, good Heaven,
That victory be where she is needed most
To prove Thy goodness! . . . What do you make of it?


THIRD LADY (reading, through a glass)

"The battle strains us sorely; but resolve
May save us even now.  Our last attack
Has failed, with fearful loss.  Once more we strive."

  [A long silence in the room.  Another rider is heard approaching,
  above the murmur of the gathering citizens.  The second lady
  looks out.]


SECOND LADY

A straggler merely he. . . . But they decide,
At last, to post his news, wild-winged or no.


THIRD LADY (reading again through her glass)

"The Duke of Brunswick, leading on a charge,
Has met his death-doom.  Schmettau, too, is slain;
Prince William wounded.  But we stand as yet,
Engaging with the last of our reserves."

  [The agitation in the street communicates itself to the room.
  Some of the ladies weep silently as they wait, much longer this
  time.  Another horseman is at length heard clattering into the
  Platz, and they lean out again with painful eagerness.]


SECOND LADY

An adjutant of Marshal Moellendorf's
If I define him rightly.  Read--O read!--
Though reading draw them from their socket-holes
Use your eyes now!


THIRD LADY (glass up)

          As soon as 'tis affixed. . . .
Ah--this means much!  The people's air and gait
Too well betray disaster.  (Reading.)  "Berliners,
The King has lost the battle!  Bear it well.
The foremost duty of a citizen
Is to maintain a brave tranquillity.
This is what I, the Governor, demand
Of men and women now. . . . The King lives still."

  [They turn from the window and sit in a silence broken only by
  monosyllabic words, hearing abstractedly the dismay without
  that has followed the previous excitement and hope.

  The stagnation is ended by a cheering outside, of subdued
  emotional quality, mixed with sounds of grief.  They again
  look forth.  QUEEN LOUISA is leaving the city with a very
  small escort, and the populace seem overcome.  They strain
  their eyes after her as she disappears.  Enter fourth lady.]

FIRST LADY

How does she bear it?  Whither does she go?


FOURTH LADY

She goes to join the King at Custrin, there
To abide events--as we.  Her heroism
So schools her sense of her calamities
As out of grief to carve new queenliness,
And turn a mobile mien to statuesque,
Save for a sliding tear.

  [The ladies leave the window severally.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

     So the Will plays at flux and reflux still.
     This monarchy, one-half whose pedestal
     Is built of Polish bones, has bones home-made!
     Let the fair woman bear it.  Poland did.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Meanwhile the mighty Emperor nears apace,
     And soon will glitter at the city gates
     With palpitating drums, and breathing brass,
     And rampant joyful-jingling retinue.

  [An evening mist cloaks the scene.]



SCENE VI

THE SAME

  [It is a brilliant morning, with a fresh breeze, and not a cloud.
  The open Platz and the adjoining streets are filled with dense
  crowds of citizens, in whose upturned faces curiosity has
  mastered consternation and grief.

  Martial music is heard, at first faint, then louder, followed
  by a trampling of innumerable horses and a clanking of arms and
  accoutrements.  Through a street on the right hand of the view
  from the windows come troops of French dragoons heralding the
  arrival of BONAPARTE.

  Re-enter the room hurriedly and cross to the windows several
  ladies as before, some in tears.]


FIRST LADY

The kingdom late of Prussia, can it be
That thus it disappears?--a patriot-cry,
A battle, bravery, ruin; and no more?


SECOND LADY

Thank God the Queen's gone!


THIRD LADY

          To what sanctuary?
From earthquake shocks there is no sheltering cell!
--Is this what men call conquest?  Must it close
As historied conquests do, or be annulled
By modern reason and the urbaner sense?--
Such issue none would venture to predict,
Yet folly 'twere to nourish foreshaped fears
And suffer in conjecture and in deed.--
If verily our country be dislimbed,
Then at the mercy of his domination
The face of earth will lie, and vassal kings
Stand waiting on himself the Overking,
Who ruling rules all; till desperateness
Sting and excite a bonded last resistance,
And work its own release.


SECOND LADY

          He comes even now
From sacrilege.  I learn that, since the fight,
In marching here by Potsdam yesterday,
Sans-Souci Palace drew his curious feet,
Where even great Frederick's tomb was bared to him.


FOURTH LADY

All objects on the Palace--cared for, kept
Even as they were when our arch-monarch died--
The books, the chair, the inkhorn, and the pen
He quizzed with flippant curiosity;
And entering where our hero's bones are urned
He seized the sword and standards treasured there,
And with a mixed effrontery and regard
Declared they should be all dispatched to Paris
As gifts to the Hotel des Invalides.


THIRD LADY

Such rodomontade is cheap: what matters it!

  [A galaxy of marshals, forming Napoleon's staff, now enters the
  Platz immediately before the windows.  In the midst rides the
  EMPEROR himself.  The ladies are silent.  The procession passes
  along the front until it reaches the entrance to the Royal Palace.
  At the door NAPOLEON descends from his horse and goes into the
  building amid the resonant trumpetings of his soldiers and the
  silence of the crowd.]


SECOND LADY (impressed)

O why does such a man debase himself
By countenancing loud scurrility
Against a queen who cannot make reprise!
A power so ponderous needs no littleness--
The last resort of feeble desperates!

  [Enter fifth lady.]


FIFTH LADY (breathlessly)

Humiliation grows acuter still.
He placards rhetoric to his soldiery
On their distress of us and our allies,
Declaring he'll not stack away his arms
Till he has choked the remaining foes of France
In their own gainful glut.--Whom means he, think you?


FIRST LADY

Us?


THIRD LADY

     Russia?  Austria?


FIFTH LADY

          Neither: England.--Yea,
Her he still holds the master mischief-mind,
And marrer of the countries' quietude,
By exercising untold tyranny
Over all the ports and seas.


SECOND LADY

          Then England's doomed!
When he has overturned the Russian rule,
England comes next for wrack.  They say that know! . . .
Look--he has entered by the Royal doors
And makes the Palace his.--Now let us go!--
Our course, alas! is--whither?

  [Exeunt ladies.  The curtain drops temporarily.]


SEMICHORUS I OF IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

     Deeming himself omnipotent
     With the Kings of the Christian continent,
     To warden the waves was his further bent.


SEMICHORUS II

     But the weaving Will from eternity,
     (Hemming them in by a circling sea)
     Evolved the fleet of the Englishry.


SEMICHORUS I

     The wane of his armaments ill-advised,
     At Trafalgar, to a force despised,
     Was a wound which never has cicatrized.


SEMICHORUS II

     This, O this is the cramp that grips!
     And freezes the Emperor's finger-tips
     From signing a peace with the Land of Ships.


CHORUS

     The Universal-empire plot
     Demands the rule of that wave-walled spot;
     And peace with England cometh not!


THE SCENE REOPENS

  [A lurid gloom now envelops the Platz and city; and Bonaparte
  is heard as from the Palace:


VOICE OF NAPOLEON

These monstrous violations being in train
Of law and national integrities
By English arrogance in things marine,
(Which dares to capture simple merchant-craft,
In honest quest of harmless merchandize,
For crime of kinship to a hostile power)
Our vast, effectual, and majestic strokes
In this unmatched campaign, enable me
To bar from commerce with the Continent
All keels of English frame.  Hence I decree:--


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     This outlines his renowned "Berlin Decree."
     Maybe he meditates its scheme in sleep,
     Or hints it to his suite, or syllables it
     While shaping, to his scribes.


VOICE OF NAPOLEON

All England's ports to suffer strict blockade;
All traffic with that land to cease forthwith;
All natives of her isles, wherever met,
To be detained as windfalls of the war.
All chattels of her make, material, mould,
To be good prize wherever pounced upon:
And never a bottom hailing from her shores
But shall be barred from every haven here.
This for her monstrous harms to human rights,
And shameless sauciness to neighbour powers!


SPIRIT SINISTER

I spell herein that our excellently high-coloured drama is not
played out yet!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Nor will it be for many a month of moans,
     And summer shocks, and winter-whitened bones.

  [The night gets darker, and the Palace outlines are lost.]



SCENE VII

TILSIT AND THE RIVER NIEMEN

  [The scene is viewed from the windows of BONAPARTE'S temporary
  quarters.  Some sub-officers of his suite are looking out upon
  it.

  It is the day after midsummer, about one o'clock.  A multitude
  of soldiery and spectators lines each bank of the broad river
  which, stealing slowly north-west, bears almost exactly in its
  midst a moored raft of bonded timber.  On this as a floor stands
  a gorgeous pavilion of draped woodwork, having at each side,
  facing the respective banks of the stream, a round-headed doorway
  richly festooned.  The cumbersome erection acquires from the
  current a rhythmical movement, as if it were breathing, and the
  breeze now and then produces a shiver on the face of the stream.]


DUMB SHOW

On the south-west or Prussian side rides the EMPEROR NAPOLEON
in uniform, attended by the GRAND DUKE OF BERG, the PRINCE OF
NEUFCHATEL, MARSHAL BESSIERES, DUROC Marshal of the Palace, and
CAULAINCOURT Master of the Horse.  The EMPEROR looks well, but is
growing fat.  They embark on an ornamental barge in front of them,
which immediately puts off.  It is now apparent to the watchers
that a precisely similar enactment has simultaneously taken place
on the opposite or Russian bank, the chief figure being the
EMPEROR ALEXANDER--a graceful, flexible man of thirty, with a
courteous manner and good-natured face.  He has come out from
an inn on that side accompanied by the GRAND DUKE CONSTANTINE,
GENERAL BENNIGSEN, GENERAL OUWAROFF, PRINCE LABANOFF, and ADJUTANT-
GENERAL COUNT LIEVEN.

The two barges draw towards the raft, reaching the opposite sides
of it about the same time, amidst discharges of cannon.  Each
Emperor enters the door that faces him, and meeting in the centre
of the pavilion they formally embrace each other.  They retire
together to the screened interior, the suite of each remaining in
the outer half of the pavilion.

More than an hour passes while they are thus invisible.  The French
officers who have observed the scene from the lodging of NAPOLEON
walk about idly, and ever and anon go curiously to the windows,
again to watch the raft.


CHORUS OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

The prelude to this smooth scene--mark well!--were the shocks
     whereof the times gave token
Vaguely to us ere last year's snows shut over Lithuanian pine
     and pool,
Which we told at the fall of the faded leaf, when the pride of
     Prussia was bruised and broken,
And the Man of Adventure sat in the seat of the Man of Method
     and rigid Rule.


SEMICHORUS I OF THE PITIES

Snows incarnadined were thine, O Eylau, field of the wide white
     spaces,
And frozen lakes, and frozen limbs, and blood iced hard as it left
     the veins:
Steel-cased squadrons swathed in cloud-drift, plunging to doom
     through pathless places,
And forty thousand dead and near dead, strewing the early-lighted
     plains.
Friedland to these adds its tale of victims, its midnight marches
  and hot collisions,
Its plunge, at his word, on the enemy hooped by the bended river
     and famed Mill stream,
As he shatters the moves of the loose-knit nations to curb his
     exploitful soul's ambitions,
And their great Confederacy dissolves like the diorama of a dream.


DUMB SHOW (continues)

NAPOLEON and ALEXANDER emerge from their seclusion, and each is
beheld talking to the suite of his companion apparently in
flattering compliment.  An effusive parting, which signifies
itself to be but temporary, is followed by their return to the
river shores amid the cheers of the spectators.

NAPOLEON and his marshals arrive at the door of his quarters and
enter, and pass out of sight to other rooms than that of the
foreground in which the observers are loitering.  Dumb show ends.

  [A murmured conversation grows audible, carried on by two persons
  in the crowd beneath the open windows.  Their dress being the
  native one, and their tongue unfamiliar, they seem to the officers
  to be merely inhabitants gossiping; and their voices continue
  unheeded.]


FIRST ENGLISH SPY(14) (below)

Did you get much for me to send on?


SECOND ENGLISH SPY

Much; and startling, too.  "Why are we at war?" says Napoleon when
they met.--"Ah--why!" said t'other.--"Well," said Boney, "I am
fighting you only as an ally of the English, and you are simply
serving them, and not yourself, in fighting me."--"In that case,"
says Alexander, "we shall soon be friends, for I owe her as great
a grudge as you."


FIRST SPY

Dammy, go that length, did they!


SECOND SPY

Then they plunged into the old story about English selfishness,
and greed, and duplicity.  But the climax related to Spain, and
it amounted to this: they agreed that the Bourbons of the Spanish
throne should be made to abdicate, and Bonaparte's relations set
up as sovereigns instead of them.


FIRST SPY

Somebody must ride like hell to let our Cabinet know!


SECOND SPY

I have written it down in cipher, not to trust to memory, and to
guard against accidents.--They also agree that France should have
the Pope's dominions, Malta, and Egypt; that Napoleon's brother
Joseph should have Sicily as well as Naples, and that they would
partition the Ottoman Empire between them.


FIRST SPY

Cutting up Europe like a plum-pudding.  Par nobile fratrum!


SECOND SPY

Then they worthy pair came to poor Prussia, whom Alexander, they
say, was anxious about, as he is under engagements to her.  It
seems that Napoleon agrees to restore to the King as many of his
states as will cover Alexander's promise, so that the Tsar may
feel free to strike out in this new line with his new friend.


FIRST SPY

Surely this is but surmise?


SECOND SPY

Not at all.  One of the suite overheard, and I got round him.  There
was much more, which I did not learn.  But they are going to soothe
and flatter the unfortunate King and Queen by asking them to a banquet
here.


FIRST SPY

Such a spirited woman will never come!


SECOND SPY

We shall see.  Whom necessity compels needs must: and she has gone
through an Iliad of woes!


FIRST SPY

It is this Spanish business that will stagger England, by God!  And
now to let her know it.


FRENCH SUBALTERN (looking out above)

What are those townspeople talking about so earnestly, I wonder?  The
lingo of this place has an accent akin to English.


SECOND SUBALTERN

No doubt because the races are both Teutonic.

  [The spies observe that they are noticed, and disappear in the
  crowd.  The curtain drops.]



SCENE VIII

THE SAME

  [The midsummer sun is low, and a long table in the aforeshown
  apartment is laid out for a dinner, among the decorations being
  bunches of the season's roses.

  At the vacant end of the room (divided from the dining end by
  folding-doors, now open) there are discovered the EMPEROR NAPOLEON,
  the GRAND-DUKE CONSTANTINE, PRINCE HENRY OF PRUSSIA, the PRINCE
  ROYAL OF BAVARIA, the GRAND DUKE OF BERG, and attendant officers.

  Enter the TSAR ALEXANDER.  NAPOLEON welcomes him, and the twain
  move apart from the rest.  BONAPARTE placing a chair for his
  visitor and flinging himself down on another.]


NAPOLEON

The comforts I can offer are not great,
Nor is the accommodation more than scant
That falls to me for hospitality;
But, as it is, accept.


ALEXANDER

          It serves well.
And to unbrace the bandages of state
Is as clear air to incense-stifled souls.
What of the Queen?


NAPOLEON

          She's coming with the King.
We have some quarter-hour to spare or more
Before their Majesties are timed for us.


ALEXANDER

Good.  I would speak of them.  That she should show here
After the late events, betokens much!
Abasement in so proud a woman's heart  (His voice grows tremulous.)
Is not without a dash of painfulness.
And I beseech you, sire, that you hold out
Some soothing hope for her?


NAPOLEON

          I have, already!--
Now, sire, to those affairs we entered on:
Strong friendship, grown secure, bids me repeat
That you have been much duped by your allies.

  [ALEXANDER shows mortification.]

Prussia's a shuffler, England a self-seeker,
Nobility has shone in you alone.
Your error grew of over-generous dreams,
And misbeliefs by dullard ministers.
By treating personally we speed affairs
More in an hour than they in blundering months.
Between us two, henceforth, must stand no third.
There's peril in it, while England's mean ambition
Still works to get us skewered by the ears;
And in this view your chiefs-of-staff concur.


ALEXANDER

The judgment of my officers I share.


NAPOLEON

To recapitulate.  Nothing can greaten you
Like this alliance.  Providence has flung
My good friend Sultan Selim from his throne,
Leaving me free in dealings with the Porte;
And I discern the hour as one to end
A rule that Time no longer lets cohere.
If I abstain, its spoils will go to swell
The power of this same England, our annoy;
That country which enchains the trade of towns
With such bold reach as to monopolize,
Among the rest, the whole of Petersburg's--
Ay!--through her purse, friend, as the lender there!--
Shutting that purse, she may incite to--what?
Muscovy's fall, its ruler's murdering.
Her fleet at any minute can encoop
Yours in the Baltic; in the Black Sea, too;
And keep you snug as minnows in a glass!

Hence we, fast-fellowed by our mutual foes,
Seaward the British, Germany by land,
And having compassed, for our common good,
The Turkish Empire's due partitioning,
As comrades can conjunctly rule the world
To its own gain and our eternal fame!


ALEXANDER (stirred and flushed)

I see vast prospects opened!--yet, in truth,
Ere you, sire, broached these themes, their outlines loomed
Not seldom in my own imaginings;
But with less clear a vision than endows
So great a captain, statesman, philosoph,
As centre in yourself; whom had I known
Sooner by some few years, months, even weeks,
I had been spared full many a fault of rule.
--Now as to Austria.  Should we call her in?


NAPOLEON

Two in a bed I have slept, but never three.


ALEXANDER

Ha-ha!  Delightful.  And, then nextly, Spain?


NAPOLEON

I lighted on some letters at Berlin,
Wherein King Carlos offered to attack me.
A Bourbon, minded thus, so near as Spain,
Is dangerous stuff.  He must be seen to soon! . . .
A draft, then, of our treaty being penned,
We will peruse it later.  If King George
Will not, upon the terms there offered him,
Conclude a ready peace, he can be forced.
Trumpet yourself as France's firm ally,
And Austria will fain to do the same:
England, left nude to such joint harassment,
Must shiver--fall.


ALEXANDER (with naive enthusiasm)

     It is a great alliance!


NAPOLEON

Would it were one in blood as well as brain--
Of family hopes, and sweet domestic bliss!


ALEXANDER

Ah--is it to my sister you refer?


NAPOLEON

The launching of a lineal progeny
Has been much pressed upon me, much, of late,
For reasons which I will not dwell on now.
Staid counsellors, my brother Joseph, too,
Urge that I loose the Empress by divorce,
And re-wive promptly for the country's good.
Princesses even have been named for me!--
However this, to-day, is premature,
And 'twixt ourselves alone. . . .

The Queen of Prussia must ere long be here:
Berthier escorts her.  And the King, too, comes.
She's one whom you admire?


ALEXANDER (reddening ingenuously)

          Yes. . . . Formerly
I had--did feel that some faint fascination
Vaguely adorned her form.  And, to be plain,
Certain reports have been calumnious,
And wronged an honest woman.


NAPOLEON

          As I knew!
But she is wearing thready: why, her years
Must be full one-and-thirty, if she's one.


ALEXANDER (quickly)

No, sire.  She's twenty-nine.  If traits teach more
It means that cruel memory gnaws at her
As fair inciter to that fatal war
Which broke her to the dust! . . . I do confess
(Since now we speak on't) that this sacrifice
Prussia is doomed to, still disquiets me.
Unhappy King!  When I recall the oaths
Sworn him upon great Frederick's sepulchre,
And--and my promises to his sad Queen,
It pricks me that his realm and revenues
Should be stript down to the mere half they were!


NAPOLEON (cooly)

Believe me, 'tis but my regard for you
Which lets me leave him that!  Far easier 'twere
To leave him none at all.

  [He rises and goes to the window.]

          But here they are.
No; it's the Queen alone, with Berthier
As I directed.  Then the King will follow.


ALEXANDER

Let me, sire, urge your courtesy to bestow
Some gentle words on her?


NAPOLEON

     Ay, ay; I will.

  [Enter QUEEN LOUISA OF PRUSSIA on the arm of BERTHIER.  She
  appears in majestic garments and with a smile on her lips, so
  that her still great beauty is impressive.  But her eyes bear
  traces of tears.  She accepts NAPOLEON'S attentions with the
  stormily sad air of a wounded beauty.  Whilst she is being
  received the KING arrives.  He is a plain, shy, honest-faced,
  awkward man, with a wrecked and solitary look.  His manner to
  NAPOLEON is, nevertheless, dignified, and even stiff.
  
  The company move into the inner half of the room, where the
  tables are, and the folding-doors being shut, they seat themselves
  at dinner, the QUEEN taking a place between NAPOLEON and ALEXANDER.]


NAPOLEON

Madame, I love magnificent attire;
But in the present instance can but note
That each bright knot and jewel less adorns
The brighter wearer than the wearer it!


QUEEN (with a sigh)

You praise one, sire, whom now the wanton world
Has learnt to cease from praising!  But such words
From such a quarter are of worth no less.


NAPOLEON

Of worth as candour, madame; not as gauge.
Your reach in rarity outsoars my scope.
Yet, do you know, a troop of my hussars,
That last October day, nigh captured you?


QUEEN

Nay!  Never a single Frenchman did I see.


NAPOLEON

Not less it was that you exposed yourself,
And should have been protected.  But at Weimar,
Had you but sought me, 'twould have bettered you.


QUEEN

I had no zeal to meet you, sire, alas!


NAPOLEON (after a silence)

And how at Memel do you sport with time?


QUEEN

Sport?  I!--I pore on musty chronicles,
And muse on usurpations long forgot,
And other historied dramas of high wrong!


NAPOLEON

Why con not annals of your own rich age?
They treasure acts well fit for pondering.


QUEEN

I am reminded too much of my age
By having had to live in it.  May Heaven
Defend me now, and my wan ghost anon,
From conning it again!


NAPOLEON

          Alas, alas!
Too grievous, this, for one who is yet a queen!


QUEEN

No; I have cause for vials more of grief.--
Prussia was blind in blazoning her power
Against the Mage of Earth! . . .
The embers of great Frederick's deeds inflamed her:
His glories swelled her to her ruining.
Too well has she been punished!  (Emotion stops her.)


ALEXANDER (in a low voice, looking anxiously at her)

          Say not so.
You speak as all were lost.  Things are not thus!
Such desperation has unreason in it,
And bleeds the hearts that crave to comfort you.


NAPOLEON (to the King)

I trust the treaty, further pondered, sire,
Has consolations?


KING (curtly)

          I am a luckless man;
And muster strength to bear my lucklessness
Without vain hope of consolations now.
One thing, at least, I trust I have shown you, sire
That _I_ provoked not this calamity!
At Anspach first my feud with you began--
Anspach, my Eden, violated and shamed
By blushless tramplings of your legions there!


NAPOLEON

It's rather late, methinks, to talk thus now.


KING (with more choler)

Never too late for truth and plainspeaking!


NAPOLEON (blandly)

To your ally, the Tsar, I must refer you.
He was it, and not I, who tempted you
To push for war, when Eylau must have shown
Your every profit to have lain in peace.--
He can indemn; yes, much or small; and may.


KING (with a head-shake)

I would make up, would well make up, my mind
To half my kingdom's loss, could in such limb
But Magdeburg not lie.  Dear Magdeburg,
Place of my heart-hold; THAT I would retain!


NAPOLEON

Our words take not such pattern as is wont
To grace occasions of festivity.

  [He turns brusquely from the King.  The banquet proceeds with a
  more general conversation.  When finished a toast is proposed:
  "The Freedom of the Seas," and drunk with enthusiasm.]


SPIRIT SINISTER

     Another hit at England and her tubs!
     I hear harsh echoes from her chalky chines.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     O heed not England now!  Still read the Queen.
     One grieves to see her spend her pretty spells
     Upon the man who has so injured her.

  [They rise from table, and the folding-doors being opened they pass
  into the adjoining room.

  Here are now assembled MURAT, TALLEYRAND, KOURAKIN, KALKREUTH,
  BERTHIER, BESSIERES, CAULAINCOURT, LABANOFF, BENNIGSEN, and others.
  NAPOLEON having spoken a few words here and there resumes his
  conversation with QUEEN LOUISA, and parenthetically offers snuff
  to the COUNTESS VOSS, her lady-in-waiting.  TALLEYRAND, who has
  observed NAPOLEON'S growing interest in the QUEEN, contrives to
  get near him.]


TALLEYRAND (in a whisper)

Sire, is it possible that you can bend
To let one woman's fairness filch from you
All the resplendent fortune that attends
The grandest victory of your grand career?

  [The QUEEN'S quick eye observes and flashes at the whisper, and
  she obtains a word with the minister.]


QUEEN (sarcastically)

I should infer, dear Monsieur Talleyrand,
Only two persons in the world regret
My having come to Tilsit.


TALLEYRAND

          Madame, two?
Can any!--who may such sad rascals be?


QUEEN

You, and myself, Prince.  (Gravely.)  Yes! myself and you.

  [TALLEYRAND'S face becomes impassive, and he does not reply.
  Soon the QUEEN prepares to leave, and NAPOLEON rejoins her.]


NAPOLEON (taking a rose from a vase)

Dear Queen, do pray accept this little token
As souvenir of me before you go?

  [He offers her the rose, with his hand on his heart.  She
  hesitates, but accepts it.]


QUEEN (impulsively, with waiting tears)

Let Magdeburg come with it, sire!  O yes!


NAPOLEON (with sudden frigidity)

It is for you to take what I can give.
And I give this--no more.(15)

  [She turns her head to hide her emotion, and withdraws.  NAPOLEON
  steps up to her, and offers his arm.  She takes it silently, and
  he perceives the tears on her cheeks.  They cross towards the ante-
  room, away from the other guests.]


NAPOLEON (softly)

Still weeping, dearest lady!  Why is this?


QUEEN (seizing his hand and pressing it)

Your speeches darn the tearings of your sword!--
Between us two, as man and woman now,
Is't even possible you question why!
O why did not the Greatest of the Age--
Of future ages--of the ages past,
This one time win a woman's worship--yea,
For all her little life!


NAPOLEON (gravely)

          Know you, my Fair
That I--ay, I--in this deserve your pity.--
Some force within me, baffling mine intent,
Harries me onward, whether I will or no.
My star, my star is what's to blame--not I.
It is unswervable!


QUEEN

          Then now, alas!
My duty's done as mother, wife, and queen.--
I'll say no more--but that my heart is broken!

  [Exeunt NAPOLEON, QUEEN, and LADY-IN-WAITING.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     He spoke thus at the Bridge of Lodi.  Strange,
     He's of the few in Europe who discern
     The working of the Will.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               If that be so,
     Better for Europe lacked he such discerning!

  [NAPOLEON returns to the room and joins TALLEYRAND.]


NAPOLEON (aside to his minister)

My God, it was touch-and-go that time, Talleyrand!  She was within
an ace of getting over me.  As she stepped into the carriage she
said in her pretty way, "O I have been cruelly deceived by you!"
And when she sank down inside, not knowing I heard, she burst into
sobs fit to move a statue.  The Devil take me if I hadn't a good
mind to stop the horses, jump in, give her a good kissing, and
agree to all she wanted.  Ha-ha, well; a miss is as good as a mile.
Had she come sooner with those sweet, beseeching blue eyes of hers,
who knows what might not have happened!  But she didn't come sooner,
and I have kept in my right mind.

  [The RUSSIAN EMPEROR, the KING OF PRUSSIA, and other guests advance
  to bid adieu.  They depart severally.  When they are gone NAPOLEON
  turns to TALLEYRAND.]

Adhere, then, to the treaty as it stands:
Change not therein a single article,
But write it fair forthwith.

  [Exeunt NAPOLEON, TALLEYRAND, and other ministers and officers in
  waiting.[


SHADE OF THE EARTH

     Some surly voice afar I heard now
     Of an enisled Britannic quality;
     Wots any of the cause?


SPIRIT IRONIC

               Perchance I do!
     Britain is roused, in her slow, stolid style,
     By Bonaparte's pronouncement at Berlin
     Against her cargoes, commerce, life itself;
     And now from out her water citadel
     Blows counterblasting "Orders."  Rumours tell.


RUMOUR I

     "From havens of fierce France and her allies,
     With poor or precious freight of merchandize
     Whoso adventures, England pounds as prize!"


RUMOUR II

     Thereat Napoleon names her, furiously,
     Curst Oligarch, Arch-pirate of the sea,
     Who shall lack room to live while liveth he!


CHORUS OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     And peoples are enmeshed in new calamity!

  [Curtain of Evening Shades.]




ACT SECOND


SCENE I

THE PYRENEES AND VALLEYS ADJOINING

  [The view is from upper air, immediately over the region that
  lies between Bayonne on the north, Pampeluna on the south, and
  San Sebastian on the west, including a portion of the Cantabrian
  mountains.  The month is February, and snow covers not only the
  peaks but the lower slopes.  The roads over the passes are well
  beaten.]


DUMB SHOW

At various elevations multitudes of NAPOLEON'S soldiery, to the
number of about thirty thousand, are discerned in a creeping
progress across the frontier from the French to the Spanish side.
The thin long columns serpentine along the roads, but are sometimes
broken, while at others they disappear altogether behind vertical
rocks and overhanging woods.  The heavy guns and the whitey-brown
tilts of the baggage-waggons seem the largest objects in the
procession, which are dragged laboriously up the incline to the
watershed, their lumbering being audible as high as the clouds.

Simultaneously the river Bidassoa, in a valley to the west, is
being crossed by a train of artillery and another thirty thousand
men, all forming part of  the same systematic advance.

Along the great highway through Biscay the wondering native
carters draw their sheep-skinned ox-teams aside, to let the
regiments pass, and stray groups of peaceable field-workers
in Navarre look inquiringly at the marching and prancing
progress.

Time passes, and the various northern strongholds are approached
by these legions.  Their governors emerge at a summons, and when
seeming explanations have been given the unwelcome comers are
doubtfully admitted.

The chief places to which entrance is thus obtained are Pampeluna
and San Sebastian at the front of the scene, and far away towards
the shining horizon of the Mediterranean, Figueras, and Barcelona.

Dumb Show concludes as the mountain mists close over.



SCENE II

ARANJUEZ, NEAR MADRID.  A ROOM IN THE PALACE OF GODOY, THE "PRINCE
       OF PEACE"

  [A private chamber is disclosed, richly furnished with paintings,
  vases, mirrors, silk hangings, gilded lounges, and several lutes
  of rare workmanship.  The hour is midnight, the room being lit
  by screened candelabra.  In the centre at the back of the scene
  is a large window heavily curtained.

  GODOY and the QUEEN MARIA LUISA are dallying on a sofa.  THE
  PRINCE OF PEACE is a fine handsome man in middle life, with
  curled hair and a mien of easy good-nature.  The QUEEN is older,
  but looks younger in the dim light, from the lavish use of
  beautifying arts.  She has pronounced features, dark eyes, low
  brows, black hair bound by a jewelled bandeau, and brought forward
  in curls over her forehead and temples, long heavy ear-rings, an
  open bodice, and sleeves puffed at the shoulders.  A cloak and
  other mufflers lie on a chair beside her.]


GODOY

The life-guards still insist, Love, that the King
Shall not leave Aranjuez.


QUEEN

          Let them insist.
Whether we stay, or whether we depart,
Napoleon soon draws hither with his host!


GODOY

He says he comes pacifically. . . . But no!


QUEEN

Dearest, we must away to Andalusia,
Thence to America when time shall serve.


GODOY

I hold seven thousand men to cover us,
And ships in Cadiz port.  But then--the Prince
Flatly declines to go.  He lauds the French
As true deliverers.


QUEEN

          Go Fernando MUST! . . .
O my sweet friend, that we--our sole two selves--
Could but escape and leave the rest to fate,
And in a western bower dream out our days!--
For the King's glass can run but briefly now,
Shattered and shaken as his vigour is.--
But ah--your love burns not in singleness!
Why, dear, caress Josefa Tudo still?
She does not solve her soul in yours as I.
And why those others even more than her? . . .
How little own I in thee!


GODOY

          Such must be.
I cannot quite forsake them.  Don't forget
The same scope has been yours in former years.


QUEEN

Yes, Love; I know.  I yield!  You cannot leave them;
But if you ever would bethink yourself
How long I have been yours, how truly all
Those other pleasures were my desperate shifts
To soften sorrow at your absences,
You would be faithful to me!


GODOY

          True, my dear.--
Yet I do passably keep troth with you,
And fond you with fair regularity;--
A week beside you, and a week away.
Such is not schemed without some risk and strain.--
And you agreed Josefa should be mine,
And, too, Thereza without jealousy!  (A noise is heard without.)
Ah, what means that?

  [He jumps up from her side and crosses the room to a window,
  where he lifts the curtain cautiously.  The Queen follows him
  with a scared look.


QUEEN

     A riot can it be?


GODOY

Let me put these out ere they notice them;
They think me at the Royal Palace yonder.

  [He hastily extinguishes the candles except one taper, which
  he places in a recess, so that the room is in shade.  He then
  draws back the curtains, and she joins him at the window, where,
  enclosing her with his arm, he and she look out together.

  In front of the house a guard of hussars is stationed, beyond
  them spreading the Plaza or Square.  On the other side rises in
  the lamplight the white front of the Royal Palace.  On the flank
  of the Palace is a wall enclosing gardens, bowered alleys, and
  orange groves, and in the wall a small door.

  A mixed multitude of soldiery and populace fills the space in
  front of the King's Palace, and they shout and address each other
  vehemently.  During a lull in their vociferations is heard the
  peaceful purl of the Tagus over a cascade in the Palace grounds.]


QUEEN

Lingering, we've risked too long our chance of flight!
The Paris Terror will repeat it here.
Not for myself I fear.  No, no; for thee!  (She clings to him.)
If they should hurt you, it would murder me
By heart-bleedings and stabs intolerable!


GODOY (kissing her)

The first thought now is how to get you back
Within the Palace walls.  Why would you risk
To come here on a night so critical?


QUEEN (passionately)

I could not help it--nay, I WOULD not help!
Rather than starve my soul I venture all.--
Our last love-night--last, maybe, of long years,
Why do you chide me now?


GODOY

          Dear Queen, I do not:
I shape these sharp regrets but for your sake.
Hence you must go, somehow, and quickly too.
They think not yet of you in threatening thus,
But of me solely. . . . Where does your lady wait?


QUEEN

Below.  One servant with her.  They are true,
And can be let know all.  But you--but you!  (Uproar continues.)


GODOY

I can escape.  Now call them.  All three cloak
And veil as when you came.

  [They retreat into the room.  QUEEN MARIA LUISA'S lady-in-waiting
  and servant are summoned.  Enter both.  All three then muffle 
  themselves up, and GODOY prepares to conduct the QUEEN downstairs.]


QUEEN

Nay, now!  I will not have it.  We are safe;
Think of yourself.  Can you get out behind?


GODOY

I judge so--when I have done what's needful here.--
The mob knows not the bye-door--slip across;
Thence around sideways.--All's clear there as yet.

  [The QUEEN, her lady-in-waiting, and the servant go out
  hurriedly.

  GODOY looks again from the window.  The mob is some way off, the
  immediate front being for the moment nearly free of loiterers; and
  the three muffled figures are visible, crossing without hindrance
  towards the door in the wall of the Palace Gardens.  The instant
  they reach it a sentinel springs up, challenging them.]


GODOY

Ah--now they are doomed!  My God, why did she come!

  [A parley takes place.  Something, apparently a bribe, is handed
  to the sentinel, and the three are allowed to slip in, the QUEEN
  having obviously been unrecognized.  He breathes his relief.]

Now for the others.  Then--ah, then Heaven knows!

  [He sounds a bell and a servant enters.

Where is the Countess of Castillofiel?


SERVANT

She's looking for you, Prince.


GODOY

          Find her at once.
Ah--here she is.--That's well.--Go watch the Plaza (to servant).

  [GODOY'S mistress, the DONA JOSEFA TUDO, enters.  She is a young
  and beautiful woman, the vivacity of whose large dark eyes is
  now clouded.  She is wrapped up for flight.  The servant goes out.]


JOSEFA (breathlessly)

I should have joined you sooner, but I knew
The Queen was fondling with you.  She must needs
Come hampering you this night of all the rest,
As if not gorged with you at other times!


GODOY

Don't, pretty one! needless it is in you,
Being so well aware who holds my love.--
I could not check her coming, since she would.
You well know how the old thing is, and how
I am compelled to let her have her mind!

  [He kisses her repeatedly.]


JOSEFA

But look, the mob is swelling!  Pouring in
By thousands from Madrid--and all afoot.
Will they not come on hither from the King's?


GODOY

Not just yet, maybe.  You should have sooner fled!
The coach is waiting and the baggage packed.  (He again peers out.)
Yes, there the coach is; and the clamourers near,
Led by Montijo, if I see aright.
Yes, they cry "Uncle Peter!"--that means him.
There will be time yet.  Now I'll take you down
So far as I may venture.

  [They leave the room.  In a few minutes GODOY, having taken her
  down, re-enters and again looks out.  JOSEFA'S coach is moving
  off with a small escort of GODOY'S guards of honour.  A sudden
  yelling begins, and the crowd rushes up and stops the vehicle.
  An altercation ensues.]


CROWD

Uncle Peter, it is the Favourite carrying off Prince Fernando.
Stop him!


JOSEFA (putting her head out of the coach)

Silence their uproar, please, Senor Count of Montijo!  It is a lady
only, the Countess of Castillofiel.


MONTIJO

Let her pass, let her pass, friends!  It is only that pretty wench
of his, Pepa Tudo, who calls herself a Countess.  Our titles are
put to comical uses these days.  We shall catch the cock-bird
presently!

  [The DONA JOSEFA'S carriage is allowed to pass on, as a shout
  from some who have remained before the Royal Palace attracts the
  attention of the multitude, which surges back thither.]


CROWD (nearing the Palace)

Call out the King and the Prince.  Long live the King!  He shall not
go.  Hola!  He is gone!  Let us see him!  He shall abandon Godoy!

  [The clamour before the Royal Palace still increasing, a figure
  emerges upon a balcony, whom GODOY recognizes by the lamplight
  to be FERNANDO, Prince of Asturias.  He can be seen waving his
  hand.  The mob grows suddenly silent.]


FERNANDO (in a shaken voice)

Citizens! the King my father is in the palace with the Queen.  He
has been much tried to-day.


CROWD

Promise, Prince, that he shall not leave us.  Promise!


FERNANDO

I do.  I promise in his name.  He has mistaken you, thinking you
wanted his head.  He knows better now.


CROWD

The villain Godoy misrepresented us to him!  Throw out the Prince
of Peace!


FERNANDO

He is not here, my friends.


CROWD

Then the King shall announce to us that he has dismissed him!  Let
us see him.  The King; the King!

  [FERNANDO goes in.  KING CARLOS comes out reluctantly, and bows
  to their cheering.  He produces a paper with a trembling hand.


KING (reading)

"As it is the wish of the people---"


CROWD

Speak up, your Majesty!


KING (more loudly)

"As it is the wish of the people, I release Don Manuel Godoy, Prince
of Peace, from the posts of Generalissimo of the Army and Grand
Admiral of the Fleet, and give him leave to withdraw whither he
pleases."


CROWD

Huzza!


KING

Citizens, to-morrow the decree is to be posted in Madrid.


CROWD

Huzza!  Long life to the King, and death to Godoy!

  [KING CARLOS disappears from the balcony, and the populace,
  still increasing in numbers, look towards GODOY'S mansion, as
  if deliberating how to attack it.  GODOY retreats from the
  window into the room, and gazing round him starts.  A pale,
  worn, but placid lady, in a sombre though elegant robe, stands
  here in the gloom.  She is THEREZA OF BOURBON, the Princess of
  Peace.]


PRINCESS

It is only your unhappy wife, Manuel.  She will not hurt you!


GODOY (shrugging his shoulders)

Nor with THEY hurt YOU!  Why did you not stay in the Royal Palace?
You would have been more comfortable there.


PRINCESS

I don't recognize why you should specially value my comfort.  You
have saved you real wives.  How can it matter what happens to
your titular one?


GODOY

Much, dear.  I always play fair.  But it being your blest privilege
not to need my saving I was left free to practise it on those who
did.  (Mob heard approaching.)  Would that I were in no more danger
than you!


PRINCESS

Puf!

  [He again peers out.  His guard of hussars stands firmly in front
  of the mansion; but the life-guards from the adjoining barracks,
  who have joined the people, endeavour to break the hussars of
  GODOY.  A shot is fired, GODOY'S guard yields, and the gate and
  door are battered in.


CROWD (without)

 Murder him! murder him!  Death to Manuel Godoy!
 
   [They are heard rushing onto the court and house.]


PRINCESS

Go, I beseech you!  You can do nothing for me, and I pray you to
save yourself!  The heap of mats in the lumber-room will hide you!

  [GODOY hastes to a jib-door concealed by sham bookshelves, presses
  the spring of it, returns, kisses her, and then slips out.

  His wife sits down with her back against the jib-door, and fans
  herself.  She hears the crowd trampling up the stairs, but she
  does not move, and in a moment people burst in.  The leaders are
  armed with stakes, daggers, and various improvised weapons, and
  some guards in undress appear with halberds.]


FIRST CITIZEN (peering into the dim light)

Where is he?  Murder him!  (Noticing the Princess.)  Come, where
is he?


PRINCESS

The Prince of Peace is gone.  I know not wither.


SECOND CITIZEN

Who is this lady?


LIFE-GUARDSMAN

     Manuel Godoy's Princess.


CITIZENS (uncovering)

Princess, a thousand pardons grant us!--you
An injured wife--an injured people we!
Common misfortune makes us more than kin.
No single hair of yours shall suffer harm.

  [The PRINCESS bows.]


FIRST CITIZEN

But this, Senora, is no place for you,
For we mean mischief here!  Yet first will grant
Safe conduct for you to the Palace gates,
Or elsewhere, as you wish


PRINCESS

          My wish is nought.
Do what you will with me.  But he's not here.

  [Several of them form an escort, and accompany her from the room
  and out of the house.  Those remaining, now a great throng, begin
  searching the room, and in bands invade other parts of the mansion.]


SOME CITIZENS (returning)

It is no use searching.  She said he was not here, and she's a woman
of honour.


FIRST CITIZEN (drily)

She's his wife.

  [They begin knocking the furniture to pieces, tearing down the
  hangings, trampling on the musical instruments, and kicking holes
  through the paintings they have unhung from the walls.  These,
  with clocks, vases, carvings, and other movables, they throw out
  of the window, till the chamber is a scene of utter wreck and
  desolation.  In the rout a musical box is swept off a table, and
  starts playing a serenade as it falls on the floor.  Enter the
  COUNT OF MONTIJO.]


MONTIJO

Stop, friends; stop this!  There is no sense in it--
It shows but useless spite!  I have much to say:
The French Ambassador, de Beauharnais,
Has come, and sought the King.  And next Murat,
With thirty thousand men, half cavalry,
Is closing in upon our doomed Madrid!
I know not what he means, this Bonaparte;
He makes pretence to gain us Portugal,
But what want we with her?  'Tis like as not
His aim's to noose us vassals all to him!
The King will abdicate, and shortly too,
As those will live to see who live not long.--
We have saved our nation from the Favourite,
But who is going to save us from our Friend?

  [The mob desists dubiously and goes out; the musical box upon
  the floor plays on, the taper burns to its socket, and the room
  becomes wrapt in the shades of night.]



SCENE III

LONDON: THE MARCHIONESS OF SALISBURY'S

  [A large reception-room is disclosed, arranged for a conversazione.
  It is an evening in summer following, and at present the chamber is
  empty and in gloom.  At one end is an elaborate device, representing
  Britannia offering her assistance to Spain, and at the other a
  figure of Time crowning the Spanish Patriots' flag with laurel.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

          O clarionists of human welterings,
          Relate how Europe's madding movement brings
     This easeful haunt into the path of palpitating things!


RUMOURS (chanting)

     The Spanish King has bowed unto the Fate
          Which bade him abdicate:
     The sensual Queen, whose passionate caprice
     Has held her chambering with "the Prince of Peace,"
          And wrought the Bourbon's fall,
          Holds to her Love in all;
     And Bonaparte has ruled that his and he
     Henceforth displace the Bourbon dynasty.


II

     The Spanish people, handled in such sort,
          As chattels of a Court,
     Dream dreams of England.  Messengers are sent
     In secret to the assembled Parliament,
          In faith that England's hand
          Will stouten them to stand,
     And crown a cause which, hold they, bond and free
     Must advocate enthusiastically.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     So the Will heaves through Space, and moulds the times,
     With mortals for Its fingers!  We shall see
     Again men's passions, virtues, visions, crimes,
          Obey resistlessly
     The purposive, unmotived, dominant Thing
     Which sways in brooding dark their wayfaring!

  [The reception room is lighted up, and the hostess comes in.  There
  arrive Ambassadors and their wives, the Dukes and Duchesses of
  RUTLAND and SOMERSET, the Marquis and Marchioness of STAFFORD,
  the Earls of STAIR, WESTMORELAND, GOWER, ESSEX, Viscounts and
  Viscountesses CRANLEY and MORPETH, Viscount MELBOURNE, Lord and
  Lady KINNAIRD, Baron de ROLLE, Lady CHARLES GRENVILLE, the Ladies
  CAVENDISH, Mr. and Mrs. THOMAS HOPE, MR. GUNNING, MRS. FITZHERBERT,
  and many other notable personages.  Lastly, she goes to the door
  to welcome severally the PRINCE OF WALES, the PRINCES OF FRANCE,
  and the PRINCESS CASTELCICALA.]


LADY SALISBURY (to the Prince of Wales)

I am sorry to say, sir, that the Spanish Patriots are not yet
arrived.  I doubt not but that they have been delayed by their
ignorance of the town, and will soon be here.


PRINCE OF WALES

No hurry whatever, my dear hostess.  Gad, we've enough to talk about!
I understand that the arrangement between our ministers and these
noblemen will include the liberation of Spanish prisoners in this
country, and the providing 'em with arms, to go back and fight for
their independence.


LADY SALISBURY

It will be a blessed event if they do check the career of this
infamous Corsican.  I have just heard that that poor foreigner
Guillet de la Gevrilliere, who proposed to Mr. Fox to assassinate
him, died a miserable death a few days ago the Bicetre--probably
by torture, though nobody knows.  Really one almost wishes Mr. Fox
had---.  O here they are!

  [Enter the Spanish Viscount de MATEROSA, and DON DIEGO de la VEGA.
  They are introduced by CAPTAIN HILL and MR. BAGOT, who escort them.
  LADY SALISBURY presents them to the PRINCE and others.]


PRINCE OF WALES

By gad, Viscount, we were just talking of 'ee.  You had some
adventures in getting to this country?


MATEROSA (assisted by Bagot as interpreter)

Sir, it has indeed been a trying experience for us.  But here we
are, impressed by a deep sense of gratitude for the signal marks of
attachment your country has shown us.


PRINCE OF WALES

You represent, practically, the Spanish people?


MATEROSA

We are immediately deputed, sir,
By the Assembly of Asturias,
More sailing soon from other provinces.
We bring official writings, charging us
To clinch and solder Treaties with this realm
That may promote our cause against the foe.
Nextly a letter to your gracious King;
Also a Proclamation, soon to sound
And swell the pulse of the Peninsula,
Declaring that the act by which King Carlos
And his son Prince Fernando cede the throne
To whomsoever Napoleon may appoint,
Being an act of cheatery, not of choice,
Unfetters us from our allegiant oath.


MRS. FITZHERBERT

The usurpation began, I suppose, with the divisions in the Royal
Family?


MATEROSA

Yes, madam, and the protection they foolishly requested from the
Emperor; and their timid intent of flying secretly helped it on.
It was an opportunity he had been awaiting for years.


MRS. FITZHERBERT

All brought about by this man Godoy, Prince of Peace!


PRINCE OF WALES

Dash my wig, mighty much you know about it, Maria!  Why, sure,
Boney thought to himself, "This Spain is a pretty place; 'twill
just suit me as an extra acre or two; so here goes."


DON DIEGO (aside to Bagot)

This lady is the Princess of Wales?


BAGOT

Hsh! no, Senor.  The Princess lives at large at Kensington and
other places, and has parties of her own, and doesn't keep house
with her husband.  This lady is--well, really his wife, you know,
in the opinion of many; but---


DON DIEGO

Ah!  Ladies a little mixed, as they were at our Court!  She's the
Pepa Tudo to THIS Prince of Peace?


BAGOT

O no--not exactly that, Senor.


DON DIEGO

Ya, ya.  Good.  I'll be careful, my friend.  You are not saints in
England more than we are in Spain!


BAGOT

We are not.  Only you sin with naked faces, and we with masks on.


DON DIEGO

Virtuous country!


DUCHESS OF RUTLAND

It was understood that Ferdinand, Prince of Asturias, was to marry
a French princess, and so unite the countries peacefully?


MATEROSA

It was.  And our credulous prince was tempted to meet Napoleon at
Bayonne.  Also the poor simple King, and the infatuated Queen, and
Manuel Godoy.


DUCHESS OF RUTLAND

Then Godoy escaped from Aranjuez?


MATEROSA

Yes, by hiding in the garret.  Then they all threw themselves
upon Napoleon's protection.  In his presence the Queen swore
that the King was not Fernando's father!  Altogether they form
a queer little menagerie.  What will happen to them nobody knows.


PRINCE OF WALES

And do you wish us to send an army at once?


MATEROSA

What we most want, sir, are arms and ammunition.  But we leave the
English Ministry to co-operate in its own wise way, anyhow, so as
to sustain us in resenting these insults from the Tyrant of the 
Earth.


DUCHESS OF RUTLAND (to the Prince of Wales)

What sort of aid shall we send, sir?


PRINCE OF WALES

We are going to vote fifty millions, I hear.  We'll whack him,
and preserve your noble country for 'ee, Senor Viscount.  The
debate thereon is to come off to-morrow.  It will be the finest
thing the Commons have had since Pitt's time.  Sheridan, who is
open to it, says he and Canning are to be absolutely unanimous;
and, by God, like the parties in his "Critic," when Government
and Opposition do agree, their unanimity is wonderful!  Viscount
Materosa, you and your friends must be in the Gallery.  O, dammy,
you must!


MATEROSA

Sir, we are already pledged to be there.


PRINCE OF WALES

And hark ye, Senor Viscount.  You will then learn what a mighty
fine thing a debate in the English Parliament is!  No Continental
humbug there.  Not but that the Court has a trouble to keep 'em
in their places sometimes; and I would it had been one in the
Lords instead.  However, Sheridan says he has been learning his
speech these two days, and has hunted his father's dictionary
through for some stunning long words.--Now, Maria (to Mrs. 
Fitzherbert), I am going home.


LADY SALISBURY

At last, then, England will take her place in the forefront of
this mortal struggle, and in pure disinterestedness fight with
all her strength for the European deliverance.  God defend the
right!

  [The Prince of Wales leaves, and the other guests begin to
  depart.]


SEMICHORUS I OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

       Leave this glib throng to its conjecturing,
     And let four burdened weeks uncover what they bring!


SEMICHORUS II

       The said Debate, to wit; its close in deed;
     Till England stands enlisted for the Patriots' needs.


SEMICHORUS I

       And transports in the docks gulp down their freight
     Of buckled fighting-flesh, and gale-bound, watch and wait.


SEMICHORUS II

       Till gracious zephyrs shoulder on their sails
     To where the brine of Biscay moans its tragic tales.


CHORUS

       Bear we, too, south, as we were swallow-vanned,
     And mark the game now played there by the Master-hand!

  [The reception-chamber is shut over by the night without, and
  the point of view rapidly recedes south, London and its streets
  and lights diminishing till they are lost in the distance, and
  its noises being succeeded by the babble of the Channel and
  Biscay waves.]



SCENE IV

MADRID AND ITS ENVIRONS

  [The view is from the housetops of the city on a dusty evening
  in this July, following a day of suffocating heat.  The sunburnt
  roofs, warm ochreous walls, and blue shadows of the capital,
  wear their usual aspect except for a few feeble attempts at
  decoration.]


DUMB SHOW

Gazers gather in the central streets, and particularly in the
Puerta del Sol.  They show curiosity, but no enthusiasm.  Patrols
of French soldiery move up and down in front of the people, and
seem to awe them into quietude.

There is a discharge of artillery in the outskirts, and the church
bells begin ringing; but the peals dwindle away to a melancholy
jangle, and then to silence.  Simultaneously, on the northern
horizon of the arid, unenclosed, and treeless plain swept by the
eye around the city, a cloud of dust arises, and a Royal procession
is seen nearing.  It means the new king, JOSEPH BONAPARTE.

He comes on, escorted by a clanking guard of four thousand Italian
troops, and the brilliant royal carriage is followed by a hundred
coaches bearing his suite.  As the procession enters the city many
houses reveal themselves to be closed, many citizens leave the
route and walk elsewhere, while may of those who remain turn their
backs upon the spectacle.

KING JOSEPH proceeds thus through the Plaza Oriente to the granite-
walled Royal Palace, where he alights and is received by some of
the nobility, the French generals who are in occupation there, and
some clergy.  Heralds emerge from the Palace, and hasten to divers
points in the city, where trumpets are blown and the Proclamation
of JOSEPH as KING OF SPAIN is read in a loud voice.  It is received
in silence.

The sunsets, and the curtain falls.



SCENE V

THE OPEN SEA BETWEEN THE ENGLISH COASTS AND THE SPANISH PENINSULA

  [From high aloft, in the same July weather, and facing east, the
  vision swoops over the ocean and its coast-lines, from Cork
  Harbour on the extreme left, to Mondego Bay, Portugal, on the
  extreme right.  Land's End and the Scilly Isles, Ushant and Cape
  Finisterre, are projecting features along the middle distance
  of the picture, and the English Channel recedes endwise as a
  tapering avenue near the centre.]


DUMB SHOW

Four groups of moth-like transport ships are discovered silently
skimming this wide liquid plain.  The first group, to the right,
is just vanishing behind Cape Mondego to enter Mondego Bay; the
second, in the midst, has come out from Plymouth Sound, and is
preparing to stand down Channel; the third is clearing St. Helen's
point for the same course; and the fourth, much further up Channel,
is obviously to follow on considerably in the rear of the two
preceding.  A south-east wind is blowing strong, and, according to
the part of their course reached, they either sail direct with the
wind on their larboard quarter, or labour forward by tacking in
zigzags.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     What are these fleets that cross the sea
          From British ports and bays
     To coasts that glister southwardly
          Behind the dog-day haze?


RUMOURS (chanting)

SEMICHORUS I


     They are the shipped battalions sent
     To bar the bold Belligerent
          Who stalks the Dancers' Land.
     Within these hulls, like sheep a-pen,
     Are packed in thousands fighting-men
          And colonels in command.


SEMICHORUS II

     The fleet that leans each aery fin
     Far south, where Mondego mouths in,
     Bears Wellesley and his aides therein,
          And Hill, and Crauford too;
     With Torrens, Ferguson, and Fane,
     And majors, captains, clerks, in train,
     And those grim needs that appertain--
          The surgeons--not a few!
     To them add twelve thousand souls
     In linesmen that the list enrolls,
     Borne onward by those sheeted poles
          As war's red retinue!


SEMICHORUS I

     The fleet that clears St. Helen's shore
     Holds Burrard, Hope, ill-omened Moore,
          Clinton and Paget; while
     The transports that pertain to those
     Count six-score sail, whose planks enclose
          Ten thousand rank and file.


SEMICHORUS II

     The third-sent ships, from Plymouth Sound,
     With Acland, Anstruther, impound
          Souls to six thousand strong.
     While those, the fourth fleet, that we see
     Far back, are lined with cavalry,
     And guns of girth, wheeled heavily
          To roll the routes along.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Enough, and more, of inventories and names!
     Many will fail; many earn doubtful fames.
     Await the fruitage of their acts and aims.


DUMB SHOW (continuing)

In the spacious scene visible the far-separated groups of
transports, convoyed by battleships, float on before the wind
almost imperceptibly, like preened duck-feathers across a pond.
The southernmost expedition, under SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY, soon
comes to anchor within the Bay of Mondego aforesaid, and the
soldiery are indefinitely discernible landing upon the beach
from boats.  Simultaneously the division commanded by MOORE, as
yet in the Chops of the channel, is seen to be beaten back by
contrary winds.  It gallantly puts to sea again, and being joined
by the division under ANSTRUTHER that has set out from Plymouth,
labours round Ushant, and stands to the south in the track of
WELLESLEY.  The rearward transports do the same.

A moving stratum of summer cloud beneath the point of view covers
up the spectacle like an awning.



SCENE VI

ST. CLOUD.  THE BOUDOIR OF JOSEPHINE

  [It is the dusk of evening in the latter summer of this year,
  and from the windows at the back of the stage, which are still
  uncurtained, can be seen the EMPRESS with NAPOLEON and some
  ladies and officers of the Court playing Catch-me-if-you-can by
  torchlight on the lawn.  The moving torches throw bizarre lights
  and shadows into the apartment, where only a remote candle or two
  are burning.

  Enter JOSEPHINE and NAPOLEON together, somewhat out of breath.
  With careless suppleness she slides down on a couch and fans
  herself.  Now that the candle-rays reach her they show her mellow
  complexion, her velvety eyes with long lashes, mouth with pointed
  corners and excessive mobility beneath its _duvet_, and curls of
  dark hair pressed down upon the temples by a gold band.
  
  The EMPEROR drops into a seat near her, and they remain in silence
  till he jumps up, knocks over some nicknacks with his elbow, and
  begins walking about the boudoir.]


NAPOLEON (with sudden gloom)

These mindless games are very well, my friend;
But ours to-night marks, not improbably,
The last we play together.


JOSEPHINE (starting)

          Can you say it!
Why raise that ghastly nightmare on me now,
When, for a moment, my poor brain had dreams
Denied it all the earlier anxious day?


NAPOLEON

Things that verge nigh, my simple Josephine,
Are not shoved off by wilful winking at.
Better quiz evils with too strained an eye
Than have them leap from disregarded lairs.


JOSEPHINE

Maybe 'tis true, and you shall have it so!--
Yet there's no joy save sorrow waived awhile.


NAPOLEON

Ha, ha!  That's like you.  Well, each day by day
I get sour news.  Each hour since we returned
From this queer Spanish business at Bayonne,
I have had nothing else; and hence by brooding.


JOSEPHINE

But all went well throughout our touring-time?


NAPOLEON

Not so--behind the scenes.  Our arms a Baylen
Have been smirched badly.  Twenty thousand shamed
All through Dupont's ill-luck!  The selfsame day
My brother Joseph's progress to Madrid
Was glorious as a sodden rocket's fizz!
Since when his letters creak with querulousness.
"Napoleon el chico" 'tis they call him--
"Napoleon the Little," so he says.
Then notice Austria.  Much looks louring there,
And her sly new regard for England grows.
The English, next, have shipped an army down
To Mondego, under one Wellesley,
A man from India, and his march is south
To Lisbon, by Vimiero.  On he'll go
And do the devil's mischief ere he is met
By unaware Junot, and chevyed back
To English fogs and fumes!


JOSEPHINE

          My dearest one,
You have mused on worse reports with better grace
Full many and many a time.  Ah--there is more! . . .
I know; I know!


NAPOLEON (kicking away a stool)

          There is, of course; that worm
Time ever keeps in hand for gnawing me!--
The question of my dynasty--which bites
Closer and closer as the years wheel on.


JOSEPHINE

Of course it's that!  For nothing else could hang
My lord on tenterhooks through nights and days;--
Or rather, not the question, but the tongues
That keep the question stirring.  Nought recked you
Of throne-succession or dynastic lines
When gloriously engaged in Italy!
I was your fairy then: they labelled me
Your Lady of Victories; and much I joyed,
Till dangerous ones drew near and daily sowed
These choking tares within your fecund brain,--
Making me tremble if a panel crack,
Or mouse but cheep, or silent leaf sail down,
And murdering my melodious hours with dreads
That my late happiness, and my late hope,
Will oversoon be knelled!


NAPOLEON (genially nearing her)

But years have passed since first we talked of it,
And now, with loss of dear Hortense's son
Who won me as my own, it looms forth more.
And selfish 'tis in my good Josephine
To blind her vision to the weal of France,
And this great Empire's solidarity.
The grandeur of your sacrifice would gild
Your life's whole shape.


JOSEPHINE

          Were I as coarse a wife
As I am limned in English caricature--
(Those cruel effigies they draw of me!)--
You could not speak more aridly.


NAPOLEON

          Nay, nay!
You know, my comrade, how I love you still
Were there a long-notorious dislike
Betwixt us, reason might be in your dreads
But all earth knows our conjugality.
There's not a bourgeois couple in the land
Who, should dire duty rule their severance,
Could part with scanter scandal than could we.


JOSEPHINE (pouting)

Nevertheless there's one.


NAPOLEON

     A scandal?  What?


JOSEPHINE

Madame Walewska!  How could you pretend
When, after Jena, I'd have come to you,
"The weather was so wild, the roads so rough,
That no one of my sex and delicate nerve
Could hope to face the dangers and fatigues."
Yes--so you wrote me, dear.  They hurt not her!


NAPOLEON (blandly)

She was a week's adventure--not worth words!
I say 'tis France.--I have held out for years
Against the constant pressure brought on me
To null this sterile marriage.


JOSEPHINE (bursting into sobs)

          Me you blame!
But how know you that you are not the culprit?


NAPOLEON

I have reason so to know--if I must say.
The Polish lady you have chosen to name
Has proved the fault not mine.  (JOSEPHINE sobs more violently.)
     Don't cry, my cherished;
It is not really amiable of you,
Or prudent, my good little Josephine,
With so much in the balance.


JOSEPHINE

          How--know you--
What may not happen!  Wait a--little longer!


NAPOLEON (playfully pinching her arm)

O come, now, my adored!  Haven't I already!
Nature's a dial whose shade no hand puts back,
Trick as we may!  My friend, you are forty-three
This very year in the world--  (JOSEPHINE breaks out sobbing again.)
     And in vain it is
To think of waiting longer; pitiful
To dream of coaxing shy fecundity
To an unlikely freak by physicking
With superstitious drugs and quackeries
That work you harm, not good.   The fact being so,
I have looked it squarely down--against my heart!
Solicitations voiced repeatedly
At length have shown the soundness of their shape,
And left me no denial.  You, at times,
My dear one, have been used to handle it.
My brother Joseph, years back, frankly gave
His honest view that something should be done;
And he, you well know, shows no ill tinct
In his regard of you.


JOSEPHINE

     And what princess?


NAPOLEON

For wiving with?  No thought was given to that,
She shapes as vaguely as the Veiled--


JOSEPHINE

          No, no;
It's Alexander's sister, I'm full sure!--
But why this craze for home-made manikins
And lineage mere of flesh?  You have said yourself
It mattered not.  Great Caesar, you declared,
Sank sonless to his rest; was greater deemed
Even for the isolation.  Frederick
Saw, too, no heir.  It is the fate of such,
Often, to be denied the common hope
As fine for fulness in the rarer gifts
That Nature yields them.  O my husband long,
Will you not purge your soul to value best
That high heredity from brain to brain
Which supersedes mere sequence of blood,
That often vary more from sire to son
Than between furthest strangers! . . .
Napoleon's offspring in his like must lie;
The second of his line be he who shows
Napoleon's soul in later bodiment,
The household father happening as he may!


NAPOLEON (smilingly wiping her eyes)

Little guessed I my dear would prove her rammed
With such a charge of apt philosophy
When tutoring me gay arts in earlier times!
She who at home coquetted through the years
In which I vainly penned her wishful words
To come and comfort me in Italy,
Might, faith, have urged it then effectually!
But never would you stir from Paris joys,  (With some bitterness.)
And so, when arguments like this could move me,
I heard them not; and get them only now
When their weight dully falls.  But I have said
'Tis not for me, but France--Good-bye an hour.  (Kissing her.)
I must dictate some letters.  This new move
Of England on Madrid may mean some trouble.
Come, dwell not gloomily on this cold need
Of waiving private joy for policy.
We are but thistle-globes on Heaven's high gales,
And whither blown, or when, or how, or why,
Can choose us not at all! . . .
I'll come to you anon, dear: staunch Roustan
Will light me in.

  [Exit NAPOLEON.  The scene shuts in shadow.]



SCENE VII

VIMIERO

  [A village among the hills of Portugal, about fifty miles north
  of Lisbon.  Around it are disclosed, as ten on Sunday morning
  strikes, a blue army of fourteen thousand men in isolated columns,
  and red army of eighteen thousand in line formation, drawn up in
  order of battle.  The blue army is a French one under JUNOT; the
  other an English one under SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY--portion of that
  recently landed.

  The August sun glares on the shaven faces, white gaiters, and
  white cross-belts of the English, who are to fight for their
  lives while sweating under a quarter-hundredweight in knapsack
  and pouches, and with firelocks heavy as putlogs.  They occupy
  a group of heights, but their position is one of great danger,
  the land abruptly terminating two miles behind their backs in
  lofty cliffs overhanging the Atlantic.  The French occupy the
  valleys in the English front, and this distinction between the
  two forces strikes the eye--the red army is accompanied by scarce
  any cavalry, while the blue is strong in that area.]


DUMB SHOW

The battle is begun with alternate moves that match each other like
those of a chess opening.  JUNOT makes an oblique attack by moving
a division to his right; WELLESLEY moves several brigades to his
left to balance it.

A column of six thousand French then climbs the hill against the
English centre, and drives in those who are planted there.  The
English artillery checks its adversaries, and the infantry recover
and charge the baffled French down the slopes.  Meanwhile the
latter's cavalry and artillery are attacking the village itself,
and, rushing on a few squadrons of English dragoons stationed there,
cut them to pieces.  A dust is raised by this ado, and moans of men
and shrieks of horses are heard.  Close by the carnage the little
Maceira stream continues to trickle unconcernedly to the sea.

On the English left five thousand French infantry, having ascended
to the ridge and maintained a stinging musket-fire as sharply
returned, are driven down by the bayonets of six English regiments.
Thereafter a brigade of the French, the northernmost, finding that
the others have pursued to the bottom and are resting after the
effort, surprise them and bayonet them back to their original summit.
The see-saw is continued by the recovery of the English, who again
drive their assailants down.

The French army pauses stultified, till, the columns uniting, they
fall back toward the opposite hills.  The English, seeing that their
chance has come, are about to pursue and settle the fortunes of the
day.  But a messenger dispatched from a distant group is marked
riding up to the large-nosed man with a telescope and an Indian
sword who, his staff around him, has been directing the English
movements.  He seems astonished at the message, appears to resent
it, and pauses with a gloomy look.  But he sends countermands to his
generals, and the pursuit ends abortively.

The French retreat without further molestation by a circuitous march
into the great road to Torres Vedras by which they came, leaving
nearly two thousand dead and wounded on the slopes they have quitted.

Dumb Show ends and the curtain draws.




ACT THIRD

SCENE I

SPAIN.  A ROAD NEAR ASTORGA

  [The eye of the spectator rakes the road from the interior of a
  cellar which opens upon it, and forms the basement of a deserted
  house, the roof doors, and shutters of which have been pulled down
  and burnt for bivouac fires.  The season is the beginning of 
  January, and the country is covered with a sticky snow.  The road
  itself is intermittently encumbered with heavy traffic, the surface
  being churned to a yellow mud that lies half knee-deep, and at the
  numerous holes in the track forming still deeper quagmires.

  In the gloom of the cellar are heaps of damp straw, in which
  ragged figures are lying half-buried, many of the men in the
  uniform of English regiments, and the women and children in clouts
  of all descriptions, some being nearly naked.  At the back of the
  cellar is revealed, through a burst door, an inner vault, where
  are discernible some wooden-hooped wine-casks; in one sticks a
  gimlet, and the broaching-cork of another has been driven in.
  The wine runs into pitchers, washing-basins, shards, chamber-
  vessels, and other extemporized receptacles.  Most of the inmates
  are drunk; some to insensibility.

  So far as the characters are doing anything they are contemplating
  almost incessant traffic outside, passing in one direction.  It
  includes a medley of stragglers from the Marquis of ROMANA'S
  Spanish forces and the retreating English army under SIR JOHN
  MOORE--to which the concealed deserters belong.]


FIRST DESERTER

Now he's one of the Eighty-first, and I'd gladly let that poor blade
know that we've all that man can wish for here--good wine and buxom
women.  But if I do, we shan't have room for ourselves--hey?

  [He signifies a man limping past with neither fire-lock nor
  knapsack.  Where the discarded knapsack has rubbed for weeks
  against his shoulder-blades the jacket and shirt are fretted
  away, leaving his skin exposed.]


SECOND DESERTER

He may be the Eighty-firsht, or th' Eighty-second; but what I say is,
without fear of contradiction, I wish to the Lord I was back in old
Bristol again.  I'd sooner have a nipperkin of our own real "Bristol
milk" than a mash-tub full of this barbarian wine!


THIRD DESERTER

'Tis like thee to be ungrateful, after putting away such a skinful
on't.  I am as much Bristol as thee, but would as soon be here as
there.  There ain't near such willing women, that are strict
respectable too, there as hereabout, and no open cellars.-- As
there's many a slip in this country I'll have the rest of my
allowance now.

  [He crawls on his elbows to one of the barrels, and turning on his
  back lets the wine run down his throat.]


FORTH DESERTER (to a fifth, who is snoring)

Don't treat us to such a snoaching there, mate.  Here's some more
coming, and they'll sight us if we don't mind!

  [Enter without a straggling flock of military objects, some with
  fragments of shoes on, others bare-footed, many of the latter's
  feet bleeding.  The arms and waists of some are clutched by women
  as tattered and bare-footed as themselves.  They pass on.

  The Retreat continues.  More of ROMANA'S Spanish limp along in
  disorder; then enters a miscellaneous group of English cavalry
  soldiers, some on foot, some mounted, the rearmost of the latter
  bestriding a shoeless foundered creature whose neck is vertebrae
  and mane only.  While passing it falls from exhaustion; the trooper
  extricates himself and pistols the animal through the head.  He
  and the rest pass on.]


FIRST DESERTER (a new plashing of feet being heard)

Here's something more in order, or I am much mistaken. He cranes
out.) Yes, a sergeant of the Forty-third, and what's left of their
second battalion.  And, by God, not far behind I see shining helmets.
'Tis a whole squadron of French dragoons!

  [Enter the sergeant.  He has a racking cough, but endeavours, by
  stiffening himself up, to hide how it is wasting away his life.
  He halts, and looks back, till the remains of the Forty-third are
  abreast, to the number of some three hundred, about half of whom
  are crippled invalids, the other half being presentable and armed
  soldiery.'


SERGEANT

Now show yer nerve, and be men.  If you die to-day you won't have to
die to-morrow.  Fall in!  (The miscellany falls in.)  All invalids and
men without arms march ahead as well as they can.  Quick--maw-w-w-ch!
(Exeunt invalids, etc.)  Now! Tention! Shoulder-r-r--fawlocks!  (Order
obeyed.)

  [The sergeant hastily forms these into platoons, who prime and load,
  and seem preternaturally changed from what they were into alert
  soldiers.

  Enter French dragoons at the left-back of the scene.  The rear
  platoon of the Forty-third turns, fires, and proceeds.  The next
  platoon covering them does the same.  This is repeated several
  times, staggering the pursuers.  Exeunt French dragoons, giving
  up the pursuit.  The coughing sergeant and the remnant of the
  Forty-third march on.]


FOURTH DESERTER (to a woman lying beside him)

What d'ye think o' that, my honey?  It fairly makes me a man again.
Come, wake up!  We must be getting along somehow.  (He regards the
woman more closely.)  Why--my little chick?  Look here, friends.
(They look, and the woman is found to be dead.)  If I didn't think
that her poor knees felt cold! . . . And only an hour ago I swore
to marry her!

  [They remain silent.  The Retreat continues in the snow without,
  now in the form of a file of ox-carts, followed by a mixed rabble
  of English and Spanish, and mules and muleteers hired by English
  officers to carry their baggage.  The muleteers, looking about
  and seeing that the French dragoons gave been there, cut the bands
  which hold on the heavy packs, and scamper off with their mules.]


A VOICE (behind)

The Commander-in-Chief is determined to maintain discipline, and
they must suffer.  No more pillaging here.  It is the worst case
of brutality and plunder that we have had in this wretched time!

  [Enter an English captain of hussars, a lieutenant, a guard of
  about a dozen, and three men as prisoner.]


CAPTAIN

If they choose to draw lots, only one need be made an example of.
But they must be quick about it.  The advance-guard of the enemy
is not far behind.

  [The three prisoners appear to draw lots, and the one on whom the
  lot falls is blindfolded.  Exeunt the hussars behind a wall, with
  carbines.  A volley is heard and something falls.  The wretched
  in the cellar shudder.]


FOURTH DESERTER

'Tis the same for us but for this heap of straw.  Ah--my doxy is the
only one of us who is safe and sound!  (He kisses the dead woman.)

  [Retreat continues.  A train of six-horse baggage-waggons lumbers
  past, a mounted sergeant alongside.  Among the baggage lie wounded
  soldiers and sick women.]


SERGEANT OF THE WAGGON-TRAIN

If so be they are dead, ye may as well drop 'em over the tail-board.
'Tis no use straining the horses unnecessary.

  [Waggons halt.  Two of the wounded who have just died are taken
  out, laid down by the roadside, and some muddy snow scraped over
  them.  Exeunt waggons and sergeant.

  An interval.  More English troops pass on horses, mostly shoeless
  and foundered.

  Enter SIR JOHN MOORE and officers.  MOORE appears on the pale
  evening light as a handsome man, far on in the forties, the
  orbits of his dark eyes showing marks of deep anxiety.  He is
  talking to some of his staff with vehement emphasis and gesture.
  They cross the scene and go on out of sight, and the squashing
  of their horses' hoofs in the snowy mud dies away.]


FIFTH DESERTER (incoherently in his sleep)

Poise fawlocks--open pans--right hands to pouch--handle ca'tridge--
bring it--quick motion-bite top well off--prime--shut pans--cast
about--load---


FIRST DESERTER (throwing a shoe at the sleeper)

Shut up that!  D'ye think you are a 'cruity in the awkward squad
still?


SECOND DESERTER

I don't know what he thinks, but I know what I feel!  Would that I
were at home in England again, where there's old-fashioned tipple,
and a proper God A'mighty instead of this eternal 'Ooman and baby;
--ay, at home a-leaning against old Bristol Bridge, and no questions
asked, and the winter sun slanting friendly over Baldwin Street as
'a used to do!  'Tis my very belief, though I have lost all sure
reckoning, that if I were there, and in good health, 'twould be New
Year's day about now.  What it is over here I don't know.  Ay, to-
night we should be a-setting in the tap of the "Adam and Eve"--
lifting up the tune of "The Light o' the Moon."  'Twer a romantical
thing enough.  'A used to go som'at like this (he sings in a nasal
tone):--

          "O I thought it had been day,
          And I stole from here away;
          But it proved to be the light o' the moon!"

  [Retreat continues, with infantry in good order.  Hearing the
  singing, one of the officers looks around, and detaching a patrol
  enters the ruined house with the file of men, the body of soldiers
  marching on.  The inmates of the cellar bury themselves in the
  straw.  The officer peers about, and seeing no one prods the straw
  with his sword.


VOICES (under the straw)

Oh! Hell!  Stop it!  We'll come out!  Mercy!  Quarter!

  [The lurkers are uncovered.]


OFFICER

If you are well enough to sing bawdy songs, you are well enough to
march.  So out of it--or you'll be shot, here and now!


SEVERAL

You may shoot us, captain, or the French may shoot us, or the devil
may take us; we don't care which!  Only we can't stir.  Pity the
women, captain, but do what you will with us!

  [The searchers pass over the wounded, and stir out those capable
  of marching, both men and women, so far as they discover them.
  They are pricked on by the patrol.  Exeunt patrol and deserters
  in its charge.

  Those who remain look stolidly at the highway.  The English Rear-
  guard of cavalry crosses the scene and passes out.  An interval.
  It grows dusk.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Quaint poesy, and real romance of war!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Mock on, Shade, if thou wilt!  But others find
     Poesy ever lurk where pit-pats poor mankind!

  [The scene is cloaked in darkness.]



SCENE II

THE SAME

  [It is nearly midnight.  The fugitives who remain in the cellar
  having slept off the effects of the wine, are awakened by a new
  tramping of cavalry, which becomes more and more persistent.  It
  is the French, who now fill the road.  The advance-guard having
  passed by, DELABORDE'S division, LORGE'S division, MERLE'S
  division, and others, successively cross the gloom.

  Presently come the outlines of the Imperial Guard, and then, with
  a start, those in hiding realize their situation, and are wide
  awake.  NAPOLEON enters with his staff.  He has just been overtaken
  by a courier, and orders those round him to halt.]


NAPOLEON

Let there a fire be lit: Ay, here and now.
The lines within these letters brook no pause
In mastering their purport.

  [Some of the French approach the ruined house and, appropriating
  what wood is still left there, heap it by the roadside and set it
  alight.  A mixed rain and snow falls, and the sputtering flames
  throw a glare all round.]


SECOND DESERTER (under his voice)

We be shot corpses!  Ay, faith, we be!  Why didn't I stick to
England, and true doxology, and leave foreign doxies and their
wine alone! . . . Mate, can ye squeeze another shardful from the
cask there, for I feel my time is come! . . . O that I had but the
barrel of that firelock I throwed away, and that wasted powder to
prime and load!  This bullet I chaw to squench my hunger would do
the rest! . . . Yes, I could pick him off now!


FIRST DESERTER

You lie low with your picking off, or he may pick off you!  Thank
God the babies are gone.  Maybe we shan't be noticed, if we've but
the courage to do nothing, and keep hid.

  [NAPOLEON dismounts, approaches the fire, and looks around.]


NAPOLEON

Another of their dead horses here, I see.


OFFICER

Yes, sire.  We have counted eighteen hundred odd
From Benavente hither, pistoled thus.
Some we'd to finish for them: headlong haste
Spared them no time for mercy to their brutes.
One-half their cavalry now tramps afoot.


NAPOLEON

And what's the tale of waggons we've picked up?


OFFICER

Spanish and all abandoned, some four hundred;
Of magazines and firelocks, full ten load;
And stragglers and their girls a numerous crew.


NAPOLEON

Ay, devil--plenty those!  Licentious ones
These English, as all canting peoples are.--
And prisoners?


OFFICER

          Seven hundred English, sire;
Spaniards five thousand more.


NAPOLEON

          'Tis not amiss.
To keep the new year up they run away!
(He soliloquizes as he begins tearing open the dispatches.)
Nor Pitt nor Fox displayed such blundering
As glares in this campaign!  It is, indeed,
Enlarging Folly to Foolhardiness
To combat France by land!  But how expect
Aught that can claim the name of government
From Canning, Castlereagh, and Perceval,
Caballers all--poor sorry politicians--
To whom has fallen the luck of reaping in
The harvestings of Pitt's bold husbandry.

  [He unfolds a dispatch, and looks for something to sit on.  A cloak
  is thrown over a log, and he settles to reading by the firelight.
  The others stand round.  The light, crossed by the snow-flakes,
  flickers on his unhealthy face and stoutening figure.  He sinks
  into the rigidity of profound thought, till his features lour.]

So this is their reply!  They have done with me!
Britain declines negotiating further--
Flouts France and Russia indiscriminately.
"Since one dethrones and keeps as prisoners
The most legitimate kings"--that means myself--
"The other suffers their unworthy treatment
For sordid interests"--that's for Alexander! . . .
And what is Georgy made to say besides?--
"Pacific overtures to us are wiles
Woven to unnerve the generous nations round
Lately escaped the galling yoke of France,
Or waiting so to do.  Such, then, being seen,
These tentatives must be regarded now
As finally forgone; and crimson war
Be faced to its fell worst, unflinchingly."
--The devil take their lecture!  What am I,
That England should return such insolence?

  [He jumps up, furious, and walks to and fro beside the fire.
  By and by cooling he sits down again.]

Now as to hostile signs in Austria. . . .
(He breaks another seal and reads.)
Ah,--swords to cross with her some day in spring!
Thinking me cornered over here in Spain
She speaks without disguise, the covert pact
'Twixt her and England owning now quite frankly,
Careless how works its knowledge upon me.
She, England, Germany: well--I can front them!
That there is no sufficient force of French
Between the Elbe and Rhine to prostrate her,
Let new and terrible experience
Soon disillude her of!  Yea; she may arm:
The opportunity she late let slip
Will not subserve her now!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Has he no heart-hints that this Austrian court,
     Whereon his mood takes mould so masterful,
     Is rearing naively in its nursery-room
     A future wife for him?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

          Thou dost but guess it,
And how should his heart know?


NAPOLEON (opening and reading another dispatch)

          Now eastward.  Ohe!--
The Orient likewise looms full somberly. . . .
The Turk declines pacifically to yield
What I have promised Alexander.  Ah! . . .
As for Constantinople being his prize
I'll see him frozen first.  His flight's too high!
And showing that I think so makes him cool.  (Rises.)
Is Soult the Duke Dalmatia yet at hand?


OFFICER

He has arrived along the Leon road
Just now, your Majesty; and only waits
The close of your perusals.

  [Enter SOULT, who is greeted by NAPOLEON.]


FIRST DESERTER

Good Lord deliver us from all great men, and take me back again to
humble life!  That's Marshal Soult the Duke of Dalmatia!


SECOND DESERTER

The Duke of Damnation for our poor rear, by the look on't!


FIRST DESERTER

Yes--he'll make 'em rub their poor rears before he has done with
'em!  But we must overtake 'em to-morrow by a cross-cut, please God!


NAPOLEON (pointing to the dispatches)

Here's matter enough for me, Duke, and to spare.
The ominous contents are like the threats
The ancient prophets dealt rebellious Judah!
Austria we soon shall have upon our hands,
And England still is fierce for fighting on,--
Strange humour in a concord-loving land!
So now I must to Paris straight away--
At least, to Valladolid; so as to stand
More apt for couriers than I do out here
In this far western corner, and to mark
The veerings of these new developments,
And blow a counter-breeze. . . .

Then, too, there's Lannes, still sweating at the siege
Of sullen Zaragoza as 'twere hell.
Him I must further counsel how to close
His twice too tedious battery.--You, then, Soult--
Ney is not yet, I gather, quite come up?


SOULT

He's near, sire, on the Benavente road;
But some hours to the rear I reckon, still.


NAPOLEON (pointing to the dispatches)

Him I'll direct to come to your support
In this pursuit and harassment of Moore
Wherein you take my place.  You'll follow up
And chase the flying English to the sea.
Bear hard on them, the bayonet at their loins.
With Merle's and Mermet's corps just gone ahead,
And Delaborde's, and Heudelet's here at hand.
While Lorge's and Lahoussaye's picked dragoons
Will follow, and Franceschi's cavalry.
To Ney I am writing, in case of need,
He will support with Marchand and Mathieu.--
Your total thus of seventy thousand odd,
Ten thousand horse, and cannon to five score,
Should near annihilate this British force,
And carve a triumph large in history.
(He bends over the fire and makes some notes rapidly.)
I move into Astorga; then turn back,
(Though only in my person do I turn)
And leave to you the destinies of Spain.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     More turning may be here than he design.
     In this small, sudden, swift turn backward, he
     Suggests one turning from his apogee!

  [The characters disperse, the fire sinks, and snowflakes and
  darkness blot out all.]



SCENE III

BEFORE CORUNA

  [The town, harbour, and hills at the back are viewed from an
  aerial point to the north, over the lighthouse known as the
  Tower of Hercules, rising at the extremity of the tongue of
  land on which La Coruna stands, the open ocean being in the
  spectator's rear.

  In the foreground the most prominent feature is the walled old
  town, with its white towers and houses, shaping itself aloft
  over the harbour.  The new town, and its painted fronts, show
  bright below, even on this cloudy winter afternoon.  Further
  off, behind the harbour--now crowded with British transports
  of all sizes--is a series of low broken hills, intersected by
  hedges and stone walls.

  A mile behind these low inner hills is beheld a rocky chain of
  outer and loftier heights that completely command the former.
  Nothing behind them is seen but grey sky.


DUMB SHOW

On the inner hills aforesaid the little English army--a pathetic
fourteen thousand of foot only--is just deploying into line: HOPE'S
division is on the left, BAIRD'S to the right.  PAGET with the
reserve is in the hollow to the left behind them; and FRASER'S
division still further back shapes out on a slight rise to the right.

This harassed force now appears as if composed of quite other than
the men observed in the Retreat insubordinately straggling along
like vagabonds.  Yet they are the same men, suddenly stiffened and
grown amenable to discipline by the satisfaction of standing to the
enemy at last.  They resemble a double palisade of red stakes, the
only gaps being those that the melancholy necessity of scant numbers
entails here and there.

Over the heads of these red men is beheld on the outer hills the
twenty thousand French that have been pushed along the road at the
heels of the English by SOULT.  They have an ominous superiority,
both in position and in their abundance of cavalry and artillery,
over the slender lines of English foot.  The left of this background,
facing HOPE, is made up of DELABORDE'S and MERLE'S divisions, while
in a deadly arc round BAIRD, from whom they are divided only by the
village of Elvina, are placed MERMET'S division, LAHOUSSAYE'S and
LORGE'S dragoons, FRANCESCHI'S cavalry, and, highest up of all, a
formidable battery of eleven great guns that rake the whole British
line.

It is now getting on for two o'clock, and a stir of activity has
lately been noticed along the French front.  Three columns are
discerned descending from their position, the first towards the
division of SIR DAVID BAIRD, the weakest point in the English line,
the next towards the centre, the third towards the left.  A heavy
cannonade from the battery supports this advance.

The clash ensues, the English being swept down in swathes by the
enemy's artillery.  The opponents meet face to face at the village
in the valley between them, and the fight there grows furious.

SIR JOHN MOORE is seen galloping to the front under the gloomy sky.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     I seem to vision in San Carlos' garden,
     That rises salient in the upper town,
     His name, and date, and doing, set within
     A filmy outline like a monument,
     Which yet is but the insubstantial air.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Read visions as conjectures; not as more.


When MOORE arrives at the front, FRASER and PAGET move to the right,
where the English are most sorely pressed.  A grape-shot strikes
off BAIRD'S arm.  There is a little confusion, and he is borne to
the rear; while MAJOR NAPIER disappears, a prisoner.

Intelligence of these misfortunes is brought to SIR JOHN MOORE.
He goes further forward, and precedes in person the Forty-second
regiment and a battalion of the Guards who, with fixed bayonets,
bear the enemy back, MOORE'S gestures in cheering them being
notably energetic.  Pursuers, pursued, and SIR JOHN himself pass
out of sight behind the hill.  Dumb Show ends.

  [The point of vision descends to the immediate rear of the
  English position.  The early January evening has begun to spread
  its shades, and shouts of dismay are heard from behind the hill
  over which MOORE and the advancing lines have vanished.

  Straggling soldiers cross in the gloom.]


FIRST STRAGGLER

He's struck by a cannon-ball, that I know; but he's not killed,
that I pray God A'mighty.


SECOND STRAGGLER

Better he were.  His shoulder is knocked to a bag of splinters.
As Sir David was wownded, Sir John was anxious that the right
should not give way, and went forward to keep it firm.


FIRST STRAGGLER

He didn't keep YOU firm, howsomever.


SECOND STRAGGLER

Nor you, for that matter.


FIRST STRAGGLER

Well, 'twas a serious place for a man with no priming-horn, and
a character to lose, so I judged it best to fall to the rear by
lying down.  A man can't fight by the regulations without his
priming-horn, and I am none of your slovenly anyhow fighters.


SECOND STRAGGLER

'Nation, having dropped my flit-pouch, I was the same.  If you'd
had your priming-horn, and I my flints, mind ye, we should have
been there now?  Then, forty-whory, that we are not is the fault
o' Government for not supplying new ones from the reserve!


FIRST STRAGGLER

What did he say as he led us on?


SECOND STRAGGLER

"Forty-second, remember Egypt!"  I heard it with my own ears.  Yes,
that was his strict testament.


FIRST STRAGGLER

"Remember Egypt."  Ay, and I do, for I was there! . . . Upon my
salvation, here's for back again, whether or no!


SECOND STRAGGLER

But here.  "Forty-second, remember Egypt," he said in the very
eye of that French battery playing through us.  And the next omen
was that he was struck off his horse, and fell on his back to the
ground.  I remembered Egypt, and what had just happened too, so
thorough well that I remembered the way over this wall!--Captain
Hardinge, who was close to him, jumped off his horse, and he and
one in the ranks lifted him, and are now bringing him along.


FIRST STRAGGLER

Nevertheless, here's for back again, come what will.  Remember
Egypt!  Hurrah!

  [Exit First straggler.  Second straggler ponders, then suddenly
  follows First.  Enter COLONEL ANDERSON and others hastily.]


AN OFFICER

Now fetch a blanker.  He must be carried in.

  [Shouts heard.]


COLONEL ANDERSON

That means we are gaining ground!  Had fate but left
This last blow undecreed, the hour had shone
A star amid these girdling days of gloom!

  [Exit.  Enter in the obscurity six soldiers of the Forty-second
  bearing MOORE on their joined hands.  CAPTAIN HARDINGE walks
  beside and steadies him.  He is temporarily laid down in the
  shelter of a wall, his left shoulder being pounded away, the arm
  dangling by a shred of flesh.

  Enter COLONEL GRAHAM and CAPTAIN WOODFORD.]


GRAHAM

The wound is more than serious, Woodford, far.
Ride for a surgeon--one of those, perhaps,
Who tend Sir David Baird?  (Exit Captain Woodford.)
His blood throbs forth so fast, that I have dark fears
He'll drain to death ere anything can be done!


HARDINGE

I'll try to staunch it--since no skill's in call.

  [He takes off his sash and endeavours to bind the wound with it.
  MOORE smiles and shakes his head.]

There's not much checking it!  Then rent's too gross.
A dozen lives could pass that thoroughfare!

  [Enter a soldier with a blanket.  They lift MOORE into it.  During
  the operation the pommel of his sword, which he still wears, is
  accidentally thrust into the wound.]

I'll loose the sword--it bruises you, Sir John.

  [He begins to unbuckle it.]


MOORE

No.  Let it be!  One hurt more matters not.
I wish it to go off the field with me.


HARDINGE

I like the sound of that.  It augurs well
For your much-hoped recovery.


MOORE (looking sadly at his wound)

          Hardinge, no:
Nature is nonplussed there!  My shoulder's gone,
And this left side laid open to my lungs.
There's but a brief breath now for me, at most. . . .
Could you--move me along--that I may glimpse
Still how the battle's going?


HARDINGE

          Ay, Sir John--
A few yard higher up, where we can see.

  [He is borne in the blanket a little way onward, and lifted so
  that he can view the valley and the action.]


MOORE (brightly)

They seem to be advancing.  Yes, it is so!

  [Enter SIR JOHN HOPE.]

Ah, Hope!--I am doing badly here enough;
But they are doing rarely well out there.  (Presses HOPE'S hand.)
Don't leave! my speech may flag with this fierce pain,
But you can talk to me.--Are the French checked?


HOPE

My dear friend, they are borne back steadily.


MOORE (his voice weakening)

I hope England--will be satisfied--
I hope my native land--will do me justice! . . .
I shall be blamed for sending Craufurd off
Along the Orense road.  But had I not,
Bonaparte would have headed us that way. . . .


HOPE

O would that Soult had but accepted battle
By Lugo town!  We should have crushed him there.


MOORE

Yes . . . yes.--But it has never been my lot
To owe much to good luck; nor was it then.
Good fortune has been mine, but (bitterly) mostly so
By the exhaustion of all shapes of bad! . . .
Well, this does not become a dying man;
And others have been chastened more than I
By Him who holds us in His hollowed hand! . . .

I grieve for Zaragoza, if, as said,
The siege goes sorely with her, which it must.
I heard when at Dahagun that late day
That she was holding out heroically.
But I must leave such now.--You'll see my friends
As early as you can?  Tell them the whole;
Say to my mother. . . . (His voice fails.)
Hope, Hope, I have so much to charge you with,
But weakness clams my tongue! . . . If I must die
Without a word with Stanhope, ask him, Hope,
To--name me to his sister.  You may know
Of what there was between us? . . .
Is Colonel Graham well, and all my aides?
My will I have made--it is in Colborne's charge
With other papers.


HOPE

     He's now coming up.

  [Enter MAJOR COLBORNE, principal aide-de-camp.]


MOORE

Are the French beaten, Colborne, or repulsed?
Alas! you see what they have done too me!


COLBORNE

I do, Sir John: I am more than sad thereat!
In brief time now the surgeon will be here.
The French retreat--pushed from Elvina far.


MOORE

That's good!  Is Paget anywhere about?


COLBORNE

He's at the front, Sir John.


MOORE

     Remembrance to him!

  [Enter two surgeons.]

Ah, doctors,--you can scarcely mend up me.--
And yet I feel so tough--I have feverish fears
My dying will waste a long and tedious while;
But not too long, I hope!


SURGEONS (after a hasty examination)

          You must be borne
In to your lodgings instantly, Sir John.
Please strive to stand the motion--if you can;
They will keep step, and bear you steadily.


MOORE

Anything. . . . Surely fainter ebbs that fire?


COLBORNE

Yes: we must be advancing everywhere:
Colbert their General, too, they have lost, I learn.

  [They lift him by stretching their sashes under the blanket, and
  begin moving off.  A light waggon enters.]


MOORE

Who's in that waggon?


HARDINGE

          Colonel Wynch, Sir John.
He's wounded, but he urges you to take it.


MOORE

No.  I will not.  This suits. . . . Don't come with me;
There's more for you to do out here as yet.  (Cheerful shouts.)
A-ha!  'Tis THIS way I have wished to die!

  [Exeunt slowly in the twilight MOORE, bearers, surgeons, etc.,
  towards Coruna.  The scene darkens.]



SCENE IV

CORUNA.  NEAR THE RAMPARTS

  [It is just before dawn on the following morning, objects being
  still indistinct.  The features of the elevated enclosure of San
  Carlos can be recognized in dim outline, and also those of the
  Old Town of Coruna around, though scarcely a lamp is shining.
  The numerous transports in the harbour beneath have still their
  riding-lights burning.

  In a nook of the town walls a lantern glimmers.  Some English
  soldiers of the Ninth regiment are hastily digging a grave there
  with extemporized tools.]


A VOICE (from the gloom some distance off)

"I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that
believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live."

  [The soldiers look up, and see entering at the further end of the
  patch of ground a slow procession.  It advances by the light of
  lanterns in the hands of some members of it.  At moments the fitful
  rays fall upon bearers carrying a coffinless body rolled in a
  blanket, with a military cloak roughly thrown over by way of pall.
  It is brought towards the incomplete grave, and followed by HOPE,
  GRAHAM, ANDERSON, COLBORNE, HARDINGE, and several aides-de-camp,
  a chaplain preceding.]


FIRST SOLDIER

They are here, almost as quickly as ourselves.
There is no time to dig much deeper now:
Level a bottom just as far's we've got.
He'll couch as calmly in this scrabbled hole
As in a royal vault!


SECOND SOLDIER

Would it had been a foot deeper, here among foreigners, with strange
manures manufactured out of no one knows what!  Surely we can give
him another six inches?


FIRST SOLDIER

There is no time.  Just make the bottom true.

  [The meagre procession approaches the spot, and waits while the
  half-dug grave is roughly finished by the men of the Ninth.
  They step out of it, and another of them holds a lantern to the
  chaplain's book.  The winter day slowly dawns.]


CHAPLAIN

"Man that is born of a woman hath but a short time to live, and is
full of misery.  He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he
fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay."

  [A gun is fired from the French battery not far off; then another.
  The ships in the harbour take in their riding lights.]


COLBORNE (in a low voice)

I knew that dawn would see them open fire.


HOPE

We must perforce make swift use of out time.
Would we had closed our too sad office sooner!

  [As the body is lowered another discharge echoes.  They glance
  gloomily at the heights where the French are ranged, and then
  into the grave.]


CHAPLAIN

"We therefore commit his body to the ground.  Earth to earth, ashes
to ashes, dust to dust."  (Another gun.)

  [A spent ball falls not far off.  They put out their lanterns.
  Continued firing, some shot splashing into the harbour below
  them.]


HOPE

In mercy to the living, who are thrust
Upon our care for their deliverance,
And run much hazard till they are embarked,
We must abridge these duties to the dead,
Who will not mind be they abridged or no.


HARDINGE

And could he mind, would be the man to bid it. . . .


HOPE

We shall do well, then, curtly to conclude
These mutilated prayers--our hurried best!--
And what's left unsaid, feel.


CHAPLAIN (his words broken by the cannonade)

" . . . . We give Thee hearty thanks for that it hath pleased
Thee to deliver this our brother out of the miseries of this
sinful world. . . . Who also hath taught us not to be sorry, as
men without hope, for them that sleep in Him. . . . Grant this,
through Jesus Christ our Mediator and Redeemer."


OFFICERS AND SOLDIERS

Amen!

  [The diggers of the Ninth hastily fill in the grave, and the scene
  shuts as the mournful figures retire.]



SCENE V

VIENNA.  A CAFE IN THE STEPHANS-PLATZ

  [An evening between light and dark is disclosed, some lamps being
  lit.  The huge body and tower of St. Stephen's rise into the sky
  some way off, the western gleam still touching the upper stonework.
  Groups of people are seated at the tables, drinking and reading
  the newspapers.  One very animated group, which includes an
  Englishman, is talking loudly.  A citizen near looks up from his
  newspaper.]


CITIZEN (to the Englishman)

I read, sir, here, the troubles you discuss
Of your so gallant army under Moore.
His was a spirit baffled but not quelled,
And in his death there shone a stoicism
That lent retreat the rays of victory.


ENGLISHMAN

It was so.  While men chide they will admire him,
And frowning, praise.  I could nigh prophesy
That the unwonted crosses he has borne
In his career of sharp vicissitude
Will tinct his story with a tender charm,
And grant the memory of his strenuous feats
As long a lease within the minds of men
As conquerors hold there.--Does the sheet give news
Of how the troops reached home?


CITIZEN (looking up again at the paper)

          Yes; from your press
It quotes that they arrived at Plymouth Sound
Mid dreadful weather and much suffering.
It states they looked the very ghosts of men,
So heavily had hunger told on them,
And the fatigues and toils of the retreat.
Several were landed dead, and many died
As they were borne along.  At Portsmouth, too,
Sir David Baird, still helpless from his wound,
Was carried in a cot, sheet-pale and thin,
And Sir John Hope, lank as a skeleton.--
Thereto is added, with authority,
That a new expedition soon will fit,
And start again for Spain.


ENGLISHMAN

     I have heard as much.


CITIZEN

You'll do it next time, sir.  And so shall we!


SECOND CITIZEN (regarding the church tower opposite)

You witnessed the High Service over there
They held this morning?  (To the Englishman.)


ENGLISHMAN

          Ay; I did get in;
Though not without hard striving, such the throng;
But travellers roam to waste who shyly roam
And I pushed like the rest.


SECOND CITIZEN

          Our young Archduchess
Maria Louisa was, they tell me, present?


ENGLISHMAN

O yes: the whole Imperial family,
And when the Bishop called all blessings down
Upon the Landwehr colours there displayed,
Enthusiasm touched the sky--she sharing it.


SECOND CITIZEN

Commendable in her, and spirited,
After the graceless insults to the Court
The Paris journals flaunt--not voluntarily,
But by his ordering.  Magician-like
He holds them in his fist, and at his squeeze
They bubble what he wills! . . . Yes, she's a girl
Of patriotic build, and hates the French.
Quite lately she was overheard to say
She had met with most convincing auguries
That this year Bonaparte was starred to die.


ENGLISHMAN

Your arms must render its fulfilment sure.


SECOND CITIZEN

Right!  And we have the opportunity,
By upping to the war in suddenness,
And catching him unaware.  The pink and flower
Of all his veteran troops are now in Spain
Fully engaged with yours; while those he holds
In Germany are scattered far and wide.


FIRST CITIZEN (looking up again from his newspaper)

I see here that he vows and guarantees
Inviolate bounds to all our territories
If we but pledge to carry out forthwith
A prompt disarmament.  Since that's his price
Hell burn his guarantees!  Too long he has fooled us.
(To the Englishman) I drink, sir, to your land's consistency.
While we and all the kindred Europe States
Alternately have wooed and warred him,
You have not bent to blowing hot and cold,
But held you sturdily inimical!


ENGLISHMAN (laughing)

Less Christian-like forgiveness mellows us
Than Continental souls!  (They drink.)

  [A band is heard in a distant street, with shouting.  Enter third
  and fourth citizens, followed by others.]


FIRST CITIZEN

     More news afloat?


THIRD AND FOURTH CITIZENS

Yea; an announcement that the Archduke Charles
Is given the chief command.


FIRST, SECOND, ETC., CITIZENS

     Huzza!  Right so!

  [A clinking of glasses, rising from seats, and general enthusiasm.]


SECOND CITIZEN

If war had not so patly been declared,
Our howitzers and firelocks of themselves
Would have gone off to shame us!  This forenoon
Some of the Landwehr met me; they are hot
For setting out, though but few months enrolled.


ENGLISHMAN

That moves reflection somewhat.  They are young
For measuring with the veteran file of France!


FIRST CITIZEN

Napoleon's army swarms with tender youth,
His last conscription besomed into it
Thousands of merest boys.  But he contrives
To mix them in the field with seasoned frames.


SECOND CITIZEN

The sadly-seen mistake this country made
Was that of grounding hostile arms at all.
We should have fought irreconcilably--
Have been consistent as the English are.
The French are our hereditary foes,
And this adventurer of the saucy sword,
This sacrilegious slighter of our shrines,
Stands author of all our ills . . .
Our harvest fields and fruits he trample on,
Accumulating ruin in our land.
Think of what mournings in the last sad war
'Twas his to instigate and answer for!
Time never can efface the glint of tears
In palaces, in shops, in fields, in cots,
From women widowed, sonless, fatherless,
That then oppressed our eyes.  There is no salve
For such deep harrowings but to fight again;
The enfranchisement of Europe hangs thereon,
And long she has lingered for the sign to crush him:
That signal we have given; the time is come!  (Thumping on the table.)


FIFTH CITIZEN (at another table, looking up from his paper and
                speaking across)

I see that Russia has declined to aid us,
And says she knows that Prussia likewise must;
So that the mission of Prince Schwarzenberg
To Alexander's Court has closed in failure.


THIRD CITIZEN

Ay--through his being honest--fatal sin!--
Probing too plainly for the Emperor's ears
His ominous friendship with Napoleon.


ENGLISHMAN

Some say he was more than honest with the Tsar;
Hinting that his becoming an ally
Makes him accomplice of the Corsican
In the unprincipled dark overthrow
Of his poor trusting childish Spanish friends--
Which gave the Tsar offence.


THIRD CITIZEN

          And our best bid--
The last, most delicate dish--a tastelessness.


FIRST CITIZEN

What was Prince Schwarzenberg's best bid, I pray?


THIRD CITIZEN

The offer of the heir of Austria's hand
For Alexander's sister the Grand-Duchess.


ENGLISHMAN

He could not have accepted, if or no:
She is inscribed as wife for Bonaparte.


FIRST CITIZEN

I doubt that text!


ENGLISHMAN

     Time's context soon will show.


SECOND CITIZEN

The Russian Cabinet can not for long
Resist the ardour of the Russian ranks
To march with us the moment we achieve
Our first loud victory!

  [A band is heard playing afar, and shouting.  People are seen
  hurrying past in the direction of the sounds.  Enter sixth
  citizen.]


SIXTH CITIZEN

          The Archduke Charles
Is passing the Ringstrasse just by now,
His regiment at his heels!

  [The younger sitters jump up with animation, and go out, the
  elder mostly remaining.]


SECOND CITIZEN

          Realm never faced
The grin of a more fierce necessity
For horrid war, than ours at this tense time!

  [The sounds of band-playing and huzzaing wane away.  Citizens
  return.]


FIRST CITIZEN

More news, my friends, of swiftly swelling zeal?


RE-ENTERED CITIZENS

Ere passing down the Ring, the Archduke paused
And gave the soldiers speech, enkindling them
As sunrise a confronting throng of panes
That glaze a many-windowed east facade:
Hot volunteers vamp in from vill and plain--
More than we need in the furthest sacrifice!


FIRST, SECOND, ETC., CITIZENS

Huzza!  Right so!  Good!  Forwards!  God be praised!

  [They stand up, and a clinking of glasses follows, till they
  subside to quietude and a reperusal of newspapers.  Nightfall
  succeeds.  Dancing-rooms are lit up in an opposite street, and
  dancing begins.  The figures are seen gracefully moving round
  to the throbbing strains of a string-band, which plays a new
  waltzing movement with a warlike name, soon to spread over
  Europe.  The dancers sing patriotic words as they whirl.  The
  night closes over.]




ACT FOURTH

SCENE I

A ROAD OUT OF VIENNA

  [It is morning in early May.  Rain descends in torrents, accompanied
  by peals of thunder.  The tepid downpour has caused the trees to
  assume as by magic a clothing of limp green leafage, and has turned
  the ruts of the uneven highway into little canals.

  A drenched travelling-chariot is passing, with a meagre escort.
  In the interior are seated four women: the ARCHDUCHESS MARIA
  LOUISA, in age about eighteen; her stepmother the EMPRESS OF
  AUSTRIA, third wife of FRANCIS, only four years older than the
  ARCHDUCHESS; and two ladies of the Austrian Court.  Behind come
  attendant carriages bearing servants and luggage.
  
  The inmates remain for the most part silent, and appear to be in a
  gloomy frame of mind.  From time to time they glance at the moist
  spring scenes which pass without in a perspective distorted by the
  rain-drops that slide down the panes, and by the blurring effect
  of the travellers' breathings.  Of the four the one who keeps in
  the best spirits is the ARCHDUCHESS, a fair, blue-eyed, full-
  figured, round-lipped maiden.]


MARIA LOUISA

Whether the rain comes in or not I must open the window.  Please
allow me.  (She straightway opens it.)


EMPRESS (groaning)

Yes--open or shut it--I don't care.  I am too ill to care for
anything!  (The carriage jolts into a hole.)  O woe!  To think that
I am driven away from my husband's home in such a miserable
conveyance, along such a road, and in such weather as this.  (Peal
of thunder.)  There are his guns!


MARIA LOUISA

No, my dear one.  It cannot be his guns.  They told us when we
started that he was only half-way from Ratisbon hither, so that he
must be nearly a hundred miles off as yet; and a large army cannot
move fast.


EMPRESS

He should never have been let come nearer than Ratisbon!  The victory
at Echmuhl was fatal for us.  O Echmuhl, Echmuhl!  I believe he will
overtake us before we get to Buda.


FIRST LADY-IN-WAITING

If so, your Majesty, shall we be claimed as prisoners and marched
to Paris?


EMPRESS

Undoubtedly.  But I shouldn't much care.  It would not be worse than
this. . . . I feel sodden all through me, and frowzy, and broken!
(She closes her eyes as if to doze.)


MARIA LOUISA

It is dreadful to see her suffer so!  (Shutting the window.)  If
the roads were not so bad I should not mind.  I almost wish we had
stayed; though when he arrives the cannonade will be terrible.


FIRST LADY-IN-WAITING

I wonder if he will get into Vienna.  Will his men knock down all
the houses, madam?


MARIA LOUISA

If he do get in, I am sure his triumph will not be for long.  My
uncle the Archduke Charles is at his heels!  I have been told many
important prophecies about Bonaparte's end, which is fast nearing,
it is asserted.  It is he, they say, who is referred to in the
Apocalypse.  He is doomed to die this year at Cologne, in an inn
called "The Red Crab."  I don't attach too much importance to all
these predictions, but O, how glad I should be to see them come true!


SECOND LADY-IN-WAITING

So should we all, madam.  What would become of his divorce-scheme
then?


MARIA LOUISA

Perhaps there is nothing in that report.  One can hardly believe
such gossip.


SECOND LADY-IN-WAITING

But they say, your Imperial Highness, that he certainly has decided
to sacrifice the Empress Josephine, and that at the meeting last
October with the Emperor Alexander at Erfurt, it was even settled
that he should marry as his second wife the Grand-Duchess Anne.


MARIA LOUISA

I am sure that the Empress her mother will never allow one of the
house of Romanoff to marry with a bourgeois Corsican.  I wouldn't
if I were she!


FIRST LADY-IN-WAITING

Perhaps, your Highness, they are not so particular in Russia, where
they are rather new themselves, as we in Austria, with your ancient
dynasty, are in such matters.


MARIA LOUISA

Perhaps not.  Though the Empress-mother is a pompous old thing, as
I have been told by Prince Schwarzenberg, who was negotiating there
last winter.  My father says it would be a dreadful misfortune for
our country if they were to marry.  Though if we are to be exiled
I don't see how anything of that sort can matter much. . . . I hope
my father is safe!

  [An officer of the escort rides up to the carriage window, which
  is opened.]


EMPRESS (unclosing her eyes)

Any more misfortunes?


OFFICER

A rumour is a-wind, your Majesty,
That the French host, the Emperor in its midst,
Lannes, Massena, and Bessieres in its van,
Advancing hither along the Ratisbon road,
Has seized the castle and town of Ebersberg,
And burnt all down, with frightful massacre,
Vast heaps of dead and wounded being consumed,
So that the streets stink strong with frizzled flesh.--
The enemy, ere this, has crossed the Traun,
Hurling brave Hiller's army back on us,
And marches on Amstetten--thirty miles
Less distant from Vienna from before!


EMPRESS

The Lord show mercy to us!  But O why
Did not the Archdukes intercept the foe?


OFFICER

His Highness Archduke Charles, your Majesty,
After his sore repulse Bohemia-wards,
Could not proceed with strength and speed enough
To close in junction with the Archduke John
And Archduke Louis, as was their intent.
So Marshall Lannes swings swiftly on Vienna,
With Oudinot's and Demont's might of foot;
Then Massena and all his mounted men,
And then Napoleon, Guards, Cuirassiers,
And the main body of the Imperial Force.


EMPRESS

Alas for poor Vienna!


OFFICER

          Even so!
Your Majesty has fled it none too soon.

  [The window is shut, and the procession disappears behind the
  sheets of rain.]



SCENE II

THE ISLAND OF LOBAU, WITH WAGRAM BEYOND

  [The northern horizon at the back of the bird's-eye prospect is
  the high ground stretching from the Bisamberg on the left to the
  plateau of Wagram on the right.  In front of these elevations
  spreads the wide plain of the Marchfeld, open, treeless, and with
  scarcely a house upon it.(16)

  In the foreground the Danube crosses the scene with a graceful
  slowness, looping itself round the numerous wooded islands therein.
  The largest of these, immediately under the eye, is the Lobau,
  which stands like a knot in the gnarled grain represented by the
  running river.

  On this island can be discerned, closely packed, an enormous dark
  multitude of foot, horse, and artillery in French uniforms, the
  numbers reaching to a hundred and seventy thousand.

  Lifting our eyes to discover what may be opposed to them we
  perceive on the Wagram plateau aforesaid, and right and left in
  front of it, extended lines of Austrians, whitish and glittering,
  to the number of a hundred and forty thousand.

  The July afternoon turns to evening, the evening to twilight.
  A species of simmer which pervades the living spectacle raises
  expectation till the very air itself seems strained with suspense.
  A huge event of some kind is awaiting birth.]


DUMB SHOW

The first change under the cloak of night is that the tightly packed
regiments on the island are got under arms.  The soldiery are like
a thicket of reeds in which every reed should be a man.

A large bridge connects the island with the further shore, as well
as some smaller bridges.  Opposite are high redoubts and ravelins
that the Austrians have constructed for opposing the passage across,
which the French ostentatiously set themselves to attempt by the
large bridge, amid heavy cannonading.

But the movement is a feint, though this is not perceived by the
Austrians as yet.  The real movement is on the right hand of the
foreground, behind a spur of the isle, and out of sight of the 
enemy; where several large rafts and flat boats, each capable of
carrying three hundred men, are floated out from a screened creek.

Chosen battalions enter upon these, which immediately begin to cross
with their burden.  Simultaneously from other screened nooks
secretly prepared floating bridges, in sections, are moved forth,
joined together, and defended by those who crossed on the rafts.

At two o'clock in the morning the thousands of cooped soldiers begin
to cross the bridges, producing a scene which, on such a scale, was
never before witnessed in the history of war.  A great discharge
from the batteries accompanies this manoeuvre, arousing the Austrians
to a like cannonade.

The night has been obscure for summer-time, and there is no moon.
The storm now breaks in a tempestuous downpour, with lightning and
thunder.  The tumult of nature mingles so fantastically with the
tumult of projectiles that flaming bombs and forked flashes cut the
air in company, and the noise from the mortars alternates with the
noise from the clouds.

From bridge to bridge and back again a gloomy-eyed figure stalks, as
it has stalked the whole night long, with the restlessness of a wild
animal.  Plastered with mud, and dribbling with rain-water, it bears
no resemblance to anything dignified or official.  The figure is that
of NAPOLEON, urging his multitudes over.

By daylight the great mass of the men is across the water.  At
six the rain ceases, the mist uncovers the face of the sun, which
bristles on the helmets and bayonets of the French.  A hum of
amazement rises from the Austrian hosts, who turn staring faces
southward and perceive what has happened, and the columns of
their enemies standing to arms on the same side of the stream
with themselves, and preparing to turn their left wing.

NAPOLEON rides along the front of his forces, which now spread out
upon the plain, and are ranged in order of battle.

Dumb Show ends, and the point of view changes.



SCENE III

THE FIELD OF WAGRAM

  [The battlefield is now viewed reversely, from the windows of a
  mansion at Wolkersdorf, to the rear of the Austrian position.
  The aspect of the windows is nearly south, and the prospect includes
  the plain of the Marchfeld, with the isled Danube and Lobau in the
  extreme distance.  Ten miles to the south-west, rightwards, the
  faint summit of the tower of St. Stephen's, Vienna, appears.  On
  the middle-left stands the compact plateau of Wagram, so regularly
  shaped as to seem as if constructed by art.  On the extreme left
  the July sun has lately risen.

  Inside the room are discovered the EMPEROR FRANCIS and some house-
  hold officers in attendance; with the War-Minister and Secretaries
  at a table at the back.  Through open doors can be seen in an outer
  apartment adjutants, equerries, aides, and other military men.  An
  officer in waiting enters.]


OFFICER

During the night the French have shifted, sire,
And much revised their stations of the eve
By thwart and wheeling moves upon our left,
And on our centre--projects unforeseen
Till near accomplished.


FRANCIS

          But I am advised
By oral message that the Archduke Charles,
Since the sharp strife last night, has mended, too,
His earlier dispositions, and has sped
Strong orders to the Archduke John, to bring
In swiftest marches all the force he holds,
And fall with heavy impact on the French
From nigh their rear?


OFFICER

          'Tis good, sire; such a swoop
Will raise an obstacle to their retreat
And refuge in the fastness of the isle;
And show this victory-gorged adventurer
That striking with a river in his rear
Is not the safest tactic to be played
Against an Austrian front equipt like ours!

  [The EMPEROR FRANCIS and others scrutinize through their glasses
  the positions and movements of the Austrian divisions, which appear
  on the plain as pale masses, emitting flashes from arms and helmets
  under the July rays, and reaching from the Tower of Neusiedel on
  the left, past Wagram, into the village of Stammersdorf on the
  right.  Beyond their lines are spread out the darker-hued French,
  almost parallel to the Austrians.]


FRANCIS

Those moving masses toward the right I deem
The forces of Klenau and Kollowrath,
Sent to support Prince John of Lichtenstein
I his attack that way?

  [An interval.]

          Now that they've gained
The right there, why is not the attack begun?


OFFICER

They are beginning on the left wing, sire.

  [The EMPEROR resumes his glass and beholds bodies of men descending
  from the hills by Neusiedel, and crossing the Russbach river towards
  the French--a movement which has been going on for some time.]


FRANCIS (turning thither)

Where we are weakest!  It surpasses me
To understand why was our centre thinned
To pillar up our right already strong,
Where nought is doing, while our left assault
Stands ill-supported?

   [Time passes in silence.]

          Yes, it is so.  See,
The enemy strikes Rossenberg in flank,
Compelling him to fall behind the Russbach!

  [The EMPEROR gets excited, and his face perspires.  At length he
  cannot watch through his glass, and walks up and down.]

Penned useless here my nerves annoy my sight!
Inform me what you note.--I should opine
The Wagram height behind impregnable?

  [Another silence, broken by the distant roar of the guns.]


OFFICER

Klenau and Kollowrath are pounding on!
To turn the enemy's left with our strong right
Is, after all, a plan that works out well.
Hiller and Lichtenstein conjoin therein.


FRANCIS

I hear from thence appalling cannonades.


OFFICER

'Tis their, your Majesty.  Now we shall see
If the French read that there the danger lies.


FRANCIS

I only pray that Bonaparte refrain
From spying danger there till all too late!


OFFICER (involuntarily, after a pause)

Ah, Heaven!


FRANCIS (turning sharply)

Well, well?  What changes figure now?


OFFICER

They pierce our centre, sire!  We are, despite,
Not centrally so weak as I supposed.
Well done, Bellegarde!


FRANCIS (glancing to the centre)

     And what has he well done?


OFFICER

The French in fierce fume broke through Aderklaa;
But Bellegarde, pricking along the plain behind,
Has charged and driven them back disorderly.
The Archduke Charles bounds thither, as I shape,
In person to support him!

  [The EMPEROR returns to his spyglass; and they and others watch in
  silence, sometimes the right of their front, sometimes the centre.]


FRANCIS

          It is so!
That the right attack of ours spells victory,
And Austria's grand salvation! . . . (Times passes.)  Turn your glass,
And closely scan Napoleon and his aides
Hand-galloping towards his centre-left
To strengthen it against the brave Bellegarde.
Does your eye reach him?--That white horse, alone
In front of those that move so rapidly.


OFFICER

It does, sire; though my glass can conjure not
So cunningly as yours. . . . that horse must be
The famed Euphrates--him the Persian king
Sent Bonaparte as gift.

  [A silence.  NAPOLEON reaches a carriage that is moving across.
  It bears MASSENA, who, having received a recent wound, in unable
  to ride.]


FRANCIS

See, the white horse and horseman pause beside
A coach for some strange reason rolling there. . . .
That white-horsed rider--yes!--is Bonaparte,
By the aides hovering round. . . .
New war-wiles have been worded; we shall spell
Their purport soon enough!  (An interval.)
          The French take heart
To stand to our battalions steadfastly,
And hold their ground, having the Emperor near!

  [Time passes.  An aide-de-camp enters.]


AIDE

The Archduke Charles is pierced in the shoulder, sire;
He strove too far in beating back the French
At Aderklaa, and was nearly ta'en.
The wound's not serious.--On our right we win,
And deem the battle ours.

  [Enter another aide-de-camp.]


SECOND AIDE

          Your Majesty,
We have borne them back through Aspern village-street
And Essling is recovered.  What counts more,
Their bridges to the rear we have nearly grasped,
And panic-struck they crowd the few left free,
Choking the track, with cries of "All is lost!"


FRANCIS

Then is the land delivered.  God be praised!

  [Exeunt aides.  An interval, during which the EMPEROR and his
  companions again remain anxiously at their glasses.]

There is a curious feature I discern
To have come upon the battle.  On our right
We gain ground rapidly; towards the left
We lose it; and the unjudged consequence
Is that the armies; whole commingling mass
Moves like a monstrous wheel.  I like it not!

  [Enter another aide-de-camp.]


THIRD AIDE

Our left wing, sire, recedes before Davout,
Whom nothing can withstand!  Two corps he threw
Across the Russbach up to Neusiedel,
While he himself assailed the place in front.
Of the divisions one pressed on and on,
Till lodged atop.  They would have been hurled back---


FRANCIS

But how goes it with us in sum? pray say!


THIRD AIDE

We have been battered off the eastern side
Of Wagram plateau.


FRANCIS

          Where's the Archduke John?
Why comes he not?  One man of his here now
Were worth a host anon.  And yet he tarries!

  [Exit third aide.  Time passes, while they reconnoitre the field
  with strained eyes.]

Our centre-right, it seems, round Neusiedel,
Is being repulsed!  May the kind Heaven forbid
That Hesse Homberg should be yielding there!

  [The Minister in attendance comes forward, and the EMPEROR consults
  him; then walking up and down in silence.  Another aide-de-camp
  enters.]


FOURTH AIDE

Sire, Neusiedel has just been wrenched from us,
And the French right is on the Wagram crest;
Nordmann has fallen, and Veczay: Hesse Homberg,
Warteachben, Muger--almost all our best--
Bleed more or less profusely!

  [A gloomy silence.  Exit fourth side.  Ten minutes pass.  Enter an
  officer in waiting.]


FRANCIS

What guns are those that groan from Wagram height?


OFFICER

Alas, Davout's!  I have climbed the roof-top, sire,
And there discerned the truth.

  [Cannonade continues.  A long interval of suspense.  The EMPEROR
  returns to his glass.]


FRANCIS

          A part of it!
There seems to be a grim, concerted lunge
By the whole strength of France upon our right,
Centre, and left wing simultaneously!


OFFICER

Most viciously upon the centre, sire,
If I mistook not, hard by Sussenbrunn;
The assault is led by Bonaparte in person,
Who shows himself with marvellous recklessness,
Yet like a phantom-fiend receives no hurt.


FRANCIS (still gazing)

Ha! Now the Archduke Charles has seen the intent,
And taken steps against it.  Sussenbrunn
Must be the threatened thing.  (Silence.)  What an advance!--
Straight hitherward.  Our centre girdles them.--
Surely they'll not persist?  Who heads that charge?


OFFICER

They say Macdonald, sire.


FRANCIS

          Meagrest remains
Will there be soon of those in that advance!
We are burning them to bones by our hot fire.
They are almost circumscribed: if fully so
The battle's ours!  What's that behind them, eh?


OFFICER

Their last reserves, that they may feed the front,
And sterilize our hope!


FRANCIS

          Yes, their reserve--
Dragoons and cuirassiers--charge in support.
You see their metal gleaming as they come.
Well, it is neck or nothing for them now!


OFFICER

It's nothing, sire.  Their charge of cavalry
Has desperately failed.


FRANCIS

          Their foot press on,
However, with a battery in front
Which deals the foulest damage done us yet.  (Time passes.)
They ARE effecting lodgment, after all.
Who would have reckoned on't--our men so firm!

  [Re-enter first aide-de-camp.]


FIRST AIDE

The Archduke Charles retreats, your majesty;
And the issue wears a dirty look just now.


FRANCIS (gloomily)

Yes: I have seen the signs for some good while.
But he retreats with blows, and orderly.

  [Time passes, till the sun has rounded far towards the west.  The
  features of the battle now materially change.  The French have
  regained Aspern and Essling; the Austrian army is doubled back
  from the Danube and from the heights of Wagram, which, as
  viewed from Wolkersdorf, face the afternoon shine, the French
  established thereon glittering in the rays.


FRANCIS (choking a sigh)

The turn has passed.  We are worsted, but not overwhelmed! . . .
The French advance is laboured, and but slow.
--This might have been another-coloured day
If but the Archduke John had joined up promptly;
Yet still he lags!


ANOTHER OFFICER (lately entered)

          He's just now coming, sire.
His columns glimmer in the Frenchmen's rear.
Past Siebenbrunn's and Loebensdorf's smoked hills.


FRANCIS (impatiently)

Ay--coming NOW!  Why could he not be COME!

  (They watch intently.)

We can see nothing of that side from here.

  [Enter a general officer, who speaks to the Minister at the back
  of the room.]


MINISTER (coming forward)

Your Majesty, I now have to suggest,
Pursuant to conclusions reached this morn,
That since the front and flower of all our force
Is seen receding to the Bisamberg,
These walls no longer yield safe shade for you,
Or facile outlook.  Scouts returning say
Either Davout, or Bonaparte himself,
With the mid-columns of his forward corps,
Will bear up hitherward in fierce pursuit,
And may intrude beneath this very roof.
Not yet, I think; it may not be to-night;
But we should stand prepared.


FRANCIS

          If we must go
We'll go with a good grace, unfeignedly!
Who knows to-morrow may not see regained
What we have lost to-day?

  [Re-enter fourth aide-de-camp.]


FOURTH AIDE (breathlessly)

          The Archduke John,
Discerning our main musters in retreat,
Abandons an advance that throws on him
The enemy's whole brunt if he bear on.


FRANCIS

Alas for his devotion!  Let us go.
Such weight of sadness as we shoulder now
Will wring us down to sleep in stall or stye,
If even that be found! . . . Think! Bonaparte,
By reckless riskings of his life and limb,
Has turned the steelyard of our strength to-day
Whilst I have idled here! . . . May brighter times
Attend the cause of Europe far in Spain,
And British blood flow not, as ours, in vain!

  [Exeunt the EMPEROR FRANCIS, minister, officers, and attendants.
  The night comes, and the scene is obscured.]



SCENE IV

THE FIELD OF TALAVERA

  [It is the same month and weather as in the preceding scene.

  Talavera town, on the river Tagus, is at the extreme right of the
  foreground; a mountain range on the extreme left.

  The allied army under SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY stretches between--the
  English on the left, the Spanish on the right--part holding a hill
  to the left-centre of the scene, divided from the mountains by a
  valley, and part holding a redoubt to the right-centre.  This army
  of more than fifty thousand all told, of which twenty-two thousand
  only are English, has its back to the spectator.

  Beyond, in a wood of olive, oak, and cork, are the fifty to sixty
  thousand French, facing the spectator and the allies.  Their right
  includes a strong battery upon a hill which fronts the one on the
  English left.

  Behind all, the heights of Salinas close the prospect, the small
  river Alberche flowing at their foot from left to right into the
  Tagus, which advances in foreshortened perspective to the town at
  the right front corner of the scene as aforesaid.]


DUMB SHOW

The hot and dusty July afternoon having turned to twilight, shady
masses of men start into motion from the French position, come towards
the foreground, silently ascend the hill on the left of the English,
and assail the latter in a violent outburst of fire and lead.  They
nearly gain possession of the hill ascended.


CHORUS OF RUMOURS (aerial music)

     Talavera tongues it as ten o' the night-time:
     Now come Ruffin's slaughterers surging upward,
     Backed by bold Vilatte's!  From the vale Lapisse, too,
          Darkly outswells there!

     Down the vague veiled incline the English fling them,
     Bended bayonets prodding opponents backward:
     So the first fierce charge of the ardent Frenchmen
          England repels there!


Having fallen back into the darkness the French presently reascend
in yet larger masses.  The high square knapsack which every English
foot-soldier carries, and his shako, and its tuft, outline themselves
against the dim light as the ranks stand awaiting the shock.


CHORUS OF RUMOURS

     Pushing spread they!--shout as they reach the summit!--
     Strength and stir new-primed in their plump battalions:
     Puffs of barbed flame blown on the lines opposing
          Higher and higher.

     There those hold them mute, though at speaking distance--
     Mute, while clicking flints, and the crash of volleys
     Whelm the weighted gloom with immense distraction
          Pending their fire.

     Fronting heads, helms, brows can each ranksman read there,
     Epaulettes, hot cheeks, and the shining eyeball,
     (Called a trice from gloom by the fleeting pan-flash)
          Pressing them nigher!


The French again fall back in disorder into the hollow, and LAPISSE
draws off on the right.  As the sinking sound of the muskets tells
what has happened the English raise a shout.


CHORUS OF PITIES

     Thus the dim nocturnal embroil of conflict
     Closes with the roar of receding gun-fire.
     Harness loosened then, and their day-long strenuous
          Temper unbending,

     Worn-out lines lie down where they late stood staunchly--
     Cloaks around them rolled--by the bivouac embers:
     There at dawn to stake in the dynasts' death-game
          All, till the ending!



SCENE V

THE SAME


DUMB SHOW (continued)

The morning breaks.  There is another murderous attempt to dislodge the
English from the hill, the assault being pressed with a determination
that excites the admiration of the English themselves.

The French are seen descending into the valley, crossing it, and
climbing it on the English side under the fire of HILL'S whole
division, all to no purpose.  In their retreat they leave behind
them on the slopes nearly two thousand lying.

The day advances to noon, and the air trembles in the intense heat.
The combat flags, and is suspended.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     What do I see but thirsty, throbbing bands
     From these inimic hosts defiling down
     In homely need towards the little stream
     That parts their enmities, and drinking there!
     They get to grasping hands across the rill,
     Sealing their sameness as earth's sojourners.--
     What more could plead the wryness of the time
     Than such unstudied piteous pantomimes!


SPIRIT IRONIC

It is only that Life's queer mechanics chance to work out in this
grotesque shape just now.  The groping tentativeness of an Immanent
Will (as grey old Years describes it) cannot be asked to learn logic
at this time of day!  The spectacle of Its instruments, set to riddle
one another through, and then to drink together in peace and concord,
is where the humour comes in, and makes the play worth seeing!


SPIRIT SINISTER

Come, Sprite, don't carry your ironies too far, or you may wake up
the Unconscious Itself, and tempt It to let all the gory clock-work
of the show run down to spite me!


DUMB SHOW (continuing)

The drums roll, and the men of the two nations part from their
comradeship at the Alberche brook, the dark masses of the French
army assembling anew.  SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY has seated himself on
a mound that commands a full view of the contested hill, and
remains there motionless a long time.  When the French form for
battle he is seen to have come to a conclusion.  He mounts, gives
his orders, and the aides ride off.

The French advance steadily through the sultry atmosphere, the
skirmishers in front, and the columns after, moving, yet seemingly
motionless.  Their eighty cannon peal out and their shots mow every
space in the line of them.  Up the great valley and the terraces of
the hill whose fame is at that moment being woven, comes VILLATE,
boring his way with foot and horse, and RUFFIN'S men following
behind.

According to the order given, the Twenty-third Light Dragoons and
the German Hussars advance at a chosen moment against the head of
these columns.  On the way they disappear.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Why this bedevilment?  What can have chanced?


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     It so befalls that as their chargers near
     The inimical wall of flesh with its iron frise,
     A treacherous chasm uptrips them: zealous men
     And docile horses roll to dismal death
     And horrid mutilation.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

          Those who live
     Even now advance!  I'll see no more.  Relate.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     Yes, those pant on.  Then further Frenchmen cross,
     And Polish Lancers, and Westphalian Horse,
     Who ring around these luckless Islanders,
     And sweep them down like reeds by the river-bank
     In scouring floods; till scarce a man remains.


Meanwhile on the British right SEBASTIANI'S corps has precipitated
itself in column against GENERAL CAMPBELL'S division, the division
of LAPISSE against the centre, and at the same time the hill on the
English left is again assaulted.  The English and their allies are
pressed sorely here, the bellowing battery tearing lanes through
their masses.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR (continuing)

     The French reserves of foot and horse now on,
     Smiting the Islanders in breast and brain
     Till their mid-lines are shattered. . . . Now there ticks
     The moment of the crisis; now the next,
     Which brings the turning stroke.


SIR ARTHUR WELLESLEY sends down the Forty-eighth regiment under
COLONEL DONELLAN to support the wasting troops.  It advances amid
those retreating, opening to let them pass.


SPIRIT OF THE RUMOUR (continuing)

          The pales, enerved,
     The hitherto unflinching enemy!
     Lapisse is pierced to death; the flagging French
     Decline into the hollows whence they came.
     The too exhausted English and reduced
     Lack strength to follow.--Now the western sun,
     Conning with unmoved visage quick and dead,
     Gilds horsemen slackening, and footmen stilled,
     Till all around breathes drowsed hostility.

     Last, the swealed herbage lifts a leering light,
     And flames traverse the field; and hurt and slain
     Opposed, opposers, in a common plight
     Are scorched together on the dusk champaign.


The fire dies down, and darkness enwraps the scene.



SCENE VI

BRIGHTON.  THE ROYAL PAVILION

  [It is the birthday dinner-party of the PRINCE OF WALES.  In the
  floridly decorated banqueting-room stretch tables spread with gold
  and silver plate, and having artificial fountains in their midst.

  Seated at the tables are the PRINCE himself as host--rosy, well
  curled, and affable--the DUKES OF YORK, CLARENCE, KENT, SUSSEX,
  CUMBERLAND, and CAMBRIDGE, with many noblemen, including LORDS
  HEADFORT, BERKELEY, EGREMONT, CHICHESTER, DUDLEY, SAY AND SELE,
  SOUTHAMPTON, HEATHFIELD, ERSKINE, KEITH, C. SOMERSET, G. CAVENDISH,
  R. SEYMOUR, and others; SIR C. POLE, SIR E.G. DE CRESPIGNY, MR.
  SHERIDAN; Generals, Colonels, and Admirals, and the REV. MR. SCOTT.

  The PRINCE'S band plays in the adjoining room.  The banquet is
  drawing to its close, and a boisterous conversation is in progress.

  Enter COLONEL BLOOMFIELD with a dispatch for the PRINCE, who looks
  it over amid great excitement in the company.  In a few moments
  silence is called.]


PRINCE OF WALES

I have the joy, my lords and gentlemen,
To rouse you with the just imported tidings
From General Wellesley through Lord Castlereagh
Of a vast victory (noisy cheers) over the French in Spain.
The place--called Talavera de la Reyna
(If I pronounce it rightly)--long unknown,
Wears not the crest and blazonry of fame!  (Cheers.)
The heads and chief contents of the dispatch
I read you as succinctly as I can.  (Cheers.)


SHERIDAN (singing sotto voce)

"Now foreign foemen die and fly,
Dammy, we'll drink little England dry!"

  [The PRINCE reads the parts of the dispatch that describe the
  battle, amid intermittent cheers.]


PRINCE OF WALES (continuing)

Such is the substance of the news received,
Which, after Wagram, strikes us genially
As sudden sunrise through befogged night shades!


SHERIDAN (privately)

By God, that's good, sir!  You are a poet born, while the rest of us
are but made, and bad at that.

  [The health of the army in Spain is drunk with acclamations.]


PRINCE OF WALES (continuing)

In this achievement we, alas! have lost
Too many!  Yet suck blanks must ever be.--
Mackenzie, Langworth, Beckett of the Guards,
Have fallen of ours; while of the enemy
Generals Lapisse and Morlot are laid low.--
Drink to their memories!

  [They drink in silence.]

          Other news, my friends,
Received to-day is of like hopeful kind.
The Great War-Expedition to the Scheldt  (Cheers.)
Which lately sailed, has found a favouring wind,
And by this hour has touched its destined shores.
The enterprise will soon be hot aglow,
The invaders making first the Cadsand coast,
And then descending on Walcheren Isle.
But items of the next step are withheld
Till later days, from obvious policy.  (Cheers.)

  [Faint throbbing sounds, like the notes of violincellos and
  contrabassos, reach the ear from some building without as the 
  speaker pauses.

In worthy emulation of us here
The county holds to-night a birthday ball,
Which flames with all the fashion of the town.
I have been asked to patronize their revel,
And sup with them, and likewise you, my guests.
We have good reason, with such news to bear!
Thither we haste and join our loyal friends,
And stir them with this live intelligence
Of our staunch regiments on the Spanish plains.  (Applause.)
With them we'll now knit hands and beat the ground,
And bring in dawn as we whirl round and round!
There are some fair ones in their set to-night,
And such we need here in our bachelor-plight.  (Applause.)

  [The PRINCE, his brothers, and a large proportion of the other
  Pavilion guests, swagger out in the direction of the Castle
  assembly-rooms adjoining, and the deserted banqueting-hall grows
  dark.  In a few moments the back of the scene opens, revealing
  the assembly-rooms behind.]



SCENE VII

THE SAME.  THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS

  [The rooms are lighted with candles in brass chandeliers, and a
  dance is in full movement to the strains of a string-band.  A
  signal is given, shortly after the clock has struck eleven, by
  MR. FORTH, Master of Ceremonies.]


FORTH

His Royal Highness comes, though somewhat late,
But never too late for welcome!  (Applause.)  Dancers, stand,
That we may do fit homage to the Prince
Who soon may shine our country's gracious king.


  [After a brief stillness a commotion is heard at the door, the band
  strikes up the National air, and the PRINCE enters, accompanied by
  the rest of the visitors from the Pavilion.  The guests who have
  been temporarily absent now crowd in, till there is hardly space
  to stand.]


PRINCE OF WALES (wiping his face and whispering to Sheridan)

What shall I say to fit their feeling here?
Damn me, that other speech has stumped me quite!


SHERIDAN (whispering)

If heat be evidence of loy---


PRINCE OF WALES

     If what?


SHERIDAN

If heat be evidence of loyalty,
Et caetera--something quaint like that might please 'em.


PRINCE OF WALES (to the company)

If heat be evidence of loyalty,
This room affords it truly without question;
If heat be not, then its accompaniment
Most surely 'tis to-night.  The news I bring,
Good ladies, friends, and gentlemen, perchance
You have divined already?  That our arms--
Engaged to thwart Napoleon's tyranny
Over the jaunty, jocund land of Spain
Even to the highest apex of our strength--
Are rayed with victory!  (Cheers.)  Lengthy was the strife
And fierce, and hot; and sore the suffering;
But proudly we endured it; and shall hear,
No doubt, of its far consequence
Ere many days.  I'll read the details sent.  (Cheers.)

  [He reads again from the dispatch amid more cheering, the ball-
  room guests crowding round.  When he has done he answers questions;
  then continuing:

Meanwhile our interest is, if possible,
As keenly waked elsewhere.  Into the Scheldt
Some forty thousand bayonets and swords,
And twoscore ships o' the line, with frigates, sloops,
And gunboats sixty more, make headway now,
Bleaching the waters with their bellying sails;
Or maybe they already anchor there,
And that level ooze of Walcheren shore
Ring with the voices of that landing host
In every twang of British dialect,
Clamorous to loosen fettered Europe's chain!  (Cheers.)


A NOBLE LORD (aside to Sheridan)

Prinny's outpouring tastes suspiciously like your brew, Sheridan.
I'll be damned if it is his own concoction.  How d'ye sell it a
gallon?


SHERIDAN

I don't deal that way nowadays.  I give the recipe, and charge a
duty on the gauging.  It is more artistic, and saves trouble.

  [The company proceed to the supper-rooms, and the ball-room sinks
  into solitude.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     So they pass on.  Let be!--But what is this--
     A moan?--all frailly floating from the east
     To usward, even from the forenamed isle? . . .
     Would I had not broke nescience, to inspect
     A world so ill-contrived!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

          But since thou hast
     We'll hasten to the isle; and thou'lt behold--
     Such as it is--the scene its coasts enfold.



SCENE VIII

WALCHEREN

  [A marshy island at the mouth of the Scheldt, lit by the low
  sunshine of an evening in late summer.  The horizontal rays from
  the west lie in yellow sheaves across the vapours that the day's
  heat has drawn from the sweating soil.  Sour grasses grow in
  places, and strange fishy smells, now warm, now cold, pass along.
  Brass-hued and opalescent bubbles, compounded of many gases, rise
  where passing feet have trodden the damper spots.  At night the
  place is the haunt of the Jack-lantern.]


DUMB SHOW

A vast army is encamped here, and in the open spaces are infantry on
parade--skeletoned men, some flushed, some shivering, who are kept
moving because it is dangerous to stay still.  Every now and then
one falls down, and is carried away to a hospital with no roof, where
he is laid, bedless, on the ground.

In the distance soldiers are digging graves for the funerals which
are to take place after dark, delayed till then that the sight of
so many may not drive the living melancholy-mad.  Faint noises are
heard in the air.


SHADE OF THE EARTH

     What storm is this of souls dissolved in sighs,
     And what the dingy doom it signifies?


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     We catch a lamentation shaped thuswise:


CHORUS OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     "We who withstood the blasting blaze of war
     When marshalled by the gallant Moore awhile,
     Beheld the grazing death-bolt with a smile,
     Closed combat edge to edge and bore to bore,
               Now rot upon this Isle!

     "The ever wan morass, the dune, the blear
     Sandweed, and tepid pool, and putrid smell,
     Emaciate purpose to a fractious fear,
     Beckon the body to its last low cell--
               A chink no chart will tell.

     "O ancient Delta, where the fen-lights flit!
     Ignoble sediment of loftier lands,
     Thy humour clings about our hearts and hands
     And solves us to its softness, till we sit
               As we were part of it.

     "Such force as fever leaves maddened now,
     With tidings trickling in from day to day
     Of others' differing fortunes, wording how
     They yield their lives to baulk a tyrant's sway--
               Yield them not vainly, they!

     "In champaigns green and purple, far and near,
     In town and thorpe where quiet spire-cocks turn,
     Through vales, by rocks, beside the brooding burn
     Echoes the aggressor's arrogant career;
               And we pent pithless here!

     "Here, where each creeping day the creeping file
     Draws past with shouldered comrades score on score,
     Bearing them to their lightless last asile,
     Where weary wave-wails from the clammy shore
               Will reach their ears no more.

     "We might have fought, and had we died, died well,
     Even if in dynasts' discords not our own;
     Our death-spot some sad haunter might have shown,
     Some tongue have asked our sires or sons to tell
               The tale of how we fell;

     "But such be chanced not.  Like the mist we fade,
     No lustrous lines engrave in story we,
     Our country's chiefs, for their own fames afraid,
     Will leave our names and fates by this pale sea,
               To perish silently!"


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Why must ye echo as mechanic mimes
     These mortal minion's bootless cadences,
     Played on the stops of their anatomy
     As is the mewling music on the strings
     Of yonder ship-masts by the unweeting wind,
     Or the frail tune upon this withering sedge
     That holds its papery blades against the gale?
     --Men pass to dark corruption, at the best,
     Ere I can count five score: these why not now?--
     The Immanent Shaper builds Its beings so
     Whether ye sigh their sighs with them or no!


The night fog enwraps the isle and the dying English army.




ACT FIFTH


SCENE I

PARIS.  A BALLROOM IN THE HOUSE OF CAMBACERES

  [The many-candled saloon at the ARCH-CHANCELLOR'S is visible
  through a draped opening, and a crowd of masked dancers in
  fantastic costumes revolve, sway, and intermingle to the music
  that proceeds from an alcove at the further end of the same
  apartment.  The front of the scene is a withdrawing-room of
  smaller size, now vacant, save for the presence of one sombre
  figure, that of NAPOLEON, seated and apparently watching the
  moving masquerade.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Napoleon even now embraces not
     From stress of state affairs, which hold him grave
     Through revels that might win the King of Spleen
     To toe a measure!  I would speak with him.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Speak if thou wilt whose speech nor mars nor mends!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES (into Napoleon's ear)

     Why thus and thus Napoleon?  Can it be
     That Wagram with its glories, shocks, and shames,
     Still leaves athirst the palate of thy pride?


NAPOLEON (answering as in soliloquy)

The trustless, timorous lease of human life
Warns me to hedge in my diplomacy.
The sooner, then, the safer!  Ay, this eve,
This very night, will I take steps to rid
My morrows of the weird contingencies
That vision round and make one hollow-eyed. . . .
The unexpected, lurid death of Lannes--
Rigid as iron, reaped down like a straw--
Tiptoed Assassination haunting round
In unthought thoroughfares, the near success
Of Staps the madman, argue to forbid
The riskful blood of my previsioned line
And potence for dynastic empery
To linger vialled in my veins alone.
Perhaps within this very house and hour,
Under an innocent mask of Love or Hope,
Some enemy queues my ways to coffin me. . . .
When at the first clash of the late campaign,
A bold belief in Austria's star prevailed,
There pulsed quick pants of expectation round
Among the cowering kings, that too well told
What would have fared had I been overthrown!
So; I must send down shoots to future time
Who'll plant my standard and my story there;
And a way opens.--Better I had not 
Bespoke a wife from Alexander's house.
Not there now lies my look.  But done is done!

  [The dance ends and masks enter, BERTHIER among them.  NAPOLEON
  beckons to him, and he comes forward.]

God send you find amid this motley crew
Frivolities enough, friend Berthier--eh?
My thoughts have worn oppressive shades despite such!
What scandals of me do they bandy here?
These close disguises render women bold--
Their shames being of the light, not of the thing--
And your sagacity has garnered much,
I make no doubt, of ill and good report,
That marked our absence from the capital?


BERTHIER

Methinks, your Majesty, the enormous tale
Of your campaign, like Aaron's serpent-rod,
Has swallowed up the smaller of its kind.
Some speak, 'tis true, in counterpoise thereto,
Of English deeds by Talavera town,
Though blurred by their exploit at Walcheren,
And all its crazy, crass futilities.


NAPOLEON

Yet was the exploit well featured in design,
Large in idea, and imaginative;
I had not deemed the blinkered English folk
So capable of view.  Their fate contrived
To place an idiot at the helm of it,
Who marred its working, else it had been hard
If things had not gone seriously for us.
--But see, a lady saunters hitherward
Whose gait proclaims her Madame Metternich,
One that I fain would speak with.

  [NAPOLEON rises and crosses the room toward a lady-masker who has
  just appeared in the opening.  BERTHIER draws off, and the EMPEROR,
  unceremoniously taking the lady's arm, brings her forward to a
  chair, and sits down beside her as dancing is resumed.]


MADAME METTERNICH

          In a flash
I recognized you, sire; as who would not
The bearer of such deep-delved charactery?


NAPOLEON

The devil, madame, take your piercing eyes!
It's hard I cannot prosper in a game
That every coxcomb plays successfully.
--So here you are still, though your loving lord
Disports him at Vienna?


MADAME METTERNICH

          Paris, true,
Still holds me; though in quiet, save to-night,
When I have been expressly prayed come hither,
Or I had not left home.


NAPOLEON

          I sped that Prayer!--
I have a wish to put a case to you,
Wherein a woman's judgment, such as yours,
May be of signal service.  (He lapses into reverie.)


MADAME METTERNICH

     Well?  The case--


NAPOLEON

Is marriage--mine.


MADAME METTERNICH

     It is beyond me, sire!


NAPOLEON

You glean that I have decided to dissolve
(Pursuant to monitions murmured long)
My union with the present Empress--formed
Without the Church's due authority?


MADAME METTERNICH

Vaguely.  And that light tentatives have winged
Betwixt your Majesty and Russia's court,
To moot that one of their Grand Duchesses
Should be your Empress-wife.  Nought else I know.


NAPOLEON

There have been such approachings; more, worse luck.
Last week Champagny wrote to Alexander
Asking him for his sister--yes or no.


MADAME METTERNICH

What "worse luck" lies in that, your Majesty,
If severance from the Empress Josephine
Be fixed unalterably?


NAPOLEON

          This worse luck lies there:
If your Archduchess, Marie Louise the fair,
Would straight accept my hand, I'd offer it,
And throw the other over.  Faith, the Tsar
Has shown such backwardness in answering me,
Time meanwhile trotting, that I have ample ground
For such withdrawal.--Madame, now, again,
Will your Archduchess marry me of no?


MADAME METTERNICH

Your sudden questions quite confound my sense!
It is impossible to answer them.


NAPOLEON

Well, madame, now I'll put it to you thus:
Were you in the Archduchess Marie's place
Would you accept my hand--and heart therewith?


MADAME METTERNICH

I should refuse you--most assuredly!(17)


NAPOLEON (laughing roughly)

Ha-ha!  That's frank.  And devilish cruel too!
--Well, write to your husband.  Ask him what he thinks,
And let me know.


MADAME METTERNICH

          Indeed, sire, why should I?
There goes the Ambassador, Prince Schwarzenberg,
Successor to my spouse.  He's now the groove
And proper conduit of diplomacy
Through whom to broach this matter to his Court.


NAPOLEON

Do you, then, broach it through him, madame, pray;
Now, here, to-night.


MADAME METTERNICH

          I will, informally,
To humour you, on this recognizance,
That you leave not the business in my hands,
But clothe your project in official guise
Through him to-morrow; so safeguarding me
From foolish seeming, as the babbler forth
Of a fantastic and unheard of dream.


NAPOLEON

I'll send Eugene to him, as you suggest.
Meanwhile prepare him.  Make your stand-point this:
Children are needful to my dynasty,
And if one woman cannot mould them for me,
Why, then, another must.

  [Exit NAPOLEON abruptly.  Dancing continues.  MADAME METTERNICH
  sits on, musing.  Enter SCHWARZENBERG.]


MADAME METTERNICH

The Emperor has just left me.  We have tapped
This theme and that; his empress and--his next.
Ay, so!  Now, guess you anything?


SCHWARZENBERG

          Of her?
No more than that the stock of Romanoff
Will not supply the spruce commodity.


MADAME METTERNICH

And that the would-be customer turns toe
To our shop in Vienna.


SCHWARZENBERG

          Marvellous;
And comprehensible but as the dream
Of Delaborde, of which I have lately heard.
It will not work!--What think you, madame, on't?


MADAME METTERNICH

That it will work, and is as good as wrought!--
I break it to you thus, at his request.
In brief time Prince Eugene will wait on you,
And make the formal offer in his name.


SCHWARZENBERG

Which I can but receive _ad referendum_,
And shall initially make clear as much,
Disclosing not a glimpse of my own mind!
Meanwhile you make good Metternich aware?


MADAME METTERNICH

I write this midnight, that amaze may pitch
To coolness ere your messenger arrives.


SCHWARZENBERG

This radiant revelation flicks a gleam
On many circling things!--the courtesies
Which graced his bearing toward our officer
Amid the tumults of the late campaign,
His wish for peace with England, his affront
At Alexander's tedious-timed reply . . .
Well, it will thrust a thorn in Russia's side,
If I err not, whatever else betide!

  [Exeunt.  The maskers surge into the foreground of the scene, and
  their motions become more and more fantastic.  A strange gloom
  begins and intensifies, until only the high lights of their
  grinning figures are visible.  These also, with the whole ball-
  room, gradually darken, and the music softens to silence.]



SCENE II

PARIS.  THE TUILERIES

  [The evening of the next day.  A saloon of the Palace, with
  folding-doors communicating with a dining-room.  The doors are
  flung open, revealing on the dining-table an untouched dinner,
  NAPOLEON and JOSEPHINE rising from it, and DE BAUSSET, chamberlain-
  in-waiting, pacing up and down.  The EMPEROR and EMPRESS come
  forward into the saloon, the latter pale and distressed, and
  patting her eyes with her handkerchief.

  The doors are closed behind them; a page brings in coffee; NAPOLEON
  signals to him to leave.  JOSEPHINE goes to pour out the coffee,
  but NAPOLEON pushes her aside and pours it out himself, looking at
  her in a way which causes her to sink cowering into a chair like a
  frightened animal.]


JOSEPHINE

I see my doom, my friend, upon your face!


NAPOLEON

You see me bored by Cambaceres' ball.


JOSEPHINE

It means divorce!--a thing more terrible
Than carrying elsewhere the dalliances
That formerly were mine.  I kicked at that;
But now agree, as I for long have done,
To any infidelities of act
May I be yours in name!


NAPOLEON

          My mind must bend
To other things than our domestic petting:
The Empire orbs above our happiness,
And 'tis the Empire dictates this divorce.
I reckon on your courage and calm sense
To breast with me the law's formalities,
And get it through before the year has flown.


JOSEPHINE

But are you REALLY going to part from me?
O no, no, my dear husband; no, in truth,
It cannot be my Love will serve me so!


NAPOLEON

I mean but mere divorcement, as I said,
On simple grounds of sapient sovereignty.


JOSEPHINE

But nothing have I done save good to you:--
Since the fond day we wedded into one
I never even have THOUGHT you jot of harm!
Many the happy junctures when you have said
I stood as guardian-angel over you,
As your Dame Fortune, too, and endless things
Of such-like pretty tenour--yes, you have!
Then how can you so gird against me now?
You had not pricked upon it much of late,
And so I hoped and hoped the ugly spectre
Had been laid dead and still.


NAPOLEON (impatiently)

          I tell you, dear,
The thing's decreed, and even the princess chosen.


JOSEPHINE

Ah--so--the princess chosen! . . . I surmise
It is none else than the Grand-Duchess Anne:
Gossip was right--though I would not believe.
She's young; but no great beauty!--Yes, I see
Her silly, soulless eyes and horrid hair;
In which new gauderies you'll forget sad me!


NAPOLEON

Upon my soul you are childish, Josephine:
A woman of your years to pout it so!--
I say it's not the Tsar's Grand-Duchess Anne.


JOSEPHINE

Some other Fair, then.  You whose name can nod
The flower of all the world's virginity
Into your bed, will well take care of that!
(Spitefully.)  She may not have a child, friend, after all.


NAPOLEON (drily)

You hope she won't, I know!--But don't forget
Madame Walewska did, and had she shown
Such cleverness as yours, poor little fool,
Her withered husband might have been displaced,
And her boy made my heir.--Well, let that be.
The severing parchments will be signed by us
Upon the fifteenth, prompt.


JOSEPHINE

          What--I have to sign
My putting away upon the fifteenth next?


NAPOLEON

Ay--both of us.


JOSEPHINE (falling on her knees)

          So far advanced--so far!
Fixed?--for the fifteenth?  O I do implore you,
My very dear one, by our old, old love,
By my devotion, don't cast me off
Now, after these long years!


NAPOLEON

          Heavens, how you jade me!
Must I repeat that I don't cast you off;
We merely formally arrange divorce--
We live and love, but call ourselves divided.

  [A silence.]


JOSEPHINE (with sudden calm)

Very well.  Let it be.  I must submit!  (Rises.)


NAPOLEON

And this much likewise you must promise me,
To act in the formalities thereof
As if you shaped them of your own free will.


JOSEPHINE

How can I--when no freewill's left in me?


NAPOLEON

You are a willing party--do you hear?


JOSEPHINE (quivering)

I hardly--can--bear this!--It is--too much
For a poor weak and broken woman's strength!
But--but I yield!--I am so helpless now:
I give up all--ay, kill me if you will,
I won't cry out!


NAPOLEON

          And one thing further still,
You'll help me in my marriage overtures
To win the Duchess--Austrian Marie she,--
Concentrating all your force to forward them.


JOSEPHINE

It is the--last humiliating blow!--
I cannot--O, I will not!


NAPOLEON (fiercely)

          But you SHALL!
And from your past experience you may know
That what I say I mean!


JOSEPHINE (breaking into sobs)

O my dear husband--do not make me--don't!
If you but cared for me--the hundredth part
Of how--I care for you, you could not be
So cruel as to lay this torture on me.
It hurts me so!--it cuts me like a sword.
Don't make me, dear!  Don't, will you!  O,O,O!
(She sinks down in a hysterical fit.)


NAPOLEON (calling)

Bausset!

  [Enter DE BAUSSET, Chamberlain-in-waiting.]

          Bausset, come in and shut the door.
Assist me here.  The Empress has fallen ill.
Don't call for help.  We two can carry her
By the small private staircase to her rooms.
Here--I will take her feet.

  [They lift JOSEPHINE between them and carry her out.  Her moans
  die away as they recede towards the stairs.  Enter two servants,
  who remove coffee-service, readjust chairs, etc.]


FIRST SERVANT

So, poor old girl, she's wailed her _Missere Mei_, as Mother Church
says.  I knew she was to get the sack ever since he came back.


SECOND SERVANT

Well, there will be a little civil huzzaing, a little crowing and
cackling among the Bonapartes at the downfall of the Beauharnais
family at last, mark me there will!  They've had their little hour,
as the poets say, and now 'twill be somebody else's turn.  O it is
droll!  Well, Father Time is a great philosopher, if you take him
right.  Who is to be the new woman?


FIRST SERVANT

She that contains in her own corporation the necessary particular.


SECOND SERVANT

And what may they be?


FIRST SERVANT

She must be young.


SECOND SERVANT

Good.  She must.  The country must see to that.


FIRST SERVANT

And she must be strong.


SECOND SERVANT

Good again.  She must be strong.  The doctors will see to that.

FIRST SERVANT
And she must be fruitful as the vine.


SECOND SERVANT

Ay, by God.  She must be fruitful as the vine.  That, Heaven help
him, he must see to himself, like the meanest multiplying man in
Paris.

  [Exeunt servant.  Re-enter NAPOLEON with his stepdaughter, Queen
  Hortense.]


NAPOLEON
Your mother is too rash and reasonless--
Wailing and fainting over statesmanship
Which is no personal caprice of mine,
But policy most painful--forced on me
By the necessities of this country's charge.
Go to her; see if she be saner now;
Explain it to her once and once again,
And bring me word what impress you may make.

  [HORTENSE goes out.  CHAMPAGNY is shown in.]

Champagny, I have something clear to say
Now, on our process after the divorce.
The question of the Russian Duchess Anne
Was quite inept for further toying with.
The years rush on, and I grow nothing younger.
So I have made up my mind--committed me
To Austria and the Hapsburgs--good or ill!
It was the best, most practicable plunge,
And I have plunged it.


CHAMPAGNY

          Austria say you, sire?
I reckoned that but a scurrying dream!


NAPOLEON

Well, so it was.  But such a pretty dream
That its own charm transfixed it to a notion,
That showed itself in time a sanity,
Which hardened in its turn to a resolve
As firm as any built by mortal mind.--
The Emperor's consent must needs be won;
But I foresee no difficulty there.
The young Archduchess is a bright blond thing
By general story; and considering, too,
That her good mother childed seventeen times,
It will be hard if she can not produce
The modest one or two that I require.

  [Enter DE BAUSSET with dispatches.]


DE BAUSSET

The courier, sire, from Petersburg is here,
And brings these letters for your Majesty.

  [Exit DE BAUSSET.]


NAPOLEON (after silently reading)

Ha-ha!  It never rains unless it pours:
Now I can have the other readily.
The proverb hits me aptly: "Well they do
Who doff the old love ere they don the new!"
(He glances again over the letter.)
Yes, Caulaincourt now writes he has every hope
Of quick success in settling the alliance!
The Tsar is willing--even anxious for it,
His sister's youth the single obstacle.
The Empress-mother, hitherto against me,
Ambition-fired, verges on suave consent,
Likewise the whole Imperial family.
What irony is all this to me now!
Time lately was when I had leapt thereat.


CHAMPAGNY

You might, of course, sire, give th' Archduchess up,
Seeing she looms uncertainly as yet,
While this does so no longer.


NAPOLEON

          No--not I.
My sense of my own dignity forbids
My watching the slow clocks of Muscovy!
Why have they dallied with my tentatives
In pompous silence since the Erfurt day?
--And Austria, too, affords a safer hope.
The young Archduchess is much less a child
Than is the other, who, Caulaincourt says,
Will be incapable of motherhood
For six months yet or more--a grave delay.


CHAMPAGNY

Your Majesty appears to have trimmed your sail
For Austria; and no more is to be said!


NAPOLEON

Except that there's the house of Saxony
If Austria fail.--then, very well, Champagny,
Write you to Caulaincourt accordingly.


CHAMPAGNY

I will, your Majesty.

  [Exit CHAMPAGNY.  Re-enter QUEEN HORTENSE.]


NAPOLEON

          Ah, dear Hortense,
How is your mother now?


HORTENSE

          Calm; quite calm, sire.
I pledge me you need have no further fret
From her entreating tears.  She bids me say
That now, as always, she submits herself
With chastened dignity to circumstance,
And will descend, at notice, from your throne--
As in days earlier she ascended it--
In questionless obedience to your will.
It was your hand that crowned her; let it be
Likewise your hand that takes her crown away.
As for her children, we shall be but glad
To follow and withdraw ourselves with her,
The tenderest mother children ever knew,
From grandeurs that have brought no happiness!


NAPOLEON (taking her hand)

But, Hortense, dear, it is not to be so!
You must stay with me, as I said before.
Your mother, too, must keep her royal state,
Since no repudiation stains this need.
Equal magnificence will orb her round
In aftertime as now.  A palace here,
A palace in the country, wealth to match,
A rank in order next my future wife's,
And conference with me as my truest friend.
Now we will seek her--Eugene, you, and I--
And make the project clear.

  [Exeunt NAPOLEON and HORTENSE.  The scene darkens and shuts.]



SCENE III

VIENNA.  A PRIVATE APARTMENT IN THE IMPERIAL PALACE

  [The EMPEROR FRANCIS discovered, paler than usual, and somewhat
  flurried.  Enter METTERNICH the Prime Minister--a thin-lipped,
  long-nosed man with inquisitive eyes.]


FRANCIS

I have been expecting you some minutes here,
The thing that fronts us brooking brief delay.--
Well, what say you by now on this strange offer?


METTERNICH

My views remain the same, your Majesty:
The policy of peace that I have upheld,
Both while in Paris and of late time here,
Points to this step as heralding sweet balm
And bandaged veins for our late crimsoned realm.


FRANCIS

Agreed.  As monarch I perceive therein
A happy doorway for my purposings.
It seems to guarantee the Hapsburg crown
A quittance of distractions such as those
That leave their shade on many a backward year!--
There is, forsooth, a suddenness about it,
And it would aid us had we clearly keyed
The cryptologues of which the world has heard
Between Napoleon and the Russian Court--
Begun there with the selfsame motiving.


METTERNICH

I would not, sire, one second ponder it.
It was an obvious first crude cast-about
In the important reckoning of means
For his great end, a strong monarchic line.
The more advanced the more it profits us;
For sharper, then, the quashing of such views,
And wreck of that conjunction in the aims
Of France and Russia, marked so much of late
As jeopardizing quiet neighbours' thrones.


FRANCIS

If that be so, on the domestic side
There seems no bar.  Speaking as father solely,
I see secured to her the proudest fate
That woman can daydream.  And I could hope
That private bliss would not be wanting her!


METTERNICH


A hope well seated, sire.  The Emperor,
Imperious and determined in his rule,
Is easy-natured in domestic life,
As my long time in Paris amply proved.
Moreover, the accessories of his glory
Have been, and will be, admirably designed
To fire the fancy of a young princess.


FRANCIS

Thus far you satisfy me. . . . So, to close,
Or not to close with him, is now the thing.


METTERNICH

Your Majesty commands the issue quite:
The father of his people can alone
In such a case give answer--yes or no.
Vagueness and doubt have ruined Russia's chance;
Let not, then, such be ours.


FRANCIS


          You mean, if I,
You'd answer straight.  What would that answer be?


METTERNICH

In state affairs, sire, as in private life,
Times will arise when even the faithfullest squire
Finds him unfit to jog his chieftain's choice,
On whom responsibility must lastly rest.
And such times are pre-eminently, sire,
Those wherein thought alone is not enough
To serve the head as guide.  As Emperor,
As father, both, to you, to you in sole
Must appertain the privilege to pronounce
Which track stern duty bids you tread herein.


FRANCIS

Affection is my duty, heart my guide.--
Without constraint or prompting I shall leave
The big decision in my daughter's hands.
Before my obligations to my people
Must stand her wish.  Go, find her, Metternich,
Take her the tidings.  She is free with you,
And will speak out.  (Looking forth from the terrace.)
          She's here at hand, I see:
I'll call her in.  Then tell me what's her mind.

  [He beckons from the window, and goes out in another direction.]


METTERNICH

So much for form's sake!  Can the river-flower
The current drags, direct its face up-stream?
What she must do she will; nought else at all.

  [Enter through one of the windows MARIA LOUISA in garden-costume,
  fresh-coloured, girlish, and smiling.  METTERNICH bends.]


MARIA LOUISA

O how, dear Chancellor, you startled me!
Please pardon my so brusquely bursting in.
I saw you not.--Those five poor little birds
That haunt out there beneath the pediment,
Snugly defended from the north-east wind,
Have lately disappeared.  I sought a trace
Of scattered feathers, which I dread to find!


METTERNICH

They are gone, I ween, the way of tender flesh
At the assaults of winter, want, and foes.


MARIA LOUISA

It is too melancholy thinking, that!
Don't say it.--But I saw the Emperor here?
Surely he beckoned me?


METTERNICH

          Sure, he did,
Your gracious Highness; and he has left me here
To break vast news that will make good his call.


MARIA LOUISA

Then do.  I'll listen.  News from near or far?

  [She seats herself.]


METTERNICH

From far--though of such distance-dwarfing might
That far may read as near eventually.
But, dear Archduchess, with your kindly leave
I'll speak straight out.  The Emperor of the French
Has sent to-day to make, through Schwarzenberg,
A formal offer of his heart and hand,
His honours, dignities, imperial throne,
To you, whom he admires above all those
The world can show elsewhere.


MARIA LOUISA (frightened)

          My husband--he?
What, an old man like him!


METTERNICH (cautiously)

          He's scarcely old,
Dear lady.  True, deeds densely crowd in him;
Turn months to years calendaring his span;
Yet by Time's common clockwork he's but young.


MARIA LOUISA

So wicked, too!


METTERNICH (nettled)

     Well-that's a point of view.


MARIA LOUISA

But, Chancellor, think what things I have said to him!
Can women marry where they have taunted so?


METTERNICH

Things?  Nothing inexpungeable, I deem,
By time and true good humour.


MARIA LOUISA

          O I have!
Horrible things.  Why--ay, a hundred times--
I have said I wished him dead!  At that strained hour
When the first voicings of the late war came,
Thrilling out how the French were smitten sore
And Bonaparte retreating, I clapped hands
And answered that I hoped he'd lose his head
As well as lose the battle!


METTERNICH

          Words.  But words!
Born like the bubbles of a spring that come
Of zest for springing--aimless in their shape.


MARIA LOUISA

It seems indecent, mean, to wed a man
Whom one has held such fierce opinions of!


METTERNICH

My much beloved Archduchess, and revered,
Such things have been!  In Spain and Portugal
Like enmities have led to intermarriage.
In England, after warring thirty years
The Red and White Rose wedded.


MARIA LOUISA (after a silence)

          Tell me, now,
What does my father wish?


METTERNICH

          His wish is yours.
Whatever your Imperial Highness feels
On this grave verdict of your destiny,
Home, title, future sphere, he bids you think
Not of himself, but of your own desire.


MARIA LOUISA (reflecting)

My wish is what my duty bids me wish.
Where a wide Empire's welfare is in poise,
That welfare must be pondered, not my will.
I ask of you, then, Chancellor Metternich,
Straightway to beg the Emperor my father
That he fulfil his duty to the realm,
And quite subordinate thereto all thought
Of how it personally impinge on me.

  [A slight noise as of something falling is heard in the room.  They
  glance momentarily, and see that a small enamel portrait of MARIE
  ANTOINETTE, which was standing on a console-table, has slipped down
  on its face.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     What mischief's this?  The Will must have its way.


SPIRIT SINISTER

     Perhaps Earth shivered at the lady's say?


SHADE OF THE EARTH

   I own hereto.  When France and Austria wed
   My echoes are men's groans, my dews are red;
   So I have reason for a passing dread!


METTERNICH

Right nobly phrased, Archduchess; wisely too.
I will acquaint your sire the Emperor
With these your views.  He waits them anxiously.  (Going.)


MARIA LOUISA

Let me go first.  It much confuses me
To think--But I would fain let thinking be!

  [She goes out trembling.  Enter FRANCIS by another door.]


METTERNICH

I was about to seek your Majesty.
The good Archduchess luminously holds
That in this weighty question you regard
The Empire.  Best for it is best for her.


FRANCIS (moved)

My daughter's views thereon do not surprise me.
She is too staunch to pit a private whim
Against the fortunes of a commonwealth.
During your speech with her I have taken thought
To shape decision sagely.  An assent
Would yield the Empire many years of peace,
And leave me scope to heal those still green sores
Which linger from our late unhappy moils.
Therefore, my daughter not being disinclined,
I know no basis for a negative.
Send, then, a courier prompt to Paris: say
The offer made for the Archduchess' hand
I do accept--with this defined reserve,
That no condition, treaty, bond, attach
To such alliance save the tie itself.
There are some sacrifices whose grave rites
No bargain must contaminate.  This is one--
This personal gift of a beloved child!


METTERNICH (leaving)

I'll see to it this hour, your Majesty,
And cant the words in keeping with your wish.
To himself as he goes.)
Decently done! . . . He slipped out "sacrifice,"
And scarce could hide his heartache for his girl.
Well ached it!--But when these things have to be
It is as well to breast them stoically.

  [Exit METTERNICH.  The clouds draw over.]



SCENE IV

LONDON.  A CLUB IN ST. JAMES'S STREET

  [A winter midnight.  Two members are conversing by the fire, and
  others are seen lolling in the background, some of them snoring.]


FIRST MEMBER

I learn from a private letter that it was carried out in the
Emperor's Cabinet at the Tuileries--just off the throne-room, where
they all assembled in the evening,--Boney and the wife of his bosom
(In pure white muslin from head to foot, they say), the Kings and
Queens of Holland, Whestphalia, and Naples, the Princess Pauline,
and one or two more; the officials present being Cambaceres the
Chancellor, and Count Regnaud.  Quite a small party.  It was over
in minutes--short and sweet, like a donkey's gallop.


SECOND MEMBER

Anything but sweet for her.  How did she stand it?


FIRST MEMBER

Serenely, I believe, while the Emperor was making his speech
renouncing her; but when it came to her turn to say she renounced
him she began sobbing mightily, and was so completely choked up that
she couldn't get out a word.


SECOND MEMBER

Poor old dame!  I pity her, by God; though she had a rattling good
spell while it lasted.


FIRST MEMBER

They say he was a bit upset, too, at sight of her tears  But I
dare vow that was put on.  Fancy Boney caring a curse what a woman
feels.  She had learnt her speech by heart, but that did not help
her: Regnaud had to finish it for her, the ditch that overturned
her being where she was made to say that she no longer preserved
any hope of having children, and that she was pleased to show her
attachment by enabling him to obtain them by another woman.  She
was led off fainting.  A turning of the tables, considering how
madly jealous she used to make him by her flirtations!

  [Enter a third member.]


SECOND MEMBER

How is the debate going?  Still braying the Government in a mortar?


THIRD MEMBER

They are.  Though one thing every body admits: young Peel has
made a wonderful first speech in seconding the address.  There
has been nothing like it since Pitt.  He spoke rousingly of
Austria's misfortunes--went on about Spain, of course, showing
that we must still go on supporting her, winding up with a
brilliant peroration about--what were the words--"the fiery eyes
of the British soldier!"--Oh, well: it was all learnt before-hand,
of course.


SECOND MEMBER

I wish I had gone down.  But the wind soon blew the other way.


THIRD MEMBER

Then Gower rapped out his amendment.  That was good, too, by God.


SECOND MEMBER

Well, the war must go on.  And that being the general conviction
this censure and that censure are only so many blank cartridges.


THIRD MEMBER

Blank?  Damn me, were they!  Gower's was a palpable hit when he said
that Parliament had placed unheard-of resources in the hands of the
Ministers last year, to make this year's results to the country
worse than if they had been afforded no resources at all.  Every
single enterprise of theirs had been a beggarly failure.


SECOND MEMBER

Anybody could have said it, come to that.


THIRD MEMBER

Yes, because it is so true.  However, when he began to lay on with
such rhetoric as "the treasures of the nation lavished in wasteful
thoughtlessness,"--"thousands of our troops sacrificed wantonly in
pestilential swamps of Walcheren," and gave the details we know so
well, Ministers wriggled a good one, though 'twas no news to 'em.
Castlereagh kept on starting forward as if he were going to jump up
and interrupt, taking the strictures entirely as a personal affront.

  [Enter a fourth member.]


SEVERAL MEMBERS

Who's speaking now?


FOURTH MEMBER

I don't know.  I have heard nobody later than Ward.


SECOND MEMBER

The fact is that, as Whitbread said to me to-day, the materials for
condemnation are so prodigious that we can scarce marshal them into
argument.  We are just able to pour 'em out one upon t'other.


THIRD MEMBER

Ward said, with the blandest air in the world: "Censure?  Do his
Majesty's Ministers expect censure?  Not a bit.  They are going
about asking in tremulous tones if anybody has heard when their
impeachment is going to begin."


SEVERAL MEMBERS

Haw--haw--haw!


THIRD MEMBER

Then he made another point.  After enumerating our frightful
failures--Spain, Walcheren, and the rest--he said:  "But Ministers
have not failed in everything.  No; in one thing they have been
strikingly successful.  They have been successful in their attack
upon Copenhagen--because it was directed against an ally!"  Mighty
fine, wasn't it?


SECOND MEMBER

How did Castlereagh stomach that?


THIRD MEMBER

He replied then.  Donning his air of injured innocence he proved the
honesty of his intentions--no doubt truly enough.  But when he came
to Walcheren nothing could be done.  The case was hopeless, and he
knew it, and foundered.  However, at the division, when he saw what
a majority was going out on his side he was as frisky as a child.
Canning's speech was grave, with bits of shiny ornament stuck on--
like the brass nails on a coffin, Sheridan says.

  [Fifth and sixth members stagger in, arm-and-arm.]


FIFTH MEMBER

The 'vision is---'jority of ninety-six againsht--Gov'ment--I mean--
againsht us.  Which is it--hey?  (To his companion.)


SIXTH MEMBER

Damn majority of--damn ninety-six--against damn amendment!  (They
sink down on a sofa.)


SECOND MEMBER

Gad, I didn't expect the figure would have been quite so high!


THIRD MEMBER

The one conviction is that the war in the Peninsula is to go on, and
as we are all agreed upon that, what the hell does it matter what
their majority was?

  [Enter SHERIDAN.  They all look inquiringly.]


SHERIDAN

Have ye heard the latest?


SECOND MEMBER

Ninety-six against us.


SHERIDAN

O no-that's ancient history.  I'd forgot it.


THIRD MEMBER

A revolution, because Ministers are not impeached and hanged?


SHERIDAN

That's in contemplation, when we've got their confessions.  But what
I meant was from over the water--it is a deuced sight more serious
to us than a debate and division that are only like the Liturgy on
a Sunday--known beforehand to all the congregation.  Why, Bonaparte
is going to marry Austria forthwith--the Emperor's daughter Maria
Louisa.


THIRD MEMBER

The Lord look down!  Our late respected crony of Austria!  Why, in
this very night's debate they have been talking about the laudable
principles we have been acting upon in affording assistance to the
Emperor Francis in his struggle against the violence and ambition
of France!


SECOND MEMBER

Boney safe on that side, what may not befall!


THIRD MEMBER

We had better make it up with him, and shake hands all round.


SECOND MEMBER

Shake heads seems most natural in the case.  O House of Hapsburg,
how hast thou fallen!

  [Enter WHITBREAD, LORD HUTCHINSON, LORD GEORGE CAVENDISH, GEORGE
  PONSONBY, WINDHAM, LORD GREY, BARING, ELLIOT, and other members,
  some drunk.  The conversation becomes animated and noisy; several
  move off to the card-room, and the scene closes.]



SCENE V

THE OLD WEST HIGHWAY OUT OF VIENNA

  [The spot is where the road passes under the slopes of the Wiener
  Wald, with its beautiful forest scenery.]


DUMB SHOW

A procession of enormous length, composed of eighty carriages--
many of them drawn by six horses and one by eight--and escorted
by detachments of cuirassiers, yeomanry, and other cavalry, is
quickening its speed along the highway from the city.

The six-horse carriages contain a multitude of Court officials,
ladies of the Court, and other Austrian nobility.  The eight-horse
coach contains a rosy, blue-eyed girl of eighteen, with full red
lips, round figure, and pale auburn hair.  She is MARIA LOUISA, and
her eyes are red from recent weeping.  The COUNTESS DE LAZANSKY,
Grand Mistress of the Household, in the carriage with her, and the
other ladies of the Palace behind, have a pale, proud, yet resigned
look, as if conscious that upon their sex had been laid the burden
of paying for the peace with France.  They have been played out of
Vienna with French marches, and the trifling incident has helped on
their sadness.

The observer's vision being still bent on the train of vehicles and
cavalry, the point of sight is withdrawn high into the air, till the
huge procession on the brown road looks no more than a file of ants
crawling along a strip of garden-matting.  The spacious terrestrial
outlook now gained shows this to be the great road across Europe from
Vienna to Munich, and from Munich westerly to France.

The puny concatenation of specks being exclusively watched, the
surface of the earth seems to move along in an opposite direction,
and in infinite variety of hill, dale, woodland, and champaign.
Bridges are crossed, ascents are climbed, plains are galloped over,
and towns are reached, among them Saint Polten, where night falls.

Morning shines, and the royal crawl is resumed, and continued through
Linz, where the Danube is reapproached, and the girl looks pleased
to see her own dear Donau still.  Presently the tower of Brannau
appears, where the animated dots pause for formalities, this being
the frontier; and MARIA LOUISA becomes MARIE LOUISE and a Frenchwoman,
in the charge of French officials.

After many breaks and halts, during which heavy rains spread their
gauzes over the scene, the roofs and houses of Munich disclose
themselves, suggesting the tesserae of an irregular mosaic.  A long
stop is made here.

The tedious advance continues.  Vine-circled Stuttgart, flat
Carlsruhe, the winding Rhine, storky Strassburg, pass in panorama
beneath us as the procession is followed.  With Nancy and Bar-le-
Duc sliding along, the scenes begin to assume a French character,
and soon we perceive Chalons and ancient Rheims.  The last day of
the journey has dawned.  Our vision flits ahead of the cortege to
Courcelles, a little place which must be passed through before
Soissons is reached.  Here the point of sight descends to earth,
and the Dumb Show ends.



SCENE VI

COURCELLES

  [It is now seen to be a quiet roadside village, with a humble
  church in its midst, opposite to which stands an inn, the highway
  passing between them.  Rain is still falling heavily.  Not a soul
  is visible anywhere.

  Enter from the west a plain, lonely carriage, traveling in a
  direction to meet the file of coaches that we have watched.  It
  stops near the inn, and two men muffled in cloaks alight by the
  door away from the hostel and towards the church, as if they
  wished to avoid observation.  Their faces are those of NAPOLEON
  and MURAT, his brother-in-law.  Crossing the road through the mud
  and rain they stand in the church porch, and watch the descending
  drifts.]


NAPOLEON (stamping an impatient tattoo)

One gets more chilly in a wet March than in a dry, however cold, the
devil if he don't!  What time do you make it now?  That clock doesn't
go.


MURAT (drily, looking at his watch)

Yes, it does; and it is right.  If clocks were to go as fast as your
wishes just now it would be awkward for the rest of the world.


NAPOLEON (chuckling good-humouredly)

How we have dished the Soissons folk, with their pavilions, and
purple and gold hangings for bride and bridegroom to meet in, and
stately ceremonial to match, and their thousands looking on!  Here
we are where there's nobody.  Ha, ha!


MURAT

But why should they be dished, sire?  The pavilions and ceremonies
were by your own orders.


NAPOLEON

Well, as the time got nearer I couldn't stand the idea of dawdling
about there.


MURAT

The Soissons people will be in a deuce of a taking at being made
such fools of!


NAPOLEON


So let 'em.  I'll make it up with them somehow.--She can't be far
off now, if we have timed her rightly.  (He peers out into the rain
and listens.)


MURAT

I don't quite see how you are going to manage when she does come.
Do we go before her toward Soissons when you have greeted her here,
or follow in her rear?  Or what do we do?


NAPOLEON

Heavens, I know no more than you!  Trust to the moment and see what
happens.  (A silence.)  Hark--here she comes!  Good little girl; up
to time!

  [The distant squashing in the mud of a multitude of hoofs and
  wheels is succeeded by the appearance of outriders and carriages,
  horses and horsemen, splashed with sample clays of the districts
  traversed.  The vehicles slow down to the inn.  NAPOLEON'S face
  fires up, and, followed by MURAT, he rushes into the rain towards
  the coach that is drawn by eight horses, containing the blue-eyed
  girl.  He holds off his hat at the carriage-window.]


MARIE LOUISE (shrinking back inside)

Ah, Heaven!  Two highwaymen are upon us!


THE EQUERRY D'AUDENARDE (simultaneously)

The Emperor!

  [The steps of the coach are hastily lowered, NAPOLEON, dripping,
  jumps in and embraces her.  The startled ARCHDUCHESS, with much
  blushing and confusion recognizes him.]


MARIE LOUISE (tremulously, as she recovers herself)

You are so much--better looking than your portraits--that I hardly
knew you!  I expected you at Soissons.  We are not at Soissons yet?


NAPOLEON

No, my dearest spouse, but we are together!  (Calling out to the
equerry.)  Drive through Soissons--pass the pavilion of reception
without stopping, and don't halt till we reach Compiegne.

  [He sits down in the coach and is shut in, MURAT laughing silently
  at the scene.  Exeunt carriages and riders toward Soissons.]


CHORUS OF THE IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

     First 'twas a finished coquette,
     And now it's a raw ingenue.--
     Blond instead of brunette,
     An old wife doffed for a new.
          She'll bring him a baby,
          As quickly as maybe,
     And that's what he wants her to do,
               Hoo-hoo!
     And that's what he wants her to do!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     What lewdness lip those wry-formed phantoms there!


IRONIC SPIRITS

     Nay, Showman Years!  With holy reverent air
     We hymn the nuptials of the Imperial pair.

  [The scene thickens to mist and obscures the scene.]



SCENE VII

PETERSBURG.  THE PALACE OF THE EMPRESS-MOTHER

  [One of the private apartments is disclosed, in which the Empress-
  mother and Alexander are seated.]


EMPRESS-MOTHER

So one of Austrian blood his pomp selects
To be his bride and bulwark--not our own.
Thus are you coolly shelved!


ALEXANDER

          Me, mother dear?
You, faith, if I may say it dutifully!
Had all been left to me, some time ere now
He would have wedded Kate.


EMPRESS-MOTHER

          How so, my son?
Catharine was plighted, and it could not be.


ALEXANDER

Rather you swiftly pledged and married her,
To let Napoleon have no chance that way.
But Anne remained.


EMPRESS-MOTHER

          How Anne?--so young a girl!
Sane Nature would have cried indecency
At such a troth.


ALEXANDER

          Time would have tinkered that,
And he was well-disposed to wait awhile;
But the one test he had no temper for
Was the apparent slight of unresponse
Accorded his impatient overtures
By our suspensive poise of policy.


EMPRESS-MOTHER

A backward answer is our country's card--
The special style and mode of Muscovy.
We have grown great upon it, my dear son,
And may such practice rule our centuries through!
The necks of those who rate themselves our peers
Are cured of stiffness by its potency.


ALEXANDER

The principle in this case, anyhow,
Is shattered by the facts: since none can doubt
Your policy was counted an affront,
And drove my long ally to Austria's arms,
With what result to us must yet be seen!


EMPRESS-MOTHER

May Austria win much joy of the alliance!
Marrying Napoleon is a midnight leap
For any Court in Europe, credit me,
If ever such there were!  What he may carve
Upon the coming years, what murderous bolt
Hurl at the rocking Constitutions round,
On what dark planet he may land himself
In his career through space, no sage can say.


ALEXANDER

Well--possibly! . . . And maybe all is best
That he engrafts his lineage not on us.--
But, honestly, Napoleon none the less
Has been my friend, and I regret the dream
And fleeting fancy of a closer tie!


EMPRESS-MOTHER

Ay; your regrets are sentimental ever.
That he'll be writ no son-in-law of mine
Is no regret to me!  But an affront
There is, no less, in his evasion on't,
Wherein the bourgeois quality of him
Veraciously peeps out.  I would be sworn
He set his minions parleying with the twain--
Yourself and Francis--simultaneously,
Else no betrothal could have speeded so!


ALEXANDER

Despite the hazard of offence to one?


EMPRESS-MOTHER

More than the hazard; the necessity.


ALEXANDER

There's no offence to me.


EMPRESS-MOTHER

          There should be, then.
I am a Romanoff by marriage merely,
But I do feel a rare belittlement
And loud laconic brow-beating herein!


ALEXANDER

No, mother, no!  I am the Tsar--not you,
And I am only piqued in moderateness.
Marriage with France was near my heart--I own it--
What then?  It has been otherwise ordained.

  [A silence.]


EMPRESS-MOTHER

Here comes dear Anne  Speak not of it before her.

  [Enter the GRAND-DUCHESS, a girl of sixteen.]


ANNE

Alas! the news is that poor Prussia's queen,
Spirited Queen Louisa, once so fair,
Is slowly dying, mother!  Did you know?


ALEXANDER (betraying emotion)

Ah!--such I dreaded from the earlier hints.
Poor soul--her heart was slain some time ago.


ANNE

What do you mean by that, my brother dear?


EMPRESS-MOTHER

He means, my child, that he as usual spends
Much sentiment upon the foreign fair,
And hence leaves little for his folk at home.


ALEXANDER

I mean, Anne, that her country's overthrow
Let death into her heart.  The Tilsit days
Taught me to know her well, and honour her.
She was a lovely woman even then! . . .
Strangely, the present English Prince of Wales
Was wished to husband her.  Had wishes won,
They might have varied Europe's history.


ANNE

Napoleon, I have heard, admired her once;
How he must grieve that soon she'll be no more!


EMPRESS-MOTHER

Napoleon and your brother loved her both.

  [Alexander shows embarrassment.]

But whatsoever grief be Alexander's,
His will be none who feels but for himself.


ANNE

O mother, how can you mistake him so!
He worships her who is to be his wife,
The fair Archduchess Marie.


EMPRESS-MOTHER

          Simple child,
As yet he has never seen her, or but barely.
That is a tactic suit, with love to match!


ALEXANDER (with vainly veiled tenderness)

High-souled Louisa;--when shall I forget
Those Tilsit gatherings in the long-sunned June!
Napoleon's gallantries deceived her quite,
Who fondly felt her pleas for Magdeburg
Had won him to its cause; the while, alas!
His cynic sense but posed in cruel play!


EMPRESS-MOTHER

Bitterly mourned she her civilities
When time unlocked the truth, that she had choked
Her indignation at his former slights
And slanderous sayings for a baseless hope,
And wrought no tittle for her country's gain.
I marvel why you mourn a frustrate tie
With one whose wiles could wring a woman so!


ALEXANDER (uneasily)

I marvel also, when I think of it!


EMPRESS-MOTHER

Don't listen to us longer, dearest Anne.

  [Exit Anne.]

--You will uphold my judging by and by,
That as a suitor we are quit of him,
And that blind Austria will rue the hour
Wherein she plucks for him her fairest flower!

  [The scene shuts.]



SCENE VIII

PARIS.  THE GRAND GALLERY OF THE LOUVRE AND THE SALON-CARRE ADJOINING

  [The view is up the middle of the Gallery, which is now a spectacle
  of much magnificence.  Backed by the large paintings on the walls
  are double rows on each side of brightly dressed ladies, the pick
  of Imperial society, to the number of four thousand, one thousand
  in each row; and behind these standing up are two rows on each side
  of men of privilege and fashion.  Officers of the Imperial Guard
  are dotted about as marshals.

  Temporary barriers form a wide passage up the midst, leading to the
  Salon-Carre, which is seen through the opening to be fitted up as
  a chapel, with a gorgeous altar, tall candles, and cross.  In front
  of the altar is a platform with a canopy over it.  On the platform
  are two gilt chairs and a prie-dieu.

  The expectant assembly does not continuously remain in the seats,
  but promenades and talks, the voices at times rising to a din amid
  the strains of the orchestra, conducted by the EMPEROR'S Director
  of Music.  Refreshments in profusion are handed round, and the
  extemporized cathedral resolves itself into a gigantic cafe of
  persons of distinction under the Empire.]


SPIRIT SINISTER

All day have they been waiting for their galanty-show, and now the
hour of performance is on the strike.  It may be seasonable to muse
on the sixteenth Louis and the bride's great-aunt, as the nearing
procession is, I see, appositely crossing the track of the tumbril
which was the last coach of that respected lady. . . . It is now
passing over the site of the scaffold on which she lost her head.
. . . Now it will soon be here.

  [Suddenly the heralds enter the Gallery at the end towards the
  Tuileries, the spectators ranging themselves in their places.
  In a moment the wedding procession of the EMPEROR and EMPRESS
  becomes visible.  The civil marriage having already been performed,
  Napoleon and Marie Louise advance together along the vacant pathway
  towards the Salon-Carre, followed by the long suite of illustrious
  personages, and acclamations burst from all parts of the Grand
  Gallery.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Whose are those forms that pair in pompous train
     Behind the hand-in-hand half-wedded ones,
     With faces speaking sense of an adventure
     Which may close well, or not so?


RECORDING ANGEL (reciting)

               First there walks
     The Emperor's brother Louis, Holland's King;
     Then Jerome of Westphalia with his spouse;
     The mother-queen, and Julie Queen of Spain,
     The Prince Borghese and the Princess Pauline,
     Beauharnais the Vice-King of Italy,
     And Murat King of Naples, with their Queens;
     Baden's Grand-Duke, Arch-Chancellor Cambaceres,
     Berthier, Lebrun, and, not least, Talleyrand.
     Then the Grand Marshal and the Chamberlain,
     The Lords-in-Waiting, the Grand Equerry,
     With waiting-ladies, women of the chamber,
     An others called by office, rank, or fame.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     New, many, to Imperial dignities;
     Which, won by character and quality
     In those who now enjoy them, will become
     The birthright of their sons in aftertime.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     It fits thee not to augur, quick-eared Shade.
     Ephemeral at the best all honours be,
     These even more ephemeral than their kind,
     So random-fashioned, swift, perturbable!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Napoleon looks content--nay, shines with joy.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Yet see it pass, as by a conjuror's wand.

  [Thereupon Napoleon's face blackens as if the shadow of a winter
  night had fallen upon it.  Resentful and threatening, he stops the
  procession and looks up and down the benches.]


SPIRIT SINISTER

This is sound artistry of the Immanent Will: it relieves the monotony
of so much good-humour.


NAPOLEON (to the Chapel-master)

Where are the Cardinals?  And why not here?  (He speaks so loud that
he is heard throughout the Gallery.)


ABBE DE PRADT (trembling)

Many are present here, your Majesty;
But some are feebled by infirmities
Too common to their age, and cannot come.


NAPOLEON

Tell me no nonsense!  Half absent themselves
Because they WILL not come.  The factious fools!
Well, be it so.  But they shall flinch for it!

  [MARIE LOUISE looks frightened.  The procession moves on.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     I seem to see the thin and headless ghost
     Of the yet earlier Austrian, here, too, queen,
     Walking beside the bride, with frail attempts
     To pluck her by the arm!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Nay, think not so.
     No trump unseals earth's sepulchre's to-day:
     We are the only phantoms now abroad
     On this mud-moulded ball!  Through sixteen years
     She has decayed in a back-garden yonder,
     Dust all the showance time retains of her,
     Senseless of hustlings in her former house,
     Lost to all count of crowns and bridalry--
     Even of her Austrian blood.  No: what thou seest
     Springs of the quavering fancy, stirred to dreams
     By yon tart phantom's phrase.


MARIE LOUISE (sadly to Napoleon)

          I know not why,
I love not this day's doings half so well
As our quaint meeting-time at Compiegne.
A clammy air creeps round me, as from vaults
Peopled with looming spectres, chilling me
And angering you withal!


NAPOLEON

          O, it is nought
To trouble you: merely, my cherished one,
Those devils of Italian Cardinals!--
Now I'll be bright as ever--you must, too.


MARIE LOUISE

I'll try.

  [Reaching the entrance to the Salon-Carre amid strains of music
  the EMPEROR and EMPRESS are received and incensed by the CARDINAL
  GRAND ALMONERS.  They take their seats under the canopy, and the
  train of notabilities seat themselves further back, the persons-
  in-waiting stopping behind the Imperial chairs.

  The ceremony of the religious marriage now begins.  The choir
  intones a hymn, the EMPEROR and EMPRESS go to the altar, remove
  their gloves, and make their vows.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

The English Church should return thanks for this wedding, seeing
how it will purge of coarseness the picture-sheets of that artistic
nation, which will hardly be able to caricature the new wife as it
did poor plebeian Josephine.  Such starched and ironed monarchists
cannot sneer at a woman of such a divinely dry and crusted line like
the Hapsburgs!

  [Mass is next celebrated, after which the TE DEUM is chanted in
  harmonies that whirl round the walls of the Salon-Carre and quiver
  down the long Gallery.  The procession then re-forms and returns,
  amid the flutterings and applause of the dense assembly.  But
  Napoleon's face has not lost the sombre expression which settled
  on it.  The pair and their train pass out by the west door, and
  the congregation disperses in the other direction, the cloud-
  curtain closing over the scene as they disappear.




ACT SIXTH


SCENE I

THE LINES OF TORRES VEDRAS

  [A bird's-eye perspective is revealed of the peninsular tract of
  Portuguese territory lying between the shining pool of the Tagus on
  the east, and the white-frilled Atlantic lifting rhythmically on
  the west.  As thus beheld the tract features itself somewhat like a
  late-Gothic shield, the upper edge from the dexter to the sinister
  chief being the lines of Torres Vedras, stretching across from the
  mouth of the Zezambre on the left to Alhandra on the right, and
  the south or base point being Fort S. Julian.  The roofs of Lisbon
  appear at the sinister base, and in a corresponding spot on the
  opposite side Cape Roca.

  It is perceived in a moment that the northern verge of this nearly
  coast-hemmed region is the only one through which access can be
  gained to it by land, and a close scrutiny of the boundary there
  reveals that means are being adopted to effectually prevent such
  access.

  From east to west along it runs a chain of defences, dotted at
  intervals by dozens of circular and square redoubts, either made
  or in the making, two of the latter being of enormous size.
  Between these stretch unclimbable escarpments, stone walls, and
  other breastworks, and in front of all a double row of abatis,
  formed of the limbs of trees.

  Within the outer line of defence is a second, constructed on the
  same shield-shaped tract of country; and is not more than a twelfth
  of the length of the others.  It is a continuous entrenchment of
  ditches and ramparts, and its object--that of covering a forced
  embarkation--is rendered apparent by some rocking English
  transports off the shore hard by.]


DUMB SHOW

Innumerable human figures are busying themselves like cheese-mites
all along the northernmost frontage, undercutting easy slopes into
steep ones, digging ditches, piling stones, felling trees, dragging
them, and interlacing them along the front as required.

On the second breastwork, which is completed, only a few figures move.

On the third breastwork, which is fully matured and equipped, minute
red sentinels creep backwards and forwards noiselessly.

As time passes three reddish-grey streams of marching men loom out
to the north, advancing southward along three roads towards three
diverse points in the first defence.  These form the English army,
entering the lines for shelter.  Looked down upon, their motion
seems peristaltic and vermicular, like that of three caterpillars.
The division on the left is under Picton, in the centre under Leith
and Cole, and on the extreme right, by Alhandra, under Hill.  Beside
one of the roads two or three of the soldiers are dangling from a
tree by the neck, probably for plundering.

The Dumb Show ends, and the point of view sinks to the earth.



SCENE II

THE SAME.  OUTSIDE THE LINES

  [The winter day has gloomed to a stormful evening, and the road
  outside the first line of defence forms the foreground of the stage.

  Enter in the dusk from the hills to the north of the entrenchment,
  near Calandrix, a group of horsemen, which includes MASSENA in
  command of the French forces, FOY, LOISON, and other officers of
  his staff.

  They ride forward in the twilight and tempest, and reconnoitre,
  till they see against the sky the ramparts blocking the road they
  pursue.  They halt silently.  MASSENA, puzzled, endeavours with his
  glass to make out the obstacle.]


MASSENA

Something stands here to peril our advance,
Or even prevent it!


FOY

          These are the English lines--
Their outer horns and tusks--whereof I spoke,
Constructed by Lord Wellington of late
To keep his foothold firm in Portugal.


MASSENA

Thrusts he his burly, bossed disfigurements
So far to north as this?  I had pictured me
The lay much nearer Lisbon.  Little strange
Lord Wellington rode placid at Busaco
With this behind his back!  Well, it is hard
But that we turn them somewhere, I assume?
They scarce can close up every southward gap
Between the Tagus and the Atlantic Sea.


FOY

I hold they can, and do; although, no doubt,
By searching we shall spy some raggedness
Which customed skill may force.


MASSENA

          Plain 'tis, no less,
We may heap corpses vainly hereabout,
And crack good bones in waste.  By human power
This passes mounting!  What say you's behind?


LOISON

Another line exactly like the first,
But more matured.  Behind its back a third.


MASSENA

How long have these prim ponderosities
Been rearing up their foreheads to the moon?


LOISON

Some months in all.  I know not quite how long.
They are Lord Wellington's select device,
And, like him, heavy, slow, laborious, sure.


MASSENA

May he enjoy their sureness.  He deserves to.
I had no inkling of such barriers here.
A good road runs along their front, it seems,
Which offers us advantage. . . . What a night!

  [The tempest cries dismally about the earthworks above them, as
  the reconnoitrers linger in the slight shelter the lower ground
  affords.  They are about to turn back.

  Enter from the cross-road to the right JUNOT and some more
  officers.  They come up at a signal that the others are those
  they lately parted from.]


JUNOT

We have ridden along as far as Calandrix,
Favoured therein by this disordered night,
Which tongues its language to the disguise of ours;
And find amid the vale an open route
That, well manoeuvred, may be practicable.


MASSENA

I'll look now at it, while the weather aids.
If it may serve our end when all's prepared
So good.  If not, some other to the west.

  [Exeunt MASSENA, JUNOT, LOISON, FOY, and the rest by the paved
  crossway to the right.

  The wind continues to prevail as the spot is left desolate, the
  darkness increases, rain descends more heavily, and the scene is
  blotted out.]



SCENE III

PARIS.  THE TUILERIES

  [The anteroom to the EMPRESS MARIE LOUISE'S bed-chamber, in which
  are discovered NAPOLEON in his dressing-gown, the DUCHESS OF
  MONTEBELLO, and other ladies-in-waiting.  CORVISART the first
  physician, and the second physician BOURDIER.

  The time is before dawn.  The EMPEROR walks up and down, throws
  himself on a sofa, or stands at the window.  A cry of anguish comes
  occasionally from within.

  NAPOLEON opens the door and speaks into the bed-chamber.]


NAPOLEON

How now, Dubois?


VOICE OF DUBOIS THE ACCOUCHEUR (nervously)

          Less well, sire, than I hoped;
I fear no skill can save them both.


NAPOLEON (agitated)

     Good god!

  [Exit CORVISART into the bed-room.  Enter DUBOIS.]


DUBOIS (with hesitation)

Which life is to be saved?  The Empress, sire,
Lies in great jeopardy.  I have not known
In my long years of many-featured practice
An instance in a thousand fall out so.


NAPOLEON

Then save the mother, pray!  Think but of her;
It is her privilege, and my command.--
Don't lose you head, Dubois, at this tight time:
Your furthest skill can work but what it may.
Fancy that you are merely standing by
A shop-wife's couch, say, in the Rue Saint Denis;
Show the aplomb and phlegm that you would show
Did such a bed receive your ministry.

  [Exit DUBOIS.]


VOICE OF MARIE LOUISE (within)

O pray, pray don't!  Those ugly things terrify me!  Why should I be
tortured even if I am but a means to an end!  Let me die!  It was
cruel of him to bring this upon me!

  [Exit NAPOLEON impatiently to the bed-room.]


VOICE OF MADAME DE MONTESQUIOU (within)

Keep up your spirits, madame!  I have been through it myself and I
assure you there is no danger to you.  It is going on all right, and
I am holding you.


VOICE OF NAPOLEON (within)

Heaven above!  Why did you not deep those cursed sugar-tongs out of
her sight?  How is she going to get through it if you frighten her
like this?


VOICE OF DUBOIS (within)

If you will pardon me, your Majesty,
I must implore you not to interfere!
I'll not be scapegoat for the consequence
If, sire, you do!  Better for her sake far
Would you withdraw.  The sight of your concern
But agitates and weakens her endurance.
I will inform you all, and call you back
If things should worsen here.

  [Re-enter NAPOLEON from the bed-chamber.  He half shuts the door,
  and remains close to it listening, pale and nervous.]


BOURDIER

          I ask you, sire,
To harass yourself less with this event,
Which may amend anon: I much regret
The honoured mother of your Majesty,
And sister too, should both have left ere now,
Whose solace would have bridged these anxious hours.


NAPOLEON (absently)

As we were not expecting it so soon
I begged they would sit up no longer here. . .  .
She ought to get along; she has help enough
With that half-dozen of them at hand within--
Skilled Madame Blaise the nurse, and two besides,
Madame de Montesquiou and Madame Ballant---


DUBOIS (speaking through the doorway)

Past is the question, sire, of which to save!
The child is dead; the while her Majesty
Is getting through it well.


NAPOLEON

          Praise Heaven for that!
I'll not grieve overmuch about the child. . . .
Never shall She go through this strain again
To lay down a dynastic line for me.


DUCHESS OF MONTEBELLO (aside to the second lady)

He only says that now.  In cold blood it would be far otherwise.
That's how men are.


VOICE OF MADAME BLAISE (within)

Doctor, the child's alive!  (The cry of an infant is heard.)


VOICE OF DUBOIS (calling from within)

Sire, both are saved.

  [NAPOLEON rushes into the chamber, and is heard kissing MARIE
  LOUISE.]


VOICE OF MADAME BLAISE (within)

A vigorous boy, your Imperial Majesty.  The brandy and hot napkins
brought him to.


DUCHESS OF MONTEBELLO

It is as I expected.  A healthy young woman of her build had every
chance of doing well, despite the doctors.

  [An interval.]


NAPOLEON (re-entering radiantly)

We have achieved a healthy heir, good dames,
And in the feat the Empress was most brave,
Although she suffered much--so much, indeed,
That I would sooner father no more sons
Than have so fair a fruit-tree undergo
Another wrenching of such magnitude.

  [He walks to the window, pulls aside the curtains, and looks out.
  It is a joyful spring morning.  The Tuileries' gardens are thronged
  with an immense crowd, kept at a little distance off the Palace by
  a cord.  The windows of the neighbouring houses are full of gazers,
  and the streets are thronged with halting carriages, their inmates
  awaiting the event.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS (whispering to Napoleon)

     At this high hour there broods a woman nigh,
     Ay, here in Paris, with her child and thine,
     Who might have played this part with truer eye
     To thee and to thy contemplated line!


NAPOLEON (soliloquizing)

Strange that just now there flashes on my soul
That little one I loved in Warsaw days,
Marie Walewska, and my boy by her!--
She was shown faithless by a foul intrigue
Till fate sealed up her opportunity. . . .
But what's one woman's fortune more or less
Beside the schemes of kings!--Ah, there's the new!

  [A gun is heard from the Invalides.]


CROWD (excitedly)

One!

  [Another report of the gun, and another, succeed.]

Two!  Three!  Four!

  [The firing and counting proceed to twenty-one, when there is great
  suspense.  The gun fires again, and the excitement is doubled.]

Twenty-two!  A boy!

  [The remainder of the counting up to a hundred-and-one is drowned
  in the huzzas.  Bells begin ringing, and from the Champ de Mars a
  balloon ascends, from which the tidings are scattered in hand-bills
  as it floats away from France.

  Enter the PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, CAMBACERES, BERTHIER, LEBRUN,
  and other officers of state.  NAPOLEON turns from the window.]


CAMBACERES

Unstinted gratulations and goodwill
We bring to your Imperial Majesty,
While still resounds the superflux of joy
With which your people welcome this live star
Upon the horizon of history!


PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

All blessings at their goodliest will grace
The advent of this New Messiah, sire,
Of fairer prospects than the former one,
Whose coming at so apt an hour endues
The widening glory of your high exploits
With permanence, and flings the dimness far
That cloaked the future of our chronicle!


NAPOLEON

My thanks; though, gentlemen, upon my soul
You might have drawn the line at the Messiah.
But I excuse you.--Yes, the boy has come;
He took some coaxing, but he's here at last.--
And what news brings the morning from without?
I know of none but this the Empress now
Trumps to the world from the adjoining room.


PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

Nothing in Europe, sire, that can compare
In magnitude therewith to more effect
Than with an eagle some frail finch or wren.
To wit: the ban on English trade prevailing,
Subjects our merchant-houses to such strain
That many of the best see bankruptcy
Like a grim ghost ahead.  Next week, they say
In secret here, six of the largest close.


NAPOLEON

It shall not be!  Our burst of natal joy
Must not be sullied by so mean a thing:
Aid shall be rendered.  Much as we may suffer,
England must suffer more, and I am content.
What has come in from Spain and Portugal?


BERTHIER

Vaguely-voiced rumours, sire, but nothing more,
Which travel countries quick as earthquake thrills,
No mortal knowing how.


NAPOLEON

     Of Massena?


BERTHIER

Yea.  He retreats for prudence' sake, it seems,
Before Lord Wellington.  Dispatches soon
Must reach your Majesty, explaining all.


NAPOLEON

Ever retreating!  Why declines he so
From all his olden prowess?  Why, again,
Did he give battle at Busaco lately,
When Lisbon could be marched on without strain?
Why has he dallied by the Tagus bank
And shunned the obvious course?  I gave him Ney,
Soult, and Junot, and eighty thousand men,
And he does nothing.  Really it might seem
As though we meant to let this Wellington
Be even with us there!


BERTHIER

          His mighty forts
At Torres Vedras hamper Massena,
And quite preclude advance.


NAPOLEON

          O well--no matter:
Why should I linger on these haps of war
Now that I have a son!

  [Exeunt NAPOLEON by one door and by another the PRESIDENT OF THE
  SENATE, CAMBACERES, LEBRUN, BERTHIER, and officials.]


CHORUS OF IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

     The Will Itself is slave to him,
     And holds it blissful to obey!--
     He said, "Go to; it is my whim

     "To bed a bride without delay,
     Who shall unite my dull new name
     With one that shone in Caesar's day.

     "She must conceive--you hear my claim?--
     And bear a son--no daughter, mind--
     Who shall hand on my form and fame

     "To future times as I have designed;
     And at the birth throughout the land
     Must cannon roar and alp-horns wind!"

     The Will grew conscious at command,
     And ordered issue as he planned.

  [The interior of the Palace is veiled.]



SCENE IV

SPAIN.  ALBUERA

  [The dawn of a mid-May day in the same spring shows the village
  of Albuera with the country around it, as viewed from the summit
  of a line of hills on which the English and their allies are ranged
  under Beresford.  The landscape swept by the eye includes to the
  right foreground a hill loftier than any, and somewhat detached
  from the range.  The green slopes behind and around this hill are
  untrodden--though in a few hours to be the sanguinary scene of the
  most murderous struggle of the whole war.

  The village itself lies to the left foreground, with its stream
  flowing behind it in the distance on the right.  A creeping brook
  at the bottom of the heights held by the English joins the stream
  by the village.  Behind the stream some of the French forces are
  visible.  Away behind these stretches a great wood several miles
  in area, out of which the Albuera stream emerges, and behind the
  furthest verge of the wood the morning sky lightens momently.  The
  birds in the wood, unaware that this day is to be different from
  every other day they have known there, are heard singing their
  overtures with their usual serenity.]


DUMB SHOW

As objects grow more distinct it can be perceived that some strategic
dispositions of the night are being completed by the French forces,
which the evening before lay in the woodland to the front of the
English army.  They have emerged during the darkness, and large
sections of them--infantry, cuirassiers, and artillery--have crept
round to BERESFORD'S right without his suspecting the movement, where
they lie hidden by the great hill aforesaid, though not more than
half-a-mile from his right wing.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     A hot ado goes forward here to-day,
     If I may read the Immanent Intent
        From signs and tokens blent
     With weird unrest along the firmament
     Of causal coils in passionate display.
     --Look narrowly, and what you witness say.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     I see red smears upon the sickly dawn,
     And seeming drops of gore.  On earth below
     Are men--unnatural and mechanic-drawn--
     Mixt nationalities in row and row,
        Wheeling them to and fro
     In moves dissociate from their souls' demand,
     For dynasts' ends that few even understand!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Speak more materially, and less in dream.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     I'll do it. . . . The stir of strife grows well defined
     Around the hamlet and the church thereby:
     Till, from the wood, the ponderous columns wind,
     Guided by Godinot, with Werle nigh.
     They bear upon the vill.  But the gruff guns
        Of Dickson's Portuguese
     Punch spectral vistas through the maze of these! . . .
     More Frenchmen press, and roaring antiphons
     Of cannonry contuse the roofs and walls and trees.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Wrecked are the ancient bridge, the green spring plot,
     the blooming fruit-tree, the fair flower-knot!


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     Yet the true mischief to the English might
     Is meant to fall not there.  Look to the right,
     And read the shaping scheme by yon hill-side,
     Where cannon, foot, and brisk dragoons you see,
     With Werle and Latour-Maubourg to guide,
     Waiting to breast the hill-brow bloodily.


BERESFORD now becomes aware of this project on his flank, and sends
orders to throw back his right to face the attack.  The order is not
obeyed.  Almost at the same moment the French rush is made, the
Spanish and Portuguese allies of the English are beaten beck, and
the hill is won.  But two English divisions bear from the centre of
their front, and plod desperately up the hill to retake it.


SPIRIT SINISTER

     Now he among us who may wish to be
     A skilled practitioner in slaughtery,
     Should watch this hour's fruition yonder there,
     And he will know, if knowing ever were,
     How mortals may be freed their fleshly cells,
     And quaint red doors set ope in sweating fells,
     By methods swift and slow and foul and fair!


The English, who have plunged up the hill, are caught in a heavy
mist, that hides from them an advance in their rear of the lancers
and hussars of the enemy.  The lines of the Buffs, the Sixty-sixth,
and those of the Forty-eighth, who were with them, in a chaos of
smoke, steel, sweat, curses, and blood, are beheld melting down
like wax from an erect position to confused heaps.  Their forms
lie rigid, or twitch and turn, as they are trampled over by the
hoofs of the enemy's horse.  Those that have not fallen are taken.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     It works as you, uncanny Phantom, wist! . . .
     Whose is that towering form
         That tears across the mist
     To where the shocks are sorest?--his with arm
     Outstretched, and grimy face, and bloodshot eye,
     Like one who, having done his deeds, will die?


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     He is one Beresford, who heads the fight
             For England here to-day.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

          He calls the sight
     Despite itself!--parries yon lancer's thrust,
     And with his own sword renders dust to dust!


The ghastly climax of the strife is reached; the combatants are
seen to be firing grape and canister at speaking distance, and
discharging musketry in each other's faces when so close that
their complexions may be recognized.  Hot corpses, their mouths
blackened by cartridge-biting, and surrounded by cast-away
knapsacks, firelocks, hats, stocks, flint-boxes, and priming
horns, together with red and blue rags of clothing, gaiters,
epaulettes, limbs and viscera accumulate on the slopes, increasing
from twos and threes to half-dozens, and from half-dozens to heaps,
which steam with their own warmth as the spring rain falls gently
upon them.

The critical instant has come, and the English break.  But a
comparatively fresh division, with fusileers, is brought into the
turmoil by HARDINGE and COLE, and these make one last strain to
save the day, and their names and lives.  The fusileers mount the
incline, and issuing from the smoke and mist startle the enemy by
their arrival on a spot deemed won.


SEMICHORUS I OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     They come, beset by riddling hail;
     They sway like sedges is a gale;
     The fail, and win, and win, and fail.  Albuera!


SEMICHORUS II

     They gain the ground there, yard by yard,
     Their brows and hair and lashes charred,
     Their blackened teeth set firm and hard.


SEMICHORUS I

     Their mad assailants rave and reel,
     And face, as men who scorn to feel,
     The close-lined, three-edged prongs of steel.


SEMICHORUS II

     Till faintness follows closing-in,
     When, faltering headlong down, they spin
     Like leaves.  But those pay well who win Albuera.


SEMICHORUS I

     Out of six thousand souls that sware
     To hold the mount, or pass elsewhere,
     But eighteen hundred muster there.


SEMICHORUS II

     Pale Colonels, Captains, ranksmen lie,
     Facing the earth or facing sky;--
     They strove to live, they stretch to die.


SEMICHORUS I

     Friends, foemen, mingle; heap and heap.--
     Hide their hacked bones, Earth!--deep, deep, deep,
     Where harmless worms caress and creep.


CHORUS

     Hide their hacked bones, Earth!--deep, deep, deep,
     Where harmless worms caress and creep.--
     What man can grieve? what woman weep?
     Better than waking is to sleep!  Albuera!


The night comes on, and darkness covers the battle-field.



SCENE V

WINDSOR CASTLE.  A ROOM IN THE KING'S APARTMENT

  [The walls of the room are padded, and also the articles of
  furniture, the stuffing being overlaid with satin and velvet, on
  which are worked in gold thread monograms and crowns.  The windows
  are guarded, and the floor covered with thick cork, carpeted.  The
  time is shortly after the last scene.

  The KING is seated by a window, and two of Dr. WILLIS'S attendants
  are in the room.  His MAJESTY is now seventy-two; his sight is
  very defective, but he does not look ill.  He appears to be lost
  in melancholy thought, and talks to himself reproachfully, hurried
  manner on occasion being the only irregular symptom that he
  betrays.]


KING

In my lifetime I did not look after her enough--enough--enough!
And now she is lost to me, and I shall never see her more.  Had I
but known, had I but thought of it!  Gentlemen, when did I lose the
Princess Amelia?


FIRST ATTENDANT

The second of last November, your Majesty.


KING

And what is it now?


FIRST ATTENDANT

Now, sir, it is the beginning of June.


KING

Ah, June, I remember! . . . The June flowers are not for me.  I
shall never see them; nor will she.  So fond of them as she was.
. . . Even if I were living I would never go where there are flowers
any more!  No: I would go to the bleak, barren places that she never
would walk in, and never knew, so that nothing might remind me of
her, and make my heart ache more than I can bear! . . . Why, the
beginning of June?--that's when they are coming to examine me!  (He
grows excited.)


FIRST ATTENDANT (to second attendant, aside)

Dr. Reynolds ought not have reminded him of their visit.  It only
disquiets him and makes him less fit to see them.


KING

How long have I been confined here?


FIRST ATTENDANT

Since November, sir; for your health's sake entirely, as your Majesty
knows.


KING

What, what?  So long?  Ah, yes.  I must bear it.  This is the fourth
great black gulf in my poor life, is it not?  The fourth.

  [A signal from the door.  The second attendant opens it and whispers.
  Enter softly SIR HENRY HALFORD, DR. WILLIAM HEBERDEN, DR. ROBERT
  WILLIS, DR. MATTHEW BAILLIE, the KING'S APOTHECARY, and one or two
  other gentlemen.]


KING (straining his eye to discern them)

What!  Are they come?  What will they do to me?  How dare they!  I
am Elector of Hanover!  (Finding Dr. Willis is among them he shrieks.)
O, they are going to bleed me--yes, to bleed me!  (Piteously.)  My
friends, don't bleed me--pray don't!  It makes me so weak to take my
blood.  And the leeches do, too, when you put so many.  You will not
be so unkind, I am sure!


WILLIS (to Baillie)

It is extraordinary what a vast aversion he has to bleeding--that
most salutary remedy, fearlessly practised.  He submits to leeches
as yet but I won't say that he will for long without being strait-
jacketed.


KING (catching some of the words)

You will strait-jacket me?  O no, no!


WILLIS

Leeches are not effective, really.  Dr. Home, when I mentioned it to
him yesterday, said he would bleed him till he fainted if he had
charge of him!


KING

O will you do it, sir, against my will,
And put me, once your king, in needless pain?
I do assure you truly, my good friends,
That I have done no harm!  In sunnier years
Ere I was throneless, withered to a shade,
Deprived of my divine authority--
When I was hale, and ruled the English land--
I ever did my utmost to promote
The welfare of my people, body and soul!
Right many a morn and night I have prayed and mused
How I could bring them to a better way.
So much of me you surely know, my friends,
And will not hurt me in my weakness here!  (He trembles.)


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     The tears that lie about this plightful scene
     Of heavy travail in a suffering soul,
     Mocked with the forms and feints of royalty
     While scarified by briery Circumstance,
     Might drive Compassion past her patiency
     To hold that some mean, monstrous ironist
     Had built this mistimed fabric of the Spheres
     To watch the throbbings of its captive lives,
     (The which may Truth forfend), and not thy said
     Unmaliced, unimpassioned, nescient Will!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Mild one, be not touched with human fate.
     Such is the Drama: such the Mortal state:
     No sigh of thine can null the Plan Predestinate!


HALFORD

We have come to do your Majesty no harm.
Here's Dr. Heberden, whom I am sure you like,
And this is Dr. Baillie.  We arrive 
But to inquire and gather how you are,
Thereon to let the Privy Council know,
And give assurances for you people's good.

  [A brass band is heard playing in the distant part of Windsor.]


KING

Ah--what does that band play for here to-day?
She has been dead and I so short a time! . . .
Her little hands are hardly cold as yet;
But they can show such cruel indecency
As to let trumpets play!


HALFORD

          They guess not, sir,
That you can hear them, or their chords would cease.
Their boisterous music fetches back to me
That, of our errands to your Majesty,
One was congratulation most sincere
Upon this glorious victory you have won.
The news is just in port; the band booms out
To celebrate it, and to honour you.


KING

A victory?  I?  Pray where?


HALFORD

          Indeed so, sir:
Hard by Albuera--far in harried Spain--
Yes, sir; you have achieved a victory
Of dash unmatched and feats unparalleled!


KING

He says I have won a battle?  But I thought
I was a poor afflicted captive here,
In darkness lingering out my lonely days,
Beset with terror of these myrmidons
That suck my blood like vampires!  Ay, ay, ay!--
No aims left to me but to quicken death
To quicklier please my son!--And yet he says
That I have won a battle!  O God, curse, damn!
When will the speech of the world accord with truth,
And men's tongues roll sincerely!


GENTLEMAN (aside)

          Faith, 'twould seem
As if the madman were the sanest here!

  [The KING'S face has flushed, and he becomes violent.  The
  attendants rush forward to him.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Something within me aches to pray
     To some Great Heart, to take away
     This evil day, this evil day!


CHORUS IRONIC

     Ha-ha!  That's good.  Thou'lt pray to It:--
     But where do Its compassions sit?
     Yea, where abides the heart of it?

     Is it where sky-fires flame and flit,
     Or solar craters spew and spit,
     Or ultra-stellar night-webs knit?

     What is Its shape?  Man's counterfeit?
     That turns in some far sphere unlit
     The Wheel which drives the Infinite?


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Mock on, mock on!  Yet I'll go pray
     To some Great Heart, who haply may
     Charm mortal miseries away!

  [The KING'S paroxysm continues.  The attendants hold him.]


HALFORD

This is distressing.  One can never tell
How he will take things now.  I thought Albuera
A subject that would surely solace him.
These paroxysms--have they been bad this week?  (To Attendants.)


FIRST ATTENDANT

Sir Henry, no.  He has quite often named
The late Princess, as gently as a child
A little bird found starved.


WILLIS (aside to apothecary)

I must increase the opium to-night, and lower him by a double set of
leeches since he won't stand the lancet quietly.


APOTHECARY

You should take twenty ounces, doctor, if a drop--indeed, go on
blooding till he's unconscious.  He is too robust by half.  And the
watering-pot would do good again--not less than six feet above his
head.  See how heated he is.


WILLIS

Curse that town band.  It will have to be stopped.


HEBERDEN

The same thing is going on all over England, no doubt, on account of
this victory.


HALFORD

When he is in a more domineering mood he likes such allusions to his
rank as king. . . . If he could resume his walks on the terrace he
might improve slightly.  But it is too soon yet.  We must consider
what we shall report to the Council.  There is little hope of his
being much better.  What do you think, Willis?


WILLIS

None.  He is done for this time!


HALFORD

Well, we must soften it down a little, so as not to upset the Queen
too much, poor woman, and distract the Council unnecessarily.  Eldon
will go pumping up bucketfuls, and the Archbishops are so easily
shocked that a certain conventional reserve is almost forced upon us.


WILLIS (returning from the King)

He is already better.  The paroxysm has nearly passed.  Your opinion
will be far more favourable before you leave.

  [The KING soon grows calm, and the expression of his face changes
  to one of dejection.  The attendants leave his side: he bends his
  head, and covers his face with his hand, while his lips move as if
  in prayer.  He then turns to them.]


KING (meekly)

I am most truly sorry, gentlemen,
If I have used language that would seem to show
Discourtesy to you for your good help
In this unhappy malady of mine!
My nerves unstring, my friend; my flesh grows weak:
"The good that I do I leave undone,
The evil which I would not, that I do!"
Shame, shame on me!


WILLIS (aside to the others)

Now he will be as low as before he was in the other extreme.


KING

A king should bear him kingly; I of all,
One of so long a line.  O shame on me! . . .
--This battle that you speak of?--Spain, of course?
Ah--Albuera!  And many fall--eh?  Yes?


HALFORD

Many hot hearts, sir, cold, I grieve to say.
There's Major-General Houghton, Captain Bourke,
And Herbert of the Third, Lieutenant Fox,
And Captains Erck and Montague, and more.
With Majors-General Cole and Stewart wounded,
And Quartermaster-General Wallace too:
A total of three generals, colonels five,
Five majors, fifty captains; and to these 
Add ensigns and lieutenants sixscore odd,
Who went out, but returned not.  Heavily tithed
Were the attenuate battalions there
Who stood and bearded Death by the hour that day!


KING

O fearful price for victory!  Add thereto
All those I lost at Walchere.--A crime
Lay there! . . . I stood on Chatham's being sent:
It wears on me, till I am unfit to live!


WILLIS (aside to the others)

Don't let him get on that Walcheren business.  There will be another
outbreak.  Heberden, please ye talk to him.  He fancies you most.


HEBERDEN

I'll tell him some of the brilliant feats of the battle.  (He goes
and talks to the KING.)


WILLIS (to the rest)

Well, my inside begins to cry cupboard.  I had breakfast early.  We
have enough particulars now to face the Queen's Council with, I
should say, Sir Henry?


HALFORD

Yes.--I want to get back to town as soon as possible to-day.  Mrs
Siddons has a party at her house at Westbourne to-night, and all the
world is going to be there.


BAILLIE

Well, I am not.  But I have promised to take some friends to Vauxhall,
as it is a grand gala and fireworks night.  Miss Farren is going to
sing "The Canary Bird."--The Regent's fete, by the way, is postponed
till the nineteenth, on account of this relapse.  Pretty grumpy he
was at having to do it.  All the world will be THERE, sure!


WILLIS

And some from the Shades, too, of the fair, sex.--Well, here comes
Heberden.  He has pacified his Majesty nicely.  Now we can get away.

  [The physicians withdraw softly, and the scene is covered.]



SCENE VI

LONDON.  CARLTON HOUSE AND THE STREETS ADJOINING

  [It is a cloudless midsummer evening, and as the west fades the
  stars beam down upon the city, the evening-star hanging like a
  jonquil blossom.  They are dimmed by the unwonted radiance which
  spreads around and above Carlton House.  As viewed from aloft the
  glare rises through the skylights, floods the forecourt towards
  Pall Mall, and kindles with a diaphanous glow the huge tents in
  the gardens that overlook the Mall.  The hour has arrived of the
  Prince Regent's festivity.

  A stream of carriages and sedan-chairs, moving slowly, stretches
  from the building along Pall Mall into Piccadilly and Bond Street,
  and crowds fill the pavements watching the bejewelled and feathered
  occupants.  In addition to the grand entrance inside the Pall Mall
  colonnade there is a covert little "chair-door" in Warwick Street
  for sedans only, by which arrivals are perceived to be slipping in
  almost unobserved.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

     What domiciles are those, of singular expression,
     Whence no guest comes to join the gemmed procession;
     That, west of Hyde, this, in the Park-side Lane,
     Each front beclouded like a mask of pain?


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     Therein the princely host's two spouses dwell;
     A wife in each.  Let me inspect and tell.

  [The walls of the two houses--one in Park Lane, the other at
  Kensington--become transparent.]

     I see within the first his latter wife--
     That Caroline of Brunswick whose brave sire
     Yielded his breath on Jena's reeking plain,
     And of whose kindred other yet may fall
     Ere long, if character indeed be fate.--
     She idles feasting, and is full of jest
     As each gay chariot rumbles to the rout.
     "I rank like your Archbishops' wives," laughs she;
     "Denied my husband's honours.  Funny me!"

  [Suddenly a Beau on his way to the Carlton House festival halts at
  her house, calls, and is shown in.]

     He brings her news that a fresh favourite rules
     Her husband's ready heart; likewise of those
     Obscure and unmissed courtiers late deceased,
     Who have in name been bidden to the feast
     By blundering scribes.

  [The Princess is seen to jump up from table at some words from her
  visitor, and clap her hands.]

               These tidings, juxtaposed,
     Have fired her hot with curiosity,
     And lit her quick invention with a plan.


PRINCESS OF WALES

Mine God, I'll go disguised--in some dead name
And enter by the leetle, sly, chair-door
Designed for those not welcomed openly.
There unobserved I'll note mine new supplanter!
'Tis indiscreet?  Let indiscretion rule,
Since caution pensions me so scurvily!


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Good.  Now for the other sweet and slighted spouse.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     The second roof shades the Fitzherbert Fair;
     Reserved, perverse.  As coach and coach roll by
     She mopes within her lattice; lampless, lone,
     As if she grieved at her ungracious fate,
     And yet were loth to kill the sting of it
     By frankly forfeiting the Prince and town.
     "Bidden," says she, "but as one low of rank,
     And go I will not so unworthily,
     To sit with common dames!"--A flippant friend
     Writes then that a new planet sways to-night
     The sense of her erratic lord; whereon
     The fair Fitzherbert muses hankeringly.


MRS. FITZHERBERT (soliloquizing)

The guest-card which I publicly refused
Might, as a fancy, privately be used! . . .
Yes--one last look--a wordless, wan farewell
To this false life which glooms me like a knell,
And him, the cause; from some hid nook survey
His new magnificence;--then go for aye!


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     She cloaks and veils, and in her private chair
     Passes the Princess also stealing there--
     Two honest wives, and yet a differing pair!


SPIRIT IRONIC

     With dames of strange repute, who bear a ticket
     For screened admission by the private wicket.


CHORUS OF IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

     A wife of the body, a wife of the mind,
     A wife somewhat frowsy, a wife too refined:
     Could the twain but grow one, and no other dames be,
     No husband in Europe more steadfast than he!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Cease fooling on weak waifs who love and wed
     But as the unweeting Urger may bestead!--
     See them withinside, douce and diamonded.

  [The walls of Carlton House open, and the spectator finds himself
  confronting the revel.]



SCENE VII

THE SAME.  THE INTERIOR OF CARLTON HOUSE

  [A central hall is disclosed, radiant with constellations of
  candles, lamps, and lanterns, and decorated with flowering shrubs.
  An opening on the left reveals the Grand Council-chamber prepared
  for dancing, the floor being chalked with arabesques having in the
  centre "G. III. R.," with a crown, arms, and supporters.  Orange-
  trees and rose-bushes in bloom stand against the walls.  On the
  right hand extends a glittering vista of the supper-rooms and
  tables, now crowded with guests.  This display reaches as far as
  the conservatory westward, and branches into long tents on the
  lawn.

  On a dais at the chief table, laid with gold and silver plate, the
  Prince Regent sits like a lay figure, in a state chair of crimson
  and gold, with six servants at his back.  He swelters in a gorgeous
  uniform of scarlet and gold lace which represents him as Field
  Marshal, and he is surrounded by a hundred-and-forty of his
  particular friends.

  Down the middle of this state-table runs a purling brook crossed
  by quaint bridges, in which gold and silver fish frisk about
  between banks of moss and flowers.  The whole scene is lit with
  wax candles in chandeliers, and in countless candelabra on the
  tables.

  The people at the upper tables include the Duchess of York, looking
  tired from having just received as hostess most of the ladies
  present, except those who have come informally, Louis XVIII. of
  France, the Duchess of Angouleme, all the English Royal Dukes,
  nearly all the ordinary Dukes and Duchesses; also the Lord
  Chancellor of the Exchequer and other Ministers, the Lord Mayor
  and Lady Mayoress, all the more fashionable of the other Peers,
  Peeresses, and Members of Parliament, Generals, Admirals, and
  Mayors, with their wives.  The ladies of position wear, almost to
  the extent of a uniform, a nodding head-dress of ostrich feathers
  with diamonds, and gowns of white satin embroidered in gold or
  silver, on which, owing to the heat, dribbles of wax from the
  chandeliers occasionally fall.
  
  The Guards' bands play, and attendants rush about in blue and gold
  lace.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     The Queen, the Regent's mother, sits not here;
     Wanting, too, are his sisters, I perceive;
     And it is well.  With the distempered King
     Immured at Windsor, sore distraught or dying,
     It borders nigh on indecency
     In their regard, that this loud feast is kept,
     A thought not strange to many, as I read,
     Even of those gathered here.


SPIRIT IRONIC

My dear phantom and crony, the gloom upon their faces is due rather
to their having borrowed those diamonds at eleven per cent than to
their loyalty to a suffering monarch!  But let us test the feeling.
I'll spread a report.

  [He calls up the SPIRIT OF RUMOUR, who scatters whispers through
  the assemblage.]


A GUEST (to his neighbour)

Have you heard this report--that the King is dead?


ANOTHER GUEST

It has just reached me from the other side.  Can it be true?


THIRD GUEST

I think it probable.  He has been very ill all week.


PRINCE REGENT

Dead?  Then my fete is spoilt, by God!


SHERIDAN

Long live the King!  (He holds up his glass and bows to the Regent.)


MARCHIONESS OF HERTFORD (the new favourite, to the Regent)

The news is more natural than the moment of it!  It is too cruel to
you that it should happen now!


PRINCE REGENT

Damn me, though; can it be true?  (He provisionally throws a regal
air into his countenance.)


DUCHESS OF YORK (on the Regent's left)

I hardly can believe it.  This forenoon
He was reported mending.


DUCHESS OF ANGOULEME (on the Regent's right)

          On this side
They are asserting that the news is false--
That Buonaparte's child, the "King of Rome,"
Is dead, and not your royal father, sire.


PRINCE REGENT

That's mighty fortunate!  Had it been true,
I should have been abused by all the world--
The Queen the keenest of the chorus, too--
Though I have been postponing this pledged feast
Through days and weeks, in hopes the King would mend,
Till expectation fusted with delay.
But give a dog a bad name--or a Prince!
So, then, it is new-come King of Rome
Who has passed or ever the world has welcomed him! . . .
Call him a king--that pompous upstart's son--
Beside us scions of the ancient lines!


DUKE OF BEDFORD

I think that rumour untrue also, sir.  I heard it as I drove up from
Woburn this evening, and it was contradicted then.


PRINCE REGENT

Drove up this evening, did ye, Duke.  Why did you cut it so close?


DUKE OF BEDFORD

Well, it so happened that my sheep-sheering dinner was fixed for
this very day, and I couldn't put it off.  So I dined with them
there at one o'clock, discussed the sheep, rushed off, drove the
two-and-forty miles, jumped into my clothes at my house here, and
reached your Royal Highness's door in no very bad time.


PRINCE REGENT

Capital, capital.  But, 'pon my soul, 'twas a close shave!

  [Soon the babbling and glittering company rise from supper, and
  begin promenading through the rooms and tents, the REGENT setting
  the example, and mixing up and talking unceremoniously with his
  guests of every degree.  He and the group round him disappear into
  the remoter chambers; but may concentrate in the Grecian Hall,
  which forms the foreground of the scene, whence a glance can be
  obtained into the ball-room, now filled with dancers.

  The band is playing the tune of the season, "The Regency Hornpipe,"
  which is danced as a country-dance by some thirty couples; so that
  by the time the top couple have danced down the figure they are
  quite breathless.  Two young lords talk desultorily as they survey
  the scene.]


FIRST LORD

Are the rumours of the King of Rome's death confirmed?


SECOND LORD

No.  But they are probably true.  He was a feeble brat from the
first.  I believe they had to baptize him on the day he was born.
What can one expect after such presumption--calling him the New
Messiah, and God knows what all.  Ours is the only country which
did not write fulsome poems about him.  "Wise English!" the Tsar
Alexander said drily when he heard it.


FIRST LORD

Ay!  The affection between that Pompey and Caesar has begun to cool.
Alexander's soreness at having his sister thrown over so cavalierly
is not salved yet.


SECOND LORD

There is much beside.  I'd lay a guinea there will be war between
Russia and France before another year has flown.


FIRST LORD

Prinny looks a little worried to-night.


SECOND LORD

Yes.  The Queen don't like the fete being held, considering the
King's condition.  She and her friends say it should have been put
off altogether.  But the Princess of Wales is not troubled that way.
Though she was not asked herself she went wildly off and bought her
people new gowns to come in.  Poor maladroit woman! . . . .

  [Another new dance of the year is started, and another long line
  of couples begin to foot it.]

That's a pretty thing they are doing now.  What d'ye call it?


FIRST LORD

"Speed the Plough."  It is just out.  They are having it everywhere.
The next is to be one of those foreign things in three-eight time
they call Waltzes.  I question if anybody is up to dancing 'em here
yet.

  ["Speed the Plough" is danced to its conclusion, and the band
  strikes up "The Copenhagen Waltz."]


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Now for the wives.  They both were tearing hither,
     Unless reflection sped them back again;
     But dignity that nothing else may bend
     Succumbs to woman's curiosity,
     So deem them here.  Messengers, call them nigh!

  [The PRINCE REGENT, having gone the round of the other rooms, now
  appears at the ball-room door, and stands looking at the dancers.
  Suddenly he turns, and gazes about with a ruffled face.  He sees
  a tall, red-faced man near him--LORD MOIRA, one of his friends.]


PRINCE REGENT

Damned hot here, Moira.  Hottest of all for me!


MOIRA

Yes, it is warm, sir.  Hence I do not dance.


PRINCE REGENT

H'm.  What I meant was of another order;
I spoke figuratively.


MOIRA

     O indeed, sir?


PRINCE REGENT

She's here.  I heard her voice.  I'll swear I did!


MOIRA

Who, sir?


PRINCE REGENT

Why, the Princess of Wales.  Do you think I could mistake those
beastly German Ps and Bs of hers?--She asked to come, and was
denied; but she's got here, I'll wager ye, through the chair-door
in Warwick Street, which I arranged for a few ladies whom I wished
to come privately.  (He looks about again, and moves till he is by
a door which affords a peep up the grand staircase.)  By God, Moira,
I see TWO figures up there who shouldn't be here--leaning over the
balustrade of the gallery!


MOIRA

Two figures, sir.  Whose are they?


PRINCE REGENT

She is one.  The Fitzherbert in t'other!  O I am almost sure it is!
I would have welcomed her, but she bridled and said she wouldn't sit
down at my table as a plain "Mrs." to please anybody.  As I had sworn
that on this occasion people should sit strictly according to their
rank, I wouldn't give way.  Why the devil did she come like this?
'Pon my soul, these women will be the death o' me!


MOIRA (looking cautiously up the stairs)

I can see nothing of her, sir, nor of the Princess either.  There is
a crowd of idlers up there leaning over the bannisters, and you may
have mistaken some others for them.


PRINCE REGENT

O no.  They have drawn back their heads.  There have been such damned
mistakes made in sending out the cards that the biggest w--- in London
might be here.  She's watching Lady Hertford, that's what she's doing.
For all their indifference, both of them are as jealous as two cats
over the tom.

  [Somebody whispers that a lady has fainted up-stairs.]

That's Maria, I'll swear!  She's always doing it. Whenever I hear
of some lady fainting about upon the furniture at my presence, and
sending for a glass of water, I say to myself, There's Maria at it
again, by God!


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Now let him hear their voices once again.

  [The REGENT starts as he seems to hear from the stairs the tongues
  of the two ladies growing louder and nearer, the PRINCESS pouring
  reproaches into one ear, and MRS. FITZHERBERT into the other.]


PRINCE REGENT


'Od seize 'em, Moira; this will drive me mad!
If men of blood must mate with only one
Of those dear damned deluders called the Sex,
Why has Heaven teased us with the taste for change?--
God, I begin to loathe the whole curst show!
How hot it is!  Get me a glass of brandy,
Or I shall swoon off too.  Now let's go out,
And find some fresher air upon the lawn.

  [Exit the PRINCE REGENT, with LORDS MOIRA and YARMOUTH.  The band
  strikes up "La Belle Catarina" and a new figure is formed.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Phantoms, ye strain your powers unduly here,
     Making faint fancies as they were indeed
     The Mighty Will's firm work.


SPIRIT IRONIC

               Nay, Father, nay;
     The wives prepared to hasten hitherward
     Under the names of some gone down to death,
     Who yet were bidden.  Must they not by here?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     There lie long leagues between a woman's word--
     "She will, indeed she will!"--and acting on't.
     Whether those came or no, thy antics cease,
     And let the revel wear it out in peace.

  [Enter SPENCER PERCEVAL the Prime Minister, a small, pale, grave-
  looking man, and an Under-Secretary of State, meeting.]


UNDER-SECRETARY

Is the King of Rome really dead, and the gorgeous gold cradle wasted?


PERCEVAL

O no, he is alive and waxing strong:
That tale has been set travelling more than once.
But touching it, booms echo to our ear
Of graver import, unimpeachable.


UNDER-SECRETARY

Your speech is dark.


PERCEVAL

          Well, a new war in Europe.
Before the year is out there may arise
A red campaign outscaling any seen.
Russia and France the parties to the strife--
Ay, to the death!


UNDER-SECRETARY

     By Heaven, sir, do you say so?

  [Enter CASTLEREAGH, a tall, handsome man with a Roman nose, who,
  seeing them, approaches.]


PERCEVAL

Ha, Castlereagh.  Till now I have missed you here.
This news is startling for us all, I say!


CASTLEREAGH

My mind is blank on it!  Since I left office
I know no more what villainy's afoot,
Or virtue either, than an anchoret
Who mortifies the flesh in some lone cave.


PERCEVAL

Well, happily that may not last for long.
But this grave pother that's just now agog
May reach such radius in its consequence
As to outspan our lives!  Yes, Bonaparte
And Alexander--late such bosom-friends--
Are closing to a mutual murder-bout
At which the lips of Europe will wax wan.
Bonaparte says the fault is not with him,
And so says Alexander.  But we know
The Austrian knot began their severance,
And that the Polish question largens it.
Nothing but time is needed for the clash.
And if so be that Wellington but keep
His foot in the Peninsula awhile,
Between the pestle and the mortar-stone
Of Russia and of Spain, Napoleon's brayed.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR (to the Spirit of the Years)

     Permit me now to join them and confirm,
     By what I bring from far, their forecasting?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     I'll go.  Thou knowest not greatly more than they.

  [The SPIRIT OF THE YEARS enters the apartment in the shape of a
  pale, hollow-eye gentleman wearing an embroidered suit. At the
  same time re-enter the REGENT, LORDS MOIRA, YARMOUTH, KEITH, LADY
  HERTFORD, SHERIDAN, the DUKE OF BEDFORD, with many more notables.
  The band changes into the popular dance, "Down with the French,"
  and the characters aforesaid look on at the dancers.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS (to Perceval)

     Yes, sir; your text is true.  In closest touch
     With European courts and cabinets,
     The imminence of dire and deadly war
     Betwixt these east and western emperies
     Is lipped by special pathways to mine ear.
     You may not see the impact: ere it come
     The tomb-worm may caress thee (Perceval shrinks); but believe
     Before five more have joined the shotten years
     Whose useless films infest the foggy Past,
     Traced thick with teachings glimpsed unheedingly,
     The rawest Dynast of the group concerned
     Will, for the good or ill of mute mankind,
     Down-topple to the dust like soldier Saul,
     And Europe's mouldy-minded oligarchs
     Be propped anew; while garments roll in blood
     To confused noise, with burning, and fuel of fire.
     Nations shall lose their noblest in the strife,
     And tremble at the tidings of an hour!

  [He passes into the crowd and vanishes.]


PRINCE REGENT (who has heard with parted lips)

Who the devil is he?


PERCEVAL

One in the suite of the French princes, perhaps, sir?--though his
tone was not monarchical.  He seems to be a foreigner.


CASTLEREAGH

His manner was that of an old prophet, and his features had a Jewish
cast, which accounted for his Hebraic style.


PRINCE REGENT

He could not have known me, to speak so freely in my presence!


SHERIDAN

I expected to see him write on the wall, like the gentleman with the
Hand at Belshazzar's Feast.


PRINCE REGENT (recovering)

He seemed to know a damn sight more about what's going on in Europe,
sir (to Perceval), than your Government does, with all its secret
information.


PERCEVAL

He is recently over, I conjecture, your royal Highness, and brings
the latest impressions.


PRINCE REGENT

By Gad, sir, I shall have a comfortable time of it in my regency, or
reign, if what he foresees be true!  But I was born for war; it is
my destiny!

  [He draws himself up inside his uniform and stalks away.  The group
  dissolves, the band continuing stridently, "Down with the French,"
  as dawn glimmers in. Soon the REGENT'S guests begin severally and
  in groups to take leave.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Behold To-morrow riddles the curtains through,
     And labouring life without shoulders its cross anew!


CHORUS OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

     Why watch we here?  Look all around
     Where Europe spreads her crinkled ground,
     From Osmanlee to Hekla's mound,
                             Look all around!

     Hark at the cloud-combed Ural pines;
     See how each, wailful-wise, inclines;
     Mark the mist's labyrinthine lines;

     Behold the tumbling Biscay Bay;
     The Midland main in silent sway;
     As urged to move them, so move they.

     No less through regal puppet-shows
     The rapt Determinator throes,
     That neither good nor evil knows!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Yet I may wake and understand
     Ere Earth unshape, know all things, and
     With knowledge use a painless hand,
                                A painless hand!

  [Solitude reigns in the chambers, and the scene shuts up.]






PART THIRD



CHARACTERS


I. PHANTOM INTELLIGENCES

  THE ANCIENT SPIRIT OF THE YEARS/CHORUS OF THE YEARS.

  THE SPIRIT OF THE PITIES/CHORUS OF THE PITIES.

  SPIRITS SINISTER AND IRONIC/CHORUSES OF SINISTER AND IRONIC SPIRITS.

  THE SPIRIT OF RUMOUR/CHORUS OF RUMOURS.

  THE SHADE OF THE EARTH.

  SPIRIT MESSENGERS.

  RECORDING ANGELS.


II. PERSONS


MEN (The names in lower case are mute figures.)

  THE PRINCE REGENT.
  The Royal Dukes.
  THE DUKE OF RICHMOND.
  The Duke of Beaufort.
  CASTLEREAGH, Prime Minister.
  Palmerston, War Secretary.
  PONSONBY, of the Opposition.
  BURDETT, of the Opposition.
  WHITBREAD, of the Opposition.
  Tierney, Romilly, of the Opposition
  Other Members of Parliament.
  TWO ATTACHES.
  A DIPLOMATIST.
  Ambassadors, Ministers, Peers, and other persons of Quality
    and Office.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  WELLINGTON.
  UXBRIDGE.
  PICTON.
  HILL.
  CLINTON.
  Colville.
  COLE.
  BERESFORD.
  Pack and Kempt.
  Byng.
  Vivian.
  W. Ponsonby, Vandeleur, Colquhoun-Grant, Maitland, Adam, and
      C. Halkett.
  Graham, Le Marchant, Pakenham, and Sir Stapleton Cotton.
  SIR W. DE LANCEY.
  FITZROY SOMERSET.
  COLONELS FRASER, H. HALKETT, COLBORNE, Cameron, Hepburn, LORD
      SALTOUN, C. Campbell.
  SIR NEIL CAMPBELL.
  Sir Alexander Gordon, BRIGDEMAN, TYLER, and other AIDES.
  CAPTAIN MERCER.
  Other Generals, Colonels, and Military Officers.
  Couriers.

  A SERGEANT OF DRAGOONS.
  Another SERGEANT.
  A SERGEANT of the 15th HUSSARS.
  A SENTINEL.  Batmen.
  AN OFFICER'S SERVANT.
  Other non-Commissioned Officers and Privates of the British Army.
  English Forces.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  SIR W. GELL, Chamberlain to the Princess of Wales.
  MR. LEGH, a Wessex Gentleman.
  Another GENTLEMAN.
  THE VICAR OF DURNOVER.
  Signor Tramezzini and other members of the Opera Company.
  M. Rozier, a dancer.

  LONDON CITIZENS.
  A RUSTIC and a YEOMAN.
  A MAIL-GUARD.
  TOWNSPEOPLE, Musicians, Villagers, etc.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  THE DUKE OF BRUNSWICK.
  THE PRINCE OF ORANGE.
  Count Alten.
  Von Ompteda, Baring, Duplat, and other Officers of the King's-
      German Legion.
  Perponcher, Best, Kielmansegge, Wincke, and other Hanoverian
      Officers.
  Bylandt and other Officers of the Dutch-Belgian troops.
  SOME HUSSARS.
  King's-German, Hanoverian, Brunswick, and Dutch-Belgian Forces.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  BARON VAN CAPELLEN, Belgian Secretary of State.
  The Dukes of Arenberg and d'Ursel.
  THE MAYOR OF BRUSSELS.
  CITIZENS AND IDLERS of Brussels.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.
  JOSEPH BONAPARTE.
  Jerome Bonaparte.
  THE KING OF ROME.
  Eugene de Beauharnais.
  Cambaceres, Arch-Chancellor to Napoleon.
  TALLEYRAND.
  CAULAINCOURT.
  DE BAUSSET.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  MURAT, King of Naples.
  SOULT, Napoleon's Chief of Staff.
  NEY.
  DAVOUT.
  MARMONT.
  BERTHIER.
  BERTRAND.
  BESSIERES.
  AUGEREAU, MACDONALD, LAURISTON, CAMBRONNE.
  Oudinot, Friant, Reille, d'Erlon, Drouot, Victor, Poniatowski,
      Jourdan, and other Marshals, and General and Regimental
      Officers of Napoleon's Army.
  RAPP, MORTIER, LARIBOISIERE.
  Kellermann and Milhaud.
  COLONELS FABVRIER, MARBOT, MALLET, HEYMES, and others.
  French AIDES and COURIERS.
  DE CANISY, Equerry to the King of Rome.
  COMMANDANT LESSARD.
  Another COMMANDANT.
  BUSSY, an Orderly Officer.
  SOLDIERS of the Imperial Guard and others.
  STRAGGLERS; A MAD SOLDIER.
  French Forces.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  HOUREAU, BOURDOIS, and Ivan, physicians.
  MENEVAL, Private Secretary to Napoleon.
  DE MONTROND, an emissary of Napoleon's.
  Other Secretaries to Napoleon.
  CONSTANT, Napoleon's Valet.
  ROUSTAN, Napoleon's Mameluke.
  TWO POSTILLIONS.
  A TRAVELLER.
  CHAMBERLAINS and Attendants.
  SERVANTS at the Tuileries.
  FRENCH CITIZENS and Townspeople.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  THE KING OF PRUSSIA.
  BLUCHER.
  MUFFLING, Wellington's Prussian Attache.
  GNEISENAU.
  Zieten.
  Bulow.
  Kleist, Steinmetz, Thielemann, Falkenhausen.
  Other Prussian General and Regimental Officers.
  A PRUSSIAN PRISONER of the French.
  Prussian Forces.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  FRANCIS, Emperor of Austria.
  METTERNICH, Chancellor and Foreign Minister.
  Hardenberg.
  NEIPPERG
  Schwarzenberg, Kleinau, Hesse-Homburg, and other Austrian Generals.
  Viennese Personages of rank and fashion.
  Austrian Forces.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  THE EMPEROR ALEXANDER of Russia.
  Nesselrode.
  KUTUZOF.
  Bennigsen.
  Barclay de Tolly, Dokhtorof, Bagration, Platoff, Tchichagoff,
    Miloradovitch, and other Russian Generals.
  Rostopchin, Governor of Moscow.
  SCHUVALOFF, a Commissioner.
  A RUSSIAN OFFICER under Kutuzof.
  Russian Forces.
  Moscow Citizens.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  Alava, Wellington's Spanish Attache.
  Spanish and Portuguese Officers.
  Spanish and Portuguese Forces.
  Spanish Citizens.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  Minor Sovereigns and Princes of Europe.
  LEIPZIG CITIZENS.


WOMEN

  CAROLINE, PRINCESS OF WALES.
  The Duchess of York.
  THE DUCHESS OF RICHMOND.
  The Duchess of Beaufort.
  LADY H. DARYMPLE
  Lady de Lancey.
  LADY CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL.
  Lady Anne Hamilton.
  A YOUNG LADY AND HER MOTHER.
  MRS. DALBIAC, a Colonel's wife.
  MRS. PRESCOTT, a Captain's wife.
  Other English ladies of note and rank.
  Madame Grassini and other Ladies of the Opera.
  Madame Angiolini, a dancer.
  VILLAGE WOMEN.
  SOLDIERS' WIVES AND SWEETHEARTS.
  A SOLDIER'S DAUGHTER.

  . . . . . . . . . .

  THE EMPRESS MARIE LOUISE.
  The Empress of Austria.
  MARIA CAROLINA of Naples.
  Queen Hortense.
  Laetitia, Madame Bonaparte.
  The Princess Pauline.
  THE DUCHESS OF MONTEBELLO.
  THE COUNTESS OF MONTESQUIOU.
  THE COUNTESS OF BRIGNOLE.
  Other Ladies-in-Waiting on Marie Louise.

  THE EX-EMPRESS JOSEPHINE.
  LADIES-IN-WAITING on Josephine.
  Another French Lady.
  FRENCH MARKET-WOMEN.
  A SPANISH LADY.
  French and Spanish Women of pleasure.
  Continental Citizens' Wives.
  Camp-followers.




ACT FIRST


SCENE I

THE BANKS OF THE NIEMEN, NEAR KOWNO

  [The foreground is a hillock on a broken upland, seen in evening
  twilight.  On the left, further back, are the dusky forests of
  Wilkowsky; on the right is the vague shine of a large river.

  Emerging from the wood below the eminence appears a shadowy 
  amorphous thing in motion, the central or Imperial column of
  NAPOLEON'S Grand Army for the invasion of Russia, comprising
  the corps of OUDINOT, NEY, and DAVOUT, with the Imperial Guard.
  This, with the right and left columns, makes up the host of
  nearly half a  million, all starting on their march to Moscow.

  While the rearmost regiments are arriving, NAPOLEON rides ahead
  with GENERAL HAXEL and one or two others to reconnoitre the river.
  NAPOLEON'S horse stumbles and throws him.  He picks himself up
  before he can be helped.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS (to Napoleon)

     The portent is an ill one, Emperor;
     An ancient Roman would retire thereat!


NAPOLEON

Whose voice was that, jarring upon my thought
So insolently?


HAXEL AND OTHERS

     Sire, we spoke no word.


NAPOLEON

Then, whoso spake, such portents I defy!

  [He remounts.  When the reconnoitrers again came back to the
  foreground of the scene the huge array of columns is standing
  quite still, in circles of companies, the captain of each in
  the middle with a paper in his hand.  He reads from it a
  proclamation.  They quiver emotionally, like leaves stirred by
  the wind.  NAPOLEON and his staff reascend the hillock, and his
  own words as repeated to the ranks reach his ears, while he
  himself delivers the same address to those about him.


NAPOLEON

Soldiers, wild war is on the board again;
The lifetime-long alliance Russia swore
At Tilsit, for the English realm's undoing,
Is violate beyond refurbishment,
And she intractable and unashamed.
Russia is forced on by fatality:
She cries her destiny must be outwrought,
Meaning at our expense.  Does she then dream
We are no more the men of Austerlitz,
With nothing left of our old featfulness?

She offers us the choice of sword or shame;
We have made that choice unhesitatingly!
Then let us forthwith stride the Niemen flood,
Let us bear war into her great gaunt land,
And spread our glory there as otherwhere,
So that a stable peace shall stultify
The evil seed-bearing that Russian wiles
Have nourished upon Europe's choked affairs
These fifty years!

  [The midsummer night darkens.  They all make their bivouacs
  and sleep.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Something is tongued afar.


DISTANT VOICE IN THE WIND

The hostile hatchings of Napoleon's brain
Against our Empire, long have harassed us,
And mangled all our mild amenities.
So, since the hunger for embranglement
That gnaws this man, has left us optionless,
And haled us recklessly to horrid war,
We have promptly mustered our well-hardened hosts,
And, counting on our call to the most High,
Have forthwith set our puissance face to face
Against Napoleon's.--Ranksmen! officers!
You fend your lives, your land, your liberty.
I am with you.  Heaven frowns on the aggressor.


SPIRIT IRONIC

  Ha! "Liberty" is quaint, and pleases me,
  Sounding from such a soil!

  [Midsummer-day breaks, and the sun rises on the right, revealing
  the position clearly.  The eminence overlooks for miles the river
  Niemen, now mirroring the morning rays.  Across the river three
  temporary bridges have been thrown, and towards them the French
  masses streaming out of the forest descend in three columns.

  They sing, shout, fling their shakos in the air and repeat words
  from the proclamation, their steel and brass flashing in the sun.
  They narrow their columns as they gain the three bridges, and begin
  to cross--horse, foot, and artillery.

  NAPOLEON has come from the tent in which he has passed the night
  to the high ground in front, where he stands watching through his
  glass the committal of his army to the enterprise.  DAVOUT, NEY,
  MURAT, OUDINOT, Generals HAXEL and EBLE, NARBONNE, and others
  surround him.

  It is a day of drowsing heat, and the Emperor draws a deep breath
  as he shifts his weight from one puffed calf to the other.  The
  light cavalry, the foot, the artillery having passed, the heavy
  horse now crosses, their glitter outshining the ripples on the
  stream.

  A messenger enters.  NAPOLEON reads papers that are brought, and
  frowns.]


NAPOLEON

The English heads decline to recognize
The government of Joseph, King of Spain,
As that of "the now-ruling dynast";
But only Ferdinand's!--I'll get to Moscow,
And send thence my rejoinder.  France shall wage
Another fifty years of wasting war
Before a Bourbon shall remount the throne
Of restless Spain! . . .  (A flash lights his eyes.)

But this long journey now just set a-trip
Is my choice way to India; and 'tis there
That I shall next bombard the British rule.
With Moscow taken, Russia prone and crushed,
To attain the Ganges is simplicity--
Auxiliaries from Tiflis backing me.
Once ripped by a French sword, the scaffolding
Of English merchant-mastership in Ind
Will fall a wreck. . . . Vast, it is true, must bulk
An Eastern scheme so planned; but I could work it. . . .
Man has, worse fortune, but scant years for war;
I am good for another five!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

          Why doth he go?--
     I see returning in a chattering flock
     Bleached skeletons, instead of this array
     Invincibly equipped.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     I'll show you why.

  [The unnatural light before seen usurps that of the sun, bringing
  into view, like breezes made visible, the films or brain-tissues of
  the Immanent Will, that pervade all things, ramifying through the
  whole army, NAPOLEON included, and moving them to Its inexplicable
  artistries.]


NAPOLEON (with sudden despondency)

That which has worked will work!--Since Lodi Bridge
The force I then felt move me moves me on
Whether I will or no; and oftentimes
Against my better mind. . . . Why am I here?
--By laws imposed on me inexorably!
History makes use of me to weave her web
To her long while aforetime-figured mesh
And contemplated charactery: no more.
Well, war's my trade; and whencesoever springs
This one in hand, they'll label it with my name!

  [The natural light returns and the anatomy of the Will disappears.
  NAPOLEON mounts his horse and descends in the rear of his host to
  the banks of the Niemen.  His face puts on a saturnine humour, and
  he hums an air.]

     Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre,
     Mironton, mironton, mirontaine;
     Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre,
     Ne sait quand reviendra!

  [Exeunt NAPOLEON and his staff.]


SPIRIT SINISTER

It is kind of his Imperial Majesty to give me a lead.  (Sings.)

     Monsieur d'Malbrough est mort,
     Mironton, mironton, mirontaine;
     Monsieur d'Malbrough est mort,
     Est mort et enterre!

  [Anon the figure of NAPOLEON, diminished to the aspect of a doll,
  reappears in front of his suite on the plain below.  He rides
  across the swaying bridge.  Since the morning the sky has grown
  overcast, and its blackness seems now to envelope the retreating
  array on the other side of the stream.  The storm bursts with
  thunder and lightning, the river turns leaden, and the scene is
  blotted out by the torrents of rain.]



SCENE II

THE FORD OF SANTA MARTA, SALAMANCA

  [We are in Spain, on a July night of the same summer, the air being
  hot and heavy.  In the darkness the ripple of the river Tormes can
  be heard over the ford, which is near the foreground of the scene.

  Against the gloomy north sky to the left, lightnings flash
  revealing rugged heights in that quarter.  From the heights comes
  to the ear the tramp of soldiery, broke and irregular, as by
  obstacles in their descent; as yet they are some distance off.
  On heights to the right hand, on the other side of the river,
  glimmer the bivouac fires of the French under MARMONT.  The
  lightning quickens, with rolls of thunder, and a few large drops
  of rain fall.

  A sentinel stands close to the ford, and beyond him is the ford-
  house, a shed open towards the roadway and the spectator.  It is
  lit by a single lantern, and occupied by some half-dozen English
  dragoons with a sergeant and corporal, who form part of a mounted
  patrol, their horses being picketed at the entrance.  They are
  seated on a bench, and appear to be waiting with some deep intent,
  speaking in murmurs only.

  The thunderstorm increases till it drowns the noise of the ford
  and of the descending battalions, making them seem further off
  than before.  The sentinel is about to retreat to the shed when
  he discerns two female figures in the gloom.  Enter MRS. DALBIAC
  and MRS. PRESCOTT, English officers wives.]


SENTINEL

Where there's war there's women, and where there's women there's
trouble!  (Aloud) Who goes there?


MRS. DALBIAC

We must reveal who we are, I fear (to her companion).  Friends!
(to sentinel).


SENTINEL

Advance and give the countersign.


MRS. DALBIAC

Oh, but we can't!


SENTINEL

Consequent which, you must retreat.  By Lord Wellington's strict
regulations, women of loose character are to be excluded from the
lines for moral reasons, namely, that they are often employed by
the enemy as spies.


MRS. PRESCOTT

Dear good soldier, we are English ladies benighted, having mistaken
our way back to Salamanca, and we want shelter from the storm.


MRS. DALBIAC

If it is necessary I will say who we are.--I am Mrs. Dalbiac, wife
of the Lieutenant-Colonel of the Fourth Light Dragoons, and this
lady is the wife of Captain Prescott of the Seventh Fusileers.  We
went out to Christoval to look for our husbands, but found the army
had moved.


SENTINEL (incredulously)

"Wives!"  Oh, not to-day!  I have heard such titles of courtesy
afore; but they never shake me.  "W" begins other female words than
"wives!"--You'll have trouble, good dames, to get into Salamanca
to-night.  You'll be challenged all the way down, and shot without
clergy if you can't give the countersign.


MRS. PRESCOTT

Then surely you'll tell us what it is, good kind man!


SENTINEL

Well--have ye earned enough to pay for knowing?  Government wage is
poor pickings for watching here in the rain.  How much can ye stand?


MRS. DALBIAC

Half-a-dozen pesetas.


SENTINEL

Very well, my dear.  I was always tender-hearted.  Come along.
(They advance and hand the money.)  The pass to-night is "Melchester
Steeple."  That will take you into the town when the weather clears.
You won't have to cross the ford.  You can get temporary shelter in
the shed there.

  [As the ladies move towards the shed the tramp of the infantry
  draws near the ford, which the downfall has made to purl more
  boisterously.  The twain enter the shed, and the dragoons look
  up inquiringly.]


MRS. DALBIAC (to dragoons)

The French are luckier than you are, men.  You'll have a wet advance
across this ford, but they have a dry retreat by the bridge at Alba.


SERGEANT OF PATROL (starting from a doze)

The moustachies a dry retreat?  Not they, my dear.  A Spanish
garrison is in the castle that commands the bridge at Alba.


MRS. DALBIAC

A peasant told us, if we understood rightly, that he saw the Spanish
withdraw, and the enemy place a garrison there themselves.

  [The sergeant hastily calls up two troopers, who mount and ride off
  with the intelligence.]


SERGEANT

You've done us a good turn, it is true, darlin'.  Not that Lord
Wellington will believe it when he gets the news. . . . Why, if my
eyes don't deceive me, ma'am, that's Colonel Dalbiac's lady!


MRS. DALBIAC

Yes, sergeant.  I am over here with him, as you have heard, no doubt,
and lodging in Salamanca.  We lost our way, and got caught in the
storm, and want shelter awhile.


SERGEANT

Certainly, ma'am.  I'll give you an escort back as soon as the
division has crossed and the weather clears.


MRS. PRESCOTT (anxiously)

Have you heard, sergeant, if there's to be a battle to-morrow?


SERGEANT

Yes, ma'am.  Everything shows it.


MRS. DAlBIAC (to MRS. PRESCOTT)

Our news would have passed us in.  We have wasted six pesetas.


MRS. PRESCOTT (mournfully)

I don't mind that so much as that I have brought the children from
Ireland.  This coming battle frightens me!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     This is her prescient pang of widowhood.
     Ere Salamanca clang to-morrow's close
     She'll find her consort stiff among the slain!

  [The infantry regiments now reach the ford.  The storm increases
  in strength, the stream flows more furiously; yet the columns of
  foot enter it and begin crossing.  The lightning is continuous;
  the faint lantern in the ford-house is paled by the sheets of
  fire without, which flap round the bayonets of the crossing men
  and reflect upon the foaming torrent.]


CHORUS OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     The skies fling flame on this ancient land!
     And drenched and drowned is the burnt blown sand
     That spreads its mantle of yellow-grey
     Round old Salmantica to-day;
     While marching men come, band on band,
     Who read not as a reprimand
     To mortal moils that, as 'twere planned
     In mockery of their mimic fray,
                                   The skies fling flame.

     Since sad Coruna's desperate stand
     Horrors unsummed, with heavy hand,
     Have smitten such as these!  But they
     Still headily pursue their way,
     Though flood and foe confront them, and
                                   The skies fling flame.

  [The whole of the English division gets across by degrees, and
  their invisible tramp is heard ascending the opposite heights as
  the lightnings dwindle and the spectacle disappears.]



SCENE III

THE FIELD OF SALAMANCA

  [The battlefield--an undulating and sandy expanse--is lying
  under the sultry sun of a July afternoon.  In the immediate
  left foreground rises boldly a detached dome-like hill known
  as the Lesser Arapeile, now held by English troops.  Further
  back, and more to the right, rises another and larger hill of
  the kind--the Greater Arapeile; this is crowned with French
  artillery in loud action, and the French marshal, MARMONT, Duke
  of RAGUSA, stands there.  Further to the right, in the same
  plane, stretch the divisions of the French army.  Still further
  to the right, in the distance, on the Ciudad Rodrigo highway, a
  cloud of dust denotes the English baggage-train seeking security
  in that direction.  The city of Salamanca itself, and the river
  Tormes on which it stands, are behind the back of the spectator.

  On the summit of the lesser hill, close at hand, WELLINGTON, glass
  at eye, watches the French division under THOMIERE, which has become
  separated from the centre of the French army.  Round and near him
  are aides and other officers, in animated conjecture on MARMONT'S
  intent, which appears to be a move on the Ciudad Rodrigo road
  aforesaid, under the impression that the English are about to
  retreat that way.

  The English commander descends from where he was standing to a nook
  under a wall, where a meal is roughly laid out.  Some of his staff
  are already eating there.  WELLINGTON takes a few mouthfuls without
  sitting down, walks back again, and looks through his glass at the
  battle as before.  Balls from the French artillery fall around.
  Enter his aide-de-camp, FITZROY SOMERSET.]


FITZROY SOMERSET (hurriedly)

The French make movements of grave consequence--
Extending to the left in mass, my lord.


WELLINGTON

I have just perceived as much; but not the cause.
                                    (He regards longer.)
Marmont's good genius is deserting him!

  [Shutting up his glass with a snap, WELLINGTON calls several aides
  and despatches them down the hill.  He goes back behind the wall
  and takes some more mouthfuls.]

By God, Fitzroy, if we shan't do it now!
                                      (to SOMERSET).
Mon cher Alava, Marmont est perdu!
                             (to his SPANISH ATTACHE).


FITZROY SOMERSET

Thinking we mean to attack on him,
He schemes to swoop on our retreating-line.


WELLINGTON

Ay; and to cloak it by this cannonade.
With that in eye he has bundled leftwardly
Thomiere's division; mindless that thereby
His wing and centre's mutual maintenance
Has gone, and left a yawning vacancy.
So be it.  Good.  His laxness is our luck!

  [As a result of the orders sent off by the aides, several British
  divisions advance across the French front on the Greater Arapeile
  and elsewhere.  The French shower bullets into them; but an English
  brigade under PACK assails the nearer French on the Arapeile, now
  beginning to cannonade the English in the hollows beneath.

  Light breezes blow toward the French, and they get in their faces
  the dust-clouds and smoke from the masses of English in motion, and
  a powerful sun in their eyes.

  MARMONT and his staff are sitting on the top of the Greater Arapeile
  only half a cannon-shot from WELLINGTON on the Lesser; and, like
  WELLINGTON, he is gazing through his glass.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     Appearing to behold the full-mapped mind
     Of his opponent, Marmont arrows forth
     Aide after aide towards the forest's rim,
     To spirit on his troops emerging thence,
     And prop the lone division Thomiere,
     For whose recall his voice has rung in vain.
     Wellington mounts and seeks out Pakenham,
     Who pushes to the arena from the right,
     And, spurting to the left of Marmont's line,
     Shakes Thomiere with lunges leonine.

     When the manoeuvre's meaning hits his sense,
     Marmont hies hotly to the imperilled place,
     Where see him fall, sore smitten.--Bonnet rides
     And dons the burden of the chief command,
     Marking dismayed the Thomiere column there
     Shut up by Pakenham like bellows-folds
     Against the English Fourth and Fifth hard by;
     And while thus crushed, Dragoon-Guards and Dragoons,
     Under Le Marchant's hands (of Guernsey he),
     Are launched upon them by Sir Stapleton,
     And their scathed files are double-scathed anon.

     Cotton falls wounded.  Pakenham's bayoneteers
     Shape for the charge from column into rank;
     And Thomiere finds death thereat point-blank!


SEMICHORUS I OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     In fogs of dust the cavalries hoof the ground;
     Their prancing squadrons shake the hills around:
     Le Marchant's heavies bear with ominous bound
                              Against their opposites!

SEMICHORUS II

     A bullet crying along the cloven air
     Gouges Le Marchant's groin and rankles there;
     In Death's white sleep he soon joins Thomiere,
                      And all he has fought for, quits!

  [In the meantime the battle has become concentrated in the middle
  hollow, and WELLINGTON descends thither from the English Arapeile.

  The fight grows fiercer.  COLE and LEITH now fall wounded; then
  BERESFORD, who directs the Portuguese, is struck down and borne
  away.  On the French side fall BONNET who succeeded MARMONT in
  command, MANNE, CLAUSEL, and FEREY, the last hit mortally.

  Their disordered main body retreats into the forest and disappears;
  and just as darkness sets in, the English stand alone on the crest,
  the distant plain being lighted only by musket-flashes from the
  vanquishing enemy.  In the close foreground vague figures on
  horseback are audible in the gloom.


VOICE OF WELLINGTON

I thought they looked as they'd be scurrying soon!


VOICE OF AN AIDE

Foy bears into the wood in middling trim;
Maucune strikes out for Alba-Castle bridge.


VOICE OF WELLINGTON

Speed the pursuit, then, towards the Huerta ford;
Their only scantling of escape lies there;
The river coops them semicircle-wise,
And we shall have them like a swathe of grass
Within a sickle's curve!


VOICE OF AIDE

          Too late, my lord.
They are crossing by the aforesaid bridge at Alba.


VOICE OF WELLINGTON

Impossible.  The guns of Carlos rake it
Sheer from the castle walls.


VOICE OF AIDE

          Tidings have sped
Just now therefrom, to this undreamed effect:
That Carlos has withdrawn the garrison:
The French command the Alba bridge themselves!


VOICE OF WELLINGTON

Blast him, he's disobeyed his orders, then!
How happened this?  How long has it been known?


VOICE OF AIDE

Some ladies some few hours have rumoured it,
But unbelieved.


VOICE OF WELLINGTON

Well, what's done can't be undone. . . .
By God, though, they've just saved themselves thereby
From capture to a man!


VOICE OF A GENERAL

          We've not struck ill,
Despite this slip, my lord. . . . And have you heard
That Colonel Dalbiac's wife rode in the charge
Behind her spouse to-day?


VOICE OF WELLINGTON

          Did she though: did she!
Why that must be Susanna, whom I know--
A Wessex woman, blithe, and somewhat fair. . . .
Not but great irregularities
Arise from such exploits.--And was it she
I noticed wandering to and fro below here,
Just as the French retired?


VOICE OF ANOTHER OFFICER

          Ah no, my lord.
That was the wife of Prescott of the Seventh,
Hoping beneath the heel of hopelessness,
As these young women will!--Just about sunset
She found him lying dead and bloody there,
And in the dusk we bore them both away.(18)


VOICE OF WELLINGTON

Well, I'm damned sorry for her.  Though I wish
The women-folk would keep them to the rear:
Much awkwardness attends their pottering round!

  [The talking shapes disappear, and as the features of the field
  grow undistinguishable the comparative quiet is broken by gay
  notes from guitars and castanets in the direction of the city,
  and other sounds of popular rejoicing at Wellington's victory.
  People come dancing out from the town, and the merry-making
  continues till midnight, when it ceases, and darkness and silence
  prevail everywhere.]


SEMICHORUS I OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

     What are Space and Time?  A fancy!--
     Lo, by Vision's necromancy
     Muscovy will now unroll;
     Where for cork and olive-tree
     Starveling firs and birches be.


SEMICHORUS II

     Though such features lie afar
     From events Peninsular,
     These, amid their dust and thunder,
     Form with those, as scarce asunder,
     Parts of one compacted whole.


CHORUS

     Marmont's aide, then, like a swallow
     Let us follow, follow, follow,
     Over hill and over hollow,
     Past the plains of Teute and Pole!

  [There is semblance of a sound in the darkness as of a rushing
  through the air.]



SCENE IV

THE FIELD OF BORODINO

  [Borodino, seventy miles west of Moscow, is revealed in a bird's-
  eye view from a point above the position of the French Grand Army,
  advancing on the Russian capital.

  We are looking east, towards Moscow and the army of Russia, which
  bars the way thither.  The sun of latter summer, sinking behind
  our backs, floods the whole prospect, which is mostly wild,
  uncultivated land with patches of birch-trees.  NAPOLEON'S army
  has just arrived on the scene, and is making its bivouac for the
  night, some of the later regiments not having yet come up.  A
  dropping fire of musketry from skirmishers ahead keeps snapping
  through the air.  The Emperor's tent stands in a ravine in the
  foreground amid the squares of the Old Guard.  Aides and other
  officers are chatting outside.

  Enter NAPOLEON, who dismounts, speaks to some of his suite, and
  disappears inside his tent.  An interval follows, during which the
  sun dips.

  Enter COLONEL FABVRIER, aide-de-camp of MARMONT, just arrived from
  Spain.  An officer-in-waiting goes into NAPOLEON'S tent to announce
  FABVRIER, the Colonel meanwhile talking to those outside.]


AN AIDE

Important tidings thence, I make no doubt?


FABVRIER

Marmont repulsed on Salamanca field,
And well-nigh slain, is the best tale I bring!

  [A silence.  A coughing heard in NAPOLEON'S tent.]

Whose rheumy throat distracts the quiet so?


AIDE

The Emperor's.  He is thus the livelong day.

  [COLONEL FABVRIER is shown into the tent.  An interval.  Then the
  husky accents of NAPOLEON within, growing louder and louder.]


VOICE OF NAPOLEON

If Marmont--so I gather from these lines--
Had let the English and the Spanish be,
They would have bent from Salamanca back,
Offering no battle, to our profiting!
We should have been delivered this disaster,
Whose bruit will harm us more than aught besides
That has befallen in Spain!


VOICE OF FABVRIER

     I fear so, sire.


VOICE OF NAPOLEON

He forced a conflict, to cull laurel crowns
Before King Joseph should arrive to share them!


VOICE OF FABVRIER

The army's ardour for your Majesty,
Its courage, its devotion to your cause,
Cover a myriad of the Marshal's sins.


VOICE OF NAPOLEON

Why gave he battle without biddance, pray,
From the supreme commander?  Here's the crime
Of insubordination, root of woes! . . .
The time well chosen, and the battle won,
The English succours there had sidled off,
And their annoy in the Peninsula
Embarrassed us no more.  Behoves it me,
Some day, to face this Wellington myself!
Marmont too plainly is no match for him. . . .
Thus he goes on: "To have preserved command
I would with joy have changed this early wound
For foulest mortal stroke at fall of day.
One baleful moment damnified the fruit
Of six weeks' wise strategics, whose result
Had loomed so certain!"--(Satirically)  Well, we've but his word
As to their wisdom!  To define them thus
Would not have struck me but for his good prompting! . . .
No matter: On Moskowa's banks to-morrow
I'll mend his faults upon the Arapeile.
I'll see how I can treat this Russian horde
Which English gold has brought together here
From the four corners of the universe. . . .
Adieu.  You'd best go now and take some rest.

  [FABVRIER reappears from the tent and goes.  Enter DE BAUSSET.]


DE BAUSSET

The box that came--has it been taken in?


AN OFFICER

Yes, General  'Tis laid behind a screen
In the outer tent.  As yet his Majesty
Has not been told of it.

  [DE BAUSSET goes into the tent.  After an interval of murmured
  talk an exclamation bursts from the EMPEROR.  In a few minutes he
  appears at the tent door, a valet following him bearing a picture.
  The EMPEROR'S face shows traces of emotion.]


NAPOLEON

Bring out a chair for me to poise it on.

  [Re-enter DE BAUSSET from the tent with a chair.]

They all shall see it.  Yes, my soldier-sons
Must gaze upon this son of mine own house
In art's presentment!  It will cheer their hearts.
That's a good light--just so.

  [He is assisted by DE BAUSSET to set up the picture in the chair.
  It is a portrait of the young King of Rome playing at cup-and-ball
  being represented as the globe.  The officers standing near are
  attracted round, and then the officers and soldiers further back
  begin running up, till there is a great crowd.]

          Let them walk past,
So that they see him all.  The Old Guard first.

  [The Old Guard is summoned, and marches past surveying the picture;
  then other regiments.]


SOLDIERS

The Emperor and the King of Rome for ever!

  [When they have marched past and withdrawn, and DE BAUSSET has
  taken away the picture, NAPOLEON prepares to re-enter his tent.
  But his attention is attracted to the Russians.  He regards them
  through his glass.  Enter BESSIERES and RAPP.]


NAPOLEON

What slow, weird ambulation do I mark,
Rippling the Russian host?


BESSIERES

          A progress, sire,
Of all their clergy, vestmented, who bear
An image, said to work strange miracles.

  [NAPOLEON watches.  The Russian ecclesiastics pass through the
  regiments, which are under arms, bearing the icon and other
  religious insignia.  The Russian soldiers kneel before it.]


NAPOLEON

Ay!  Not content to stand on their own strength,
They try to hire the enginry of Heaven.
I am no theologian, but I laugh
That men can be so grossly logicless,
When war, defensive or aggressive either,
Is in its essence pagan, and opposed
To the whole gist of Christianity!


BESSIERES

'Tis to fanaticize their courage, sire.


NAPOLEON

Better they'd wake up old Kutuzof.--Rapp,
What think you of to-morrow?


RAPP

          Victory;
But, sire, a bloody one!


NAPOLEON

     So I foresee.

  [The scene darkens, and the fires of the bivouacs shine up ruddily,
  those of the French near at hand, those of the Russians in a long
  line across the mid-distance, and throwing a flapping glare into
  the heavens.  As the night grows stiller the ballad-singing and
  laughter from the French mixes with a slow singing of psalms from
  their adversaries.

  The two multitudes lie down to sleep, and all is quiet but for
  the sputtering of the green wood fires, which, now that the human
  tongues are still, seem to hold a conversation of their own.]



SCENE V

THE SAME

  [The prospect lightens with dawn, and the sun rises red.  The
  spacious field of battle is now distinct, its ruggedness being
  bisected by the great road from Smolensk to Moscow, which runs
  centrally from beneath the spectator to the furthest horizon.
  The field is also crossed by the stream Kalotcha, flowing from
  the right-centre foreground to the left-centre background, thus
  forming an "X" with the road aforesaid, intersecting it in mid-
  distance at the village of Borodino.

  Behind this village the Russians have taken their stand in close
  masses.  So stand also the French, who have in their centre the
  Shevardino redoubt beyond the Kalotcha.  Here NAPOLEON, in his
  usual glue-grey uniform, white waistcoat, and white leather
  breeches, chooses his position with BERTHIER and other officers
  of his suite.]


DUMB SHOW

It is six o'clock, and the firing of a single cannon on the French
side proclaims that the battle is beginning.  There is a roll of
drums, and the right-centre masses, glittering in the level shine,
advance under NEY and DAVOUT and throw themselves on the Russians,
here defended by redoubts.

The French enter the redoubts, whereupon a slim, small man, GENERAL
BAGRATION, brings across a division from the Russian right and expels
them resolutely.

Semenovskoye is a commanding height opposite the right of the French,
and held by the Russians.  Cannon and columns, infantry and cavalry,
assault it by tens of thousands, but cannot take it.

Aides gallop through the screeching shot and haze of smoke and dust
between NAPOLEON and his various marshals.  The Emperor walks about,
looks through his glass, goes to a camp-stool, on which he sits down,
and drinks glasses of spirits and hot water to relieve his still
violent cold, as may be discovered from his red eyes, raw nose,
rheumatic manner when he moves, and thick voice in giving orders.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     So he fulfils the inhuman antickings
     He thinks imposed upon him. . . . What says he?


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     He says it is the sun of Austerlitz!


The Russians, so far from being driven out of their redoubts,
issue from them towards the French.  But they have to retreat,
BAGRATION and his Chief of Staff being wounded.  NAPOLEON sips
his grog hopefully, and orders a still stronger attack on the
great redoubt in the centre.

It is carried out.  The redoubt becomes the scene of a huge
massacre.  In other parts of the field also the action almost
ceases to be a battle, and takes the form of wholesale butchery
by the thousand, now advantaging one side, now the other.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Thus do the mindless minions of the spell
     In mechanized enchantment sway and show
     A Will that wills above the will of each,
     Yet but the will of all conjunctively;
     A fabric of excitement, web of rage,
     That permeates as one stuff the weltering whole.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     The ugly horror grossly regnant here
     Wakes even the drowsed half-drunken Dictator
     To all its vain uncouthness!


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

          Murat cries
     That on this much-anticipated day
     Napoleon's genius flags inoperative.


The firing from the top of the redoubt has ceased.  The French have
got inside.  The Russians retreat upon their rear, and fortify
themselves on the heights there.  PONIATOWSKI furiously attacks them.
But the French are worn out, and fall back to their station before
the battle.  So the combat dies resultlessly away.  The sun sets, and
the opposed and exhausted hosts sink to lethargic repose.  NAPOLEON
enters his tent in the midst of his lieutenants, and night descends.


SHADE OF THE EARTH

     The fumes of nitre and the reek of gore
     Make my airs foul and fulsome unto me!


SPIRIT IRONIC

     The natural nausea of a nurse, dear Dame.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     Strange: even within that tent no notes of joy
     Throb as at Austerlitz! (signifying Napoleon's tent).


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

          But mark that roar--
     A mash of men's crazed cries entreating mates
     To run them through and end their agony;
     Boys calling on their mothers, veterans
     Blaspheming God and man.  Those shady shapes
     Are horses, maimed in myriads, tearing round
     In maddening pangs, the harnessings they wear
     Clanking discordant jingles as they tear!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     It is enough.  Let now the scene be closed.


The night thickens.



SCENE VI

MOSCOW

  [The foreground is an open place amid the ancient irregular streets
  of the city, which disclose a jumble of architectural styles, the
  Asiatic prevailing over the European.  A huge triangular white-
  walled fortress rises above the churches and coloured domes on a
  hill in the background, the central feature of which is a lofty
  tower with a gilded cupola, the Ivan Tower.  Beneath the battlements
  of this fortress the Moskva River flows.

  An unwonted rumbling of wheels proceeds from the cobble-stoned
  streets, accompanied by an incessant cracking of whips.]


DUMB SHOW

Travelling carriages, teams, and waggons, laden with pictures,
carpets, glass, silver, china, and fashionable attire, are rolling
out of the city, followed by foot-passengers in streams, who carry
their most precious possessions on their shoulders.  Others bear
their sick relatives, caring nothing for their goods, and mothers
go laden with their infants.  Others drive their cows, sheep, and
goats, causing much obstruction.  Some of the populace, however,
appear apathetic and bewildered, and stand in groups asking questions.

A thin man with piercing eyes gallops about and gives stern orders.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Whose is the form seen ramping restlessly,
     Geared as a general, keen-eyed as a kite,
     Mid this mad current of close-filed confusion;
     High-ordering, smartening progress in the slow,
     And goading those by their own thoughts o'er-goaded;
     Whose emissaries knock at every door
     In rhythmal rote, and groan the great events
     The hour is pregnant with?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Rostopchin he,
     The city governor, whose name will ring
     Far down the forward years uncannily!


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     His arts are strange, and strangely do they move him:--
     To store the stews with stuffs inflammable,
     To bid that pumps be wrecked, captives enlarged
     And primed with brands for burning, are the intents
     His warnings to the citizens outshade!


When the bulk of the populace has passed out eastwardly the Russian
army retreating from Borodino also passes through the city into the
country beyond without a halt.  They mostly move in solemn silence,
though many soldiers rush from their ranks and load themselves with
spoil.

When they are got together again and have marched out, there goes by
on his horse a strange scarred old man with a foxy look, a swollen
neck and head and a hunched figure.  He is KUTUZOF, surrounded by
his lieutenants.  Away in the distance by other streets and bridges
with other divisions pass in like manner GENERALS BENNIGSEN, BARCLAY
DE TOLLY, DOKHTOROF, the mortally wounded BAGRATION in a carriage, and
other generals, all in melancholy procession one way, like autumnal
birds of passage.  Then the rear-guard passes under MILORADOVITCH.

Next comes a procession of another kind.

A long string of carts with wounded men is seen, which trails out of
the city behind the army.  Their clothing is soiled with dried blood,
and the bandages that enwrap them are caked with it.

The greater part of this migrant multitude takes the high road to
Vladimir.



SCENE VII

THE SAME.  OUTSIDE THE CITY

  [A hill forms the foreground, called the Hill of Salutation, near
  the Smolensk road.

  Herefrom the city appears as a splendid panorama, with its river,
  its gardens, and its curiously grotesque architecture of domes and
  spires.  It is the peacock of cities to Western eyes, its roofs
  twinkling in the rays of the September sun, amid which the ancient
  citadel of the Tsars--the Kremlin--forms a centre-piece.

  There enter on the hill at a gallop NAPOLEON, MURAT, EUGENE, NEY,
  DARU, and the rest of the Imperial staff.  The French advance-
  guard is drawn up in order of battle at the foot of the hill, and
  the long columns of the Grand Army stretch far in the rear.  The
  Emperor and his marshals halt, and gaze at Moscow.]


NAPOLEON

Ha!  There she is at last.  And it was time.

  [He looks round upon his army, its numbers attenuated to one-fourth
  of those who crossed the Niemen so joyfully.]

Yes: it was time. . . . NOW what says Alexander!


DARU

This is a foil to Salamanca, sire!


DAVOUT

What scores of bulbous church-tops gild the sky!
Souls must be rotten in this region, sire,
To need so much repairing!


NAPOLEON

          Ay--no doubt. . . .
Prithee march briskly on, to check disorder,
                                           (to Murat).
Hold word with the authorities forthwith,
                                        (to Durasnel).
Tell them that they may swiftly swage their fears,
Safe in the mercy I by rule extend
To vanquished ones.  I wait the city keys,
And will receive the Governor's submission
With courtesy due.  Eugene will guard the gate
To Petersburg there leftward.  You, Davout,
The gate to Smolensk in the centre here
Which we shall enter by.


VOICES OF ADVANCE-GUARD

          Moscow!  Moscow!
This, this is Moscow city.  Rest at last!

  [The words are caught up in the rear by veterans who have entered
  every capital in Europe except London, and are echoed from rank to
  rank.  There is a far-extended clapping of hands, like the babble
  of waves, and companies of foot run in disorder towards high ground
  to behold the spectacle, waving their shakos on their bayonets.

  The army now marches on, and NAPOLEON and his suite disappear
  citywards from the Hill of Salutation.

  The day wanes ere the host has passed and dusk begins to prevail,
  when tidings reach the rear-guard that cause dismay.  They have
  been sent back lip by lip from the front.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

     An anticlimax to Napoleon's dream!


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     They say no governor attends with keys
     To offer his submission gracefully.
     The streets are solitudes, the houses sealed,
     And stagnant silence reigns, save where intrudes
     The rumbling of their own artillery wheels,
     And their own soldiers' measured tramp along.
     "Moscow deserted?  What a monstrous thing!"--
     He shrugs his shoulders soon, contemptuously;
     "This, then is how Muscovy fights!" cries he.

     Meanwhile Murat has reached the Kremlin gates,
     And finds them closed against him.  Battered these,
     The fort reverberates vacant as the streets
     But for some grinning wretches gaoled there.
     Enchantment seems to sway from quay to keep,
     And lock commotion in a century's sleep.

  [NAPOLEON, reappearing in front of the city, follows MURAT, and is
  again lost to view.  He has entered the Kremlin.  An interval.
  Something becomes visible on the summit of the Ivan Tower.]


CHORUS OF RUMOURS (aerial music)

     Mark you thereon a small lone figure gazing
     Upon his hard-gained goal?  It is He!
     The startled crows, their broad black pinions raising,
     Forsake their haunts, and wheel disquietedly.

  [The scene slowly darkens.  Midnight hangs over the city.  In
  blackness to the north of where the Kremlin stands appears what at
  first seems a lurid, malignant star.  It waxes larger.  Almost
  simultaneously a north-east wind rises, and the light glows and
  sinks with the gusts, proclaiming a fire, which soon grows large
  enough to irradiate the fronts of adjacent buildings, and to show
  that it is creeping on towards the Kremlin itself, the walls of
  that fortress which face the flames emerging from their previous
  shade.

  The fire can be seen breaking out also in numerous other quarters.
  All the conflagrations increase, and become, as those at first
  detached group themselves together, one huge furnace, whence
  streamers of flame reach up to the sky, brighten the landscape
  far around, and show the houses as if it were day.  The blaze
  gains the Kremlin, and licks its walls, but does not kindle it.
  Explosions and hissings are constantly audible, amid which can be
  fancied cries and yells of people caught in the combustion.  Large
  pieces of canvas aflare sail away on the gale like balloons.
  Cocks crow, thinking it sunrise, ere they are burnt to death.]



SCENE VIII

THE SAME.  THE INTERIOR OF THE KREMLIN

  [A chamber containing a bed on which NAPOLEON has been lying.  It
  is not yet daybreak, and the flapping light of the conflagration
  without shines in at the narrow windows.

  NAPOLEON is discovered dressed, but in disorder and unshaven.  He
  is walking up and down the room in agitation.  There are present
  CAULAINCOURT, BESSIERES, and many of the marshals of his guard,
  who stand in silent perplexity.]


NAPOLEON (sitting down on the bed)

No: I'll not go!  It is themselves who have done it.
My God, they are Scythians and barbarians still!

  [Enter MORTIER (just made Governor).]


MORTIER

Sire, there's no means of fencing with the flames.
My creed is that these scurvy Muscovites
Knowing our men's repute for recklessness,
Have fired the town, as if 'twere we had done it,
As by our own crazed act!

  [GENERAL LARIBOISIERE, and aged man, enters and approaches
  NAPOLEON.]


LARIBOISIERE

          The wind swells higher!
Will you permit one so high-summed in years,
One so devoted, sire, to speak his mind?
It is that your long lingering here entails
Much risk for you, your army, and ourselves,
In the embarrassment it throws on us
While taking steps to seek security,
By hindering venturous means.

  [Enter MURAT, PRINCE EUGENE, and the PRINCE OF NEUFCHATEL.]


MURAT

          There is no choice
But leaving, sire.  Enormous bulks of powder 
Lie housed beneath us; and outside these panes
A park of our artillery stands unscreened.


NAPOLEON (saturninely)

What have I won I disincline to cede!


VOICE OF A GUARD (without)

The Kremlin is aflame!

  [The look at each other.  Two officers of NAPOLEON'S guard and an
  interpreter enter, with one of the Russian military police as a
  prisoner.]


FIRST OFFICER

          We have caught this man
Firing the Kremlin: yea, in the very act!
It is extinguished temporarily,
We know not for how long.


NAPOLEON

          Inquire of him
What devil set him on.  (They inquire.)


SECOND OFFICER

          The governor,
He says; the Count Rostopchin, sire.


NAPOLEON

So!  Even the ancient Kremlin is not sanct
From their infernal scheme!  Go, take him out;
Make him a quick example to the rest.

  [Exeunt guard with their prisoner to the court below, whence a
  musket-volley resounds in a few minutes.  Meanwhile the flames
  pop and spit more loudly, and the window-panes of the room they
  stand in crack and fall in fragments.]

Incendiarism afoot, and we unware
Of what foul tricks may follow, I will go.
Outwitted here, we'll march on Petersburg,
The Devil if we won't!

  [The marshals murmur and shake their heads.]


BESSIERES

          Your pardon, sire,
But we are all convinced that weather, time,
Provisions, roads, equipment, mettle, mood,
Serve not for such a perilous enterprise.

  [NAPOLEON remains in gloomy silence.  Enter BERTHIER.]


NAPOLEON (apathetically)

Well, Berthier.  More misfortunes?


BERTHIER

          News is brought,
Sire, of the Russian army's whereabouts.
That fox Kutuzof, after marching east
As if he were conducting his whole force
To Vladimir, when at the Riazan Road
Down-doubled sharply south, and in a curve
Has wheeled round Moscow, making for Kalouga,
To strike into our base, and cut us off.


MURAT

Another reason against Petersburg!
Come what come may, we must defeat that army,
To keep a sure retreat through Smolensk on
To Lithuania.


NAPOLEON (jumping up)

          I must act!  We'll leave,
Or we shall let this Moscow be our tomb.
May Heaven curse the author of this war--
Ay, him, that Russian minister, self-sold
To England, who fomented it.--'Twas he
Dragged Alexander into it, and me!

  [The marshals are silent with looks of incredulity, and Caulaincourt
  shrugs his shoulders.]

Now no more words; but hear.  Eugene and Ney
With their divisions fall straight back upon
The Petersburg and Zwenigarod Roads;
Those of Davout upon the Smolensk route.
I will retire meanwhile to Petrowskoi.
Come, let us go.

  [NAPOLEON and the marshals move to the door.  In leaving, the
  Emperor pauses and looks back.]

          I fear that this event
Marks the beginning of a train of ills. . . .
Moscow was meant to be my rest,
My refuge, and--it vanishes away!

  [Exeunt NAPOLEON, marshals, etc.  The smoke grows denser and
  obscures the scene.]



SCENE IX

THE ROAD FROM SMOLENSKO INTO LITHUANIA

  [The season is far advanced towards winter.  The point of observation
  is high amongst the clouds, which, opening and shutting fitfully to
  the wind, reveal the earth as a confused expanse merely.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Where are we?  And why are we where we are?


SHADE OF THE EARTH

     Above a wild waste garden-plot of mine
     Nigh bare in this late age, and now grown chill,
     Lithuania called by some.  I gather not
     Why we haunt here, where I can work no charm
     Either upon the ground or over it.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     The wherefore will unfold.  The rolling brume
     That parts, and joins, and parts again below us
     In ragged restlessness, unscreens by fits
     The quality of the scene.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               I notice now
     Primeval woods, pine, birch--the skinny growths
     That can sustain life well where earth affords
     But sustenance elsewhere yclept starvation.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     And what see you on the far land-verge there,
     Labouring from eastward towards our longitude?


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     An object like a dun-piled caterpillar,
     Shuffling its length in painful heaves along,
     Hitherward. . . . Yea, what is this Thing we see
     Which, moving as a single monster might,
     Is yet not one but many?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Even the Army
     Which once was called the Grand; now in retreat
     From Moscow's muteness, urged by That within it;
     Together with its train of followers--
     Men, matrons, babes, in brabbling multitudes.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

          And why such flight?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

          Recording Angels, say.


RECORDING ANGEL I (in minor plain-song)

     The host has turned from Moscow where it lay,
     And Israel-like, moved by some master-sway,
     Is made to wander on and waste away!


ANGEL II

     By track of Tarutino first it flits;
     Thence swerving, strikes at old Jaroslawitz;
     The which, accurst by slaughtering swords, it quits.


ANGEL I

     Harassed, it treads the trail by which it came,
     To Borodino, field of bloodshot fame,
     Whence stare unburied horrors beyond name!


ANGEL II

     And so and thus it nears Smolensko's walls,
     And, stayed its hunger, starts anew its crawls,
     Till floats down one white morsel, which appals.

  [What has floated down from the sky upon the Army is a flake of
  snow.  Then come another and another, till natural features,
  hitherto varied with the tints of autumn, are confounded, and all
  is phantasmal grey and white.

  The caterpillar shape still creeps laboriously nearer, but instead,
  increasing in size by the rules of perspective, it gets more
  attenuated, and there are left upon the ground behind it minute
  parts of itself, which are speedily flaked over, and remain as
  white pimples by the wayside.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     These atoms that drop off are snuffed-out souls
     Who are enghosted by the caressing snow.

  [Pines rise mournfully on each side of the nearing object; ravens
  in flocks advance with it overhead, waiting to pick out the eyes 
  of strays who fall.  The snowstorm increases, descending in tufts
  which can hardly be shaken off.  The sky seems to join itself to
  the land.  The marching figures drop rapidly, and almost immediately
  become white grave-mounds.

  Endowed with enlarged powers of audition as of vision, we are struck
  by the mournful taciturnity that prevails.  Nature is mute.  Save
  for the incessant flogging of the wind-broken and lacerated horses
  there are no sounds.

  With growing nearness more is revealed.  In the glades of the forest,
  parallel to the French columns, columns of Russians are seen to be
  moving.  And when the French presently reach Krasnoye they are
  surrounded by packs of cloaked Cossacks, bearing lances like huge
  needles a dozen feet long.  The fore-part of the French army gets
  through the town; the rear is assaulted by infantry and artillery.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     The strange, one-eyed, white-shakoed, scarred old man,
     Ruthlessly heading every onset made,
     I seem to recognize.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Kutuzof he:
     The ceaselessly-attacked one, Michael Ney;
     A pair as stout as thou, Earth, ever hast twinned!
     Kutuzof, ten years younger, would extirp
     The invaders, and our drama finish here,
     With Bonaparte a captive or a corpse.
     But he is old; death even has beckoned him;
     And thus the so near-seeming happens not.

  [NAPOLEON himself can be discerned amid the rest, marching on foot
  through the snowflakes, in a fur coat and with a stout staff in his
  hand.  Further back NEY is visible with the remains of the rear.

  There is something behind the regular columns like an articulated
  tail, and as they draw on, it shows itself to be a disorderly rabble
  of followers of both sexes.  So the whole miscellany arrives at the
  foreground, where it is checked by a large river across the track.
  The soldiers themselves, like the rabble, are in motley raiment,
  some wearing rugs for warmth, some quilts and curtains, some even
  petticoats and other women's clothing.  Many are delirious from
  hunger and cold.

  But they set about doing what is a necessity for the least hope of
  salvation, and throw a bridge across the stream.

  The point of vision descends to earth, close to the scene of action.]



SCENE X

THE BRIDGE OF THE BERESINA

  [The bridge is over the Beresina at Studzianka.  On each side of
  the river are swampy meadows, now hard with frost, while further
  back are dense forests.  Ice floats down the deep black stream in
  large cakes.]


DUMB SHOW

The French sappers are working up to their shoulders in the water at
the building of the bridge.  Those so immersed work till, stiffened
with ice to immobility, they die from the chill, when others succeed
them.

Cavalry meanwhile attempt to swim their horses across, and some
infantry try to wade through the stream.

Another bridge is begun hard by, the construction of which advances
with greater speed; and it becomes fit for the passage of carriages
and artillery.

NAPOLEON is seen to come across to the homeward bank, which is the
foreground of the scene.  A good portion of the army also, under
DAVOUT, NEY, and OUDINOT, lands by degrees on this side.  But
VICTOR'S corps is yet on the left or Moscow side of the stream,
moving toward the bridge, and PARTONNEAUX with the rear-guard, who
has not yet crossed, is at Borissow, some way below, where there is
an old permanent bridge partly broken.

Enter with speed from the distance the Russians under TCHAPLITZ.
More under TCHICHAGOFF enter the scene down the river on the left
or further bank, and cross by the old bridge of Borissow.  But they
are too far from the new crossing to intercept the French as yet.

PLATOFF with his Cossacks next appears on the stage which is to be
such a tragic one.  He comes from the forest and approaches the left
bank likewise.  So also does WITTGENSTEIN, who strikes in between
the uncrossed VICTOR and PARTONNEAUX.  PLATOFF thereupon descends
on the latter, who surrenders with the rear-guard; and thus seven
thousand more are cut off from the already emaciated Grand Army.

TCHAPLITZ, of TCHICHAGOFF'S division, has meanwhile got round by the
old bridge at Borissow to the French side of the new one, and attacks
OUDINOT; but he is repulsed with the strength of despair.  The French
lose a further five thousand in this.

We now look across the river at VICTOR, and his division, not yet
over, and still defending the new bridges.  WITTGENSTEIN descends
upon him; but he holds his ground.

The determined Russians set up a battery of twelve cannon, so as to
command the two new bridges, with the confused crowd of soldiers,
carriages, and baggage, pressing to cross.  The battery discharges
into the surging multitude.  More Russians come up, and, forming a
semicircle round the bridges and the mass of French, fire yet more
hotly on them with round shot and canister.  As it gets dark the
flashes light up the strained faces of the fugitives.  Under the
discharge and the weight of traffic, the bridge for the artillery
gives way, and the throngs upon it roll shrieking into the stream
and are drowned.


SEMICHORUS I OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

So loudly swell their shrieks as to be heard above the roar of guns
     and the wailful wind,
Giving in one brief cry their last wild word on that mock life
     through which they have harlequined!


SEMICHORUS II

To the other bridge the living heap betakes itself, the weak pushed
     over by the strong;
They loop together by their clutch like snakes; in knots they
     are submerged and borne along.


CHORUS

Then women are seen in the waterflow--limply bearing their
     infants between wizened white arms stretching above;
Yea, motherhood, sheerly sublime in her last despairing, and
     lighting her darkest declension with limitless love.


Meanwhile, TCHICHAGOFF has come up with his twenty-seven thousand men,
and falls on OUDINOT, NEY, and the "Sacred Squadron."  Altogether we
see forty or fifty thousand assailing eighteen thousand half-naked,
badly armed wretches, emaciated with hunger and encumbered with
several thousands of sick, wounded, and stragglers.

VICTOR and his rear-guard, who have protected the bridges all day,
come over themselves at last.  No sooner have they done so than the
final bridge is set on fire.  Those who are upon it burn or drown;
those who are on the further side have lost their last chance, and
perish either in attempting to wade the stream or at the hands of
the Russians.


SEMICHORUS OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     What will be seen in the morning light?
     What will be learnt when the spring breaks bright,
     And the frost unlocks to the sun's soft sight?


SEMICHORUS II

     Death in a thousand motley forms;
     Charred corpses hooking each other's arms
     In the sleep that defies all war's alarms!


CHORUS

     Pale cysts of souls in every stage,
     Still bent to embraces of love or rage,--
     Souls passed to where History pens no page.


The flames of the burning bridge go out as it consumes to the water's
edge, and darkness mantles all, nothing continuing but the purl of
the river and the clickings of floating ice.



SCENE XI

THE OPEN COUNTRY BETWEEN SMORGONI AND WILNA

  [The winter is more merciless, and snow continues to fall upon a
  deserted expanse of unenclosed land in Lithuania.  Some scattered
  birch bushes merge in a forest in the background.

  It is growing dark, though nothing distinguishes where the sun
  sets.  There is no sound except that of a shuffling of feet in
  the direction of a bivouac.  Here are gathered tattered men like
  skeletons.  Their noses and ears are frost-bitten, and pus is 
  oozing from their eyes.

  These stricken shades in a limbo of gloom are among the last
  survivors of the French army.  Few of them carry arms.  One squad,
  ploughing through snow above their knees, and with icicles dangling
  from their hair that clink like glass-lustres as they walk, go
  into the birch wood, and are heard chopping.  They bring back
  boughs, with which they make a screen on the windward side, and
  contrive to light a fire.  With their swords they cut rashers from
  a dead horse, and grill them in the flames, using gunpowder for
  salt to eat them with.  Two others return from a search, with a
  dead rat and some candle-ends.  Their meal shared, some try to
  repair their gaping shoes and to tie up their feet, that are
  chilblained to the bone.

  A straggler enters, who whispers to one or two soldiers of the
  group.  A shudder runs through them at his words.]


FIRST SOLDIER (dazed)

What--gone, do you say?  Gone?


STRAGGLER

          Yes, I say gone!
He left us at Smorgoni hours ago.
The Sacred Squadron even he has left behind.
By this time he's at Warsaw or beyond,
Full pace for Paris.


SECOND SOLDIER (jumping up wildly)

          Gone?  How did he go?
No, surely!  He could not desert us so!


STRAGGLER

He started in a carriage, with Roustan
The Mameluke on the box: Caulaincourt, too,
Was inside with him.  Monton and Duroc
Rode on a sledge behind.--The order bade
That we should not be told it for a while.

  [Other soldiers spring up as they realize the news, and stamp
  hither and thither, impotent with rage, grief, and despair, many
  in their physical weakness sobbing like children.]


SPIRIT SINISTER

Good.  It is the selfish and unconscionable characters who are so much
regretted.


STRAGGLER

He felt, or feigned, he ought to leave no longer
A land like Prussia 'twixt himself and home.
There was great need for him to go, he said,
To quiet France, and raise another army
That shall replace our bones.


SEVERAL (distractedly)

          Deserted us!
Deserted us!--O, after all our pangs
We shall see France no more!

  [Some become insane, and go dancing round.  One of them sings.]


MAD SOLDIER'S SONG

I
          Ha, for the snow and hoar!
          Ho, for our fortune's made!
     We can shape our bed without sheets to spread,
          And our graves without a spade.
          So foolish Life adieu,
          And ingrate Leader too.
          --Ah, but we loved you true!
     Yet--he-he-he! and ho-ho-ho-!--
          We'll never return to you.

II

          What can we wish for more?
          Thanks to the frost and flood
     We are grinning crones--thin bags of bones
          Who once were flesh and blood.
          So foolish Life adieu,
          And ingrate Leader too.
          --Ah, but we loved you true!
     Yet--he-he-he! and ho-ho-ho!--
          We'll never return to you.

  [Exhausted, they again crouch round the fire.  Officers and
  privates press together for warmth.  Other stragglers arrive, and
  sit at the backs of the first.  With the progress of the night the
  stars come out in unusual brilliancy, Sirius and those in Orion
  flashing like stilettos; and the frost stiffens.

  The fire sinks and goes out; but the Frenchmen do not move.  The
  day dawns, and still they sit on.

  In the background enter some light horse of the Russian army,
  followed by KUTUZOF himself and a few of his staff.  He presents
  a terrible appearance now--bravely serving though slowly dying,
  his face puffed with the intense cold, his one eye staring out as
  he sits in a heap in the saddle, his head sunk into his shoulders.
  The whole detachment pauses at the sight of the French asleep.
  They shout; but the bivouackers give no sign.


KUTUZOF

Go, stir them up!  We slay not sleeping men.

  [The Russians advance and prod the French with their lances.]


RUSSIAN OFFICER

Prince, here's a curious picture.  They are dead.


KUTUZOF (with indifference)

Oh, naturally.  After the snow was down
I marked a sharpening of the air last night.
We shall be stumbling on such frost-baked meat
Most of the way to Wilna.


OFFICER (examining the bodies)

          They all sit
As they were living still, but stiff as horns;
And even the colour has not left their cheeks,
Whereon the tears remain in strings of ice.--
It was a marvel they were not consumed:
Their clothes are cindered by the fire in front,
While at their back the frost has caked them hard.


KUTUZOF

'Tis well.  So perish Russia's enemies!

  [Exeunt KUTUZOF, his staff, and the detachment of horse in the
  direction of Wilna; and with the advance of day the snow resumes
  its fall, slowly burying the dead bivouackers.]



SCENE XII

PARIS.  THE TUILERIES

  [An antechamber to the EMPRESS MARIE LOUISE'S bedroom, at half-past
  eleven on a December night.  The DUCHESS OF MONTEBELLO and another
  lady-in-waiting are discovered talking to the Empress.]


MARIE LOUISE

I have felt unapt for anything to-night,
And I will now retire.

  [She goes into her child's room adjoining.]


DUCHESS OF MONTEBELLO

          For some long while
There has come no letter from the Emperor,
And Paris brims with ghastly rumourings
About the far campaign.  Not being beloved,
The town is over dull for her alone.

  [Re-enter MARIE LOUISE.]


MARIE LOUISE

The King of Rome is sleeping in his cot
Sweetly and safe.  Now, ladies, I am going.

  [She withdraws.  Her tiring-women pass through into her chamber.
  They presently return and go out.  A manservant enters, and bars
  the window-shutters with numerous bolts.  Exit manservant.  The
  Duchess retires.  The other lady-in-waiting rises to go into her
  bedroom, which adjoins that of the Empress.

  Men's voices are suddenly heard in the corridor without.  The lady-
  in-waiting pauses with parted lips.  The voices grow louder.  The
  lady-in-waiting screams.

  MARIE LOUISE hastily re-enters in a dressing-gown thrown over her
  night-clothes.]


MARIE LOUISE

Great God, what altercation can that be?
I had just verged on sleep when it aroused me!

  [A thumping is heard at the door.]


VOICE OF NAPOLEON (without)

Hola!  Pray let me in!  Unlock the door!


LADY-IN-WAITING

Heaven's mercy on us!  What man may it be
At such and hour as this?


MARIE LOUISE

     O it is he!


  [The lady-in-waiting unlocks the door.  NAPOLEON enters, scarcely
  recognizable, in a fur cloak and hood over his ears.  He throws
  off the cloak and discloses himself to be in the shabbiest and
  muddiest attire.  Marie Louise is agitated almost to fainting.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Is it with fright or joy?


MARIE LOUISE

          I scarce believe
What my sight tells me!  Home, and in such garb!

  [NAPOLEON embraces her.]


NAPOLEON

I have had great work in getting in, my dear!
They failed to recognize me at the gates,
Being sceptical at my poor hackney-coach
And poorer baggage.  I had to show my face
In a fierce light ere they would let me pass,
And even then they doubted till I spoke.--
What think you, dear, of such a tramp-like spouse?
                                   (He warms his hands at the fire.)
Ha--it is much more comfortable here
Than on the Russian plains!


MARIE LOUISE (timidly)

          You have suffered there?--
Your face is thinner, and has line in it;
No marvel that they did not know you!


NAPOLEON

          Yes:
Disasters many and swift have swooped on me!--
Since crossing--ugh!--the Beresina River
I have been compelled to come incognito;
Ay--as a fugitive and outlaw quite.


MARIE LOUISE

We'll thank Heaven, anyhow, that you are safe.
I had gone to bed, and everybody almost!
what, now, do require?  Some food of course?

  [The child in the adjoining chamber begins to cry, awakened by the
  loud tones of NAPOLEON.]


NAPOLEON

Ah--that's his little voice!  I'll in and see him.


MARIE LOUISE

I'll come with you.

  [NAPOLEON and the EMPRESS pass into the other room.  The lady-in-
  waiting calls up yawning servants and gives orders.  The servants
  go to execute them.  Re-enter NAPOLEON and MARIE LOUISE.  The lady-
  in-waiting goes out.]


NAPOLEON

          I have said it, dear!
All the disasters summed in the bulletin
Shall be repaired.


MARIE LOUISE

     And are they terrible?


NAPOLEON

Have you not read the last-sent bulletin,
Dear friend?


MARIE LOUISE

     No recent bulletin has come.


NAPOLEON

Ah--I must have outstripped it on the way!


MARIE LOUISE

And where is the Grand Army?


NAPOLEON

     Oh--that's gone.


MARIE LOUISE

Gone?  But--gone where?


NAPOLEON

     Gone all to nothing, dear.


MARIE LOUISE (incredulously)

But some six hundred thousand I saw pass
Through Dresden Russia-wards?


NAPOLEON (flinging himself into a chair)

          Well, those men lie--
Or most of them--in layers of bleaching bones
'Twixt here and Moscow. . . . I have been subdued;
But by the elements; and them alone.
Not Russia, but God's sky has conquered me!
                  (With an appalled look she sits beside him.)
From the sublime to the ridiculous
There's but a step!--I have been saying it
All through the leagues of my long journey home--
And that step has been passed in this affair! . . .
Yes, briefly, it is quite ridiculous,
Whichever way you look at it.--Ha, ha!


MARIE LOUISE (simply)

But those six hundred thousand throbbing throats
That cheered me deaf at Dresden, marching east
So full of youth and spirits--all bleached bones--
Ridiculous?  Can it be so, dear, to--
Their mothers say?


NAPOLEON (with a twitch of displeasure)

          You scarcely understand.
I meant the enterprise, and not its stuff. . . .
I had no wish to fight, nor Alexander,
But circumstance impaled us each on each;
The Genius who outshapes my destinies
Did all the rest!  Had I but hit success,
Imperial splendour would have worn a crown
Unmatched in long-scrolled Time! . . . Well, leave that now.--
What do they know about all this in Paris?


MARIE LOUSE

I cannot say.  Black rumours fly and croak
Like ravens through the streets, but come to me
Thinned to the vague!--Occurrences in Spain
Breed much disquiet with these other things.
Marmont's defeat at Salamanca field
Ploughed deep into men's brows.  The cafes say
Your troops must clear from Spain.


NAPOLEON

          We'll see to that!
I'll find a way to do a better thing;
Though I must have another army first--
Three hundred thousand quite.  Fishes as good
Swim in the sea as have come out of it.
But to begin, we must make sure of France,
Disclose ourselves to the good folk of Paris
In daily outing as a family group,
The type and model of domestic bliss
(Which, by the way, we are).  And I intend,
Also, to gild the dome of the Invalides
In best gold leaf, and on a novel pattern.


MARIE LOUISE

To gild the dome, dear?  Why?


NAPOLEON

          To give them something
To think about.  They'll take to it like children,
And argue in the cafes right and left
On its artistic points.--So they'll forget
The woes of Moscow.

  [A chamberlain-in-waiting announces supper.  MARIE LOUISE and
  NAPOLEON go out.  The room darkens and the scene closes.]




ACT SECOND


SCENE I

THE PLAIN OF VITORIA

  [It is the eve of the longest day of the year; also the eve of the
  battle of Vitoria.  The English army in the Peninsula, and their
  Spanish and Portuguese allies, are bivouacking on the western side
  of the Plain, about six miles from the town.

  On some high ground in the left mid-distance may be discerned the
  MARQUIS OF WELLINGTON'S tent, with GENERALS HILL, PICTON, PONSONBY,
  GRAHAM, and others of his staff, going in and out in consultation
  on the momentous event impending.  Near the foreground are some
  hussars sitting round a fire, the evening being damp; their horses
  are picketed behind.  In the immediate front of the scene are some
  troop-officers talking.]


FIRST OFFICER

This grateful rest of four-and-twenty hours
Is priceless for our jaded soldiery;
And we have reconnoitred largely, too;
So the slow day will not have slipped in vain.


SECOND OFFICER (looking towards the headquarter tent)

By this time they must nearly have dotted down
The methods of our master-stroke to-morrow:
I have no clear conception of its plan,
Even in its leading lines.  What is decided?


FIRST OFFICER

There are outshaping three supreme attacks,
As I decipher.  Graham's on the left,
To compass which he crosses the Zadorra,
And turns the enemy's right.  On our right, Hill
Will start at once to storm the Puebla crests.
The Chief himself, with us here in the centre,
Will lead on by the bridges Tres-Puentes
Over the ridge there, and the Mendoza bridge
A little further up.--That's roughly it;
But much and wide discretionary power
Is left the generals all.

  [The officers walk away, and the stillness increases, so the 
  conversation at the hussars' bivouac, a few yards further back,
  becomes noticeable.]


SERGEANT YOUNG(19)

I wonder, I wonder how Stourcastle is looking this summer night, and
all the old folks there!


SECOND HUSSAR

You was born there, I think I've heard ye say, Sergeant?


SERGEANT YOUNG

I was.  And though I ought not to say it, as father and mother are
living there still, 'tis a dull place at times.  Now Budmouth-Regis
was exactly to my taste when we were there with the Court that
summer, and the King and Queen a-wambling about among us like the
most everyday old man and woman you ever see.  Yes, there was plenty
going on, and only a pretty step from home.  Altogether we had a
fine time!


THIRD HUSSAR

You walked with a girl there for some weeks, Sergeant, if  my memory
serves?


SERGEANT YOUNG

I did.  And a pretty girl 'a was.  But nothing came on't.  A month
afore we struck camp she married a tallow-chandler's dipper of Little
Nicholas Lane.  I was a good deal upset about it at the time.  But
one gets over things!


SECOND HUSSAR

'Twas a low taste in the hussy, come to that.--Howsomever, I agree
about Budmouth.  I never had pleasanter times than when we lay there.
You had a song on it, Sergeant, in them days, if I don't mistake?


SERGEANT YOUNG

I had; and have still. 'Twas made up when we left by our bandmaster
that used to conduct in front of Gloucester Lodge at the King's Mess
every afternoon.

  [The Sergeant is silent for a minute, then suddenly bursts into
  melody.]


SONG "BUDMOUTH DEARS"

I

     When we lay where Budmouth Beach is,
     O, the girls were fresh as peaches,
     With their tall and tossing figures and their eyes of blue
            and brown!
          And our hearts would ache with longing
          As we paced from our sing-songing,
     With a smart CLINK! CLINK! up the Esplanade and down


II

          They distracted and delayed us
          By the pleasant pranks they played us,
     And what marvel, then, if troopers, even of regiments of renown,
          On whom flashed those eyes divine, O,
          Should forget the countersign, O,
     As we tore CLINK! CLINK! back to camp above the town.


III

          Do they miss us much, I wonder,
          Now that war has swept us sunder,
     And we roam from where the faces smile to where the faces frown?
          And no more behold the features
          Of the fair fantastic creatures,
     And no more CLINK! CLINK! past the parlours of the town?


IV

          Shall we once again there meet them?
          Falter fond attempts to greet them?
     Will the gay sling-jacket(20) glow again beside the muslin gown?--
          Will they archly quiz and con us
          With a sideways glance upon us,
    While our spurs CLINK! CLINK! up the Esplanade and down?

  [Applause from the other hussars.  More songs are sung, the night
  gets darker, the fires go out, and the camp sleeps.]



SCENE II

THE SAME, FROM THE PUEBLA HEIGHTS

  [It is now day; but a summer fog pervades the prospect.  Behind
  the fog is heard the roll of bass and tenor drums and the clash
  of cymbals, with notes of the popular march "The Downfall of Paris."

  By degrees the fog lifts, and the Plain is disclosed.  From this
  elevation, gazing north, the expanse looks like the palm of a
  monstrous right hand, a little hollowed, some half-dozen miles
  across, wherein the ball of the thumb is roughly represented by
  heights to the east, on which the French centre has gathered; the
  "Mount of Mars" and the "Moon" (the opposite side of the palm) by
  the position of the English on the left or west of the plain;
  and the "Line of Life" by the Zadorra, an unfordable river running
  from the town down the plain, and dropping out of it through a
  pass in the Puebla Heights to the south, just beneath our point
  of observation--that is to say, toward the wrist of the supposed
  hand.  The left of the English army under GRAHAM would occupy the
  "mounts" at the base of the fingers; while the bent finger-tips
  might represent the Cantabrian Hills beyond the plain to the north
  or back of the scene.

  From the aforesaid stony crests of Puebla the white town and
  church towers of Vitoria can be descried on a slope to the right-
  rear of the field of battle.  A warm rain succeeds the fog for a
  short while, bringing up the fragrant scents from fields, vineyards,
  and gardens, now in the full leafage of June.]


DUMB SHOW

All the English forces converge forward--that is, eastwardly--the
centre over the ridges, the right through the Pass to the south, the
left down the Bilbao road on the north-west, the bands of the divers
regiments striking up the same quick march, "The Downfall of Paris."


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     You see the scene.  And yet you see it not.
     What do you notice now?


There immediately is shown visually the electric state of mind that
animates WELLINGTON, GRAHAM, HILL, KEMPT, PICTON, COLVILLE, and other
responsible ones on the British side; and on the French KING JOSEPH
stationary on the hill overlooking his own centre, and surrounded by
a numerous staff that includes his adviser MARSHAL JOURDAN, with,
far away in the field, GAZAN, D'ERLON, REILLE, and other marshals.
This vision, resembling as a whole the interior of a beating brain
lit by phosphorescence, in an instant fades back to normal.


Anon we see the English hussars with their flying pelisses galloping
across the Zadorra on one of the Tres-Puentes in the midst of the
field, as had been planned, the English lines in the foreground under
HILL pushing the enemy up the slopes; and far in the distance, to the
left of Vitoria, whiffs of grey smoke followed by low rumbles show
that the left of the English army under GRAHAM is pushing on there.

Bridge after bridge of the half-dozen over the Zadorra is crossed by
the British; and WELLINGTON, in the centre with PICTON, seeing the
hill and village of Arinez in front of him (eastward) to be weakly
held, carries the regiments of the seventh and third divisions in a
quick run towards it.  Supported by the hussars, they ultimately
fight their way to the top, in a chaos of smoke, flame, and booming
echoes, loud-voiced PICTON, in an old blue coat and round hat,
swearing as he goes.

Meanwhile the French who are opposed to the English right, in the
foreground, have been turned by HILL; the heights are all abandoned,
and the columns fall back in a confused throng by the road to
Vitoria, hard pressed by the British, who capture abandoned guns
amid indescribable tumult, till the French make a stand in front
of the town.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     What's toward in the distance?--say!


SEMICHORUS I OF RUMOURS (aerial music)

          Fitfully flash strange sights there; yea,
     Unwonted spectacles of sweat and scare
          Behind the French, that make a stand
          With eighty cannon, match in hand.--
     Upon the highway from the town to rear
          An eddy of distraction reigns,
          Where lumbering treasure, baggage-trains,
     Padding pedestrians, haze the atmosphere.


SEMICHORUS II

          Men, women, and their children fly,
          And when the English over-high
     Direct their death-bolts, on this billowy throng
          Alight the too far-ranging balls,
          Wringing out piteous shrieks and calls
     From the pale mob, in monotones loud and long.


SEMICHORUS I

          To leftward of the distant din
          Reille meantime has been driven in
     By Graham's measure overmastering might.--
          Henceforward, masses of the foe
          Withdraw, and, firing as they go,
     Pass rightwise from the cockpit out of sight.


CHORUS

          The sunset slants an ochreous shine
          Upon the English knapsacked line,
          Whose glistering bayonets incline
     As bends the hot pursuit across the plain;
          And tardily behind them goes
          Too many a mournful load of those
          Found wound-weak; while with stealthy crawl,
          As silence wraps the rear of all,
     Cloaked creatures of the starlight strip the slain.



SCENE III

THE SAME.  THE ROAD FROM THE TOWN

  [With the going down of the sun the English army finds itself in
  complete possession of the mass of waggons and carriages distantly
  beheld from the rear--laden with pictures, treasure, flour,
  vegetables, furniture, finery, parrots, monkeys, and women--most
  of the male sojourners in the town having taken to their heels
  and disappeared across the fields.

  The road is choked with these vehicles, the women they carry
  including wives, mistresses, actresses, dancers, nuns, and
  prostitutes, which struggle through droves of oxen, sheep, goats,
  horses, asses, and mules-- a Noah's-ark of living creatures in
  one vast procession.

  There enters rapidly in front of this throng a carriage containing
  KING JOSEPH BONAPARTE and an attendant, followed by another vehicle
  with luggage.]


JOSEPH (inside carriage)

The bare unblinking truth hereon is this:
The Englishry are a pursuing army,
And we a flying brothel!  See our men--
They leave their guns to save their mistresses!

  [The carriage is fired upon from outside the scene.  The KING leaps
  from the vehicle and mounts a horse.

  Enter at full gallop from the left CAPTAIN WYNDHAM and a detachment
  of the Tenth Hussars in chase of the King's carriage; and from the
  right a troop of French dragoons, who engage with the hussars and
  hinder pursuit.  Exit KING JOSEPH on horseback; afterwards the
  hussars and dragoons go out fighting.

  The British infantry enter irregularly, led by a sergeant of the
  Eighty-seventh, mockingly carrying MARSHAL JOURDAN'S baton.  The
  crowd recedes.  The soldiers ransack the King's carriages, cut
  from their frames canvases by Murillo, Velasquez, and Zurbaran,
  and use them as package-wrappers, throwing the papers and archives
  into the road.

  They next go to a waggon in the background, which contains a large
  chest.  Some of the soldiers burst it with a crash.  It is full of
  money, which rolls into the road.  The soldiers begin scrambling,
  but are restored to order; and they march on.

  Enter more companies of infantry, out of control of their officers,
  who are running behind.  They see the dollars, and take up the
  scramble for them; next ransacking other waggons and abstracting
  therefrom uniforms, ladies raiment, jewels, plate, wines, and
  spirits.

  Some array them in the finery, and one soldier puts on a diamond
  necklace; others load themselves with the money still lying about
  the road.  It begins to rain, and a private who has lost his kit
  cuts a hole in the middle of a deframed old master, and, putting
  it over his head, wears it as a poncho.

  Enter WELLINGTON and others, grimy and perspiring.]


FIRST OFFICER

The men are plundering in all directions!


WELLINGTON

Let 'em.  They've striven long and gallantly.
--What documents do I see lying there?


SECOND OFFICER (examining)

The archives of King Joseph's court, my lord;
His correspondence, too, with Bonaparte.


WELLINGTON

We must examine it.  It may have use.

  [Another company of soldiers enters, dragging some equipages that
  have lost their horses by the traces being cut.  The carriages
  contain ladies, who shriek and weep at finding themselves captives.]

What women bring they there?


THIRD OFFICER

          Mixed sorts, my lord.
The wives of many young French officers,
The mistresses of more--in male attire.
Yon elegant hussar is one, to wit;
She so disguised is of a Spanish house,--
One of the general's loves.


WELLINGTON

          Well, pack them off
To-morrow to Pamplona, as you can;
We've neither list nor leisure for their charms.
By God, I never saw so many wh---s
In all my life before!

  [Exeunt WELLINGTON, officers, and infantry.  A soldier enters with
  his arm round a lady in rich costume.]


SOLDIER

We must be married, my dear.


LADY (not knowing his language)

Anything, sir, if you'll spare my life!


SOLDIER

There's neither parson nor clerk here.  But that don't matter--hey?


LADY

Anything, sir, if you'll spare my life!


SOLDIER

And if we've got to unmarry at cockcrow, why, so be it--hey?


LADY

Anything, sir, if you'll spare my life!


SOLDIER

A sensible 'ooman, whatever it is she says; that I can see by her
pretty face.  Come along then, my dear.  There'll be no bones broke,
and we'll take our lot with Christian resignation.

  [Exeunt soldier and lady.  The crowd thins away as darkness closes
  in, and the growling of artillery ceases, though the wheels of the
  flying enemy are still heard in the distance.  The fires kindled
  by the soldiers as they make their bivouacs blaze up in the gloom,
  and throw their glares a long way, revealing on the slopes of the
  hills many suffering ones who have not yet been carried in.
  The last victorious regiment comes up from the rear, fifing and
  drumming ere it reaches its resting-place the last bars of "The
  Downfall of Paris":--

Transcriber's Note:  There follows in musical notation four bars
     from that song in 2/4 time, key of C--

               \\E EF G F\E EF G F\E EC D DB\C \\



SCENE IV

A FETE AT VAUXHALL

  [It is the Vitoria festival at Vauxhall.  The orchestra of the
  renowned gardens exhibits a blaze of lamps and candles arranged
  in the shape of a temple, a great artificial sun glowing at the
  top, and under it in illuminated characters the words "Vitoria"
  and "Wellington."  The band is playing the new air "The Plains
  of Vitoria."

  All round the colonnade of the rotunda are to be read in the
  illumination the names of Peninsular victories, underneath them
  figuring the names of British and Spanish generals who led at
  those battles, surmounted by wreaths of laurel  The avenues
  stretching away from the rotunda into the gardens charm the eyes
  with their mild multitudinous lights, while festoons of lamps
  hang from the trees elsewhere, and transparencies representing
  scenes from the war.

  The gardens and saloons are crowded, among those present being the
  KING'S sons--the DUKES OF YORK, CLARENCE, KENT, and CAMBRIDGE--
  Ambassadors, peers, and peeresses, and other persons of quality,
  English and foreign.

  In the immediate foreground on the left hand is an alcove, the
  interior of which is in comparative obscurity.  Two foreign
  attaches enter it and sit down.]


FIRST ATTACHE

Ah--now for the fireworks.  They are under the direction of Colonel
Congreve.

  [At the end of an alley, purposely kept dark, fireworks are
  discharged.]


SECOND ATTACHE

Very good: very good.--This looks like the Duke of Sussex coming in,
I think.  Who the lady is with him I don't know.

  [Enter the DUKE OF SUSSEX in a Highland dress, attended by several
  officers in like attire.  He walks about the gardens with LADY
  CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL.]


FIRST ATTACHE

People have been paying a mighty price for tickets--as much as
fifteen guineas has been offered, I hear.  I had to walk up to the
gates; the number of coaches struggling outside prevented my driving
near.  It was as bad as the battle of Vitoria itself.


SECOND ATTACHE

So Wellington is made Field-Marshal for his achievement.


FIRST ATTACHE

Yes.  By the by, you have heard of the effect of the battle upon
the Conference at Reichenbach?--that Austria is to join Russia and
Prussia against France?  So much for Napoleon's marriage!  I wonder
what he thinks of his respected father-in-law now.


SECOND ATTACHE

Of course, an enormous subsidy is paid to Francis by Great Britain
for this face-about?


FIRST ATTACHE

Yes.  As Bonaparte says, English guineas are at the bottom of
everything!--Ah, here comes Caroline.

  [The PRINCESS OF WALES arrives, attended by LADY ANNE HAMILTON
  and LADY GLENBERVIE.  She is conducted forward by the DUKE OF
  GLOUCESTER and COLONEL ST. LEDGER, and wears a white satin train
  with a dark embroidered bodice, and a green wreath with diamonds.

  Repeated hurrahs greet her from the crowd.  She bows courteously.]


SECOND ATTACHE

The people are staunch for her still! . . . You heard, sir, what
Austrian Francis said when he learnt of Vitoria?--"A warm climate
seems to agree with my son-in-law no better than a cold one."


FIRST ATTACHE

          Ha-ha-ha!
Marvellous it is how this loud victory
Has couched the late blind Europe's Cabinets.
Would I could spell precisely what was phrased
'Twixt Bonaparte and Metternich at Dresden--
Their final word, I ween, till God knows when!--


SECOND ATTACHE

I own to feeling it a sorry thing
That Francis should take English money down
To throw off Bonaparte.  'Tis sordid, mean!
He is his daughter's husband after all.


FIRST ATTACHE

Ay; yes! . . . They say she knows not of it yet.


SECOND ATTACHE

Poor thing, I daresay it will harry her
When all's revealed.  But the inside o't is,
Since Castlereagh's return to power last year
Vienna, like Berlin and Petersburg,
Has harboured England's secret emissaries,
Primed, purse in hand, with the most lavish sums
To knit the league to drag Napoleon down. . . .
(More fireworks.)  That's grand.--Here comes one Royal item more.

  [The DUCHESS OF YORK enters, attended by her ladies and by the
  HON. B. CRAVEN and COLONEL BARCLAY.  She is received with signals
  of respect.]


FIRST ATTACHE

She calls not favour forth as Caroline can!


SECOND ATTACHE

To end my words:--Though happy for this realm,
Austria's desertion frankly is, by God,
Rank treachery!


FIRST ATTACHE

          Whatever it is, it means
Two hundred thousand swords for the Allies,
And enemies in batches for Napoleon
Leaping from unknown lairs.--Yes, something tells me
That this is the beginning of the end
For Emperor Bonaparte!

  [The PRINCESS OF WALES prepares to leave.  An English diplomatist
  joins the attaches in the alcove.  The PRINCESS and her ladies go
  out.]


DIPLOMATIST

I saw you over here, and I came round.  Cursed hot and crowded, isn't
it?


SECOND ATTACHE

What is the Princess leaving so soon for?


DIPLOMATIST

Oh, she has not been received in the Royal box by the other members
of the Royal Family, and it has offended her, though she was told
beforehand that she could not be.  Poor devil!  Nobody invited her
here.  She came unasked, and she has gone unserved.


FIRST ATTACHE

We shall have to go unserved likewise, I fancy.  The scramble at the
buffets is terrible.


DIPLOMATIST

And the road from here to Marsh Gate is impassable.  Some ladies have
been sitting in their coaches for hours outside the hedge there.  We
shall not get home till noon to-morrow.


A VOICE (from the back)

Take care of your watches!  Pickpockets!


FIRST ATTACHE

Good.  That relieves the monotony a little.

  [Excitement in the throng.  When it has subsided the band strikes
  up a country dance, and stewards with white ribbons and laurel
  leaves are seen bustling about.]


SECOND ATTACHE

Let us go and look at the dancing.  It is "Voulez-vous danser"--no,
it is not,--it is "Enrico"--two ladies between two gentlemen.

  [They go from the alcove.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     From this phantasmagoria let us roam
     To the chief wheel and capstan of the show,
     Distant afar.  I pray you closely read
     What I reveal--wherein each feature bulks
     In measure with its value humanly.

  [The beholder finds himself, as it were, caught up on high, and
  while the Vauxhall scene still dimly twinkles below, he gazes
  southward towards Central Europe--the contorted and attenuated
  ecorche of the Continent appearing as in an earlier scene, but
  now obscure under the summer stars.]

     Three cities loom out large: Vienna there,
     Dresden, which holds Napoleon, over here,
     And Leipzig, whither we shall shortly wing,
     Out yonderwards.  'Twixt Dresden and Vienna
     What thing do you discern?


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

          Something broad-faced,
     Flat-folded, parchment-pale, and in its shape
     Rectangular; but moving like a cloud
     The Dresden way.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

          Yet gaze more closely on it.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     The object takes a letter's lineaments
     Though swollen to mainsail measure,--magically,
     I gather from your words; and on its face
     Are three vast seals, red--signifying blood
     Must I suppose?  It moves on Dresden town,
     And dwarfs the city as it passes by.--
     You say Napoleon's there?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               The document,
     Sized to its big importance, as I told,
     Bears in it formal declaration, signed,
     Of war by Francis with his late-linked son,
     The Emperor of France.  Now let us go
     To Leipzig city, and await the blow.

  [A chaotic gloom ensues, accompanied by a rushing like that of a
  mighty wind.]




ACT THIRD


SCENE I

LEIPZIG.  NAPOLEON'S QUARTERS IN THE REUDNITZ SUBURB

  [The sitting-room of a private mansion.  Evening.  A large stove-
  fire and candles burning.  The October wind is heard without, and
  the leaded panes of the old windows shake mournfully.]


SEMICHORUS I OF IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

     We come; and learn as Time's disordered dear sands run
     That Castlereagh's diplomacy has wiled, waxed, won.
     The beacons flash the fevered news to eyes keen bent
     That Austria's formal words of war are shaped, sealed, sent.


SEMICHORUS II

     So; Poland's three despoilers primed by Bull's gross pay
     To stem Napoleon's might, he waits the weird dark day;
     His proffered peace declined with scorn, in fell force then
     They front him, with yet ten-score thousand more massed men.

  [At the back of the room CAULAINCOURT, DUKE OF VICENZA, and
  JOUANNE, one of Napoleon's confidential secretaries, are unpacking
  and laying out the Emperor's maps and papers.  In the foreground
  BERTHIER, MURAT, LAURISTON, and several officers of Napoleon's
  suite, are holding a desultory conversation while they await his
  entry.  Their countenances are overcast.]


MURAT

At least, the scheme of marching on Berlin
Is now abandoned.


LAURISTON

          Not without high words:
He yielded and gave order prompt for Leipzig
But coldness and reserve have marked his mood
Towards us ever since.


BERTHIER

          The march hereto
He has looked on as a retrogressive one,
And that, he ever holds, is courting woe.
To counsel it was doubtless full of risk,
And heaped us with responsibilities;
--Yet 'twas your missive, sire, that settled it (to MURAT).
How stirred he was!  "To Leipzig, or Berlin?"
He kept repeating, as he drew and drew
Fantastic figures on the foolscap sheet,--
"The one spells ruin--t'other spells success,
And which is which?"


MURAT (stiffly)

          What better could I do?
So far were the Allies from sheering off
As he supposed, that they had moved in march
Full fanfare hither!  I was duty-bound
To let him know.


LAURISTON

          Assuming victory here,
If he should let the advantage slip him by
As on the Dresden day, he wrecks us all!
'Twas damnable--to ride back from the fight
Inside a coach, as though we had not won!


CAULAINCOURT (from the back)

The Emperor was ill: I have ground for knowing.

  [NAPOLEON enters.]


NAPOLEON (buoyantly)

Comrades, the outlook promises us well!


MURAT (dryly)

Right glad are we you tongue such tidings, sire.
To us the stars have visaged differently;
To wit: we muster outside Leipzig here
Levies one hundred and ninety thousand strong.
The enemy has mustered, OUTSIDE US,
Three hundred and fifty thousand--if not more.


NAPOLEON

All that is needful is to conquer them!
We are concentred here: they lie a-spread,
Which shrinks them to two-hundred-thousand power:--
Though that the urgency of victory
Is absolute, I admit.


MURAT

          Yea; otherwise
The issue will be worse than Moscow, sire!

  [MARMONT, DUKE OF RAGUSA (Wellington's adversary in Spain), is
  announced, and enters.]


NAPOLEON

Ah, Marmont; bring you in particulars?


MARMONT

Some sappers I have taken captive, sire,
Say the Allies will be at stroke with us
The morning next to to-morrow's.--I am come,
Now, from the steeple-top of Liebenthal,
Where I beheld the enemy's fires bespot
The horizon round with raging eyes of flame:--
My vanward posts, too, have been driven in,
And I need succours--thrice ten thousand, say.


NAPOLEON (coldly)

The enemy vexes not your vanward posts;
You are mistaken.--Now, however, go;
Cross Leipzig, and remain as the reserve.--
Well, gentlemen, my hope herein is this:
The first day to annihilate Schwarzenberg,
The second Blucher.  So shall we slip the toils
They are all madding to enmesh us in.


BERTHIER

Few are our infantry to fence with theirs!


NAPOLEON (cheerfully)

We'll range them in two lines instead of three,
And so we shall look stronger by one-third.


BERTHIER (incredulously)

Can they be thus deceived, sire?


NAPOLEON

          Can they?  Yes!
With all my practice I can err in numbers
At least one-quarter; why not they one-third?
Anyhow, 'tis worth trying at a pinch. . . .

  [AUGEREAU is suddenly announced.]

Good!  I've not seen him yet since he arrived.

  [Enter AUGEREAU.

Here you are then at last, old Augereau!
You have been looked for long.--But you are no more
The Augereau of Castiglione days!


AUGEREAU

Nay, sire!  I still should be the Augereau
Of glorious Castiglione, could you give
The boys of Italy back again to me!


NAPOLEON

Well, let it drop. . . . Only I notice round me
An atmosphere of scopeless apathy
Wherein I do not share.


AUGEREAU

          There are reasons, sire,
Good reasons for despondence!  As I came
I learnt, past question, that Bavaria
Swerves on the very pivot of desertion.
This adds some threescore thousand to our foes.


NAPOLEON (irritated)

That consummation long has threatened us! . . .
Would that you showed the steeled fidelity
You used to show!  Except me, all are slack!
(To Murat) Why, even you yourself, my brother-in-law,
Have been inclining to abandon me!


MURAT (vehemently)

I, sire?  It is not so.  I stand and swear
The grievous imputation is untrue.
You should know better than believe these things,
And well remember I have enemies
Who ever wait to slander me to you!


NAPOLEON (more calmly)

Ah yes, yes.  That is so.--And yet--and yet
You have deigned to weigh the feasibility
Of treating me as Austria has done! . . .
But I forgive you.  You are a worthy man;
You feel real friendship for me.  You are brave.
Yet I was wrong to make a king of you.
If I had been content to draw the line
At vice-king, as with young Eugene, no more,
As he has laboured you'd have laboured, too!
But as full monarch, you have foraged rather
For your own pot than mine!

  [MURAT and the marshal are silent, and look at each other with
  troubled countenances.  NAPOLEON goes to the table at the back, and
  bends over the charts with CAULAINCOURT, dictating desultory notes
  to the secretaries.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

               A seer might say
     This savours of a sad Last-Supper talk
     'Twixt his disciples and this Christ of war!

  [Enter an attendant.]


ATTENDANT

The Saxon King and Queen and the Princess
Enter the city gates, your Majesty.
They seek the shelter of the civic walls
Against the risk of capture by Allies.


NAPOLEON

Ah, so?  My friend Augustus, is he near?
I will be prompt to meet him when he comes,
And safely quarter him.  (He returns to the map.)

  [An interval.  The clock strikes midnight.  The EMPEROR rises
  abruptly, sighs, and comes forward.]

          I now retire,
Comrades.  Good-night, good-night. Remember well
All must prepare to grip with gory death
In the now voidless battle.  It will be
A great one and a critical; one, in brief,
That will seal France's fate, and yours, and mine!


ALL (fervidly)

We'll do our utmost, by the Holy Heaven!


NAPOLEON

Ah--what was that?  (He pulls back the window-curtain.)


SEVERAL

          It is our enemies,
Whose southern hosts are signalling to their north.

  [A white rocket is beheld high in the air.  It is followed by a
  second, and a third.  There is a pause, during which NAPOLEON and
  the rest wait motionless.  In a minute or two, from the opposite
  side of the city, three coloured rockets are sent up, in evident
  answer to the three white ones.  NAPOLEON muses, and lets the
  curtain drop.]


NAPOLEON

Yes, Schwarzenberg to Blucher. . . . It must be
To show that they are ready.  So are we!

  [He goes out without saying more.  The marshals and other officers
  withdraw.  The room darkens and ends the scene.]



SCENE II

THE SAME.  THE CITY AND THE BATTLEFIELD

  [Leipzig is viewed in aerial perspective from a position above the
  south suburbs, and reveals itself as standing in a plain, with
  rivers and marshes on the west, north, and south of it, and higher
  ground to the east and south-east.

  At this date it is somewhat in she shape of the letter D, the
  straight part of which is the river Pleisse.  Except as to this
  side it is surrounded by armies--the inner horseshoe of them
  being the French defending the city;  the outer horseshoe being
  the Allies about to attack it.

  Far over the city--as it were at the top of the D--at Lindenthal,
  we see MARMONT stationed to meet BLUCHER when he arrives on that
  side.  To the right of him is NEY, and further off to the right,
  on heights eastward, MACDONALD.  Then round the curve towards the
  south in order, AUGEREAU, LAURISTON (behind whom is NAPOLEON
  himself and the reserve of Guards), VICTOR (at Wachau), and
  PONIATOWSKI, near the Pleisse River at the bottom of the D.  Near
  him are the cavalry of KELLERMANN and MILHAUD, and in the same
  direction MURAT with his, covering the great avenues of approach
  on the south.

  Outside all these stands SCHWARZENBERG'S army, of which, opposed
  to MACDONALD and LAURISTON, are KLEINAU'S Austrians and ZIETEN'S
  Prussians, covered on the flank by Cossacks under PLATOFF.
  Opposed to VICTOR and PONIATOWSKI are MEERFELDT and Hesse-Homburg's
  Austrians, WITTGENSTEIN'S Russians, KLEIST'S Prussians, GUILAY'S
  Austrians, with LICHTENSTEIN'S and THIELMANN'S light troops: thus
  reaching round across the Elster into the morass on our near left--
  the lower point of the D.]


SEMICHORUS I OF RUMOURS (aerial music)

     This is the combat of Napoleon's hope,
     But not of his assurance!  Shrunk in power
     He broods beneath October's clammy cope,
     While hemming hordes wax denser every hour.


SEMICHORUS II

     He knows, he knows that though in equal fight
     He stand s heretofore the matched of none,
     A feeble skill is propped by numbers' might,
     And now three hosts close round to crush out one!


DUMB SHOW

The Leipzig clocks imperturbably strike nine, and the battle which
is to decide the fate of Europe, and perhaps the world, begins with
three booms from the line of the allies.  They are the signal for
a general cannonade of devastating intensity.

So massive is the contest that we soon fail to individualize the
combatants as beings, and can only observe them as amorphous drifts,
clouds, and waves of conscious atoms, surging and rolling together;
can only particularize them by race, tribe, and language.
Nationalities from the uttermost parts of Asia here meet those from
the Atlantic edge of Europe for the first and last time.  By noon
the sound becomes a loud droning, uninterrupted and breve-like, as
from the pedal of an organ kept continuously down.


CHORUS OF RUMOURS

     Now triple battle beats about the town,
     And now contracts the huge elastic ring
     Of fighting flesh, as those within go down,
     Or spreads, as those without show faltering!


It becomes apparent that the French have a particular intention,
the Allies only a general one.  That of the French is to break
through the enemy's centre and surround his right.  To this end
NAPOLEON launches fresh columns, and simultaneously OUDINOT supports
VICTOR against EUGENE OF WURTEMBERG'S right, while on the other
side of him the cavalry of MILHAUD and KELLERMAN prepares to charge.
NAPOLEON'S combination is successful, and drives back EUGENE.
Meanwhile SCHWARZENBERG is stuck fast, useless in the marshes
between the Pleisse and the Elster.

By three o'clock the Allied centre, which has held out against the
assaults of the French right and left, is broken through by cavalry
under MURAT, LATOUR-MAUBOURG, and KELLERMANN.

The bells of Leipzig ring.


CHORUS OF THE PITIES

     Those chimings, ill-advised and premature!
     Who knows if such vast valour will endure?


The Austro-Russians are withdrawn from the marshes by SCHWARZENBERG.
But the French cavalry also get entangled in the swamps, and
simultaneously MARMONT is beaten at Mockern.

Meanwhile NEY, to the north of Leipzig, having heard the battle
raging southward, leaves his position to assist it.  He has nearly
arrived when he hears BLUCHER attacking at the point he came from,
and sends back some of his divisions.

BERTRAND has kept open the west road to Lindenau and the Rhine, the
only French line of retreat.

Evening finds the battle a drawn one.  With the nightfall three blank
shots reverberate hollowly.


SEMICHORUS I OF RUMOURS

     They sound to say that, for this moaning night,
     As Nature sleeps, so too shall sleep the fight;
     Neither the victor.


SEMICHORUS II

               But, for France and him,
     Half-won is losing!


CHORUS

               Yea, his hopes drop dim,
     Since nothing less than victory to-day
     Had saved a cause whose ruin is delay!


The night gets thicker and no more is seen.



SCENE III

THE SAME, FROM THE TOWER OF THE PLEISSENBURG

  [The tower commands a view of a great part of the battlefield.
  Day has just dawned, and citizens, saucer-eyed from anxiety and
  sleeplessness, are discover watching.]


FIRST CITIZEN

The wind increased at midnight while I watched,
With flapping showers, and clouds that combed the moon,
Till dawn began outheaving this huge day,
Pallidly--as if scared by its own issue;
This day that the Allies with bonded might
Have vowed to deal their felling finite blow.


SECOND CITIZEN

So must it be!  They have welded close the coop
Wherein our luckless Frenchmen are enjailed
With such compression that their front has shrunk
From five miles' farness to but half as far.--
Men say Napoleon made resolve last night
To marshal a retreat.  If so, his way
Is by the Bridge of Lindenau.

  [They look across in the cold east light at the long straight
  causeway from the Ranstadt Gate at the north-west corner of the
  town, and the Lindenau bridge over the Elster beyond.]


FIRST CITIZEN

Last night I saw, like wolf-packs, hosts appear
Upon the Dresden road; and then, anon,
The already stout arrays of Schwarzenberg
Grew stoutened more.  I witnessed clearly, too,
Just before dark, the bands of Bernadotte
Come, hemming in the north more thoroughly.
The horizon glowered with a thousand fires
As the unyielding circle shut around.

  [As it grows light they scan and define the armies.]


THIRD CITIZEN

Those lying there, 'twixt Connewitz and Dolitz,
Are the right wing of horse Murat commands.
Next, Poniatowski, Victor, and the rest.
Out here, Napoleon's centre at Probstheida,
Where he has bivouacked.  Those round this way
Are his left wing with Ney, that face the north
Between Paunsdorf and Gohlis.--Thus, you see
They are skilfully sconced within the villages,
With cannon ranged in front.  And every copse,
Dingle, and grove is packed with riflemen.

  [The heavy sky begins to clear with the full arrival of the
  morning.  The sun bursts out, and the previously dark and gloomy
  masses glitter in the rays.  It is now seven o'clock, and with the
  shining of the sun, the battle is resumed.

  The army of Bohemia to the south and east, in three great columns,
  marches concentrically upon NAPOLEON'S new and much-contracted line
  --the first column of thirty-five thousand under BENNIGSEN; the
  second, the central, forty-five thousand under BARCLAY DE TOLLY;
  the third, twenty-five thousand under the PRINCE OF HESSE-HOMBURG.

  An interval of suspense.]


FIRST CITIZEN

Ah, see!  The French bend, falter, and fall back.

  [Another interval.  Then a huge rumble of artillery resounds from
  the north.]


SEMICHORUS OF RUMOURS (aerial music)

     Now Blucher has arrived; and now falls to!
     Marmont withdraws before him.  Bernadotte
     Touching Bennigsen, joins attack with him,
     And Ney must needs recede.  This serves as sign
     To Schwarzenberg to bear upon Probstheida--
     Napoleon's keystone and dependence here.
     But for long whiles he fails to win his will,
   The chief being nigh--outmatching might with skill.


SEMICHORUS II

     Ney meanwhile, stung still sharplier, still withdraws
     Nearer the town, and met by new mischance,
     Finds him forsaken by his Saxon wing--
     Fair files of thrice twelve thousand footmanry.
     But rallying those still true with signs and calls,
   He warely closes up his remnant to the walls.


SEMICHORUS I

     Around Probstheida still the conflict rolls
     Under Napoleon's eye surpassingly.
     Like sedge before the scythe the sections fall
     And bayonets slant and reek.  Each cannon-blaze
     Makes the air thick with human limbs; while keen
     Contests rage hand to hand.  Throats shout "advance,"
     And forms walm, wallow, and slack suddenly.
     Hot ordnance split and shiver and rebound,
   And firelocks fouled and flintless overstrew the ground.


SEMICHORUS II

     At length the Allies, daring tumultuously,
     Find them inside Probstheida.  There is fixed
     Napoleon's cardinal and centre hold.
     But need to loose it grows his gloomy fear
   As night begins to brown and treacherous mists appear.


CHORUS

     Then, on the three fronts of this reaching field,
     A furious, far, and final cannonade
     Burns from two thousand mouths and shakes the plain,
     And hastens the sure end!  Towards the west
     Bertrand keeps open the retreating-way,
     Along which wambling waggons since the noon
     Have crept in closening file.  Dusk draws around;
     The marching remnants drowse amid their talk,
   And worn and harrowed horses slumber as the walk.

  [In the darkness of the distance spread cries from the maimed
  animals and the wounded men.  Multitudes of the latter contrive to
  crawl into the city, until the streets are full of them.  Their
  voices are heard calling.]


SECOND CITIZEN

They cry for water!  Let us go down,
And do what mercy may.

  [Exeunt citizens from the tower.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               A fire is lit
     Near to the Thonberg wind-wheel.  Can it be
     Napoleon tarries yet?  Let us go see.

  [The distant firelight becomes clearer and closer.]



SCENE IV

THE SAME.  AT THE THONBERG WINDMILL

  [By the newly lighted fire NAPOLEON is seen walking up and down,
  much agitated and worn.  With him are MURAT, BERTHIER, AUGEREAU,
  VICTOR, and other marshals of corps that have been engaged in this
  part of the field--all perspiring, muddy, and fatigued.]


NAPOLEON

Baseness so gross I had not guessed of them!--
The thirty thousand false Bavarians
I looked on losing not unplacidly;
But these troth-swearing sober Saxonry
I reckoned staunch by virtue of their king!
Thirty-five thousand and gone!  It magnifies
A failure into a catastrophe. . . .
Murat, we must retreat precipitately,
And not as hope had dreamed!  Begin it then
This very hour.--Berthier, write out the orders.--
Let me sit down.

  [A chair is brought out from the mill.  NAPOLEON sinks into it, and
  BERTHIER, stooping over the fire, begins writing to the Emperor's
  dictation, the marshals looking with gloomy faces at the flaming
  logs.

  NAPOLEON has hardly dictated a line when he stops short.  BERTHIER
  turns round and finds that he has dropt asleep.]


MURAT (sullenly)

          Far better not disturb him;
He'll soon enough awake!

  [They wait, muttering to one another in tones expressing weary
  indifference to issues.  NAPOLEON sleeps heavily for a quarter of
  and hour, during which the moon rises over the field.  At the end
  he starts up stares around him with astonishment.]


NAPOLEON

          Am I awake?
Or is this all a dream?--Ah, no.  Too real! . . .
And yet I have seen ere now a time like this.

  [The dictation is resumed.  While it is in progress there can be
  heard between the words of NAPOLEON the persistent cries from the
  plain, rising and falling like those of a vast rookery far away,
  intermingled with the trampling of hoofs and the rumble of wheels.
  The bivouac fires of the engirdling enemy glow all around except
  for a small segment to the west--the track of retreat, still kept
  open by BERTRAND, and already taken by the baggage-waggons.

  The orders for its adoption by the entire army being completed,
  NAPOLEON bids adieu to his marshals, and rides with BERTHIER and
  CAULAINCOURT into Leipzig.  Exeunt also the others.]


SEMICHORUS I OF THE PITIES

     Now, as in the dream of one sick to death,
       There comes a narrowing room
     That pens him, body and limbs and breath,
       To wait a hideous doom,


SEMICHORUS II

     So to Napoleon in the hush
       That holds the town and towers
     Through this dire night, a creeping crush
       Seems inborne with the hours.

  [The scene closes under a rimy mist, which makes a lurid cloud of
  the firelights.]



SCENE V

THE SAME.  A STREET NEAR THE RANSTADT GATE

  [High old-fashioned houses form the street, along which, from the
  east of the city, is streaming a confusion of waggons, in hurried
  exit through the gate westward upon the highroad to Lindenau,
  Lutzen, and the Rhine.

  In front of an inn called the "Prussian Arms" are some attendants
  of NAPOLEON waiting with horses.]


FIRST OFFICER

He has just come from bidding the king and queen
A long good-bye. . . . Is it that they will pay
For his indulgence of their past ambition
By sharing now his ruin?  Much the king
Did beg him to leave them to their lot,
And shun the shame of capture needlessly.
                     (He looks anxiously towards the door.)
I would he'd haste!  Each minute is of price.


SECOND OFFICER

The king will come to terms with the Allies.
They will not hurt him.  Though he has lost his all,
His case is not like ours!

  [The cheers of the approaching enemy grow louder.  NAPOLEON comes
  out from the "Prussian Arms," haggard and in disordered attire.
  He is about to mount, but, perceiving the blocked state of the
  street, he hesitates.]


NAPOLEON

          God, what a crowd!
I shall more quickly gain the gate afoot.
There is a byway somewhere, I suppose?

  [A citizen approaches out of the inn.]


CITIZEN

This alley, sire, will speed you to the gate;
I shall be honoured much to point the way.


NAPOLEON

Then do, good friend.  (To attendants)  Bring on the horses there;
I if arrive soonest I will wait for you.

  [The citizen shows NAPOLEON the way into the alley.]


CITIZEN

A garden's at the end, your Majesty,
Through which you pass.  Beyond there is a door
That opens to the Elster bank unbalked.

  [NAPOLEON disappears into the alley.  His attendants plunge amid
  the traffic with the horses, and thread their way down the street.

  Another citizen comes from the door of the inn and greets the
  first.]


FIRST CITIZEN

He's gone!


SECOND CITIZEN

     I'll see if he succeed.

  [He re-enters the inn and soon appears at an upper window.]


FIRST CITIZEN (from below)

     You see him?


SECOND CITIZEN (gazing)

He is already at the garden-end;
Now he has passed out to the river-brim,
And plods along it toward the Ranstadt Gate. . . .
He finds no horses for him! . . . And the crowd
Thrusts him about, none recognizing him.
Ah--now the horses do arrive.  He mounts,
And hurries through the arch. . . . Again I see him--
Now he's upon the causeway in the marsh;
Now rides across the bridge of Lindenau . . .
And now, among the troops that choke the road
I lose all sight of him.

  [A third citizen enters from the direction NAPOLEON has taken.]


THIRD CITIZEN (breathlessly)

          I have seen him go!
And while he passed the gate I stood i' the crowd
So close I could have touched him!  Few discerned
In one so soiled the erst Arch-Emperor!--
In the lax mood of him who has lost all
He stood inert there, idly singing thin:
"Malbrough s'en va-t-en guerre!"--until his suite
Came up with horses.


SECOND CITIZEN (still gazing afar)

          Poniatowski's Poles
Wearily walk the level causeway now;
Also, meseems, Macdonald's corps and Reynier's.
The frail-framed, new-built bridge has broken down:
They've but the old to cross by.


FIRST CITIZEN

          Feeble foresight!
They should have had a dozen.


SECOND CITIZEN

          All the corps--
Macdonald's, Poniatowski's, Reynier's--all--
Confusedly block the entrance to the bridge.
And--verily Blucher's troops are through the town,
And are debouching from the Ranstadt Gate
Upon the Frenchmen's rear!

  [A thunderous report stops his words, echoing through the city from
  the direction in which he is gazing, and rattling all the windows.
  A hoarse chorus of cries becomes audible immediately after.]


FIRST, THIRD, ETC., CITIZENS

     Ach, Heaven!--what's that?


SECOND CITIZEN

The bridge of Lindenau has been upblown!


SEMICHORUS I OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     There leaps to the sky and earthen wave,
          And stones, and men, as though
     Some rebel churchyard crew updrave
          Their sepulchres from below.


SEMICHORUS II

     To Heaven is blown Bridge Lindenau;
          Wrecked regiments reel therefrom;
     And rank and file in masses plough
          The sullen Elster-Strom.


SEMICHORUS I

     A gulf is Lindenau; and dead
          Are fifties, hundreds, tens;
     And every current ripples red
          With marshals' blood and men's.


SEMICHORUS II

     The smart Macdonald swims therein,
          And barely wins the verge;
     Bold Poniatowski plunges in
          Never to re-emerge!


FIRST CITIZEN

Are not the French across as yet, God save them?


SECOND CITIZEN (still gazing above)

Nor Reynier's corps, Macdonald's, Lauriston's,
Nor yet the Poles. . . . And Blucher's troops approach,
And all the French this side are prisoners.
--Now for our handling by the Prussian host;
Scant courtesy for our king!

  [Other citizens appear beside him at the window, and further
  conversation continues entirely above.]


CHORUS OF IRONIC SPIRITS

     The Battle of the Nations now is closing,
        And all is lost to One, to many gained;
     The old dynastic routine reimposing,
        The new dynastic structure unsustained.

     Now every neighbouring realm is France's warder,
        And smirking satisfaction will be feigned:
     The which is seemlier?--so-called ancient order,
        Or that the hot-breath'd war-horse ramp unreined?

  [The October night thickens and curtains the scene.]



SCENE VI

THE PYRENEES.  NEAR THE RIVER NIVELLE

  [Evening.  The dining-room of WELLINGTON'S quarters.  The table is
  laid for dinner.  The battle of the Nivelle has just been fought.

  Enter WELLINGTON, HILL, BERESFORD, STEWART, HOPE, CLINTON, COLBORNE,
  COLE, KEMPT (with a bound-up wound), and other officers.


WELLINGTON

It is strange that they did not hold their grand position more
tenaciously against us to-day.  By God, I don't quite see why we
should have beaten them!


COLBORNE

My impression is that they had the stiffness taken out of them by
something they had just heard of.  Anyhow, startling news of some
kind was received by those of the Eighty-eighth we took in the
signal-redoubt after I summoned the Commandant.


WELLINGTON

Oh, what news?


COLBORNE

I cannot say, my lord,  I only know that the latest number of the
_Imperial Gazette_ was seen in the hands of some of them before the
capture.  They had been reading the contents, and were cast down.


WELLINGTON

That's interesting.  I wonder what the news could have been?


HILL

Something about Boney's army in Saxony would be most probable.
Though I question if there's time yet for much to have been
decided there.


BERESFORD

Well, I wouldn't say that.  A hell of a lot of things may have
happened there by this time.


COLBORNE

It was tantalizing, but they were just able to destroy the paper
before we could prevent them.


WELLINGTON

Did you question them?


COLBORNE

Oh yes.  But they stayed sulking at being taken, and would tell us
nothing, pretending that they knew nothing.  Whether much were going
on, they said, or little, between the army of the Emperor and the
army of the Allies, it was none of their business to relate it; so
they kept a gloomy silence for the most part.


WELLINGTON

They will cheer up a bit and be more communicative when they have had
some dinner.


COLE

They are dining here, my lord?


WELLINGTON

I sent them an invitation an hour ago, which they have accepted.
I could do no less, poor devils.  They'll be here in a few minutes.
See that they have plenty of Madeira to whet their whistles with.
It well screw them up into a better key, and they'll not be so
reserved.

  [The conversation on the day's battle becomes general.  Enter as
  guests French officers of the Eighty-eighth regiment now prisoners
  on parole.  They are welcomed by WELLINGTON and the staff, and all
  sit down to dinner.

  For some time the meal proceeds almost in silence; but wine is
  passed freely, and both French and English officers become
  talkative and merry.


WELLINGTON (to the French Commandant)

More cozy this, sir, than--I'll warrant me--
You found it in that damned redoubt to-day?


COMMANDANT

The devil if 'tis not, monseigneur, sure!


WELLINGTON

So 'tis for us who were outside, by God!


COMMANDANT (gloomily)

No; we were not at ease!  Alas, my lord,
'Twas more than flesh and blood could do, to fight
After such paralyzing tidings came.
More life may trickle out of men through thought
Than through a gaping wound.


WELLINGTON

          Your reference
Bears on the news from Saxony, I infer?


SECOND FRENCH OFFICER

Yes: on the Emperor's ruinous defeat
At Leipzig city--brought to our startled heed
By one of the _Gazettes_ just now arrived.

  [All the English officers stop speaking, and listen eagerly.]


WELLINGTON

Where are the Emperor's headquarters now?


COMMANDANT

My lord, there are no headquarters.


WELLINGTON

     No headquarters?


COMMANDANT

There are no French headquarters now, my lord,
For there is no French army!  France's fame
Is fouled.  And how, then, could we fight to-day
With our hearts in our shoes!


WELLINGTON

          Why, that bears out
What I but lately said; it was not like
The brave men who have faced and foiled me here
So many a long year past, to give away
A stubborn station quite so readily.


BERESFORD

And what, messieurs, ensued at Leipzig then?


SEVERAL FRENCH OFFICERS

Why, sirs, should we conceal it?  Thereupon
Part of our army took the Lutzen road;
Behind a blown-up bridge.  Those in advance
Arrived at Lutzen with the Emperor--
The scene of our once famous victory!
In such sad sort retreat was hurried on,
Erfurt was gained with Blucher hot at heel.
To cross the Rhine seemed then our only hope;
Alas, the Austrians and the Bavarians
Faced us in Hanau Forest, led by Wrede,
And dead-blocked our escape.


WELLINGTON

     Ha.  Did they though?


SECOND FRENCH OFFICER

But if brave hearts were ever desperate,
Sir, we were desperate then!  We pierced them through,
Our loss unrecking.  So by Frankfurt's walls
We fared to Mainz, and there recrossed the Rhine.
A funeral procession, so we seemed,
Upon the long bridge that had rung so oft
To our victorious feet! . . . What since has coursed
We know not, gentlemen.  But this we know,
That Germany echoes no French footfall!


AN ENGLISH OFFICER

One sees not why it should.


SECOND FRENCH OFFICER

     We'll leave it so.

  [Conversation on the Leipzig disaster continues till the dinner
  ends  The French prisoners courteously take their leave and go
  out.]


WELLINGTON

Very good set of fellows.  I could wish
They all were mine! . . .Well, well; there was no crime
In trying to ascertain these fat events:
They would have sounded soon from other tongues.


HILL

It looks like the first scene of act the last
For our and all men's foe!


WELLINGTON

          I count to meet
The Allies upon the cobble-stones of Paris
Before another half-year's suns have shone.
--But there's some work for us to do here yet:
The dawn must find us fording the Nivelle!

  [Exeunt WELLINGTON and officers.  The room darkens.]




ACT FOURTH


SCENE I

THE UPPER RHINE

  [The view is from a vague altitude over the beautiful country
  traversed by the Upper Rhine, which stretches through it in
  birds-eye perspective.  At this date in Europe's history the
  stream forms the frontier between France and Germany.

  It is the morning of New Year's Day, and the shine of the tardy
  sun reaches the fronts of the beetling castles, but scarcely
  descends far enough to touch the wavelets of the river winding
  leftwards across the many-leagued picture from Schaffhausen to
  Coblenz.]


DUMB SHOW

At first nothing--not even the river itself--seems to move in the
panorama.  But anon certain strange dark patches in the landscape,
flexuous and riband-shaped, are discerned to be moving slowly.
Only one movable object on earth is large enough to be conspicuous
herefrom, and that is an army.  The moving shapes are armies.

The nearest, almost beneath us, is defiling across the river by a
bridge of boats, near the junction of the Rhine and the Neckar,
where the oval town of Mannheim, standing in the fork between the
two rivers, has from here the look of a human head in a cleft
stick.  Martial music from many bands strikes up as the crossing
is effected, and the undulating columns twinkle as if they were
scaly serpents.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     It is the Russian host, invading France!


Many miles to the left, down-stream, near the little town of Caube,
another army is seen to be simultaneously crossing the pale current,
its arms and accoutrements twinkling in like manner.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     Thither the Prussian levies, too, advance!


Turning now to the right, far away by Basel (beyond which the
Swiss mountains close the scene), a still larger train of war-
geared humanity, two hundred thousand strong, is discernible.
It has already crossed the water, which is much narrower here,
and has advanced several miles westward, where its ductile mass
of greyness and glitter is beheld parting into six columns, that
march on in flexuous courses of varying direction.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     There glides carked Austria's invading force!--
     Panting, too, Paris-wards with foot and horse,
     Of one intention with the other twain,
     And Wellington, from the south, in upper Spain.


All these dark and grey columns, converging westward by sure
degrees, advance without opposition.  They glide on as if by
gravitation, in fluid figures, dictated by the conformation of
the country, like water from a burst reservoir; mostly snake-
shaped, but occasionally with batrachian and saurian outlines.
In spite of the immensity of this human mechanism on its surface,
the winter landscape wears an impassive look, as if nothing were
happening.

Evening closes in, and the Dumb Show is obscured.



SCENE II

PARIS.  THE TUILERIES

  [It is Sunday just after mass, and the principal officers of the
  National Guard are assembled in the Salle des Marechaux.  They
  stand in an attitude of suspense, some with the print of sadness
  on their faces, some with that of perplexity.

  The door leading from the Hall to the adjoining chapel is thrown
  open.  There enter from the chapel with the last notes of the
  service the EMPEROR NAPOLEON and the EMPRESS; and simultaneously
  from a door opposite MADAME DE MONTESQUIOU, the governess, who
  carries in her arms the KING OF ROME, now a fair child between
  two and three.  He is clothed in a miniature uniform of the
  Guards themselves.

  MADAM DE MONTESQUIOU brings forward the child and sets him on his
  feet near his mother.  NAPOLEON, with a mournful smile, giving one
  hand to the boy and the other to MARIE LOUISE, _en famille_, leads
  them forward.  The Guard bursts into cheers.]


NAPOLEON

Gentlemen of the National Guard and friends,
I have to leave you; and before I fare
To Heaven know what of personal destiny,
I give into your loyal guardianship
Those dearest in the world to me; my wife,
The Empress, and my son the King of Rome.--
I go to shield your roofs and kin from foes
Who have dared to pierce the fences of our land;
And knowing that you house those dears of mine,
I start afar in all tranquillity,
Stayed by my trust in your proved faithfulness.
                       (Enthusiastic cheers for the Guard.)


OFFICERS (with emotion)

We proudly swear to justify the trust!
And never will we see another sit
Than you, or yours, on the great throne of France.


NAPOLEON

I ratify the Empress' regency,
And re-confirm it on last year's lines,
My bother Joseph stoutening her rule
As the Lieutenant-General of the State.--
Vex her with no divisions; let regard
For property, for order, and for France
Be chief with all.  Know, gentlemen, the Allies
Are drunken with success.  Their late advantage
They have handled wholly for their own gross gain,
And made a pastime of my agony.

That I go clogged with cares I sadly own;
Yet I go primed with hope; ay, in despite
Of a last sorrow that has sunk upon me,--
The grief of hearing, good and constant friends,
That my own sister's consort, Naples' king,
Blazons himself a backer of the Allies,
And marches with a Neapolitan force
Against our puissance under Prince Eugene.

The varied operations to ensue
May bring the enemy largely Paris-wards;
But suffer no alarm; before long days
I will annihilate by flank and rear
Those who have risen to trample on our soil;
And as I have done so many and proud a time,
Come back to you with ringing victory!--
Now, see: I personally present to you
My son and my successor ere I go.

  [He takes the child in his arms and carries him round to the
  officers severally.  They are much affected and raise loud
  cheers.]

You stand by him and her?  You swear as much?


OFFICERS

We do!


NAPOLEON

     This you repeat--you promise it?


OFFICERS

We promise.  May the dynasty live for ever!

  [Their shouts, which spread to the Carrousel without, are echoed
  by the soldiers of the Guard assembled there. The EMPRESS is now
  in tears, and the EMPEROR supports her.]


MARIE LOUISE

Such whole enthusiasm I have never known!--
Not even from the Landwehr of Vienna.

  [Amid repeated protestations and farewells NAPOLEON, the EMPRESS,
  the KING OF ROME, MADAME DE MONTESQUIOU, etc. go out in one
  direction, and the officers of the National Guard in another.

  The curtain falls for an interval.

  When it rises again the apartment is in darkness, and its atmosphere
  chilly.  The January night-wind howls without.  Two servants enter
  hastily, and light candles and a fire.  The hands of the clock are
  pointing to three.

  The room is hardly in order when the EMPEROR enters, equipped for
  the intended journey; and with him, his left arm being round her
  waist, walks MARIE LOUISE in a dressing-gown.  On his right arm
  he carries the KING OF ROME, and in his hand a bundle of papers.
  COUNT BERTRAND and a few members of the household follow.

  Reaching the middle of the room, he kisses the child and embraces
  the EMPRESS, who is tearful, the child weeping likewise.  NAPOLEON
  takes the papers to the fire, thrusts them in, and watches them
  consume; then burns other bundles brought by his attendants.]


NAPOLEON (gloomily)

Better to treat them thus; since no one knows
What comes, or into whose hands he may fall!


MARIE LOUISE

I have an apprehension-unexplained--
That I shall never see you any more!


NAPOLEON

Dismiss such fears.  You may as well as not.
As things are doomed to be they will be, dear.
If shadows must come, let them come as though
The sun were due and you were trusting to it:
'Twill teach the world it wrongs in bringing them.

  [They embrace finally.  Exeunt NAPOLEON, etc.  Afterwards MARIE
  LOUISE and the child.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Her instinct forwardly is keen in cast,
     And yet how limited.  True it may be
     They never more will meet; although--to use
     The bounded prophecy I am dowered with--
     The screen that will maintain their severance
     Would pass her own believing; proving it
     No gaol-grille, no scath of scorching war,
     But this persuasion, pressing on her pulse
     To breed aloofness and a mind averse;
     Until his image in her soul will shape
     Dwarfed as a far Colossus on a plain,
     Or figure-head that smalls upon the main.

  [The lights are extinguished and the hall is left in darkness.]



SCENE III

THE SAME.  THE APARTMENTS OF THE EMPRESS

  [A March morning, verging on seven o'clock, throws its cheerless
  stare into the private drawing-room of MARIE LOUISE, animating
  the gilt furniture to only a feeble shine. Two chamberlains of
  the palace are there in waiting.  They look from the windows and
  yawn.]


FIRST CHAMBERLAIN

Here's a watering for spring hopes!  Who would have supposed when
the Emperor left, and appointed her Regent, that she and the Regency
too would have to scurry after in so short a time!


SECOND CHAMBERLAIN

Was a course decided on last night?


FIRST CHAMBERLAIN

Yes.  The Privy Council sat till long past midnight, debating the
burning question whether she and the child should remain or not.
Some were one way, some the other.  She settled the matter by saying
she would go.


SECOND CHAMBERLAIN

I thought it might come to that.  I heard the alarm beating all night
to assemble the National Guard; and I am told that some volunteers
have marched out to support Marmot.  But they are a mere handful:
what can they do?

  [A clatter of wheels and a champing and prancing of horses is
  heard outside the palace.  MENEVAL enters, and divers officers
  of the household;  then from her bedroom at the other end MARIE
  LOUISE, in a travelling dress and hat, leading the KING OF ROME,
  attired for travel likewise.  She looks distracted and pale.
  Next come the DUCHESS OF MONTEBELLO, lady of honour, the COUNTESS
  DE MONTESQUIOU, ladies of the palace, and others, all in travelling
  trim.]


KING OF ROME (plaintively)

Why are we doing these strange things, mamma,
And what did we get up so early for?


MARIE LOUISE

I cannot, dear, explain.  So many events
Enlarge and make so many hours of one,
That it would be too hard to tell them now.


KING OF ROME

But you know why we a setting out like this?
Is it because we fear our enemies?


MARIE LOUISE

We are not sure that we are going yet.
I may be needful; but don't ask me here.
Some time I will tell you.

  [She sits down irresolutely, and bestows recognitions on the
  assembled officials with a preoccupied air.]


KING OF ROME (in a murmur)

          I like being here best;
And I don't want to go I know not where!


MARIE LOUISE

Run, dear to Mamma 'Quiou and talk to her
               (He goes across to MADAME DE MONTESQUIOU.)
I hear that women of the Royalist hope
                          (To the DUCHESS OF MONTEBELLO)
Have bent them busy in their private rooms
With working white cockades these several days.--
Yes--I must go!


DUCHESS OF MONTEBELLO

          But why yet, Empress dear?
We may soon gain good news; some messenger
Hie from the Emperor or King Joseph hither?


MARIE LOUISE

King Joseph I await.  He's gone to eye
The outposts, with the Ministers of War,
To learn the scope and nearness of the Allies;
He should almost be back.

  [A silence, till approaching feet are suddenly heard outside the
  door.]

     Ah, here he comes;
Now we shall know!

  [Enter precipitately not Joseph but officers of the National Guard
  and others.]


OFFICERS

          Long live the Empress-regent!
Do not quit Paris, pray, your Majesty.
Remain, remain.  We plight us to defend you!


MARIE LOUISE (agitated)

Gallant messieurs, I thank you heartily.
But by the Emperor's biddance I am bound.
He has vowed he'd liefer see me and my son
Blanched at the bottom of the smothering Seine
Than in the talons of the foes of France.--
To keep us sure from such, then, he ordained
Our swift withdrawal with the Ministers
Towards the Loire, if enemies advanced
In overmastering might.  They do advance;
Marshal Marmont and Mortier are repulsed,
And that has come whose hazard he foresaw.
All is arranged; the treasure is awheel,
And papers, seals, and cyphers packed therewith.


OFFICERS (dubiously)

Yet to leave Paris is to court disaster!


MARIE LOUISE (with petulance)

I shall do what I say! . . . I don't know what--
What SHALL I do!

  [She bursts into tears and rushes into her bedroom, followed by
  the young KING and some of her ladies.  There is a painful silence,
  broken by sobbings and expostulations within.  Re-enter one of the
  ladies.]


LADY

          She's sorely overthrown;
She flings herself upon the bed distraught.
She says, "My God, let them make up their minds
To one or other of these harrowing ills,
And force to't, and end my agony!"

  [An official enters at the main door.]


OFFICIAL

I am sent here by the Minister of War
To her Imperial Majesty the Empress.

  [Re-enter MARIE LOUISE and the KING OF ROME.]

Your Majesty, my mission is to say
Imperious need dictates your instant flight.
A vanward regiment of the Prussian packs
Has gained the shadow of the city walls.


MENEVAL

They are armed Europe's scouts!

  [Enter CAMBACERES the Arch-Chancellor, COUNT BEAUHARNAIS, CORVISART
  the physician, DE BAUSSET, DE CANISY the equerry, and others.]


CAMBACERES

          Your Majesty,
There's not a trice to lose.  The force well-nigh
Of all compacted Europe crowds on us,
And clamours at the walls!


BEAUHARNAIS

          If you stay longer,
You stay to fall into the Cossacks hands.
The people, too, are waxing masterful:
They think the lingering of your Majesty
Makes Paris more a peril for themselves
Than a defence for you.  To fight is fruitless,
And wanton waste of life.  You have nought to do
But go; and I, and all the Councillors,
Will follow you.


MARIE LOUISE

          Then I was right to say
That I would go!  Now go I surely will,
And let none try to hinder me again!

[She prepares to leave.]


KING OF ROME (crying)

I will not go!  I like to live here best!
Don't go to Rambouillet, mamma; please don't.
It is a nasty place!  Let us stay here.
O Mamma 'Quiou, stay with me here; pray stay!


MARIE LOUISE (to the Equerry)

Bring him down.

  [Exit MARIE LOUISE in tears, followed by ladies-in-waiting and
  others.]


DE CANISY

     Come now, Monseigneur, come.

  [He catches up the boy in his arms and prepares to follow the
  Empress.]


KING OF ROME (kicking)

No, no, no!  I don't want to go away from my house--I don't want to!
Now papa is away I am the master!  (He clings to the door as the
equerry is bearing him through it.)


DE CANISY

But you must go.

  [The child's fingers are pulled away.  Exit DE CANISY with the King
  OF ROME, who is heard screaming as he is carried down the staircase.]


MADAME DE MONTESQUIOU

          I feel the child is right!
A premonition has enlightened him.
She ought to stay.  But, ah, the die is cast!

  [MADAME DE MONTESQUIOU and the remainder of the party follow, and
  the room is left empty.  Enter servants hastily.]


FIRST SERVANT

Sacred God, where are we to go to for grub and good lying to-night?
What are ill-used men to do?


SECOND SERVANT

I trudge like the rest.  All the true philosophers are gone, and the
middling true are going.  I made up my mind like the truest that ever
was as soon as I heard the general alarm beat.


THIRD SERVANT

I stay here.  No Allies are going to tickle our skins.  The storm
which roots--Dost know what a metaphor is, comrade?  I brim with
them at this historic time!


SECOND SERVANT

A weapon of war used by the Cossacks?


THIRD SERVANT

Your imagination will be your ruin some day, my man!  It happens to
be a weapon of wisdom used by me.  My metaphor is one may'st have
met with on the rare times when th'hast been in good society.  Here
it is: The storm which roots the pine spares the p--s--b--d.  Now
do you see?


FIRST AND SECOND SERVANTS

Good!  Your teaching, friend, is as sound as true religion!  We'll
not go.  Hearken to what's doing outside.  (Carriages are heard
moving.  Servants go to the window and look down.)  Lord, there's
the Duchess getting in.  Now the Mistress of the Wardrobe; now the
Ladies of the Palace; now the Prefects; now the Doctors.  What a
time it takes!  There are near a dozen berlines, as I am a patriot!
Those other carriages bear treasure.  How quiet the people are!  It
is like a funeral procession.  Not a tongue cheers her!


THIRD SERVANT

Now there will be a nice convenient time for a little good victuals
and drink, and likewise pickings, before the Allies arrive, thank
Mother Molly!

  [From a distant part of the city bands are heard playing military
  marches.  Guns next resound.  Another servant rushes in.]


FOURTH SERVANT

Montmartre is being stormed, and bombs are falling in the Chaussee
d'Antin!

  [Exit fourth servant.]


THIRD SERVANT (pulling something from his hat)

Then it is time for me to gird my armour on.


SECOND SERVANT

What hast there?

  [Third servant holds up a crumpled white cockade and sticks it in
  his hair.  The firing gets louder.]


FIRST AND SECOND SERVANTS

Hast got another?


THIRD SERVANT (pulling out more)

Ay--here they are; at a price.

  [The others purchase cockades of third servant.  A military march
  is again heard.  Re-enter fourth servant.]


FOURTH SERVANT

The city has capitulated!  The Allied sovereigns, so it is said,
will enter in grand procession to-morrow:  the Prussian cavalry
first, then the Austrian foot, then the Russian and Prussian foot,
then the Russian horse and artillery.  And to cap all, the people
of  Paris are glad of the change.  They have put a rope round the
neck of the statue of Napoleon on the column of the Grand Army, and
are amusing themselves with twitching it and crying "Strangle the
Tyrant!"


SECOND SERVANT

Well, well!  There's rich colours in this kaleidoscopic world!


THIRD SERVANT

And there's comedy in all things--when they don't concern you.
Another glorious time among the many we've had since eighty-nine.
We have put our armour on none too soon.  The Bourbons for ever!

  [He leaves, followed by first and second servants.]


FOURTH SERVANT

My faith, I think I'll turn Englishman in my older years, where
there's not these trying changes in the Constitution!

  [Follows the others.  The Allies military march waxes louder as
  the scene shuts.]



SCENE IV

FONTAINEBLEAU.  A ROOM IN THE PALACE

  [NAPOLEON is discovered walking impatiently up and down, and
  glancing at the clock every few minutes.  Enter NEY.]


NAPOLEON (without a greeting)

Well--the result?  Ah, but your looks display
A leaden dawning to the light you bring!
What--not a regency?  What--not the Empress
To hold it in trusteeship for my son?


NEY

Sire, things like revolutions turn back,
But go straight on.  Imperial governance
Is coffined for your family and yourself!
It is declared that military repose,
And France's well-doing, demand of you
Your abdication--unconditioned, sheer.
This verdict of the sovereigns cannot change,
And I have pushed on hot to let you know.


NAPOLEON (with repression)

I am obliged to you.  You have told me promptly!--
This was to be expected.  I had learnt
Of Marmont's late defection, and the Sixth's;
The consequence I easily inferred.


NEY

The Paris folk are flaked with white cockades;
Tricolors choke the kennels.  Rapturously
They clamour for the Bourbons and for peace.


NAPOLEON (tartly)

I can draw inferences without assistance!


NEY (persisting)

They see the brooks of blood that have flowed forth;
They feel their own bereavements; so their mood
Asked no deep reasoning for its geniture.


NAPOLEON

I have no remarks to make on that just now.
I'll think the matter over.  You shall know
By noon to-morrow my definitive.


NEY (turning to go)

I trust my saying what had to be said
Has not affronted you?


NAPOLEON (bitterly)

          No; but your haste
In doing it has galled me, and has shown me
A heart that heaves no longer in my cause!
The skilled coquetting of the Government
Has nearly won you from old fellowship! . . .
Well; till to-morrow, marshal, then Adieu.

  [Ney goes.  Enter CAULAINCOURT and MACDONALD.]

Ney has got here before you; and, I deem,
Has truly told me all?


CAULAINCOURT

          We thought at first
We should have had success.  But fate said No;
And abdication, making no reserves,
Is, sire, we are convinced, with all respect,
The only road, if you care not to risk
The Empress; loss of every dignity,
And magnified misfortunes thrown on France.


NAPOLEON

I have heard it all; and don't agree with you.
My assets are not quite so beggarly
That I must close in such a shameful bond!
What--do you rate as naught that I am yet
Full fifty thousand strong, with Augereau,
And Soult, and Suchet true, and many more?
I still may know to play the Imperial game
As well as Alexander and his friends!
So--you will see.  Where are my maps?--eh, where?
I'll trace campaigns to come!  Where's my paper, ink,
To schedule all my generals and my means!


CAULAINCOURT

Sire, you have not the generals you suppose.


MACDONALD

And if you had, the mere anatomy
Of a real army, sire, that's left to you,
Must yield the war.  A bad example tells.


NAPOLEON

Ah--from your manner it is worse, I see,
Than I cognize! . . . O Marmont, Marmont,--yours,
Yours was the bad sad lead!--I treated him
As if he were a son!--defended him,
Made him a marshal out of sheer affection,
Built, as 'twere rock, on his fidelity!
"Forsake who may," I said, "I still have him."
Child that I was, I looked for faith in friends! . . .

Then be it as you will.  Ney's manner shows
That even he inclines to Bourbonry.--
I faint to leave France thus--curtailed, pared down
From her late spacious borders.  Of the whole
This is the keenest sword that pierces me. . . .
But all's too late: my course is closed, I see.
I'll do it--now.  Call in Bertrand and Ney;
Let them be witness to my finishing!

  [In much agitation he goes to the writing-table and begins drawing
  up a paper.  BERTRAND and NEY enter; and behind them are seen
  through the doorway the faces of CONSTANT the valet, ROUSTAN the
  Mameluke, and other servants.  All wait in silence till the EMPEROR
  has done writing.  He turns in his seat without looking up.]


NAPOLEON (reading)

"It having been declared by the Allies
That the prime obstacle to Europe's peace
Is France's empery by Napoleon,
This ruler, faithful to his oath of old,
Renounces for himself and for his heirs
The throne of France and that of Italy;
Because no sacrifice, even of his life,
Is he averse to make for France's gain."
--And hereto do I sign.  (He turns to the table and signs.)

  [The marshals, moved, rush forward and seize his hand.]

          Mark, marshals, here;
It is a conquering foe I covenant with,
And not the traitors at the Tuileries
Who call themselves the Government of France!
Caulaincourt, go to Paris as before,
Ney and Macdonald too, and hand in this
To Alexander, and to him alone.

  [He gives the document, and bids them adieu almost without speech.
  The marshals and others go out.  NAPOLEON continues sitting with
  his chin on his chest.

  An interval of silence.  There is then heard in the corridor a
  sound of whetting.  Enter ROUSTAN the Mameluke, with a whetstone
  in his belt and a sword in his hand.]


ROUSTAN

After this fall, your Majesty, 'tis plain
You will not choose to live; and knowing this
I bring to you my sword.


NAPOLEON (with a nod)

     I see you do, Roustan.


ROUSTAN

          Will you, sire, use it on yourself,
Or shall I pass it through you?


NAPOLEON (coldly)

          Neither plan
Is quite expedient for the moment, man.


ROUSTAN

Neither?


NAPOLEON

          There may be, in some suited time,
Some cleaner means of carrying out such work.


ROUSTAN

Sire, you refuse?  Can you support vile life
A moment on such terms?  Why then, I pray,
Dispatch me with the weapon, or dismiss me.
(He holds the sword to NAPOLEON, who shakes his head.)
I live no longer under such disgrace!

  [Exit ROUSTAN haughtily.  NAPOLEON vents a sardonic laugh, and
  throws himself on a sofa, where he by and by falls asleep.  The
  door is softly opened.  ROUSTAN and CONSTANT peep in.]


CONSTANT

To-night would be as good a time to go as any.  He will sleep there
for hours.  I have my few francs safe, and I deserve them; for I have
stuck to him honourably through fourteen trying years.


ROUSTAN

How many francs have you secured?


CONSTANT

Well--more than you can count in one breath, or even two.


ROUSTAN

Where?


CONSTANT

In a hollow tree in the Forest.  And as for YOUR reward, you can
easily get the keys of that cabinet, where there are more than
enough francs to equal mine.  He will not have them, and you may
as well take them as strangers.


ROUSTAN

It is not money that I want, but honour.  I leave, because I can
no longer stay with self-respect.


CONSTANT

And I because there is no other such valet in the temperate zone,
and it is for the good of society that I should not be wasted here.


ROUSTAN

Well, as you propose going this evening I will go with you, to lend
a symmetry to the drama of our departure.  Would that I had served
a more sensitive master!  He sleeps there quite indifferent to the
dishonour of remaining alive!

  [NAPOLEON shows signs of waking.  CONSTANT and ROUSTAN disappear.
  NAPOLEON slowly sits up.]


NAPOLEON

Here the scene lingers still!  Here linger I! . . .
Things could not have gone on as they were going;
I am amazed they kept their course so long.
But long or short they have ended now--at last!
(Footsteps are heard passing through the court without.)
Hark at them leaving me!  So politic rats
Desert the ship that's doomed.  By morrow-dawn
I shall not have a man to shake my bed
Or say good-morning to!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Herein behold
     How heavily grinds the Will upon his brain,
     His halting hand, and his unlighted eye.


SPIRIT IRONIC

     A picture this for kings and subjects too!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Yet is it but Napoleon who has failed.
     The pale pathetic peoples still plod on
     Through hoodwinkings to light!


NAPOLEON (rousing himself)

          This now must close.
Roustan misunderstood me, though his hint
Serves as a fillip to a flaccid brain. . . .
--How gild the sunset sky of majesty
Better than by the act esteemed of yore?
Plutarchian heroes outstayed not their fame,
And what nor Brutus nor Themistocles
Nor Cato nor Mark Antony survived,
Why, why should I?  Sage Canabis, you primed me!

  [He unlocks a case, takes out a little bag containing a phial, pours
  from it a liquid into a glass, and drinks.  He then lies down and
  falls asleep again.

  Re-enter CONSTANT softly with a bunch of keys in his hand.  On
  his way to the cabinet he turns and looks at NAPOLEON.  Seeing
  the glass and a strangeness in the EMPEROR, he abandons his
  object, rushes out, and is heard calling.

  Enter MARET and BERTRAND.]


BERTRAND (shaking the Emperor)

What is the matter, sire?  What's this you've done?


NAPOLEON (with difficulty)

Why did you interfere!--But it is well;
Call Caulaincourt.  I'd speak with him a trice
Before I pass.

  [MARET hurries out.  Enter IVAN the physician, and presently
  CAULAINCOURT.]

          Ivan, renew this dose;
'Tis a slow workman, and requires a fellow;
Age has impaired its early promptitude.

  [Ivan shakes his head and rushes away distracted.  CAULAINCOURT
  seizes NAPOLEON'S hand.]


CAULAINCOURT

Why should you bring this cloud upon us now!


NAPOLEON

Restrain your feelings.  Let me die in peace.--
My wife and son I recommend to you;
Give her this letter, and the packet there.
Defend my memory, and protect their lives.
                       (They shake him.  He vomits.)


CAULAINCOURT

He's saved--for good or ill-as may betide!


NAPOLEON

God--here how difficult it is to die:
How easy on the passionate battle-plain!

  [They open a window and carry him to it.  He mends.]

Fate has resolved what man could not resolve.
I must live on, and wait what Heaven may send!

  [MACDONALD and other marshals re-enter.  A letter is brought from
  MARIE LOUISE.  NAPOLEON reads it, and becomes more animated.

They are well; and they will join me in my exile.
Yes: I will live!  The future who shall spell?
My wife, my son, will be enough for me.--
And I will give my hours to chronicling
In stately words that stir futurity
The might of our unmatched accomplishments;
And in the tale immortalize your names
By linking them with mine.

  [He soon falls into a convalescent sleep.  The marshals, etc. go
  out.  The room is left in darkness.]



SCENE V

BAYONNE.  THE BRITISH CAMP

  [The foreground is an elevated stretch of land, dotted over in rows
  with the tents of the peninsular army.  On a parade immediately
  beyond the tents the infantry are drawn up, awaiting something.
  Still farther back, behind a brook, are the French soldiery, also
  ranked in the same manner of reposeful expectation.  In the middle-
  distance we see the town of Bayonne, standing within its zigzag
  fortifications at the junction of the river Adour with the Nive.

  On the other side of the Adour rises the citadel, a fortified
  angular structure standing detached.  A large and brilliant
  tricolor flag is waving indolently from a staff on the summit.
  The Bay of Biscay, into which the Adour flows, is seen on the
  left horizon as a level line.

  The stillness observed by the soldiery of both armies, and by
  everything else in the scene except the flag, is at last broken
  by the firing of a signal-gun from a battery in the town-wall.
  The eyes of the thousands present rivet themselves on the citadel.
  Its waving tricolor moves down the flagstaff and disappears.]


THE REGIMENTS (unconsciously)

Ha-a-a-a!

  [In a few seconds there shoots up the same staff another flag--one
  intended to be white; but having apparently been folded away a long
  time, it is mildewed and dingy.

  From all the guns on the city fortifications a salute peals out.
  This is responded to by the English infantry and artillery with a
  feu-de-joie.]


THE REGIMENTS

Hurrah-h-h-h!

  [The various battalions are then marched away in their respective
  directions and dismissed to their tents.  The Bourbon standard is
  hoisted everywhere beside those of England, Spain, and Portugal.
  The scene shuts.]



SCENE VI

A HIGHWAY IN THE OUTSKIRTS OF AVIGNON

  [The Rhone, the old city walls, the Rocher des Doms and its
  edifices, appear at the back plane of the scene under the
  grey light of dawn.  In the foreground several postillions
  and ostlers with relays of horses are waiting by the roadside,
  gazing northward and listening for sounds.  A few loungers 
  have assembled.]


FIRST POSTILLION

He ought to be nigh by this time.  I should say he'd be very glad
to get this here Isle of Elba, wherever it may be, if words be true
that he's treated to such ghastly compliments on's way!


SECOND POSTILLION

Blast-me-blue, I don't care what happens to him!  Look at Joachim
Murat, him that's made King of Naples; a man who was only in the
same line of life as ourselves, born and bred in Cahors, out in
Perigord, a poor little whindling place not half as good as our
own.  Why should he have been lifted up to king's anointment, and
we not even have had a rise in wages?  That's what I say.


FIRST POSTILLION

But now, I don't find fault with that dispensation in particular.
It was one of our calling that the Emperor so honoured, after all,
when he might have anointed a tinker, or a ragman, or a street
woman's pensioner even.  Who knows but that we should have been
king's too, but for my crooked legs and your running pole-wound?


SECOND POSTILLION

We kings?  Kings of the underground country, then, by this time, if
we hadn't been too rotten-fleshed to follow the drum.  However, I'll
think over your defence, and I don't mind riding a stage with him,
for that matter, to save him from them that mean mischief here.
I've lost no sons by his battles, like some others we know.

  [Enter a TRAVELLER on horseback.]

Any tidings along the road, sir of the Emperor Napoleon that was?


TRAVELLER

Tidings verily!  He and his escort are threatened by the mob at
every place they come to.  A returning courier I have met tells me
that at an inn a little way beyond here they have strung up his
effigy to the sign-post, smeared it with blood, and placarded it
"The Doom that awaits Thee!"  He is much delayed by such humorous
insults.  I have hastened ahead to escape the uproar.


SECOND POSTILLION

I don't know that you have escaped it.  The mob has been waiting
up all night for him here.


MARKET-WOMAN (coming up)

I hope by the Virgin, as 'a called herself, that there'll be no
riots here!  Though I have not much pity for a man who could treat
his wife as he did, and that's my real feeling.  He might at least
have kept them both on, for half a husband is better than none for
poor women.  But I'd show mercy to him, that's true, rather than
have my stall upset, and messes in the streets wi' folks' brains,
and stabbings, and I don't know what all!


FIRST POSTILLION

If we can do the horsing quietly out here, there will be none of
that.  He'll dash past the town without stopping at the inn where
they expect to waylay him.--Hark, what's this coming?

  [An approaching cortege is heard.  Two couriers enter; then a
  carriage with NAPOLEON and BERTRAND; then others with the
  Commissioners of the Powers,--all on the way to Elba.

  The carriages halt, and the change of horses is set about instantly.
  But before it is half completed BONAPARTE'S arrival gets known, and
  throngs of men and women armed with sticks and hammers rush out of
  Avignon and surround the carriages.]


POPULACE

Ogre of Corsica!  Odious tyrant!  Down with Nicholas!


BERTRAND (looking out of carriage)

Silence, and doff your hats, you ill-mannered devils!


POPULACE (scornfully)

Listen to him!  Is that the Corsican?  No; where is he? Give him up;
give him up!  We'll pitch him into the Rhone!

  [Some cling to the wheels of NAPOLEON'S carriage, while others,
  more distant, throw stones at it.  A stone breaks the carriage
  window.]


OLD WOMAN (shaking her fist)

Give me back my two sons, murderer!  Give me back my children, whose
flesh is rotting on the Russian plains!


POPULACE

Ay; give us back our kin--our fathers, our brothers, our sons--
victims to your curst ambition!

  [One of the mob seizes the carriage door-handle and tries to
  unfasten it.  A valet of BONAPARTE'S seated on the box draws his
  sword and threatens to cut the man's arm off.  The doors of the
  Commissioners' coaches open, and SIR NEIL CAMPBELL, GENERAL
  KOLLER, and COUNT SCHUVALOFF--The English, Austrian, and Russian
  Commissioners--jump out and come forward.]


CAMPBELL

Keep order, citizens! Do you not know
That the ex-Emperor is wayfaring
To a lone isle, in the Allies' sworn care,
Who have given a pledge to Europe for his safety?
His fangs being drawn, he is left powerless now
To do you further harm.


SCHUVALOFF

          People of France
Can you insult so miserable a being?
He who gave laws to a cowed world stands now
At that world's beck, and asks its charity.
Cannot you see that merely to ignore him
Is the worst ignominy to tar him with,
By showing him he's no longer dangerous?


OLD WOMAN

How do we know the villain mayn't come back?
While there is life, my faith, there's mischief in him!

  [Enter an officer with the Town-guard.]


OFFICER

Citizens, I am a zealot for the Bourbons,
As you well know.  But wanton breach of faith
I will not brook.  Retire!

  [The soldiers drive back the mob and open a passage forward.  The
  Commissioners re-enter their carriages.  NAPOLEON puts his head
  out of his window for a moment.  He is haggard, shabbily dressed,
  yellow-faced, and wild-eyed.]


NAPOLEON

          I thank you, captain;
Also your soldiery: a thousand thanks!
(To Bertrand within) My God, these people of Avignon here
Are headstrong fools, like all the Provencal fold,
--I won't go through the town!


BERTRAND

          We'll round it, sire;
And then, as soon as we get past the place,
You must disguise for the remainder miles.


NAPOLEON

I'll mount the white cockade if they invite me!
What does it matter if I do or don't?
In Europe all is past and over with me. . . .
Yes--all is lost in Europe for me now!


BERTRAND

I fear so, sire.


NAPOLEON (after some moments)

          But Asia waits a man,
And--who can tell?


OFFICER OF GUARD (to postillions)

          Ahead now at full speed,
And slacken not till you have slipped the town.

  [The postillions urge the horses to a gallop, and the carriages
  are out of sight in a few seconds.  The scene shuts.]



SCENE VII

MALMAISON.  THE EMPRESS JOSEPHINE'S BEDCHAMBER

  [The walls are in white panels, with gilt mouldings, and the
  furniture is upholstered in white silk with needle-worked flowers.
  The long windows and the bed are similarly draped, and the toilet
  service is of gold.  Through the panes appears a broad flat lawn
  adorned with vases and figures on pedestals, and entirely
  surrounded by trees--just now in their first fresh green under
  the morning rays of Whitsunday.  The notes of an organ are audible
  from a chapel below, where the Pentecostal Mass is proceeding.

  JOSEPHINE lies in the bed in an advanced stage of illness, the
  ABBE BERTRAND standing beside her.  Two ladies-in-waiting are
  seated near.  By the door into the ante-room, which is ajar,
  HOREAU the physician-in-ordinary and BOURDOIS the consulting
  physician are engaged in a low conversation.]


HOREAU

Lamoureux says that leeches would have saved her
Had they been used in time, before I came.
In that case, then, why did he wait for me?


BOURDOIS

Such whys are now too late!  She is past all hope.
I doubt if aught had helped her.  Not disease,
But heart-break and repinings are the blasts
That wither her long bloom.  Soon we must tell
The Queen Hortense the worst, and the Viceroy.


HOREAU

Her death was made the easier task for grief
(As I regarded more than probable)
By her rash rising from a sore-sick bed
And donning thin and dainty May attire
To hail King Frederick-William and the Tsar
As banquet-guests, in the old regnant style.
A woman's innocent vanity!--but how dire.
She argued that amenities of State
Compelled the effort, since they had honoured her
By offering to come.  I stood against it,
Pleaded and reasoned, but to no account.
Poor woman, what she did or did not do
Was of small moment to the State by then!
The Emperor Alexander has been kind
Throughout his stay in Paris.  He came down
But yester-eve, of purpose to inquire.


BOURDOIS

Wellington is in Paris, too, I learn,
After his wasted battle at Toulouse.


HOREAU

Has his Peninsular army come with him?


BOURDOIS

I hear they have shipped it to America,
Where England has another war on hand.
We have armies quite sufficient here already--
Plenty of cooks for Paris broth just now!
--Come, call we Queen Hortense and Prince Eugene.

  [Exeunt physicians.  The ABBE BERTRAND also goes out.  JOSEPHINE
   murmurs faintly.]


FIRST LADY (going to the bedside)

I think I heard you speak, your Majesty?


JOSEPHINE

I asked what hour it was---if dawn or eve?


FIRST LADY

Ten in the morning, Madame.  You forget
You asked the same but a brief while ago.


JOSEPHINE

Did I?  I thought it was so long ago! . . .
I wish to go to Elba with him so much,
But the Allies prevented me.  And why?
I would not have disgraced him, or themselves!
I would have gone to him at Fontainebleau,
With my eight horses and my household train
In dignity, and quitted him no more. . . .
Although I am his wife no longer now,
I think I should have gone in spite of them,
Had I not feared perversions might be sown
Between him and the woman of his choice
For whom he sacrificed me.


SECOND LADY

          It is more
Than she thought fit to do, your Majesty.


JOSEPHINE

Perhaps she was influenced by her father's ire,
Or diplomatic reasons told against her.
And yet I was surprised she should allow
Aught secondary on earth to hold her from
A husband she has outwardly, at least,
Declared attachment to.


FIRST LADY

          Especially,
With ever one at hand--his son and hers--
Reminding her of him.


JOSEPHINE

          Yes. . . . Glad am I
I saw that child of theirs, though only once.
But--there was not full truth--not quite, I fear--
In what I told the Emperor that day
He led him to me at Bagatelle,
That 'twas the happiest moment of my life.
I ought not to have said it.  No!  Forsooth
My feeling had too, too much gall in it
To let truth shape like that!--I also said
That when my arms were round him I forgot
That I was not his mother.  So spoke I,
But oh me,--I remembered it too well!--
He was a lovely child; in his fond prate
His father's voice was eloquent.  One might say
I am well punished for my sins against him!


SECOND LADY

You have harmed no creature, madame; much less him!


JOSEPHINE

O but you don't quite know! . . . My coquetries
In our first married years nigh racked him through.
I cannot think how I could wax so wicked! . . .
He begged me come to him in Italy,
But I liked flirting in fair Paris best,
And would not go.  The independent spouse
At that time was myself; but afterwards
I grew to be the captive, he the free.
Always 'tis so: the man wins finally!
My faults I've ransomed to the bottom sou
If ever a woman did! . . . I'll write to him--
I must--again, so that he understands.
Yes, I'll write now.  Get me a pen and paper.


FIRST LADY (to Second Lady)

'Tis futile!  She is too far gone to write;
But we must humour her.

  [They fetch writing materials.  On returning to the bed they find
   her motionless.  Enter EUGENE and QUEEN HORTENSE.  Seeing the state
   their mother is in, they fall down on their knees by her bed.
   JOSEPHINE recognizes them and smiles.  Anon she is able to speak
   again.]


JOSEPHINE (faintly)

          I am dying, dears;
And do not mind it--notwithstanding that
I feel I die regretted.  You both love me!--
And as for France, I ever have desired
Her welfare, as you know--have wrought all things
A woman's scope could reach to forward it. . . .
And to you now who watch my ebbing here,
Declare I that Napoleon's first-chose wife
Has never caused her land a needless tear.
Tell him--these things I have said--bear him my love--
Tell him--I could not write!

  [An interval.  She spasmodically flings her arms over her son and
  daughter, lets them fall, and becomes unconscious.  They fetch a
  looking-glass, and find that her breathing has ceased.  The clock
  of the Chateau strikes noon.  The scene is veiled.]



SCENE VIII

LONDON. THE OPERA HOUSE

  [The house is lighted up with a blaze of wax candles, and a State
  performance is about to begin in honour of the Allied sovereigns
  now on a visit to England to celebrate the Peace.  Peace-devices
  adorn the theatre.  A band can be heard in the street playing
  "The White Cockade."

  An extended Royal box has been formed by removing the partitions
  of adjoining boxes.  It is empty as yet, but the other parts of
  the house are crowded to excess, and somewhat disorderly, the
  interior doors having been broken down by besiegers, and many
  people having obtained admission without payment.  The prevalent
  costume of the ladies is white satin and diamonds, with a few in
  lilac.

  The curtain rises on the first act of the opera of "Aristodemo,"
  MADAME GRASSINI and SIGNOR TRAMEZZINI being the leading voices.
  Scarcely a note of the performance can be heard amid the exclamations
  of persons half suffocated by the pressure.

  At the end of the first act there follows a divertissement.  The
  curtain having fallen, a silence of expectation succeeds.  It is
  a little past ten o'clock.

  Enter the Royal box the PRINCE REGENT, accompanied by the EMPEROR
  OF RUSSIA, demonstrative in manner now as always, the KING OF
  PRUSSIA, with his mien of reserve, and many minor ROYAL PERSONAGES
  of Europe.  There are moderate acclamations.  At their back and in
  neighbouring boxes LORD LIVERPOOL, LORD CASTLEREAGH, officers in
  the suite of the sovereigns, interpreters, and others take their
  places.

  The curtain rises again, and the performers are discovered drawn
  up in line on the stage.  They sing "God save the King."  The
  sovereigns stand up, bow, and resume their seats amid more
  applause.]


A VOICE (from the gallery)

Prinny, where's your wife?  (Confusion.)


EMPEROR OF RUSSIA (to Regent)

To which of us is the inquiry addressed, Prince?


PRINCE REGENT

To you, sire, depend upon't--by way of compliment.

  [The second act of the Opera proceeds.]


EMPEROR OF RUSSIA

Any later news from Elba, sir?


PRINCE REGENT

Nothing more than rumours, which, 'pon my honour, I can hardly
credit.  One is that Bonaparte's valet has written to say the 
ex-Emperor is becoming imbecile, and is an object of ridicule to
the inhabitants of the island.


KING OF PRUSSIA

A blessed result, sir, if true.  If he is not imbecile he is worse
--planning how to involve Europe in another way.  It was a short-
sighted policy to offer him a home so near as to ensure its becoming
a hot-bed of intrigue and conspiracy in no long time!


PRINCE REGENT

The ex-Empress, Marie-Louise, hasn't joined him after all, I learn.
Has she remained at Schonbrunn since leaving France, sires?


EMPEROR OF RUSSIA

Yes, sir; with her son.  She must never go back to France.  Metternich
and her father will know better than let her do that.  Poor young
thing, I am sorry for her all the same.  She would have joined
Napoleon if she had been left to herself.--And I was sorry for the
other wife, too.  I called at Malmaison a few days before she died.
A charming woman!  SHE would have gone to Elba or to the devil with
him.  Twenty thousand people crowded down from Paris to see her lying
in state last week.


PRINCE REGENT

Pity she didn't have a child by him, by God.


KING OF PRUSSIA

I don't think the other one's child is going to trouble us much.
But I wish Bonaparte himself had been sent farther away.


PRINCE REGENT

Some of our Government wanted to pack him off to St. Helena--an
island somewhere in the Atlantic, or Pacific, or Great South Sea.
But they were over-ruled.  'Twould have been a surer game.


EMPEROR OF RUSSIA

One hears strange stories of his saying and doings.  Some of my
people were telling me to-day that he says it is to Austria that
he really owes his fall, and that he ought to have destroyed her
when he had her in his power.


PRINCE REGENT

Dammy, sire, don't ye think he owes his fall to his ambition to
humble England by rupture of the Peace of Amiens, and trying to
invade us, and wasting his strength against us in the Peninsula?


EMPEROR OF RUSSIA

I incline to think, with the greatest deference, that it was Moscow
that broke him.


KING OF PRUSSIA

The rejection of my conditions in the terms of peace at Prague, sires,
was the turning-point towards his downfall.

  [Enter a box on the opposite side of the house the PRINCESS OF
  WALES, attended by LADY CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL, SIR W. GELL, and
  others.  Louder applause now rings through the theatre, drowning
  the sweet voice of the GRASSINI in "Aristodemo."]


LADY CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL

It is meant for your Royal Highness!


PRINCESS OF WALES

I don't think so, my dear.  Punch's wife is nobody when Punch himself
is present.


LADY CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL

I feel convinced that it is by their looking this way.


SIR W. GELL

Surely ma'am you will acknowledge their affection?  Otherwise we may
be hissed.


PRINCESS OF WALES

I know my business better than to take that morsel out of my husband's
mouth.  There--you see he enjoys it!  I cannot assume that it is
meant for me unless they call my name.

  [The PRINCE REGENT rises and bows, the TSAR and the KING OF PRUSSIA
  doing the same.]


LADY CHARLOTTE CAMPBELL

He and the others are bowing for you, ma'am!


PRINCESS OF WALES

Mine God, then; I will bow too!  (She rises and bends to them.)


PRINCE REGENT

She thinks we rose on her account.--A damn fool.  (Aside.)


EMPEROR OF RUSSIA

What--didn't we?  I certainly rose in homage to her.


PRINCE REGENT

No, sire.  We were supposed to rise to the repeated applause of the
people.


EMPEROR OF RUSSIA

H'm.  Your customs sir, are a little puzzling. . . . (To the King of
Prussia.)  A fine-looking woman!  I must call upon the Princess of
Wales to-morrow.


KING OF PRUSSIA

I shall, at any rate, send her my respects by my chamberlain.


PRINCE REGENT (stepping back to Lord Liverpool)

By God, Liverpool, we must do something to stop 'em!  They don't
know what a laughing-stock they'll make of me if they go to her.
Tell 'em they had better not.


LIVERPOOL

I can hardly tell them now, sir, while we are celebrating the Peace
and Wellington's victories.


PRINCE REGENT

Oh, damn the peace, and damn the war, and damn Boney, and damn
Wellington's victories!--the question is, how am I to get over this
infernal woman!--Well, well,--I must write, or send Tyrwhitt to-
morrow morning, begging them to abandon the idea of visiting her
for politic reasons.

  [The Opera proceeds to the end, and is followed by a hymn and
  chorus laudatory to peace.  Next a new ballet by MONSIEUR VESTRIS,
  in which M. ROZIER and MADAME ANGIOLINI dance a pas-de-deux.  Then
  the Sovereigns leave the theatre amid more applause.

  The pit and gallery now call for the PRINCESS OF WALES unmistakably.
  She stand up and is warmly acclaimed, returning three stately
  curtseys.]


A VOICE

Shall we burn down Carlton House, my dear, and him in it?


PRINCESS OF WALES

No, my good folks!  Be quiet.  Go home to your beds, and let me do
the same.

  [After some difficulty she gets out of the house.  The people thin
  away.  As the candle-snuffers extinguish the lights a shouting is
  heard without.]


VOICES OF CROWD

Long life to the Princess of Wales!  Three cheers for a woman wronged!

  [The Opera-house becomes lost in darkness.]




ACT FIFTH


SCENE I

ELBA.  THE QUAY, PORTO FERRAJO

  [Night descends upon a beautiful blue cove, enclosed on three sides
  by mountains.  The port lies towards the western (right-hand) horn
  of the concave, behind it being the buildings of the town; their
  long white walls and rows of windows rise tier above tier on the
  steep incline at the back, and are intersected by narrow alleys
  and flights of steps that lead up to forts on the summit.

  Upon a rock between two of these forts stands the Palace of the
  Mulini, NAPOLEONS'S residence in Ferrajo.  Its windows command
  the whole town and the port.]


CHORUS OF IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

     The Congress of Vienna sits,
     And war becomes a war of wits,
     Where every Power perpends withal
     Its dues as large, its friends' as small;
     Till Priests of Peace prepare once more
     To fight as they have fought before!

     In Paris there is discontent;
     Medals are wrought that represent
     One now unnamed.  Men whisper, "He
     Who once has been, again will be!"


DUMB SHOW

Under cover of the dusk there assembles in the bay a small flotilla
comprising a brig called _l'Inconstant_ and several lesser vessels.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     The guardian on behalf of the Allies
     Absents himself from Elba.  Slow surmise
     Too vague to pen, too actual to ignore,
     Have strained him hour by hour, and more and more.
     He takes the sea to Florence, to declare
     His doubts to Austria's ministrator there.


SPIRIT IRONIC

     When he returns, Napoleon will be--where?


Boats put off from these ships to the quay, where are now discovered
to have silently gathered a body of grenadiers of the Old Guard.  The
faces of DROUOT and CAMBRONNE are revealed by the occasional fleck of
a lantern to be in command of them.  They are quietly taken aboard
the brig, and a number of men of different arms to the other vessels.


CHORUS OF RUMOURS (aerial music)

     Napoleon is going,
     And nought will prevent him;
     He snatches the moment
     Occasion has lent him!

     And what is he going for,
     Worn with war's labours?
     --To reconquer Europe
     With seven hundred sabres.


About eight o'clock we observe that the windows of the Palace of
the Mulini are lighted and open, and that two women sit at them:
the EMPEROR'S mother and the PRINCESS PAULINE.  They wave adieux
to some one below, and in a short time a little open low-wheeled
carriage, drawn by the PRINCESS PAULINE'S two ponies, descends
from the house to the port.  The crowd exclaims "The Emperor!"
NAPOLEON appears in his grey great-coat, and is much fatter than
when he left France.  BERTRAND sits beside him.

He quickly alights and enters the waiting boat.  It is a tense
moment.  As the boat rows off the sailors sing the Marseillaise,
and the gathered inhabitants join in.  When the boat reaches the
brig its sailors join in also, and shout "Paris or death!"  Yet
the singing has a melancholy cadence.  A gun fires as a signal
of departure.  The night is warm and balmy for the season.  Not
a breeze is there to stir a sail, and the ships are motionless.


CHORUS OF RUMOURS

     Haste is salvation;
     And still he stays waiting:
     The calm plays the tyrant,
     His venture belating!

     Should the corvette return
     With the anxious Scotch colonel,
     Escape would be frustrate,
     Retention eternal.


Four aching hours are spent thus.  NAPOLEON remains silent on the
deck, looking at the town lights, whose reflections bore like augers
into the water of the bay.  The sails hang flaccidly.  Then a feeble
breeze, then a strong south wind, begins to belly the sails; and the
vessels move.


CHORUS OF RUMOURS

     The south wind, the south wind,
     The south wind will save him,
     Embaying the frigate
     Whose speed would enslave him;
     Restoring the Empire
     That fortune once gave him!


The moon rises and the ships silently disappear over the horizon
as it mounts higher into the sky.



SCENE II

VIENNA.  THE IMPERIAL PALACE

  [The fore-part of the scene is the interior of a dimly lit gallery
  with an openwork screen or grille on one side of it that commands
  a bird's-eye view of the grand saloon below.  At present the screen
  is curtained.  Sounds of music and applause in the saloon ascend
  into the gallery, and an irradiation from the same quarter shines
  up through chinks in the curtains of the grille.

  Enter the gallery MARIE LOUISE and the COUNTESS OF BRIGNOLE,
  followed by the COUNT NEIPPERG, a handsome man of forty two with
  a bandage over one eye.]


COUNTESS OF BRIGNOLE

Listen, your Majesty.  You gather all
As well as if you moved amid them there,
And are advantaged with free scope to flit
The moment the scene palls.


MARIE LOUISE

          Ah, my dear friend,
To put it so is flower-sweet of you;
But a fallen Empress, doomed to furtive peeps
At scenes her open presence would unhinge,
Reads not much interest in them!  Yet, in truth,
'Twas gracious of my father to arrange
This glimpse-hole for my curiosity.
--But I must write a letter ere I look;
You can amuse yourself with watching them.--
Count, bring me pen and paper.  I am told
Madame de Montesquiou has been distressed
By some alarm; I write to ask its shape.

  [NEIPPERG spreads writing materials on a table, and MARIE LOUISE
  sits.  While she writes he stays near her.  MADAME DE BRIGNOLE
  goes to the screen and parts the curtains.

  The light of a thousand candles blazes up into her eyes from
  below.  The great hall is decorated in white and silver, enriched
  by evergreens and flowers.  At the end a stage is arranged, and
  Tableaux Vivants are in progress thereon, representing the history
  of the House of Austria, in which figure the most charming women
  of the Court.

  There are present as spectators nearly all the notables who have
  assembled for the Congress, including the EMPEROR OF AUSTRIA
  himself, has gay wife, who quite eclipses him, the EMPEROR
  ALEXANDER, the KING OF PRUSSIA--still in the mourning he has
  never abandoned since the death of QUEEN LUISA,--the KING
  OF BAVARIA and his son, METTERNICH, TALLEYRAND, WELLINGTON,
  NESSELRODE, HARDENBERG; and minor princes, ministers, and
  officials of all nations.]


COUNTESS OF BRIGNOLE (suddenly from he grille)

Something has happened--so it seems, madame!
The Tableau gains no heed from them, and all
Turn murmuring together.


MARIE LOUISE

     What may be?

  [She rises with languid curiosity, and COUNT NEIPPERG adroitly
  takes her hand and leads her forward.  All three look down through
  the grille.]


NEIPPERG

some strange news, certainly, your Majesty,
Is being discussed.--I'll run down and inquire.


MARIE LOUISE (playfully)

Nay--stay here.  We shall learn soon enough.


NEIPPERG

Look at their faces now.  Count Metternich
Stares at Prince Talleyrand--no muscle moving.
The King of Prussia blinks bewilderedly
Upon Lord Wellington.


MARIE LOUISE (concerned)

          Yes; so it seems. . .  .
They are thunderstruck.  See, though the music beats,
The ladies of the Tableau leave their place,
And mingle with the rest, and quite forget
That they are in masquerade.  The sovereigns show
By far the gravest mien. . . . I wonder, now,
If it has aught to do with me or mine?
Disasters mostly have to do with me!


COUNTESS OF BRIGNOLE

Those rude diplomists from England there,
At your Imperial father's consternation,
And Russia's, and the King of Prussia's gloom,
Shake shoulders with hid laughter!  That they call
The English sense of humour, I infer,--
To see a jest in other people's troubles!


MARIE LOUISE (hiding her presages)

They ever take things thus phlegmatically:
The safe sea minimizes Continental scare
In their regard.  I wish it did in mine!
But Wellington laughs not, as I discern.


NEIPPERG

Perhaps, though fun for the other English here,
It means new work for him.  Ah--notice now
The music makes no more pretence to play!
Sovereigns and ministers have moved apart,
And talk, and leave the ladies quite aloof--
Even the Grand Duchesses and Empress, all--
Such mighty cogitations trance their minds!


MARIE LOUISE (with more anxiety)

Poor ladies; yea, they draw into the rear,
And whisper ominous words among themselves!
Count Neipperg--I must ask you now--go glean
What evil lowers.  I am riddled through
With strange surmises and more strange alarms!

  [The COUNTESS OF MONTESQUIOU enters.]

Ah--we shall learn it now.  Well--what, madame?


COUNTESS OF MONTESQUIOU (breathlessly)

Your Majesty, the Emperor Napoleon
Has vanished from Elba!  Wither flown,
And how, and why, nobody says or knows.


MARIE LOUISE (sinking into a chair)

My divination pencilled on my brain
Something not unlike that!  The rigid mien
That mastered Wellington suggested it. . . .
Complicity will be ascribed to me,
Unwitting though I stand! . . . (A pause.)
          He'll not succeed!
And my fair plans for Parma will be marred,
And my son's future fouled!--I must go hence,
And instantly declare to Metternich
That I know nought of this; and in his hands
Place me unquestioningly, with dumb assent
To serve the Allies. . . . Methinks that I was born
Under an evil-coloured star, whose ray
Darts death at joys!--Take me away, Count.--You (to the ladies)
Can stay and see the end.

  [Exeunt MARIE LOUISE and NEIPPERG.  MESDAMES DE MONTESQUIOU and
  DE BRIGNOLE go to the grille and watch and listen.]


VOICE OF ALEXANDER (below)

I told you, Prince, that it would never last!


VOICE OF TALLEYRAND

Well, sire, you should have sent him to the Azores,
Or the Antilles, or best, Saint-Helena.


VOICE OF THE KING OF PRUSSIA

Instead, we send him but two days from France,
Give him an island as his own domain,
A military guard of large resource,
And millions for his purse!


ANOTHER VOICE

          The immediate cause
Must be a negligence in watching him.
The British Colonel Campbell should have seen
That apertures for flight were wired and barred
To such a cunning bird!


ANOTHER VOICE

          By all report
He took the course direct to Naples Bay.


VOICES (of new arrivals)

He has made his way to France--so all tongues tell--
And landed there, at Cannes!  (Excitement.)


COUNTESS OF BRIGNOLE

          Do now but note
How cordial intercourse resolves itself
To sparks of sharp debate!  The lesser guests
Are fain to steal unnoticed from a scene
Wherein they feel themselves as surplusage
Beside the official minds.--I catch a sign
The King of Prussia makes the English Duke;
They leave the room together.


COUNTESS OF MONTESQUIOU

          Yes; wit wanes,
And all are going--Prince Talleyrand,
The Emperor Alexander, Metternich,
The Emperor Francis. . . . So much for the Congress!
Only a few blank nobodies remain,
And they seem terror-stricken. . . . Blackly ends
Such fair festivities.  The red god War
Stalks Europe's plains anew!

  [The curtain of the grille is dropped.  MESDAMES DE MONTESQUIOU
  and DE BRIGNOLE leave the gallery.  The light is extinguished
  there and the scene disappears.]



SCENE III

LA MURE, NEAR GRENOBLE

  [A lonely road between a lake and some hills, two or three miles
  outside the village of la Mure, is discovered.  A battalion of
  the Fifth French royalist regiment of the line under COMMANDANT
  LESSARD, is drawn up in the middle of the road with a company of
  sappers and miners, comprising altogether about eight hundred men.

  Enter to them from the south a small detachment of lancers with
  an aide-de-camp at their head.  They ride up to within speaking
  distance.]


LESSARD

They are from Bonaparte.  Present your arms!


AIDE (calling)

We'd parley on Napoleon's behalf,
And fain would ask you join him.


LESSARD

          Al parole
With rebel bands the Government forbids.
Come five steps further and we fire!


AIDE

          To France,
And to posterity through fineless time,
Must you then answer for so foul a blow
Against the common weal!

  [NAPOLEON'S aide-de-camp and the lancers turn about and ride
  back out of sight.  The royalist troops wait.  Presently there
  reappears from the same direction a small column of soldiery,
  representing the whole of NAPOLEON'S little army shipped from
  Elba.  It is divided into an advance-guard under COLONEL MALLET,
  and two bodies behind, a troop of Polish lancers under COLONEL
  JERMANWSKI on the right side of the road, and some officers
  without troops on the left, under MAJOR PACCONI.

  NAPOLEON rides in the midst of the advance-guard, in the old
  familiar "redingote grise," cocked hat, and tricolor cockade,
  his well-known profile keen against the hills.  He is attended
  by GENERALS BERTRAND, DROUOT, and CAMBRONNE.  When they get within
  gun-shot of the royalists the men are halted.  NAPOLEON dismounts
  and steps forward.]


NAPOLEON

          Direct the men
To lodge their weapons underneath the arm,
Points downward.  I shall not require them here.


COLONEL MALLET

Sire, is it not a needless jeopardy
To meet them thus?  The sentiments of these
We do not know, and the first trigger pressed
May end you.


NAPOLEON

          I have thought it out, my friend,
And value not my life as in itself,
But as to France, severed from whose embrace]
I am dead already.

  [He repeats the order, which is carried out.  There is a breathless
  silence, and people from the village gather round with tragic
  expectations.  NAPOLEON walks on alone towards the Fifth battalion,
  Throwing open his great-coat and revealing his uniform and the
  ribbon of the Legion of Honour.  Raising his hand to his hat he
  salutes.]


LESSARD

     Present arms!

  [The firelocks of the royalist battalion are levelled at NAPOLEON.]


NAPOLEON (still advancing)

          Men of the Fifth,
See--here I am! . . . Old friends, do you not know me?
If there be one among you who would slay
His Chief of proud past years, let him come on
And do it now!  (A pause.)


LESSARD (to his next officer)

          They are death-white at his words!
They'll fire not on this man.  And I am helpless.


SOLDIERS (suddenly)

Why yes!  We know you, father.  Glad to see ye!
The Emperor for ever!  Ha!  Huzza!

  [They throw their arms upon the ground, and, rushing forward,
  sink down and seize NAPOLEON'S knees and kiss his hands.  Those
  who cannot get near him wave their shakos and acclaim him
  passionately.  BERTRAND, DROUOT, and CAMBRONNE come up.]


NAPOLEON (privately)

All is accomplished, Bertrand!  Ten days more,
And we are snug within the Tuileries.

  [The soldiers tear out their white cockades and trample on them,
  and disinter from the bottom of their knapsacks tricolors, which
  they set up.

  NAPOLEON'S own men now arrive, and fraternize with and embrace
  the soldiers of the Fifth.  When the emotion has subsided,
  NAPOLEON forms the whole body into a square and addresses them.]

Soldiers, I came with these few faithful ones
To save you from the Bourbons,--treasons, tricks,
Ancient abuses, feudal tyranny--
From which I once of old delivered you.
The Bourbon throne is illegitimate
Because not founded on the nation's will,
But propped up for the profit of a few.
Comrades, is this not so?


A GRENADIER

          Yes, verily, sire.
You are the Angel of the Lord to us;
We'll march with you to death or victory!  (Shouts.)

  [At this moment a howling dog crosses in front of them with a
  cockade tied to its tail.  The soldiery of both sides laugh
  loudly.

  NAPOLEON forms both bodies of troops into one column.  Peasantry
  run up with buckets of sour wine and a single glass; NAPOLEON
  takes his turn with the rank and file in drinking from it.  He
  bids the whole column follow him to Grenoble and Paris.  Exeunt
  soldiers headed by NAPOLEON.   The scene shuts.]



SCENE IV

SCHONBRUNN

  [The gardens of the Palace.  Fountains and statuary are seen
  around, and the Gloriette colonnade rising against the sky on
  a hill behind.

  The ex-EMPRESS MARIE LOUISE is discovered walking up and down.
  Accompanying her is the KING OF ROME--now a blue-eye, fair-haired
  child--in the charge of the COUNTESS OF MONTESQUIOU.  Close by is
  COUNT NEIPPERG, and at a little distance MENEVAL, her attendant
  and Napoleon's adherent.

  The EMPEROR FRANCIS and METTERNICH enter at the other end of the
  parterre.]


MARIE LOUISE (with a start)

Here are the Emperor and Prince Metternich.
Wrote you as I directed?


NEIPPERG

          Promptly so.
I said your Majesty had not part
In this mad move of your Imperial spouse,
And made yourself a ward of the Allies;
Adding, that you had vowed irrevocably
To enter France no more.


MARIE LOUISE

          Your worthy zeal
Has been a trifle swift.  My meaning stretched
Not quite so far as that. . . . And yet--and yet
It matters little.  Nothing matters much!

  [The EMPEROR and METTERNICH come forward.  NEIPPERG retires.]


FRANCIS

My daughter, you did not a whit too soon
Voice your repudiation.  Have you seen
What the allies have papered Europe with?


MARIE LOUISE

I have seen nothing.


FRANCIS

     Please you read it, Prince.


METTERNICH (taking out a paper)

"The Powers assembled at the Congress here
Owe it to their own troths and dignities,
And to the furtherance of social order,
To make a solemn Declaration, thus:
By breaking the convention as to Elba,
Napoleon Bonaparte forthwith destroys
His only legal title to exist,
And as a consequence has hurled himself
Beyond the pale of civil intercourse.
Disturber of the tranquillity of the world,
There can be neither peace nor truce with him,
And public vengeance is his self-sought doom.--
Signed by the Plenipotentiaries."


MARIE LOUISE (pale)

          O God,
How terrible! . . . What shall---(she begins weeping.)


KING OF ROME

          Is it papa
They want to hurt like that, dear Mamma 'Quiou?
Then 'twas no good my praying for him so;
And I can see that I am not going to be
A King much longer!


COUNTESS OF MONTESQUIOU	 (retiring with the child)

          Pray for him, Monseigneur,
Morning and evening just the same!  They plan
To take you off from me.  But don't forget--
Do as I say!


KING OF ROME

          Yes, Mamma 'Quiou, I will!--
But why have I no pages now?  And why
Does my mamma the Empress weep so much?


COUNTESS OF MONTESQUIOU

We'll talk elsewhere.

  [MONTESQUIOU and the KING OF ROME withdraw to back.]


FRANCIS

          At least, then, you agree
Not to attempt to follow Paris-ward
Your conscience-lacking husband, and create
More troubles in the State?--Remember this,
I sacrifice my every man and horse
Ere he Rule France again.


MARIE LOUISE

          I am pledged already
To hold by the Allies; let that suffice!


METTERNICH

For the clear good of all, your Majesty,
And for your safety and the King of Rome's,
It most befits that your Imperial father
Should have sole charge of the young king henceforth,
While these convulsions rage.  That this is so
You will see, I think, in view of being installed
As Parma's Duchess, and take steps therefor.


MARIE LOUISE (coldly)

I understand the terms to be as follows:
Parma is mine--my very own possession,--
And as a counterquit, the guardianship
Is ceded to my father of my son,
And I keep out of France.


METTERNICH

          And likewise this:
All missives that your Majesty receives
Under Napoleon's hand, you tender straight
The Austrian Cabinet, the seals unbroke;
With those received already.


FRANCIS

          You discern
How vastly to the welfare of your son
This course must tend?  Duchess of Parma throned
You shine a wealthy woman, to endow
Your son with fortune and large landed fee.


MARIE LOUISE (bitterly)

I must have Parma: and those being the terms
Perforce accept!  I weary of the strain
Of statecraft and political embroil:
I long for private quiet! . . . And now wish
To say no more at all.

  [MENEVAL, who has heard her latter remarks, turns sadly away.]


FRANCIS

          There's nought to say;
All is in train to work straightforwardly.

  [FRANCIS and METTERNICH depart.  MARIE LOUISE retires towards the
  child and the COUNTESS OF MONTESQUIOU at the back of the parterre,
  where they are joined by NEIPPERG.

  Enter in front DE MONTROND, a secret emissary of NAPOLEON, disguised
  as a florist examining the gardens.  MENEVAL recognizes him and
  comes forward.]


MENEVAL

Why are you here, de Montrond?  All is hopeless!


DE MONTROND

Wherefore?  The offer of the Regency
I come empowered to make, and will conduct her
Safely to Strassburg with her little son,
If she shrink not to breech her as a man,
And tiptoe from a postern unperceived?


MENEVAL

Though such quaint gear would mould her to a youth
Fair as Adonis on a hunting morn,
Yet she'll refuse!  A German prudery
Sits on her still; more, kneaded by her arts
There's no will left to her.  I conjured her
To hold aloof, sign nothing.  But in vain.


DE MONTROND (looking towards Marie Louise)

I fain would put it to her privately!


MENEVAL

A thing impossible.  No word to her
Without a word to him you see with her,
Neipperg to wit.  She grows indifferent
To dreams as Regent; visioning a future
Wherein her son and self are two of three
But where the third is not Napoleon.


DE MONTROND (In sad surprise)

I may as well go hence then as I came,
And kneel to Heaven for one thing--that success
Attend Napoleon in the coming throes!


MENEVAL

I'll walk with you for safety to the gate,
Though I am as the Emperor's man suspect,
And any day may be dismissed.  If so
I go to Paris.

  [Exeunt MENEVAL and DE MONTROND.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Had he but persevered, and biassed her
     To slip the breeches on, and hie away,
     Who knows but that the map of France had shaped
     And it will never now!

  [There enters from the other side of the gardens MARIA CAROLINA,
  ex-Queen of Naples, and grandmother of Marie Louise.  The latter,
  dismissing MONTESQUIOU and the child, comes forward.]


MARIA CAROLINA

I have crossed from Hetzendorf to kill an hour;
Why art so pensive, dear?


MARIE LOUISE

          Ah, why!  My lines
Rule ruggedly.  You doubtless have perused
This vicious cry against the Emperor?
He's outlawed--to be caught alive or dead,
Like any noisome beast!


MARIA CAROLINA

          Nought have I heard,
My child.  But these vile tricks, to pluck you from
Your nuptial plightage and your rightful glory
Make me belch oaths!--You shall not join your husband
Do they assert?  My God, I know one thing,
Outlawed or no, I'd knot my sheets forthwith,
Were I but you, and steal to him in disguise,
Let come what would come!  Marriage is for life.


MARIE LOUISE

Mostly; not always: not with Josephine;
And, maybe, not with me.  But, that apart,
I could do nothing so outrageous.
Too many things, dear grand-dame, you forget.
A puppet I, by force inflexible,
Was bid to wed Napoleon at a nod,--
The man acclaimed to me from cradle-days
As the incarnate of all evil things,
The Antichrist himself.--I kissed the cup,
Gulped down the inevitable, and married him;
But none the less I saw myself therein
The lamb whose innocent flesh was dressed to grace
The altar of dynastic ritual!--
Hence Elba flung no duty-call to me,
Neither does Paris now.


MARIA CAROLINA

          I do perceive
They have worked on you to much effect already!
Go, join your Count; he waits you, dear.--Well, well;
The way the wind blows needs no cock to tell!

  [Exeunt severally QUEEN MARIA CAROLINA and MARIE LOUISE with
  NEIPPERG.  The sun sets over the gardens and the scene fades.]



SCENE V

LONDON. THE OLD HOUSE OF COMMONS

  [The interior of the Chamber appears as in Scene III., Act I.,
  Part I., except that the windows are not open and the trees 
  without are not yet green.

  Among the Members discovered in their places are, of ministers
  and their supporters, LORD CASTLEREAGH the Foreign Secretary,
  VANSITTART Chancellor of the Exchequer, BATHURST, PALMERSTON
  the War Secretary, ROSE, PONSONBY, ARBUTHNOT, LUSHINGTON, GARROW
  the Attorney General, SHEPHERD, LONG, PLUNKETT, BANKES; and among
  those of the Opposition SIR FRANCIS BURDETT, WHITBREAD, TIERNEY,
  ABERCROMBY, DUNDAS, BRAND, DUNCANNON, LAMBTON, HEATHCOTE, SIR
  SAMUEL ROMILLY, G. WALPOLE, RIDLEY, OSBORNE, and HORNER.

  Much interest in the debate is apparent, and the galleries are
  full.  LORD CASTLEREAGH rises.]


CASTLEREAGH

At never a moment in my stressed career,
Amid no memory-moving urgencies,
Have I, sir, felt so gravely set on me
The sudden, vast responsibility
That I feel now.  Few things conceivable
Could more momentous to the future be
Than what may spring from counsel here to-night
On means to meet the plot unparalleled
In full fierce play elsewhere.  Sir, this being so,
And seeing how the events of these last days
Menace the toil of twenty anxious years,
And peril all that period's patient aim,
No auguring mind can doubt that deeds which root
In steadiest purpose only, will effect
Deliverance from a world-calamity
As dark as any in the vaults of Time.

Now, what we notice front and foremost is
That this convulsion speaks not, pictures not
The heart of France.  It comes of artifice--
From the unique and sinister influence
Of a smart army-gamester--upon men
Who have shared his own excitements, spoils, and crimes.--
This man, who calls himself most impiously
The Emperor of France by Grace of God,
Has, in the scale of human character,
Dropt down so low, that he has set at nought
All pledges, stipulations, guarantees,
And stepped upon the only pedestal
On which he cares to stand--his lawless will.
Indeed, it is a fact scarce credible
That so mysteriously in his own breast
Did this adventurer lock the scheme he planned,
That his companion Bertrand, chief in trust,
Was unapprised thereof until the hour
In which the order to embark was given!

I think the House will readily discern
That the wise, wary trackway to be trod
By our own country in the crisis reached,
Must lie 'twixt two alternatives,--of war
In concert with the Continental Powers,
Or of an armed and cautionary course
Sufficing for the present phase of things.

Whatever differences of view prevail
On the so serious and impending question--
Whether in point of prudent reckoning
'Twere better let the power set up exist,
Or promptly at the outset deal with it--
Still, to all eyes it is imperative
That some mode of safeguardance be devised;
And if I cannot range before the House,
At this stage, all the reachings of the case,
I will, if needful, on some future day
Poise these nice matters on their merits here.

Meanwhile I have to move:
That an address unto His Royal Highness
Be humbly offered for his gracious message,
And to assure him that his faithful Commons
Are fully roused to the dark hazardries
To which the life and equanimity
Of Europe are exposed by deeds in France,
In contravention of the plighted pacts
At Paris in the course of yester-year.

That, in a cause of such wide-waked concern,
It doth afford us real relief to know
That concert with His Majesty's Allies
Is being effected with no loss of time--
Such concert as will thoroughly provide
For Europe's full and long security.  (Cheers.)

That we, with zeal, will speed such help to him
So to augment his force by sea and land
As shall empower him to set afoot
Swift measures meet for its accomplishing.  (Cheers.)


BURDETT

It seems to me almost impossible,
Weighing the language of the noble lord,
To catch its counsel,--whether peace of war.  (Hear, hear.)
If I translate his words to signify
The high expediency of watch and ward,
That we may not be taken unawares,
I own concurrence; but if he propose
Too plunge this realm into a sea of blood
To reinstate the Bourbon line in France,
I should but poorly do my duty here
Did I not lift my voice protestingly
Against so ruinous an enterprise!

Sir, I am old enough to call to mind
The first fierce frenzies for the selfsame end,
The fruit of which was to endow this man,
The object of your apprehension now,
With such a might as could not be withstood
By all of banded Europe, till he roamed
And wrecked it wantonly on Russian plains.
Shall, then, another score of scourging years
Distract this land to make a Bourbon king?
Wrongly has Bonaparte's late course been called
A rude incursion on the soil of France.--
Who ever knew a sole and single man
Invade a nation thirty million strong,
And gain in some few days full sovereignty
Against the nation's will!--The truth is this:
The nation longed for him, and has obtained him. . . .

I have beheld the agonies of war
Through many a weary season; seen enough
To make me hold that scarcely any goal
Is worth the reaching by so red a road.
No man can doubt that this Napoleon stands
As Emperor of France by Frenchmen's wills.
Let the French settle, then, their own affairs;
I say we shall have nought to apprehend!--

Much as I might advance in proof of this,
I'll dwell not thereon now.  I am satisfied
To give the general reasons which, in brief,
Balk my concurrence in the Address proposed.  (Cheers.)


PONSONBY

My words will be but few, for the Address
Constrains me to support it as it stands.
So far from being the primary step to war,
Its sense and substance is, in my regard,
To leave the House to guidance by events
On the grave question of hostilities.

The statements of the noble lord, I hold,
Have not been candidly interpreted
By grafting on to them a headstrong will,
As does the honourable baronet,
To rob the French of Buonaparte's rule,
And force them back to Bourbon monarchism.
That our free land, at this abnormal time,
Should put her in a pose of wariness,
No unwarped mind can doubt.  Must war revive,
Let it be quickly waged; and quickly, too,
Reach its effective end: though 'tis my hope,
My ardent hope, that peace may be preserved.


WHITBREAD

Were it that I could think, as does my friend,
That ambiguity of sentiment
Informed the utterance of the noble lord
(As oft does ambiguity of word),
I might with satisfied and sure resolve
Vote straight for the Address.  But eyeing well
The flimsy web there woven to entrap
The credence of my honourable friends,
I must with all my energy contest
The wisdom of a new and hot crusade
For fixing who shall fill the throne of France.

Already are the seeds of mischief sown:
The Declaration at Vienna, signed
Against Napoleon, is, in my regard,
Abhorrent, and our country's character
Defaced by our subscription to its terms!
If words have any meaning it incites
To sheer assassination; it proclaims
That any meeting Bonaparte may slay him;
And, whatso language the Allies now hold,
In that outburst, at least, was war declared.
The noble lord to-night would second it,
Would seem to urge that we full arm, then wait
For just as long, no longer, than would serve
The preparations of the other Powers,
And then--pounce down on France!


CASTLEREAGH

     No, no!  Not so.


WHITBREAD

Good God, then, what are we to understand?--
However, this denial is a gain,
And my misapprehension owes its birth
Entirely to that mystery of phrase
Which taints all rhetoric of the noble lord,

Well, what is urged for new aggression now,
To vamp up and replace the Bourbon line?
The wittiest man who ever sat here(21) said
That half our nation's debt had been incurred
In efforts to suppress the Bourbon power,
The other half in efforts to restore it, (laughter)
And I must deprecate a further plunge
For ends so futile!  Why, since Ministers
Craved peace with Bonaparte at Chatillon,
Should they refuse him peace and quiet now?

This brief amendment therefore I submit
To limit Ministers' aggressiveness
And make self-safety all their chartering:
"We at the same time earnestly implore
That the Prince Regent graciously induce
Strenuous endeavours in the cause of peace,
So long as it be done consistently
With the due honour of the English crown."  (Cheers.)


CASTLEREAGH

The arguments of Members opposite
Posit conditions which experience proves
But figments of a dream;--that honesty,
Truth, and good faith in this same Bonaparte
May be assumed and can be acted on:
This of one who is loud to violate
Bonds the most sacred, treaties the most grave! . . .

It follows not that since this realm was won
To treat with Bonaparte at Chatillon,
It can treat now.  And as for assassination,
The sentiments outspoken here to-night
Are much more like to urge to desperate deeds
Against the persons of our good Allies,
Than are, against Napoleon, statements signed
By the Vienna plenipotentiaries!

We are, in fine, too fully warranted
On moral grounds to strike at Bonaparte,
If we at any crisis reckon it
Expedient so to do.  The Government
Will act throughout in concert with the Allies,
And Ministers are well within their rights
To claim that their responsibility
Be not disturbed by hackneyed forms of speech ("Oh, oh")
Upon war's horrors, and the bliss of peace,--
Which none denies!  (Cheers.)


PONSONBY

          I ask the noble lord,
If that his meaning and pronouncement be
Immediate war?


CASTLEREAGH

     I have not phrased it so.


OPPOSITION CRIES

The question is unanswered!

  [There are excited calls, and the House divides.  The result is
  announced as thirty-seven for WHITBREAD'S amendment, and against
  it two hundred and twenty.  The clock strikes twelve as the House
  adjourns.]



SCENE VI

WESSEX.  DURNOVER GREEN, CASTERBRIDGE

  [On a patch of green grass on Durnover Hill, in the purlieus of
  Casterbridge, a rough gallows has been erected, and an effigy of
  Napoleon hung upon it.  Under the effigy are faggots of brushwood.

  It is the dusk of a spring evening, and a great crowd has gathered,
  comprising male and female inhabitants of the Durnover suburb
  and villagers from distances of many miles.  Also are present
  some of the county yeomanry in white leather breeches and scarlet,
  volunteers in scarlet with green facings, and the REVEREND MR.
  PALMER, vicar of the parish, leaning against the post of his
  garden door, and smoking a clay pipe of preternatural length.
  Also PRIVATE CANTLE from Egdon Heath, and SOLOMON LONGWAYS of
  Casterbridge.  The Durnover band, which includes a clarionet,
  {serpent,} oboe, tambourine, cymbals, and drum, is playing "Lord
  Wellington's Hornpipe."]


RUSTIC (wiping his face)

Says I, please God I'll lose a quarter to zee he burned!  And I left
Stourcastle at dree o'clock to a minute.  And if I'd known that I
should be too late to zee the beginning on't, I'd have lost a half
to be a bit sooner.


YEOMAN

Oh, you be soon enough good-now.  He's just going to be lighted.


RUSTIC

But shall I zee en die?  I wanted to zee if he'd die hard,


YEOMAN

Why, you don't suppose that Boney himself is to be burned here?


RUSTIC

What--not Boney that's to be burned?


A WOMAN

Why, bless the poor man, no!  This is only a mommet they've made of
him, that's got neither chine nor chitlings.  His innerds be only a
lock of straw from Bridle's barton.


LONGWAYS

He's made, neighbour, of a' old cast jacket and breeches from our
barracks here.  Likeways Grammer Pawle gave us Cap'n Meggs's old
Zunday shirt that she'd saved for tinder-box linnit; and Keeper
Tricksey of Mellstock emptied his powder-horn into a barm-bladder,
to make his heart wi'.


RUSTIC (vehemently)

Then there's no honesty left in Wessex folk nowadays at all!  "Boney's
going to be burned on Durnover Green to-night,"-- that was what I
thought, to be sure I did, that he'd been catched sailing from his
islant and landed at Budmouth and brought to Casterbridge Jail, the
natural retreat of malefactors!--False deceivers--making me lose a
quarter who can ill afford it; and all for nothing!


LONGWAYS

'Tisn't a mo'sel o' good for thee to cry out against Wessex folk, when
'twas all thy own stunpoll ignorance.

  [The VICAR OF DURNOVER removes his pipe and spits perpendicularly.]


VICAR

My dear misguided man, you don't imagine that we should be so inhuman
in this Christian country as to burn a fellow creature alive?


RUSTIC

Faith, I won't say I didn't!  Durnover folk have never had the
highest of Christian character, come to that.  And I didn't know
but that even a pa'son might backslide to such things in these gory
times--I won't say on a Zunday, but on a week-night like this--when
we think what a blasphemious rascal he is, and that there's not a
more charnel-minded villain towards womenfolk in the whole world.

  [The effigy has by this time been kindled, and they watch it burn,
  the flames making the faces of the crowd brass-bright, and lighting
  the grey tower of Durnover Church hard by.]


WOMAN (singing)

     Bayonets and firelocks!
       I wouldn't my mammy should know't
     But I've been kissed in a sentry-box,
       Wrapped up in a soldier's coat!


PRIVATE CANTLE

Talk of backsliding to burn Boney, I can backslide to anything
when my blood is up, or rise to anything, thank God for't!  Why,
I shouldn't mind fighting Boney single-handed, if so be I had
the choice o' weapons, and fresh Rainbarrow flints in my flint-box,
and could get at him downhill.  Yes, I'm a dangerous hand with a
pistol now and then!  . . . Hark, what's that?  (A horn is heard
eastward on the London Road.)  Ah, here comes the mail.  Now we may
learn something.  Nothing boldens my nerves like news of slaughter!

  [Enter mail-coach and steaming horses.  It halts for a minute while
  the wheel is skidded and the horses stale.]


SEVERAL

What was the latest news from abroad, guard, when you left
Piccadilly White-Horse-Cellar!


GUARD

You have heard, I suppose, that he's given up to public vengeance,
by Gover'ment orders?  Anybody may take his life in any way, fair
or foul, and no questions asked.  But Marshal Ney, who was sent to
fight him, flung his arms round his neck and joined him with all
his men.  Next, the telegraph from Plymouth sends news landed there
by _The Sparrow_, that he has reached Paris, and King Louis has
fled.  But the air got hazy before the telegraph had finished, and
the name of the place he had fled to couldn't be made out.

  [The VICAR OF DURNOVER blows a cloud of smoke, and again spits
  perpendicularly.]


VICAR

Well, I'm d---  Dear me--dear me!  The Lord's will be done.


GUARD

And there are to be four armies sent against him--English, Proosian,
Austrian, and Roosian: the first two under Wellington and Blucher.
And just as we left London a show was opened of Boney on horseback
as large as life, hung up with his head downwards.  Admission one
shilling; children half-price.  A truly patriot spectacle!--Not that
yours here is bad for a simple country-place.

  [The coach drives on down the hill, and the crowd reflectively
  watches the burning.]


WOMAN (singing)

I

     My Love's gone a-fighting
       Where war-trumpets call,
     The wrongs o' men righting
       Wi' carbine and ball,
     And sabre for smiting,
       And charger, and all

II

     Of whom does he think there
       Where war-trumpets call?
     To whom does he drink there,
       Wi' carbine and ball
     On battle's red brink there,
       And charger, and all?

III

     Her, whose voice he hears humming
       Where war-trumpets call,
     "I wait, Love, thy coming
       Wi' carbine and ball,
     And bandsmen a-drumming
       Thee, charger and all!"

  [The flames reach the powder in the effigy, which is blown to
  rags. The band marches off playing "When War's Alarms," the
  crowd disperses, the vicar stands musing and smoking at his
  garden door till the fire goes out and darkness curtains the
  scene.]




ACT SIXTH


SCENE I

THE BELGIAN FRONTIER

  [The village of Beaumont stands in the centre foreground of a
  birds'-eye prospect across the Belgian frontier from the French
  side, being close to the Sambre further back in the scene, which
  pursues a crinkled course between high banks from Maubeuge on the
  left to Charleroi on the right.

  In the shadows that muffle all objects, innumerable bodies of
  infantry and cavalry are discerned bivouacking in and around the
  village.  This mass of men forms the central column of NAPOLEONS'S
  army.

  The right column is seen at a distance on that hand, also near
  the frontier, on the road leading towards Charleroi; and the
  left column by Solre-sur-Sambre, where the frontier and the river
  nearly coincide

  The obscurity thins and the June dawn appears.]


DUMB SHOW

The bivouacs of the central column become broken up, and a movement
ensues rightwards on Charleroi.  The twelve regiments of cavalry
which are in advance move off first; in half an hour more bodies
move, and more in the next half-hour, till by eight o'clock the
whole central army is gliding on.  It defiles in strands by narrow
tracks through the forest.  Riding impatiently on the outskirts of
the columns is MARSHAL NEY, who has as yet received no command.

As the day develops, sight and sounds to the left and right reveal
that the two outside columns have also started, and are creeping
towards the frontier abreast with the centre.  That the whole forms
one great movement, co-ordinated by one mind, now becomes apparent.
Preceded by scouts the three columns converge.

The advance through dense woods by narrow paths takes time.  The
head of the middles and main column forces back some outposts, and
reaches Charleroi, driving out the Prussian general ZIETEN.  It
seizes the bridge over the Sambre and blows up the gates of the
town.

The point of observation now descends close to the scene.

In the midst comes the EMPEROR with the Sappers of the Guard,
the Marines, and the Young Guard.  The clatter brings the scared
inhabitants to their doors and windows.  Cheers arise from some
of them as NAPOLEON passes up the steep street.  Just beyond the
town, in front of the Bellevue Inn, he dismounts.  A chair is
brought out, in which he sits and surveys the whole valley of the
Sambre.  The troops march past cheering him, and drums roll and
bugles blow.  Soon the EMPEROR is found to be asleep.

When the rattle of their passing ceases the silence wakes him.  His
listless eye falls upon a half-defaced poster on a wall opposite--
the Declaration of the Allies.


NAPOLEON (reading)

". . . Bonaparte destroys the only legal title on which his existence
depended. . . . He has deprived himself of the protection of the law,
and has manifested to the Universe that there can be neither peace
nor truce with him.  The Powers consequently declare that Napoleon
Bonaparte has placed himself without the pale of civil and social
relations, and that as an enemy and disturber of the tranquillity
of the world he has rendered himself liable to public vengeance."


His flesh quivers, and he turns with a start, as if fancying that
some one may be about to stab him in the back.  Then he rises,
mounts, and rides on.

Meanwhile the right column crosses the Sambre without difficulty
at Chatelet, a little lower down; the left column at Marchienne a
little higher up; and the three limbs combine into one vast army.

As the curtain of the mist is falling, the point of vision soars
again, and there is afforded a brief glimpse of what is doing far
away on the other side.  From all parts of Europe long and sinister
black files are crawling hitherward in serpentine lines, like
slowworms through grass.  They are the advancing armies of the
Allies.  The Dumb Show ends.



SCENE II

A BALLROOM IN BRUSSELS(22)

  [It is a June midnight at the DUKE AND DUCHESS OF RICHMOND'S.  A
  band of stringed instruments shows in the background.  The room
  is crowded with a brilliant assemblage of more than two hundred
  of the distinguished people sojourning in the city on account of
  the war and other reasons, and of local personages of State and
  fashion.  The ball has opened with "The White Cockade."

  Among those discovered present either dancing or looking on are
  the DUKE and DUCHESS as host and hostess, their son and eldest
  daughter, the Duchess's brother, the DUKE OF WELLINGTON, the
  PRINCE OF ORANGE, the DUKE OF BRUNSWICK, BARON VAN CAPELLEN the
  Belgian Secretary of State, the DUKE OF ARENBERG, the MAYOR OF
  BRUSSELS, the DUKE AND DUCHESS OF BEAUFORT, GENERAL ALAVA, GENERAL
  OUDENARDE, LORD HILL, LORD AND LADY CONYNGHAM, SIR HENRY AND LADY
  SUSAN CLINTON, SIR H. AND LADY HAMILTON DALRYMPLE, SIR WILLIAM AND
  LADY DE LANCEY, LORD UXBRIDGE, SIR JOHN BYNG, LORD PORTARLINGTON,
  LORD EDWARD SOMERSET, LORD HAY, COLONEL ABERCROMBY, SIR HUSSEY
  VIVIAN, SIR A. GORDON, SIR W. PONSONBY, SIR DENIS PACK, SIR JAMES
  KEMPT, SIR THOMAS PICTON, GENERAL MAITLAND, COLONEL CAMERON, many
  other officers, English, Hanoverian, Dutch and Belgian ladies
  English and foreign, and Scotch reel-dancers from Highland
  regiments.

  The "Hungarian Waltz" having also been danced, the hostess calls
  up the Highland soldiers to show the foreign guests what a Scotch
  reel is like.  The men put their hands on their hips and tread it
  out briskly.  While they stand aside and rest "The Hanoverian
  Dance" is called.

  Enter LIEUTENANT WEBSTER, A.D.C. to the PRINCE OF ORANGE.  The
  Prince goes apart with him and receives a dispatch.  After reading
  it he speaks to WELLINGTON, and the two, accompanied by the DUKE
  OF RICHMOND, retire into an alcove with serious faces.  WEBSTER,
  in passing back across the ballroom, exchanges a hasty word with
  two of three of the guests known to him, a young officer among
  them, and goes out.


YOUNG OFFICER (to partner)

The French have passed the Sambre at Charleroi!


PARTNER

What--does it mean the Bonaparte indeed
Is bearing down upon us?


YOUNG OFFICER

          That is so.
The one who spoke to me in passing out
Is Aide to the Prince of Orange, bringing him
Dispatches from Rebecque, his chief of Staff,
Now at the front, not far from Braine le Comte;
He says that Ney, leading the French van-guard,
Has burst on Quatre-Bras.


PARTNER

          O horrid time!
Will you, then, have to go and face him there?


YOUNG OFFICER

I shall, of  course, sweet.  Promptly too, no doubt.
                                         (He gazes about the room.)
See--the news spreads; the dance is paralyzed.
They are all whispering round.  (The band stops.)  Here comes
    one more,
He's the attache from the Prussian force
At our headquarters.

  [Enter GENERAL MUFFLING.  He looks prepossessed, and goes straight
  to WELLINGTON and RICHMOND in the alcove, who by this time have
  been joined by the DUKE OF BRUNSWICK.]


SEVERAL GUESTS (at back of room)

          Yes, you see, it's true!
The army will prepare to march at once.


PICTON (to another general)

I am damn glad we are to be off.  Pottering about her pinned to
petticoat tails--it does one no good, but blasted harm!


ANOTHER GUEST

The ball cannot go on, can it?  Didn't the Duke know the French
were so near?  If he did, how could he let us run risks so coolly?


LADY HAMILTON DALRYMPLE (to partner)

A deep concern weights those responsible
Who gather in the alcove.  Wellington
Affects a cheerfulness in outward port,
But cannot rout his real anxiety!

  [The DUCHESS OF RICHMOND goes to her husband.]


DUCHESS

Ought I to stop the ball?  It hardly seems right to let it continue
if all be true.


RICHMOND

I have put that very question to Wellington, my dear.  He says that
we need not hurry off the guests.  The men have to assemble some
time before the officers, who can stay on here a little longer
without inconvenience; and he would prefer that they should, not to
create a panic in the city, where the friends and spies of Napoleon
are all agog for some such thing, which they would instantly
communicate to him to take advantage of.


DUCHESS

Is it safe to stay on?  Should we not be thinking about getting the
children away?


RICHMOND

There's no hurry at all, even if Bonaparte were really sure to
enter.  But he's never going to set foot in Brussels--don't you
imagine it for a moment.


DUCHESS (anxiously)

I hope not.  But I wish we had never brought them here!


RICHMOND

It is too late, my dear, to wish that now.  Don't be flurried; make
the people go on dancing.

  [The DUCHESS returns to her guests. The DUKE rejoins WELLINGTON,
  BRUNSWICK, MUFFLING, and the PRINCE OF ORANGE in the alcove.]


WELLINGTON

We need not be astride till five o'clock
If all the men are marshalled well ahead.
The Brussels citizens must not suppose
They stand in serious peril. . . He, I think,
Directs his main attack mistakenly;
It should gave been through Mons, not Charleroi.


MUFFLING

The Austrian armies, and the Russian too,
Will show nowhere in this.  The thing that's done,
Be it a historied feat or nine days' fizz,
Will be done long before they join us here.


WELLINGTON

Yes, faith; and 'tis pity.  But, by God,
Blucher, I think, and I can make a shift
To do the business without troubling 'em!
Though I've an infamous army, that's the truth,--
Weak, and but ill-equipped,--and what's as bad,
A damned unpractised staff!


MUFFLING

          We'll hope for luck.
Blucher concentrates certainly by now
Near Ligny, as he says in his dispatch.
Your Grace, I glean, will mass at Quatre-Bras?


WELLINGTON

Ay, now we are sure this move on Charleroi
Is no mere feint.  Though I had meant Nivelles.
Have ye a good map, Richmond, near at hand?


RICHMOND	

In the next room there's one.  (Exit RICHMOND.)

  [WELLINGTON calls up various general officers and aides from
  other parts of the room.  PICTON, UXBRIDGE, HILL, CLINTON, VIVIAN,
  MAITLAND, PONSONBY, SOMERSET, and others join him in succession,
  receive orders, and go out severally.]


PRINCE OF ORANGE

As my divisions seem to lie around
The probable point of impact, it behoves me
To start at once, Duke, for Genappe, I deem?
Being in Brussels, all for this damned ball,
The dispositions out there have, so far,
Been made by young Saxe Weimar and Perponcher,
On their own judgment quite.  I go, your Grace?


WELLINGTON

Yes, certainly.  'Tis now desirable.
Farewell!  Good luck, until we meet again,
The battle won!

  [Exit PRINCE OF ORANGE, and shortly after, MUFFLING.  RICHMOND
  returns with a map, which he spreads out on the table.  WELLINGTON
  scans it closely.]

          Napoleon has befooled me,
By God he has,--gained four-and-twenty hours'
Good march upon me!


RICHMOND

     What do you mean to do?


WELLINGTON

I have bidden the army concentrate in strength
At Quatre-Bras.  But we shan't stop him there;
So I must fight him HERE.  (He marks Waterloo with his thumbnail.)
          Well, now I have sped,
All necessary orders I may sup,
And then must say good-bye.  (To Brunswick.)  This very day
There will be fighting, Duke.  You are fit to start?


BRUNSWICK (coming forward)

I leave almost this moment.--Yes, your Grace--
And I sheath not my sword till I have avenged
My father's death.  I have sworn it!


WELLINGTON

          My good friend,
Something too solemn knells beneath your words.
Take cheerful views of the affair in hand,
And fall to't with _sang froid_!


BRUNSWICK

          But I have sworn!
Adieu.  The rendezvous is Quatre-Bras?


WELLINGTON

Just so.  The order is unchanged.  Adieu;
But only till a later hour to-day;
I see it is one o'clock.

  [WELLINGTON and RICHMOND go out of the alcove and join the
  hostess, BRUNSWICK'S black figure being left there alone.  He
  bends over the map for a few seconds.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     O Brunswick, Duke of Deathwounds!  Even as he
     For whom thou wear'st that filial weedery
     Was waylaid by my tipstaff nine years since,
     So thou this day shalt feel his fendless tap,
     And join thy sire!


BRUNSWICK (starting up)

          I am stirred by inner words,
As 'twere my father's angel calling me,--
That prelude to our death my lineage know!

  [He stands in a reverie for a moment; then, bidding adieu to the
  DUCHESS OF RICHMOND and her daughter, goes slowly out of the
  ballroom by a side-door.]


DUCHESS

The Duke of Brunswick bore him gravely here.
His sable shape has stuck me all the eve
As one of those romantic presences
We hear of--seldom see.


WELLINGTON (phlegmatically)

          Romantic,--well,
It may be so.  Times often, ever since
The Late Duke's death, his mood has tinged him thus.
He is of those brave men who danger see,
And seeing front it,--not of those, less brave
But counted more, who face it sightlessly.


YOUNG OFFICER (to partner)

The Generals slip away!  I, Love, must take
The cobbled highway soon.  Some hours ago
The French seized Charleroi; so they loom nigh.


PARTNER (uneasily)

Which tells me that the hour you draw your sword
Looms nigh us likewise!


YOUNG OFFICER

          Some are saying here
We fight this very day.  Rumours all-shaped
Fly round like cockchafers!

  [Suddenly there echoes in the ballroom a long-drawn metallic purl
  of sound, making all the company start.]

Transcriber's Note: There follows in musical notation five measures
     for side-drum.

          Ah--there it is,
Just as I thought!  They are beating the Generale.

  [The loud roll of side-drums is taken up by other drums further
  and further away, till the hollow noise spreads all over the city.
  Dismay is written on the faces of the women.  The Highland non-
  commissioned officers and privates march smartly down the ballroom
  and disappear.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Discerned you stepping out in front of them
     That figure--of a pale drum-major kind,
     Or fugleman--who wore a cold grimace?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     He was my old fiend Death, in rarest trim,
     The occasion favouring his husbandry!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Are those who marched behind him, then, to fall?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Ay, all well-nigh, ere Time have houred three-score.


PARTNER

Surely this cruel call to instant war
Spares space for one dance more, that memory
May store when you are gone, while I--sad me!--
Wait, wait and weep. . . . Yes--one there is to be!


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Methinks flirtation grows too tender here!

  [Country Dance, "The Prime of Life," a favourite figure at this
  period.  The sense of looming tragedy carries emotion to its
  climax.  All the younger officers stand up with their partners,
  forming several figures of fifteen or twenty couples each.  The
  air is ecstasizing, and both sexes abandon themselves to the
  movement.

  Nearly half an hour passes before the figure is danced down.
  Smothered kisses follow the conclusion.  The silence is broken
  from without by more long hollow rolling notes, so near that
  they thrill the window-panes.]


SEVERAL

'Tis the Assemble.  Now, then, we must go!

  [The officers bid farewell to their partners and begin leaving
  in twos and threes.  When they are gone the women mope and murmur
  to each other by the wall, and listen to the tramp of men and
  slamming of doors in the streets without.]


LADY HAMILTON DALRYMPLE

The Duke has borne him gaily here to-night.
The youngest spirits scarcely capped his own.


DALRYMPLE

Maybe that, finding himself blade to blade
With Bonaparte at last, his blood gets quick.
French lancers of the Guard were seen at Frasnes
Last midnight; so the clash is not far off.

  [They leave.]


DE LANCEY (to his wife)

I take you to our door, and say good-bye,
And go thence to the Duke's and wait for him.
In a few hours we shall be all in motion
Towards the scene of--what we cannot tell!
You, dear, will haste to Antwerp till it's past,
As we have arranged.

  [They leave.]


WELLINGTON (to Richmond)

          Now I must also go,
And snatch a little snooze ere harnessing.
The Prince and Brunswick have been gone some while.

  [RICHMOND  walks to the door with him.  Exit WELLINGTON, RICHMOND
  returns.]


DUCHESS (to Richmond)

Some of these left renew the dance, you see.
I cannot stop them; but with memory hot
Of those late gone, of where they are gone, and why,
It smacks of heartlessness!


RICHMOND

          Let be; let be;
Youth comes not twice to fleet mortality!

  [The dancing, however, is fitful and spiritless, few but civilian
  partners being left for the ladies.  Many of the latter prefer to
  sit in reverie while waiting for their carriages.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     When those stout men-at-arms drew forward there,
     I saw a like grimacing shadow march
     And pirouette before no few of them.
     Some of themselves beheld it; some did not.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Which were so ushered?


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

          Brunswick, who saw and knew;
     One also moved before Sir Thomas Picton,
     Who coolly conned and drily spoke to it;
     Another danced in front of Ponsonby,
     Who failed of heeding his.--De Lancey, Hay,
     Gordon, and Cameron, and many more
     Were footmanned by like phantoms from the ball.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Multiplied shimmerings of my Protean friend,
     Who means to couch them shortly.  Thou wilt eye
     Many fantastic moulds of him ere long,
     Such as, bethink thee, oft hast eyed before.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     I have--too often!

  [The attenuated dance dies out, the remaining guests depart, the
  musicians leave the gallery and depart also.  RICHMOND goes to
  a window and pulls back one of the curtains.  Dawn is barely 
  visible in the sky, and the lamps indistinctly reveal that long
  lines of British infantry have assembled in the street.  In the
  irksomeness of waiting for their officers with marching-orders,
  they have lain down on the pavements, where many are soundly
  sleeping, their heads on their knapsacks and their arms by their
  side.]


DUCHESS

Poor men.  Sleep waylays them.  How tired they seem!


RICHMOND

They'll be more tired before the day is done.
A march of eighteen miles beneath the heat,
And then to fight a battle ere they rest,
Is what foreshades.--Well, it is more than bed-time;
But little sleep for us or any one
To-night in Brussels!

  [He draws the window-curtain and goes out with the DUCHESS.
  Servants enter and extinguish candles.  The scene closes in
  darkness.]



SCENE III

CHARLEROI.  NAPOLEON'S QUARTERS

  [The same midnight.  NAPOLEON is lying on a bed in his clothes.
  In consultation with SOULT, his Chief of Staff, who is sitting
  near, he dictates to his Secretary orders for the morrow.  They
  are addressed to KELLERMANN, DROUOT, LOBAU, GERARD, and other
  of his marshals.  SOULT goes out to dispatch them.

  The Secretary resumes the reading of reports.  Presently MARSHAL
  NEY is announced  He is heard stumbling up the stairs, and enters.]


NAPOLEON

Ah, Ney; why come you back?  Have you secured
The all-important Crossways?--safely sconced
Yourself at Quatre-Bras?


NEY

          Not, sire, as yet.
For, marching forwards, I heard gunnery boom,
And, fearing that the Prussians had engaged you,
I stood at pause.  Just then---


NAPOLEON

          My charge was this:
Make it impossible at any cost
That Wellington and Blucher should unite.
As it's from Brussels that the English come,
And from Namur the Prussians, Quatre-Bras
Lends it alone for their forgathering:
So, why exists it not in your hands/


NEY

My reason, sire, was rolling from my tongue.--
Hard on the boom of guns, dim files of foot
Which read to me like massing Englishry--
The vanguard of all Wellington's array--
I half-discerned.  So, in pure wariness,
I left the Bachelu columns there at Frasnes,
And hastened back to tell you.


NAPOLEON

          Ney; O Ney!
I fear you are not the man that once you were;
Of your so daring, such a faint-heart now!
I have ground to know the foot that flustered you
Were but a few stray groups of Netherlanders;
For my good spies in Brussels send me cue
That up to now the English have not stirred,
But cloy themselves with nightly revel there.


NEY (bitterly)

Give me another opportunity
Before you speak like that!


NAPOLEON

          You soon will have one! . . .
But now--no more of this.  I have other glooms
Upon my soul--the much-disquieting news
That Bourmont has deserted to our foes
With his whole staff.


NEY

     We can afford to let him.


NAPOLEON

It is what such betokens, not their worth,
That whets it! . . . Love, respect for me, have waned;
But I will right that.  We've good chances still.
You must return foot-hot to Quatre-Bras;
There Kellermann's cuirassiers will promptly join you
To bear the English backward Brussels way.
I go on towards Fleurus and Ligny now.--
If Blucher's force retreat, and Wellington's
Lie somnolent in Brussels one day more,
I gain that city sans a single shot! . . .

Now, friend, downstairs you'll find some supper ready,
Which you must tuck in sharply, and then off.
The past day has not ill-advantaged us;
We have stolen upon the two chiefs unawares,
And in such sites that they must fight apart.
Now for a two hours' rest.--Comrade, adieu
Until to-morrow!

NEY

     Till to-morrow, sire!

  [Exit NEY.  NAPOLEON falls asleep, and the Secretary waits till
  dictation shall be resumed.  BUSSY, the orderly officer, comes
  to the door.


BUSSY

Letters--arrived from Paris.  (Hands letters.)


SECRETARY

          He shall have them
The moment he awakes.  These eighteen hours
He's been astride; and is not what he was.--
Much news from Paris?


BUSSY

          I can only say
What's not the news.  The courier has just told me
He'd nothing from the Empress at Vienna
To bring his Majesty.  She writes no more.


SECRETARY

And never will again!  In my regard
That bird's forsook the nest for good and all.


BUSSY

All that they hear in Paris from her court
Is through our spies there.  One of them reports
This rumour of her: that the Archduke John,
In taking leave to join our enemies here,
Said, "Oh, my poor Louise; I am grieved for you
And what I hope is, that he'll be run through,
Or shot, or break his neck, for your own good
No less than ours.


NAPOLEON (waking)

     By "he" denoting me?


BUSSY (starting)

Just so, your Majesty.


NAPOLEON (peremptorily)

     What said the Empress?


BUSSY

She gave no answer, sire, that rumour bears.


NAPOLEON

Count Neipperg, whom they have made her chamberlain,
Interred his wife last spring--is it not so?


BUSSY

He did, your Majesty.


NAPOLEON

     H'm. . . .You may go.

  [Exit BUSSY.  The Secretary reads letters aloud in succession.
  He comes to the last; begins it; reaches a phrase, and stops
  abruptly.]

Mind not!  Read on. No doubt the usual threat,
Or prophecy, from some mad scribe?  Who signs it?


SECRETARY

The subscript is "The Duke of Enghien!"


NAPOLEON (starting up)

Bah, man!  A treacherous trick!  A hoax--no more!
Is that the last?


SECRETARY

     The last, your Majesty.


NAPOLEON

Then now I'll sleep.  In two hours have me called.


SECRETARY

I'll give the order, sire.

  [The Secretary goes.  The candles are removed, except one, and
  NAPOLEON endeavours to compose himself.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

A little moral panorama would do him no harm, after that reminder of
the Duke of Enghien.  Shall it be, young Compassion?


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     What good--if that old Years tells us be true?
     But I say naught.  To ordain is not for me!

  [Thereupon a vision passes before NAPOLEON as he lies, comprising
  hundreds of thousands of skeletons and corpses in various stages
  of decay.  They rise from his various battlefields, the flesh
  dropping from them, and gaze reproachfully at him.  His intimate
  officers who have been slain he recognizes among the crowd.  In
  front is the DUKE OF ENGHIEN as showman.]


NAPOLEON (in his sleep)

Why, why should this reproach be dealt me now?
Why hold me my own master, if I be
Ruled by the pitiless Planet of Destiny?

  [He jumps up in a sweat and puts out the last candle; and the
  scene is curtained by darkness.]



SCENE IV

A CHAMBER OVERLOOKING A MAIN STREET IN BRUSSELS

  [A June sunrise; the beams struggling through the window-curtains.
  A canopied bed in a recess on the left.  The quick notes of
  "Brighton Camp, or the "Girl I've left behind me," strike sharply
  into the room from fifes and drums without.  A young lady in a
  dressing-gown, who has evidently been awaiting the sound, springs
  from the bed like a hare from its form, undraws window-curtains
  and opens the window.

  Columns of British soldiery are marching past from the Parc
  southward out of the city by the Namur Gate.  The windows of
  other houses in the street rattle open, and become full of 
  gazers.

  A tap at the door.  An older lady enters, and comes up to the
  first.]


YOUNGER LADY (turning)

O mamma--I didn't hear you!


ELDER LADY

I was sound asleep till the thumping of the drums set me fantastically
dreaming, and when I awoke I found they were real.  Did they wake you
too, my dear?


Younger Lady (reluctantly)

I didn't require waking.  I hadn't slept since we came home.


ELDER LADY

That was from the excitement of the ball.  There are dark rings round
your eye.  (The fifes and drums are now opposite, and thrill the air
in the room.)  Ah--that "Girl I've left behind me!"--which so many
thousands of women have throbbed an accompaniment to, and will again
to-day if ever they did!


YOUNGER LADY (her voice faltering)

It is rather cruel to say that just now, mamma.  There, I can't look
at them after it!  (She turns and wipes her eyes.)


ELDER LADY

I wasn't thinking of ourselves--certainly not of you.--How they
press on--with those great knapsacks and firelocks and, I am told,
fifty-six rounds of ball-cartridge, and four days' provisions in
those haversacks.  How can they carry it all near twenty miles and
fight with it on their shoulders! . . . Don't cry, dear.  I thought
you would get sentimental last night over somebody.  I ought to
have brought you home sooner.  How many dances did you have?  It
was impossible for me to look after you in the excitement of the
war-tidings.


YOUNGER LADY

Only three--four.


ELDER LADY

Which were they?


YOUNGER LADY

"Enrico," the "Copenhagen Waltz" and the "Hanoverian," and the
"Prime of Life."


ELDER LADY

It was very foolish to fall in love on the strength of four dances.


YOUNGER LADY (evasively)

Fall in love?  Who said I had fallen in love?  What a funny idea!


ELDER LADY

Is it? . . . Now here come the Highland Brigade with their pipes
and their "Hieland Laddie."  How the sweethearts cling to the men's
arms.  (Reaching forward.)  There are more regiments following.
But look, that gentleman opposite knows us.  I cannot remember his
name.  (She bows and calls across.)  Sir, which are these?


GENTLEMAN OPPOSITE

The Ninety-second.  Next come the Forty-ninth, and next the Forty-
second--Sir Denis Pack's brigade.


ELDER LADY

Thank you.--I think it is that gentleman we talked to at the
Duchess's, but I am not sure.  (A pause: another band.)


GENTLEMAN OPPOSITE

That's the Twenty-eighth.  (They pass, with their band and colours.)
Now the Thirty-second are coming up--part of Kempt's brigade. Endless,
are they not?


ELDER LADY

Yes, Sir.  Has the Duke passed out yet?


GENTLEMAN OPPOSITE

Not yet.  Some cavalry will go by first, I think.  The foot coming
up now are the Seventy-ninth.  (They pass.) . . . These next are
the Ninety-fifth.  (They pass.) . . . These are the First Foot-
guards now.  (They pass, playing "British Grenadiers.") . . . The
Fusileer-guards now.  (They pass.)  Now the Coldstreamers.  (They
pass.  He looks up towards the Parc.)  Several Hanoverian regiments
under Colonel Best are coming next.  (They pass, with their bands
and colours.  An interval.)


ELDER LADY (to daughter)

Here are the hussars.  How much more they carry to battle than at
reviews.  The hay in those great nets must encumber them.  (She
turns and sees that her daughter has become pale.)  Ah, now I know!
HE has just gone by.  You exchanged signals with him, you wicked
girl!  How do you know what his character is, or if he'll ever come
back?

  [The younger lady goes and flings herself on her face upon the
  bed, sobbing silently.  Her mother glances at her, but leaves
  her alone.  An interval.  The prancing of a group of horsemen
  is heard on the cobble-stones without.]


GENTLEMAN OPPOSITE (calling)

Here comes the Duke!


ELDER LADY (to younger)

You have left the window at the most important time!  The Duke of
Wellington and his staff-officers are passing out.


YOUNGER LADY

I don't want to see him.  I don't want to see anything any more!

  [Riding down the street comes WELLINGTON in a grey frock-coat and
  small cocked hat, frigid and undemonstrative; accompanied by four
  or five Generals of his suite, the Deputy Quartermaster-general
  De LANCEY, LORD FITZROY SOMERSET, Aide-de-camp, and GENERAL
  MUFFLING.]


GENTLEMAN OPPOSITE

He is the Prussian officer attached to our headquarters, through whom
Wellington communicates with Blucher, who, they say, is threatened by
the French at Ligny at this moment.

  [The elder lady turns to her daughter, and going to the bed bends
  over her, while the horses' tramp of WELLINGTON and his staff
  clatters more faintly in the street, and the music of the last
  retreating band dies away towards the Forest of Soignes.

  Finding her daughter is hysterical with grief she quickly draws
  the window-curtains to screen the room from the houses opposite.
  Scene ends.]



SCENE V

THE FIELD OF LIGNY

  [The same day later.  A prospect of the battlefield of Ligny
  southward from the roof of the windmill of Bussy, which stands at
  the centre and highest point of the Prussian position, about six
  miles south-east of Quatre-Bras.

  The ground slopes downward along the whole front of the scene to
  a valley through which wanders the Ligne, a muddy stream bordered
  by sallows.  On both sides of the stream, in the middle plane of
  the picture, stands the village of Ligny, composed of thatched
  cottages, gardens, and farm-houses with stone walls; the main
  features, such as the church, church-yard, and village-green
  being on the further side of the Ligne.

  On that side the land reascends in green wheatfields to an
  elevation somewhat greater than that of the foreground, reaching
  away to Fleurus in the right-hand distance.

  In front, on the slopes between the spectator and the village,
  is the First Corps of the Prussian army commanded by Zieten, its
  First Brigade under STEINMETZ occupying the most salient point.
  The Corps under THIELMANN is ranged to the left, and that of
  PIRCH to the rear, in reserve to ZIETEN.  In the centre-front,
  just under the mill, BLUCHER on a fine grey charger is intently
  watching, with his staff.

  Something dark is seen to be advancing over the horizon by
  Fleurus, about three miles off.  It is the van of NAPOLEON'S
  army, approaching to give battle.

  At this moment hoofs are heard clattering along a road that
  passes behind the mill; and there come round to the front the
  DUKE OF WELLINGTON, his staff-officers, and a small escort of
  cavalry.

  WELLINGTON and BLUCHER greet each other at the foot of the
  windmill.  They disappear inside, and can be heard ascending
  the ladders.

  Enter on the roof WELLINGTON and BLUCHER, followed by FITZROY
  SOMERSET, GNEISENAU, MUFFLING, and others.  Before renewing
  their conversation they peer through their glasses at the dark
  movements on the horizon.  WELLINGTON'S manner is deliberate,
  judicial, almost indifferent; BLUCHER'S eager and impetuous.


WELLINGTON

They muster not as yet in near such strength
At Quatre-Bras as here.


BLUCHER

          'Tis from Fleurus
They come debouching.  I, perforce, withdrew
My forward posts of cavalry at dawn
In face of their light cannon. . . . They'll be here
I reckon, soon!


WELLINGTON (still with glass)

          I clearly see his staff,
And if my eyes don't lie, the Arch-one too. . . .
It is the whole Imperial army, Prince,
That we've before us.  (A silence.)  Well, we'll cope with them!
What would you have me do?

  [BLUCHER is so absorbed in what he sees that he does not heed.]


GNEISENAU

          Duke, this I'd say:
Events suggest to us that you come up
With all your force, behind the village here,
And act as our reserve.


MUFFLING

          But Bonaparte,
Pray note, has redistributed his strength
In fashion that you fail to recognize.
I am against your scheme.


BLUCHER (lowering his glass)

          Signs notify
Napoleon's plans as changed!  He purports now
To strike our left--between Sombreffe and Brye. . . .
If so, I have to readjust my ward.


WELLINGTON

One of his two divisions that we scan
Outspreading from Fleurus, seems bent on Ligny,
The other on Saint-Amand.


BLUCHER

          Well, I shall see
In half an hour, your Grace.  If what I deem
Be what he means, Von Zieten's corps forthwith
Must stand to their positions: Pirch out here,
Henckel at Ligny, Steinmetz at La Haye.


WELLINGTON

So that, your Excellency, as I opine,
I go and sling my strength on their left wing--
Manoeuvring to outflank 'em on that side.


BLUCHER

True, true.  Our plan uncovers of itself;
You bear down everything from Quatre-Bras
Along the road to Frasnes.


WELLINGTON

          I will, by God.
I'll bear straight on to Gosselies, if needs!


GNEISENAU

Your Excellencies, if I may be a judge,
Such movement will not tend to unity;
It leans too largely on a peradventure
Most speculative in its contingencies!

  [A silence; till the officers of the staff remark to each other
  that concentration is best in any circumstances.  A general
  discussion ensues.]


BLUCHER (concludingly)

We will expect you, Duke, to our support.


WELLINGTON

I must agree that, in the sum, it's best.
So be it then.  If not attacked myself
I'll come to you.--Now I return with speed 
To Quatre-Bras.


BLUCHER

          And I descend from here
To give close eye and thought to things below;
No more can well be studied where we stand.

  [Exeunt from roof WELLINGTON, BLUCHER and the rest.  They reappear
  below, and WELLINGTON and his suite gallop furiously away in the
  direction of Quatre-Bras.  An interval.]


DUMB SHOW (below)

Three reports of a cannon give the signal for the French attack.
NAPOLEON'S army advances down the slopes of green corn opposite,
bands and voices joining in songs of victory.  The French come
in three grand columns; VANDAMME'S on the left (the spectator's
right) against Saint-Amand, the most forward angle of the Prussian
position.  GERARD'S in the centre bear down upon Ligny.  GROUCHY'S
on the French right is further back.  Far to the rear can be
discerned NAPOLEON, the Imperial Guard, and MILHAUD'S cuirassiers
halted in reserve.

This formidable advance is preceded by swarms of tirailleurs, who
tread down the high wheat, exposing their own men in the rear.

Amid cannonading from both sides they draw nearer to the Prussians,
though lanes are cut through them by the latter's guns.  They drive
the Prussians out of Ligny; who, however, rally in the houses,
churchyard, and village green.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     I see unnatural an Monster, loosely jointed,
     With an Apocalyptic Being's shape,
     And limbs and eyes a hundred thousand strong,
     And fifty thousand heads; which coils itself
     About the buildings there.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Thou dost indeed.
     It is the Monster Devastation.  Watch.


Round the church they fight without quarter, shooting face to face,
stabbing with unfixed bayonets, and braining with the butts of
muskets.  The village catches fire, and soon becomes a furnace.
The crash of splitting timbers as doors are broken through, the
curses of the fighters, rise into the air, with shouts of "En
avant!" from the further side of the stream, and "Vorwarts!" from
the nearer.

The battle extends to the west by Le Hameau and Saint-Amand la Haye;
and Ligny becomes invisible under a shroud of smoke.


VOICES (at the base of the mill)

This sun will go down bloodily for us!
The English, sharply sighed for by Prince Blucher,
Cannot appear.  Wellington words across
That hosts have set on him at Quatre-Bras,
And leave him not one bayonet to spare!


The truth of this intelligence is apparent.  A low dull sound heard
lately from the direction of Quatre-Bras has increased to a roaring
cannonade.  The scene abruptly closes.



SCENE VI

THE FIELD AT QUATRE-BRAS

  [The same day.  The view is southward, and the straight gaunt
  highway from Brussels (behind the spectator) to Charleroi over
  the hills in front, bisects the picture from foreground to
  distance.  Near at hand, where it is elevated and open, there
  crosses it obliquely, at a point called Les Quatre-Bras, another
  road which comes from Nivelle, five miles to the gazer's right
  rear, and goes to Namur, twenty miles ahead to the left.  At a
  distance of five or six miles in this latter direction it passes
  near the previous scene, Ligny, whence the booming of guns can
  be continuously heard.

  Between the cross-roads in the centre of the scene and the far
  horizon the ground dips into a hollow, on the other side of which
  the same straight road to Charleroi is seen climbing the crest,
  and over it till out of sight.  From a hill on the right hand of
  the mid-distance a large wood, the wood of Bossu, reaches up
  nearly to the crossways, which give their name to the buildings
  thereat, consisting of a few farm-houses and an inn.

  About three-quarters of a mile off, nearly hidden by the horizon
  towards Charleroi, there is also a farmstead, Gemioncourt; another,
  Piraumont, stands on an eminence a mile to the left of it, and
  somewhat in front of the Namur road.]


DUMB SHOW

As this scene uncovers the battle is beheld to be raging at its
height, and to have reached a keenly tragic phase.  WELLINGTON has
returned from Ligny, and the main British and Hanoverian position,
held by the men who marched out of Brussels in the morning, under
officers who danced the previous night at the Duchess's, is along
the Namur road to the left of the perspective, and round the cross-
road itself.  That of the French, under Ney, is on the crests further
back, from which they are descending in imposing numbers.  Some
advanced columns are assailing the English left, while through the
smoke-hazes of the middle of the field two lines of skirmishers
are seen firing at each other--the southernmost dark blue, the
northernmost dull red.  Time lapses till it is past four o'clock.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     The cannonade of the French ordnance-lines
     Has now redoubled.  Columns new and dense
     Of foot, supported by fleet cavalry,
     Straightly impinge upon the Brunswick bands
     That border the plantation of Bossu.
     Above some regiments of the assaulting French
     A flag like midnight swims upon the air,
     To say no quarter may be looked for there!


The Brunswick soldiery, much notched and torn by the French grape-
shot, now lie in heaps.  The DUKE OF BRUNSWICK himself, desperate
to keep them steady, lights his pipe, and rides slowly up and down
in front of his lines previous to the charge which follows.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     The French have heaved them on the Brunswickers,
     And borne them back.  Now comes the Duke's told time.
     He gallops at the head of his hussars--
     Those men of solemn and appalling guise,
     Full-clothed in black, with nodding hearsy plumes,
     A shining silver skull and cross of bones
     Set upon each, to byspeak his slain sire. . . .
     Concordantly, the expected bullet starts
     And finds the living son.


BRUNSWICK reels to the ground.  His troops, disheartened, lose their
courage and give way.

The French front columns, and the cavalry supporting them, shout
as they advance.  The Allies are forced back upon the English main
position.  WELLINGTON is in personal peril for a time, but he escapes
it by a leap of his horse.

A curtain of smoke drops.  An interval.  The curtain reascends.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Behold again the Dynasts' gory gear!
     Since we regarded, what has progressed here?


RECORDING ANGEL (in recitative)

     Musters of English foot and their allies
     Came palely panting by the Brussels way,
     And, swiftly stationed, checked their counter-braves.
     Ney, vexed by lack of like auxiliaries,
     Bade then the columned cuirassiers to charge
     In all their edged array of weaponcraft.
     Yea; thrust replied to thrust, and fire to fire;
     The English broke, till Picton prompt to prop them
     Sprang with fresh foot-folk from the covering rye.

     Next, Pire's cavalry took up the charge. . . .
     And so the action sways.  The English left
     Is turned at Piraumont; whilst on their right
     Perils infest the greenwood of Bossu;
     Wellington gazes round with dubious view;
     England's long fame in fight seems sepulchered,
     And ominous roars swell loudlier Ligny-ward.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     New rage has wrenched the battle since thou'st writ;
     Hot-hasting succours of light cannonry
     Lately come up, relieve the English stress;
     Kellermann's cuirassiers, both man and horse
     All plated over with the brass of war,
     Are rolling on the highway.  More brigades
     Of British, soiled and sweltering, now are nigh,
     Who plunge within the boscage of Bossu;
     Where in the hidden shades and sinuous creeps
     Life-struggles can be heard, seen but in peeps.
     Therewith the foe's accessions harass Ney,
     Racked that no needful d'Erlon darks the way!


Inch by inch NEY has to draw off: WELLINGTON promptly advances.  At
dusk NEY'S army finds itself back at Frasnes, where he meets D'ERLON
coming up to his assistance, too late.

The weary English and their allies, who have been on foot ever since
one o'clock the previous morning, prepare to bivouac in front of the
cross-roads.   Their fires flash up for a while; and by and by the
dead silence of heavy sleep hangs over them.  WELLINGTON goes into
his tent, and the night darkens.

A Prussian courier from Ligny enters, who is conducted into the tent
to WELLINGTON.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     What tidings can a courier bring that count
     Here, where such mighty things are native born?


RECORDING ANGEL (in recitative)

     The fury of the tumult there begun
     Scourged quivering Ligny through the afternoon:
     Napoleon's great intent grew substantive,
     And on the Prussian pith and pulse he bent
     His foretimed blow.  Blucher, to butt the shock,
     Called up his last reserves, and heading on,
     With blade high brandished by his aged arm,
     Spurred forward his white steed.  But they, outspent,
     Failed far to follow.  Darkness coped the sky,
     And storm, and rain with thunder.  Yet once more
     He cheered them on to charge.  His horse, the while,
     Pierced by a bullet, fell on him it bore.
     He, trampled, bruised, faint, and in disarray
     Dragged to another mount, was led away.
     His ragged lines withdraw from sight and sound,
     And their assailants camp upon the ground.


The scene shuts with midnight.



SCENE VII

BRUSSELS.  THE PLACE ROYALE

  [The same night, dark and sultry.  A crowd of citizens throng the
  broad Place.  They gaze continually down the Rue de Namur, along
  which arrive minute by minute carts and waggons laden with wounded
  men.  Other wounded limp into the city on foot.  At much greater
  speed enter fugitive soldiers from the miscellaneous contingents
  of WELLINGTON'S army at Quatre-Bras, who gesticulate and explain
  to the crowd that all is lost and that the French will soon be in
  Brussels.

  Baggage-carts and carriages, with and without horses, stand before
  an hotel, surrounded by a medley of English and other foreign
  nobility and gentry with their valets and maids.  Bulletins from
  the battlefield are affixed on the corner of the Place, and people
  peer at them by the dim oil lights.

  A rattle of hoofs reaches the ears, entering the town by the same
  Namur gate.  The riders disclose themselves to be Belgian hussars,
  also from the field.]


SEVERAL HUSSARS

The French approach!  Wellington is beaten.  Bonaparte is at our heels.

  [Consternation reaches a climax.  Horses are hastily put-to at the
  hotel: people crowd into the carriages and try to drive off.  They
  get jammed together and hemmed in by the throng.  Unable to move
  they quarrel and curse despairingly in sundry tongues.]


BARON CAPELLEN

Affix the new bulletin.  It is a more assuring one, and may quiet
them a little.

  [A new bulletin is nailed over the old one.]


MAYOR

Good people, calm yourselves.  No victory has been won by Bonaparte.
The noise of guns heard all the afternoon became fainter towards the
end, showing beyond doubt that the retreat was away from the city.


A CITIZEN

The French are said to be forty thousand strong at Les Quatre-Bras,
and no forty thousand British marched out against them this morning!


ANOTHER CITIZEN

And it is whispered that the city archives and the treasure-chest
have been sent to Antwerp!


MAYOR

Only as a precaution.  No good can be gained by panic.  Sixty or
seventy thousand of the Allies, all told, face Napoleon at this 
hour.  Meanwhile who is to attend to the wounded that are being
brought in faster and faster?  Fellow-citizens, do your duty by
these unfortunates, and believe me that when engaged in such an
act of mercy no enemy will hurt you.


CITIZENS

What can we do?


MAYOR

I invite all those who have such, to bring mattresses, sheets, and
coverlets to the Hotel de Ville, also old linen and lint from the
houses of the cures.

  [Many set out on this errand.  An interval.  Enter a courier, who
  speaks to the MAYOR and the BARON CAPELLEN.]


BARON CAPELLEN (to Mayor)

Better inform them immediately, to prevent a panic.


MAYOR (to Citizens)

I grieve to tell you that the Duke of Brunswick, whom you saw ride
out this morning, was killed this afternoon at Les Quatre-Bras.  A
musket-ball passed through his bridle-hand and entered his belly.
His body is now arriving.  Carry yourselves gravely.

  [A lane is formed in the crowd in the direction of the Rue de
  Namur; they wait.  Presently an extemporized funeral procession,
  with the body of the DUKE on a gun-carriage, and a small escort
  of Brunswickers with carbines reversed, comes slowly up the
  street, their silver death's-heads shining in the lamplight.
  The agitation of the citizens settles into a silent gloom as
  the mournful train passes.]


MAYOR (to Baron Capellen)

I noticed the strange look of prepossession on his face at the ball
last night, as if he knew what was going to be.


BARON CAPELLEN

The Duchess mentioned it to me. . . . He hated the French, if any
man ever did, and so did his father before him!  Here comes the
English Colonel Hamilton, straight from the field.  He will give
us trustworthy particulars.

  [Enter COLONEL HAMILTON by the Rue de Namur.  He converses with
  the MAYOR and the BARON on the issue of the struggle.]


MAYOR

Now I will go the Hotel de Ville, and get it ready for those wounded
who can find no room in private houses.

  [Exeunt MAYOR, CAPELLEN, D'URSEL, HAMILTON, etc. severally.  Many
  citizens descend in the direction of the Hotel de Ville to assist.
  Those who remain silently watch the carts bringing in the wounded
  till a late hour.  The doors of houses in the Place and elsewhere
  are kept open, and the rooms within lighted, in expectation of
  more arrivals from the field.  A courier gallops up, who is accosted
  by idlers.]


COURIER (hastily)

The Prussians are defeated at Ligny by Napoleon in person.  He will
be here to-morrow.

  [Exit courier.]


FIRST IDLER

The devil!  Then I am for welcoming him.  No Antwerp for me!


OTHER IDLERS (sotto voce)

Vive l'Empereur!

  [A warm summer fog from the Lower Town covers the Parc and the
  Place Royale.]



SCENE VIII

THE ROAD TO WATERLOO

  [The view is now from Quatre-Bras backward along the road by
  which the English arrived.  Diminishing in a straight line from
  the foreground to the centre of the distance it passes over Mont
  Saint-Jean and through Waterloo to Brussels.

  It is now tinged by a moving mass of English and Allied infantry,
  in retreat to a new position at Mont Saint-Jean.  The sun shines
  brilliantly upon the foreground as yet, but towards Waterloo and
  the Forest of Soignes on the north horizon it is overcast with
  black clouds which are steadily advancing up the sky.

  To mask the retreat the English outposts retain their position
  on the battlefield in the face of NEY'S troops, and keep up a
  desultory firing: the cavalry for the same reason remain, being
  drawn up in lines beside the intersecting Namur road.


  Enter WELLINGTON, UXBRIDGE (who is in charge of the cavalry),
  MUFFLING, VIVIAN, and others.  They look through their field-
  glasses towards Frasnes, NEY'S position since his retreat 
  yesternight, and also towards NAPOLEON'S at Ligny.]


WELLINGTON

The noonday sun, striking so strongly there,
Makes mirrors of their arms.  That they advance
Their glowing radiance shows.  Those gleams by Marbais
Suggest fixed bayonets.


UXBRIDGE

          Vivian's glass reveals
That they are cuirassiers.  Ney's troops, too, near
At last, methinks, along this other road.


WELLINGTON

One thing is sure: that here the whole French force
Schemes to unite and sharply follow us.
It formulates our fence.  The cavalry
Must linger here no longer; but recede
To Mont Saint-Jean, as rearguard of the foot.
From the intelligence that Gordon brings
'Tis pretty clear old Blucher had to take
A damned good drubbing yesterday at Ligny,
And has been bent hard back!  So that, for us,
Bound to the plighted plan, there is no choice
But do like. . . . No doubt they'll say at home
That we've been well thrashed too.  It can't be helped,
They must! . . . (He looks round at the sky.)  A heavy rainfall
     threatens us,
To make it all the worse!

  [The speaker and his staff ride off along the Brussels road in
  the rear of the infantry, and UXBRIDGE begins the retreat of the
  cavalry.  CAPTAIN MERCER enters with a light battery.]


MERCER (excitedly)

          Look back, my lord;
Is it not Bonaparte himself we see
Upon the road I have come by?


UXBRIDGE (looking through glass)

          Yes, by God;
His face as clear-cut as the edge of a cloud
The sun behind shows up!  His suite and all!
Fire--fire!  And aim you well.

  [The battery makes ready and fires.]

          No!  It won't do.
He brings on mounted ordnance of his Guard,
So we're in danger here.  Then limber up,
And off as soon as may be.

  [The English artillery and cavalry retreat at full speed, just as
  the weather bursts, with flashes of lightning and drops of rain.
  They all clatter off along the Brussels road, UXBRIDGE and his
  aides galloping beside the column; till no British are left at
  Quatre-Bras except the slain.

  The focus of the scene follows the retreating English army, the
  highway and its and margins panoramically gliding past the vision
  of the spectator.  The phantoms chant monotonously while the retreat
  goes on.]


CHORUS OF RUMOURS (aerial music)

     Day's nether hours advance; storm supervenes
     In heaviness unparalleled, that screens
     With water-woven gauzes, vapour-bred,
     The creeping clumps of half-obliterate red--
     Severely harassed past each round and ridge
     By the inimical lance.  They gain the bridge
     And village of Genappe, in equal fence
     With weather and the enemy's violence.
     --Cannon upon the foul and flooded road,
     Cavalry in the cornfields mire-bestrowed,
     With frothy horses floundering to their knees,
     Make wayfaring a moil of miseries!
     Till Britishry and Bonapartists lose
     Their clashing colours for the tawny hues
   That twilight sets on all its stealing tinct imbues.

  [The rising ground of Mont Saint-Jean, in front of Waterloo,
  is gained by the English vanguard and main masses of foot, and
  by degrees they are joined by the cavalry and artillery.  The
  French are but little later in taking up their position amid
  the cornfields around La Belle Alliance.

  Fires begin to shine up from the English bivouacs.  Camp kettles
  are slung, and the men pile arms and stand round the blaze to dry
  themselves.  The French opposite lie down like dead men in the
  dripping green wheat and rye, without supper and without fire.

  By and by the English army also lies down, the men huddling
  together on the ploughed mud in their wet blankets, while some
  sleep sitting round the dying fires.]


CHORUS OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

     The eyelids of eve fall together at last,
     And the forms so foreign to field and tree
     Lie down as though native, and slumber fast!


CHORUS OF THE PITIES

     Sore are the thrills of misgiving we see
     In the artless champaign at this harlequinade,
     Distracting a vigil where calm should be!

     The green seems opprest, and the Plain afraid
     Of a Something to come, whereof these are the proofs,--
     Neither earthquake, nor storm, nor eclipses's shade!


CHORUS OF THE YEARS

     Yea, the coneys are scared by the thud of hoofs,
     And their white scuts flash at their vanishing heels,
     And swallows abandon the hamlet-roofs.

     The mole's tunnelled chambers are crushed by wheels,
     The lark's eggs scattered, their owners fled;
     And the hedgehog's household the sapper unseals.

     The snail draws in at the terrible tread,
     But in vain; he is crushed by the felloe-rim
     The worm asks what can be overhead,

     And wriggles deep from a scene so grim,
     And guesses him safe; for he does not know
     What a foul red flood will be soaking him!

     Beaten about by the heel and toe
     Are butterflies, sick of the day's long rheum,
     To die of a worse than the weather-foe.

     Trodden and bruised to a miry tomb
     Are ears that have greened but will never be gold,
     And flowers in the bud that will never bloom.


CHORUS OF THE PITIES

     So the season's intent, ere its fruit unfold,
     Is frustrate, and mangled, and made succumb,
     Like a youth of promise struck stark and cold! . . .

     And what of these who to-night have come?


CHORUS OF THE YEARS

     The young sleep sound; but the weather awakes
     In the veterans, pains from the past that numb;

     Old stabs of Ind, old Peninsular aches,
     Old Friedland chills, haunt their moist mud bed,
     Cramps from Austerlitz; till their slumber breaks.


CHORUS OF SINISTER SPIRITS

     And each soul shivers as sinks his head
     On the loam he's to lease with the other dead
     From to-morrow's mist-fall till Time be sped!

  [The fires of the English go out, and silence prevails, save
  for the soft hiss of the rain that falls impartially on both
  the sleeping armies.]




ACT SEVENTH


SCENE I

THE FIELD OF WATERLOO	

  [An aerial view of the battlefield at the time of sunrise is
  disclosed.

  The sky is still overcast, and rain still falls.  A green
  expanse, almost unbroken, of rye, wheat, and clover, in oblong
  and irregular patches undivided by fences, covers the undulating
  ground, which sinks into a shallow valley between the French and
  English positions.  The road from Brussels to Charleroi runs like
  a spit through both positions, passing at the back of the English
  into the leafy forest of Soignes.

  The latter are turning out from their bivouacs.  They move stiffly
  from their wet rest, and hurry to and fro like ants in an ant-hill.
  The tens of thousands of moving specks are largely of a brick-red
  colour, but the foreign contingent is darker.

  Breakfasts are cooked over smoky fires of green wood.  Innumerable
  groups, many in their shirt-sleeves, clean their rusty firelocks,
  drawing or exploding the charges, scrape the mud from themselves,
  and pipeclay from their cross-belts the red dye washed off their
  jackets by the rain.

  At six o'clock, they parade, spread out, and take up their positions
  in the line of battle, the front of which extends in a wavy riband
  three miles long, with three projecting bunches at Hougomont, La
  Haye Sainte, and La Haye.

  Looking across to the French positions we observe that after
  advancing in dark streams from where they have passed the night
  they, too, deploy and wheel into their fighting places--figures
  with red epaulettes and hairy knapsacks, their arms glittering
  like a display of cutlery at a hill-side fair.

  They assume three concentric lines of crescent shape, that converge
  on the English midst, with great blocks of the Imperial Guard at
  the back of them.  The rattle of their drums, their fanfarades,
  and their bands playing "Veillons au salut de l'Empire" contrast
  with the quiet reigning on the English side.

  A knot of figures, comprising WELLINGTON with a suite of general
  and other staff-officers, ride backwards and forwards in front
  of the English lines, where each regimental colour floats in the
  hands of the junior ensign.  The DUKE himself, now a man of forty-
  six, is on his bay charger Copenhagen, in light pantaloons, a
  small plumeless hat, and a blue cloak, which shows its white
  lining when blown back.

  On the French side, too, a detached group creeps along the front
  in preliminary survey.  BONAPARTE--also forty-six--in a grey
  overcoat, is mounted on his white arab Marengo, and accompanied
  by SOULT, NEY, JEROME, DROUOT, and other marshals.  The figures
  of aides move to and fro like shuttle-cocks between the group
  and distant points in the field.  The sun has begun to gleam.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Discriminate these, and what they are,
     Who stand so stalwartly to war.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Report, ye Rumourers of things near and far.


SEMICHORUS I OF RUMOURS (chanting)

     Sweep first the Frenchmen's leftward lines along,
     And eye the peaceful panes of Hougomont--
     That seemed to hold prescriptive right of peace
     In fee from Time till Time itself should cease!--
     Jarred now by Reille's fierce foot-divisions three,
     Flanked on their left by Pire's cavalry.--
     The fourfold corps of d'Erlon, spread at length,
     Compose the right, east of the famed chaussee--
     The shelterless Charleroi-and-Brussels way,--
     And Jacquinot's alert light-steeded strength
     Still further right, their sharpened swords display.
     Thus stands the first line.


SEMICHORUS II

               Next behind its back
     Comes Count Lobau, left of the Brussels track;
     Then Domon's horse, the horse of Subervie;
     Kellermann's cuirassed troopers twinkle-tipt,
     And, backing d'Erlon, Milhaud's horse, equipt
     Likewise in burnished steelwork sunshine-dipt:
     So ranks the second line refulgently.


SEMICHORUS I

     The third and last embattlement reveals
     D'Erlon's, Lobau's, and Reille's foot-cannoniers,
     And horse-drawn ordnance too, on massy wheels,
     To strike with cavalry where space appears.


SEMICHORUS II

     The English front, to left, as flanking force,
     Has Vandeleur's hussars, and Vivian's horse;
     Next them pace Picton's rows along the crest;
     The Hanoverian foot-folk; Wincke; Best;
     Bylandt's brigade, set forward fencelessly,
     Pack's northern clansmen, Kempt's tough infantry,
     With gaiter, epaulet, spat, and {philibeg};
     While Halkett, Ompteda, and Kielmansegge
     Prolong the musters, near whose forward edge
     Baring invests the Farm of Holy Hedge.


SEMICHORUS I

     Maitland and Byng in Cooke's division range,
     And round dun Hougomont's old lichened sides
     A dense array of watching Guardsmen hides
     Amid the peaceful produce of the grange,
     Whose new-kerned apples, hairy gooseberries green,
     And mint, and thyme, the ranks intrude between.--
     Last, westward of the road that finds Nivelles,
     Duplat draws up, and Adam parallel.


SEMICHORUS II

     The second British line--embattled horse--
     Holds the reverse slopes, screened, in ordered course;
     Dornberg's, and Arentsschildt's, and Colquhoun-Grant's,
     And left of them, behind where Alten plants
     His regiments, come the "Household" Cavalry;
     And nigh, in Picton's rear, the trumpets call
     The "Union" brigade of Ponsonby.
     Behind these the reserves.  In front of all,
     Or interspaced, with slow-matched gunners manned,
     Upthroated rows of threatful ordnance stand.

  [The clock of Nivelles convent church strikes eleven in the
  distance.  Shortly after, coils of starch-blue smoke burst into
  being along the French lines, and the English batteries respond
  promptly, in an ominous roar that can be heard at Antwerp.

  A column from the French left, six thousand strong, advances on
  the plantation in front of the chateau of Hougomont.  They are
  played upon by the English ordnance; but they enter the wood,
  and dislodge some battalions there.  The French approach the
  buildings, but are stopped by a loop-holed wall with a mass of
  English guards behind it.  A deadly fire bursts from these through
  the loops and over the summit.

  NAPOLEON orders a battery of howitzers to play upon the building.
  Flames soon burst from it; but the foot-guards still hold the
  courtyard.]



SCENE II

THE SAME.  THE FRENCH POSITION

  [On a hillock near the farm of Rossomme a small table from the
  farmhouse has been placed; maps are spread thereon, and a chair
  is beside it.  NAPOLEON, SOULT, and other marshals are standing
  round, their horses waiting at the base of the slope.

  NAPOLEON looks through his glass at Hougomont.  His elevated face
  makes itself distinct in the morning light as a gloomy resentful
  countenance, blue-black where shaven, and stained with snuff, with
  powderings of the same on the breast of his uniform.  His stumpy
  figure, being just now thrown back, accentuates his stoutness.]


NAPOLEON

Let Reille be warned that these his surly sets
On Hougomont chateau, can scarce defray
Their mounting bill of blood.  They do not touch
The core of my intent--to pierce and roll
The centre upon the right of those opposed.
Thereon will turn the outcome of the day,
In which our odds are ninety to their ten!


SOULT

Yes--prove there time and promptitude enough
To call back Grouchy here.  Of his approach
I see no sign.


NAPOLEON (roughly)

          Hours past he was bid come.
--But naught imports it!  We are enough without him.
You have been beaten by this Wellington,
And so you think him great.  But let me teach you
Wellington is no foe to reckon with.
His army, too, is poor.  This clash to-day
Is more serious for our seasoned files
Than breakfasting.


SOULT

     Such is my earnest hope.


NAPOLEON

Observe that Wellington still labours on,
Stoutening his right behind Gomont chateau,
But leaves his left and centre as before--
Weaker, if anything.  He plays our game!

  [WELLINGTON can, in fact, be seen detaching from his main line
  several companies of Guards to check the aims of the French on
  Hougomont.]

Let me re-word my tactics.  Ney leads off
By seizing Mont Saint-Jean.  Then d'Erlon stirs,
And heaves up his division from the left.
The second corps will move abreast of him
The sappers nearing to entrench themselves
Within the aforesaid farm.

  [Enter an aide-de-camp.]


AIDE

          From Marshal Ney,
Sire, I bring hasty word that all is poised
To strike the vital stroke, and only waits
Your Majesty's command,


NAPOLEON

          Which he shall have
When I have scanned the hills for Grouchy's helms.

  [NAPOLEON turns his glass to an upland four or five miles off on
  the right, known as St. Lambert's Chapel Hill.  Gazing more and
  more intently, he takes rapid pinches of snuff in excitement.
  NEY'S columns meanwhile standing for the word to advance, eighty
  guns being ranged in front of La Belle Alliance in support of them.]

I see a darkly crawling, slug-like shape
Embodying far out there,--troops seemingly--
Grouchy's van-guard.  What think you?


SOULT (also examining closely)

          Verily troops;
And, maybe, Grouchy's.  But the air is hazed.


NAPOLEON

If troops at all, they are Grouchy's.  Why misgive,
And force on ills you fear!


ANOTHER MARSHAL

          It seems a wood.
Trees don bold outlines in their new-leafed pride.


ANOTHER MARSHAL

It is the creeping shadow from a cloud.


ANOTHER MARSHAL

It is a mass of stationary foot;
I can descry piled arms.

  [NAPOLEON  sends off the order for NEY'S attack--the grand assault
  on the English midst, including the farm of La Haye Sainte.  It
  opens with a half-hour's thunderous discharge of artillery, which
  ceases at length to let d'Erlon's infantry pass.

  Four huge columns of these, shouting defiantly, push forwards in
  face of the reciprocal fire from the cannon of the English.  Their
  effrontery carries them so near the Anglo-Allied lines that the
  latter waver.  But PICTON brings up PACK'S brigade, before which
  the French in turn recede, though they make an attempt in La Haye
  Sainte, whence BARING'S Germans pour a resolute fire.

  WELLINGTON, who is seen afar as one of a group standing by a
  great elm, orders OMPTEDA to send assistance to BARING, as may
  be gathered from the darting of aides to and fro between the
  points, like house-flies dancing their quadrilles.

  East of the great highway the right columns of D'ERLON'S corps
  have climbed the slopes.  BYLANDT'S sorely exposed Dutch are
  broken, and in their flight disorder the ranks of the English
  Twenty-eighth, the Carabineers of the Ninety-fifth being also
  dislodged from the sand-pit they occupied.]


NAPOLEON

All prospers marvellously!  Gomont is hemmed;
La Haye Sainte too; their centre jeopardized;
Travers and d'Erlon dominate the crest,
And further strength of foot is following close.
Their troops are raw; the flower of England's force
That fought in Spain, America now holds.--

  [SIR TOMAS PICTON, seeing what is happening orders KEMPT'S
  brigade forward.  It volleys murderously DONZELOT'S columns
  of D'ERLON'S corps, and repulses them.  As they recede PICTON
  is beheld shouting an order to charge.]


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     I catch a voice that cautions Picton now
     Against his rashness.  "What the hell care I,--
     Is my curst carcase worth a moment's mind?--
     Come on!" he answers.  Onwardly he goes!

  [His tall, stern, saturnine figure with its bronzed complexion is
  on nearer approach discerned heading the charge.  As he advances
  to the slope between the cross-roads and the sand-pit, riding very
  conspicuously, he falls dead, a bullet in his forehead.  His aide,
  assisted by a soldier, drags the body beneath a tree and hastens
  on.  KEMPT takes his command.

  Next MARCOGNET is repulsed by PACK'S brigade.  D'ERLON'S infantry
  and TRAVERS'S cuirassiers are charged by the Union Brigade of
  Scotch(23) Greys, Royal Dragoons, and Inniskillens, and cut down
  everywhere, the brigade following them so furiously the LORD
  UXBRIDGE tries in vain to recall it.  On its coming near the
  French it is overwhelmed by MILHAUD'S cuirassiers, scarcely a
  fifth of the brigade returning.

  An aide enters to NAPOLEON from GENERAL DOMON.]


AIDE

The General, on a far reconnaissance,
Says, sire, there is no room for longer doubt
That those debouching on St. Lambert's Hill
Are Prussian files.


NAPOLEON

     Then where is General Grouchy?

  [Enter COLONEL MARBOT with a prisoner.]

Aha--a Prussian, too!  How comes he here?


MARBOT

Sire, my hussars have captured him near Lasnes--
A subaltern of the Silesian Horse.
A note from Bulow to Lord Wellington,
Announcing that a Prussian corps is close,
Was found on him.  He speaks our language, sire.


NAPOLEON (to prisoner)

What force looms yonder on St. Lambert's Hill?


PRISONER

General Count Bulow's van, your Majesty.

  [A thoughtful scowl crosses NAPOLEONS'S sallow face.]


NAPOLEON

Where, then, did your main army lie last night?


PRISONER

At Wavre.


NAPOLEON

     But clashed it with no Frenchmen there?


PRISONER

With none.  We deemed they had marched on Plancenoit.


NAPOLEON (shortly)

Take him away.  (The prisoner is removed.)  Has Grouchy's whereabouts
Been sought, to apprize him of this Prussian trend?


SOULT

Certainly, sire.  I sent a messenger.


NAPOLEON (bitterly)

A messenger!  Had my poor Berthier been here
Six would have insufficed!  Now then: seek Ney;
Bid him to sling the valour of his braves
Fiercely on England ere Count Bulow come;
And advertize the succours on the hill
As Grouchy's.  (Aside)  This is my one battle-chance;
The Allies have many such!  (To SOULT)  If Bulow nears,
He cannot join in time to share the fight.
And if he could, 'tis but a corps the more. . . .
This morning we had ninety chances ours,
We have threescore still.  If Grouchy but retrieve
His fault of absence, conquest comes with eve!

  [The scene shifts.]



SCENE III

SAINT LAMBERT'S CHAPEL HILL

  [A hill half-way between Wavre and the fields of Waterloo, five
  miles to the north-east of the scene preceding.  The hill is
  wooded, with some open land around.  To the left of the scene,
  towards Waterloo, is a valley.]


DUMB SHOW

Marching columns in Prussian uniforms, coming from the direction of
Wavre, debouch upon the hill from the road through the wood.

They are the advance-guard and two brigades of Bulow's corps, that
have been joined there by BLUCHER.  The latter has just risen from
the bed to which he has been confined since the battle of Ligny,
two days back.  He still looks pale and shaken by the severe fall
and trampling he endured near the end of the action.

On the summit the troops halt, and a discussion between BLUCHER and
his staff ensues.

The cannonade in the direction of Waterloo is growing more and more
violent.  BLUCHER, after looking this way and that, decides to fall
upon the French right at Plancenoit as soon as he can get there,
which will not be yet.

Between this point and that the ground descends steeply to the
valley on the spectator's left, where there is a mud-bottomed
stream, the Lasne; the slope ascends no less abruptly on the other
side towards Plancenoit.  It is across this defile alone that the
Prussian army can proceed thither- a route of unusual difficulty
for artillery; where, moreover, the enemy is suspected of having
placed a strong outpost during the night to intercept such an 
approach.

A figure goes forward--that of MAJOR FALKENHAUSEN, who is sent to
reconnoitre, and they wait a tedious time, the firing at Waterloo
growing more tremendous.  FALKENHAUSEN comes back with the welcome
news that no outpost is there.

There now remains only the difficulty of the defile itself; and the
attempt is made.  BLUCHER is descried riding hither and thither as
the guns drag heavily down the slope into the muddy bottom of the
valley.  Here the wheels get stuck, and the men already tired by
marching since five in the morning, seem inclined to leave the guns
where they are.  But the thunder from Waterloo still goes on, BLUCHER
exhorts his men by words and eager gestures, and they do at length
get the guns across, though with much loss of time.

The advance-guard now reaches some thick trees called the Wood of
Paris.  It is followed by the LOSTHIN and HILLER divisions of foot,
and in due course by the remainder of the two brigades.  Here they
halt, and await the arrival of the main body of BULOW'S corps, and
the third corps under THIELEMANN.

The scene shifts.



SCENE IV

THE FIELD OF WATERLOO.  THE ENGLISH POSITION

  [WELLINGTON, on Copenhagen, is again under the elm-tree behind La
  Haye Sainte.  Both horse and rider are covered with mud-splashes,
  but the weather having grown finer the DUKE has taken off his cloak.

  UXBRIDGE, FITZROY SOMERSET, CLINTON, ALTEN, COLVILLE, DE LANCEY,
  HERVEY, GORDON, and other of his staff officers and aides are
  near him; there being also present GENERALS MUFFLING, HUGEL, and
  ALAVA; also TYLER, PICTON'S aide.  The roar of battle continues.]


WELLINGTON

I am grieved at losing Picton; more than grieved.
He was as grim a devil as ever lived,
And roughish-mouthed withal.  But never a man
More stout in fight, more stoical in blame!


TYLER

Before he left for this campaign he said,
"When you shall hear of MY death, mark my words,
You'll hear of a bloody day!" and, on my soul,
'Tis true.

  [Enter another aide-de-camp.]


AIDE

Sir William Ponsonby, my lords, has fallen.
His horse got mud-stuck in a new-plowed plot,
Lancers surrounded him and bore him down,
And six then ran him through.  The occasion sprung
Mainly from the Brigade's too reckless rush,
Sheer to the French front line.


WELLINGTON (gravely)

          Ah--so it comes!
The Greys were bound to pay--'tis always so--
Full dearly for their dash so far afield.
Valour unballasted but lands its freight
On the enemy's shore.--What has become of Hill?


AIDE

We have not seen him latterly, your Grace.


WELLINGTON

By God, I hope I haven't lost him, too?


BRIDGMAN (just come up)

Lord Hill's bay charger, being shot dead, your Grace,
Rolled over him in falling.  He is bruised,
But hopes to be in place again betimes.


WELLINGTON

Praise Fate for thinking better of that frown!

  [It is now nearing four o'clock.  La Haye Sainte is devastated by
  the second attack of NEY.  The farm has been enveloped by DONZELOT'S
  division, its garrison, the King's German Legion, having fought
  till all ammunition was exhausted.  The gates are forced open, and
  in the retreat of the late defenders to the main Allied line they
  are nearly all cut or shot down.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     O Farm of sad vicissitudes and strange!
     Farm of the Holy Hedge, yet fool of change!
     Whence lit so sanct a name on thy now violate grange?


WELLINGTON (to Muffling, resolutely)

Despite their fierce advantage here, I swear
By every God that war can call upon
To hold our present place at any cost,
Until your force cooperate with our lines!
To that I stand; although 'tis bruited now
That Bulow's corps has only reached Ohain.
I've sent Freemantle hence to seek them there,
And give them inkling we shall need them soon.


MUFFLING (looking at his watch)

I had hoped that Blucher would be here ere this.

  [The staff turn their glasses on the French position.]


UXBRIDGE

What movement can it be they contemplate?


WELLINGTON

A shock of cavalry on the hottest scale,
It seems to me. . . . (To aide) Bid him to reinforce
The front line with some second-line brigades;
Some, too, from the reserve.

  [The Brunswickers advance to support MAITLAND'S Guards, and the
  MITCHELL and ADAM Brigades establish themselves above Hougomont,
  which is still in flames.

  NEY, in continuation of the plan of throwing his whole force
  on the British centre before the advent of the Prussians, now
  intensifies his onslaught with the cavalry.  Terrific discharges
  of artillery initiate it to clear the ground.  A heavy round-
  shot dashes through the tree over the heads of WELLINGTON and
  his generals, and boughs and leaves come flying down on them.]


WELLINGTON

Good practice that!  I vow they did not fire
So dexterously in Spain.  (He calls up an aide.)  Bid Ompteda
Direct the infantry to lie tight down
On the reverse ridge-slope, to screen themselves
While these close shots and shells are teasing us;
When the charge comes they'll cease.

  [The order is carried out.  NEY'S cavalry attack now matures.
  MILHAUD'S cuirassiers in twenty-four squadrons advance down the
  opposite decline, followed and supported by seven squadrons of
  chasseurs under DESNOETTES.  They disappear for a minute in the
  hollow between the armies.]


UXBRIDGE

Ah--now we have got their long-brewed plot explained!


WELLINGTON (nodding)

That this was rigged for some picked time to-day
I had inferred.  But that it would be risked
Sheer on our lines, while still they stand unswayed,
In conscious battle-trim, I reckoned not.
It looks a madman's cruel enterprise!


FITZROY SOMERSET

We have just heard that Ney embarked on it
Without an order, ere its aptness riped.


WELLINGTON

It may be so: he's rash.  And yet I doubt.
I know Napoleon.  If the onset fail
It will be Ney's; if it succeed he'll claim it!

  [A dull reverberation of the tread of innumerable hoofs comes
  from behind the hill, and the foremost troops rise into view.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Behold the gorgeous coming of those horse,
     Accoutered in kaleidoscopic hues
     That would persuade us war has beauty in it!--
     Discern the troopers' mien; each with the air
     Of one who is himself a tragedy:
     The cuirassiers, steeled, mirroring the day;
     Red lancers, green chasseurs: behind the blue
     The red; the red before the green:
     A lingering-on till late in Christendom,
     Of the barbaric trick to terrorize
     The foe by aspect!

  [WELLINGTON directs his glass to an officer in a rich uniform
  with many decorations on his breast, who rides near the front
  of the approaching squadrons.  The DUKE'S face expresses
  admiration.]


WELLINGTON

It's Marshal Ney himself who heads the charge.
The finest cavalry commander, he,
That wears a foreign plume; ay, probably
The whole world through!


SPIRIT IRONIC

               And when that matchless chief
     Sentenced shall lie to ignominious death
     But technically deserved, no finger he
     Who speaks will lift to save him.!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               To his shame.
     We must discount war's generous impulses
     I sadly see.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Be mute, and let spin on
     This whirlwind of the Will!

  [As NEY'S cavalry ascends the English position the swish of the
  horses' breasts through the standing corn can be heard, and the
  reverberation of hoofs increases in strength.  The English gunners
  stand with their portfires ready, which are seen glowing luridly
  in the daylight.  There is comparative silence.]


A VOICE

Now, captains, are you loaded?


CAPTAINS

     Yes, my lord.


VOICE

Point carefully, and wait till their whole height
Shows above the ridge.

  [When the squadrons rise in full view, within sixty yards of the
  cannon-mouths, the batteries fire, with a concussion that shakes
  the hill itself.  Their shot punch holes through the front ranks
  of the cuirassiers, and horse and riders fall in heaps.  But they
  are not stopped, hardly checked, galloping up to the mouths of the
  guns, passing between the pieces, and plunging among the Allied
  infantry behind the ridge, who, with the advance of the horsemen,
  have sprung up from their prone position and formed into squares.]


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     Ney guides the fore-front of the carabineers
     Through charge and charge, with rapid recklessness.
     Horses, cuirasses, sabres, helmets, men,
     Impinge confusedly on the pointed prongs
     Of the English kneeling there, whose dim red shapes
     Behind their slanted steel seem trampled flat
     And sworded to the sward.  The charge recedes,
     And lo, the tough lines rank there as before,
     Save that they are shrunken.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               Hero of heroes, too,
     Ney, (not forgetting those who gird against him).--
     Simple and single-souled lieutenant he;
     Why should men's many-valued motions take
     So barbarous a groove!

  [The cuirassiers and lancers surge round the English and Allied
  squares like waves, striking furiously on them and well-nigh
  breaking them.  They stand in dogged silence amid the French
  cheers.]


WELLINGTON (to the nearest square)

Hard pounding this, my men!  I truly trust
You'll pound the longest!


SQUARE

     Hip-hip-hip-hurrah!


MUFFLING (again referring to his watch)

However firmly they may stand, in faith,
Their firmness must have bounds to it, because
There are bounds to human strength! . . . Your, Grace,
To leftward now, to spirit Zieten on.


WELLINGTON

Good.  It is time!  I think he well be late,
However, in the field.

  [MUFFLING goes.  Enter an aide, breathless.]


AIDE

Your Grace, the Ninety-fifth are patience-spent
With standing under fire so passing long.
They writhe to charge--or anything but stand!


WELLINGTON

Not yet.  They shall have at 'em later on.
At present keep them firm.

  [Exit aide.  The Allied squares stand like little red-brick castles,
  independent of each other, and motionless except at the dry hurried
  command "Close up!" repeated every now and then as they are slowly
  thinned. On the other hand, under their firing and bayonets a
  disorder becomes apparent among the charging horse, on whose
  cuirasses the bullets snap like stones on window-panes.  At this
  the Allied cavalry waiting in the rear advance; and by degrees they
  deliver the squares from their enemies, who are withdrawn to their
  own position to prepare for a still more strenuous assault.  The
  point of view shifts.]



SCENE V

THE SAME.  THE WOMEN'S CAMP NEAR MONT SAINT-JEAN

  [On the sheltered side of a clump of trees at the back of the
  English position camp-fires are smouldering.  Soldiers' wives,
  mistresses, and children from a few months to five or six years
  of age, sit on the ground round the fires or on armfuls of straw
  from the adjoining farm.  Wounded soldiers lie near the women.
  The wind occasionally brings the smoke and smell of battle into
  the encampment, the noise being continuous.  Two waggons stand
  near; also a surgeon's horse in charge of a batman, laden with
  bone-saws, knives, probes, tweezers, and other surgical instruments.
  Behind lies a woman who has just given birth to a child, which a
  second woman is holding.

  Many of the other women are shredding lint, the elder children
  assisting.  Some are dressing the slighter wounds of the soldiers
  who have come in here instead of going further.  Along the road
  near is a continual procession of bearers of wounded men to the
  rear.  The occupants of the camp take hardly any notice of the
  thundering of the cannon.  A camp-follower is playing a fiddle
  near.  Another woman enters.]


WOMAN

There's no sign of my husband any longer.  His battalion is half-a-
mile from where it was.  He looked back as they wheeled off towards
the fighting-line, as much as to say, "Nancy, if I don't see 'ee
again, this is good-bye, my dear."  Yes, poor man! . . . Not but
what 'a had a temper at times!


SECOND WOMAN

I'm out of all that.  My husband--as I used to call him for form's
sake--is quiet enough.  He was wownded at Quarter-Brass the day
before yesterday, and died the same night.  But I didn't know it
till I got here, and then says I, "Widder or no widder, I mean to
see this out."

  [A sergeant staggers in with blood dropping from his face.]


SERGEANT

Damned if I think you will see it out, mis'ess, for if I don't
mistake there'll be a retreat of the whole army on Brussels soon.
We can't stand much longer!--For the love of God, have ye got a
cup of water, if nothing stronger?  (They hand a cup.)


THIRD WOMAN (entering and sinking down)

The Lord send that I may never see again what I've been seeing while
looking for my poor galliant Joe!  The surgeon asked me to lend a
hand; and 'twas worse than opening innerds at a pig-killing!  (She
faints.)


FOURTH WOMAN (to a little girl)

Never mind her, my dear; come and help me with this one.  (She goes
with the girl to a soldier in red with buff facings who lies some
distance off.)  Ah--'tis no good.  He's gone.


GIRL

No, mother.  His eyes are wide open, a-staring to get a sight of
the battle!


FOURTH WOMAN

That's nothing.  Lots of dead ones stare in that silly way.  It
depends upon where they were hit.  I was all through the Peninsula;
that's how I know.  (She covers the horny gaze of the man.  Shouts
and louder discharges are heard.)--Heaven's high tower, what's that?


  [Enter an officer's servant.(24)]


SERVANT

Waiting with the major's spare hoss--up to my knees in mud from
the rain that had come down like baccy-pipe stems all the night
and morning--I have just seen a charge never beholded since the
days of the Amalekites!  The squares still stand, but Ney's cavalry
have made another attack.  Their swords are streaming with blood,
and their horses' hoofs squash out our poor fellow's bowels as they
lie.  A ball has sunk in Sir Thomas Picton's forehead and killed him
like Goliath the Philistine.  I don't see what's to stop the French.
Well, it's the Lord's doing and marvellous in our eyes.  Hullo,
who's he?  (They look towards the road.)  A fine hale old gentleman,
isn't he?  What business has a man of that sort here?

  [Enter, on the highway near, the DUKE OF RICHMOND in plain clothes,
  on horseback, accompanied by two youths, his sons.  They draw
  rein on an eminence, and gaze towards the battlefields.]


RICHMOND (to son)

Everything looks as bad as possible just now.  I wonder where your
brother is?  However, we can't go any nearer. . . . Yes, the bat-
horses are already being moved off, and there are more and more
fugitives.  A ghastly finish to your mother's ball, by Gad if it
isn't!

  [They turn their horses towards Brussels.  Enter, meeting them,
  MR. LEGH, a Wessex gentleman, also come out to view the battle.]


LEGH

Can you tell me, sir, how the battle is going?


RICHMOND

Badly, badly, I fear, sir.  There will be a retreat soon, seemingly.


LEGH

Indeed!  Yes, a crowd of fugitives are coming over the hill even now.
What will these poor women do?


RICHMOND

God knows!  They will be ridden over, I suppose.  Though it is
extraordinary how they do contrive to escape destruction while
hanging so close to the rear of an action!  They are moving,
however.  Well, we will move too.

  [Exeunt DUKE OF RICHMOND, sons, and MR. LEGH.  The point of view
  shifts.]



SCENE VI

THE SAME. THE FRENCH POSITION

  [NEY'S charge of cavalry against the opposite upland has been
  three times renewed without success.  He collects the scattered
  squadrons to renew it a fourth time.  The glittering host again
  ascends the confronting slopes over the bodies of those previously
  left there, and amid horses wandering about without riders, or
  crying as they lie with entrails trailing or limbs broken.]

NAPOLEON (starting up)

A horrible dream has gripped me--horrible!
I saw before me Lannes--just as he looked
That day at Aspern: mutilated, bleeding!
"What--blood again?" he said to me.  "Still blood?"

  [He further arouses himself, takes snuff vehemently, and looks
  through his glass.]

What time is it?--Ah, these assaults of Ney's!
They are a blunder; they've been enterprised
An hour too early! . . . There Lheritier goes
Onward with his division next Milhaud;
Now Kellermann must follow up with his.
So one mistake makes many.  Yes; ay; yes!


SOULT

I fear that Ney has compromised us here
Just as at Jena; even worse!


NAPOLEON

          No less
Must we support him now he is launched on it. . . .
The miracle is that he is still alive!

  [NEY and his mass of cavalry again pass the English batteries
  and disappear amid the squares beyond.]

Their cannon are abandoned; and their squares
Again environed--see!  I would to God
Murat could be here!  Yet I disdained
His proffered service. . . . All my star asks now
Is to break some half-dozen of those blocks
Of English yonder.  He was the man to do it.

  [NEY and D'ERLON'S squadrons are seen emerging from the English
  squares in a disorganized state, the attack having failed like
  the previous ones.  An aide-de-camp enters to NAPOLEON.]


AIDE

The Prussians have debouched on our right rear
From Paris-wood; and Losthin's infantry
Appear by Plancenoit; Hiller's to leftwards.
Two regiments of their horse protect their front,
And three light batteries.

  [A haggard shade crosses NAPOLEON'S face.]


NAPOLEON

What then!  That's not a startling force as yet.
A counter-stroke by Domon's cavalry
Must shatter them.  Lobau must bring his foot
Up forward, heading for the Prussian front,
Unrecking losses by their cannonade.

  [Exit aide.  The din of battle continues.  DOMON'S horse are soon
  seen advancing towards and attacking the Prussian hussars in front
  of the infantry; and he next attempts to silence the Prussian
  batteries playing on him by leading up his troops and cutting
  down the gunners.  But he has to fall back upon the infantry
  of LOBAU.  Enter another aide-de-camp.]


AIDE

These tiding I report, your Majesty:--
Von Ryssel's and von Hacke's Prussian foot
Have lately sallied from the Wood of Paris,
Bearing on us; no vast array as yet;
But twenty thousand loom not far behind
These vanward marchers!


NAPOLEON

          Ah!  They swarm thus thickly?
But be they hell's own legions we'll defy them!--
Lobau's men will stand firm.

  [He looks in the direction of the English lines, where NEY'S
  cavalry-assaults still linger furiously on.]

          But who rides hither,
Spotting the sky with clods in his high haste?


SOULT

It looks like Colonel Heymes--come from Ney.


NAPOLEON (sullenly)

And his face shows what clef his music's in!

  [Enter COLONEL HEYMES, blood-stained, muddy, and breathless.]


HEYMES

The Prince of Moscow, sire, the Marshal Ney,
Bids me implore that infantry be sent
Immediately, to further his attack.
They cannot be dispensed with, save we fail!


NAPOLEON (furiously)

Infantry!  Where the sacred God thinks he
I can find infantry for him!  Forsooth,
Does he expect me to create them--eh?
Why sends he such a message, seeing well
How we are straitened here!


HEYMES

          Such was the prayer
Of my commission, sire.  And I say
That I myself have seen his strokes must waste
Without such backing.


NAPOLEON

     Why?


HEYMES

          Our cavalry
Lie stretched in swathes, fronting the furnace-throats
Of the English cannon as a breastwork built
Of reeking copses.  Marshal Ney's third horse
Is shot.  Besides the slain, Donop, Guyot,
Lheritier, Piquet, Travers, Delort, more,
Are vilely wounded.  On the other hand
Wellington has sought refuge in a square,
Few of his generals are not killed or hit,
And all is tickle with him.  But I see,
Likewise, that I can claim no reinforcement,
And will return and say so.

  [Exit HEYMES]


NAPOLEON (to Soult, sadly)

          Ney does win me!
I fain would strengthen him.--Within an ace
Of breaking down the English as he is,
'Twould write upon the sunset "Victory!"--
But whom may spare we from the right here now?
So single man!

  [An interval.]

          Life's curse begins, I see,
With helplessness! . . . All I can compass is
To send Durutte to fall on Papelotte,
And yet more strongly occupy La Haye,
To cut off Bulow's right from bearing up
And checking Ney's attack.  Further than this
None but the Gods can scheme!

  [SOULT hastily begins writing orders to that effect.  The point
  of view shifts.]



SCENE VII

THE SAME.  THE ENGLISH POSITION

  [The din of battle continues.  WELLINGTON, UXBRIDGE, HILL, DE
  LANCEY, GORDON, and others discovered near the middle of the line.]


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     It is a moment when the steadiest pulse
     Thuds pit-a-pat.  The crisis shapes and nears
     For Wellington as for his counter-chief.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     The hour is shaking him, unshakeable 
     As he may seem!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

               Know'st not at this stale time
     That shaken and unshaken are alike
     But demonstrations from the Back of Things?
     Must I again reveal It as It hauls
     The halyards of the world?

  [A transparency as in earlier scenes again pervades the spectacle,
  and the ubiquitous urging of the Immanent Will becomes visualized.
  The web connecting all the apparently separate shapes includes
  WELLINGTON in its tissue with the rest, and shows him, like them,
  as acting while discovering his intention to act.  By the lurid
  light the faces of every row, square, group, and column of men,
  French and English, wear the expression of that of people in a
  dream.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES (tremulously)

               Yea, sire; I see.
     Disquiet me, pray, no more!

  [The strange light passes, and the embattled hosts on the field
  seem to move independently as usual.]


WELLINGTON (to Uxbridge)

Manoeuvring does not seem to animate
Napoleon's methods now.  Forward he comes,
And pounds away on us in the ancient style,
Till he is beaten back in the ancient style;
And so the see-saw sways!

  [The din increases.  WELLINGTON'S aide-de-camp, Sir A. GORDON,
  a little in his rear, falls mortally wounded.  The DUKE turns
  quickly.]

          But where is Gordon?
Ah--hit is he!  That's bad, that's bad, by God.

  [GORDON is removed.  An aide enters.]


AIDE

Your Grace, the Colonel Ompteda has fallen,
And La Haye Sainte is now a bath of blood.
Nothing more can be done there, save with help.
The Rifles suffer sharply!

  [An aide is seen coming from KEMPT.]


WELLINGTON

     What says he?


DE LANCEY

He says that Kempt, being riddled through and thinned,
Sends him for reinforcements.


WELLINGTON (with heat)

          Reinforcements?
And where am I to get him reinforcements
In Heaven's name!  I've  no reinforcements here,
As he should know.


AIDE (hesitating)

     What's to be done, your Grace?


WELLINGTON

Done?  Those he has left him, be they many or few,
Fight till they fall, like others in the field!

  [Exit aide.  The Quartermaster-General DE LANCEY, riding by
  WELLINGTON, is struck by a lobbing shot that hurls him over
  the head of his horse.  WELLINGTON and others go to him.]


DE LANCEY (faintly)

I may as well be left to die in peace!


WELLINGTON

He may recover.  Take him to the rear,
And call the best attention up to him.

  [DE LANCEY is carried off.  The next moment a shell bursts close
  to WELLINGTON.]


HILL (approaching)

I strongly feel you stand too much exposed!


WELLINGTON

I know, I know.  It matters not one damn!
I may as well be shot as not perceive
What ills are raging here.


HILL

          Conceding such,
And as you may be ended momently,
A truth there is no blinking, what commands
Have you to leave me, should fate shape it so?


WELLINGTON

These simply: to hold out unto the last,
As long as one man stands on one lame leg
With one ball in his pouch!--then end as I.

  [He rides on slowly with the others.  NEY'S charges, though
  fruitless so far, are still fierce.  His troops are now reduced
  to one-half.  Regiments of the BACHELU division, and the JAMIN
  brigade, are at last moved up to his assistance.  They are partly
  swept down by the Allied batteries, and partly notched away by
  the infantry, the smoke being now so thick that the position of
  the battalions is revealed only by the flashing of the priming-
  pans and muzzles, and by the furious oaths heard behind the cloud.
  WELLINGTON comes back.  Enter another aide-de-camp.]


AIDE

We bow to the necessity of saying
That our brigade is lessened to one-third,
Your Grace.  And those who are left alive of it
Are so unmuscled by fatigue and thirst
That some relief, however temporary,
Becomes sore need.


WELLINGTON

          Inform your general
That his proposal asks the impossible!
That he, I, every Englishman afield,
Must fall upon the spot we occupy,
Our wounds in front.


AIDE

          It is enough, your Grace.
I answer for't that he, those under him,
And I withal, will bear us as you say.

  [Exit aide.  The din of battle goes on.  WELLINGTON is grave but
  calm.  Like those around him, he is splashed to the top of his hat
  with partly dried mire, mingled with red spots; his face is grimed
  in the same way, little courses showing themselves where the sweat
  has trickled down from his brow and temples.]


CLINTON (to Hill)

A rest would do our chieftain no less good,
In faith, than that unfortunate brigade!
He is tried damnably; and much more strained
Than I have ever seen him.


HILL

          Endless risks
He's running likewise.  What the hell would happen
If he were shot, is more than I can say!


WELLINGTON (calling to some near)

At Talavera, Salamanca, boys,
And at Vitoria, we saw smoke together;
And though the day seems wearing doubtfully,
Beaten we must not be!  What would they say
Of us at home, if so?


A CRY (from the French)

          Their centre breaks!
Vive l'Empereur!

  [It comes from the FOY and BACHELU divisions, which are rushing
  forward.  HALKETT'S and DUPLAT'S brigades intercept.  DUPLAT
  falls, shot dead; but the venturesome French regiments, pierced
  with converging fires, and cleft with shells, have to retreat.]


HILL (joining Wellington)

          The French artillery-fire
To the right still renders regiments restive there
That have to stand.  The long exposure galls them.


WELLINGTON

They must be stayed as our poor means afford.
I have to bend attention steadfastly
Upon the centre here.  The game just now
Goes all against us; and if staunchness fail
But for one moment with these thinning foot,
Defeat succeeds!

  [The battle continues to sway hither and thither with concussions,
  wounds, smoke, the fumes of gunpowder, and the steam from the hot
  viscera of grape-torn horses and men.  One side of a Hanoverian
  square is blown away; the three remaining sides form themselves
  into a triangle.  So many of his aides are cut down that it is
  difficult for WELLINGTON to get reports of what is happening
  afar.  It begins to be discovered at the front that a regiment of
  hussars, and others without ammunition, have deserted, and that
  some officers in the rear, honestly concluding the battle to be
  lost, are riding quietly off to Brussels.  Those who are left
  unwounded of WELLINGTON'S staff show gloomy misgivings at such
  signs, despite their own firmness.]


SPIRIT SINISTER

               One needs must be a ghost
     To move here in the midst 'twixt host and host!
     Their balls scream brisk and breezy tunes through me
     As I were an organ-stop.  It's merry so;
     What damage mortal flesh must undergo!

  [A Prussian officer enters to MUFFLING, who has again rejoined
  the DUKE'S suite.  MUFFLING hastens forward to WELLINGTON.]


MUFFLING

Blucher has just begun to operate;
But owing to Gneisenau's stolid stagnancy
The body of our army looms not yet!
As Zieten's corps still plod behind Smohain
Their coming must be late.  Blucher's attack
Strikes the remote right rear of the enemy,
Somewhere by Plancenoit.


WELLINGTON

          A timely blow;
But would that Zieten sped!  Well, better late
Than never.  We'll still stand.

  [The point of observation shifts.]



SCENE VIII

THE SAME.  LATER

  [NEY'S long attacks on the centre with cavalry having failed,
  those left of the squadrons and their infantry-supports fall
  back pell-mell in broken groups across the depression between
  the armies.

  Meanwhile BULOW, having engaged LOBAU'S Sixth Corps, carries
  Plancenoit.

  The artillery-fire between the French and the English continues.
  An officer of the Third Foot-guards comes up to WELLINGTON and
  those of his suite that survive.]


OFFICER

Our Colonel Canning--coming I know not whence--


WELLINGTON

I lately sent him with important words
To the remoter lines.


OFFICER

          As he returned
A grape-shot struck him in the breast; he fell,
At once a dead man.  General Halkett, too,
Has had his cheek shot through, but still keeps going.


WELLINGTON

And how proceeds De Lancey?


OFFICER

          I am told
That he forbids the surgeons waste their time
On him, who well can wait till worse are eased.


WELLINGTON

A noble fellow.

  [NAPOLEON can now be seen, across the valley, pushing forward a
  new scheme of some sort, urged to it obviously by the visible
  nearing of further Prussian corps.  The EMPEROR is as critically
  situated as WELLINGTON, and his army is now formed in a right
  angle ("en potence"), the main front to the English, the lesser
  to as many of the Prussians as have yet arrived.  His gestures
  show him to be giving instructions of desperate import to a
  general whom he has called up.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

     He bids La Bedoyere to speed away
     Along the whole sweep of the surging line,
     And there announce to the breath-shotten bands
     Who toil for a chimaera trustfully,
     With seventy pounds of luggage on their loins,
     That the dim Prussian masses seen afar
     Are Grouchy's three-and-thirty thousand, come
     To clinch a victory.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

          But Ney demurs!


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Ney holds indignantly that such a feint
     Is not war-worthy.  Says Napoleon then,
     Snuffing anew, with sour sardonic scowl,
     That he is choiceless.


SPIRIT SINISTER

               Excellent Emperor!
     He tops all human greatness; in that he
     To lesser grounds of greatness adds the prime,
     Of being without a conscience.

  [LA BEDOYERE and orderlies start on their mission.  The false
  intelligence is seen to spread, by the excited motion of the
  columns, and the soldiers can be heard shouting as their spirits
  revive.

  WELLINGTON is beginning to discern the features of the coming
  onset, when COLONEL FRASER rides up.]


FRASER

We have just learnt from a deserting captain,
One of the carabineers who charged of late,
That an assault which dwarfs all instances--
The whole Imperial Guard in welded weight--
Is shortly to be made.


WELLINGTON

          For your smart speed
My thanks.  My observation is confirmed.
We'll hasten now along the battle-line (to Staff),
As swiftest means for giving orders out
Whereby to combat this.

  [The speaker, accompanied by HILL, UXBRIDGE, and others--all now
  looking as worn and besmirched as the men in the ranks--proceed
  along the lines, and dispose the brigades to meet the threatened
  shock.  The infantry are brought out of the shelter they have
  recently sought, the cavalry stationed in the rear, and the
  batteries of artillery hitherto kept in reserve are moved to the
  front.

  The last Act of the battle begins.

  There is a preliminary attack by DONZELOT'S columns, combined
  with swarms of sharpshooters, to the disadvantage of the English
  and their Allies.  WELLINGTON has scanned it closely.  FITZROY
  SOMERSET, his military secretary, comes up.]


WELLINGTON

What casualty has thrown its shade among
The regiments of Nassau, to shake them so?


SOMERSET

The Prince of Orange has been badly struck--
A bullet through his shoulder--so they tell;
And Kielmansegge has shown some signs of stress.
Kincaird's tried line wanes leaner and more lean--
Whittled to a weak skein of skirmishers;
The Twenty-seventh lie dead.


WELLINGTON

     Ah yes--I know!

  [While they watch developments a cannon-shot passes and knocks
  SOMERSET'S right arm to a mash.  He is assisted to the rear.

  NEY and FRIANT now lead forward the last and most desperate
  assault of the day, in charges of the Old and Middle Guard,
  the attack by DONZELOT and ALLIX further east still continuing as
  a support.  It is about a quarter-past eight, and the midsummer
  evening is fine after the wet night and morning, the sun approaching
  its setting in a sky of gorgeous colours.

  The picked and toughened Guard, many of whom stood in the ranks
  at Austerlitz and Wagram, have been drawn up in three or four
  echelons, the foremost of which now advances up the slopes to
  the Allies' position.  The others follow at intervals, the
  drummers beating the "pas de charge."]


CHORUS OF RUMOURS (aerial music)

     Twice thirty throats of couchant cannonry--
     Ranked in a hollow curve, to close their blaze
     Upon the advancing files--wait silently
          Like to black bulls at gaze.

     The Guard approaches nearer and more near:
     To touch-hole moves each match of smoky sheen:
     The ordnance roars: the van-ranks disappear
          As if wiped off the scene.

     The aged Friant falls as it resounds;
     Ney's charger drops--his fifth on this sore day--
     Its rider from the quivering body bounds
          And forward foots his way.

     The cloven columns tread the English height,
     Seize guns, repulse battalions rank by rank,
     While horse and foot artillery heavily bite
          Into their front and flank.

     It nulls the power of a flesh-built frame
     To live within that zone of missiles.  Back
     The Old Guard, staggering, climbs to whence it came.
          The fallen define its track.

  [The second echelon of the Imperial Guard has come up to the
  assault.  Its columns have borne upon HALKETT'S right.  HALKETT,
  desperate to keep his wavering men firm, himself seizes and
  waves the flag of the Thirty-third, in which act he falls wounded.
  But the men rally.  Meanwhile the Fifty-second, covered by the
  Seventy-first, has advanced across the front, and charges the
  Imperial Guard on the flank.

  The third echelon next arrives at the English lines and squares;
  rushes through the very focus of their fire, and seeing nothing
  more in front, raises a shout.


IMPERIAL GUARD

The Emperor!  It's victory!


WELLINGTON

          Stand up, Guards!
Form line upon the front face of the square!

  [Two thousand of MAITLAND'S Guards, hidden in the hollow roadway,
  thereupon spring up, form as ordered, and reveal themselves as a
  fence of leveled firelocks four deep.  The flints click in a
  multitude, the pans flash, and volley after volley is poured into
  the bear-skinned figures of the massed French, who kill COLONEL
  D'OYLEY in returning fire.]


WELLINGTON

Now drive the fellows in!  Go on; go on!
You'll do it now!

  [COLBORNE converges on the French guard with the Fifty-second, and
  The former splits into two as the climax comes.  ADAM, MAITLAND,
  and COLBORNE pursue their advantage.  The Imperial columns are
  broken, and their confusion is increased by grape-shot from
  BOLTON'S battery.]

          Campbell, this order next:
Vivian's hussars are to support, and bear
Against the cavalry towards Belle Alliance.
Go--let him know.

  [Sir C. CAMPBELL departs with the order.  Soon VIVIAN'S and
  VANDELEUR'S light horse are seen advancing, and in due time the
  French cavalry are rolled back.

  WELLINGTON goes in the direction of the hussars with UXBRIDGE.  A
  cannon-shot hisses past.]


UXBRIDGE (starting)

     I have lost my leg, by God!


WELLINGTON

By God, and have you!  Ay--the wind o' the shot
Blew past the withers of my Copenhagen
Like the foul sweeping of a witch's broom.--
Aha--they are giving way!

  [While UXBRIDGE is being helped to the rear, WELLINGTON makes a
  sign to SALTOUN, Colonel of the First Footguards.]


SALTOUN (shouting)

          Boys, now's your time;
Forward and win!


FRENCH VOICES

The Guard gives way--we are beaten!

  [They recede down the hill, carrying confusion into NAPOLEON'S
  centre just as the Prussians press forward at a right angle from
  the other side of the field.  NAPOLEON is seen standing in the
  hollow beyond La Haye Sainte, alone, except for the presence of
  COUNT FLAHAULT, his aide-de-camp.  His lips move with sudden
  exclamation.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     He says "Now all is lost!  The clocks of the world
     Strike my last empery-hour."

  [Towards La Haye Sainte the French of DONZELOT and ALLIX, who
  are fighting KEMPT, PACK, KRUSE, and LAMBERT, seeing what has
  happened to the Old and Middle Guard, lose heart and recede
  likewise; so that the whole French line rolls back like a tide.
  Simultaneously the Prussians are pressing forward at Papelotte
  and La Haye.  The retreat of the French grows into a panic.]


FRENCH VOICES (despairingly)

     We are betrayed!

  [WELLINGTON rides at a gallop to the most salient point of the
  English position, halts, and waves his hat as a signal to all
  the army.  The sign is answered by a cheer along the length of
  the line.]


WELLINGTON

No cheering yet, my lads; but bear ahead,
Before the inflamed face of the west out there
Dons blackness.  So you'll round your victory!

  [The few aides that are left unhurt dart hither and thither with
  this message, and the whole English host and it allies advance 
  in an ordered mass down the hill except some of the artillery,
  who cannot get their wheels over the bank of corpses in front.
  Trumpets, drums, and bugles resound with the advance.

  The streams of French fugitives as they run are cut down and shot
  by their pursuers, whose clothes and contracted features are
  blackened by smoke and cartridge-biting, and soiled with loam
  and blood.  Some French blow out their own brains as they fly.
  The sun drops below the horizon while the slaughter goes on.]


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Is this the last Esdraelon of a moil
     For mortal man's effacement?


SPIRIT IRONIC

               Warfare, mere,
     Plied by the Managed for the Managers;
     To wit: by frenzied folks who profit nought
     For those who profit all!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               Between the jars
     Of these who live, I hear uplift and move
     The bones of those who placidly have lain
     Within the sacred garths of yon grey fanes--
     Nivelles, and Plancenoit, and Braine l'Alleud--
     Beneath the unmemoried mounds through deedless years
     Their dry jaws quake: "What Sabaoath is this,
     That shakes us in our unobtrusive shrouds,
     As though our tissues did not yet abhor
     The fevered feats of life?"


SPIRIT IRONIC

               Mere fancy's feints!
     How know the coffined what comes after them,
     Even though it whirl them to the Pleiades?--
     Turn to the real.


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

               That hatless, smoke-smirched shape
     There in the vale, is still the living Ney,
     His sabre broken in his hand, his clothes
     Slitten with ploughing ball and bayonet,
     One epaulette shorn away.  He calls out "Follow!"
     And a devoted handful follow him
     Once more into the carnage.  Hear his voice.


NEY (calling afar)

My friends, see how a Marshal of France can die!


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Alas, not here in battle, something hints,
     But elsewhere! . . . Who's the sworded brother-chief
     Swept past him in the tumult?


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

               D'Erlon he.
     Ney cries to him:


NEY

          Be sure of this, my friend,
If we don't perish here at English hands,
Nothing is left us but the halter-noose
The Bourbons will provide!


SPIRIT IRONIC

               A caustic wit,
     And apt, to those who deal in adumbrations!

  [The brave remnant of the Imperial Guard repulses for a time the
  English cavalry under Vivian, in which MAJOR HOWARD and LIEUTENANT
  GUNNING of the Tenth Hussars are shot.  But the war-weary French
  cannot cope with the pursuing infantry, helped by grape-shot from
  the batteries.

  NAPOLEON endeavours to rally them.  It is his last effort as a
  warrior; and the rally ends feebly.]


NAPOLEON

They are crushed!  So it has ever been since Crecy!

  [He is thrown violently off his horse, and bids his page bring
  another, which he mounts, and is lost to sight.]


SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

     He loses his last chance of dying well!

  [The three or four heroic battalions of the Old and Middle Guard
  fall back step by step, halting to reform in square when they
  get badly broken and shrunk.  At last they are surrounded by the
  English Guards and other foot, who keep firing on them and smiting
  them to smaller and smaller numbers.  GENERAL CAMBRONNE is inside
  the square.]


COLONEL HUGH HALKETT (shouting)

Surrender!  And preserve those heroes' lives!


CAMBRONNE (with exasperation)

Mer-r-rde! . . . You've to deal with desperates, man, today:
Life is a byword here!

  [Hollow laughter, as from people in hell, comes approvingly from
  the remains of the Old Guard.  The English proceed with their
  massacre, the devoted band thins and thins, and a ball strikes
  CAMBRONNE, who falls, and is trampled over.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Observe that all wide sight and self-command
     Desert these throngs now driven to demonry
     By the Immanent Unrecking.  Nought remains
     But vindictiveness here amid the strong,
     And there amid the weak an impotent rage.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Why prompts the Will so senseless-shaped a doing?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     I have told thee that It works unwittingly,
     As one possessed, not judging.


SEMICHORUS I OF IRONIC SPIRITS (aerial music)

     Of Its doings if It knew,
     What It does It would not do!


SEMICHORUS II

     Since It knows not, what far sense
     Speeds Its spinnings in the Immense?


SEMICHORUS I

     None; a fixed foresightless dream
     Is Its whole philosopheme.


SEMICHORUS II

     Just so; an unconscious planning,
     Like a potter raptly panning!


CHORUS

     Are then, Love and Light Its aim--
     Good Its glory, Bad Its blame?
     Nay; to alter evermore
     Things from what they were before.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Your knowings of the Unknowable declared,
     Let the last pictures of the play be bared.

  [Enter, fighting, more English and Prussians against the French.
  NEY is caught by the throng and borne ahead.  RULLIERE hides an
  eagle beneath his coat and follows Ney.  NAPOLEON is involved
  none knows where in the crowd of fugitives.

  WELLINGTON and BLUCHER come severally to the view.  They meet in
  the dusk and salute warmly.  The Prussian bands strike up "God save
  the King" as the two shake hands.  From his gestures of assent it
  can be seen that WELLINGTON accepts BLUCHER'S offer to pursue.

  The reds disappear from the sky, and the dusk grows deeper.  The
  action of the battle degenerates to a hunt, and recedes further
  and further into the distance southward.  When the tramplings
  and shouts of the combatants have dwindled, the lower sounds are
  noticeable that come from the wounded: hopeless appeals, cries
  for water, elaborate blasphemies, and impotent execrations of
  Heaven and hell.  In the vast and dusky shambles black slouching
  shapes begin to move, the plunderers of the dead and dying.

  The night grows clear and beautiful, and the moon shines musingly
  down.  But instead of the sweet smell of green herbs and dewy rye
  as at her last beaming upon these fields, there is now the stench
  of gunpowder and a muddy stew of crushed crops and gore.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     So hath the Urging Immanence used to-day
     Its inadvertent might to field this fray:
     And Europe's wormy dynasties rerobe
   Themselves in their old gilt, to dazzle anew the globe!

  [The scene us curtained by a night-mist.(25)]



SCENE IX

THE WOOD OF BOSSU

  [It is midnight.  NAPOLEON enters a glade of the wood, a solitary
  figure on a faded horse.  The shadows of the boughs travel over
  his listless form as he moves along.  The horse chooses its own
  path, comes to a standstill, and feeds.  The tramp of BERTRAND,
  SOULT, DROUOT, and LOBAU'S horses, gone forward in hope to find
  a way of retreat, is heard receding over the hill.]


NAPOLEON (to himself, languidly)

Here should have been some troops of Gerard's corps,
Left to protect the passage of the convoys,
Yet they, too, fail. . . . I have nothing more to lose,
But life!

  [Flocks of fugitive soldiers pass along the adjoining road without
  seeing him.  NAPOLEON'S head droops lower and lower as he sits
  listless in the saddle, and he falls into a fitful sleep.  The
  moon shines upon his face, which is drawn and waxen.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     "Sic diis immortalibus placet,"--
     "Thus is it pleasing to the immortal gods,"
     As earthlings used to say.  Thus, to this last,
     The Will in thee has moved thee, Bonaparte,
     As we say now.


NAPOLEON (starting)

          Whose frigid tones are those,
Breaking upon my lurid loneliness
So brusquely? . . . Yet, 'tis true, I have ever know
That such a Will I passively obeyed!

  [He drowses again.]


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Nothing care I for these high-doctrined dreams,
     And shape the case in quite a common way,
     So I would ask, Ajaccian Bonaparte,
     Has all this been worth while?


NAPOLEON

          O hideous hour,
Why am I stung by spectral questionings?
Did not my clouded soul incline to match
Those of the corpses yonder, thou should'st rue
Thy saying, Fiend, whoever those may'st be! . . .

Why did the death-drops fail to bite me close
I took at Fontainebleau?  Had I then ceased,
This deep had been umplumbed; had they but worked,
I had thrown threefold the glow of Hannibal
Down History's dusky lanes!--Is it too late? . . .
Yes.  Self-sought death would smoke but damply here!

If but a Kremlin cannon-shot had met me
My greatness would have stood: I should have scored
A vast repute, scarce paralleled in time.
As it did not, the fates had served me best
If in the thick and thunder of to-day,
Like Nelson, Harold, Hector, Cyrus, Saul,
I had been shifted from this jail of flesh,
To wander as a greatened ghost elsewhere.
--Yes, a good death, to have died on yonder field;
But never a ball came padding down my way!

So, as it is, a miss-mark they will dub me;
And yet--I found the crown of France in the mire,
And with the point of my prevailing sword
I picked it up!  But for all this and this
I shall be nothing. . . .
To shoulder Christ from out the topmost niche
In human fame, as once I fondly felt,
Was not for me.  I came too late in time
To assume the prophet or the demi-god,
A part past playing now.  My only course
To make good showance to posterity
Was to implant my line upon the throne.
And how shape that, if now extinction nears?
Great men are meteors that consume themselves
To light the earth.  This is my burnt-out hour.


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Thou sayest well.  Thy full meridian-shine
     Was in the glory of the Dresden days,
     When well-nigh every monarch throned in Europe
     Bent at thy footstool.


NAPOLEON

          Saving always England's--
Rightly dost say "well-nigh."--Not England's,--she
Whose tough, enisled, self-centred, kindless craft
Has tracked me, springed me, thumbed me by the throat,
And made herself the means of mangling me!


SPIRIT IRONIC

     Yea, the dull peoples and the Dynasts both,
     Those counter-castes not oft adjustable,
     Interests antagonistic, proud and poor,
     Have for the nonce been bonded by a wish
     To overthrow thee.

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

               Peace.  His loaded heart
     Bears weight enough for one bruised, blistered while!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Worthless these kneadings of thy narrow thought,
     Napoleon; gone thy opportunity!
     Such men as thou, who wade across the world
     To make an epoch, bless, confuse, appal,
     Are in the elemental ages' chart
     Like meanest insects on obscurest leaves,
     But incidents and grooves of Earth's unfolding;
     Or as the brazen rod that stirs the fire
     Because it must.

  [The moon sinks, and darkness blots out NAPOLEON and the scene.]




AFTER SCENE


THE OVERWORLD


  [Enter the Spirit and Chorus of the Years, the Spirit and Chorus
  of the Pities, the Shade of the Earth, the Spirits Sinister and
  Ironic with their Choruses, Rumours, Spirit-messengers and
  Recording Angels.

  Europe has now sunk netherward to its far-off position as in the
  Fore Scene, and it is beheld again as a prone and emaciated figure
  of which the Alps form the vertebrae, and the branching mountain-
  chains the ribs, the Spanish Peninsula shaping the head of the
  ecorche.  The lowlands look like a grey-green garment half-thrown
  off, and the sea around like a disturbed bed on which the figure
  lies.]


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     Thus doth the Great Foresightless mechanize
     In blank entrancement now as evermore
     Its ceaseless artistries in Circumstance
     Of curious stuff and braid, as just forthshown.

     Yet but one flimsy riband of Its web
     Have we here watched in weaving--web Enorm,
     Whose furthest hem and selvage may extend
     To where the roars and plashings of the flames
     Of earth-invisible suns swell noisily,
     And onwards into ghastly gulfs of sky,
     Where hideous presences churn through the dark--
     Monsters of magnitude without a shape,
     Hanging amid deep wells of nothingness.

     Yet seems this vast and singular confection
     Wherein our scenery glints of scantest size,
     Inutile all--so far as reasonings tell.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     Thou arguest still the Inadvertent Mind.--
     But, even so, shall blankness be for aye?
     Men gained cognition with the flux of time,
     And wherefore not the Force informing them,
     When far-ranged aions past all fathoming
     Shall have swung by, and stand as backward years?


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

     What wouldst have hoped and had the Will to be?--
     How wouldst have paeaned It, if what hadst dreamed
     Thereof were truth, and all my showings dream?


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     The Will that fed my hope was far from thine,
     One I would thus have hymned eternally:--


SEMICHORUS I OF THE PITIES (aerial music)

     To Thee whose eye all Nature owns,
     Who hurlest Dynasts from their thrones,(26)
     And liftest those of low estate
     We sing, with Her men consecrate!


SEMICHORUS II

     Yea, Great and Good, Thee, Thee we hail,
     Who shak'st the strong, Who shield'st the frail,
     Who hadst not shaped such souls as we
     If tendermercy lacked in Thee!


SEMICHORUS I

     Though times be when the mortal moan
     Seems unascending to Thy throne,
     Though seers do not as yet explain
     Why Suffering sobs to Thee in vain;


SEMICHORUS II

     We hold that Thy unscanted scope
     Affords a food for final Hope,
     That mild-eyed Prescience ponders nigh
     Life's loom, to lull it by-and-by.


SEMICHORUS I

     Therefore we quire to highest height
     The Wellwiller, the kindly Might
     That balances the Vast for weal,
     That purges as by wounds to heal.


SEMICHORUS II

     The systemed suns the skies enscroll
     Obey Thee in their rhythmic roll,
     Ride radiantly at Thy command,
     Are darkened by Thy Masterhand!


SEMICHORUS I

     And these pale panting multitudes
     Seen surging here, their moils, their moods,
     All shall "fulfil their joy" in Thee
     In Thee abide eternally!


SEMICHORUS II

     Exultant adoration give
     The Alone, through Whom all living live,
     The Alone, in Whom all dying die,
     Whose means the End shall justify!  Amen.


SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

     So did we evermore, sublimely sing;
     So would we now, despise thy forthshowing!


SPIRIT OF THE YEARS	

     Something of difference animates your quiring,
     O half-convinced Compassionates and fond,
     From chords consistent with our spectacle!
     You almost charm my long philosophy
     Out of my strong-built thought, and bear me back
     To when I thanksgave thus. . . . Ay, start not, Shades;
     In the Foregone I knew what dreaming was,
     And could let raptures rule!  But not so now.
     Yea, I psalmed thus and thus. . . . But not so now.


SEMICHORUS I OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

     O Immanence, That reasonest not
     In putting forth all things begot,
     Thou build'st Thy house in space--for what?


SEMICHORUS II

     O loveless, Hateless!--past the sense
     Of kindly eyed benevolence,
     To what tune danceth this Immense?


SPIRIT IRONIC

     For one I cannot answer.  But I know
     'Tis handsome of our Pities so to sing
     The praises of the dreaming, dark, dumb Thing
     That turns the handle of this idle show!

     As once a Greek asked I would fain ask too,
     Who knows if all the Spectacle be true,
     Or an illusion of the gods (the Will,
     To wit) some hocus-pocus to fulfil?


SEMICHORUS I OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

     Last as first the question rings
     Of the Will's long travailings;
          Why the All-mover,
          Why the All-prover
Ever urges on and measure out the chordless chime of Things.(27)


SEMICHORUS II

          Heaving dumbly
          As we deem,
          Moulding numbly
          As in dream
Apprehending not how fare the sentient subjects of Its scheme.


SEMICHORUS I OF THE PITIES

     Nay;--shall not Its blindness break?
      Yea, must not Its heart awake,
          Promptly tending
          To Its mending
In a genial germing purpose, and for loving-kindness sake?


SEMICHORUS II

          Should it never
          Curb or care
          Aught whatever
          Those endure
Whom It quickens, let them darkle to extinction swift and sure.


CHORUS	

     But--a stirring thrills the air
     Like to sounds of joyance there
          That the rages
          Of the ages
Shall be cancelled, and deliverance offered from the darts that were,
Consciousness the Will informing, till It fashion all things fair!





THE END OF "THE DYNASTS"

September 25, 1907




*FOOTNOTES

(1)Schlegel.

(2)Introduction to the _Choephori_.

(3)It is now called an Epic-drama (1909).

(4)Through this tangle of intentions the writer has in the main
  followed Thiers, whose access to documents would seem to
  authenticate his details of the famous scheme for England's ruin.

(5)These historic facings, which, I believe, won for the local
  (old 39th) regiment the nickname of "Green Linnets," have been
  changed for no apparent reason.  (They are now restored--1909.)

(6)The remains of the lonely hut occupied by the beacon-keepers,
  consisting of some half-buried brickbats, and a little mound
  of peat overgrown with moss, are still visible on the elevated
  spot referred to.  The two keepers themselves, and their
  eccentricities and sayings are traditionary, with a slight
  disguise of names.

(7)"Le projet existe encore aux archives de la marine que
  Napoleon consultait incessamment; il sentait que cette marine
  depuis Louis XIV. avait fait de grandes choses: le plan de
  l'Expedition d'Egypte et de la descente en Angleterre se
  trouvaient au ministere de la marine."--CAPEFIGUE: L'Europe
  pendant le Consulat et l'Empire.

(8)This weather-beaten old building, though now an hotel, is but
  little altered.

(9)Soph. Trach. 1266-72.

(10)This scene is a little antedated, to include it in the Act to
  which it essentially belongs.

(11)"Quel bonhour que je n'aie aucun enfant pour recueillir mon
  horrible heritage et qui soit charge du poids de mon nom!"--
  (Extract from the poignant letter to his wife written on
  this night.--See Lanfrey iii. 374.)

(12)In those days the hind-part of the harbour adjoining this scene
  was so named, and at high tides the waves washed across the isthmus
  at a point called "The Narrows."

(13)This General's name should, it is said, be pronounced in three
  syllables, nearly PRESH-EV-SKY.

(14)It has been conjectured of late that these adventurous spirits
  were Sir Robert Wilson and, possibly, Lord Hutchinson, present
  there at imminent risks of their lives.

(15)The traditional present of the rose was probably on this
  occasion, though it is not quite matter of certainty.

(16)At this date.

(17)So Madame Metternich to her husband in reporting this interview.
  But who shall say!

(18)The writer has been unable to discover what became of this
  unhappy lady and her orphaned infants.--(The foregoing note,
  which appeared in the first edition of this drama, was the
  means of bringing from a descendant of the lady referred to
  the information she remarried, and lived and died at Venice;
  and that both her children grew up and did well.--1909)

(19)Thomas Young of Sturminster-Newton; served twenty-one years in
  the Fifteenth (King's) Hussars; died 1853; fought at Vitoria, and
  Waterloo.

(20)Hussars, it may be remembered, used to wear a pelisse, dolman, or
  "sling-jacket" (as the men called), which hung loosely over the
  shoulder.  The writer is able to recall the picturesque effect of
  this uniform.

(21)Sheridan.

(22)This famous ball has become so embedded in the history of the
  Hundred Days as to be an integral part of it.  Yet in spite of
  the efforts that have been made to locate the room which saw
  the memorable gathering (by the present writer more than thirty
  years back, among other enthusiasts), a dispassionate judgment
  must deny that its site has as yet been proven.  Even Sir W.
  Fraser is not convincing.  The event happened less than a century
  ago, but the spot is almost as phantasmal in its elusive mystery
  as towered Camelot, the palace of Priam, or the hill of Calvary.

(23)The spelling of the date is used.

(24)Samuel Clark; born 1779, died 1857.  Buried at West Stafford,
  Dorset.

(25)One of the many Waterloo men known to the writer in his youth,
  John Bentley of the Fusileer Guards, use to declare that he lay
  down on the ground in such weariness that when food was brought
  him he could not eat it, and slept till next morning on an empty
  stomach.  He died at Chelsea Hospital, 187-, aged eighty six.

(26)Transcriber's note: This footnote is an excerpt in Greek from
  the "Magnificat" canticle, the Latin character equivalent being
  "katheile DYNASTAS apo THrono," or "He has put down the mighty
  from their thrones."--D.L.

(27)Hor. _Epis._ i, 12.



End of the Project Gutenberg Etext of The Dynasts, by Thomas Hardy


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