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  nath, a puffin (Cornish).

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        Chanters: M. and W.

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[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


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.]


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?


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.]


I wonder, I wonder how Stourcastle is looking this summer night, and

all the old folks there!


You was born there, I think I've heard ye say, Sergeant?


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!


You walked with a girl there for some weeks, Sergeant, if my memory



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!


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?


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




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


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.


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?


Shall we once again there meet them?

Falter fond attempts to greet them?

Will the gay sling-jacket 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.]

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[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.]


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."


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


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.


What's toward in the distance?—say!


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.


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.


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.


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.

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[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


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.]


The men are plundering in all directions!


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.


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?


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.


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.]


We must be married, my dear.

LADY [not knowing his language]

Anything, sir, if you'll spare my life!


There's neither parson nor clerk here. But that don't matter—hey?


Anything, sir, if you'll spare my life!


And if we've got to unmarry at cockcrow, why, so be it—hey?


Anything, sir, if you'll spare my life!


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 \\

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[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


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.]


Ah—now for the fireworks. They are under the direction of Colonel


[At the end of an alley, purposely kept dark, fireworks are



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



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.


So Wellington is made Field-Marshal for his achievement.


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.


Of course, an enormous subsidy is paid to Francis by Great Britain

for this face-about?


Yes. As Bonaparte says, English guineas are at the bottom of

everything!—Ah, here comes Caroline.


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.]


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."



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!—


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.


Ay; yes!... They say she knows not of it yet.


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.]


She calls not favour forth as Caroline can!


To end my words:—Though happy for this realm,

Austria's desertion frankly is, by God,

Rank treachery!


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



I saw you over here, and I came round. Cursed hot and crowded, isn't



What is the Princess leaving so soon for?


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.


We shall have to go unserved likewise, I fancy. The scramble at the

buffets is terrible.


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!


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.]


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.]


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?


Something broad-faced,

Flat-folded, parchment-pale, and in its shape

Rectangular; but moving like a cloud

The Dresden way.


Yet gaze more closely on it.


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?


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.]

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[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.]


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.


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.]


At least, the scheme of marching on Berlin

Is now abandoned.


Not without high words:

He yielded and gave order prompt for Leipzig

But coldness and reserve have marked his mood

Towards us ever since.


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.


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.


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.


Yea; otherwise

The issue will be worse than Moscow, sire!

[MARMONT, DUKE OF RAGUSA [Wellington's adversary in Spain], is

announced, and enters.]


Ah, Marmont; bring you in particulars?


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.


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?


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.


Here you are then at last, old Augereau!

You have been looked for long.—But you are no more

The Augereau of Castiglione days!


Nay, sire! I still should be the Augereau

Of glorious Castiglione, could you give

The boys of Italy back again to me!


Well, let it drop.... Only I notice round me

An atmosphere of scopeless apathy

Wherein I do not share.


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.]


A seer might say

This savours of a sad Last-Supper talk

Twixt his disciples and this Christ of war!

[Enter an 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.


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!


Ah—what was that? [He pulls back the window-curtain.]


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.]


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.]

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[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


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.]


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.


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!


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.


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


The bells of Leipzig ring.


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.


They sound to say that, for this moaning night,

As Nature sleeps, so too shall sleep the fight;

Neither the victor.


But, for France and him,

Half-won is losing!


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.

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[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.]


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.


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.]


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.]


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.]


Ah, see! The French bend, falter, and fall back.

[Another interval. Then a huge rumble of artillery resounds from

the north.]


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.]


They cry for water! Let us go down,

And do what mercy may.

[Exeunt citizens from the tower.]


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.]

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[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.]


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


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.]


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.]


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,


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.]

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[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.]


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.


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.]


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.]


This alley, sire, will speed you to the gate;

I shall be honoured much to point the way.


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.]


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



He's gone!


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?


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.


Feeble foresight!

They should have had a dozen.


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.]


Ach, Heaven!—what's that?


The bridge of Lindenau has been upblown!


There leaps to the sky and earthen wave,

And stones, and men, as though

Some rebel churchyard crew updrave

Their sepulchres from below.


To Heaven is blown Bridge Lindenau;

Wrecked regiments reel therefrom;

And rank and file in masses plough

The sullen Elster-Strom.


A gulf is Lindenau; and dead

Are fifties, hundreds, tens;

And every current ripples red

With marshals' blood and men's.


The smart Macdonald swims therein,

And barely wins the verge;

Bold Poniatowski plunges in

Never to re-emerge!


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.]


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.]

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[Evening. The dining-room of WELLINGTON'S quarters. The table is

laid for dinner. The battle of the Nivelle has just been fought.


COLE, KEMPT [with a bound-up wound], and other officers.


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!


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.


Oh, what news?


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.


That's interesting. I wonder what the news could have been?


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.


Well, I wouldn't say that. A hell of a lot of things may have

happened there by this time.


It was tantalizing, but they were just able to destroy the paper

before we could prevent them.


Did you question them?


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.


They will cheer up a bit and be more communicative when they have had

some dinner.


They are dining here, my lord?


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


[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?


The devil if 'tis not, monseigneur, sure!


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.


Your reference

Bears on the news from Saxony, I infer?


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.]


Where are the Emperor's headquarters now?


My lord, there are no headquarters.


No headquarters?


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!


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.


And what, messieurs, ensued at Leipzig then?


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.


Ha. Did they though?


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!


One sees not why it should.


We'll leave it so.

[Conversation on the Leipzig disaster continues till the dinner

ends The French prisoners courteously take their leave and go



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.


It looks like the first scene of act the last

For our and all men's foe!


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.]

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[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



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.


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.


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.


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


Evening closes in, and the Dumb Show is obscured.

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[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.]


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.


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


You stand by him and her? You swear as much?


We do!


This you repeat—you promise it?


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.]


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!


I have an apprehension-unexplained—

That I shall never see you any more!


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.]


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.]

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[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



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!


Was a course decided on last night?


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.


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


KING OF ROME [plaintively]

Why are we doing these strange things, mamma,

And what did we get up so early for?


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.


But you know why we a setting out like this?

Is it because we fear our enemies?


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!


Run, dear to Mamma 'Quiou and talk to her

[He goes across to MADAME DE MONTESQUIOU.]

I hear that women of the Royalist hope


Have bent them busy in their private rooms

With working white cockades these several days.—

Yes—I must go!


But why yet, Empress dear?

We may soon gain good news; some messenger

Hie from the Emperor or King Joseph hither?


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


Ah, here he comes;

Now we shall know!

[Enter precipitately not Joseph but officers of the National Guard

and others.]


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



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.]


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.


They are armed Europe's scouts!


the physician, DE BAUSSET, DE CANISY the equerry, and others.]


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!


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.


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



Come now, Monseigneur, come.

[He catches up the boy in his arms and prepares to follow the


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.]


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.]


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.]


Sacred God, where are we to go to for grub and good lying to-night?

What are ill-used men to do?


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.


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!


A weapon of war used by the Cossacks?


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?


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!


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.]


Montmartre is being stormed, and bombs are falling in the Chaussee


[Exit fourth servant.]

THIRD SERVANT [pulling something from his hat]

Then it is time for me to gird my armour on.


What hast there?

[Third servant holds up a crumpled white cockade and sticks it in

his hair. The firing gets louder.]


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.]


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



Well, well! There's rich colours in this kaleidoscopic world!


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.]


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.]

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[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?


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.


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.


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 has got here before you; and, I deem,

Has truly told me all?


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.


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!


Sire, you have not the generals you suppose.


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.


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.]


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.


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.




There may be, in some suited time,

Some cleaner means of carrying out such work.


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.]


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.


How many francs have you secured?


Well—more than you can count in one breath, or even two.




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.


It is not money that I want, but honour. I leave, because I can

no longer stay with self-respect.


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.


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.]


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!


Herein behold

How heavily grinds the Will upon his brain,

His halting hand, and his unlighted eye.


A picture this for kings and subjects too!


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.


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


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.]


Why should you bring this cloud upon us now!


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.]


He's saved—for good or ill-as may betide!


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.]

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[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]


[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




[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.]

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[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.]


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!


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.


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?


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?


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.


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!


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.]


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


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!


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.]


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.


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?


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.]


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.]


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!


We'll round it, sire;

And then, as soon as we get past the place,

You must disguise for the remainder miles.


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!


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.]

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[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.]


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?


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.


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.


Wellington is in Paris, too, I learn,

After his wasted battle at Toulouse.


Has his Peninsular army come with him?


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?


I asked what hour it was—-if dawn or eve?


Ten in the morning, Madame. You forget

You asked the same but a brief while ago.


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.


It is more

Than she thought fit to do, your Majesty.


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.



With ever one at hand—his son and hers—

Reminding her of him.


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!


You have harmed no creature, madame; much less him!


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


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.]

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[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


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


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


A VOICE [from the gallery]

Prinny, where's your wife? [Confusion.]


To which of us is the inquiry addressed, Prince?


To you, sire, depend upon't—by way of compliment.

[The second act of the Opera proceeds.]


Any later news from Elba, sir?


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.


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!


The ex-Empress, Marie-Louise, hasn't joined him after all, I learn.

Has she remained at Schonbrunn since leaving France, sires?


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.


Pity she didn't have a child by him, by God.


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.


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.


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.


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?


I incline to think, with the greatest deference, that it was Moscow

that broke him.


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


others. Louder applause now rings through the theatre, drowning

the sweet voice of the GRASSINI in "Aristodemo."]


It is meant for your Royal Highness!


I don't think so, my dear. Punch's wife is nobody when Punch himself

is present.


I feel convinced that it is by their looking this way.


Surely ma'am you will acknowledge their affection? Otherwise we may

be hissed.


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.]


He and the others are bowing for you, ma'am!


Mine God, then; I will bow too! [She rises and bends to them.]


She thinks we rose on her account.—A damn fool. [Aside.]


What—didn't we? I certainly rose in homage to her.


No, sire. We were supposed to rise to the repeated applause of the



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.


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.


I can hardly tell them now, sir, while we are celebrating the Peace

and Wellington's victories.


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



Shall we burn down Carlton House, my dear, and him in it?


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.]


Long life to the Princess of Wales! Three cheers for a woman wronged!

[The Opera-house becomes lost in darkness.]

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[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.]


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!"


Under cover of the dusk there assembles in the bay a small flotilla

comprising a brig called l'Inconstant and several lesser vessels.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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[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.]


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.


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


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.


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.]


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.


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!


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.


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!


Ah—we shall learn it now. Well—what, madame?


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.


DE BRIGNOLE go to the grille and watch and listen.]


I told you, Prince, that it would never last!


Well, sire, you should have sent him to the Azores,

Or the Antilles, or best, Saint-Helena.


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!


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!


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.]


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.


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.]

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[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



They are from Bonaparte. Present your arms!

AIDE [calling]

We'd parley on Napoleon's behalf,

And fain would ask you join him.


Al parole

With rebel bands the Government forbids.

Come five steps further and we fire!


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.]


Direct the men

To lodge their weapons underneath the arm,

Points downward. I shall not require them here.


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.


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



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?


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


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.]

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[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


MARIE LOUISE [with a start]

Here are the Emperor and Prince Metternich.

Wrote you as I directed?


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.


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.]


My daughter, you did not a whit too soon

Voice your repudiation. Have you seen

What the allies have papered Europe with?


I have seen nothing.


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."


O God,

How terrible!... What shall—-[she begins weeping.]


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!


Yes, Mamma 'Quiou, I will!—

But why have I no pages now? And why

Does my mamma the Empress weep so much?


We'll talk elsewhere.

[MONTESQUIOU and the KING OF ROME withdraw to back.]


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.


I am pledged already

To hold by the Allies; let that suffice!


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.


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.


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.


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.]


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.]


Why are you here, de Montrond? All is hopeless!


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?


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!


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!


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.



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.]


I have crossed from Hetzendorf to kill an hour;

Why art so pensive, dear?


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!


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.


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.


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.]

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[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 Attorney General, SHEPHERD, LONG, PLUNKETT, BANKES; and among




Much interest in the debate is apparent, and the galleries are

full. LORD CASTLEREAGH rises.]


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.]


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.]


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.


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!


No, no! Not so.


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 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.]"


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.]


I ask the noble lord,

If that his meaning and pronouncement be

Immediate war?


I have not phrased it so.


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


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[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.


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.


Oh, you be soon enough good-now. He's just going to be lighted.


But shall I zee en die? I wanted to zee if he'd die hard,


Why, you don't suppose that Boney himself is to be burned here?


What—not Boney that's to be burned?


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.


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!


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.]


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?


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!


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.]


What was the latest news from abroad, guard, when you left

Piccadilly White-Horse-Cellar!


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



Well, I'm d—- Dear me—dear me! The Lord's will be done.


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]


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


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?


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


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[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


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.]


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


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.

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[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


Belgian Secretary of State, the DUKE OF ARENBERG, the MAYOR OF








other officers, English, Hanoverian, Dutch and Belgian ladies

English and foreign, and Scotch reel-dancers from Highland


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.


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!


What—does it mean the Bonaparte indeed

Is bearing down upon us?


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.


O horrid time!

Will you, then, have to go and face him there?


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!


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?


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.]


Ought I to stop the ball? It hardly seems right to let it continue

if all be true.


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.


Is it safe to stay on? Should we not be thinking about getting the

children away?


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!


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,



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.


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.


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!


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?


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?


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.]


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?


Yes, certainly. 'Tis now desirable.

Farewell! Good luck, until we meet again,

The battle won!


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!


What do you mean to do?


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!


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!


But I have sworn!

Adieu. The rendezvous is Quatre-Bras?


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.]


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.]


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]


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!


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.]


Discerned you stepping out in front of them

That figure—of a pale drum-major kind,

Or fugleman—who wore a cold grimace?


He was my old fiend Death, in rarest trim,

The occasion favouring his husbandry!


Are those who marched behind him, then, to fall?


Ay, all well-nigh, ere Time have houred three-score.


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!


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


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.]


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.]


The Duke has borne him gaily here to-night.

The youngest spirits scarcely capped his own.


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


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!


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.]


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.


Which were so ushered?


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.


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.


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



Poor men. Sleep waylays them. How tired they seem!


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


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[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.]


Ah, Ney; why come you back? Have you secured

The all-important Crossways?—safely sconced

Yourself at Quatre-Bras?


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—-


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/


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.


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!


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.


We can afford to let him.


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!


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.


Letters—arrived from Paris. [Hands letters.]


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?


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.


And never will again! In my regard

That bird's forsook the nest for good and all.


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?


She gave no answer, sire, that rumour bears.


Count Neipperg, whom they have made her chamberlain,

Interred his wife last spring—is it not so?


He did, your Majesty.


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


Mind not! Read on. No doubt the usual threat,

Or prophecy, from some mad scribe? Who signs it?


The subscript is "The Duke of Enghien!"

NAPOLEON [starting up]

Bah, man! A treacherous trick! A hoax—no more!

Is that the last?


The last, your Majesty.


Then now I'll sleep. In two hours have me called.


I'll give the order, sire.

[The Secretary goes. The candles are removed, except one, and

NAPOLEON endeavours to compose himself.]


A little moral panorama would do him no harm, after that reminder of

the Duke of Enghien. Shall it be, young Compassion?


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.]

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[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


A tap at the door. An older lady enters, and comes up to the


YOUNGER LADY [turning]

O mamma—I didn't hear you!


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.


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.]


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



Only three—four.


Which were they?


Enrico, the "Copenhagen Waltz" and the "Hanoverian," and the

Prime of Life.


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!


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?


The Ninety-second. Next come the Forty-ninth, and next the Forty-

second—Sir Denis Pack's brigade.


Thank you.—I think it is that gentleman we talked to at the

Duchess's, but I am not sure. [A pause: another band.]


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?


Yes, Sir. Has the Duke passed out yet?


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


[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.]


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.


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




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.]

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[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


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.


They muster not as yet in near such strength

At Quatre-Bras as here.


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.]


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.


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.


One of his two divisions that we scan

Outspreading from Fleurus, seems bent on Ligny,

The other on Saint-Amand.


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.


So that, your Excellency, as I opine,

I go and sling my strength on their left wing—

Manoeuvring to outflank 'em on that side.


True, true. Our plan uncovers of itself;

You bear down everything from Quatre-Bras

Along the road to Frasnes.


I will, by God.

I'll bear straight on to Gosselies, if needs!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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[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.]


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.


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.


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.


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.


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



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.

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[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


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.]


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.]


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.]


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.


The French are said to be forty thousand strong at Les Quatre-Bras,

and no forty thousand British marched out against them this morning!


And it is whispered that the city archives and the treasure-chest

have been sent to Antwerp!


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.


What can we do?


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.]


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.


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.]


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.]


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.]

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[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.]


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.


Vivian's glass reveals

That they are cuirassiers. Ney's troops, too, near

At last, methinks, along this other road.


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!


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!


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.


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?


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.


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.]

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[An aerial view of the battlefield at the time of sunrise is


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.]


Discriminate these, and what they are,

Who stand so stalwartly to war.


Report, ye Rumourers of things near and far.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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[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.]


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!


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.


Such is my earnest hope.


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


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.]


From Marshal Ney,

Sire, I bring hasty word that all is poised

To strike the vital stroke, and only waits

Your Majesty's command,


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.


If troops at all, they are Grouchy's. Why misgive,

And force on ills you fear!


It seems a wood.

Trees don bold outlines in their new-leafed pride.


It is the creeping shadow from a cloud.


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.]


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.]


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 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.]


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.


Then where is General Grouchy?

[Enter COLONEL MARBOT with a prisoner.]

Aha—a Prussian, too! How comes he here?


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?


General Count Bulow's van, your Majesty.

[A thoughtful scowl crosses NAPOLEONS'S sallow face.]


Where, then, did your main army lie last night?


At Wavre.


But clashed it with no Frenchmen there?


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?


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.]

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[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.]


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


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.

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[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.


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.]


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!


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.]


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?


We have not seen him latterly, your Grace.


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.


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.]


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.]


What movement can it be they contemplate?


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.]


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.]


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!


We have just heard that Ney embarked on it

Without an order, ere its aptness riped.


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.]


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



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!


And when that matchless chief

Sentenced shall lie to ignominious death

But technically deserved, no finger he

Who speaks will lift to save him.!


To his shame.

We must discount war's generous impulses

I sadly see.


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.]


Now, captains, are you loaded?


Yes, my lord.


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.]


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.


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


WELLINGTON [to the nearest square]

Hard pounding this, my men! I truly trust

You'll pound the longest!



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.


Good. It is time! I think he well be late,

However, in the field.

[MUFFLING goes. Enter an aide, breathless.]


Your Grace, the Ninety-fifth are patience-spent

With standing under fire so passing long.

They writhe to charge—or anything but stand!


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.]

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[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.]


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!


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.]


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


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.


No, mother. His eyes are wide open, a-staring to get a sight of

the battle!


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]]


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


[They turn their horses towards Brussels. Enter, meeting them,

MR. LEGH, a Wessex gentleman, also come out to view the battle.]


Can you tell me, sir, how the battle is going?


Badly, badly, I fear, sir. There will be a retreat soon, seemingly.


Indeed! Yes, a crowd of fugitives are coming over the hill even now.

What will these poor women do?


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


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[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!


I fear that Ney has compromised us here

Just as at Jena; even worse!


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.]


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.]


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.]


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!


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?


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.]


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!


Such was the prayer

Of my commission, sire. And I say

That I myself have seen his strokes must waste

Without such backing.




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.


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.]

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[The din of battle continues. WELLINGTON, UXBRIDGE, HILL, DE

LANCEY, GORDON, and others discovered near the middle of the line.]


It is a moment when the steadiest pulse

Thuds pit-a-pat. The crisis shapes and nears

For Wellington as for his counter-chief.


The hour is shaking him, unshakeable

As he may seem!


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


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


But where is Gordon?

Ah—hit is he! That's bad, that's bad, by God.

[GORDON is removed. An aide enters.]


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.]


What says he?


He says that Kempt, being riddled through and thinned,

Sends him for reinforcements.

WELLINGTON [with heat]


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?


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!


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


HILL [approaching]

I strongly feel you stand too much exposed!


I know, I know. It matters not one damn!

I may as well be shot as not perceive

What ills are raging here.


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?


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.]


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.]


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.]


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.


A timely blow;

But would that Zieten sped! Well, better late

Than never. We'll still stand.

[The point of observation shifts.]

[image not archived]



[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


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.]


Our Colonel Canning—coming I know not whence—


I lately sent him with important words

To the remoter lines.


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.


And how proceeds De Lancey?


I am told

That he forbids the surgeons waste their time

On him, who well can wait till worse are eased.


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.]


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.


But Ney demurs!


Ney holds indignantly that such a feint

Is not war-worthy. Says Napoleon then,

Snuffing anew, with sour sardonic scowl,

That he is choiceless.


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


WELLINGTON is beginning to discern the features of the coming

onset, when COLONEL FRASER rides up.]


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.


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


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.]


What casualty has thrown its shade among

The regiments of Nassau, to shake them so?


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.


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.


The Emperor! It's victory!


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.]


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!


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!


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



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.]


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.]


Is this the last Esdraelon of a moil

For mortal man's effacement?


Warfare, mere,

Plied by the Managed for the Managers;

To wit: by frenzied folks who profit nought

For those who profit all!


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?"


Mere fancy's feints!

How know the coffined what comes after them,

Even though it whirl them to the Pleiades?—

Turn to the real.


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!


Alas, not here in battle, something hints,

But elsewhere!... Who's the sworded brother-chief

Swept past him in the tumult?


D'Erlon he.

Ney cries to him:


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!


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.]


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.]


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.]


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.]


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.


Why prompts the Will so senseless-shaped a doing?


I have told thee that It works unwittingly,

As one possessed, not judging.


Of Its doings if It knew,

What It does It would not do!


Since It knows not, what far sense

Speeds Its spinnings in the Immense?


None; a fixed foresightless dream

Is Its whole philosopheme.


Just so; an unconscious planning,

Like a potter raptly panning!


Are then, Love and Light Its aim—

Good Its glory, Bad Its blame?

Nay; to alter evermore

Things from what they were before.


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.]


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]]

[image not archived]



[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.]


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.]


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?


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.


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.


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!


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.


Peace. His loaded heart

Bears weight enough for one bruised, blistered while!


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.]



[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



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.


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?


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?


The Will that fed my hope was far from thine,

One I would thus have hymned eternally:—


To Thee whose eye all Nature owns,

Who hurlest Dynasts from their thrones,

And liftest those of low estate

We sing, with Her men consecrate!


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!


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;


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.


Therefore we quire to highest height

The Wellwiller, the kindly Might

That balances the Vast for weal,

That purges as by wounds to heal.


The systemed suns the skies enscroll

Obey Thee in their rhythmic roll,

Ride radiantly at Thy command,

Are darkened by Thy Masterhand!


And these pale panting multitudes

Seen surging here, their moils, their moods,

All shall "fulfil their joy" in Thee

In Thee abide eternally!


Exultant adoration give

The Alone, through Whom all living live,

The Alone, in Whom all dying die,

Whose means the End shall justify! Amen.


So did we evermore, sublimely sing;

So would we now, despise thy forthshowing!


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.


O Immanence, That reasonest not

In putting forth all things begot,

Thou build'st Thy house in space—for what?


O loveless, Hateless!—past the sense

Of kindly eyed benevolence,

To what tune danceth this Immense?


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?


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.


Heaving dumbly

As we deem,

Moulding numbly

As in dream

Apprehending not how fare the sentient subjects of Its scheme.


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?


Should it never

Curb or care

Aught whatever

Those endure

Whom It quickens, let them darkle to extinction swift and sure.


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!

September 25, 1907

































































































































































This one-act play was published in 1923 and first performed by the Hardy Players, a local, talented amateur group in Dorchester, for whom Hardy had written the drama. The entire play is set in Tintagel during a single day, with a true time frame.













































The Time covered by the events is about the Time of representation.


The Stage can be any large room; round or at the end of which the audience sits. It is potrayed as the interior of the Great Hall of Tintagel Castle.The floor is strewn with rushes : that there is an arch in the back-centre (a doorway or other opening may counterfeit this) through which the Atlantic is visible across an outer ward and over the ramparts of the stronghold : that a door is on the left, and one on the right (curtains, screens or chairs may denote these) : that a settle spread with skins is among the moveables : that above at the back is a gallery {which may be represented by any elevated piece of furniture on which two actors can stand, in a corner of the room screened off).The costumes of the cast are the conventional ones of linen fabrics, made gay with knots and rosettes of ribbon, as in the old mumming shows ; though on an actual stage they may be more realistic.


Enter Merlin, a -phantasmal figure with a white wand. The room is darkened: a blue light may be thrown on Merlin.


I come, at your persuasive call, To raise up in this modern hall A tragedy of dire duresse That vexed the Land of Lyonnesse: — Scenes, with their passions, hopes, and fears Sunk into shade these thousand years; To set, in ghostly grave array,

Their blitheness, blood, and tears, Feats, ardours, as if rife to-day Before men’s eyes and ears.

The tale has travelled far and wide: — Yea, that King Mark, to fetch his bride, Sent Tristram; then that he and she Quaffed a love-potion witlessly While homeward bound. Hence that the King

Wedded one heart-aflame For Tristram! He, in dark despair, Roved recklessly, and wived elsewhere One of his mistress’ name.

I saw these times I represent, Watched, gauged them as they came and went,

Being ageless, deathless! And those two Fair women — namesakes — well I knew! Judge them not harshly in a love

Whose hold on them was strong; Sorrow therein they tasted of, And deeply, and too long!



ENTER Shades of Dead Old Cornish Men AND Shades OF Cornish Women FROM LEFT AND RIGHT

Chanters: Men (in recitative)

Tristram a captive of King Mark, Racked was the Queen with qualm and cark, Till reached her hand a written line, That quickened her to deft design.

Chanters: Women

Then, Tristram out, and Mark shut in, The Queen and Tristram winged to win Card Castle, where, without annoy, Monthswhile they lodged in matchless joy!

Chanters: Men

Anon, when Queen Iseult had homed, Brittany-wards Sir Tristram roamed To greet his waiting wife,

White-handed Iseult, whom the Queen Had recked not of. But soon, in teen

And troublous inner strife, She Tristram of her soul besought By wringing letters rapid-wrought (The King gone hunting, knowing nought)

To come again to her Even at the cost — such was her whim — Of bringing Whitehands back with him In wifely character.

Chanters: Women

There was no answer. Rest she could not; Then we missed her, days. We would not

Think where she might have been. And, having sailed, maybe, twice ten Long leagues, here came she back again, And sad and listless — -just as when She went — abides her mien!

Chanters: M. and W.

Hist! . . . Lo; there by the nether gate New comers hail! O who should wait The postern door to enter by,

The bridge being clearly seen? The King returned? — But that way; why? Would he try trap his Queen?

Watchman (crossing without the archway) The King’s arriving! Ho!

Enter Herald. Sounds a trumpet. Enter Brangwain.


ENTERHerald, Brangwain, and Chanters.


The King’s at hand!


God’s grace, she’s home, either from far or near!


Whither plied she? Many would like to hear!

Chanters: M. and W.

We do not know. We will not know.

She took a ship from the shore below, And was gone many days.

By friending winds she’s back before him:

Extol God should she and adore Him For covering up her ways!

Enter King Mark with Sir Andret and other Knights, retinue, and rude music of ram’s - horns, crouds, and humstrums, Brangwain standing aside.


King Mark, Knights, Retinue, etc., Brangwain, and Chanters.

K. Mark Where is the Queen?

Drinks from silver flagon which has been standing on the hearth on a brandise. Retinue drink after him from the same.

Brangwain (advancing)

Sir King, the Queen attires To meet your Majesty, and now comes down. {Aside.) Haply he will not know!

Enter Queen Iseult the Fair attended, and followed by the hound Houdain.


Queen Iseult, King Mark, Knights, Brangwain, etc., and Chanters.

(Q. Iseult has dark hair, and wears a crimson robe, and tiara or circlet.)

Mark smacks the Queen on her shoulders in rough greeting.

K. Mark Why is this brachet in the hall again?

Q. Iseult I know not how she came here.

K. Mark

Nay, my wife,

Thou dost know well — as I know women well! —

And know her owner more than well, I reckon, And that he left the beast to your regard.

He kicks the dog away.

Sir Andret [aside to K. Mark)

Aye, aye, great King, thou speakest wisely on’t

This time as ever. Wives dost thrid all through!

Exeunt severally Knights, Retinue, etc., and Brangwain.


King Mark, Queen Iseult, and Chanters.

Q. Iseult

I’ve not beheld of late the man you mean; Maybe, my lord, you have shut him in the

dungeon, As you did formerly!

K. Mark

You spell me better! And know he has felt full liberty for long, And that you would have seen him, and much more,

Had not debarred you one o’ those crosses which,

Happily, scotch unlawful lovers’ schemes No less than sanct intents. If that good knight

Dallies in Brittany with his good wife — So finger-white — to cheer her as he ought, ‘Tis clear he can’t be here.

Q. Iseult (with slight sarcasm)

‘Tis clear. You plead

Somewhat in waste to prove as much. But, faith, (-petulantly)

‘Twas she, times tiresome, quirked and called to him

Or he would not have gone!

K. Mark

Ah, know’st thou that!

Leave her alone, a woman let’s all out!

Well, I may know things too. I slipped in sly

When I came home by now, and lit on this:

That while I’ve sued the chase you followed him,

Vanishing on a voyage of some days,

Which you’d fain cloak from me, and have confessed

To no one, either, of my people here.

Q. Iseult (evasively)

I went to take the air, being qualmed to death.

Surely a queen is dowered with such degree

Of queenship, or what is’t to be a queen?

No foot, I swear, set I in Brittany, Or upon soil of any neighbour shore, ‘Twixt putting from the cove below these walls

And my return hereto.

K. Mark

Protests — no more!

You sailed off somewhere, — (so a sea-nath * hints me

That heeds the tidings every troubled billow

Wails to the Beeny-Sisters from Pen-Tyre) —

At risk, too, of your life, the ship being small,

And trickful tempests lurking in the skies.

A woman does not raise a mast for nought

On a cockle-shell, even be the sea-signs fair.

But I have scorned to ask the mariners

The course you bore — or north, or south, or what —

It might have been to Brittany, it might not!

Q. Iseult I have not seen him.

nath, a puffin (Cornish).

K. Mark

Well, you might have done’t

Each sunrise, noon, or eve, for all the joy

You show in my return, or gladness wont

To a queen shore-reached in safety — so they tell me —

Since you crept cat-like home.

Q. Iseult (indignantly)

I saw him not!

You stifle speech in me, or I’d have launched,

Ere this, the tidings rife. See him no more

Shall I, or you. He’s gone. Death darkens him!

K. Mark (starting)

So much the better, if true — for us and him!

{She weeps.)

But no. He has died too many many times

For that report to hold! In tilts, in frays,

Through slits and loops, louvres and battlements,

Has he been pierced and arrowed to the heart,

Then risen up again to trouble me!

Sir Andret told, ere Tristram shunned Tintagel,

How he espied you dallying — you and he —

Near the shot-window southward. And I went

With glaive in hand to smite him. Would I had!

Yea, and I should have, had I been sustained.

But not one knight was nigh. — Where are they now?

Whence comes this quietude? — I’ll call a council:

What’s best to do with him I’ll learn thereat,

And then we’ll keep a feast. A council! Ho!

Exit King Mark.


Queen Iseult and Chanters. The Queen sits in dejection.

Chanters: Men

Why did Heaven warrant, in its whim, A twain mismated should bedim The courts of their encompassment With bleeding loves and discontent! Who would not feel God favoured them, Past wish, in throne and diadem? And that for all His plaisance they would praise

Him upon earth throughout their deeds and days!

Chanters: Women

Instead, see King and Queen more curst Than beggars upon hoit or hurst: — A queen! One who each night and morn Sighs for Sir Tristram; him, gloom-born In his mother’s death, and reared mid vows Of poison by a later spouse:

In love Fate-haunted, doomed to drink Charmed philtres, melting every link Of purposed faith! Why wedded he King Howel’s lass of Brittany? Why should the wave have washed him to

her shore — Him, prone to love our Queen here more and more ?

Chanters: M. and W.

In last misfortune did he well-nigh slay Unknowingly in battle Arthur! Ay, Our stainless Over-king of Counties — he Made Dux Bellorum for his valiancy! — If now, indeed, Tristram be chilled in death, Will she, the Queen, care aught for further breath?

Q. Iseult (musing)

How little he knows, does Mark! And yet,

how much? Can there be any groundage for his thought That Tristram’s not a ghost? O, no such hope!

My Tristram, yet not mine! Could it be deemed

Thou shouldst have loved me less in many years

Hadst thou enjoyed them? If in Christland now

Do you look down on her most, or on me?

Why should the King have grudged so fleet a life

Its pleasure, grinned with gall at its renown,

Yapped you away for too great love of me,

Spied on thee through his myrmidons — aye, encloaked

And peeped to frustrate thee, and sent the word

To kill thee who should meet thee? O sweet Lord,

Thou hast made him hated; yet he still has life;

While Tristram. . . . Why said Mark he doubtless lived?

— But he was ever a mocker, was King Mark,

And not far from a coward.

Enter Brangwain.


Queen Iseult, Brangwain, and Chanters.

Q. Iseult (distractedly)

Brangwain, he hard denies I did not see him!

But he is dead! . . . Perhaps not. . . . Can it be?


Who doth deny, my Queen? Who is not dead?

Your words are blank to me; your manner strange.

Q. Iseult

One bleeds no more on earth for a full- fledged sin

Than for a callow! The King has found out now

My sailing the south water in his absence,

And weens the worst. Forsooth, it’s always so!

He will not credit I’d no cause to land For the black reason — it is no excuse — That Tristram, knight, had died! — Landed had I,

Aye, fifty times, could he have still been there, Even there with her. — My Love, my own lost Love! {She bends down.)

Brangwain You did not land in Brittany, O Queen?

Q. Iseult

I did not land, Brangwain, although so near.

{She pauses.)

— He had been long with his White-handed one,

And had fallen sick of fever nigh to death; Till she grew fearful for him; sent for me, Yea, choicelessly, at his light-headed calls And midnight repetitions of my name. Yes, sent for me in a despairing hope To save him at all cost.


She must, methinks,

Have loved him much!

Q. Iseult [impatiently)

Don’t speak, Brangwain, but hear me.

Yes: women are so. . . . For me, I could not bear

To lose him thus. Love, others’ somewhile dainty,

Is my starved, all-day meal! And favouring chance,

That of the King’s apt absence, tempted me;

And hence I sailed, despite the storm-strid air.

What did I care about myself, or aught?

— She’d told the mariner her messenger

To hoist his canvas white if he bore me

On the backward journey, black if he did not,

That, so, heart-ease should reach the knight full quick —

Even ere 1 landed — quick as I hove in sight.

Yes, in his peril so profound, she sent

The message, though against her. Women are so!


Some are, my lady Queen: some may not be.

Q. Iseult

While we were yet a two-hours’ toss from port

I bade them show the sheet, as had been asked,

The which they did. But when we touched the quay

She ran down thither, beating both her hands,

And saying Tristram died an hour before.


But O, dear Queen, didst fully credit her?

Q. Iseult

Aye! Sudden - shaken souls guess not at guile. —

I fell into a faint at the very words. —

Thereon they lifted me into the cabin,

Saying: “ She shall not foot this deadly land! “

When I again knew life I was distraught,

And sick with the rough writhing of the bark. —

They had determined they would steer me home,

Had turned the prow, and toiled a long league back;

Strange that, no sooner had they put about,

The weather worsed, as if they’d angered God

By doing what they had done to sever me

Even from my Love’s dead limbs! No gleam glowed more,

And the seas sloped like houseroofs all the way.

We were blown north along the shore to Wales,

Where they made port and nursed me, till, next day,

The blinding gale abated: we returned,

And reached by shifts at last the cove below.

The King, whose queries I had feared so much,

Had not come back; came only at my heels;

Yet he has learnt, somewise, that I’ve been missed,

And doubtless I shall suffer — he’s begun it!

Much I lament I put about so soon.

I should have landed, and have gained his corpse.


She is his wife, and you could not have claimed it.

Q. Iseult

But could I not have seen him? How know you?


Nay: she might not have let you even see him:

He is her own, dear Queen, and in her land You had no sway to make her cede him up. I doubt his death. You took her word for it, And she was desperate at the sight of you. Sick unto death he may have been. But — dead? (Shakes her head.)

Corpses are many: man lives half-amort; But rumour makes them more when they run short!

Q. Iseult

If he be not! O I would even condone His bringing her, would he not come without; I’ve said it ever since I’ve known of her. Could he but live: yes, could he live for me!

Q. Iseult sings sadly to herself, Brangwain having gone to the back of the hall’. Could he but live for me A day, yea, even an hour, Its petty span would be Steeped in felicity Passing the price of Heaven’s held-dearest dower:

Could he but live, could he But live for me!

Exit Q. Iseult, followed by Brangwain.

Chanters: Women

Maybe, indeed, he did not die! Our sex, shame on’t, is over prone To ill conceits that amplify. Maybe he did not die — that one, The Whitepalmed, may in strategy Have but avowed it! Weak are we, And foil and fence have oft to seek, Aye, even by guile, if fear so speak!

Chanters: Men

Wounded in Ireland, life he fetched, In charge of the King’s daughter there, Who healed him, loved him, primed him fair For the great tournament, when he stretched Sir Palomides low.

Chanters: Women Yet slight

Was King Mark’s love for him, despite! Mark sent him thither as to gain Iseult, but, truly, to be slain!

Chanters: Men

Quite else her father, who on sight Was fain for Tristram as his son,

Not Mark. But woe, his word was won!

Alas, should wrong vow stand as right?

Chanters: Women

And what Dame Brangwain did to mend,

Enlarged the mischief! Best have penned

That love-drink close, since ‘twas to be

Iseult should wed where promised: wretched she!

Chanters: M. and W.

Yet, haply, Tristram lives. Quick heals are his!

He rose revived from that: why not from this?

Watchman (without)

One comes with tidings! — (to the comer) Bear them to the hall.

Enter a Messenger (at back), -pausing and looking round. Queen Iseult, attended, re-enters (at front) and seats herself.


Queen Iseult, Attendant-Ladies, Messenger, and Chanters.

Messenger (comingforward) Where is Iseult the Queen?

Q. Iseult

Here, churl. I’m she.


I’m sent here to deliver tidings, Queen, To your high ear alone.

Exeunt Attendants.

Q. Iseult (in strung-up tones)

Then voice them forth. A halter for thee if I find them false!


Knight Tristram of the sorry birth is yet

Enrolled among the living, having crept

Out of the very vaults of death and doom!

— His heavy ails bedimmed him numb as night,

And men conceived him wrapt in wakeless rest;

But he strove back. Hither, on swifter keel

Lie has followed you; and even now is nigh.

(Queen Iseult leans back and covers her eyes.)

Iseult the Pale-palmed, in her jealousy,

With false deliverance feigned your sail was black,

And made him pray for death in his extreme,

Till sank he to a drowse: grey death they thought it,

And bells were bidden toll the churches through,

And thereupon you came. Scared at her crime

She deemed that it had dealt him death indeed,

And knew her not at fault till you had gone.

— When he aroused, and learnt she had sent you back,

It angered him to hot extremity, And brings him here upon my very stern, If he, forsooth, have haleness for the adventure.

Exit Messenger.

Q. Iseult

O it o’erturns! . . . “Black” told she! Cheat unmatchable!

Enter Brangwain.


Queen Iseult, Brangwain, and Chanters. Then King Mark and Sir Andret.


There stands a strange old harper down below,

Who does not look Sir Tristram, yet recalls him.

King Mark crosses the ward outside the arch.

King Mark (speaking off, and shading his eyes)

What traveller’s that, slow mounting to the wall,

Scanning its strength, with curious halting crawl,

As knowing not Tintagel’s Towers at all?

Watchman (crossing without)

‘Tis but a minstrel from afar, Sir King, Harping around for alms, or anything.

Q. Iseult (starting up)

It must be he!

Sir Tristram’s steps heard approaching. He enters, disguised as a harper.

King Mark (glancing back casually at Sir Tristram in going off)

Dole him his alms in Christ’s name, if ye must,

And irk me not while setting to bowse with these.

Exit King Mark from the outside to the banqueting-hall, followed across the back of the arch by Knights, etc., including Sir Andret.

Sir Andret (to himself as he goes)

That harper struck me oddly! . . . In his gait-

Well: till the beakers have gone round I’ll wait.

Exit behind the others.


Queen Iseult, Tristram, Brangwain, and Chanters.


My Queen and best belov’d! At last again!

(He throws off the cloak that disguises him.)

— Know I was duped by her who dons your name;

She swore the bellied sheeting of your ship

Blotted the wind-wafts like a sable swan;

And being so weak from my long lying there

I sank to senselessness at the wisht words —

So contrary to hope! Whilst I was thus

She sallied out, and sent you home forthwith!

Anon I poured my anger on her head,

Till, in high fear of me, she quivered white.

— I mended swiftly, stung by circumstance,

And rose and left her there, and followed you.

Sir Kay lent aidance, and has come with me.


I’ll out and watch the while Sir Tristram’s here.

Exit Brangwain.


Queen Iseult, Tristram, and Chanters.

Q. Iseult

You’ve come again, you’ve come again, dear Love!


To be once more with my Iseult the Fair,

(He embraces the Queen) Though not yet what I was in strength and stay.

Yet told have I been by Sir Launcelot To ware me of King Mark! King Fox he

calls him — Whom I’d have pitied, though he would not yield thee,

Nor let you loose on learning our dire need Of freedom for our bliss, which came to us Not of fore-aim or falseness, but by spell Of love-drink, ministered by hand unseen!

Q. Iseult

Knowing as much, he swore he would not slay thee,

But Launcelot told him no man could believe him,

Whereat he answered: “Anyhow she’s mine! “


It’s true, I fear. He cannot be believed.

Q. Iseult

Yet, Tristram, would my husband were but all!

Had you not wedded her my namesake, Oh,

We could have steered around this other rock —

Trust me we could! Why did you do it, why!

Triumph did he when first I learnt of that,

And lewdly laughed to see me shaken so.


You have heard the tale of my so mating her

Twice told, and yet anew! Must I again?

It was her sire King Howel brought it round

In brunt of battle, when I saved his lands.

He said to me: “ Thou hast done generously:

I crave to make thee recompense! My daughter.

The last best bloom of Western Monarchy —

Iseult of the White Hand the people call her —

Is thine. I give thee her. O take her then,

The chief of all things priceless unto me!”

Overcome was I by the fiery fray,

Arrested by her name — so kin to yours —

His ardour, zeal. I thought: “Maybe her spouse,

By now, has haled my Iseult’s heart from me,”

And took the other blindly. That is all.

Q. Iseult

A woman’s heart has room for one alone;

A man’s for two or three!

Tristram Sweet; ‘twas but chance!

Q. Iseult (more softly)

Yet there may lie our doom! ... I had nerved myself

To bid you come, and bring your wife with you.

But that I did not mean. It was too

much; And yet I said it! . . .


Lean ye down, my Love: I’ll touch to thee my very own old tune. I came in harper-guise, unweeting what The hazardry of our divided days Might have brought forth for us!

He takes the harp. Queen Iseult reclines.

Tristram (singing)

Let’s meet again to-night, my Fair, Let’s meet unseen of all;

The day-god labours to his lair, And then the evenfall!

O living lute, O lily-rose, O form of fantasie,

When torches waste and warders doze Steal to the stars will we!

While nodding knights carouse at meat And shepherds shamble home,

We’ll cleave in close embracements — sweet As honey in the comb!

Till crawls the dawn from Condol’s crown,

And over Neitan’s Kieve, As grimly ghosts we conjure down And hopes still weave and weave!

Watchman (crossing without)

A ship sheers round, and brings up in the bay!

Re-enter Brangwain.


Queen Iseult, Tristram, Brangwain, and Chanters.


My Queen, the shingle shaves another keel, And who the comer is we fail to guess. Its build bespeaks it from the Breton coasts, And those upon it shape of the Breton sort,

And the figure near the prow is white-attired. Q. Iseult

What manner of farer does the figure show?


My Lady, when I cast eye waterwards From the arrow-loop, just as the keel ground in

Against the popplestones, it seemed a woman’s;

But she was wimpled close.

Q. Iseult

I’ll out and see.

Queen Iseult opens the door to the ban- queting-hall, and stands in the doorway still visible to the audience. Through the door comes the noise of trenchers, platters, cups, drunken voices, songs, etc., from the adjoining apartment, where King Mark is dining with Knights and retainers.

Voice of K. Mark (in liquor)

Queen, whither goest thou? Pray plague me not

While keeping table. Hath the old knave left,

He with his balladry we heard by now Strum up to thee?

Q. Iseult

I go to the pleasance only, Across your feasting-hall for shortness’ sake, Returning hither swift.

Voice of K. Mark

Yea, have thy way,

As women will!

Voice of Sir Andret

Aye, hence the need to spy them!

Exeunt Queen Iseult and Brangwain through banqueting-hall to the outside of the Castle. Noise of cups, trenchers, drunken voices, songs, etc., resumed, till the door shuts, when it is heard in subdued tones.


Tristram and Chanters. Then Iseult

the whitehanded.

Tristram (going and looking seaward through arch)

A woman’s shape in white. . . . Can it be she?

Would she in sooth, then, risk to follow me?

Chanters: Men

O Tristram, thou art not to find Such solace for a shaken mind As seemed to wait thee here!

Chanters: Women

One seised of right to trace thy track Hath crossed the sea to win thee back In love and faith and fear!

Chanters: M. and W.

From this newcomer wis we pain Ere thou canst know sweet spells again, O knight of little cheer!

Enter Iseult the Whitehanded. She has corn-brown hair, and wears a white robe.

Iseult the White H.

I could not help it, O my husband! Yea I have dogged you close; I could not bear your rage;

And Heaven has favoured me! The sea

smiled smooth The whole way over, and the sun shone kind. Your sail was eyesome fair in front of me, And I steered just behind, all stealthfully! — Forgive me that I spoke untruly to you, And then to her, in my bruised brain’s turmoil.

But, in a way of saying, you were dead; You seemed so — in a dead drowse when she came.

And I did send for her at your entreaty; But flesh is frail. Centred is woman’s love, And knows no breadth. I could not let her land,

I could not let her come!


Your speech is nought,

evil woman, who didst nearly witch

The death of this Queen, saying such of me!

Iseult the White H.

Forgive me, do forgive, my lord, my husband!

O love, have loved you so imperishably; Not with fleet flame at times, as some do use! Had I once been unfaithful, even perverse,

I would have held some coldness fitly won; But I have ever met your wryest whim With ready-wrought acceptance, matched

your moods, Clasped hands, touched lips, and smiled devotedly;

So how should this have grown up unaware?

Enter Queen Iseult and Brangwain in the Gallery above, unperceived.


Queen Iseult, Brangwain, Iseult the Whitehanded, Tristram, and Chanters.

Q. Iseult

What do they say? And who is she,

Brangwain? Not my suspicion hardened into mould Of flesh and blood indeed?


I cannot hear.


I have no more to say or do with thee; I’d fade your face to strangeness in my eyes! Your father dealt me lllest turn in this; Your name, too, being the match of hers!

Yea, thus I was coerced. I never more can be Your bed-mate — never again.

Iseult the White H.

How, Tristram mine? What meaning mete you out by that to me?

You only say it, do you? You are not, Cannot be, in true earnest — that I know! I hope you are not in earnest? — Surely I This time as always, do belong to you, And you are going to keep me always yours?

I thought you loved my name for me myself,

Not for another; or at the very least

For sake of some dear sister or mother

dead, And not, not —

(She breaks down.)


I spoke too rawly, maybe; mouthed what I Ought only to have mused. But do you dream

I for a leastness longer could abide Such dire disastrous lying? — Back to your ship;

Get into it; return by the aptest wind And mate with another man when thou canst find him,

Never uncovering how you cozened me: His temper might be tried thereby, as mine!

Iseult the White H.

No, no! I won’t be any other’s wife! How can a thing so monstrous ever be?


If I had battened in Brittany with thee —

Iseult the White H.

But you don’t mean you’ll live away from me,

Leave me, and henceforth be unknown to me,

O you don’t surely? I could not help


Don’t send me away — do not, do not, do so!

(Q. Iseult above moves restlessly.) Forgive your Iseult for appearing here, Untoward seem it! For I love you so Your sudden setting out was death to me When I discerned the cause. Your sail smalled down:

0 I should have died had I not followed you. Only, my Tristram, let me be with thee, And see thy face. I do not sue for more!

Q. Iseult {above)

She has no claim to importune like that, And gloss her hardihood in tracking him!


Thou canst not haunt another woman’s house!

Iseult the White H.

O yes I can, if there’s no other way!

I have heard she does not mind. I’d

rather be

Her bondwench, if I am not good enough To be your wife, than not stay here at all-

Aye, I, the child of kings and governors, As luminous in ancestral line as she, Say this, so utter my abasement now! — Something will happen if I go away Of import dark to you (no matter what To me); and we two should not greet again!

— Could you but be the woman, I the man, I would not fly from you or banish you For fault so small as mine. O do not think It was so vile a thing. I wish — how much! —

You could have told me twenty such untruths,

That I might then have shown you / would not

Rate them as faults, but be much joyed to have you

In spite of all. If you but through and through

Could spell me, know how staunch I have stood, and am,

You’d love me just the same. Come, say you do,

And let us not be severed so again.

Q. Iseult {above)

I can’t bear this!

Iseult the White H.

All the long hours and days

And heavy gnawing nights, and you not there,

But gone because you hate me! ‘Tis past what

A woman can endure!

Tristram (more gently)

Not hate you, Iseult.

But, hate or love, lodge here you cannot now:

It’s out of thinking.

(Drunken revellers heard.)

Know you, that in that room Just joining this, King Mark is holding feast, And may burst in with all his wassailers, And that the Queen —

Q. Iseult {above)

He’s softening to her. Come! Let us go down, and face this agony!

Queen Iseult and Brangwain descend from the Gallery.

Iseult the White H.

O, I suppose I must not! And I am tired, Tired, tired! And now my once-dear Brittany home Is but a desert to me. (Q. Iseult and Brangwain come forward.)

— Oh, the Queen! Can I — so weak — encounter —

Q. Iseult

Ah — as I thought, Quite as I thought. It is my namesake, sure!

(Iseult the White h.faints. Indecision. Brangwain goes to her.) Take her away. The blow that bruises her

Is her own dealing. Better she had known The self-sown pangs of prying ere she sailed!

Brangwain carries her out, Tristram suddenly assisting at the last moment as far as the door.

Chanters : Men (as she is carried)

Fluttering with fear, Out-tasked her strength has she! Loss of her Dear Threatening too clear, Gone to this length has she! Strain too severe!


Queen Iseult, Tristram, and Chanters.

Q. Iseult (after restlessly watching Tristram render aid and return)

So, after all, am I to share you, then, With another, Tristram? who, as I count,

comes here To take the Castle as it were her own!


Sweet Queen, you said you’d let her come one day!

However, back she’s going to Brittany, Which she should not have left. Think

kindly of her, A weaker one than you!

Q. Iseult

What, Tristram; what! O this from you to me, who have sacrificed

Honour and name for you so long, so long! Why, she and I are oil and water here: Other than disunite we cannot be. She weaker? Nay, I stand in jeopardy This very hour —

(‘Noise of Mark and revellers.) Listen to him within! His peer will pierce your cloak ere long — or would

Were he but sober — and then where am I? Better for us that I do yield you to her, And you depart! Hardly can I do else: In the eyes of men she has all claim to thee

And I have none, yes, she possesses you! — (Turning and speaking in a murmur.) — Th’other Iseult possesses him, indeed; And it was I who set it in his soul To seek her out! — my namesake, whom I felt

A kindness for — alas, I know not why!

(Sobs silently.)

Chanters: Women

White-Hands did this, Desperate to win again Back to her kiss One she would miss! — Yea, from the Queen again Win, for her bliss!

Chanters: M. and W.

Dreams of the Queen Always possessing him Racked her yestreen Cruelly and keen — Him, once professing him

Hers through Life’s scene!

Re-enter Brangwain.


Tristram, Queen Iseult, Brangwain, and Chanters.

Brangwain stands silent a few moments, till Q. Iseult turns and looks demandingly at her.

Brangwain The lady from the other coast now mends.

Q. Iseult (haughtily)

Give her good rest. (Bitterly) Yes, yes, in

sooth I said That she might come. Put her in mine own bed:

I’ll sleep upon the floor!

Exit Brangwain.


‘Tis in your bitterness, My own sweet Queen, that you speak thus and thus!

Enter King Mark with Sir Andret to the Gallery, unperceived.


King Mark and Sir Andret (above): Queen Iseult, Tristram, and Chanters.

Sir Andret (to K. Mark)

See, here they are. God’s ‘ounds, sure, then was he

That harper I misdoubted once or twice; Or must have come while we were clinking cups,

No mischief dreaming!


But, my best-beloved, Forgo these frets, and think of Joyous Gard!

(Approaches her.)

Q. Iseult (drawing back)

Nay, no more claspings! And if it should be That these new meetings operate on me

(You well know what I am touching on in this)

Mayhap by year’s-end I’ll not be alive, The which I almost pray for —

K. Mark (above)

Then ‘tis so! Their dalliances are in full gush again, Though I had deemed them hindered by his stay,

And vastly talked of ties, in Brittany.

Sir Andret

Such is betokened, certes, by their words, If we but wit them straight.


O Queen my Love, Pray sun away this cloud, and shine again; Throw into your ripe voice and burning soul The music that they held in our aforetime: We shall outweather this!

(Enter Damsel with a letter.)

Who jars us now?


Queen Iseult, Tristram, Damsel, King Mark., Sir Andret. and Chanters.

Damsel (‘humbly)

This letter, brought at peril, noble Knight,

King Mark has writ to our great Over- King —

Aye, Arthur — I the bearer. And I said,

“All that I can do for the brave Sir Tristram

That do will I! “ So I unscreen this scroll

(A power that chances through a friendly clerk).

In it he pens that as his baneful foe

He holds Sir Tristram, and will wreak revenge

Thrice through his loins as soon as hap may serve.

King Mark descends from Gallery and stands in the background, Sir Andret remaining above.

Q. Iseult {aside to Tristram with misgivings)

These threats of Mark against you quail my heart,

And daunt my sore resentment at your wounds

And slights of late! O Tristram, save thyself,

And think no more of me!


Forget you — never!

(Softly) Rather the sunflower may forget the sun!

(To Damsel) Wimple your face anew, wench: go unseen;

Re-seal the sheet, which I care not to con,

And send it on as bid.

Exit Damsel.


Queen Iseult, Tristram, King Mark, Sir Andret, and Chanters.


Sure, Mark was drunk When writing such! Late he fed heavily And has, I judge, roved out with his boon knightage

Till evenfall shall bring him in to roost. Q. Iseult

I wonder! . . . [nestling closer) I’ve forebodings, Tristram dear; But, your death’s mine, Love!


And yours mine, Sweet Heart!... — Now that the hall is lulled, and none seems near,

I’ll keep up my old minstrel character And sing to you, ere I by stealth depart To wait an hour more opportune for love. —

I could, an if I would, sing jeeringly Of the King; I mean the song Sir Dinadan Made up about him. He was mighty

wroth To hear it.

Q. Iseult

Nay, Love; sadness suits you best . . . Sad, sad are we: we will not jeer at him:

Such darkness overdraws us, it may whelm Us even with him my master! Sing of love.

(Tristram harps a prelude.) I hope he may not heel back home and hear!

Tristram (singing and playing)

Yea, Love, true is it sadness suits me best!

Sad, sad we are; sad, sad shall ever be. What shall deliver us from Love’s unrest, And bonds we did not forecast, did not see!

Q. Iseult

Yea, who will dole us, in these chains that chafe,

Bare pity! — O were ye my King — not he!

(She weeps, and he embraces her awhile.)

Tristram (thoughtfully)

Where is King Mark? I must be soon away!

King Mark, having drawn his dagger, creeps up behind Tristram.

K. Mark (in a thick voice)

He’s in his own house, where he ought to be,

Aye, here! where thou’lt be not much longer, man!

He runs Tristram through the back with his dagger. Queen Iseult shrieks. Tristram falls, Queen Iseult sinking down by him with clasped hands. Sir Andret descends quickly from the gallery.

Tristram (weakly)

From you! — against whom never have I sinned

But under sorcery unwittingly,

By draining deep the love-compelling vial

In my sick thirst, as innocently did she! . . .

This, when of late you sent for me, before

I went to Brittany, to come and help you!

“ Fair nephew,” said you, “ here upswarm our foes;

They are stark at hand, and must be strongly met

Sans tarriance, or they’ll uproot my realm.”

“ My power,” said I, “ is all at your command.”

I came. I neared in night-time to the gate,

Where the hot host of Sessoines clung encamped;

Killed them at th’entrance, and got in to you,

Who welcomed me with joy. I forth’d again,

Again slew more, and saved the stronghold’s fame!

Yet you (weaker) requite me thus! You might — have fought me!

(K. Mark droops his head in silence.)

Sir Andret

O fie upon thee, traitor, pleading thus! It profits naught. To-day here sees thee die!


O Andret, Andret; this from thee to me — Thee, whom I onetime held my fastest friend;

Wert thou as I, I would not treat thee so!

(Sir Andret turns aside and looks down) [Weaker) Fair Knights, bethink ye what

I’ve done for Cornwall, — Its fate was on my shoulder — and I saved it! —

Yea, thick in jeopardies I’ve thrust myself To fame your knighthood! — daily stretched

my arm For — the weal — of you — all!

Tristram dies.

Q. Iseult

[springing up, the King standing dazed)

O murderer, husband called! — possest of me Against my nature and my pleading tears, When all my heart was Tristram’s — his past wording,

To your own knowledge. Now this mute red mouth

You’ve gored in my Beloved, bids me act: Act do I then. So out you — follow him!

She snatches King Mark’s dagger from his belt and stabs him with it. King Mark falls and dies. Queen Iseult rushes out. Sir Andret, stooping and finding the King dead, follows after the Queen. A few moments’ pause during which the sea and sky darken, and the wind rises, distant thunder murmuring. Enter W atchman; next Brangwain.


Watchman and Chanters, with the dead King and Tristram; then Brangwain.


She’s glode off like a ghost, with deathy mien;

It seems toward the ledge — yes, she — the Queen.

Brangwain (entering hurriedly)

She’s over the cliff, and Tristram’s brachet with her! . . .

What have we here? ... Sir Tristram’s body? O!

Chanters: Men. (Brangwain standing and gradually drooping during their chant)

Alas, for this wroth day! She’s leapt the ledge and fallen

Into the loud black bay, Whose waters, loosed and swollen, Are spirting into spray!

She’s vanished from the world, Over the blind rock hurled; And the little hound her friend Has made with hers its end!

Chanters: Women

Alas, for this wroth day! Our Tristram, noble knight, A match for Arthur’s might, Lies here as quaking clay. This is no falsehood fell, But very truth indeed That we too surely read! Would that we had to tell But pleasant truth alway!

Brangwain (arousing and gazing round)

Here’s more of this same stuff of death.

Look down — What see I lying there? King Mark, too, slain?

The sea’s dark noise last night, the sky’s vast yawn

Of hollow bloodshot cloud, meant murder,

then, As I divined!

Enter Iseult the Whitehanded, Queen’s Ladies, Retainers, Bower- women., and others.


Iseult the Whitehanded, Brangwain, Queen’s Ladies, etc., and Chanters.

Iseult the White H.

I heard her cry. I saw her leap! How fair She was! What wonder that my brother Kay

Should pine for love of her. . . . O she should not

Have done it to herself! Nor life nor death Is worth a special quest.

(She sees Tristram’s body.) What’s this — my husband? My Tristram dead likewise? He one with her?

(She sinks and clasps Tristram.)

Chanters: M. and W.

Slain by King Mark unseen, in evil vow, Who never loved him! Pierced in the back

— aye, now, By sleight no codes of chivalry allow!

Iseult the White H.

And she beholding! That the cause where- for

She went and took her life? He was not

hers. . . . Yet did she love him true, if wickedly!

Re-enter Sir Andret, with other Knights, Squires, Herald, etc.


Iseult the Whitehanded, Brangwain, Sir Andret, etc., and Chanters.

Sir Andret (saturninely)

Nor sight nor sound of her! A Queen.

‘Od’s blood, Her flaws in life get mended by her death,

And she and Tristram sport re-burnished fames!

Iseult the White H. (seeing Mark’s body)

And the King also dead? My Tristram’s slayer?

Yet strange to me. Then even had I not come

Across the southern water recklessly

This would have shaped the same — the very- same.

(Turning again to Tristram.)

Tristram, dear husband! O! . . .

(She rocks herself over him)

What a rare beauteous knight has perished here

By this most cruel craft! Could not King Mark

If wronged, have chid him — minded him of me,

And not done this, done this! Well, well; she’s lost him,

Even as have I. — This stronghold moans with woes,

And jibbering voices join with winds and waves

To make a dolorous din! . . .

(They lift her) Aye, I will rise —

Betake me to my own dear Brittany —

Dearer in that our days there were so sweet,

Before I knew what pended me elsewhere !

These halls are hateful to me! May my


Meet them no more!

(She turns to go)


I will attend you, Madam.

Exit Iseult the Whitehanded assisted by Brangwain and Bowerwomen. Knights, retainers, etc., lift the bodies and carry them out. A Dirge by the Chanters.


Re-enter Merlin

Thus from the past, the throes and themes Whereof I spake — now dead as dreams —

Have been re-shaped and drawn In feinted deed and word, as though Our shadowy and phantasmal show Were very movements to and fro Of forms so far-off gone.

These warriors and dear women, whom I’ve called, as bidden, from the tomb,

May not have failed to raise An antique spell at moments here? — They were, in their long-faded sphere, As you are now who muse thereat; Their mirth, crimes, fear and love begat Your own, though thwart their ways; And may some pleasant thoughts outshape From this my conjuring to undrape Such ghosts of distant days!