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Upon itself; there is no future pang
Can deal that justice on the self-condemn'd
He deals on his own soul.
All this is well;
For this will pass away, and be succeeded
By an auspicious hope, which shall look up
With calm assurance to that blessed place,
Which all who seek may win, whatever be
Their earthly errors, so they be atoned :
And the commencement of atonement is
The sense of its necessity.-Say on-
And all our Church can teach thee shall be taught;
And all we can absolve thee shall be pardon'd.
Man. When Rome's sixth emperor was near his last ;
The victim of a self-inflicted wound,
To shun the torments of a public death
From senates once his slaves, a certain soldier,
With show of loyal pity, would have stanch'd
The gushing throat with his officious robe;
The dying Roman thrust him back, and said-
Some empire still in his expiring glance-
“ It is too late—is this fidelity ?'
Abbot. And what of this ?
I answer with the Roman“ It is too late!” Abbot.
It never can be so,
To reconcile thyself with thy own soul,
And thy own soul with Heaven. Hast thou no hope ? 100
'Tis strange-even those who do despair above,
Yet shape themselves some phantasy on earth,
To which frail twig they cling like drowning men.
Man. Ay-father! I have had those earthly visions
And noble aspirations in my youth,
To make my own the mind of other men,
The enlightener of nations; and to rise
I knew not whither--it might be to fall;
But fall even as the mountain-cataract,
Which having leapt from its more dazzling height, 110
Even in the foaming strength of its abyss,
(Which casts up misty columns that become
Clouds raining from the re-ascended skies,)
Lies low, but mighty still.-But this is past,
My thoughts mistook themselves.
And wherefore so ?
Man. I could not tame my nature down; for he
Must serve who fain would sway; and soothe-and sue-
And watch all time—and pry into all place-
And be a living lie- who would become
A mighty thing amongst the mean, and such
The mass are: I disdain'd to mingle with
A herd, though to be leader--and of wolves.
The lion is alone, and so am I.
Abbot. And why not live and act with other men ?
Man. Because my nature was averse from life;
And yet not cruel; for I would not make,
But find a desolation :-like the wind,
The red-hot breath of the most lone simoom,
Which dwells but in the desert, and sweeps o'er
The barren sands which bear no shrubs to blast,
And revels o'er their wild and arid waves,
And seeketh not, so that it is not sought,
But being met is deadly; such hath been
The course of my existence; but there came
'Things in my path which are no more.
I’gin to fear that thou art past all aid
From me and from my calling; yet so young,
I still would-
Man. Look on me! there is an order
Of mortals on the earth, who do become
Old in their youth, and die ere middle age,
Without the violence of warlike death;
Some perishing of pleasure--some of study-
Some worn with toil—some of mere weariness-
Some of disease-and some insanity-
And some of wither'd or of broken hearts;
For this last is a malady which slays
More than are number'd in the lists of Fate,
Taking all shapes, and bearing many names.
Look upon me! for even of all these things
Have I partaken; and of all these things
One were enough; then wonder not that I
Am what I am, but that I ever was,
Or having been, that I am still on earth.
Abbot. Yet, hear me still-
Old man ! I do respect
Thine order, and revere thy years; I deem
Thy purpose pious, but it is vain :
Think me not churlish; I would spare thyself
Far more than me, in shunning at this time
All further colloquy—and so-farewell !
Abbot. This should have been a noble creature: he 160
Hath all the energy which would have made
A goodly frame of glorious elements,
Had they been wisely mingled ; as it is,
It is an awful chaos-light and darkness-
And mind and dust—and passions and pure thoughts,
Mix'd and contending without end or order-
All dormant or destructive: he will perish,
And yet he must not; I will try once more,
For such are worth redemption; and my duty
Is to dare all things for a righteous end.
170 I'll follow him—but cautiously, though surely.
SCENE II.--Another Chamber.
MANFRED and HERMAN.
Her. My lord, you bade me wait on you at sunset :
He sinks behind the mountain.
Doth he so ? I will look on him. [MANFRED advances to the window of the hall.
Glorious Orb! the idol
Of early nature, and the vigorous race
Of undiseased mankind, the giant sons
Of the embrace of angels, with a sex
More beautiful than they, which did draw down
The erring spirits, who can ne'er return.--
Most glorious orb ! that wert a worship, ere
The mystery of thy making was reveal'd! .
Thou earliest minister of the Almighty,
Which gladdened, on their mountain-tops, the hearts
Of the Chaldean shepherds, till they pour'd
Themselves in orisons! Thou material God !
And representative of the Unknown-
Who chose thee for his shadow! Thou chief star!
Centre of many stars! which mak'st our earth
Endurable, and temperest the hues
And hearts of all who walk within thy rays!
Sire of the seasons ! Monarch of the climes,
And those who dwell in them! for near or far,
Our inborn spirits have a tint of thee,
Even as our outward aspects ;-thou dost rise,
And shine, and set in glory. Fare thee well!
I ne'er shall see thee more. As my first glance
Of love and wonder was for thee, then take
My latest look: thou wilt not beam on one
To whom the gifts of life and warmth have been
Of a more fatal nature. He is gone :
(Exit MANFRED. 30
SCENE III.-The Mountains.— The Castle of MANFRED
at some distance.--A terrace before a Tower.— Time,
Twilight. HERMAN, MANUEL, and other Dependents of MANFRED.
Her. 'Tis strange enough ; night after night, for years, He hath pursued long vigils in this tower, Without a witness. I have been within itSo have we all been ofttimes: but from it, Or its contents, it were impossible To draw conclusions absolute, of aught His studies tend to. To be sure there is One chamber where none enter; I would give The fee of what I have to come these three years, To pore upon its mysteries. Manuel.
'Twere dangerous; Content thyself with what thou know'st already.
Her. Ah, Manuel ! thou art elderly and wise And couldst say much; thou hast dwelt within the castleHow many years is't? Manuel.
Ere Count Manfred's birth,
I served his father, whom he nought resembles.
Her. There be more sons in like predicament.
But wherein do they differ?
I speak not
Of features or of form, but mind and habits;
Count Sigismund was proud-but gay and free-
A warrior and a reveller; he dwelt not
With books and solitude, nor made the night
A gloomy vigil, but a festal time,
Merrier than day; he did not walk the rocks
And forests like a wolf, nor turn aside
From men and their delights.
Beshrew the hour,
But those were jocund times! I would that such
Would visit the old walls again; they look
As if they had forgotten them.