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A DRAMATIC POEM
'There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Abbot Of St. Maurice.
Witch Of The Alps.
The scene of the Drama is amongst the Higher Alps— partly in the Castle of Manfred, and partly in the Mountains.
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,
[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
With a diadem of snow.
The Avalanche in his hand;
Must pause for my command.
Moves onward day by day;
Or with its ice delay.
The hurricane I left behind
Is yet with lightning warm;
I swept upon the blast;
'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? *.
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?