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The Dynasts by Thomas Hardy

Part 2 out of 16

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permanent kind, the whole affording accommodation for one
hundred and fifty thousand men.

South of the town is an extensive basin surrounded by quays,
the heaps of fresh soil around showing it to be a recent
excavation from the banks of the Liane. The basin is crowded
with the flotilla, consisting of hundreds of vessels of sundry
kinds: flat-bottomed brigs with guns and two masts; boats of
one mast, carrying each an artillery waggon, two guns, and a
two-stalled horse-box; transports with three low masts; and
long narrow pinnaces arranged for many oars.

Timber, saw-mills, and new-cut planks spread in profusion
around, and many of the town residences are seen to be adapted
for warehouses and infirmaries.]

DUMB SHOW

Moving in this scene are countless companies of soldiery, engaged
in a drill practice of embarking and disembarking, and of hoisting
horses into the vessels and landing them again. Vehicles bearing
provisions of many sorts load and unload before the temporary
warehouses. Further off, on the open land, bodies of troops are at
field-drill. Other bodies of soldiers, half stripped and encrusted
with mud, are labouring as navvies in repairing the excavations.

An English squadron of about twenty sail, comprising a ship or two of
the line, frigates, brigs, and luggers, confronts the busy spectacle
from the sea.

The Show presently dims and becomes broken, till only its flashes and
gleams are visible. Anon a curtain of cloud closes over it.

SCENE V

LONDON. THE HOUSE OF A LADY OF QUALITY

[A fashionable crowd is present at an evening party, which
includes the DUKES of BEAUFORT and RUTLAND, LORDS MALMESBURY,
HARROWBY, ELDON, GRENVILLE, CASTLEREAGH, SIDMOUTH, and MULGRAVE,
with their ladies; also CANNING, PERCEVAL, TOWNSHEND, LADY
ANNE HAMILTON, MRS. DAMER, LADY CAROLINE LAMB, and many other
notables.]

A GENTLEMAN (offering his snuff-box)

So, then, the Treaty anxiously concerted
Between ourselves and frosty Muscovy
Is duly signed?

A CABINET MINISTER

Was signed a few days back,
And is in force. And we do firmly hope
The loud pretensions and the stunning dins
Now daily heard, these laudable exertions
May keep in curb; that ere our greening land
Darken its leaves beneath the Dogday suns,
The independence of the Continent
May be assured, and all the rumpled flags
Of famous dynasties so foully mauled,
Extend their honoured hues as heretofore.

GENTLEMAN

So be it. Yet this man is a volcano;
And proven 'tis, by God, volcanos choked
Have ere now turned to earthquakes!

LADY

What the news?--
The chequerboard of diplomatic moves
Is London, all the world knows: here are born
All inspirations of the Continent--
So tell!

GENTLEMAN

Ay. Inspirations now abound!

LADY

Nay, but your looks are grave! That measured speech
Betokened matter that will waken us.--
Is it some piquant cruelty of his?
Or other tickling horror from abroad
The packet has brought in?

GENTLEMAN

The treaty's signed!

MINISTER

Whereby the parties mutually agree
To knit in union and in general league
All outraged Europe.

LADY

So to knit sounds well;
But how ensure its not unravelling?

MINISTER

Well; by the terms. There are among them these:
Five hundred thousand active men in arms
Shall strike (supported by the Britannic aid
In vessels, men, and money subsidies)
To free North Germany and Hanover
From trampling foes; deliver Switzerland,
Unbind the galled republic of the Dutch,
Rethrone in Piedmont the Sardinian King,
Make Naples sword-proof, un-French Italy
From shore to shore; and thoroughly guarantee
A settled order to the divers states;
Thus rearing breachless barriers in each realm
Against the thrust of his usurping hand.

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

They trow not what is shaping otherwhere
The while they talk this stoutly!

SPIRIT OF RUMOUR

Bid me go
And join them, and all blandly kindle them
By bringing, ere material transit can,
A new surprise!

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

Yea, for a moment, wouldst.

[The Spirit of Rumour enters the apartment in the form of a
personage of fashion, newly arrived. He advances and addresses
the group.]

SPIRIT

The Treaty moves all tongues to-night.--Ha, well--
So much on paper!

GENTLEMAN

What on land and sea?
You look, old friend, full primed with latest thence.

SPIRIT

Yea, this. The Italy our mighty pact
Delivers from the French and Bonaparte
Makes haste to crown him!--Turning from Boulogne
He speeds toward Milan, there to glory him
In second coronation by the Pope,
And set upon his irrepressible brow
Lombardy's iron crown.

[The Spirit of Rumour mingles with the throng, moves away, and
disappears.]

LADY

Fair Italy,
Alas, alas!

LORD

Yet thereby English folk
Are freed him.--Faith, as ancient people say,
It's an ill wind that blows good luck to none!

MINISTER

Who is your friend that drops so airily
This precious pinch of salt on our raw skin?

GENTLEMAN

Why, Norton. You know Norton well enough?

MINISTER

Nay, 'twas not he. Norton of course I know.
I thought him Stewart for a moment, but---

LADY

But I well scanned him--'twas Lord Abercorn;
For, said I to myself, "O quaint old beau,
To sleep in black silk sheets so funnily:--
That is, if the town rumour on't be true.

LORD

My wig, ma'am, no! 'Twas a much younger man.

GENTLEMAN

But let me call him! Monstrous silly this,
That don't know my friends!

[They look around. The gentleman goes among the surging and
babbling guests, makes inquiries, and returns with a perplexed
look.]

GENTLEMAN

They tell me, sure,
That he's not here to-night!

MINISTER

I can well swear
It was not Norton.--'Twas some lively buck,
Who chose to put himself in masquerade
And enter for a whim. I'll tell our host.
--Meantime the absurdity of his report
Is more than manifested. How knows he
The plans of Bonaparte by lightning-flight,
Before another man in England knows?

LADY

Something uncanny's in it all, if true.
Good Lord, the thought gives me a sudden sweat,
That fairly makes my linen stick to me!

MINISTER

Ha-ha! 'Tis excellent. But we'll find out
Who this impostor was.

[They disperse, look furtively for the stranger, and speak of
the incident to others of the crowded company.]

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

Now let us vision onward, till we sight
Famed Milan's aisles of marble, sun-alight,
And there behold, unbid, the Coronation-rite.

[The confused tongues of the assembly waste away into distance,
till they are heard but as the babblings of the sea from a
high cliff, the scene becoming small and indistinct therewith.
This passes into silence, and the whole disappears.]

SCENE VI

MILAN. THE CATHEDRAL

[The interior of the building on a sunny May day.

The walls, arched, and columns are draped in silk fringed with
gold. A gilded throne stand in front of the High Altar. A
closely packed assemblage, attired in every variety of rich
fabric and fashion, waits in breathless expectation.]

DUMB SHOW

From a private corridor leading to a door in the aisle the EMPRESS
JOSEPHINE enters, in a shining costume, and diamonds that collect
rainbow-colours from the sunlight piercing the clerestory windows.
She is preceded by PRINCESS ELIZA, and surrounded by her ladies.
A pause follows, and then comes the procession of the EMPEROR,
consisting of hussars, heralds, pages, aides-de-camp, presidents
of institutions, officers of the state bearing the insignia of the
Empire and of Italy, and seven ladies with offerings. The Emperor
himself in royal robes, wearing the Imperial crown, and carrying the
sceptre. He is followed my ministers and officials of the household.
His gait is rather defiant than dignified, and a bluish pallor
overspreads his face.

He is met by the Cardinal Archbishop of CAPRARA and the clergy, who
burn incense before him as he proceeds towards the throne. Rolling
notes of music burn forth, and loud applause from the congregation.

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

What is the creed that these rich rites disclose?

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

A local cult, called Christianity,
Which the wild dramas of the wheeling spheres
Include, with divers other such, in dim
Pathetical and brief parentheses,
Beyond whose span, uninfluenced, unconcerned,
The systems of the suns go sweeping on
With all their many-mortaled planet train
In mathematic roll unceasingly.

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

I did not recognize it here, forsooth;
Though in its early, lovingkindly days
Of gracious purpose it was much to me.

ARCHBISHOP (addressing Bonaparte)

Sire, with that clemency and right goodwill
Which beautify Imperial Majesty,
You deigned acceptance of the homages
That we the clergy and the Milanese
Were proud to offer when your entrance here
Streamed radiance on our ancient capital.
Please, then, to consummate the boon to-day
Beneath this holy roof, so soon to thrill
With solemn strains and lifting harmonies
Befitting such a coronation hour;
And bend a tender fatherly regard
On this assembly, now at one with me
To supplicate the Author of All Good
That He endow your most Imperial person
With every Heavenly gift.

[The procession advances, and the EMPEROR seats himself on the
throne, with the banners and regalia of the Empire on his right,
and those of Italy on his left hand. Shouts and triumphal music
accompany the proceedings, after which Divine service commences.]

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

Thus are the self-styled servants of the Highest
Constrained by earthly duress to embrace
Mighty imperiousness as it were choice,
And hand the Italian sceptre unto one
Who, with a saturnine, sour-humoured grin,
Professed at first to flout antiquity,
Scorn limp conventions, smile at mouldy thrones,
And level dynasts down to journeymen!--
Yet he, advancing swiftly on that track
Whereby his active soul, fair Freedom's child
Makes strange decline, now labours to achieve
The thing it overthrew.

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

Thou reasonest ever thuswise--even if
A self-formed force had urged his loud career.

SPIRIT SINISTER

Do not the prelate's accents falter thin,
His lips with inheld laughter grow deformed,
While blessing one whose aim is but to win
The golden seats that other b---s have warmed?

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

Soft, jester; scorn not puppetry so skilled,
Even made to feel by one men call the Dame.

SHADE OF THE EARTH

Yea; that they feel, and puppetry remain,
Is an owned flaw in her consistency
Men love to dub Dame Nature--that lay-shape
They use to hang phenomena upon--
Whose deftest mothering in fairest sphere
Is girt about by terms inexorable!

SPIRIT SINISTER

The lady's remark is apposite, and reminds me that I may as well
hold my tongue as desired. For if my casual scorn, Father Years,
should set thee trying to prove that there is any right or reason
in the Universe, thou wilt not accomplish it by Doomsday! Small
blame to her, however; she must cut her coat according to her
cloth, as they would say below there.

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

O would that I could move It to enchain thee,
And shut thee up a thousand years!--(to cite
A grim terrestrial tale of one thy like)
Thou Iago of the Incorporeal World,
"As they would say below there."

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

Would thou couldst!
But move That scoped above percipience, Sire,
It cannot be!

SHADE OF THE EARTH

The spectacle proceeds.

SPIRIT SINISTER

And we may as well give all attention thereto, for the evils at
work in other continents are not worth eyesight by comparison.

[The ceremonial in the Cathedral continues. NAPOLEON goes to
the front of the altar, ascends the steps, and, taking up the
crown of Lombardy, places it on his head.]

NAPOLEON

'Tis God has given it to me. So be it.
Let any who shall touch it now beware! (Reverberations of applause.)

[The Sacrament of the Mass. NAPOLEON reads the Coronation Oath in
a loud voice.]

HERALDS

Give ear! Napoleon, Emperor of the French
And King of Italy, is crowned and throned!

CONGREGATION

Long live the Emperor and King. Huzza!

[Music. The Te Deum.]

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

That vulgar stroke of vauntery he displayed
In planting on his brow the Lombard crown,
Means sheer erasure of the Luneville pacts,
And lets confusion loose on Europe's peace
For many an undawned year! From this rash hour
Austria but waits her opportunity
By secret swellings of her armaments
To link her to his foes.--I'll speak to him.

[He throws a whisper into NAPOLEON'S ear.]

Lieutenant Bonaparte,
Would it not seemlier be to shut thy heart
To these unhealthy splendours?--helmet thee
For her thou swar'st-to first, fair Liberty?

NAPOLEON

Who spoke to me?

ARCHBISHOP

Not I, Sire. Not a soul.

NAPOLEON

Dear Josephine, my queen, didst call my name?

JOSEPHINE

I spoke not, Sire.

NAPOLEON

Thou didst not, tender spouse;
I know it. Such harsh utterance was not thine.
It was aggressive Fancy, working spells
Upon a mind o'erwrought!

[The service closes. The clergy advance with the canopy to the
foot of the throne, and the procession forms to return to the
Palace.]

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

Officious sprite,
Thou art young, and dost not heed the Cause of things
Which some of us have inkled to thee here;
Else wouldst thou not have hailed the Emperor,
Whose acts do but outshape Its governing.

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

I feel, Sire, as I must! This tale of Will
And Life's impulsion by Incognizance
I cannot take!

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

Let me then once again
Show to thy sceptic eye the very streams
And currents of this all-inhering Power,
And bring conclusion to thy unbelief.

[The scene assumes the preternatural transparency before mentioned,
and there is again beheld as it were the interior of a brain which
seems to manifest the volitions of a Universal Will, of whose
tissues the personages of the action form portion.]

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

Enough. And yet for very sorriness
I cannot own the weird phantasma real!

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

Affection ever was illogical.

SPIRIT IRONIC (aside)

How should the Sprite own to such logic--a mere juvenile-- who only
came into being in what the earthlings call their Tertiary Age!

[The scene changes. The exterior of the Cathedral takes the place
of the interior, and the point of view recedes, the whole fabric
smalling into distance and becoming like a rare, delicately carved
alabaster ornament. The city itself sinks to miniature, the Alps
show afar as a white corrugation, the Adriatic and the Gulf of
Genoa appear on this and on that hand, with Italy between them,
till clouds cover the panorama.]

ACT SECOND

SCENE I

THE DOCKYARD, GIBRALTAR

[The Rock is seen rising behind the town and the Alameda Gardens,
and the English fleet rides at anchor in the Bay, across which the
Spanish shore from Algeciras to Carnero Point shuts in the West.
Southward over the Strait is the African coast.]

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

Our migratory Proskenion now presents
An outlook on the storied Kalpe Rock,
As preface to the vision of the Fleets
Spanish and French, linked for fell purposings.

RECORDING ANGEL (reciting)

Their motions and manoeuvres, since the fame
Of Bonaparte's enthronment at Milan
Swept swift through Europe's dumbed communities,
Have stretched the English mind to wide surmise.
Many well-based alarms (which strange report
Much aggravates) as to the pondered blow,
Flutter the public pulse; all points in turn--
Malta, Brazil, Wales, Ireland, British Ind--
Being held as feasible for force like theirs,
Of lavish numbers and unrecking aim.

"Where, where is Nelson?" questions every tongue;--
"How views he so unparalleled a scheme?"
Their slow uncertain apprehensions ask.
"When Villeneuve puts to sea with all his force,
What may he not achieve, if swift his course!"

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

I'll call in Nelson, who has stepped ashore
For the first time these thrice twelvemonths and more,
And with him one whose insight has alone
Pierced the real project of Napoleon.

[Enter NELSON and COLLINGWOOD, who pace up and down.]

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

Note Nelson's worn-out features. Much has he
Suffered from ghoulish ghast anxiety!

NELSON

In short, dear Coll, the letter which you wrote me
Had so much pith that I was fain to see you;
For I am sure that you indeed divine
The true intent and compass of a plot
Which I have spelled in vain.

COLLINGWOOD

I weighed it thus:
Their flight to the Indies being to draw us off,
That and no more, and clear these coasts of us--
The standing obstacle to his device--
He cared not what was done at Martinique,
Or where, provided that the general end
Should not be jeopardized--that is to say,
The full-united squadron's quick return.--
Gravina and Villeneuve, once back to Europe,
Can straight make Ferrol, raise there the blockade,
Then haste to Brest, there to relieve Ganteaume,
And next with four-or five-and fifty sail
Bear down upon our coast as they see fit.--
I read they aim to strike at Ireland still,
As formerly, and as I wrote to you.

NELSON

So far your thoughtful and sagacious words
Have hit the facts. But 'tis no Irish bay
The villains aim to drop their anchors in;
My word for it: they make the Wessex shore,
And this vast squadron handled by Villeneuve
Is meant to cloak the passage of their strength,
Massed on those transports--we being kept elsewhere
By feigning forces.--Good God, Collingwood,
I must be gone! Yet two more days remain
Ere I can get away.--I must be gone!

COLLINGWOOD

Wherever you may go to, my dear lord,
You carry victory with you. Let them launch,
Your name will blow them back, as sou'west gales
The gulls that beat against them from the shore.

NELSON

Good Collingwood, I know you trust in me;
But ships are ships, and do not kindly come
Out of the slow docks of the Admiralty
Like wharfside pigeons when they are whistled for:--
And there's a damned disparity of force,
Which means tough work awhile for you and me!

[The Spirit of the Years whispers to NELSON.]

And I have warnings, warnings, Collingwood,
That my effective hours are shortening here;
Strange warnings now and then, as 'twere within me,
Which, though I fear them not, I recognize! . . .
However, by God's help, I'll live to meet
These foreign boasters; yea, I'll finish them;
And then--well, Gunner Death may finish me!

COLLINGWOOD

View not your life so gloomily, my lord:
One charmed, a needed purpose to fulfil!

NELSON

Ah, Coll. Lead bullets are not all that wound. . . .
I have a feeling here of dying fires,
A sense of strong and deep unworded censure,
Which, compassing about my private life,
Makes all my public service lustreless
In my own eyes.--I fear I am much condemned
For those dear Naples and Palermo days,
And her who was the sunshine of them all! . . .
He who is with himself dissatisfied,
Though all the world find satisfaction in him,
Is like a rainbow-coloured bird gone blind,
That gives delight it shares not. Happiness?
It's the philosopher's stone no alchemy
Shall light on this world I am weary of.--
Smiling I'd pass to my long home to-morrow
Could I with honour, and my country's gain.
--But let's adjourn. I waste your hours ashore
By such ill-timed confessions!

[They pass out of sight, and the scene closes.]

SCENE II.

OFF FERROL

[The French and Spanish combined squadrons. On board the French
admiral's flag-ship. VILLENEUVE is discovered in his cabin, writing
a letter.]

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

He pens in fits, with pallid restlessness,
Like one who sees Misfortune walk the wave,
And can nor face nor flee it.

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

He indites
To his long friend the minister Decres
Words that go heavily! . . .

VILLENEUVE (writing

"I am made the arbiter in vast designs
Whereof I see black outcomes. Do I this
Or do I that, success, that loves to jilt
Her anxious wooer for some careless blade,
Will not reward me. For, if I must pen it,
Demoralized past prayer in the marine--
Bad masts, bad sails, bad officers, bad men;
We cling to naval technics long outworn,
And time and opportunity do not avail me
To take up new. I have long suspected such,
But till I saw my helps, the Spanish ships,
I hoped somewhat.--Brest is my nominal port;
Yet if so, Calder will again attack--
Now reinforced by Nelson or Cornwallis--
And shatter my whole fleet. . . . Shall I admit
That my true inclination and desire
Is to make Cadiz straightway, and not Brest?
Alas! thereby I fail the Emperor;
But shame the navy less.--
Your friend, VILLENEUVE

[GENERAL LAURISTON enters.]

LAURISTON

Admiral, my missive to the Emperor,
Which I shall speed by special courier
From Ferrol this near eve, runs thus and thus:--
"Gravina's ships, in Ferrol here at hand,
Embayed but by a temporary wind,
Are all we now await. Combined with these
We sail herefrom to Brest; there promptly give
Cornwallis battle, and release Ganteaume;
Thence, all united, bearing Channelwards:
A step that sets in motion the first wheel
In the proud project of your Majesty
Now to be engined to the very close,
To wit: that a French fleet shall enter in
And hold the Channel four-and-twenty hours."--
Such clear assurance to the Emperor
That our intent is modelled on his will
I hasten to dispatch to him forthwith.(4)

VILLENEUVE

Yes, Lauriston. I sign to every word.

[Lauriston goes out. VILLENEUVE remains at his table in reverie.]

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

We may impress him under visible shapes
That seem to shed a silent circling doom;
He's such an one as can be so impressed,
And this much is among our privileges,
Well bounded as they be.--Let us draw near him.

[The Spirits of Years and of the Pities take the form of sea-birds,
which alight on the stern-balcony of VILLENEUVE's ship, immediately
outside his cabin window. VILLENEUVE after a while looks up and
sees the birds watching him with large piercing eyes.]

VILLENEUVE

My apprehensions even outstep their cause,
As though some influence smote through yonder pane.

[He gazes listlessly, and resumes his broodings.]

---Why dared I not disclose to him my thought,
As nightly worded by the whistling shrouds,
That Brest will never see our battled hulls
Helming to north in pomp of cannonry
To take the front in this red pilgrimage!
---If so it were, now, that I'd screen my skin
From risks of bloody business in the brunt,
My acts could scarcely wear a difference.
Yet I would die to-morrow--not ungladly--
So far removed is carcase-care from me.
For no self do these apprehensions spring,
But for the cause.--Yes, rotten is our marine,
Which, while I know, the Emperor knows not,
And the pale secret chills! Though some there be
Would beard contingencies and buffet all,
I'll not command a course so conscienceless.
Rather I'll stand, and face Napoleon's rage
When he shall learn what mean the ambiguous lines
That facts have forced from me.

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES (to the Spirit of Years)

O Eldest-born of the Unconscious Cause--
If such thou beest, as I can fancy thee--
Why dost thou rack him thus? Consistency
Might be preserved, and yet his doom remain.
His olden courage is without reproach;
Albeit his temper trends toward gaingiving!

SPIRIT OF THE YEARS

I say, as I have said long heretofore,
I know but narrow freedom. Feel'st thou not
We are in Its hand, as he?--Here, as elsewhere,
We do but as we may; no further dare.

[The birds disappear, and the scene is lost behind sea-mist.]

SCENE III

THE CAMP AND HARBOUR OF BOULOGNE

[The English coast in the distance. Near the Tour d'Ordre stands
a hut, with sentinels and aides outside; it is NAPOLEON's temporary
lodging when not at his headquarters at the Chateau of Pont-de-
Briques, two miles inland.]

DUMB SHOW

A courier arrives with dispatches, and enters the Emperor's quarters,
whence he emerges and goes on with other dispatches to the hut of
DECRES, lower down. Immediately after, NAPOLEON comes out from his
hut with a paper in his hand, and musingly proceeds towards an
eminence commanding the Channel.

Along the shore below are forming in a far-reaching line more
than a hundred thousand infantry. On the downs in the rear of
the camps fifteen thousand cavalry are manoeuvring, their
accoutrements flashing in the sun like a school of mackerel.
The flotilla lies in and around the port, alive with moving
figures.

With his head forward and his hands behind him the Emperor surveys
these animated proceedings in detail, but more frequently turns his
face toward the telegraph on the cliff to the southwest, erected to
signal when VILLENEUVE and the combined squadrons shall be visible
on the west horizon.

He summons one of the aides, who descends to the hut of DECRES.
DECRES comes out from his hut, and hastens to join the Emperor.
Dumb show ends.

[NAPOLEON and DECRES advance to the foreground of the scene.]

NAPOLEON

Decres, this action with Sir Robert Calder
Three weeks ago, whereof we dimly heard,
And clear details of which I have just unsealed,
Is on the whole auspicious for our plan.
It seems that twenty of our ships and Spain's--
None over eighty-gunned, and some far less--
Engaged the English off Cape Finisterre
With fifteen vessels of a hundred each.
We coolly fought and orderly as they,
And, but for mist, we had closed with victory.
Two English were much mauled, some Spanish damaged,
And Calder then drew off with his two wrecks
And Spain's in tow, we giving chase forthwith.
Not overtaking him our admiral,
Having the coast clear for his purposes,
Entered Coruna, and found order there
To open the port of Brest and come on hither.
Thus hastes the moment when the double fleet
Of Villeneuve and of Ganteaume should appear.

[He looks again towards the telegraph.]

DECRES (with hesitation)

And should they not appear, your Majesty?

NAPOLEON

Not? But they will; and do it early, too!
There's nothing hinders them. My God, they must,
For I have much before me when this stroke
At England's dealt. I learn from Talleyrand
That Austrian preparations threaten hot,
While Russia's hostile schemes are ripening,
And shortly must be met.--My plan is fixed:
I am prepared for each alternative.
If Villeneuve come, I brave the British coast,
Convulse the land with fear ('tis even now
So far distraught, that generals cast about
To find new modes of warfare; yea, design
Carriages to transport their infantry!).--
Once on the English soil I hold it firm,
Descend on London, and the while my men
Salute the dome of Paul's I cut the knot
Of all Pitt's coalitions; setting free
From bondage to a cold manorial caste
A people who await it.

[They stand and regard the chalky cliffs of England, till NAPOLEON
resumes]:

Should it be
Even that my admirals fail to keep the tryst--
A thing scarce thinkable, when all's reviewed--
I strike this seaside camp, cross Germany,
With these two hundred thousand seasoned men,
And pause not till within Vienna's walls
I cry checkmate. Next, Venice, too, being taken,
And Austria's other holdings down that way,
The Bourbons also driven from Italy,
I strike at Russia--each in turn, you note,
Ere they can act conjoined.
Report to me
What has been scanned to-day upon the main,
And on your passage down request them there
To send Daru this way.

DECRES (as he withdraws)

The Emperor can be sanguine. Scarce can I.
His letters are more promising than mine.
Alas, alas, Villeneuve, my dear old friend,
Why do you pen me this at such a time!

[He retires reading VILLENEUVE'S letter. The Emperor walks up and
down till DARU, his private secretary, joins him.]

NAPOLEON

Come quick, Daru; sit down upon the grass,
And write whilst I am in mind.

First to Villeneuve:--

"I trust, Vice-Admiral, that before this date
Your fleet has opened Brest, and gone. If not,
These lines will greet you there. But pause not, pray:
Waste not a moment dallying. Sail away:
Once bring my coupled squadrons Channelwards
And England's soil is ours. All's ready here,
The troops alert, and every store embarked.
Hold the nigh sea but four-and-twenty hours
And our vast end is gained."

Now to Ganteaume:--

"My telegraphs will have made known to you
My object and desire to be but this,
That you forbid Villeneuve to lose an hour
In getting fit and putting forth to sea,
To profit by the fifty first-rate craft
Wherewith I now am bettered. Quickly weigh,
And steer you for the Channel with all your strength.
I count upon your well-known character,
Your enterprize, your vigour, to do this.
Sail hither, then; and we will be avenged
For centuries of despite and contumely."

DARU

Shall a fair transcript, Sire, be made forthwith?

NAPOLEON

This moment. And the courier will depart
And travel without pause.

[DARU goes to his office a little lower down, and the Emperor
lingers on the cliffs looking through his glass.

The point of view shifts across the Channel, the Boulogne cliffs
sinking behind the water-line.]

SCENE IV

SOUTH WESSEX. A RIDGE-LIKE DOWN NEAR THE COAST

[The down commands a wide view over the English Channel in front
of it, including the popular Royal watering-place, with the Isle
of Slingers and its roadstead, where men-of-war and frigates are
anchored. The hour is ten in the morning, and the July sun glows
upon a large military encampment round about the foreground, and
warms the stone field-walls that take the place of hedges here.

Artillery, cavalry, and infantry, English and Hanoverian, are
drawn up for review under the DUKE OF CUMBERLAND and officers
of the staff, forming a vast military array, which extends
three miles, and as far as the downs are visible.

In the centre by the Royal Standard appears KING GEORGE on
horseback, and his suite. In a coach drawn by six cream-
coloured Hanoverian horses, QUEEN CHARLOTTE sits with three
Princesses; in another carriage with four horses are two more
Princesses. There are also present with the Royal Party the
LORD CHANCELLOR, LORD MULGRAVE, COUNT MUNSTER, and many other
luminaries of fashion and influence.

The Review proceeds in dumb show; and the din of many bands
mingles with the cheers. The turf behind the saluting-point
is crowded with carriages and spectators on foot.]

A SPECTATOR

And you've come to the sight, like the King and myself? Well, one
fool makes many. What a mampus o' folk it is here to-day! And what
a time we do live in, between wars and wassailings, the goblin o'
Boney, and King George in flesh and blood!

SECOND SPECTATOR

Yes. I wonder King George is let venture down on this coast, where
he might be snapped up in a moment like a minney by a her'n, so near
as we be to the field of Boney's vagaries! Begad, he's as like to
land here as anywhere. Gloucester Lodge could be surrounded, and
George and Charlotte carried off before he could put on his hat, or
she her red cloak and pattens!

THIRD SPECTATOR

'Twould be so such joke to kidnap 'em as you think. Look at the
frigates down there. Every night they are drawn up in a line
across the mouth of the Bay, almost touching each other; and
ashore a double line of sentinels, well primed with beer and
ammunition, one at the water's edge and the other on the
Esplanade, stretch along the whole front. Then close to the
Lodge a guard is mounted after eight o'clock; there be pickets
on all the hills; at the Harbour mouth is a battery of twenty
four-pounders; and over-right 'em a dozen six-pounders, and
several howitzers. And next look at the size of the camp of
horse and foot up here.

FIRST SPECTATOR

Everybody however was fairly gallied this week when the King went
out yachting, meaning to be back for the theatre; and the eight or
nine o'clock came, and never a sign of him. I don't know when 'a
did land; but 'twas said by all that it was a foolhardy pleasure
to take.

FOURTH SPECTATOR

He's a very obstinate and comical old gentleman; and by all account
'a wouldn't make port when asked to.

SECOND SPECTATOR

Lard, Lard, if 'a were nabbed, it wouldn't make a deal of difference!
We should have nobody to zing, and play singlestick to, and grin at
through horse-collars, that's true. And nobody to sign our few
documents. But we should rub along some way, goodnow.

FIRST SPECTATOR

Step up on this barrow; you can see better. The troopers now passing
are the York Hussars--foreigners to a man, except the officers--the
same regiment the two young Germans belonged to who were shot four
years ago. Now come the Light Dragoons; what a time they take to
get all past! Well, well! this day will be recorded in history.

SECOND SPECTATOR

Or another soon to follow it! (He gazes over the Channel.) There's
not a speck of an enemy upon that shiny water yet; but the Brest
fleet is zaid to have put to sea, to act in concert with the army
crossing from Boulogne; and if so the French will soon be here; when
God save us all! I've took to drinking neat, for, say I, one may
as well have innerds burnt out as shot out, and 'tis a good deal
pleasanter for the man that owns 'em. They say that a cannon-ball
knocked poor Jim Popple's maw right up into the futtock-shrouds at
the Nile, where 'a hung like a nightcap out to dry. Much good to
him his obeying his old mother's wish and refusing his allowance
o' rum!

[The bands play and the Review continues till past eleven o'clock.
Then follows a sham fight. At noon precisely the royal carriages
draw off the ground into the highway that leads down to the town
and Gloucester Lodge, followed by other equipages in such numbers
that the road is blocked. A multitude comes after on foot.
Presently the vehicles manage to proceed to the watering-place, and
the troops march away to the various camps as a sea-mist cloaks the
perspective.]

SCENE V

THE SAME. RAINBARROW'S BEACON, EGDON HEATH

[Night in mid-August of the same summer. A lofty ridge of
heathland reveals itself dimly, terminating in an abrupt slope,
at the summit of which are three tumuli. On the sheltered side
of the most prominent of these stands a hut of turves with a
brick chimney. In front are two ricks of fuel, one of heather
and furze for quick ignition, the other of wood, for slow burning.
Something in the feel of the darkness and in the personality of
the spot imparts a sense of uninterrupted space around, the view
by day extending from the cliffs of the Isle of Wight eastward
to Blackdon Hill by Deadman's Bay westward, and south across the
Valley of the Froom to the ridge that screens the Channel.

Two men with pikes loom up, on duty as beacon-keepers beside the
ricks.]

OLD MAN

Now, Jems Purchess, once more mark my words. Black'on is the point
we've to watch, and not Kingsbere; and I'll tell 'ee for why. If he
do land anywhere hereabout 'twill be inside Deadman's Bay, and the
signal will straightaway come from Black'on. But there thou'st
stand, glowering and staring with all thy eyes at Kingsbere! I tell
'ee what 'tis, Jem Purchess, your brain is softening; and you be
getting too old for business of state like ours!

YOUNG MAN

You've let your tongue wrack your few rames of good breeding, John.

OLD MAN

The words of my Lord-Lieutenant was, whenever you see Kingsbere-Hill
Beacon fired to the eastward, or Black'on to the westward, light up;
and keep your second fire burning for two hours. Was that our
documents or was it not?

YOUNG MAN

I don't gainsay it. And so I keep my eye on Kingsbere because that's
most likely o' the two, says I.

OLD MAN

That shows the curious depths of your ignorance. However, I'll have
patience, and say on. Didst ever larn geography?

YOUNG MAN

No. Nor no other corrupt practices.

OLD MAN

Tcht-tcht!--Well, I'll have patience, and put it to him in another
form. Dost know the world is round--eh? I warrant dostn't!

YOUNG MAN

I warrant I do!

OLD MAN

How d'ye make that out, when th'st never been to school?

YOUNG MAN

I larned it at church, thank God.

OLD MAN

Church? What have God A'mighty got to do with profane knowledge?
Beware that you baint blaspheming, Jems Purchess!

YOUNG MAN

I say I did, whether or no! 'Twas the zingers up in gallery that
I had it from. They busted out that strong with "the round world
and they that dwell therein," that we common fokes down under could
do no less than believe 'em.

OLD MAN

Canst be sharp enough in the wrong place as usual--I warrant canst!
However, I'll have patience with 'en and say on!--Suppose, now, my
hat is the world; and there, as might be, stands the Camp of Belong,
where Boney is. The world goes round, so, and Belong goes round too.
Twelve hours pass; round goes the world still--so. Where's Belong
now?

[A pause. Two other figures, a man's and a woman's, rise against
the sky out of the gloom.]

OLD MAN (shouldering his pike)

Who goes there? Friend or foe, in the King's name!

WOMAN

Piece o' trumpery! "Who goes" yourself! What d'ye talk o', John
Whiting! Can't your eyes earn their living any longer, then, that
you don't know your own neighbours? 'Tis Private Cantle of the
Locals and his wife Keziar, down at Bloom's-End--who else should
it be!

OLD MAN (lowering his pike)

A form o' words, Mis'ess Cantle, no more; ordained by his Majesty's
Gover'ment to be spoke by all we on sworn duty for the defence o' the
country. Strict rank-and-file rules is our only horn of salvation in
these times.--But, my dear woman, why ever have ye come lumpering up
to Rainbarrows at this time o' night?

WOMAN

We've been troubled with bad dreams, owing to the firing out at sea
yesterday; and at last I could sleep no more, feeling sure that
sommat boded of His coming. And I said to Cantle, I'll ray myself,
and go up to Beacon, and ask if anything have been heard or seen to-
night. And here we be.

OLD MAN

Not a sign or sound--all's as still as a churchyard. And how is
your good man?

PRIVATE (advancing)

Clk. I be all right! I was in the ranks, helping to keep the ground
at the review by the King this week. We was a wonderful sight--
wonderful! The King said so again and again.--Yes, there was he, and
there was I, though not daring to move a' eyebrow in the presence of
Majesty. I have come home on a night's leave--off there again to-
morrow. Boney's expected every day, the Lord be praised! Yes, our
hopes are to be fulfilled soon, as we say in the army.

OLD MAN

There, there, Cantle; don't ye speak quite so large, and stand
so over-upright. Your back is as holler as a fire-dog's. Do ye
suppose that we on active service here don't know war news? Mind
you don't go taking to your heels when the next alarm comes, as you
did at last year's.

PRIVATE

That had nothing to do with fighting, for I'm as bold as a lion when
I'm up, and "Shoulder Fawlocks!" sounds as common as my own name to
me. 'Twas--- (lowering his voice.) Have ye heard?

OLD MAN

To be sure we have.

PRIVATE

Ghastly, isn't it!

OLD MAN

Ghastly! Frightful!

YOUNG MAN (to Private)

He don't know what it is! That's his pride and puffery. What is it
that' so ghastly--hey?

PRIVATE

Well, there, I can't tell it. 'Twas that that made the whole eighty
of our company run away--though we be the bravest of the brave in
natural jeopardies, or the little boys wouldn't run after us and
call us and call us the "Bang-up-Locals."

WOMAN (in undertones)

I can tell you a word or two on't. It is about His victuals. They
say that He lives upon human flesh, and has rashers o' baby every
morning for breakfast--for all the world like the Cernal Giant in
old ancient times!

YOUNG MAN

Ye can't believe all ye hear.

PRIVATE

I only believe half. And I only own--such is my challengeful
character--that perhaps He do eat pagan infants when He's in the
desert. But not Christian ones at home. Oh no--'tis too much.

WOMAN

Whether or no, I sometimes--God forgive me!--laugh wi' horror at
the queerness o't, till I am that weak I can hardly go round the
house. He should have the washing of 'em a few times; I warrant
'a wouldn't want to eat babies any more!

[A silence, during which they gaze around at the dark dome of the
starless sky.]

YOUNG MAN

There'll be a change in the weather soon, by the look o't. I can
hear the cows moo in Froom Valley as if I were close to 'em, and
the lantern at Max Turnpike is shining quite plain.

OLD MAN

Well, come in and taste a drop o' sommat we've got here, that will
warm the cockles of your heart as ye wamble homealong. We housed
eighty tuns last night for them that shan't be named--landed at
Lullwind Cove the night afore, though they had a narrow shave with
the riding-officers this run.

[They make toward the hut, when a light on the west horizon becomes
visible, and quickly enlarges.]

YOUNG MAN

He's come!

OLD MAN

Come he is, though you do say it! This, then, is the beginning of
what England's waited for!

[They stand and watch the light awhile.]

YOUNG MAN

Just what you was praising the Lord for by-now, Private Cantle.

PRIVATE

My meaning was---

WOMAN (simpering)

Oh that I hadn't married a fiery sojer, to make me bring fatherless
children into the world, all through his dreadful calling! Why
didn't a man of no sprawl content me!

OLD MAN (shouldering his pike)

We can't heed your innocent pratings any longer, good neighbours,
being in the King's service, and a hot invasion on. Fall in, fall
in, mate. Straight to the tinder-box. Quick march!

[The two men hasten to the hut, and are heard striking a flint
and steel. Returning with a lit lantern they ignite a blaze.
The private of the Locals and his wife hastily retreat by the
light of the flaming beacon, under which the purple rotundities
of the heath show like bronze, and the pits like the eye-sockets
of a skull.]

SPIRIT SINISTER

This is good, and spells blood. (To the Chorus of the Years.) I
assume that It means to let us carry out this invasion with pleasing
slaughter, so as not to disappoint my hope?

SEMICHORUS I OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

We carry out? Nay, but should we
Ordain what bloodshed is to be it!

SEMICHORUS II

The Immanent, that urgeth all,
Rules what may or may not befall!

SEMICHORUS I

Ere systemed suns were globed and lit
The slaughters of the race were writ,

SEMICHORUS II

And wasting wars, by land and sea,
Fixed, like all else, immutably!

SPIRIT SINISTER

Well; be it so. My argument is that War makes rattling good
history; but Peace is poor reading. So I back Bonaparte for
the reason that he will give pleasure to posterity.

SPIRIT OF THE PITIES

Gross hypocrite!

CHORUS OF THE YEARS

We comprehend him not.

[The day breaks over the heathery upland, on which the beacon
is still burning. The morning reveals the white surface of a
highway which, coming from the royal watering-place beyond the
hills, stretched towards the outskirts of the heath and passes
away eastward.]

DUMB SHOW

Moving figures and vehicles dot the surface of the road, all
progressing in one direction, away from the coast. In the
foreground the shapes appear as those of civilians, mostly on
foot, but many in gigs and tradesmen's carts and on horseback.
When they reach an intermediate hill some pause and look back;
others enter on the next decline landwards without turning
their heads.

From the opposite horizon numerous companies of volunteers, in the
local uniform of red with green facings,(5) are moving coastwards in
companies; as are also irregular bodies of pikemen without uniform;
while on the upper slopes of the downs towards the shore regiments
of the line are visible, with cavalry and artillery; all passing
over to the coast.

At a signal from the Chief Intelligences two Phantoms of Rumour enter
on the highway in the garb of country-men.

FIRST PHANTOM (to Pedestrians)

Wither so fast, good neighbours, and before breakfast, too? Empty
bellies be bad to vamp on.

FIRST PEDESTRIAN

He's landed west'ard, out by Abbot's Beach. And if you have property
you'll save it and yourselves, as we are doing!

SECOND PEDESTRIAN

All yesterday the firing at Boulogne
Was like the seven thunders heard in Heaven
When the fierce angel spoke. So did he draw
Full-manned, flat-bottomed for the shallowest shore,
Dropped down to west, and crossed our frontage here.
Seen from above they specked the water-shine
As will a flight of swallows toward dim eve,
Descending on a smooth and loitering stream
To seek some eyot's sedge.

SECOND PHANTOM

We are sent to enlighten you and ease your soul.
Even now a courier canters to the port
To check the baseless scare.

FIRST PEDESTRIAN

These be inland men who, I warrant 'ee, don't know a lerret from a
lighter! Let's take no heed of such, comrade; and hurry on!

FIRST PHANTOM

Will you not hear
That what was seen behind the midnight mist,
Their oar-blades tossing twinkles to the moon,
Was but a fleet of fishing-craft belated
By reason of the vastness of their haul?

FIRST PEDESTRIAN

Hey? And d'ye know it?--Now I look back to the top o' Rudgeway
the folk seem as come to a pause there.--Be this true, never again
do I stir my stumps for any alarm short of the Day of Judgment!
Nine times has my rheumatical rest been broke in these last three
years by hues and cries of Boney upon us. 'Od rot the feller;
now he's made a fool of me once more, till my inside is like a
wash-tub, what wi' being so gallied, and running so leery!--But
how if you be one of the enemy, sent to sow these tares, so to
speak it, these false tidings, and coax us into a fancied safety?
Hey, neighbours? I don't, after all, care for this story!

SECOND PEDESTRIAN

Onwards again!
If Boney's come, 'tis best to be away;
And if he's not, why, we've a holiday!

[Exeunt Pedestrians. The Spirits of Rumour vanish, while the scene
seems to become involved in the smoke from the beacon, and slowly
disappears.(6)]

ACT THIRD

SCENE I

BOULOGNE. THE CHATEAU AT PONT-DE-BRIQUES

[A room in the Chateau, which is used as the Imperial quarters.
The EMPEROR NAPOLEON, and M. GASPARD MONGE, the mathematician
and philosopher, are seated at breakfast.]

OFFICER

Monsieur the Admiral Decres awaits
A moment's audience with your Majesty,
Or now, or later.

NAPOLEON

Bid him in at once--
At last Villeneuve has raised the Brest blockade!

[Enter DECRES.]

What of the squadron's movements, good Decres?
Brest opened, and all sailing Channelwards,
Like swans into a creek at feeding-time?

DECRES

Such news was what I'd hoped, your Majesty,
To send across this daybreak. But events
Have proved intractable, it seems, of late;
And hence I haste in person to report
The featless facts that just have dashed my---

NAPOLEON (darkening)

Well?

DECRES

Sire, at the very juncture when the fleets
Sailed out from Ferrol, fever raged aboard
"L'Achille" and "l'Algeciras": later on,
Mischief assailed our Spanish comrades' ships;
Several ran foul of neighbours; whose new hurts,
Being added to their innate clumsiness,
Gave hap the upper hand; and in quick course
Demoralized the whole; until Villeneuve,
Judging that Calder now with Nelson rode,
And prescient of unparalleled disaster
If he pushed on in so disjoint a trim,
Bowed to the inevitable; and thus, perforce,
Leaving to other opportunity
Brest and the Channel scheme, with vast regret
Steered southward into Cadiz.

NAPOLEON (having risen from the table)

What!--Is, then,
My scheme of years to be disdained and dashed
By this man's like, a wretched moral coward,
Whom you must needs foist on me as one fit
For full command in pregnant enterprise!

MONGE (aside)

I'm one too many here! Let me step out
Till this black squall blows over. Poor Decres.
Would that this precious project, disinterred
From naval archives of King Louis' reign,
Had ever lingered fusting where 'twas found.(7)

[Exit Monge.]

NAPOLEON

To help a friend you foul a country's fame!--
Decres, not only chose you this Villeneuve,
But you have nourished secret sour opinions
Akin to his, and thereby helped to scathe
As stably based a project as this age
Has sunned to ripeness. Ever the French Marine
Have you decried, ever contrived to bring
Despair into the fleet! Why, this Villeneuve,
Your man, this rank incompetent, this traitor--
Of whom I asked no more than fight and lose,
Provided he detain the enemy--
A frigate is too great for his command!
what shall be said of one who, at a breath,
When a few casual sailors find them sick,
When falls a broken boom or slitten sail,
When rumour hints that Calder's tubs and Nelson's
May join, and bob about in company,
Is straightway paralyzed, and doubles back
On all his ripened plans!--
Bring him, ay, bodily; hale him out from Cadiz,
Compel him up the Channel by main force,
And, having doffed him his supreme command,
Give the united squadrons to Ganteaume!

DECRES

Your Majesty, while umbraged, righteously,
By an event my tongue dragged dry to tell,
Makes my hard situation over-hard
By your ascription to the actors in't
Of motives such and such. 'Tis not for me
To answer these reproaches, Sire, and ask
Why years-long mindfulness of France's fame
In things marine should win no confidence.
I speak; but am unable to convince!

True is it that this man has been my friend
Since boyhood made us schoolmates; and I say
That he would yield the heel-drops of his heart
With joyful readiness this day, this hour,
To do his country service. Yet no less
Is it his drawback that he sees too far.
And there are times, Sire, when a shorter sight
Charms Fortune more. A certain sort of bravery
Some people have--to wit, this same Lord Nelson--
Which is but fatuous faith in one's own star
Swoln to the very verge of childishness,
(Smugly disguised as putting trust in God,
A habit with these English folk); whereby
A headstrong blindness to contingencies
Carries the actor on, and serves him well
In some nice issues clearer sight would mar.
Such eyeless bravery Villeneuve has not;
But, Sire, he is no coward.

NAPOLEON

Well, have it so!--What are we going to do?
My brain has only one wish--to succeed!

DECRES

My voice wanes weaker with you, Sire; is nought!
Yet these few words, as Minister of Marine,
I'll venture now.--My process would be thus:--
Our projects for a junction of the fleets
Being well-discerned and read by every eye
Through long postponement, England is prepared.
I would recast them. Later in the year
Form sundry squadrons of this massive one,
Harass the English till the winter time,
Then rendezvous at Cadiz; where leave half
To catch the enemy's eye and call their cruizers,
While rounding Scotland with the other half,
You make the Channel by the eastern strait,
Cover the passage of our army-boats,
And plant the blow.

NAPOLEON

And what if they perceive
Our Scottish route, and meet us eastwardly?

DECRES

I have thought of it, and planned a countermove;
I'll write the scheme more clearly and at length,
And send it hither to your Majesty.

NAPOLEON

Do so forthwith; and send me in Daru.

[Exit DECRES. Re-enter MONGE.]

Our breakfast, Monge, to-day has been cut short,
And these discussions on the ancient tongues
Wherein you shine, must yield to modern moils.
Nay, hasten not away; though feeble wills,
Incompetence, ay, imbecility,
In some who feign to serve the cause of France,
Do make me other than myself just now!--
Ah--here's Daru.

[DARU enters. MONGE takes his leave.]

Daru, sit down and write. Yes, here, at once,
This room will serve me now. What think you, eh?
Villeneuve has just turned tail and run to Cadiz.
So quite postponed--perhaps even overthrown--
My long-conned project against yonder shore
As 'twere a juvenile's snow-built device
But made for melting! Think of it, Daru,--
My God, my God, how can I talk thereon!
A plan well judged, well charted, well upreared,
To end in nothing! . . . Sit you down and write.

[NAPOLEON walks up and down, and resumes after a silence.]

Write this.--A volte-face 'tis indeed!--Write, write!

DARU (holding pen to paper)

I wait, your Majesty.

NAPOLEON

First Bernadotte--
Yes; "Bernadotte moves out from Hanover
Through Hesse upon Wurzburg and the Danube.--
Marmont from Holland bears along the Rhine,
And joins at Mainz and Wurzburg Bernadotte . . .

While these prepare their routes the army here
Will turn its back on Britain's tedious shore,
And, closing up with Augereau at Brest,
Set out full force due eastward. . . .
By the Black forest feign a straight attack,
The while our purpose is to skirt its left,
Meet in Franconia Bernadotte and Marmont;
Traverse the Danube somewhat down from Ulm;
Entrap the Austrian column by their rear;
Surround them, cleave them; roll upon Vienna,
Where, Austria settled, I engage the Tsar,
While Massena detains in Italy
The Archduke Charles.

Foreseeing such might shape,
Each high-and by-way to the Danube hence
I have of late had measured, mapped, and judged;
Such spots as suit for depots chosen and marked;
Each regiment's daily pace and bivouac
Writ tablewise for ready reference;
All which itineraries are sent herewith."

So shall I crush the two gigantic sets
Upon the Empire, now grown imminent.
--Let me reflect.--First Bernadotte---but nay,
The courier to Marmont must go first.
Well, well.--The order of our march from hence
I will advise. . . . My knock at George's door
With bland inquiries why his royal hand
Withheld due answer to my friendly lines,
And tossed the irksome business to his clerks,
Is thus perforce delayed. But not for long.
Instead of crossing, thitherward I tour
By roundabout contrivance not less sure!

DARU

I'll bring the writing to your Majesty.

[NAPOLEON and DARU go out severally.]

CHORUS OF THE YEARS (aerial music)

Recording Angel, trace
This bold campaign his thought has spun apace--
One that bids fair for immortality
Among the earthlings--if immortal deeds
May be ascribed to so extemporary
And transient a race!
It will be called, in rhetoric and rhyme,
As son to sire succeeds,
A model for the tactics of all time;
"The Great Campaign of that so famed year Five,"
By millions of mankind not yet alive.

SCENE II

THE FRONTIERS OF UPPER AUSTRIA AND BAVARIA

[A view of the country from mid-air, at a point south of the
River Inn, which is seen as a silver thread, winding northward
between its junction with the Salza and the Danube, and forming
the boundaries of the two countries. The Danube shows itself as
a crinkled satin riband, stretching from left to right in the
far background of the picture, the Inn discharging its waters
into the larger river.]

DUMB SHOW

A vast Austrian army creeps dully along the mid-distance, in
the detached masses and columns of a whitish cast. The columns
insensibly draw nearer to each other, and are seen to be converging
from the east upon the banks of the Inn aforesaid.

A RECORDING ANGEL (in recitative)

This movement as of molluscs on a leaf,
Which from our vantage here we scan afar,
Is one manoeuvred by the famous Mack
To countercheck Napoleon, still believed
To be intent on England from Boulogne,
And heedless of such rallies in his rear.
Mack's enterprise is now to cross Bavaria--
Beneath us stretched in ripening summer peace
As field unwonted for these ugly jars--

Outraged Bavaria, simmering in disquiet
At Munich down behind us, Isar-fringed,
And torn between his fair wife's hate of France
And his own itch to gird at Austrian bluff
For riding roughshod through his territory,
Wavers from this to that. The while Time hastes
The eastward streaming of Napoleon's host,
As soon we see.

The silent insect-creep of the Austrian columns towards the banks of
the Inn continues to be seen till the view fades to nebulousness and
dissolves.

SCENE III

BOULOGNE. THE ST. OMER ROAD

[It is morning at the end of August, and the road stretches out
of the town eastward.

The divisions of the "Army-for-England" are making preparations
to march. Some portions are in marching order. Bands strike
up, and the regiments start on their journey towards the Rhine
and Danube. Bonaparte and his officers watch the movements from
an eminence. The soldiers, as they pace along under their eagles
with beaming eyes, sing "Le Chant du Depart," and other martial
songs, shout "Vive l'Empereur!" and babble of repeating the days
of Italy, Egypt, Marengo, and Hohenlinden.]

NAPOLEON

Anon to England!

CHORUS OF INTELLIGENCES (aerial music)

If Time's weird threads so weave!

[The scene as it lingers exhibits the gradual diminishing of
the troops along the roads through the undulating August
landscape, till each column is seen but as a train of dust;
and the disappearance of each marching mass over the eastern
horizon.]

ACT FOURTH

SCENE I

KING GEORGE'S WATERING-PLACE, SOUTH WESSEX

[A sunny day in autumn. A room in the red-brick royal residence
know as Gloucester Lodge.(8)

At a front triple-lighted window stands a telescope on a tripod.
Through the open middle sash is visible the crescent-curved
expanse of the Bay as a sheet of brilliant translucent green,
on which ride vessels of war at anchor. On the left hand white
cliffs stretch away till they terminate in St. Aldhelm's Head,
and form a background to the level water-line on that side. In
the centre are the open sea and blue sky. A near headland rises
on the right, surmounted by a battery, over which appears the
remoter bald grey brow of the Isle of Slingers.

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