THE DYNASTS ACT
Sure, he did,
Your gracious Highness ; and he has left me here To break vast news that will make good his calL
MARIA LOUISA Then do. I'll listen. News from near or far ?
[She seats herself.
From far—though of such distance-dwarfing might
That far may read as near eventually.
But, dear Archduchess, with your kindly leave
I'll speak straight out. The Emperor of the French
Has sent to-day to make, through Schwarzenberg,
A formal offer of his heart and hand,
His honours, dignities, imperial throne,
To you, whom he admires above all those
The world can show elsewhere.
MARIA LOUISA (frightened)
My husband—he ? What, an old man like him!
He's scarcely old,
Dear lady. True, deeds densely crowd in him ; Turn months to years in calendaring his span ; Yet by Time's common clockwork he's but young.
MARIA LOUISA So wicked, too!