The Camp of Wallenstein is an introduction to the celebrated tragedy of that name; and, by its vivid portraiture of the state of the general's army, gives the best clue to the spell of his gigantic power. The blind belief entertained in the unfailing success of his arms, and in the supernatural agencies by which that success is secured to him; the unrestrained indulgence of every passion, and utter disregard of all law, save that of the camp; a hard oppression of the peasantry and plunder of the country, have all swollen the soldiery with an idea of interminable sway. But as we have translated the whole, we shall leave these reckless marauders to speak for themselves.
Of Schiller's opinion concerning the Camp, as a necessary introduction to the tragedy, the following passage taken from the prologue to the first representation, will give a just idea, and may also serve as a motto to the work: —
"Not he it is, who on the tragic scene
Will now appear – but in the fearless bands
Whom his command alone could sway, and whom
His spirit fired, you may his shadow see,
Until the bashful Muse shall dare to bring
Himself before you in a living form;
For power it was that bore his heart astray
His Camp, alone, elucidates his crime."
Sergeant-Major | of a regiment of Recruit.
Trumpeter | Terzky's carabineers. Citizen.
Sharpshooters. Peasant Boy.
Mounted Yagers, of Holk's corps. Capuchin.
Dragoons, of Butler's regiment. Regimental Schoolmaster.
Arquebusiers, of Tiefenbach's regiment. Sutler-Woman.
Cuirassier, of a Walloon regiment. Servant Girl.
Cuirassier, of a Lombard regiment. Soldiers' Boys.
(SCENE. – The Camp before Pilsen, in Bohemia.)
Sutlers' tents – in front, a Slop-shop. Soldiers of all colors and uniforms thronging about. Tables all filled. Croats and Hulans cooking at a fire. Sutler-woman serving out wine. Soldier-boys throwing dice on a drum-head. Singing heard from the tent.
Enter a Peasant and his Son.
Father, I fear it will come to harm,
So let us be off from this soldier swarm;
But boist'rous mates will ye find in the shoal —
'Twere better to bolt while our skins are whole.
How now, boy! the fellows wont eat us, though
They may be a little unruly, or so.
See, yonder, arriving a stranger train,
Fresh comers are they from the Saal and Mayne;
Much booty they bring of the rarest sort —
'Tis ours, if we cleverly drive our sport.
A captain, who fell by his comrade's sword,
This pair of sure dice to me transferred;
To-day I'll just give them a trial to see
If their knack's as good as it used to be.
You must play the part of a pitiful devil,
For these roaring rogues, who so loosely revel,
Are easily smoothed, and tricked, and flattered,
And, free as it came, their gold is scattered.
But we – since by bushels our all is taken,
By spoonfuls must ladle it back again;
And, if with their swords they slash so highly,
We must look sharp, boy, and do them slyly.
[Singing and shouting in the tent.
Hark, how they shout! God help the day!
'Tis the peasant's hide for their sport must pay.
Eight months in our beds and stalls have they
Been swarming here, until far around
Not a bird or a beast is longer found,
And the peasant, to quiet his craving maw,
Has nothing now left but his bones to gnaw.
Ne'er were we crushed with a heavier hand,
When the Saxon was lording it o'er the land:
And these are the Emperor's troops, they say!
From the kitchen a couple are coming this way,
Not much shall we make by such blades as they.
They're born Bohemian knaves – the two —
Belonging to Terzky's carabineers,
Who've lain in these quarters now for years;
The worst are they of the worthless crew.
Strutting, swaggering, proud and vain,
They seem to think they may well disdain
With the peasant a glass of his wine to drain
But, soft – to the left o' the fire I see
Three riflemen, who from the Tyrol should be
Emmerick, come, boy, to them will we.
Birds of this feather 'tis luck to find,
Whose trim's so spruce, and their purse well lined.
[They move towards the tent.
The above – Sergeant-Major, Trumpeter, Hulan.
What would the boor? Out, rascal, away!
Some victuals and drink, worthy masters, I pray,
For not a warm morsel we've tasted to day.
Ay, guzzle and guttle – 'tis always the way.
Not broken your fast! there – drink, ye hound!
He leads the peasant to the tent – the others come forward.
Think ye they've done it without good ground?
Is it likely they double our pay to-day,
Merely that we may be jolly and gay?
Why, the duchess arrives to-day, we know,
And her daughter too —
Tush! that's mere show —
'Tis the troops collected from other lands
Who here at Pilsen have joined our bands —
We must do the best we can t' allure 'em,
With plentiful rations, and thus secure 'em.
Where such abundant fare they find,
A closer league with us to bind.
Yes! – there's something in the wind.
The generals and commanders too —
A rather ominous sight, 'tis true.
Who're met together so thickly here —
Have plenty of work on their hands, that's clear.
The whispering and sending to and fro —
The big-wig from Vienna, I trow,
Who since yesterday's seen to prowl about
In his golden chain of office there —
Something's at the bottom of this, I'll swear.
A bloodhound is he beyond a doubt,
By whom the duke's to be hunted out.
Mark ye well, man! – they doubt us now,
And they fear the duke's mysterious brow;
He hath clomb too high for them, and fain
Would they beat him down from his perch again.
But we will hold him still on high —
That all would think as you and I!
Our regiment, and the other four
Which Terzky leads – the bravest corps
Throughout the camp, are the General's own,
And have been trained to the trade by himself alone
The officers hold their command of him,
And are all his own, or for life or limb.
Enter Croat with a necklace. Sharpshooter following him.
Croat, where stole you that necklace, say?
Get rid of it man – for thee 'tis unmeet:
Come, take these pistols in change, I pray.
Nay, nay, Master Shooter, you're trying to cheat.
Then I'll give you this fine blue cap as well,
A lottery prize which just I've won:
Look at the cut of it – quite the swell!
But this is of pearls and of garnets bright,
See, how it plays in the sunny light!
Well, I'll give you to boot, my own canteen —
I'm in love with this bauble's beautiful sheen.
[Looks at it.
See, now! – how cleanly the Croat is done
Snacks! Master Shooter, and mum's the word.
I think your cap is a smartish one.
'Tis a regular swop, as these gents have heard.
The above. An Artilleryman.
How is this I pray, brother carabineer?
Shall we longer stay here, our fingers warming,
While the foe in the field around is swarming?
Art thou, indeed, in such hasty fret?
Why the roads, as I think, are scarce passable yet.
For me they are not – I'm snug enough here —
But a courier's come, our wits to waken
With the precious news that Ratisbon's taken.
Ha! then we soon shall have work in hand.
Indeed! to protect the Bavarian's land,
Who hates the duke, as we understand,
We won't put ourselves in a violent sweat.
Heyday! – you'll find you're a wiseacre yet.