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ACT IV SCENE i
CHAR. Although my eyes did not see a bit of sleep tonight, and my bed gave me no rest at all, still I wiled away the night with my usual studies, and because of these I did not miss sweet sleep. These studies of mine are so special to me that they feed my spirit and delight my old age. They adorn my life during happy times, and they offer consolation and a refuge in difficulties. They delight me at home, and are no hindrance when on campaign. They march with me, travel with me, stay awake with me. May the Highest Lord preserve me when I state that nothing more magnificent or elevated can be done by kings, generals, even by the nobility, than to produce monuments of literature. I myself have I always been so inflamed with love for these studies that — as if I were proposing a crusade—I constantly summon learned men from Paris, I entrust our heroic epics partly to memory and partly to writing, and in my own language I wrote a grammar and rendered the names of the months and the winds into the German tongue. Moreover I have always elevated those commoners who are imbued in literature into the honors of the nobility. On the other hand those nobles who spurn literature, who oppose education, who avoid languages, those men I expel from their rank as base-born.
However, one thing has really troubled me this night: that this weather so full of clouds everywhere has let fall the snow which has o’erspread the earth, and as a result I was not able to watch the stars nor their wondrous orbits and motions. The snow is now finished and the heavens are free from clouds, but now light and the dawning day have blotted the constellations and the stars from my sight.
ACT IV , SCENE ii
EINHARD, EMMA, CHARLEMAGNE
EIN. Farewell, my darling, for I hear the echoing creak of doorways, and for some time the day has begun to dawn. The trumpeter has given his clarion call of the day, and the sacristan has opened the church. Now farewell, my most beloved.
EM. Farewell, my honey-sweet Einhard, my heart and my king. Farewell.
EIN. Why do you keep me? It is really the last minute now. I want to leave the women’s quarters before it gets completely light. Is there something else?
EM. Yes, while I’m away, love me, cherish me, call me your own, even in my absence.
EIN. Oh, how hard it is to be torn from you! Let me hug you for the last time, before I leave here.
CHAR. What whisperings and murmurings now reach my ears? If I’m not mistaken, it is from the women’s quarters.
EIN. I must ask, how long will we enjoy our love in this way, which must ever be secret?
EM. Go out quietly and be sure to prevent any noise or squeaking of the door hinges, lest anyone take notice of what we are doing or did do last night. My Einhard, wait, wait. I’ll pour water on the hinges.
EIN. It’s not necessary.
CHAR. I am sure that the voice of some man is ringing in my ears. I wonder what it is.
EIN. By God!
EM. What is it?
EIN. My Emma, look outside here.
EIN. Do you see the snow?
EM. I see it. Oh, what deep snow! How much fell in one night!
CHAR. I cannot make out clearly what man is standing there in the half-opened door. It is definitely a man. I wonder what business men have in the women’s quarters.
EIN. Oh unlucky me, unhappy me! What way, what path can I take?
EIN. You ask why? Ah, my dear, do you want me to be betrayed by my footprints?
EM. May God prevent that!
EIN. By God, what will I do?
EM. By heaven I don’t know.
EIN. Should I stay?
EM. That’s not a good idea.
EIN. Shall I leave?
EM. Not good either.
CHAR. Now isn’t that my secretary?
EIN. Oh, what do you think I should do?
EM. My beloved Einhard, I don’t know.
CHAR. It is certainly Einhard. I wonder what he was doing last night in the women’s quarters!
EIN. Oh, my brain is practically dead from fear!
CHAR. Why is he waving his arms about?
EIN. Alas, hardly a drop of blood is in my veins, so severely has this snow frozen this heart of mine. I don’t know what I can do with myself.
EM. Nor I with myself.
EIN. My thoughts are all up in the air, so much has this snow confused my mind, has turned all my reason so upside down.
EIN. What is it?
EM. Take heart.
EIN. How can I?
EM. I have found a clever trick, so lose your fear.
EIN. What are you saying?
EM. You are sailing into port.
EIN. On the contrary, I’m all at sea.
EM. You don’t fear footprints, do you?
EIN. Yes, I fear a man’s footprints.
EM. But I can make you have a woman’s footprints instead of a man’s.
EIN. I do not understand what you mean.
EM. Not yet? I will remove your male footprints and in their place supply you with female prints.
EM. Yes, mine. Just climb up and sit on my shoulders.
EIN. What shall I do?
EM. Climb up. I will lift you on my shoulders and carry you through the snow.
EIN. You, a weak girl, will carry me, although I am heavy?
EM. Indeed, I’d carry four like you in this situation. Don’t you know that “needs must can smash iron?”
EIN. Well, since you wish it and dire need demands it, I’ll climb on. But before I do this, stay inside the doorway for a minute, my dear. Let me first spy out whether there may be any snags in this good plan which we want to carry out. We need to have a safe place where no enemy can ruin the successful completion of our plan, where no enemy can catch and despoil us with his ears. For a well-devised plan becomes a failure, if not held in secret. I will spy about to see if anyone either here on the left or here on the right is coming at our enterprise like a hunter with his ears spread out like nets. The view from here to the farthest square is quite empty.
EM. So sit here.
EM. Put your arms around my neck like this.
EIN. Good, I’ll do it.
CHAR. But what is this? WHAT IS THIS! What am I seeing? What is this piggy-backing? What is this doubling-up? Who is this girl on whom Einhard has climbed? Can I believe my own eyes? Is this my daughter Emma? It certainly is. What am I seeing and hearing here? What can I think?
EIN. By heaven I do not remember carrying a more charming load.
CHAR. But if I live, I will lay such a burden on you that you will carry it to your sorrow!
EIN. I do not remember ever having such a pleasant horseback ride in my life.
CHAR. By God, I will have you ride on such a saddle that you’ll remember me as long as you live! Just watch me!
EIN. That’s far enough. How cleverly you devised this plan, so smart and sly! By heaven, my dear, you turn out an idea faster than a potter’s wheel. Ah, what a sharp, red-hot plan!
EM. Haven’t you heard that the devices and plotting of women are superior to the artful ruses of any man?
EIN. You have shown how true this is.
CHAR. As sure as God loves me, I will intercept and expose these devices and these ruses in such a way that you both will be forced to confess that you may have devised these tricks, but in no way did you escape punishment. I could stand anything more easily than to be deceived in this matter.
EIN. Now I will vanish from here for a while. Farewell.
EM. Farewell. I must carefully look over my own footprints and retrace my steps through the snow, so that I do not betray myself like a mouse. This business has certainly gone well for us. Now I will go inside and quietly close the door and pretend that I have just now arisen.
ACT IV, SCENE iii
CHAR. The more I ponder this matter in my heart, the more the distress in my mind grows. Did they pull the wool over my eyes to that extent? Couldn’t I see this earlier? When it becomes known, I will be a laughingstock throughout the world: “This is that king who was misled, who was lied to, whose daughter, betrothed to the King of Greece, entertained some secretary or other all night in her bedroom.” In any case, Einhard, you have now lost any title to friendship with me. By Hercules, I’m not the man I know I am, if I do not spectacularly avenge this crime for myself. Does he not fear my power — never mind power — does he not fear my displeasure, or at least feel shame before it? Oh, the wickedness, Oh, the reckless action! I am angry, and will move on this matter with no moderate wrath. A man whom I previously considered most faithful to me has laid this distress on me, a man to whom I had entrusted my daughter’s marriage arrangements! But I now see that I entrusted my lamb to a wolf.
Oh, what shall I do? If I keep silent, how wide a window will I open to evildoers? I know we all become worse, if allowed to do wrong. But if I punish them, how bad will be the stain which I put on me and my people? Have I been so grossly deceived by my daughter, who I thought was proven to be obedient to me? Is she planning to give up this marriage, this girl whom I wanted to give in marriage to a great king? What is she thinking? But what if divine wisdom sees these matters differently, Wisdom which views human affairs with a much sharper vision? I do not know which path I should now take. This seems best: I will order my chief counselors to be summoned, and I will give the whole business to them to consider. And just now an opportunity presents itself. You, Frederick.
FR. I am here, famed king.
CHAR. Summon all my court counsellors here into the palace, with the exception of Einhard.
FR. I will do this.
CHAR. Tell them to all meet here within the space of one hour.
FR. It will be done, great king. I will be back shortly.
CHAR. Why do I stay here longer? I will go inside in order to deliberate this matter before my meeting.
ACT IV, SCENE iv
EG. How true the proverb is that every rose has thorns. Today I have experienced this fact to my joy and to my sorrow. Last night I plucked the loveliest roses, most gay and lively, most sweet.
However so many thorns, so many wretched spines and briars covered these roses that the rational part of my mind would have been nearly pricked unto death, if my rose had not defrosted my petrified reason with her fragrant odors, with her intelligence and her cleverness, and if she had not carried me to safety on her shoulders, when I was doubtful in spirit and unable to live any longer.
But see here, Einhard, that you not go to excess, for there should be moderation in everything. This love affair of yours, if not guarded with most careful astuteness, will bring you and your Emmeline into great disaster. This great, never-to-be-forgotten affair cannot be pursued without danger. Now I understand what yesterday’s dream of mine portended: that garden was the women’s quarters; when I spent the night there, I plucked thousands of lilies, violets, blossoms, and roses with my own hand. But she was of course that glorious horse — or mare, I should say — who begged me with the sweetest whinny to climb on her back. On her I blithely rode like a knight through the deep snow. But the pit into which I fell — I’m worried about what that means.
But I’ll now be quiet, for unless I’m mistaken that peasant has returned with his friend and with the girl who bore the child. I’ll wait to see what they want.
ACT IV, SCENE v
CORYDON, MENALCAS, AMARYLLIS,EINHARD
MEN. Yes, that’s it.
COR. They put the stony coat on the cook in jail?
MEN. Yes, Corydon.
COR. And that man wore the heaviest fetters?
MEN. That’s what happened.
COR. And he is still kept there?
MEN. I think so.
COR. Didn’t I persuade you to do the smart thing, to go to Einhard?
MEN. The best!
COR. And that you should value those other lawyers who told you so many lies as more worthless than the maid that cleans the toilets?
MEN. Very right. For sure, whatever else you may be, you are certainly wise.
COR. It is for that reason that my son Jack has become a doctor of medicine in Paris.
MEN. It that right?
COR. Right. He has a head just like mine, for whatever he learns, he keeps it in memory.
MEN. That is the very reason why I brought you with me, to be my representative and to speak for me.
COR. I’ll do it. But isn’t that the secretary Einhard?
COR. There. Do you see?
MEN. Yes. Why not approach him?
COR. You go first, and I’ll wait here as if in ambush.
MEN. As you wish.
COR. You, Amaryllis, come to me.
AMA. I am coming, dear Corydon.
COR. Menalcas, hey Menalcas, look, Menalcas, come back. Now take your cap off your head and bend your knee, and pray a “good day” for the master.
MEN. I’ll do it. Good day, Sir.
MEN. Greetings to you too, Sir. How did you sleep last night?
EIN. So so. But why have you come here? It is almost too early in the morning.
MEN. Don’t you know that the business which you begin in the morning continues on through the whole day.
COR. [to the audience] He is doing well with this beginning. By heaven he has not stopped speaking intelligently.
MEN. But how is Antrax the cook doing? Is he still locked up in his cell?
EIN. He just confessed everything.
MEN. Oh, good.
EIN. Through one of the policemen he asked my for pardon, and he promised he would marry your daughter.
COR. Amaryllis, do you hear what he says? Today you will be a bride.
AMA. I hear.
EIN. I have just ordered that he be released from his chains.
MEN. Look, here come two policemen. I believe Antrax is here.
EIN. The very man.
ACT IV, SCENE vi
ANTRAX, EINHARD, CORYDON, MENALCAS, AMARYLLIS
AN. Let go of me. I am not like a bird that I can fly away. I never slept worse in my whole life, and by heaven I think I never saw a longer night than this. I truly believe that the sun was asleep — and dead drunk — the whole time. It’s a wonder to me if he didn’t indulge himself too much at dinner. By heaven, hunger has hold of me to the bottom of my stomach; I am completely frozen. My mouth is sour, my teeth are blunt, my jaw is aching from hunger. Oh, how close are the shadows of death! My knees are failing from starvation, so long has it been since I have tasted even the left-overs of my left-overs. By the gods, yesterday certainly turned out wrong, indeed adverse and evil for me. What I had planned to keep silent was entirely exposed by this wicked peasant, who has filled me with faults and fear.
EIN. Hey, cook, come over here. You are done for unless I learn the truth now.
AN. Who is calling me? It’s Einhard, I will throw myself at his feet.
COR. This cook is certainly far different today from what he was yesterday.
Ein. What do you say now? What are you willing to do now?
AN. My Lord Secretary, I beg you by the gods, by our humanity, by my own stupidity!
EIN. Tell me what you plead.
AN. That you pardon my ignorance and stupidity. I now realize that I have been brainless, blind, unthinking, unjust. I sincerely admit that I deserve great punishment and I also admit that I did wrong and that I deserve great censure for it. I come to beseech you that you pardon me and moderate your anger.
MEN. Why did you dare do this — to touch what was not yours?
AN. What do you want me to do? The thing was done. I cannot now make it undone. I believe God wished it so, for if he hadn’t, I know it wouldn’t have happened.
EIN. But I believe that God wanted me to be the death of you in jail.
AN. Don’t say that, Sir.
EIN. Why then did you touch the girl?
AN. The evil influence of wine and love made me do it.
Ein. What? You most brazen cook! Do you now dare to come to me with this impudent speech? If it is legitimate to say this in order to excuse your offense, then in broad daylight, let’s snatch the gold jewelry from ladies, then afterwards, when caught, we will say and swear that love made us do this while we were drunk. Love and wine are too useful, if a drunk and a lover are allowed to do what they want.
AN. But of my own accord I am coming to you to plead using the excuse of stupidity.
EIN. I am not pleased with men who want to excuse themselves after committing crimes. You knew that she was not yours, that you should not have touched her.
AN. Therefore, since I did touch her, I offer no arguments against my keeping her.
EIN. I think it is to your advantage to do this, for if you don’t marry the girl, you will never enter the palace again.
MEN. So swear to me in good faith that you will marry her.
COR. Go on, Amaryllis. Tell him to promise marriage.
AMA. I will do it. Now promise me, you wretch.
AN. Here you have my hand.
AMA. That you will marry me?
AN. I will marry you.
MEN. I want the wedding to happen today.
AN. So be it.
EIN. I will now leave, for I have no leisure to listen to this nonsense now. You, Antrax, take care that a priest unite you both very soon. If not, because of your crimes and your trickery I will exact from you immediate punishment that will be an example to everyone. You will not get away with it.
AN. I will do it, sir.
EIN. If you are wise.
ACT IV, SCENE vii
CORYDON, MENALCAS, ANTRAX, AMARYLLIS
COR. Now I want to mock and destroy this cook. I’ll make some wit out of this witless fool.
MEN. Let’s do it. Make sport of him.
COR. I congratulate you on your prosperous, long-awaited marriage.
AN. You go to hell.
COR. Look, look; here’s your true love.
AN. I don’t see true love. I see here some slut.
AMA. And I see a jailbird.
COR. I ask, please look at this, how she stands here so elegant, like a painting!
AN. Just as a witch should look.
MEN. By Castor, if this man ate only mustard, I don’t think he could be more sour.
COR. Look at the lovely maiden and the lovely bargain she brings with her. How does this seem to you, cook? You have a child before the wedding. What do you think you’ll have afterwards?
AMA. Antrax, this boy here, whom I bore to you, is so like you that he cried for his stein as soon as he was born.
AN. I’m doomed.
COR. We were all longing to see this day come, cook, when someone would come from you who would call you father. I thank God for this.
MEN. Take your wife and don’t oppose me.
AN. I don’t want to let a barking bitch into my house.
COR. Why not? Conceiving children is a delightful job.
AN. You are evil.
AMA. What is it?
COR. Aren’t you afraid of this belly?
AMA. Mice are not usually suffocated under a haystack.
COR. Here you will sleep well.
AN. No, instead she’ll spend all night in the straw.
AMA. How can that be, since you are going to be my mattress?
AN. I will go back in the army, since I was a light-armed soldier.
MEN. Really light-armed!
COR. That’s fine, since she can drag you and your big belly out of ditches. This boy of yours so recently born will be your squire; he will carry your shield, armor, and pack on the march. And as he does that, you will be lying with whores peacefully in your tent while the battle goes on. When the battle is over, you will then get involved in the looting or the chicken-stealing, or maybe you’’ll be a cutpurse.
AMA. But you will be a real ornament on the gallows.
COR. Cook, I beg you, lay aside your irritation and act cheerful and willing — as you should — about this wedding, and make an effort to love her.
AN. I will see to it, and I will make sure, that she is full of ashes, smoke, and dust from her cooking and cleaning. Beyond this I will be sure that she collects straw at high noon; I’ll make this slut as burnt and black as charcoal.
COR. Great! Finally at last you seem to have some sense. But where is the flute player who will trill a marriage song for the cook?
MEN. No need; he now has someone at home he can sing with, or if he does not want to sing, he will dance.
AN. I will go inside. Goodbye, you jailbird.
MEN. Daughter, follow him.
AMA. I will follow.
Men. Now, Corydon, what do we do now?
COR. I’ll tell you.
Men. So tell.
COR. Since the situation could not have turned out better than it did, then we will have some drinks before we go home. Then at last we can go away with minds at ease.
MEN. I too think this is best. But where will we find some ivy on a sign saying “wine for sale”?
COR. Yesterday some one told me about a barkeep who sells some excellent wine. But for his wine he asks one florin for each cup.
MEN. So each cup costs a florin?
COR. So they say. But, Menalcas, don’t you know that these vultures sell their food and wine not at the standard price, but generally for double or triple the amount? But come on, we will see if we can find some cheaper wine in this city.
MEN. That’s fine by me.
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