THE EMPEROR (reading the paper which he has taken from a young shepherd, deeply bowed and enveloped in a great mantle): A shepherd of Tyrol, Orphaned, despoiled and driven from his home By ancient enemies, desires to come Back to its woods, its skies . . ." A touching plea.-- "And to his father's land." So let it be. (He hands the petition to the CHAMBERLAIN.)
THE CHAMBERLAIN: The shepherd's name, whom we so much advance?
THE SHEPHERD (standing erect): The Duke of Reichstadt, and his land is France! (He throws off his coat, disclosing his white uniform. A stir. A frightened hush.)
THE EMPEROR (in a stern voice): Begone! Leave us! (The officers quickly clear the room. The doors are closed. Grandfather and grandson are left alone.)
The EMPEROR, The DUKE
THE EMPEROR (in a voice that trembles with rage): What's this?
THE DUKE (immobile, and still holding in his hand his little peasant's hat): If I were nothing, Sire, But a Tyrolean in his mean attire, Herdsman or hunter with a green felt cap And a cock's feather, you would see his hap; Bend from your throne to heed his wretchedness.
THE EMPEROR: But, Franz! . . .
THE DUKE: I know that all your subjects,--yes, All the unhappy always,--may declare Themselves your sons like us. But is it fair That I, bowed down beneath my wretchedness, Am not your child like these, but so much less?
THE EMPEROR (fretfully): But why not come in private? You deserve
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Publication information: Book title: Plays of Edmond Rostand. Volume: 2. Contributors: Henderson Daingerfield Norman - Translator, Ivan Glidden - Author. Publisher: The Macmillan Company. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1921. Page number: 89.
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