PHILIP THE SECOND, King of Spain.
DON CARLOS, Prince, Son of Philip.
ALEXANDER FARNESE, Prince of Parma.
MARQUIS DE POSA.
DUKE OF ALVA.
Grandees of Spain:
COUNT LERMA, Colonel of the Body Guard,
DUKE OF FERIA, Knight of the Golden Fleece,
DUKE OF MEDINA SIDONIA, Admiral,
DON RAIMOND DE TAXIS, Postmaster-General,
DOMINGO, Confessor to the King.
GRAND INQUISITOR of Spain.
PRIOR of a Carthusian Convent.
PAGE of the Queen.
DON LOUIS MERCADO, Physician to the Queen.
ELIZABETH DE VALOIS, Queen of Spain.
INFANTA CLARA FARNESE, a Child three years of age.
DUCHESS D'OLIVAREZ, Principal Attendant on the Queen.
Ladies Attendant on the Queen:
MARCHIONESS DE MONDECAR,
Several Ladies, Nobles, Pages, Officers of the Body-Guard, and mute Characters.
The Royal Gardens in Aranjuez.
CARLOS and DOMINGO.
Our pleasant sojourn in Aranjuez
Is over now, and yet your highness quits
These joyous scenes no happier than before.
Our visit hath been fruitless. Oh, my prince,
Break this mysterious and gloomy silence!
Open your heart to your own father's heart!
A monarch never can too dearly buy
The peace of his own son – his only son.
[CARLOS looks on the ground in silence.
Is there one dearest wish that bounteous Heaven
Hath e'er withheld from her most favored child?
I stood beside, when in Toledo's walls
The lofty Charles received his vassals' homage,
When conquered princes thronged to kiss his hand,
And there at once six mighty kingdoms fell
In fealty at his feet: I stood and marked
The young, proud blood mount to his glowing cheek,
I saw his bosom swell with high resolves,
His eye, all radiant with triumphant pride,
Flash through the assembled throng; and that same eye
Confessed, "Now am I wholly satisfied!"
[CARLOS turns away.
This silent sorrow, which for eight long moons
Hath hung its shadows, prince, upon your brow —
The mystery of the court, the nation's grief —
Hath cost your father many a sleepless night,
And many a tear of anguish to your mother.
My mother! Grant, O heaven, I may forget
How she became my mother!
Alas! alas! a fruitful source of woe
Have mothers been to me. My youngest act,
When first these eyes beheld the light of day,
Destroyed a mother.
Is it possible
That this reproach disturbs your conscience, prince?
And my new mother! Hath she not already
Cost me my father's heart? Scarce loved at best.
My claim to some small favor lay in this —
I was his only child! 'Tis over! She
Hath blest him with a daughter – and who knows
What slumbering ills the future hath in store?
You jest, my prince. All Spain adores its queen.
Shall it be thought that you, of all the world,
Alone should view her with the eyes of hate —
Gaze on her charms, and yet be coldly wise?
How, prince? The loveliest lady of her time,
A queen withal, and once your own betrothed?
No, no, impossible – it cannot be!
Where all men love, you surely cannot hate.
Carlos could never so belie himself.
I prithee, prince, take heed she do not learn
That she hath lost her son's regard. The news
Would pain her deeply.
CARLOS. Ay, sir! think you so?
Your highness doubtless will remember how,
At the late tournament in Saragossa,
A lance's splinter struck our gracious sire.
The queen, attended by her ladies, sat
High in the centre gallery of the palace,
And looked upon the fight. A cry arose,
"The king! he bleeds!" Soon through the general din,
A rising murmur strikes upon her ear.
"The prince – the prince!" she cries, and forward rushed,
As though to leap down from the balcony,
When a voice answered, "No, the king himself!"
"Then send for his physicians!" she replied,
And straight regained her former self-composure.
[After a short pause.
But you seem wrapped in thought?
CARLOS. In wonder, sir,
That the king's merry confessor should own
So rare a skill in the romancer's art.
Yet have I heard it said that those
Who watch men's looks and carry tales about,
Have done more mischief in this world of ours
Than the assassin's knife, or poisoned bowl.
Your labor, Sir, hath been but ill-bestowed;
Would you win thanks, go seek them of the king.
This caution, prince, is wise. Be circumspect
With men – but not with every man alike.
Repel not friends and hypocrites together;
I mean you well, believe me!
CARLOS. Say you so?
Let not my father mark it, then, or else
Farewell your hopes forever of the purple.
CARLOS. Even so! Hath he not promised you
The earliest purple in the gift of Spain?
You mock me, prince!
CARLOS. Nay! Heaven forefend, that I
Should mock that awful man whose fateful lips
Can doom my father or to heaven or hell!
I dare not, prince, presume to penetrate
The sacred mystery of your secret grief,
Yet I implore your highness to remember
That, for a conscience ill at ease, the church
Hath opened an asylum, of which kings
Hold not the key – where even crimes are purged
Beneath the holy sacramental seal.
You know my meaning, prince – I've said enough.
No! be it, never said, I tempted so
The keeper of that seal.
Prince, this mistrust —
You wrong the most devoted of your servants.
Then give me up at once without a thought
Thou art a holy man – the world knows that —
But, to speak plain, too zealous far for me.
The road to Peter's chair is long and rough,
And too much knowledge might encumber you.
Go, tell this to the king, who sent thee hither!
Who sent me hither?
CARLOS. Ay! Those were my words.
Too well-too well, I know, that I'm betrayed,
Slandered on every hand – that at this court
A hundred eyes are hired to watch my steps.
I know, that royal Philip to his slaves
Hath sold his only son, and every wretch,
Who takes account of each half-uttered word,
Receives such princely guerdon as was ne'er
Bestowed on deeds of honor, Oh, I know
But hush! – no more of that! My heart will else
O'erflow and I've already said too much.
The king is minded, ere the set of sun,
To reach Madrid: I see the court is mustering.
Have I permission, prince?
CARLOS. I'll follow straight.
O wretched Philip! wretched as thy son!
Soon shall thy bosom bleed at every pore,
Torn by suspicion's poisonous serpent fang.
Thy fell sagacity full soon shall pierce
The fatal secret it is bent to know,
And thou wilt madden, when it breaks upon thee!
CARLOS, MARQUIS OF POSA.
Lo! Who comes here? 'Tis he! O ye kind heavens,
CARLOS. Can it be?
And is it truly thou? O yes, it is!
I press thee to my bosom, and I feel
Thy throbbing heart beat wildly 'gainst mine own.
And now all's well again. In this embrace
My sick, sad heart is comforted. I hang
Upon my Roderigo's neck!
MARQUIS. Thy heart!
Thy sick sad heart! And what is well again
What needeth to be well? Thy words amaze me.
What brings thee back so suddenly from Brussels?
Whom must I thank for this most glad surprise?
And dare I ask? Whom should I thank but thee,
Thou gracious and all bounteous Providence?
Forgive me, heaven! if joy hath crazed my brain.
Thou knewest no angel watched at Carlos' side,
And sent me this! And yet I ask who sent him.
Pardon, dear prince, if I can only meet
With wonder these tumultuous ecstacies.
Not thus I looked to find Don Philip's son.
A hectic red burns on your pallid cheek,
And your lips quiver with a feverish heat.
What must I think, dear prince? No more I see
The youth of lion heart, to whom I come
The envoy of a brave and suffering people.
For now I stand not here as Roderigo —
Not as the playmate of the stripling Carlos —
But, as the deputy of all mankind,
I clasp thee thus: – 'tis Flanders that clings here
Around thy neck, appealing with my tears
To thee for succor in her bitter need.
This land is lost, this land so dear to thee,
If Alva, bigotry's relentless tool,
Advance on Brussels with his Spanish laws.
This noble country's last faint hope depends
On thee, loved scion of imperial Charles!
And, should thy noble heart forget to beat
In human nature's cause, Flanders is lost!
Then it is lost.
What do I hear? Alas!
Thou speakest of times that long have passed away.
I, too, have had my visions of a Carlos,
Whose cheek would fire at freedom's glorious name,
But he, alas! has long been in his grave.
He, thou seest here, no longer is that Carlos,
Who took his leave of thee in Alcala,
Who in the fervor of a youthful heart,
Resolved, at some no distant time, to wake
The golden age in Spain! Oh, the conceit,
Though but a child's, was yet divinely fair!
Those dreams are past!
Said you, those dreams, my prince!
And were they only dreams?
Oh, let me weep,
Upon thy bosom weep these burning tears,
My only friend! Not one have I – not one —
In the wide circuit of this earth, – not one
Far as the sceptre of my sire extends,
Far as the navies bear the flag of Spain,
There is no spot – none – none, where I dare yield
An outlet to my tears, save only this.
I charge thee, Roderigo! Oh, by all
The hopes we both do entertain of heaven,
Cast me not off from thee, my friend, my friend!
[POSA bends over him in silent emotion.
Look on me, Posa, as an orphan child,
Found near the throne, and nurtured by thy love.
Indeed, I know not what a father is.
I am a monarch's son. Oh, were it so,
As my heart tells me that it surely is,
That thou from millions hast been chosen out
To comprehend my being; if it be true,
That all-creating nature has designed
In me to reproduce a Roderigo,
And on the morning of our life attuned
Our souls' soft concords to the selfsame key;
If one poor tear, which gives my heart relief,
To thee were dearer than my father's favor —
Oh, it is dearer far than all the world!
I'm fallen so low, have grown so poor withal,
I must recall to thee our childhood's years, —
Must ask thee payment of a debt incurred
When thou and I were scarce to boyhood grown.
Dost thou remember, how we grew together,
Two daring youths, like brothers, side by side?
I had no sorrow but to see myself
Eclipsed by thy bright genius. So I vowed,
Since I might never cope with thee in power,
That I would love thee with excess of love.
Then with a thousand shows of tenderness,
And warm affection, I besieged thy heart,
Which cold and proudly still repulsed them all.
Oft have I stood, and – yet thou sawest it never
Hot bitter tear-drops brimming in mine eyes,
When I have marked thee, passing me unheeded,
Fold to thy bosom youths of humbler birth.
"Why only these?" in anguish, once I asked —
"Am I not kind and good to thee as they?"
But dropping on thy knees, thine answer came,
With an unloving look of cold reserve,
"This is my duty to the monarch's son!"
Oh, spare me, dearest prince, nor now recall
Those boyish acts that make me blush for shame.
I did not merit such disdain from thee —
You might despise me, crush my heart, but never
Alter my love. Three times didst thou repulse
The prince, and thrice he came to thee again,
To beg thy love, and force on thee his own.
At length chance wrought what Carlos never could.
Once we were playing, when thy shuttlecock
Glanced off and struck my aunt, Bohemia's queen,
Full in the face! She thought 'twas with intent,
And all in tears complained unto the king.
The palace youth were summoned on the spot,
And charged to name the culprit. High in wrath
The king vowed vengeance for the deed: "Although
It were his son, yet still should he be made
A dread example!" I looked around and marked
Thee stand aloof, all trembling with dismay.
Straight I stepped forth; before the royal feet
I flung myself, and cried, "'Twas I who did it;
Now let thine anger fall upon thy son!"
Ah, wherefore, prince, remind me?
Hear me further!
Before the face of the assembled court,
That stood, all pale with pity, round about,
Thy Carlos was tied up, whipped like a slave;
I looked on thee, and wept not. Blow rained on blow;
I gnashed my teeth with pain, yet wept I not!
My royal blood streamed 'neath the pitiless lash;
I looked on thee, and wept not. Then you came,
And fell half-choked with sobs before my feet:
"Carlos," you cried, "my pride is overcome;
I will repay thee when thou art a king."
Carlos, I'll keep my word; my boyhood's vow
I now as man renew. I will repay thee.
Some day, perchance, the hour may come —
The hour has come; thou canst repay me all.
I have sore need of love. A fearful secret
Burns in my breast; it must – it must be told.
In thy pale looks my death-doom will I read.
Listen; be petrified; but answer not.
I love – I love – my mother!
O my God!
Nay, no forbearance! spare me not! Speak! speak!
Proclaim aloud, that on this earth's great round
There is no misery to compare with mine.
Speak! speak! – I know all – all that thou canst say
The son doth love his mother. All the world's
Established usages, the course of nature,
Rome's fearful laws denounce my fatal passion.
My suit conflicts with my own father's rights,
I feel it all, and yet I love. This path
Leads on to madness, or the scaffold. I
Love without hope, love guiltily, love madly,
With anguish, and with peril of my life;
I see, I see it all, and yet I love.
The queen – does she know of your passion?
Reveal it to her? She is Philip's wife —
She is the queen, and this is Spanish ground,
Watched by a jealous father, hemmed around
By ceremonial forms, how, how could I
Approach her unobserved? 'Tis now eight months,
Eight maddening months, since the king summoned me
Home from my studies, since I have been doomed
To look on her, adore her day by day,
And all the while be silent as the grave!
Eight maddening months, Roderigo; think of this!
This fire has seethed and raged within my breast!
A thousand, thousand times, the dread confession
Has mounted to my lips, yet evermore
Shrunk, like a craven, back upon my heart.
O Roderigo! for a few brief moments
Alone with her!
Ah! and your father, prince!
Unhappy me! Remind me not of him.
Tell me of all the torturing pangs of conscience,
But speak not, I implore you, of my father!
Then do you hate your father?
No, oh, no!
I do not hate my father; but the fear
That guilty creatures feel, – a shuddering dread, —
Comes o'er me ever at that terrible name.
Am I to blame, if slavish nurture crushed
Love's tender germ within my youthful heart?
Six years I'd numbered, ere the fearful man,
They told me was my father, met mine eyes.
One morning 'twas, when with a stroke I saw him
Sign four death-warrants. After that I ne'er
Beheld him, save when, for some childish fault,
I was brought out for chastisement. O God!
I feel my heart grow bitter at the thought.
Let us away! away!
Nay, Carlos, nay,
You must, you shall give all your sorrow vent,
Let it have words! 'twill ease your o'erfraught heart.
Oft have I struggled with myself, and oft
At midnight, when my guards were sunk in sleep,
With floods of burning tears I've sunk before
The image of the ever-blessed Virgin,
And craved a filial heart, but all in vain.
I rose with prayer unheard. O Roderigo!
Unfold this wondrous mystery of heaven,
Why of a thousand fathers only this
Should fall to me – and why to him this son,
Of many thousand better? Nature could not
In her wide orb have found two opposites
More diverse in their elements. How could
She bind the two extremes of human kind —
Myself and him – in one so holy bond?
O dreadful fate! Why was it so decreed?
Why should two men, in all things else apart,
Concur so fearfully in one desire?
Roderigo, here thou seest two hostile stars,
That in the lapse of ages, only once,
As they sweep onwards in their orbed course,
Touch with a crash that shakes them to the centre,
Then rush apart forever and forever.
I feel a dire foreboding.
So do I.
Like hell's grim furies, dreams of dreadful shape
Pursue me still. My better genius strives
With the fell projects of a dark despair.
My wildered subtle spirit crawls through maze
On maze of sophistries, until at length
It gains a yawning precipice's brink.
O Roderigo! should I e'er in him
Forget the father – ah! thy deathlike look
Tells me I'm understood – should I forget
The father – what were then the king to me?
One thing, my Carlos, let me beg of you!
Whate'er may be your plans, do nothing, – nothing, —
Without your friend's advice. You promise this?
All, all I promise that thy love can ask!
I throw myself entirely upon thee!
The king, I hear, is going to Madrid.
The time is short. If with the queen you would
Converse in private, it is only here,
Here in Aranjuez, it can be done.
The quiet of the place, the freer manners,
All favor you.
And such, too, was my hope;
But it, alas! was vain.
Not wholly so.
I go to wait upon her. If she be
The same in Spain she was in Henry's court,
She will be frank at least. And if I can
Read any hope for Carlos in her looks —
Find her inclined to grant an interview —
Get her attendant ladies sent away —
Most of them are my friends – especially
The Countess Mondecar, whom I have gained
By service to her son, my page.
Be you at hand, and ready to appear,
Whene'er I give the signal, prince.
I will, —
Be sure I will: – and all good speed attend thee!
I will not lose a moment; so, farewell.
The Queen's Residence in Aranjuez. The Pleasure Grounds, intersected by an avenue, terminated by the Queen's Palace.
The QUEEN, DUCHESS OF OLIVAREZ, PRINCESS OF EBOLI, and MARCHIONESS OF MONDECAR, all advancing from the avenue.
I will have you beside me, Mondecar.
The princess, with these merry eyes of hers,
Has plagued me all the morning. See, she scarce
Can hide the joy she feels to leave the country.
'Twere idle to conceal, my queen, that I
Shall be most glad to see Madrid once more.
And will your majesty not be so, too?
Are you so grieved to quit Aranjuez?
To quit – this lovely spot at least I am.
This is my world. Its sweetness oft and oft
Has twined itself around my inmost heart.
Here, nature, simple, rustic nature greets me,
The sweet companion of my early years —
Here I indulge once more my childhood's sports,
And my dear France's gales come blowing here.
Blame not this partial fondness – all hearts yearn
For their own native land.
But then how lone,
How dull and lifeless it is here! We might
As well be in La Trappe.
I cannot see it.
To me Madrid alone is lifeless. But
What saith our duchess to it?
Your majesty, since kings have ruled in Spain,
It hath been still the custom for the court
To pass the summer months alternately
Here and at Pardo, – in Madrid, the winter.
Well, I suppose it has! Duchess, you know
I've long resigned all argument with you.
Next month Madrid will be all life and bustle.
They're fitting up the Plaza Mayor now,
And we shall have rare bull-fights; and, besides,
A grand auto da fe is promised us.
Promised? This from my gentle Mondecar!
Why not? 'Tis only heretics they burn!
I hope my Eboli thinks otherwise!
What, I? I beg your majesty may think me
As good a Christian as the marchioness.
Alas! I had forgotten where I am, —
No more of this! We were speaking, I think,
About the country? And methinks this month
Has flown away with strange rapidity.
I counted on much pleasure, very much,
From our retirement here, and yet I have not
Found that which I expected. Is it thus
With all our hopes? And yet I cannot say
One wish of mine is left ungratified.
You have not told us, Princess Eboli,
If there be hope for Gomez, – and if we may
Expect ere long to greet you as his bride?
True – thank you, duchess, for reminding me!
[Addressing the PRINCESS.
I have been asked to urge his suit with you.
But can I do it? The man whom I reward
With my sweet Eboli must be a man
Of noble stamp indeed.
And such he is,
A man of mark and fairest fame, – a man
Whom our dear monarch signally has graced
With his most royal favor.
He's happy in
Such high good fortune; but we fain would know,
If he can love, and win return of love.
This Eboli must answer.
Have pity on me! Let me – let me not, —
For heaven's sake, let me not be sacrificed.
Be sacrificed! I need no more. Arise!
'Tis a hard fortune to be sacrificed.
I do believe you. Rise. And is it long
Since you rejected Gomez' suit?
Some months —
Before Prince Carlos came from Alcala.
Have you tried well the grounds of your refusal?
It cannot be, my queen, no, never, never, —
For a thousand reasons, never!
You do not love him. That suffices me.
Now let it pass.
[To her other ladies.
I have not seen the Infanta
Yet this morning. Pray bring her, marchioness.
It is not yet the hour, your majesty.
Not yet the hour for me to be a mother!
That's somewhat hard. Forget not, then, to tell me
When the right hour does come.
[A page enters and whispers to the first lady, who
thereupon turns to the QUEEN.
The Marquis Posa!
May it please your majesty.
The Marquis Posa!
He comes from France, and from the Netherlands,
And craves the honor to present some letters
Intrusted to him by your royal mother.
Is this allowed?
A case so unforeseen
Is not provided for in my instructions.
When a Castilian grandee, with despatches
From foreign courts, shall in her garden find
The Queen of Spain, and tender them —
Enough! I'll venture, then, on mine own proper peril.
May I, your majesty, withdraw the while?
E'en as you please, good duchess!
[Exit the DUCHESS, the QUEEN gives the PAGE a sign, who thereupon retires.