Verner. Ah! Albert! What have you there?
Albert. My bow and arrows, Verner.
Ver. When will you use them like your father, boy?
brag! There's not an archer
In all Helvetia can compare with him.
Alb. But I'm his son; and when I am a man
I may be like him. Verner, do I brag,
To think I some time may be like my father?
If so, then is it he that teaches me;
For, ever as I wonder at his skill,
He calls me boy, and says I must do more
Ere I become a man.
you be such
A man as he—if heaven wills, better—I'll
Not quarrel with its work; yet 'twill content me
If you are only such a man.
Alb. I'll show you
How I can shoot (goes out to fix the mark.)
Ver. Nestling as he is, he is the making of a bird
Will own no cowering wing.
Alb. Now, Verner, look! (shoots) There's within
Ver. Oh, fy! it wants a hand. [Exit Verner.
Alb. A hand's
An inch for me. I'll hit it yet. Now for it.
Tell. That's scarce a miss that comes so near the mark?
Well aimed, young archer! With what ease he bends
The bow. To see those sinews, who'd believe
Such strength did lodge in them? That little arm,
His mother's palm can span, may help, anon,
To pull a sinewy tyrant from his seat,
And from their chains a prostrate people lift
To liberty. I'd be content to die,
Living to see that day! What, Albert!
Tell. You raise the bow
Too fast. (Albert continues shooting.)
Bring it slowly to the eye.—You've missed.
How often have you hit the mark to-day?
Tell. You're not steady. I perceive
You wavered now. Stand firm. Let every limb
Be braced as marble, and as motionless.
Stand like the sculptor's statue on the gate
Of Altorf, that looks life, yet neither breathes
Nor stirs. (Albert shoots) That's better!
See well the mark. Rivet your eye to it
There let it stick, fast as the arrow would,
Could you but send it there. (Albert shoots)
You've missed again! How would you fare,
Suppose a wolf should cross your path, and you
Alone, with but your bow, and only time
To fix a single arrow? 'Twould not do
To miss the wolf! You said the other day,
Were you a man you'd not let Gesler live—
'Twas easy to say that. Suppose you, now,
Your life or his depended on that shot!—
Take care! That's Gesler!—Now for liberty!
Right to the tyrant's heart! (hits the mark) Well done, my boy!
Come here. How early were you up?
Tell. Ay, strive with him. He never lies abed
When it is time to rise. Be like the sun.
Alb. What you would have me like, I'll be like,
As far as will to labor joined can make me.
Tell. Well said, my boy! Knelt you when you got up To-day?
Alb. I did; and do so every day.
Tell. I know you do! And think you, when you kneel,
To whom you kneel?
Alb. To Him who made me, father.
Alb. The name of Him who died
For me and all men, that all men and I
Tell. That's right. Remember that my son:
Forget all things but that—remember that!
'Tis more than friends or fortune; clothing, food;
All things on earth; yea, life itself!—It is
To live, when these are gone, when they are naught—
With God! My son remember that!
Tell. I'm glad you value what you're taught.
That is the lesson of content, my son;
He who finds which has all—who misses, nothing.
Alb. Content is a good thing.
Tell. A thing, the good
Alone can profit by. But go, Albert,
Reach thy cap and wallet, and thy mountain staff.
Don't keep me waiting. [Exit Albert.
Tell. (taking Albert by the hand). Now mark me, Albert
Dost thou fear the snow,
The ice-field, or the hail flaw? Carest thou for
The mountain mist that settles on the peak,
When thou art upon it? Dost thou tremble at
The torrent roaring from the deep ravine,
Along whose shaking ledge thy track doth lie?
Or faintest thou at the thunder-clap, when on
The hill thou art o'ertaken by the cloud,
And it doth burst around thee? Thou must travel
Alb. I'm ready; say all night again.
Tell. The mountains are to cross, for thou must reach
Mount Faigel by the dawn.
Alb. Not sooner shall
The dawn be there than I.
Tell. Heaven speeding thee.
Tell. Show me thy staff. Art sure
Of the point? I think 'tis loose. No—stay! 'Twill do.
Caution is speed when danger's to be passed.
Examine well the crevice. Do not trust the snow!
'Tis well there is a moon to-night.
You're sure of the track?
Tell. The buskin of
That leg's untied; stoop down and fasten it.
You know the point where you must round the cliff?
Tell. Thy belt is slack—draw it tight.
Erni is in Mount Faigel: take this dagger
And give it him! you know its caverns well.
In one of them you will find him. Farewell.