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Enter the Abbot.
Abbot. Where is your master?
Her. Yonder, in the tower.
Abbot. I must speak with him.
Manuel 'T is impossible;
He is most private, and must not be thus
Abbot. Dpon myself I take
The forfeit of my fault, if fault there be —
Her. Thou hast seen him once
This eve already.
Abbot Herman! I command thee,
Knock, and apprize the Count of my approach.
Her. We dare not.
Abbot. Then it seems I must be herald
Of my own purpose.
ManueL Reverend father, stop —
I pray you pause.
Abbot. Why so?
ManueL But step this way,
And I will tell you further. [Exeunt.
Re-enter Manuel and Herman, bearing Manfred m their arm*.
Manuel. Hie to the castle, some of ye, and bring
Her. His cheek, is block — but there is a Taint beat
[They sprinkle Manfred with water: ajler a pause,
He moves his tips — canst hear him? 1 am old.
[herman inclining his head and listening.
Her. 11 near a word
Or two — but indistinctly — what is next 'f
[manfred motions with his hand not to remove him.
Manuel. He disapproves — and 1 were oT no avail — He changes rapidly.
Her. *T wilt soon be over.
Manuel. Oil 1 what a death is this 1 that I should live To shake my gray hairs over the last chieT Of the house of Sigismund. — And such a death! Alone — we know not how — unshrived — untended —
Within a bowshot. Where the Caesars 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 Casar'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.
'T was 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.
Abbot. My good lord:
I crave a second grace for this approach;
Man. Thou know'st me not;
My days are number'd, and my deeds recorded:
Abbot. Thou dost not mean to menace me?
Man. Not I;
I simply tell thee peril is at hand,
Abbot. What dost mean?
Man. Look there!
What dost thou see?
Man. Look there, I say,
And stedfastly;—now tell me what thou seest.
With strange accompaniments and fearful signs —
[manfrbo having said this expires.
- _Is eyes t
Manuel. Close them. — My old band quivers— He departs—
Whither? I dread to think — but he Is gone 1]
1 [The opening of this scene Is, perhaps, the finest in the drama; and its solemn, calm, and majestic cj throws an air of grandeur over the catastrophe, which was in danger oT appearing extravagant, and somewhat too much iu the style of the " Devil and Dr. Faustus."— Wilsox.3
3 [M Drove at midnight to sec the Coliseum by moonlight: but what can I say of the Coliseum? It must be seen; to describe it 1 should have thought impossible, if 1 bad not read 'Manfred.* To see it aright, as the Poet of the North te';s us of the fair Melrose, one 4 must see it by the pale moonlight.' The stillness of night, the whispering echoes., the moonlight shadows, and the awful grandeur of the impending ruins, form a scene of romantic sublimity, such as Byrou alone could describe as it deserves. His description is toe very thing itself." — Mattukwh'* Diary of an Japali-1.2