Wallenstein's Camp

Wallenstein's Camp

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SCENE I. Sutlers' tents—in front, a Slop-shop. Soldiers of all colors anduniforms thronging about. Tables all filled. Croats and Hulanscooking at a fire. Sutler-woman serving out wine. Soldier-boysthrowing dice on a drum-head. Singing heard from the tent.Enter a Peasant and his Son.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.FATHER.How now, boy! the fellows wont eat us, thoughThey 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 seeIf 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 theyBeen swarming here, until far aroundNot 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!SON.From the kitchen a couple are coming this way,Not much shall we make by such blades as they.FATHER.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 disdainWith the peasant a glass of his wine to drainBut, soft—to the left o' the fire I seeThree riflemen, who from the Tyrol should beEmmerick, 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.

SCENE II. The above—Sergeant-Major, Trumpeter, Hulan.TRUMPETER.What would the boor? Out, rascal, away!PEASANT.Some victuals and drink, worthy masters, I pray,For not a warm morsel we've tasted to day.TRUMPETER.Ay, guzzle and guttle—'tis always the way.HULAN (with a glass).Not broken your fast! there—drink, ye hound!He leads the peasant to the tent—the others come forward.SERGEANT (to the Trumpeter).Think ye they've done it without good ground?Is it likely they double our pay to-day,Merely that we may be jolly and gay?TRUMPETER.Why, the duchess arrives to-day, we know,And her daughter too—SERGEANT....