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Of the new diseases that human life Evolves in its progress, rank and rife. Consult the dead upon things that were, But the living only on things that are. Have you done this, by the appliance And aid of doctors ?
Prince Henry. Ay, whole schools Of doctors, with their learned rules ; But the case is quite beyond their
Lucifer. That sounds oracular!
Prince Henry. You shall see; Writ in this scroll is the mystery. Lucifer (reading). “Not to be
cured, yet not incurable! The only remedy that remains Is the blood that flows from a maiden's
veins, Who of her own free will shall die, And give her life as the price of yours !” That is the strangest of all cures, And one, I think, you will never try; The prescription you may well put by, As something impossible to find Before the world itself shall end ! And yet who knows? One cannot say That into some maiden's brain that kind Of madness will not find its way. Meanwhile permit me to recommend, As the matter admits of no delay, My wonderful Catholicon, Of very subtle and magical powers ! Prince Henry. Purge with your
nostrums and drugs infernal The spouts and gargoyles of these
towers, Not me! My faith is utterly gone In every power but the Power Supernal ! Pray tell me, of what school are you? Lucifer. Both of the Old and of the
New! The school of Hermes Trismegistus, Who uttered his oracles sublime Before the Olympiads, in the dew Of the early dawn and dusk of Time, The reign of dateless old Hephaestus! As northward, from its Nubian springs,
The Nile, for ever new and old,
Prince Henry. What! an adept? Lucifer. Nor less, nor more! Prince Henry. I am a reader of your
books, A lover of that mystic lore! With such a piercing glance it looks Into great Nature's open eye, And sees within it trembling lie The portrait of the Deity! And yet, alas! with all my pains, The secret and the mystery Have baffled and eluded me, Unseen the grand result remains ! Lucifer (showing a flask). Behold it
here! this little flask Contains the wonderful quintessence, The perfect flower and efflorescence, Of all the knowledge man can ask ! Hold it up thus against the light! Prince Henry. How limpid, pure,
and crystalline, How quick and tremulous, and bright The little wavelets dance and shine, As were it the Water of Life in sooth!
Lucifer. It is ! Itassuages every pain, Cures all disease, and gives again To age the swift delights of youth. Inhale its fragrance. Prince Henry.
It is sweet, A thousand different odours meet And mingle in its rare perfume, Such as the winds of summer waft At open windows through a room!
Lucifer. Will you not taste it?
Prince Henry Will one draught Suffice ?
Lucifer. If not, you can drink more. Is taken from me, and my weary breast Prince Henry. Into this crystal At length finds rest. goblet pour
The Angel. It is but the rest of the So much as safely I may drink.
fire, from which the air has been Lucifer (pouring). Let not the
taken! quantity alarm you;
It is but the rest of the sand, when the You may drink all; it will not harm
hourglass is not shaken! you.
It is but the rest of the tide between Prince Henry. I am as one who on
the ebb and the flow! the brink
It is but the rest of the wind between Of a dark river stands and sees
the flaws that blow!
I am not ill! I am not weak!
The trance, the swoon, the dream, is Nor fear the fateful current's sweep,
o'er! Nor what in ambush lurks below!
I feel the chill of death no more! For death is better than disease!
I stand renewed in all my strength! (An ANGEL with an eolian harp
Beneath me I can feel hovers in the air.)
The great earth stagger and reel, Angel. Woe! woe! eternal woe! As if the feet of a descending God Not only the whispered prayer
Upon its surface trod, Of love,
And like a pebble it rolled beneath his But the imprecations of hate,
This, O brave physician ! this For ever and ever through the air Is thy great Palingenesis ! Above!
(Drinks again.) This fearful curse
The Angel. Touch the goblet no Shakes the great universe !
more! Lucifer (disappearing). Drink ! It will make thy heart sore drink !
To its very core ! And thy soul shall sink
Its perfume is the breath Down into the dark abyss,
Of the Angel of Death, Into the infinite abyss,
And the light that within it lies From which no plummet nor rope
Is the flash of his evil eyes. Ever drew up the silver sand of hope ! Beware! Oh, beware! Prince Henry (drinking). It is like For sickness, sorrow, and care a draught of fire !
All are there! Through every vein
Prince Henry (sinking back). O thou I feel again
voice within my breast! The fever of youth, the soft desire ; Why entreat me, why upbraid me, A rapture that is almost pain
When the steadfast tongues of truth Throbs in my heart and fills my brain ! And the flattering hopes of youth joy! O joy! I feel
Have all deceived me and betrayed me? The band of steel
Give me, give me rest, O rest! That so long and heavily has pressed Golden visions wave and hover, Upon my breast
Golden vapours, waters streaming, Uplifted, and the malediction
Landscapes moving, changing, gleamOf my affliction
I am like a happy lover
Hubert. Ah! Master Walter ! Who illumines life with dreaming!
Walter. Alas! how forms and faces Brave physician! Rare physician!
alter! Well hast thou fulfilled thy mission !
I did not know you. You look older! (His head falls on his book.)
Your hair has grown much grayer and
thinner, The Angel (receding). Alas! alas !
And you stoop a little in the shoulder! Like a vapour the golden vision
Hubert. Alack! I am a poor old Shall fade and pass,
sinner, And thou wilt find in thy heart again
And, like these towers, begin to Only the blight of pain,
moulder; And bitter, bitter, bitter contrition !
And you have been absent many a (Courtyard of the Castle. HUBERT
year? standing by the gateway.)
Walter. How is the Prince ? Hubert. How sad the grand old Hubert.
He is not here; castle looks!
He has been ill: and now has fied. O'erhead, the unmolested rooks
Walter. Speak it out frankly: say Upon the turret's windy top
he's dead! Sit, talking of the farmer's crop;
Is it not so? Here in the courtyard springs the grass, Hubert. No; if you please So few are now the feet that pass; A strange, mysterious disease The stately peacocks, bolder grown, Fell on him with a sudden blight. Come hopping down the steps of stone, Whole hours together he would stand As if the castle were their own;
Upon the terrace, in a dream, And I, the poor old seneschal,
Resting his head upon his hand, Haunt, like a ghost, the banquet-hall. Best pleased when
he was most alone, Alas! the merry guests no more
Like Saint John Nepomuck in stone, Crowd through the hospitable door; Looking down into a stream. No eyes with youth and passion shine, In the round Tower, night after night, No cheeks grow redder than the wine; Hesat, and bleared his eyes with books: No song, no laugh, no jovial din
Until one morning we found him there Of drinking wassail to the pin ;
Stretched on the floor, as if in a swoon But all is silent, sad, and drear,
He had fallen from his chair. And now the only sounds I hear
We hardly recognised his sweet looks! Are the hoarse rooks upon the walls,
Walter. Poor Prince ! And horses stamping in their stalls ! Hubert. I think he might have (A horn sounds.)
And he did mend; but very soon
The Priests came flocking in like rooks, And, as of old resounding, grate
With all their crosiers and their crooks,
And so at last the matter ended. The heavy hinges of the gate.
Walter. How did it end? And, clattering loud, with iron clank,
Hubert. Why, in Saint Rochus Down goes the sounding bridge of plank,
They made him stand, and wait his
doom; As if it were in haste to greet
And, as if he were condemned to the The pressure of a traveller's feet!
tomb, (Enter WALTER the Minnesinger.)
Began to mutter their hocus-pocus. Walter. How now, my friend! This First, the Mass for the dead they looks quite lonely!
chanted, No banner flying from the walls, Then three times laid upon his head No pages and no seneschals,
A shovelful of churchyard clay, No warders, and one porter only! Saying to him as he stood undaunted, Is it you, Hubert ?
This is a sign that thou art dead,
So in thy heart be penitent!"
knell To keep all travellers away. Walter. Oh, horrible fate! Outcast,
rejected, As one with pestilence infected ! Hubert. Then was the family tomb
unsealed, And broken helmet, sword, and shield, Buried together, in common wreck, As is the custom when the last Of any princely house has passed; And thrice, as with a trumpet-blast, A herald shouted down the stair The words of warning and despair,– “O Hoheneck! O Hoheneck!” Walter. Still in my soul that cry
goes on,For ever gone! for ever gone! Ah, what a cruel sense of loss, Like a black shadow, would fall across The hearts of all, if he should die ! His gracious presence upon earth Was as a fire upon a hearth. As pleasant songs, at morning sung, The words that dropped from his sweet
tongue Strengthened our hearts; or, heard at
In the Odenwald.
ward. For love of him, and Jesus' sake! Pray you come in. For why should I With out-door hospitality My prince's friend thus entertain? Walter. I would a moment here re
main. But you, good Hubert, go before, Fill me a goblet of May-drink, As aromatic as the May From which it steals the breath away, And which he loved so well of yore:
It is of him that I would think.
(Leaning over the parapet.) The day is done; and slowly from the The stooping sun upgathers his spent
shafts, And puts them back into his golden
quiver ! Below me in the valley, deep and green As goblets are, from which in thirsty
draughts We drink its wine, the swift and mant
ling river Flows on triumphant through these
lovely regions, Etched with the shadows of its sombre
margent, And soft, reflected clouds of gold and
argent ! Yes, there it flows, for ever,
broad and still, As when the vanguard of the Roman
legions First saw it from the top of yonder hill ! How beautiful it is! Fresh fields of
wheat, Vineyard, and town, and tower with
fluttering flag, The consecrated chapel on the crag, And the white hamlet gathered round
its base, Like Mary sitting at her Saviour's feet, And looking up at his beloved face ! O friend! O best of friends! Thy abThan the impending night darkens the
Prince Henry (reading). One morn
ing, all alone, Out of his convent of gray stone, Into the forest older, darker, grayer, His lips moving as if in prayer, His head sunken upon his breast, As in a dream of rest, Walked the Monk Felix. All about The broad, sweet sunshine lay without, Filling the summer air; And within the woodlands as he trod, The twilight was like the Truce of God With worldly woe and care ; Under him lay the golden moss; And above him the bows of hemlock
trees Waved and made the sign of the cross, And whispered their Benedicites; And from the ground Rose an odour sweet and fragrant Of the wild flowers and the vagrant Vines that wandered, Seeking the sunshine, round and round. These he heeded not, but pondered On the volume in his hand, A volume of Saint Augustine, Wherein he read of the unseen Splendours of God's great town In the unknown land, And, with his eyes cast down In humility, he said: “I believe, O God, What herein I have read, But, alas ! I do not understand !" And lo! he heard The sudden singing of a bird, A snow-white bird, that from a cloud Dropped down, And among the branches brown Sat singing So sweet, and clear, and loud, It seemed a thousand harp-strings
ringing And the Monk Felix closed his book, And long, long, With rapturous look, He listened to the song, And hardly breathed or stirred, Until he saw, as in a vision, The land Elysian, And in the heavenly city heard Angelic feet Fall on the golden flagging of the street.
And he would fain