The poem begins with a prologue in which, on behalf of the author, a brief description of Germany is given in the era of the Thirty Years’ War, the main character – the Generalissimo of the Wallenstein Imperial troops is described, and also the time of what is happening -1634 is accurately indicated.
The play “Camp Wallenstein” takes place near one of the largest cities of Bohemia, Pilsen. Here the troops of the emperor were stationed under the leadership of the Duke of Friedland. The plot in this part of the trilogy is not, these are scenes from the life of ordinary soldiers. Here is the cognizant with her son, who has long been wandering with the army. Here are hired soldiers from different places, they have more than once changed their owners in search of more reliable earnings. They are always happy to exchange looted goods, lose it in cards, drink a glass of wine for their lucky Duke of Friedland. Among them is Capuchin, who is trying to train soldiers on the path of righteous life. The peasants of the nearby war-ravaged villages wander into the camp for the purpose of profiting here. One of them, who played fake bones, is caught by soldiers, but then released.
There is a rumor in the camp that the emperor is going to send most of the army to the Netherlands, but the soldiers do not want to obey the order of the emperor, Wallenstein is “their own father,” he combined many different regiments into a single army, he pays them salaries from their own pockets, their desire is to stay with him. The soldiers decide that each regiment will write a report asking to stay with their general, and Max Piccolomini, commander of the cuirassier regiment, let him give them to the emperor. In the second part of the trilogy the place of action is transferred to Pilsen. In the town hall of the town the commanders of thirty regiments, standing at the walls of Pilsen, gather. Here is the minister of the emperor von Questenberg with the orders of the monarch. It is rumored that he was sent to remove Wallenstein. In conversations among themselves, the commanders of the regiments Illo, Butler, Izolani support the Duke of Friedland.
The town and the daughter of the Duke of Friedland come to the town hall, accompanied by Max Piccolomini on the road from Austria. Wallenstein talks with his wife, he is primarily interested in their visit to Vienna. The Duchess informs her husband bitterly that the attitude at the court to
them has changed, out of mercy and trust everything has grown into “ceremonial etiquette.” From the letters received from Vienna, the generalissimo learns that he has found a successor, the son of the emperor, young Ferdinand. Wallenstein needs to make a decision about his future actions, but he hesitates.
The commander of the regiments is assembled in the castle of the Duke. Minister Questenberg gives them an order from the emperor to clear the troops of Bohemia and send them to liberation from the Lutherans of Regensburg. Eight regiments will go to Milan to accompany the Cardinal Infanta on their way to the Netherlands. Most commanders oppose the order. Valenstein’s brother-in-law, Count Terzki, and Field-Marshal Illo are working out a plan for them to finally entice the regiments to the duke’s side and force them not to obey the order of the emperor. They compose the oath of allegiance to Wallenstein, which the regimental commanders must sign.
Countess Tertzky, the Duke’s sister, dedicated to the cordial affairs of her niece Tekla, tries to impress upon her that, as the daughter of a worthy parent, she must submit to the will of her father, whom the bridegroom herself will choose. He loves Max Piccolomini and is confident that he will be able to defend his feelings in the eyes of his father. Countess Terzki has another on her mind, she hopes that Max’s love for Wallenstein’s daughter will bind his father’s hands, and Octavio will remain on the side of the duke.
In the house of Tertzky a feast, to which all commanders of the regiments are invited. At the end, when enough wine is already drunk, Illo and the count ask the commanders to sign an oath of loyalty to Wallenstein, in which there is allegedly nothing that contradicts their oath to the emperor. Everyone signs, and even Octavio, only Max Piccolomini, on the pretext that he always does everything on a fresh head, evades.
A frank conversation takes place between Father and Piccolomini’s son, in which Octavio reports that the Duke of Fridland is going to take the troops from the Emperor and hand them over to the enemy – the Swedes. For this, they were forced to sign a vow at Tertzky’s party, that is, to swear an oath to Wallenstein. Max does not believe that this is the idea of the duke himself, most likely it is the intrigues of his entourage. At this time the courier arrives from the regiment commander Galles, who refused with his soldiers to arrive in Pilsen. He reports that the messenger of the Duke with his letters to the Swedes was captured by the people of Hallez. They have a seal with the coat of arms of Tertzky, and now they are on their way to Vienna. Octavio shows his son an imperial decree, according to which, in the case of irrefutable evidence of Valenstein’s treason, he must lead the troops of the duke for a short time before the arrival of Ferdinand. Max Piccolomini is difficult to understand these “intricacies”, he rushes to the castle to the duke, to ask him about the truth. His last words: “And before reaching the day of the end, the loss of a friend I – or father.”
The last part of the dramatic poem begins in Pilsen. The astrologer predicted to Wallenstein from the state of the planets that an opportune moment had come for him. Count Terzki comes, letters to the Swedes are intercepted, which means that their idea is known to the enemy. Now we have to act, but the Duke of Fridland still lingers.
Colonel Wrangel came to Wallenstein from the Swedes. He has a letter from the chancellor, in which he offers the duke a Bohemian crown in exchange for the two fortresses of Egra and Prague. The premonition did not deceive Wallenstein, the Swedes do not trust him. The Duke is trying to explain to Wrangel that the surrender of Prague will mean for him a loss of support in the troops, because this is the capital of Bohemia. The cunning Swedish colonel, who already knows about the destiny of Vallenstein’s messenger to the Swedes, understands that the duke is driven into a corner, he does not go back to the camp of the emperor, so he is ready to give up the plan to get Prague. Everyone is waiting for the final decision of the generalissimo.
Still trusting Octavio Piccolomini Wallenstein sends him to Frauenberg, where the Spanish regiments that have changed him are standing. At the head of them, Octavio will have to stand still and observe neutrality. Son Piccolomini just in case he leaves in Pilsen.
At the rate of the duke appears young Piccolomini, who sees the Swedish colonel and understands that his father was right. He rushes to the duke to convince him not to contact the Swedes, otherwise his name is “a traitor.” Wallenstein tries to justify himself, but the young hero is adamant, one can not change his oath.
Meanwhile, Octavio is going on the road, but before, with the help of the imperial decree, he is trying to convince the individual commanders of the regiments standing at Pilsen to leave with him. He beckons Izolani and Butler. Butler decides to even take on the role of spy in the enemy camp and stay with the Duke to fully discharge his duty to the emperor. Returns home after a meeting with Wallenstein Max. He clearly is not himself, all his hopes have collapsed, but he refuses to go with his father either.
Thekla, learning about the father’s betrayal of the emperor, understands that her happiness with Max is impossible. Besides, the Countess of Tertzky informed Wallenstein about the daughter’s love for the young Piccolomini, and he sharply negated the choice of Tekla. He wants the daughter of a “crowned” husband.
Count Tertski and Illo enter, Octavio led away from Pilsen part of the troops, in addition, the messenger returned from Prague, the guard seized him and took the letter addressed to the generalissimo. Many cities of Bohemia, including the capital, swore to the emperor. Wallenstein loses allies. In the duke’s apartment, ten Pappenheim cuirassiers are begging. They want to hear from him personally the answer to the charge of treason to the emperor. Wallenstein explains that in the name of peace in Germany he made a temporary alliance with the Swedes he hated, but soon he would drive them away. At this time, Butler reports that the regiment of Count Tertzky mounted the emblem of the Duke of Friedland on his banner instead of the emblem of the emperor. The cuirassiers hastily leave. A revolt begins in the regiment of the Pappenheimers, they demand that Wallenstein give them their commander Max Pikkolomini, whom, according to their information, the duke retains by force in the castle.
Max really is in the castle of the duke, he came to Tekla to hear from her if she would accept his love if he changed his duty and the emperor. The daughter of Wallenstein encourages him to remain true to himself, even if fate decides to separate them.
Pappenheimers meanwhile captured two city gates, they refuse to obey Wallenstein’s order to retreat and are already sending guns towards the castle. The Duke of Fridland releases Piccolomini and orders him to prepare the regiments loyal to him for the march, he goes with them to the fortress of Egre.
In Egre, Wallenstein, with five remaining loyal regiments, awaits the approach of the Swedes, so that, after leaving his wife, sister and daughter here, move on. Butler, on the orders of the emperor, must take Wallenstein captive and prevent him from uniting with the Swedish forces. The commandant of the fortress, on the one hand, is loyal to the emperor, on the other hand, he knew the duke as a twenty-year-old boy, when together with him were pages at one German court.
A messenger from the Swedes arrives at the fortress. He says that the troops that stood in Neustadt attacked Max Piccolomini with his regiment, the superior forces of the Swedes destroyed all Papappenheimers. Max himself, under which the horse fell from the blow of the spear, was trampled by his own cavalry. The body of Piccolomini will be in the monastery of St. Catherine, until the father arrives there. Thekla, along with her maid of honor and the mastermaster, escapes from the fortress at night to bid farewell to the body of her lover.
Realizing that the Swedes are very close and Wallenstein can slip out of his hands, Butler decides to kill the duke. First, together with his officers, he goes to the chambers of Count Terzki, where he feasts with Illo, and kills the Count and Field Marshal Illo. The Duke of Fridland is going to go to bed, at this time his astrologer bursts into the room and warns that the stars portend trouble to Wallenstein. The nearby commandant of the fort supports the proposal of the astrologer not to conspire with the Swedes, but the generalissimo sets off to rest. Appears Butler with the officers, they are sent to the duke’s chambers. At this time, the commandant of the fortress sees that the fortress is occupied by the troops of the emperor, he shouts to Butler, but late – Wallenstein is stabbed.
In the hall appears Octavio, he accuses Butler of killing the duke. Countess Terzki also dies, poisoning herself. A messenger from the emperor arrives in Egra, Octavio is given the title of prince.