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MANFRED:

A DRAMATIC POEM
1817

'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

DRAMATIS PERSONS

Manfred.

Chamois Hunter.

Abbot Of St. Maurice.

Manuel.

Herman.

Witch Of The Alps.

Arimanes.

Nemesis.

The Destinies.

Spirits, Etc.

The scene of the Drama is amongst the Higher Alpspartly in the Castle of Manfred, and partly in the Mountains.

ACT I.

Scene I.—Manfred alone.Scene, a Gothic Gallery.Time, Midnight.

Man. The lamp must be replenish'd, but even then It will not burn so long as I must watch: My slumbers—if I slumber—are not sleep, But a continuance of enduring thought, Which then I can resist not: in my heart There is a vigil, and these eyes but close To look within; and yet I live, and bear

168 The aspect and the form of breathing men.

But grief should be the instructor of the wise;

Sorrow is knowledge: they who know the most 10

Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth,

The Tree of JCmiwledge_i3joet that of Life.

Philosophy and science, and the springs

Of wonder, and the wisdom of the world,

I have essay'd, and in my mind there is

A power to make these subject to itself—

But they avail not: I have done men good.

And I have met with good even among men—

But this avail'd not: I have had my foes,

And none have baffled, many fallen before me— *>

But this avail'd not:—Good, or evil, life, \

Powers, passions, all I see in other beings,

Have been to me as rain unto the sands, !.

Since that all-nameless hour. I have no. dread.

And feel the curse to have no natural fear,

Nor fluttering throb, that beats with hopes or wishes,

Or lurking love of something on the earth.—

Now to my task.—

Mysterious Agency! Ye spirits of the unbounded Universe! Whom I have sought in darkness and in light— 30 Ye, who do compass earth about, and dwell In subtler essence—ye, to whom the tops Of mountains inaccessible are haunts, And earth's and ocean's caves familiar things— I call upon ye by the written charm Which gives me power upon you—Rise! appear!

[A pause. They come not yet.—Now by the voice of him Who is the first among you—by this sign, Which makes you tremble—by the claims of him Who is undying,—Rise! appear!—Appear I 40

[A pause. If it be so,—Spirits of earth and air,

Ye shall not thus elude me: by a power,
Deeper than all yet urged, a tyrant-spell,
Which had its birth-place in a star condemn'd,
The burning wreck of a demolish'd world,
A wandering hell in the eternal space!
By the strong curse which is upon my soul,
The thought which is within me and around me,
I do compel ye to my will.—Appear!

[A star is seen at the darker end of the gallery: it is stationary: and a voice is heard singing.

Voice of the SeCOND SPIRIT.

Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains:

They crown'd him long ago
On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds,

With a diadem of snow.
Around his waist are forests braced,

The Avalanche in his hand;
But ere it fall, that thundering ball

Must pause for my command.
The Glacier's cold and restless mass

Moves onward day by day;
But I am he who bids it pass,

Or with its ice delay.

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The hurricane I left behind

Is yet with lightning warm;
To speed to thee o'er shore and sea

I swept upon the blast;
The fleet I met sail'd well, and yet

'Twill sink ere night be past.

, . Sixth Spirit. \t Ix

My dwelling is the shadow of the night, Why doth thy magic torture me with light? *.

Seventh Spirit.

The star which rules thy destiny

Was ruled, ere earth began, by me:

It was a world as fresh and fair

As e'er revolved round sun in air;

Its course was free and regular,

Space bosom'd not a lovelier star.

The hour arrived—and it became

A wandering mass of shapeless flame,

A pathless comet, and a curse,

The menace of the universe;

Still rolling on with innate force,

Without a sphere, without a course,

A bright deformity on high,

The monster of the upper sky!

And thou! beneath its influence born—

Thou worm! whom I obey and scorn—

Forced by a power (which is not thine,

And lent thee but to make thee mine)

For this brief moment to descend,

Wnere these weak spirits round thee bend

And parley with a thing like thee—

What wouldst thou, Child of Clay! with me?

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