in PART SECOND
MINISTER (coming forward)
Your Majesty, I now must needs suggest, Pursuant to conclusions reached this morn, That since the front and flower of all our force Is seen receding to the Bisamberg, These walls no longer yield safe shade for you, Or facile outlook. Scouts returning say Either Davout, or Bonaparte himself, With the mid-columns of his forward corps, Will pant up hitherward in fierce pursuit, And may intrude beneath this very roof. Not yet, I think; it may not be to-night; But we should stand prepared.
If we must go
Well go with a good grace, unfeignedly! Who knows to-morrow may not see regained What we have lost to-day ?
Re-enter fourth aide-de-camp.
FOURTH AIDE (breathlessly)
The Archduke John, Discerning our main musters in retreat, Abandons an advance that throws on him The enemy's whole brunt if he bear on.
Alas for his devotion ! Let us go. Such weight of sadness as we shoulder now Will wring us down to sleep in stall or stye, If even that be found! . . . Think! Bonaparte, By reckless riskings of his life and limb, Has turned the steelyard of our strength to-day, 3°3