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Must change their chieftain first. Oh! I have seen
Some strange things in them, Herman.
. 30 Her.
Come, be friendly;
Relate me some to while away our watch:
I've heard thee darkly speak of an event
Which happen'd hereabouts, by this same tower.
Manuel. That was a night indeed! I do remember
'Twas twilight, as it may be now, and such
Another evening ; yon red cloud which rests
On Eigher's pinnacle, so rested then
So like that it might be the same; the wind
Was faint and gusty, and the mountain snows
Began to glitter with the climbing moon;
Count Manfred was, as now, within his tower-
How occupied, we knew not, but with him
The sole companion of his wanderings
And watchings—her, whom all of earthly things
That lived, the only thing he seem'd to love-
As he, indeed, by blood was bound to do,-
The Lady Astarte, his
Hush ! who comes here?
Enter the ABBOT.
Abbot. Where is your master?
Yonder, in the tower.
Abbot. I must speak with him.
He is most private, and must not be thus
Abbot. Upon myself I take
The forfeit of my fault, if fault there be-
But I must see him.
Thou hast seen him once
This eve already.
Herman ! I command thee,
Knock, and apprise the Count of my approach.
Her. We dare not.
Then it seems I must be herald
Of my own purpose.
Reverend father, stop --
I pray you pause.
Why so ?
But step this way, And I will tell you further.
SCENE IV.— Interior of the Tower.
The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
Of the snow-shining mountains.—Beautiful !
I linger yet with Nature, for the night
Hath been to me a more familiar face
Than that of man ; and in her starry shade
Of dim and solitary loveliness,
I learn'd the language of another world.
I do remember me, that in my youth,
When I was wandering, upon such a night
I stood within the Coliseum's wall,
'Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome;
The trees which grew along the broken arches
Waved dark in the blue midnight, and the stars
Shone through the rents of ruin ; from afar
The watch-dog bay'd beyond the Tiber; and
More near from out the Cæsar's palace came
The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly,
Of distant sentinels the fitful song
Begun and died upon the gentle wind.
Some cypresses beyond the time-worn breach
Appear'd to skirt the horizon, yet they stood
Within a bowshot.—Where the Cæsars dwelt,
And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst
A grove which springs through levell’d battlements,
And twines its roots with the imperial hearths,
Ivy usurps the laurel’s place of growth ;-
But the gladiators' bloody Circus stands,
A noble wreck in ruinous perfection !
While Cæsar's chambers, and the Augustan halls,
Grovel on earth in indistinct decay.-
And thou didst shine, thou rolling moon, upon
All this; and cast a wide and tender light,
Which soften'd down the hoar austerity
Of rugged desolation, and fill'd up,
As 'twere anew, the gaps of centuries;
Leaving that beautiful which still was so,
And making that which was not, till the place
Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
With silent worship of the great of old !-
The dead, but sceptred sovereigns, who still rule
Our spirits from their urns.-
'Twas such a night!
'Tis strange that I recall it at this time;
But I have found our thoughts take wildest flight
Even at the moment when they should array
Themselves in pensive order.
Enter the ABBOT.
My good lord,
I crave a second grace for this approach;
But yet let not my humble zeal offend
By its abruptness—all it hath of ill
Recoils on me; it's good in the effect
May light upon your head-could I say heart-
Could I touch that, with words or prayers, I should
Recall a noble spirit which hath wander'd,
But is not yet all lost.
Thou know'st me not :
My days are number'd, and my deeds recorded :
Retire, or 'twill be dangerous—Away!
Abbot. Thou dost not mean to menace me?
I simply tell thee peril is at hand
And would preserve thee.
What dost thou niean ?
Look there What dost thou see? Abbot.
Look there, I say, And stedfastly ;—now tell me what thou seest.
60 Abbot. That which should shake me—but I fear it notI see a dusk and awful figure rise, Like an infernal god, from out the earth; His face wrapt in a mantle, and his form Robed as with angry clouds : he stands between Thyself and me--but I do fear him not. .
Man. Thou hast no cause—he shall not harm thee-but His sight may shock thine old limbs into palsy. I say to thee-Retire ! Abbot.
And I replyNever—till I have battled with this fiend ;
70 What doth he here?
Man. Why-ay-what doth he here?
I did not send for him,--he is unbidden.
Abbot. Alas, lost mortal ! what with guests like these
Hast thou to do? I tremble for thy sake;
Why doth he gaze on thee, and thou on him?
Ah! he unveils his aspect; on his brow
The thunder stars are graven; from his eye
Glares forth the immortality of hell--
Man. Pronounce--what is thy mission?
Come! Abbot. What art thou, unknown being ? answer! speak!
80 Spirit. The genius of this mortal.—Come ! 'tis time. Man. I am prepared for all things, but deny The power which summons me. Who sent thee here?
Spirit. Thou'lt know anon-Come! come!
I have commanded
Things of an essence greater far than thine,
And striven with thy masters. Get thee hence !
Spirit. Mortal! thine hour is come-away! I say.
Man. I knew, and know my hour is come, but not
Away! I'll die as I have lived-alone.
Spirit. Then I must summon up my brethren-Rise!
[Other Spirits rise up.
Abbot. Avaunt, ye evil ones - Avaunt ! I say :-
Ye have no power where piety hath power,
And I do charge ye in the name
Old man !
We know ourselves, our mission, and thine order:
Waste not thy holy words on idle uses,
It were in vain : this man is forfeited.
Once more I summon him-Away! away!
Mlan. I do defy ye,--though I feel my soul
Is ebbing from me, yet I do defy ye;
Nor will I hence, while I have earthly breath
To breathe my scorn upon ye-earthly strength
To wrestle, though with spirits; what ye take
Shall be ta’en limb by limb.
Reluctant mortal !
Is this the Magian who would so pervade
The world invisible, and make himself
Almost our equal ?—Can it be that thou
Art thus in love with life? the very life
Which made thee wretched ?
Thou false fiend, thou liest ! My life is in its last hour,—that I know,
110 Nor would redeem a moment of that hour; I do not combat against death, but thee And thy surrounding angels ; my past power Was purchased by no compact with thy crew,
And length of watching-strength of mind--and skill