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SOBRE A DEFICIÊNCIA VISUAL


William Tell

Friedrich von Schiller

- excerpt -

Um cego - Federico Barocci [1528-1612]
image: A Blind Man - Federico Barocci [1528-1612]

[...]

WERNER STAUFFACHER.
There dwells in Melchthal, then,
Just as you enter by the road from Kerns,
An upright man, named Henry of the Halden,
A man of weight and influence in the Diet.

WALTER FURST.
Who knows him not? But what of him? Proceed.

WERNER STAUFFACHER.
The Landenberg, to punish some offence
Committed by the old man's son, it seems,
Had given command to take the youth's best pair
Of oxen from his plough; on which the lad
Struck down the messenger and took to flight.

WALTER FURST.
But the old father — tell me, what of him?

WERNER STAUFFACHER.
The Landenberg sent for him, and required
He should produce his son upon the spot;
And when the old man protested, and with truth,
That he knew nothing of the fugitive,
The tyrant call'd his torturers.

WALTER FURST.
(springs up and tries to lead him to the other side).
Hush, no more!

WERNER STAUFFACHER.
(with increasing warmth).
"And though thy son," he cried, "has 'scaped me now,
I have thee fast, and thou shalt feel my vengeance."
With that they flung the old man to the ground,
And plunged the pointed steel into his eyes.

WALTER FURST.
Merciful Heaven!

ARNOLD OF MELCHTHAL.
(rushing out).
Into his eyes, his eyes?

WERNER STAUFFACHER.
(addresses himself in astonishment to Walter Furst).
Who is this youth?

ARNOLD OF MELCHTHAL.
(grasping him convulsively).
Into his eyes? Speak, speak!

WALTER FURST.
Oh, miserable hour!

WERNER STAUFFACHER.
Who is it, tell me?
[Stauffacher makes a sign to him.]

It is his son! All-righteous Heaven!

ARNOLD OF MELCHTHAL.
And I
Must be from thence! What! Into both his eyes?

WALTER FURST.
Be calm, be calm; and bear it like a man!

ARNOLD OF MELCHTHAL.
And all for me — for my mad willful folly!
Blind, did you say? Quite blind — and both his eyes?

WERNER STAUFFACHER.
Ev'n so. The fountain of his sight is quench'd,
He ne'er will see the blessed sunshine more.

WALTER FURST.
Oh, spare his anguish!

ARNOLD OF MELCHTHAL.
Never, never more!
[Presses his hands upon his eyes and is silent for some moments: then turning from one to the other, speaks in a subdued tone, broken by sobs.]

O, the eye's light, of all the gifts of Heaven,
The dearest, best! From light all beings live —
Each fair created thing — the very plants
Turn with a joyful transport to the light,
And he — he must drag on through all his days
In endless darkness! Never more for him
The sunny meads shall glow, the flow'rets bloom;
Nor shall he more behold the roseate tints
Of the iced mountain top! To die is nothing.
But to have life, and not have sight, — oh that
Is misery, indeed! Why do you look
So piteously at me? I have two eyes,
Yet to my poor blind father can give neither!
No, not one gleam of that great sea of light,
That with its dazzling splendour floods my gaze.

WERNER STAUFFACHER.
Ah, I must swell the measure of your grief,
Instead of soothing it. The worst, alas!
Remains to tell. They've stripp'd him of his all;
Nought have they left him, save his staff, on which,
Blind, and in rags, he moves from door to door.

ARNOLD OF MELCHTHAL.
Nought but his staff to the old eyeless man!
Stripp'd of his all — even of the light of day,
The common blessing of the meanest wretch?
Tell me no more of patience, of concealment!
Oh, what a base and coward thing am I,
That on mine own security I thought,
And took no care of thine! Thy precious head
Left as a pledge within the tyrant's grasp!
Hence, craven-hearted prudence, hence! And all
My thoughts be vengeance, and the despot's blood!
I'll seek him straight — no power shall stay me now —
And at his hands demand my father's eyes.
I'll beard him 'mid a thousand myrmidons!
What's life to me, if in his heart's best blood
I cool the fever of this mighty anguish?
[He is going.]

[...]

THE END

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Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller was born at Marbach, Wurtemberg, Germany, November 10, 1759 and died in 1805. His lyrical poems were produced throughout his career, but his last period was most prolific both in these and in dramatic composition, and includes such great works as his "Wallenstein," "Marie Stuart," "The Maid of Orleans," "The Bride of Messina," and "William Tell" (1804). His life was a continual struggle against ill-health and unfavorable circumstances; but he maintained to the end the spirit of independence and love of liberty which are the characteristic mark of his writings.

This enthusiasm for freedom is well illustrated in "William Tell," the most widely popular of his plays. Based upon a world-wide legend which became localized in Switzerland in the fifteenth century and was incorporated into the history of the struggle of the Forest Cantons for deliverance from Austrian domination, it unites with the theme of liberty that of the beauty of life in primitive natural conditions, and both in its likenesses and differences illustrates Schiller's attitude toward the principles of the French Revolution.

 

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Title: William Tell
- excerpt from Act I, scene IV -
author: Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller
First published in 1804
Original title: Wilhelm Tell
Translator: Theodore Martin
Project Gutenberg, 2001
Project Gutenberg Etext:
http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/

 


 

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26.Out.2018
Maria José Alegre