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and remote, as befits the character of the beings introduced.—The scene as a whole is merely a prelude to the following scene.
Byron's treatment of the Three Fates or Destinies (Parcæ or Moera) in this scene is somewhat free. In general they resemble the classical Parcæ, but the ancients did not, as a rule, represent them as so crudely maleficent. The association with Arimanes (a Persian deity) was perhaps suggested by the fact that the ancients sometimes represented them as ministers of the King of Hades and sitting at the foot of his throne.
1904. the savage sea refers to the metaphor repeated in the next line ("The glassy ocean"). A verb of motion has to be
1908. Cf. Byron's Swiss Journal: "Arrived at the Grindenwald; mounted again, and rode to the higher glacier-like a frozen hurricane."
190 14. for to-night Is our great festival. perhaps, suggested by the Walpurgisnacht in 'Faust.'
190:14. Arimānes (or Ahriman, more exactly Angra Mainyu) appears in the next scene. The name signifies Hostile or Destroying Spirit," The Enemy." He is the Evil Spirit and Prince of Darkness of the 'Zend-Avesta' and Persian mythology. All other evil spirits are subject to him,-and thus Byron represents them. He resides in Hell, surrounded by an army of demons whom he has created. He poisons all the elements of the created world, and brings into being hunger, thirst, and evils of every kind. Byron has magnificently developed this conception of the Evil Power in the opening speech of the next scene.
190: 15 ff. A Voice without. That of one of the other Destinies who enter later. War, shipwreck, and plague, are chosen as the three types of evil wrought by the Destinies. Lines 16-25 perhaps were written with Napoleon in mind. So too Gray's The Fatal Sisters' foretell war and carnage. Cf. in Macbeth' the witches' recital of the evil they have just been accomplishing.
191 26 ff.
The idea was,
190 16 ff. For the rhythm, cf. Act I, sc. i, 76–87. What is the difference, rhythmically, between the two passages? Cf. the song of the spirits in I Faust,' 1093 ff. Note the curious rhyme. scheme (three stanzas, a b a cb c).
Shipwrecks were a favorite subject of Byron's
imagination. Cf. above (pp. 238 ff.) the account of the shipwreck from Don Juan.'
192: 62-71. Is the satire in keeping with the conventional idea of Nemesis and the Destinies? Is it in keeping with the tone of this scene and of the drama as a whole? The allusions are to the fall of Napoleon, the restoration of the Bourbons, and other events of the period.
ACT II, SCENE IV
This scene, although entirely thaumaturgic, ultra-romantic, and built up of the machinery of the supernatural, is extremely impressive and constitutes a sort of climax in the progress of the drama as a whole. Manfred's character is here brought out in its fulness, and his final mastery over the spirits is foreshadowed.
For Arimanes cf. note to Act II, sc. iii, 14, above. With the scene as a whole compare the description the Hail of Eblis, in Beckford's 'Vathek' (near the end), a book which Byron had read and admired, and to which his imagination was doubtless indebted in this scene.
192:7-16. The music and magnificence of this hymn can be fully appreciated only when one reads it aloud. The crash and crescendo of the concluding lines perhaps excel anything that Byron, that master of climax, has elsewhere done.
194 35. What does it here refer to?
194:41-42. What gives these lines their peculiarly poetical effect? What rhetorical figure is used?
195: 77. Powers deeper still beyond. Cf. the conception of Demogorgon in Shelley's 'Prometheus Unbound' II, iv; similarly, too, in Greek mythology. So the ancients regarded Zeus himself as subject to Fate or Necessity. Cf. Keats' 'Hyperion.'
19583. Astarte. The name originally of the Syrian Aphrodite, associated by Milton also ('Par. Lost' I, 438) with the brood of Hell. Byron's Astarte, however, is apparently not the goddess, although she is "one without a tomb" (cf., however, l. 107: "The grave which enthrall'd thee"); she is the mysterious being, woman, mistress, blood-relative, friend, of Manfred's years forepast, whose prototype is found in the Cleonice of the story of • Pausanias and Cleonice,' above (II, ii, 182 ff.). The name Astarte
is probably given her to suggest the present association and to add another element of mystery to her nature.
For further references to this mysterious portion of the story, cf. I, i. 24, 87-91; II, i, 21-30, 84-87; II, ii, 59, 104-121, 192– 197; II, iv, 83, 97-155; III, iii, 41–47.
196: 98. The Phantom of Astarte. For the possible symbolism underlying this apparition, cf. 'Childe Harold' IV, cxxiv, 3-4: "Though to the last, in verge of our decay, Some phantom lures, such as we sought at first." 196: 100. Cf. Shelley's 'Ode to the West Wind' (1819): "thou breath of Autumn's being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven. .
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red."
197: 154. Say, thou lovest me. Phan. Manfred! With this enigmatical answer Astarte vanishes. With what tones are we to imagine that she pronounces the name Manfred? Is it a cry of love and atonement? Is the germ here of the conclusion of the second part of Goethe's 'Faust,'
and as Margaret's love for Faust reaches beyond the grave, so here does Astarte's for Manfred?
198: 160. he mastereth himself, and makes His torture tributary to his will. In these words is summed up the secret of Byron's nature, his chief differentia. His will would not be broken. Not strength of will and self-mastery, but indomitable persistency of will, was his, confronting all Will from without with Titanic resistance; all tortures of the spirit, to the death that ended all, being made tributary to his will. Nothing of the spirit of reconciling submission, Dante's
"La sua volontade e nostra pace,"
or Cardinal Newman's
"I loved to choose and see my path, but now,
but the inflexible assertion of the individual might and spiritual independence of the human soul.
ACT III, SCENE I
The third act as originally written was bad and a failure, as Byron admitted after reflection and when he had been informed of Gifford's private censure passed upon it. Byron composed rapidly, and laborious correction and polish were things that he brought himself to with difficulty. All the more remarkable, therefore, is this the revised version, which he produced within a month after the abandonment of the first version. In the first version (printed in its entirety in Moore's 'Life of Byron,' following the letter to Murray of May 5, 1817) there are only two scenes. As far as line 56 the two versions are identical; while the whole of the present scene ii, including Manfred's impassioned invocation to the sun, formed the conclusion of the original scene i. In between, however, in place of the present text, wherein the Abbot labors in vain to convert Manfred from the error of his thoughts, but finally departs in peace, stood a passage of some sixty lines in which the Abbot is represented as threatening Manfred with dire punishments unless he reconciles himself at once to the Church; hereupon Manfred, somewhat after the manner of Faustus in Marlowe's drama, plays "pranks fantastical" with the Abbot, summoning the Demon Ashtaroth, who appears singing a grotesque and uncanny demon-chant of a raven, a gibbet, and the witches' carnival (a lyric which the poet Thomas Lovell Beddoes perhaps has imitated in Wolfram's Song in 'Death's Jest-Book,' act v, sc. iv), and who at Manfred's bidding conveys the Abbot through the air to the peak of the Schreckhorn, there to do penance till sunrise. For the serious purposes of the drama this is, as Byron soon saw, out of keeping and mere "nonsense." How much more dignified and adequate is the present version! The second scene of the discarded version coincided with the present third scene as far as line 47. But at this point, instead of the entrance of the Abbot, Herman and Manuel suddenly break off (the mystery of Astarte remains unrevealed in both versions) on discovering that Manfred's tower is on fire. Manfred, mortally injured, is rescued from the ruins and expires,
"With strange accompaniments and fearful signs,"
uttering, addressed to Manuel, the dying words here addressed to the Abbot:
"Old man! 'tis not so difficult to die."
The drama closes with three lines given to Herman and Manuel :
"Her. His eyes are fixed and lifeless.-He is gone.
Manuel. Close them. My old hand quivers. He departs—
In the re-written act the poet has given us a poetical instead of a melodramatic ending, including the famous passage on the Coliseum, and a fitting farewell to all that is mortal of
1985. The reference to the key and casket seems to have been retained from the original version by inadvertence. Here they are not again referred to; there they were used by Manfred in calling up the Demon Ashtaroth.
199 13. The golden secret, the sought "Kalon." Tò Kaλóv, beauty, moral beauty; or more commonly in the compounded form κaλoкayаby, the beautiful and good, in the Academic philosophy, the ideal of man.
199 17-18. A reminiscence of Hamlet, who, after the scholar's habit, and with similar inconsequentiality, calls for
"My tables,-meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain."
199 19. The abbot of St. Maurice. At St. Maurice, in the Rhone valley, some few miles above the point where the river empties into Lake Leman and some fifty miles from the region where most of the action of this drama is imagined to take place, there is a very ancient and at one time important abbey, now inhabited by Augustinian monks.
200: 63. Cf. 'Romans' xii, 19: "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
200 70-71. The sense is, "Remorse, not founded on the fear of hell, in itself produces deep despair," etc. Cf. Sackville's 'Induction to the Mirror for Magistrates,' st. 32:
"And first, within the porch and jaws of Hell