Schiller. The Camp of Wallenstein (play)

This eBook was produced by Tapio Riikonen and David Widger,

Translated by James Churchill.

The Camp of Wallenstein is an introduction to the celebrated tragedy of that name; and, by its vivid portraiture of the state of the general's army, gives the best clue to the spell of his gigantic power. The blind belief entertained in the unfailing success of his arms, and in the supernatural agencies by which that success is secured to him; the unrestrained indulgence of every passion, and utter disregard of all law, save that of the camp; a hard oppression of the peasantry and plunder of the country, have all swollen the soldiery with an idea of interminable sway. But as we have translated the whole, we shall leave these reckless marauders to speak for themselves.

Of Schiller's opinion concerning the Camp, as a necessary introduction to the tragedy, the following passage taken from the prologue to the first representation, will give a just idea, and may also serve as a motto to the work:-

'Not he it is, who on the tragic scene

Will now appear-but in the fearless bands

Whom his command alone could sway, and whom

His spirit fired, you may his shadow see,

Until the bashful Muse shall dare to bring

Himself before you in a living form;

For power it was that bore his heart astray

His Camp, alone, elucidates his crime.'


DRAMATIS PERSONAE. Sergeant-Major | of a regiment of Recruit. Trumpeter | Terzky's carabineers. Citizen. Artilleryman, Peasant. Sharpshooters. Peasant Boy. Mounted Yagers, of Holk's corps. Capuchin. Dragoons, of Butler's regiment. Regimental Schoolmaster. Arquebusiers, of Tiefenbach's regiment. Sutler-Woman. Cuirassier, of a Walloon regiment. Servant Girl. Cuirassier, of a Lombard regiment. Soldiers' Boys. Croats. Musicians. Hulans. (SCENE.-The Camp before Pilsen, in Bohemia.)


Sutlers' tents-in front, a Slop-shop. Soldiers of all colors and

uniforms thronging about. Tables all filled. Croats and Hulans

cooking at a fire. Sutler-woman serving out wine. Soldier-boys

throwing dice on a drum-head. Singing heard from the tent.

Enter a Peasant and his Son.


Father, I fear it will come to harm,

So let us be off from this soldier swarm;

But boist'rous mates will ye find in the shoal-

'Twere better to bolt while our skins are whole.


How now, boy! the fellows wont eat us, though

They may be a little unruly, or so.

See, yonder, arriving a stranger train,

Fresh comers are they from the Saal and Mayne;

Much booty they bring of the rarest sort-

'Tis ours, if we cleverly drive our sport.

A captain, who fell by his comrade's sword,

This pair of sure dice to me transferred;

To-day I'll just give them a trial to see

If their knack's as good as it used to be.

You must play the part of a pitiful devil,

For these roaring rogues, who so loosely revel,

Are easily smoothed, and tricked, and flattered,

And, free as it came, their gold is scattered.

But we-since by bushels our all is taken,

By spoonfuls must ladle it back again;

And, if with their swords they slash so highly,

We must look sharp, boy, and do them slyly.

[Singing and shouting in the tent.

Hark, how they shout! God help the day!

'Tis the peasant's hide for their sport must pay.

Eight months in our beds and stalls have they

Been swarming here, until far around

Not a bird or a beast is longer found,

And the peasant, to quiet his craving maw,

Has nothing now left but his bones to gnaw.

Ne'er were we crushed with a heavier hand,

When the Saxon was lording it o'er the land:

And these are the Emperor's troops, they say!


From the kitchen a couple are coming this way,

Not much shall we make by such blades as they.


They're born Bohemian knaves-the two-

Belonging to Terzky's carabineers,

Who've lain in these quarters now for years;

The worst are they of the worthless crew.

Strutting, swaggering, proud and vain,

They seem to think they may well disdain

With the peasant a glass of his wine to drain

But, soft-to the left o' the fire I see

Three riflemen, who from the Tyrol should be

Emmerick, come, boy, to them will we.

Birds of this feather 'tis luck to find,

Whose trim's so spruce, and their purse well lined.

[They move towards the tent.


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