Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Where is the apple?- Ere all's ready, 't will
Be night. As well expect me, were I dead,
To draw a bow, as now!-To-morrow, Gessler.

GESSLER. Hadst thou not lingered 130 Tell. It were done—I know.

It shall be done to-morrow, wilt thou grant
The time.—'Tis night already!

GESSLER. Well — to-morrow! Take them to separate dungeons! 135 Tell. To the same!

He's but a child !-- He has his part to play!
I would prepare him for it!—It may be
His last night. Let him spend it with his father!

GESSLER. To the same dungeon! 140 Tell. Now, my child, thy hand! [They go out severally.

GLOSSARY. Exquisite; instinctively; wist; gust; prodigy; essayed.
STUDY. Why was Gessler startled at learning his prisoner's name? What

had he heard about Tell? “I'll take exquisite vengeance”: vengeance
for what? On what condition did he propose to spare the lives of Tell
and Albert? Why would this be "exquisite" vengeance? Why does
Tell order his chains put on again? Why is Tell unable to make up his
mind? On what grounds does Tell ask a postponement till the morrow?
Why is Gessler willing to grant his request and also to allow Albert to
spend the night with his father? Would this, perhaps, make Tell's suffer-
ings of mind greater?

III. THE TYRANT's Doom

[The Swiss patriots, upon hearing that Tell and his son are in the hands of Gessler, gather in force and proceed from various directions toward the governor's castle. Tell secures a postponement of the test of his marksmanship, thus giving the Swiss opportunity to carry out their plans, with the final results indicated in the scene that follows.]

Enter, slowly, Burghers and Women, GESSLER, TELL, ALBERT, and Soldiersone bearing TELL's bow and quiver another with a basket of apples. • Gessler. That is your ground. Now shall they measure

thence A hundred paces. Take the distance.

TELL. Is
The line a true one?

GESSLER. True or not, what is't
To thee?

Tell. What is't to me? A little thing,
A very little thing—A yard or two
Is nothing here or there—were it a wolf
I shot at! Never mind!

GESSLER. Be thankful, slave,
Our grace accords thee life on any terms.

Tell. I will be thankful, Gessler!— Villain, stop!
You measure to the sun!

GESSLER. And what of that?
What matter, whether to or from the sun?

Tell. I'd have it at my back!—The sun should shine
Upon the mark, and not on him that shoots.
I cannot see to shoot against the sun!-
I will not shoot against the sun!
GESSLER. Give him his way!—Thou hast cause to bless my

mercy.

Tell. I shall remember it. I'd like to see The apple I'm to shoot at.

SOLDIER (with the basket of apples). Here!

GESSLER. Show me
The basket!—There —

Tell. You've picked the smallest one.
GESSLER. I know I have.

Tell. Oh! do you?— But you see
The color on’t is dark—I'd have it light,
To see it better.

GESSLER. Take it as it is:
Thy skill will be the greater if thou hit’st it.

Tell. True!— True!—I didn't think of that — I wonder
I did not think of that.—Give me some chance

35 To save my boy! I will not murder him

30

If I can help it-for the honor of
The form thou wear'st, if all the heart be gone.
GESSLER. Well, choose thyself.

(Hands a basket of apples. Tell takes one. 40 TELL. Have I a friend among The lookers on?

VERNER (a patriot in league with TELL). Here, Tell!

Tell. I thank thee, Verner!
He is a friend that does not mind a storm
45 To shake a hand with us. I must be brief.
When once the bow is drawn, we cannot take
The shot too soon. Verner, whatever be
The issue of this hour, the common cause
Must not stand still. Let not to-morrow's sun
50 Set on the tyrant's banner! Verner! Verner!

The boy!—the boy!—Think'st thou he has the courage
To stand it?

VERNER. Yes.
TELL. Does he tremble?
VERNER. No.
Tell. Art sure?
VERNER. I am.
TELL. How looks he?

VERNER. Clear and smilingly. 60 If you doubt it-look yourself.

Tell. No-no-my friend, To hear it is enough.

VERNER. He bears himself So much above his years— 65 TELL. I know!—I know.

VERNER. With constancy so modest

TELL. I was sure He would

VERNER. And looks with such relying love 70 And reverence upon you

75

TELL. Man! Man! Man!
No more! Already I'm too much the father
To act the man!— Verner, no more, my friend.
I would be flint-flint-flint! Don't make me feel
I'm not-You do not mind me!—Take the boy
And set him, Verner, with his back to me.-
Set him upon his knees-and place the apple
Upon his head, so that the stem may front me-
Thus, Verner-Charge him to keep steady— Tell him
I'll hit the apple!— Verner, do all this
More briefly than I tell it thee.

VERNER. Come, Albert!
ALBERT. May I not speak with him before I go?
VERNER. No.
ALBERT. I would only kiss his hand.
VERNER. You must not.
ALBERT. I must!—I cannot go from him without!
VERNER. It is his will you should.

ALBERT. His will, is it?
I am content, then-come.
Tell. My boy!

[Holding out his arms to him. ALBERT. My father!

[Running into Tell's arms. TELL. If thou can'st bear it, should not I?—Go now, My son — and keep in mind that I can shoot. Go, boy-Be thou but steady, I shall hit The apple. (Kisses him.) Go!—God bless thee!—Go!—My bow!

[One hands him the bow.
Thou wilt not fail thy master, wilt thou? — Thou
Hast never failed him yet, old servant.— No!
I'm sure of thee — I know thy honesty,
Thou’rt stanch!-Stanch!—I'd deserve to find thee treacherous, 100
Could I suspect thee so. Come, I will stake
My all upon thee! Let me see my quiver.

GESSLER. Give him a single arrow.
TELL. Do you shoot?

90

95

105 GESSLER. I do.

Tell. Is't so you pick an arrow, friend? The point, you see, is blunt; the feather jagged; That's all the use 't is fit for.

[Breaks it. GESSLER. Let him have 110 Another.

Tell. Why, 'tis better than the first, But yet not good enough for such an aim As I'm to take. 'Tis heavy in the shaft;

I'll not shoot with it! (Throws it away.) Let me see my quiver. 115 Bring it! 'tis not one arrow in a dozen .

I'd take to shoot with at a dove, much less
A dove like that! What is 't you fear? I'm but
A naked man!—A wretched naked man!

Your helpless thrall, alone in the midst of you, 120 With every one of you a weapon in

His hand. What can I do in such a strait
With all the arrows in that quiver? Come,
Will you give it me or not?

GESSLER. It matters not.
i25 Show him the quiver. You're resolved, I see,
Nothing shall please you.

[TELL kneels and picks out an arrow, which he hides under

his vest, and then selects another. Tell. Am I so?—That's strange, That's very strange!- Is the boy ready?

VERNER. Yes. 130 TELL. I'm ready too!- Keep silence, every one!

And stir not for my child's sake!— And let me have Your prayers — your prayers—and be my witnesses, That if his life's in peril from my hand, 'Tis only for the chance of saving it! 135 Now, friends, for mercy's sake keep motionless And silent.

[TELL shoots, and a shout of wonder and exultation bursts from the crowd. TELL falls on his knees and with difficulty supports himself.

« ZurückWeiter »