Front Page Titles (by Subject) SCENE I.—: A Garden at Augsburg. - Goethe's Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc)
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SCENE I.—: A Garden at Augsburg. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Goethe’s Works, vol. 3 (Goetz von Berlichingen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Tarquato Tasso, etc) 
Goethe’s Works, illustrated by the best German artists, 5 vols. (Philadelphia: G. Barrie, 1885). Vol. 3.
Part of: Goethe’s Works, 5 vols.
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A Garden at Augsburg.
Enter twoMerchantsof Nuremberg.
We’ll stand here, for the emperor must pass this way. He is just coming up the long avenue.
Who is that with him?
Adelbert of Weislingen.
The bishop’s friend. That’s lucky!
We’ll throw ourselves at his feet.
See! they come.
He looks displeased.
I am disheartened, Weislingen. When I review my past life, I am ready to despair. So many half—ay, and wholly ruined undertakings—and all because the pettiest feudatory of the empire thinks more of gratifying his own whims than of seconding my endeavors.
[TheMerchantsthrow themselves at his feet.
Most mighty! Most gracious!
Who are ye? What seek ye?
Poor merchants of Nuremberg, your majesty’s devoted servants, who implore your aid. Goetz von Berlichingen and Hans von Selbitz fell upon thirty of us as we journeyed from the fair of Frankfort, under an escort from Bamberg; they overpowered and plundered us. We implore your imperial assistance to obtain redress, else we are all ruined men, and shall be compelled to beg our bread.
Good heavens! What is this? The one has but one hand, the other but one leg; if they both had two hands and two legs what would you do then?
We most humbly beseech your majesty to cast a look of compassion upon our unfortunate condition.
How is this?—If a merchant loses a bag of pepper, all Germany is to rise in arms; but when business is to be done, in which the imperial majesty and the empire are interested, should it concern dukedoms, principalities, or kingdoms, there is no bringing you together.
You come at an unseasonable time. Go, and stay at Augsburg for a few days.
We make our most humble obeisance.
Again new disturbances; they multiply like the hydra’s heads!
And can only be extirpated with fire and sword.
Do you think so?
Nothing seems to me more advisable, could your majesty and the princes but accommodate your other unimportant disputes. It is not the body of the state that complains of this malady — Franconia and Swabia alone glow with the embers of civil discord; and even there many of the nobles and free barons long for quiet. Could we but crush Sickingen, Selbitz—and—and—and Berlichingen, the others would fall asunder; for it is the spirit of these knights which quickens the turbulent multitude.
Fain would I spare them; they are noble and hardy. Should I be engaged in war, they would follow me to the field.
It is to be wished they had at all times known their duty; moreover it would be dangerous to reward their mutinous bravery by offices of trust. For it is exactly this imperial mercy and forgiveness which they have hitherto so grievously abused, and upon which the hope and confidence of their league rest, and this spirit cannot be quelled till we have wholly destroyed their power in the eyes of the world, and taken from them all hope of ever recovering their lost influence.
You advise severe measures, then?
I see no other means of quelling the spirit of insurrection which has seized upon whole provinces. Do we not already hear the bitterest complaints from the nobles, that their vassals and serfs rebel against them, question their authority, and threaten to curtail their hereditary prerogatives? A proceeding which would involve the most fearful consequences.
This were a fair occasion for proceeding against Berlichingen and Selbitz; but I will not have them personally injured. Could they be taken prisoners, they should swear to renounce their feuds, and to remain in their own castles and territories upon their knightly parole. At the next session of the Diet we will propose this plan.
A general exclamation of joyful assent will spare your majesty the trouble of particular detail.