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Title: The Dynasts: An Epic-Drama of the War with Napoleon
Author: Hardy, Thomas
Language: English
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THE DYNASTS

By Thomas Hardy


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


[Footnote 1: Schlegel.]

[Footnote 2: Introduction to the _Choephori_.]

[Footnote 3: It is now called an Epic-drama, Footnote 1909.]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 5: These historic facings, which, I believe, won for the local
[Footnote old 39th:  regiment the nickname of “Green Linnets,” have been
changed for no apparent reason.  Footnote They are now restored--1909]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 8: This weather-beaten old building, though now an hotel, is but
little altered.]

[Footnote 9: Soph. Trach. 1266-72.]

[Footnote 10: This scene is a little antedated, to include it in the Act to
which it essentially belongs.]

[Footnote 11: “Quel bonhour que je n’aie aucun enfant pour recueillir mon
horrible heritage et qui soit charge du poids de mon nom!”--
[Footnote Extract from the poignant letter to his wife written on
this night.--See Lanfrey iii. 374.]

[Footnote 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.”

[Footnote 13: This General’s name should, it is said, be pronounced in three
syllables, nearly PRESH-EV-SKY.]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 15: The traditional present of the rose was probably on this
occasion, though it is not quite matter of certainty.]

[Footnote 16: At this date.]

[Footnote 17: So Madame Metternich to her husband in reporting this interview.
But who shall say!]

[Footnote 18: The writer has been unable to discover what became of this
unhappy lady and her orphaned infants.--[Footnote 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:

[Footnote 19: Thomas Young of Sturminster-Newton; served twenty-one years in
the Fifteenth [Footnote King’s:  Hussars; died 1853; fought at Vitoria, and
Waterloo.]

[Footnote 20: Hussars, it may be remembered, used to wear a pelisse, dolman, or
“sling-jacket” [Footnote as the men called: , which hung loosely over the
shoulder.  The writer is able to recall the picturesque effect of
this uniform.]

[Footnote 21: Sheridan.]

[Footnote 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 [Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 23: The spelling of the date is used.]

[Footnote 24: Samuel Clark; born 1779, died 1857.  Buried at West Stafford,
Dorset.]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 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.]

[Footnote 27: Hor. _Epis._ i, 12.]





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