by Friedrich Schiller
INT: THE ROYAL PALACE.
Don Carlos, the prince, has left the princess alone.
Prince, but one word! Prince, hear me. He is gone.
And this, too, I am doomed to bear-his scorn!
And I am left in lonely wretchedness,
Rejected and despised!
(Sinks down upon a chair. After a pause.)
And yet not so;
I'm but displaced-supplanted by some wanton.
He loves! of that no longer doubt is left;
He has himself confessed it-but my rival-
Who can she be? Happy, thrice happy one!
This much stands clear: he loves where he should not.
He dreads discovery, and from the king
He hides his guilty passion! Why from him
Who would so gladly hail it? Or, is it not
The father that he dreads so in the parent?
When the king's wanton purpose was disclosed,
His features glowed with triumph, boundless joy
Flashed in his eyes, his rigid virtue fled;
Why was it mute in such a cause as this?
Why should he triumph? What hath he to gain
If Philip to his queen--
(She stops suddenly, as if struck by a thought, then drawing hastily from her
bosom the ribbon which she had taken from CARLOS, she seems to recognize it.)
Fool that I am!
At length 'tis plain. Where have my senses been?
My eyes are opened now. They loved each other
Long before Philip wooed her, and the prince
Ne'er saw me but with her! She, she alone
Was in his thoughts when I believed myself
The object of his true and boundless love.
O matchless error! and have I betrayed
My weakness to her?
Should his love prove hopeless?
Who can believe it? Would a hopeless love
Persist in such a struggle? Called to revel
In joys for which a monarch sighs in vain!
A hopeless love makes no such sacrifice.
What fire was in his kiss! How tenderly
He pressed my bosom to his beating heart!
Well nigh the trial had proved dangerous
To his romantic, unrequited passion!
With joy he seized the key he fondly thought
The queen had sent:-in this gigantic stride
Of love he puts full credence-and he comes-
In very truth comes here-and so imputes
To Philip's wife a deed so madly rash.
And would he so, had love not made him bold?
'Tis clear as day-his suit is heard-she loves!
By heaven, this saintly creature burns with passion;
How subtle, too, she is! With fear I trembled
Before this lofty paragon of virtue!
She towered beside me, an exalted being,
And in her beams I felt myself eclipsed;
I envied her the lovely, cloudless calm,
That kept her soul from earthly tumults free.
And was this soft serenity but show?
Would she at both feasts revel, holding up
Her virtue's godlike splendor to our gaze,
And riot in the secret joys of vice?
And shall the false dissembler cozen thus,
And win a safe immunity from this
That no avenger comes? By heavens she shall not!
I once adored her,-that demands revenge:-
The king shall know her treachery-the king!
(After a pause.)
'Tis the sure way to win the monarch's ear!