Scene I.--A Street. Twilight
Clara, Brackenburg, Burghers
Brackenburg. Dearest, for Heaven's sake, what wouldst thou do?
Clara. Come with me, Brackenburg! Thou canst not know the people, we are
certain to rescue him; for what can equal their love for him? Each feels, I could
swear it, the burning desire to deliver him, to avert danger from a life so precious,
and to restore freedom to the most free. Come! A voice only is wanting to call
them together. In their souls the memory is still fresh of all they owe him, and well
they know that his mighty arm alone shields them from destruction. For his sake,
for their own sake, they must peril everything. And what do we peril? At most, our
lives, which if he perish, are not worth preserving.
Brackenburg. Unhappy girl! Thou seest not the power that holds us fettered as
with bands of iron.
Clara. To me it does not appear invincible. Let us not lose time in idle words.
Here comes some of our old, honest, valiant burghers! Hark ye, friends!
Neighbours! Hark! --Say, how fares it with Egmont?
Carpenter. What does the girl want? Tell her to hold her peace.
Clara. Step nearer, that we may speak low, till we are united and more strong.
Not a moment is to be lost! Audacious tyranny, that dared to fetter him, already
lifts the dagger against his life. Oh, my friends! With the advancing twilight my
anxiety grows more intense. I dread this night. Come! Let us disperse; let us
hasten from quarter to quarter, and call out the burghers. Let every one grasp his
ancient weapons. In the market-place we meet again, and every one will be
carried onward by our gathering stream. The enemy will see themselves
surrounded, overwhelmed, and be compelled to yield. How can a handful of
slaves resist us? And he will return among us, he will see himself rescued, and
can for once thank us, us, who are already so deeply in his debt. He will behold,
perchance, ay doubtless, he will again behold the morn's red dawn in the free
Carpenter. What ails thee, maiden?
Clara. Can ye misunderstand me? I speak of the Count! I speak of Egmont.
Jetter. Speak not the name! 'tis deadly.