Supplementary Appendix 400h.1

The Capuchin’s Discourse in Schiller’s Wallenstein’s Camp [*]


Scene VIII. Enter Miners, and play a Waltz — at first slowly, and after wards quicker. — The First Yager dances with the Girl, the Sutlerwoman with the Recruit. — The Girl springs away, and the Yager, pursuing her, seizes hold of a Capuchin Friar just entering.

Capuchin. Hurrah! halloo! tol, lol, de rol, le!
The fun’s at its height! I’ll not be away!
Is’t an army of Christians that join in such works?
Or are we all turn’d Anabaptists and Turks?
Is the Sabbath a day for this sport in the land,
As tho’ the great God had the gout in his hand,
And thus couldn’t smite in the midst of your band?
Say, is this a time for your revelling shouts,
For your banquetings, feasts, and holiday bouts?
Quid hie statis otiosi? declare
Why, folding your arms, stand ye lazily there?
While the furies of war on the Danube now fare,
And Bavaria’s bulwark is lying full low,
And Ratisbon’s fast in the clutch of the foe.
Yet, the army lies here in Bohemia still,
And caring for nought, so their paunches they fill!
Bottles far rather than battles you’ll get,
And your bills than your broad swords more readily wet
With the wenches, I ween is, your dearest concern,
And you’d rather roast oxen than Oxenstiern.
In sackcloth and ashes while Christendom’s grieving,
No thought has the soldier his guzzle of leaving.
Tis a time of misery, groans, and tears!
Portentous the face of the heavens appears!
And forth from the clouds behold blood-red,
The Lord’s war-mantle is downward spread —
While the comet is thrust as a threatening rod,
From the window of Heaven by the hand of God.
The world is but one vast house of woe,
The Ark of the Church stems a bloody flow,
The Holy Empire — God help the same!
Has wretchedly sunk to a hollow name.
The Rhine’s gay stream has a gory gleam,
The cloister’s nests are robbed by roysters;
The church-lands now are changed to lurch-lands;
Abbacies, and all other holy foundations
Now are but Robber-sees — rogues’ habitations
And thus is each once-blest German state,
Deep sunk in the doom of the desolate!
Whence comes all this? 0, that will I tell —
It comes of your doings, of sin, and of hell;
Of the horrible, heathenish lives ye lead,
Soldiers and officers, all of a breed.
For sin is the magnet, on every hand,
That draws your steel throughout the land.
As the onion causes the tear to flow,
So Vice must ever be followed by Woe —
The W duly succeeds the V,
This is the order of A, B, C.
Ubi erit victoria spes.
Si offenditur Deus!
which says,
How, pray ye, shall victory e’er come to pass,
If thus you play truant from sermon and mass,
And do nothing but lazily loll o’er the glass?
The woman, we’re told in the Testament,
Found the penny, in search whereof she went.
Saul met with his father’s asses again,
And Joseph his precious fraternal train,
But he, who ‘mong soldiers shall hope to see
God’s fear, or shame, or discipline — he
From his toil, beyond doubt, will baffled return,
Tho’ a hundred lamps in the search he burn
To the wilderness preacher, th’ Evangelist says.
The soldiers, too, throng’d to repent of their ways,
And had themselves christen’d in former days.
Quid faciemus ncs t they said:
Tow’rd Abraham’s bosom what path must we tread?
Et ait illis, and, said he,
Neminem concutiatis;
From bother and wrongs leave your neighbours free.
Neque calumniam faciatis;
And deal nor in slander nor lies, d’ye see?
Contenti estote — content ye, pray,
Stipendiis vestris — with your pay —
And curse for ever each evil way.

There is a command — thou shalt not utter
The name of the Lord thy God, in vain;
But, where is it men most blasphemies mutter?
Why here, in Duke Friedland’s head quarters, ’tis plain
If for every thunder! — and every blast!
Which blazing ye from your tongue-points cast,
The bells were but rung, in the country round,
Not a bellman, I ween, would there soon be found;
And if for each and ev’ry unholy prayer
Which to vent from your jabbering jaws you dare,
From your noddles were pluck’d but the smallest hair,
Ev’ry crop would be smooth’d ere the sun went down,
Tho’ at morn ’twere as bushy as Absalom’s crown.
Now Joshua, methinks, was a soldier as well —
By the arm of King David the Philistine fell;
But where do we find it written, I pray,
That they ever blasphemed in this villanous way?
One would think ye need stretch your jaws no more,
To cry, ” God help us!” than “Zounds!” to roar.
But, by the liquor that’s pour’d in the cask, we know
With what it will bubble and overflow.

Again, it is written— thou shalt not steal,
And this you follow, i’fait! to the letter,
For open faced robbery suits ye better.
The gripe of your vulture claws you fix
On all — and your wiles and rascally tricks
Make the gold unhid in our coffers now,
And the calf unsafe while yet in the cow —
Ye take both the egg and the hen, I vow.
Contenti estote — the preacher said;
Which means — be content with your army bread.
But how should the slaves not from duty swerve
The mischief begins with the lord they serve
Just like the members so is the head.
I should like to know who can tell me his creed.

First Yager. Sir Priest, ‘gainst ourselves rail on as you will —
Of the General we warn you to breathe no ill

Capuchin. Ne custodias gregem meant!
An Ahab is he, and a Jerobeam,
Who the people from faith’s unerring way,
To the worship of idols would turn astray

Trumpeter and Recruit. Let us not hear that again, we pray.

Capuchin. Such a Bramarbas, whose iron tooth
Would seize all the strongholds of earth, forsooth! —
Did he not boast, with ungodly tongue,
That Stralsund must needs to his grasp be wrung,

Though to heaven itself with a chain ’twere strung?

Trumpeter. Will none put a stop to his slanderous bawl?

Capuchin. A wizard he is! — and a sorcerer Saul!
Holofernes! — a Jehu! — denying, we know,
Like St. Peter, his Master and Lord below;
And hence must he quail when the cock doth crow —

Both Yagers. Now, parson, prepare; for thy doom is nigh.

Capuchin. A fox more cunning than Herod I trow —

Trumpeter and both Yagers (pressing against him). Silence, again, — if thou wouldst not die!

Croats (interfering). Stick to it, father; we’ll shield you, ne’er fear,
The close of your preachment now let’s hear.

Capuchin (still louder). A Nebuchadnezzar, in towering pride!
And a vile and heretic sinner beside!
He calls himself rightly the stone of a wall;
For, faith! he’s a stumbling-stone to us all.
And ne’er can the Emperor have peace indeed,
Till of Friedland himself the land is freed.

[During the last passage, which he pronounces in an elevated voice, he has been gradually retreating, the Croats keeping the other Soldiers off]


[*] Dramatic Works of Friedrich Schiller: Wallenstein and Wilhelm Tell, trans. James Churchill (London 1908), 20–24, Wallenstein’s Camp, scene 8. Illustration from Schiller’s Works: Illustrated by the Greatest German Artists, ed. J. G. Fischer, vol. 2 (Philadelphia 1883), plate following p. 122. Back.

Translation © 2017 Doug Stott