« PreviousContinue »
In phantasy, imagination, all
If I had never lived, that which I love The affluence of my soul which one day was Had still been living; had I never loved, A Crasus in creation - I plunged deep, That which I love would still be beautiful... But, like an ebbing wave, it dash'd me back Happy and giving happiness. What is she? Into the gulf of my unfathom'd thought. What is she now?-a suflerer for my sinsI plunged amidst mankind-Forgetfulness A thing I dare not think upon - or notbing. I sought in all, save where 'tis to be found, Within few hours I shall not call in vainAnd that I have to learn-my sciences, Yet in this hour I dread the thing I dare: My long pursued and super-human art,
Until this hour I never shrunk to gaze Is mortal here-- I dwell in my despair- On spirit, good or evil - now I tremble, And live--and live for ever.
And feel a strange cold thaw upon my heart; Witch. It may be
But I can act even what I most abhor, That I can aid thee.
And champion human fears.- The night Manf. To do this thy power
[Erit. Must wake the dead, or lay me low with them. Do so—in any shape--in any hour- SCENE III. — The Summit of the JungfrauWith any torture ---so it be the last.
Mountain. Witch. That is not in my province; but if thou
Enter FIRST DESTINY. Wilt swear obedience to my will, and do
The moon is rising broad, and round, and My bidding, it may help thee to thy wishes.
bright; Manf. I will not swear.-Obey! and And here on snows, where never human foot whom?. the spirits
Of common mortal trod, we nightly tread, Whose presence I command, and be the slave And leave no traces; o'er the savage sea, Of those who served me -Never!
The glassy ocean of the mountain-ice, Witch. Is this all!
We skim its rugged breakers, which put on Hast thou no gentler answer?-Yet bethink The aspect of a tumbling tempest's foam, thee,
Frozen in a moment- a dead whirlpool's And pause ere thou rejectest.
image; Manf. I have said it.
And this most steep fantastic pinnacle, Witch. Enough!-11
I may retire then — say! The fretwork of some earthquake – where Manf. Retire! [The Witch disappears.
the clouds Manf. (alone.) We are the fools of time Pause to repose themselves in passing by – and terror: Days
Is sacred to our revels, or our vigils; Steal on us and steal from us; yet we live, Here do I wait my sisters on our way Loathing our life, and dreading still to die. To the Hall of Arimanes, for to-night In all the days of this detested yoke -
Is our great festival—'tis strange they come This vital weight upon the struggling heart,
A Voice without, singing.
Hurl'd down from the throne,
I broke through his slumbers,
I leagued him with numbersAs from a stream in winter, though the chill He's Tyrant again! Be but a moment's. I have one resource With the blood of a million he'll answer Still in my science--I can call the dead,
my care, And ask them what it is we dread to be: With a nation's destruction_his flight and The sternest answer can but be the Grave, despair. And that is nothing-if they answer notThe buried Prophet atıswer'd to the Hag
Second Voice, without. Of Endor; and the Spartan Monarch drew The ship saild on, the ship sail'd fast, From the Byzantine maid's unsleeping spirit But I left not a sail, and I left not a mast; An answer and his destiny-he slew There is not a plank of the hull or the deck, That which he loved, unknowing what he And there is not a wretch to lament o’er slew,
his wreck; And died unpardon’d - though he call'd in aid Save one, whom I held, as he swam, by The Phyxian Jove, and in Phigalia roused
the hair, The Arcadian Evocators to compel And he was a subject well worthy my care; The indignant shadow to depose her wrath, A traitor on land, and a pirate at sea -Or fix her term of vengeance -- she replied But I saved him to wreak further bavoc In words of dubious import, but ful fillid.
FIRST DESTINY, answering. He gazeth—from his glance the sunbeams The city lies sleeping;
flee; The morn, to deplore it,
Ho moveth-earthquakes rend the world May dawn on it weeping:
asunder. Sullenly, slowly,
Beneath his footsteps the volcanos rise ;
His shadow is the Pestilence; his path
The comets herald through the crackling Tens of thousands shall perish
skies; The living shall fly from
And planets turn to ashes at his wrath. The sick they should cherish;
To him war offers daily sacrifice;
To him death pays his tribute; Life is his, The touch that they die from.
With all its infinite of agonies -
And his the spirit of whatever is!
Enter the DESTINIES and NEMESIS.
First Dest. Glory to Arimanes! on the Who see not the sight
earth Of their own desolation.
His power increaseth, both my sisters did This work of a night,
His bidding, nor did I neglect my duty! This wreck of a realm-this deed of my The necks of men, bow down before his
Sec. Dest. Glory to Arimanes! wewho bow doing
throne ! Forages I've done and shall still be renewing!
Third Dest. Glory toArimanes!- weawait Enter the Second and Third DESTINIES. His nod! The Three.
Nem. Sovereign of Sovereigns! we are
thine, Our hands contain the hearts of men,
And all that liveth, more or less, is ours, Our footsteps are their graves;
And most things wholly so; still to increase We only give to take again
Our power, increasing thine, demands our The spirits of our slaves !
care, First Dest. Welcome! - Where's Nemesis? Second Dest. At some great work ;
And we are vigilant-Thy late commands
Have been fulälld to the utmost.
A Spirit. What is here?
wretch, My sisters and thyself are slow to-night.
Bow down and worship! Nem. I was detain'd repairing shaiter'd
Second Spirit. I do know the manthrones, Marrying fools, restoring dynasties,
A Magian of great power, and fearful
skill! Avenging men upon their enemies, And making them repent their own revenge;
Third Spirit. Bow down and worship,
slave!- What, know'st thou not Goading the wise to madness; from the dull Shaping out oracles to rule the world
Thine and our Sovereign ?-Tremble, and
obey ! Afresh, for they were waxing out of date, And mortals dared to ponder for themselves,
All the Spirits. Prostrate thyself, and thy To weigh kings in the balance, and to speak Child of the Earth! or dread the worst.
condemned clay, Of freedom, the forbidden fruit.-Away! We have outstaid the hour-mount we And yet ye see I kneel not.
Manf. I know it; our clouds!
Fourth Spirit. 'Twill be taught thee. SCENE IV.-The Hall of Arimancs.- Ari
Manf. 'T'is taught already ;-many a manes on his Throne, a Globe of Fire, on the bare ground, have I bow'd down
night on the earth, surrounded by the Spirits.
my face, Hymn of the Spirits.
And strew'd my head with ashes; I have Hail to our Master!_Prince of Earth and
The fulness of humiliation, for Who walks the clouds and waters—in 1 sunk before my vain despair, and knelt his hand
To my own desolation.
Themselves to chaos at his high command! Refuse to Arimanes on his throne
The terror of his Glory- Cronch! I say.
Manf. Bid him bow down to that which The heart and the form, is above him,
And the aspect thou worest The overruling Infinite—the Maker
Redeem from the worm. Who made him not for worship-let him Appear !--- Appear! - Appear! kneel,
Who sent thec there requires thee here! And we will kneel together.
(The Phantom of ASTARTE rises The Spirits. Crush the worm!
and stands in the midst.) Tear him in pieces!
Man. Can this be death? there's bloom First Dest. Hence! Avaunt! he's mine.
upon her cheek? Prince of the Powers invisible! this man But now I see it is no living hue, Is of no common order, as his port But a strange hectic-like the unnatural red And presence here denote: his sufferings Which Autumn plants upon the perish'd leaf. Have been of an immortal nature, like It is the same! Oh, God! that I should dread Our own; his knowledge and his powers To look upon the same-Astarte !-No, and will,
I cannot speak to her - but bid her speak — As far as is compatible with clay,
Forgive me or condemn me. Which clogs the etherial essence,
Or those who have call'd thee!
Prince of Air! Of earth and hcaven, from which no power, It rests with thee alone- command her voice. nor being,
Arim. Spirit-obey this sceptre! Nor breath from the worm upwards is Nem. Silent still! exempt,
She is not of our order, but belongs Have pierced his heart ; and in their con- To the other powers. Mortal! thy quest sequence
I have so much endured -80 much endureA soul like his - or power upon his soul. Look on me! the grave hath not changed Nem. What doth he here then ?
thee more First Dest. Let him answer that. Than I am changed for thee. Thou lovedst me Manf. Ye know what I have known; Too much, as I loved thee: we were not made and without power
To torture thus each other, though it were I could not be amongst ye: but there are The deadliest sin to love as we have loved. Powers deeper still beyond-I come in quest Say that thou loathest me not that I do bear of such to answer unto, what I seek. This punishment for both, that thou wilt be Nem. What wouldst thou?
One of the bless'd—and that I shall dic; Manf. Thou canst not reply to me. For hitherto all hateful things conspire Call up the dead-my question is for them. To bind me in existence- in a life Ncm. Great Arimanes, doth thy will which makes me shrink from immortalityavouch
A future like the past. I cannot rest. The wishes of this mortal ?
I know not what I ask, nor what I seek: Arim. Yea.
I feel but what thou art and what I am ; Nem. Whom wouldst thou
And I would hear yet once before I perish Uncharnel ?
The voice which was my music - Speak Manf. One without a tomb-call up
to me! Astarte.
For I have callid on thee in the still night, Nemesis.
Startled the slumbering birds from the Shadow! or Spirit!
hush'd boughs, Whatever thou art,
And woke the mountain-wolves, and made Which still doth inherit
the caves The whole or a part
Acquainted with thy vainly echoed name, Of the form of thy birth,
Which answer'd mo-many things answer'd of the mould of thy clay, Which returu'd to the earth,
Spirits and men - but thou wert silent alí. Re-appear to the day!
Yet speak to me! I have outwatch'd the Bear what thou borcst,
And gazed o'er heaven in vain in search of If that I did not know philosophy thee
To be of all our vanities the motlicst, Speak to me! I have wander'd o'er the earth | The merest word that ever fool'd the ear And never found thy likeness-Speak to me! From out the schoolman's jargon, I should Look on the fiends around- they feel for me:
deem I fear them not, and feel for thee alone-- The golden secret, the sought “kalon," Speak to me! though it be in wrath;- but found, say
And seated in my soul. It will not last, I reck not what, but let me hear thee once- But it is well to have known it, though but This once-once more!
Phantom of Astarte. Manfred ! It hath enlarged my thoughts with a new Manf. Say on, say on
sense, I live but in the sound - it is thy voice! And I within my tablets would note down Phant. Manfred ! To-morrow ends thine That there is such a feeling. Who is there? earthly ills.
Manf. Yetone word moro- am I forgiven? Herm. My lord, the Abbot of St. Maurice
Enter the ABBOT OF ST. MAURICE. Manf. One word for mercy! Say, thou lovest me.
Abbot. Peace be with Count Manfred! Phant. Manfred !
Manf. Thanks, holy father! welcome to [The Spirit of Astarte disappears. these walls; Nem. She's gone, and will not be recallid; Thy presence honours them, and blesseth Her words will be fulfill'd. Return to the
Who dwell within them. A Spirit. He is convulsed. - This is to Abbot. Would it were so, Count! be a inortal
But I would fain confer with thee alone. And seek the things beyond mortality. Manf. Herman, retire. What would my Another Spirit. Yet, see, he mastereth
reverend guest ? himself and makes
Abbot. Thus, without prelude :--- Age and His torture tributary to his will.
zeal, my office, Had he been one of us, he would have made And good intent, must plead my privilege; An awful spirit.
Our near, though not acquainted, neighNem. Hast thou further question
bourhood Of our great sovereign, or his worshippers ? May also be my herald. Rumours strange, Manf. None.
And of unholy nature, are abroad, Nem. Then for a time farewell. And busy with thy name; a noble name Manf. We meet then! Where? On the For centuries; may he who bears it now earth?
Transmit it unimpair'd ! Even as thou wilt: and for the grace accorded Manf. Proceed,- I listen. I now depart a debtor. Fare ye well! Abbot. 'Tis said thou holdest converse
[Exit Manfred. with the things
Which are forbidden to the search of man;
The many evil and unheavenly spirits
Which walk the valley of the shade of death,
Thou communest. I know that with mankind, SCENE I. - A Hall in the Castle of Manfred. Thy fellows in creation, thou dost rarely MANFRED and HERMAN.
Exchange thy thoughts and that thy solitude
Is as an anchorite's, were it but holy. Manf. What is the hour?
Manf. And what are they who do avouch Herm. It wants but one till sunset,
these things? And promises a lovely twilight.
Abbot. My pious brethren the scared Manf. Say,
peasantryAre all things so disposed of in the tower Even thy own vassals -- who do look on thee As I directed ?
With most unquiet eyes. Thy life's in peril. Herm. All, my lord, are ready ;
Manf. Take it. Here is the key and casket.
Abbot. I come to save, and not destroyManf. It is well:
I would not pry into thy secret soul; Thou mayst retire.
[Erit llerman. But if these things be sooth,there still is time Manf. (alone.) There is a calm upon me For penitence and pity: reconcile thee Inexplicable stillness! which till now With the true church, and through the Did not belong to what I knew of life.
church to heaven.
Manf. I hear thee. This is my reply: , 'Tis strange- even those who do despair whate'er
above, I may have been, or am, doth rest between Yet shape themselves some phantasy on earth, Heaven and myself.—I shall not choose a To which frail twig they cling, like drownmortal
ing men. To be my mediator. Have I sinn'd
Manf. Ay — father! I have had those Against your ordinances ? prove and punish! earthly visions Abbot. My son! I did not speak of And noble aspirations in my youth, punishment,
To make my own the mind of other men, But penitence and pardon ;-with thyself The enlightener of nations; and to rise Thechoice of such remains—and for the last, I knew not whither-it might be to fall; Our institutions and our strong belief But fall, even as the mountain-cataraet, Have given me power to smooth the path Which having leapt from its more dazzling from sin
height, To higher hope and better thoughts; the first Even in the foaming strength of its abyss, I leave to Heaven – “Vengeance is mine (Which casts up misty columns that become alone!”
Clouds raining from there-ascended skies,) So saith the Lord, and with all humbleness Lies low but mighty still. But this is past, His servant echoes back the awful word. My thoughts mistook themselves. Manf. Old man! there is no power in Abbot. And wherefore so ? holy men,
Manf. I could not tame my nature down; Nor charm in prayer-nor purifying form
for he Of penitence-nor outward look-nor fast- Must serve who fain would sway and Nor agony-nor, greater than all these,
soothe—and sueThe innate tortures of that deep despair, And watch all time—and pry into all place-Which is remorse without the fear of hell, And be a living lie – who would become But all in all sufficient to itself
A mighty thing amongst the mean, and such Would make a hell of heaven -- can exorcise The mass are; I disdain'd to mingle with From out the unbounded spirit the quick sense A herd, though to be leader - and of wolves. Of its own sins, wrongs, sufferance, and The lion is alone, and so am I. revenge
Abbot. And why not live and act with Upon itself; there is no future pang
other men ? Can deal that justice on the self-condemn'd Manf. Because my nature was averse He deals on his own soul.
from life; Abbot. All this is well;
And yet not cruel; for I would not make, For this will pass away, and be succeeded But find a desolation :- like the wind, By an auspicious hope, which shall look up The red-hot breath of the most lone Simoom, With calm assurance to that blessed place, Which dwells but in the desert, and sweeps Which all who seek may win, whatever be
o'er Their earthly errors, so they be atoned : The barren sands which bear no shrubs to And the commencement of atonement is
blast, The sense of its necessity.–Say on- And revels o'er their wild and arid waves, And all our church can teach thee shall be And seeketh not, so that it is not sought, taught;
But being met is deadly; such hath been And all we can absolve thee, shall be par- The course of my existence; but there came don'd.
Things in my path which are no more. Manf. When Rome's sixth Emperor was Abbot. Alas! near his last,
I'gin to fear that thou art past all aid The victim of a self-inflicted wound, From ine and from my calling; yet so young, To shun the torments of a public death I still would From senates, once his slaves, a certain Manf. Look on me! there is an order soldier,
Of mortals on the earth, who do become With show of loyal pity, would have Old in their youth and die ere middle age, staunch'd
Without the violence of warlike death; The gushing throat with his officious robe; Some perishing of pleasure-some of studyThe dying Roman thrust him back and said. Some worn with toil - some of mere weariSome empire still in his expiring glance, "It is too late - is this fidelity ?"
Some of disease - and some insanityAbbot. And what of this?
And some of wither'd, or of broken hearts; Manf. I answer with the Roman- For this last is a malady which slays "It is too late!”
More than are number'd in the lists of Fate, Abbot. It never can be so,
Taking all shapes, and bearing many names. To reconcile thyself with thy own soul, Look upon me! for even of all these things And thy own soul with Heaven. Hast thou Have I partaken; and of all these things, no hope ?
One were enough; then wonder not that I