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Man. And what are they who do
avouch these things ? Abbot. My pious brethren--the scared
peasantryEven thy own vassals who do look on
thee With most unquiet eyes. Thy life's in
peril. Man. Take it. Abbot. I come to save, and not des
troy : I would not pry into thy secret soul : But if these things be sooth, there still is
time For penitence and pity : reconcile thee With the true church, and through the
church to heaven. Man. I hear thee. This is my reply:
whate'er I may have been, or am, doth rest be
tween Heaven and myself. I shall not choose
a mortal To be my mediator. Have I sinn'd Against your ordinances ? prove and
punish! Abbot. My son ! I did not speak of
punishment, But penitence and pardon ;-with myself The choice of such remains and for the
last, Our institutions and our strong belief Have given me power to smooth the
path from sin To higher hope and better thoughts; the
orcise From out the unbound spirit the quick Of its own sins, wrongs, sufferance, and
revenge Upon itself ; there is no future pang Can deal that justice on the self-con.
Abbot. Peace be with Count Man
fred! Man. Thanks, holy father! welcome
to these walls; Thy presence honors them, and blesseth
those Who dwell within them.
Abbot. Would it were so, Count?--
my reverend guest ?
and zeal, my office,
lege ; Our near, though not acquainted neigh
Proceed, --I listen.
with the things
man; That with the dwellers of the dark
abodes, The many evil and unheavenly spirits Which walk the valley of the shade of
death, Thou communest. I know that with
Lies low but mighty still.-.But this is
past, My thoughts mistook themselves. Abbot.
And wherefore so ? Man. I could not tame iny nature
down ; for he Must serve who fain would sway; and
soothe, and sue, And watch all time, and pry into al}
place, And be a living lie, who would become A mighty thing amongst the mean, and
such The mass are ; I disdain'd to mingle with A herd, though to be leader--and of
wolves. The lion is alone, and so am I. Abbot. And why not live and act with
other men ? Man. Because my nature was a verse
from life ; And yet not cruel; for I would not make, But find a desolation. Like the wind, The red-hot breath of the most lone
simoom, Which dwells but in the desert, and
He deals on his own soul.
All this is well ; For this will pass away, and be succeeded By an auspicious hope, which shall look
up With calm assurance to that blessed
place, Which all who seek may win, whatever
be Their earthly errors, so they be atoned : And the commencement of atonement is The sense of its necessity. Say on-And all our church can teach thee shall
be taught; And all we can absolve thee shall be
pardon'd. Man. When Rome's sixth emperor
was near his last, The victim of a self-inflicted wound, To shun the torments of a public death From senates once his slaves, a certain
soldier, With show of loyal pity, would have
stanch'd The gushing throat with his officious
robe ; The dying Roman thrust him back, and
said Some empire still in his expiring glance-“It is too late--is this fidelity ?"
Abbot. And what of this?
Man. I answer with the Roman-“It is too late !" Abbot.
It never can be so, To reconcile thyself with thy own soul, And thy own soul with heaven. Hast
thou no hope? 'Tis strange--even those who do de
spair above, Yet shape themselves some fantasy on
earth, To which frail twig they cling, like
drowning men. Man. Ay--father! I have had those
earthly visions, And noble aspirations in my youth, To make my own the mind of other
men, The enlightener of nations; and to rise I knew not whither-it might be to fall; But fall, even as the mountain-cataract, Which having leapt from its more daz
zling height, Even in the foaming strength of its
abyss, (Which casts up misty columns that be
come Clouds raining from the re-ascended
The barren sands which bear no shrubs
to blast, And revels o'er their wild and arid
waves, And seeketh not, so that it is not sought, But being met is deadly,--such hath
been The course of my existence ; but there
came Things in my path which are no more. Abbot.
Alas! I’gin to fear that thou art past all aid From me and from my calling; yet so
young, I still would-
Man. Look on me! there is an order Of mortals on the earth, who do become Old in their youth, and die ere middle
age, Without the violence of warlike death; Some perishing of pleasure, some of
study, Some worn with toil, some of mere
weariness, Some of disease, and some insanity, And some of witber'd or of broken
hearts ; For this last is a malady which slays More than are number'd in the lists of
Fate, Taking all shapes, and bearing many Look upon me! for even of all these
Abbot. Yet, hear me still-
Old man! I do respect Thine order, and revere thine years; I
deem Thy purpose pious, but it is in vain : Think me not churlish; I would spare
thyself, Far more than me, in shunning at this
time All further colloquy-and so-farewell.
(Exit MANFRED. Abbot. This should have been a noble
creature; be Hath all the energy which would have
made A goodly frame of glorious elements, Had they been wisely mingled ; as it is, It is an awful chaos-light and darkness, And mind and dust, and passions and
pure thoughts Mix'd, and contending without end or
order, All dormant or destructive : he will
perish, And yet he must not; I will try once For such are worth redemption; and my
duty Is to dare all things for a righteous end. I'll follow him—but cautiously, though surely.
[Exit ABBOT. SCENE II Another Chamber.
MANFRED and HERMAN, Iler. My lord, you bade me wait on
you at sunset: He sinks bebind the mountain. Uan.
Doth he so? I will look on him. [MANFRED (dvances
to the Window of the Hall.
Glorious Orb! the idol Of early nature, and the vigorous race Of undiseased mankind, the giant sons Of the embrace of angels, with a sex More beautiful than they, which die
draw down The erring spirits who can ne'er return.Most glorious orb! that wert a worship, The mystery of thy making was
Thou earliest minister of the Almighty, Which gladden'd, on their mountain
tops, the hearts Of the Chaldean shepherds, till they
pour'd Themselves in orisons! Thou material
God ! And representative of the unknownWho chose thee for his shadow! Thou
chief star! Centre of many stars! which mak'st our
earth Endurable, and temperest the hues And hearts of all who walk within thy
rays : Sire of the seasons ! Monarch of the
climes, And those who dwell in them ! for near
or far, Our inborn spirits have a tint of thee Even as our outward aspects ;-thou dost
rise, And shine, and set in glory. Fare thee
well ! I ne'er shall see thee more. As my first
glance Of love and wonder was for thee, then take
(one My latest look: thou wilt not beam on To whom the gifts of life and warmth
have been Of a more fatal nature. He is gone : I follow,
SCENE III The Mountains-The Castle of Manfred
at some distance-A Terrace before u
Tower-Time, Twilight. HERMAN, MANUEL and other Dependents
of MANFRED, Her. 'Tis strange enough ; night after
night, for years, Ile hath pursued long vigils in this tower, Without a witness. I have been within
it,So have we all been oft-times; but from it, Or its contents, it were impossible To draw conclusions absolute, of aught His studies tend to. To be sure, there is One chamber where none enter: I would
give The fee of what I have to come these
three years, To pore upon its mysteries, Manuel.
Twere dangerous; Content thyself with what thou know'st
That lived, the only thing he seem'd te
love, As he, indeed, by blood was bound to do The lady Astarte, his
Hush! who comes here?
Her. Ah! Manuel! thou art elderly
and wise, And couldst say much; thou hast dwelt
within the castleHow many years is't?
Manuel. Ere Count Manfred's birth, I served his father, whom he nought re
sembles. Her. There be more sons in like pre
dicament. But wherein do they differ? Manuel.
I speak not Of features or of form, but mind and
habits ; Count Sigismund was proud, but gay and
free,A warrior and a reveller ; he dwelt not With books and solitude, nor made the
night A gloomy vigil, but a festal time, Merrier than day; lie did not walk the
Beshrew the hour, But those were jocund times! I would
that such Would visit the old wall; again; they
look As if they had forgotten them. Manulei.
These walls Must change their chieftain first. Oh! I
have seen Some strange things in them, Herman. Her.
Come, be friendly : Relate me some to while away our
watch: I've heard thee darkly speak of an event Which happen'd liereabouts, by this
same tower. Manuel. That was a night indeed! I
do remember 'Twas twilight, as it may be now,
and such Another evening ;-yon red cloud, which
rests On Eigher's pinnacle, so rested then,So like that it might be the same; the
wind Was faint and gusty, and the mountain Began to glitter with the climbing moon; Connt Manfred was, as now, within his
tower, How occupied, we knew not, but with
him The sole companion of his wanderings And watchings-her, whom of all earthly
Enter the ABBOT. Abbot. Where is your
Yonder in the tower. Abbot. I must speak with him. Manuel.
"Tis impossible; He is most private, and must not be thus Intruded on.
Abbot. Upon myself I take The forfeit of my fault, if fault there beBut I must see him. Her.
Thou hast seen him once This eve already.
Abbot. Herman! I command thee, Knock, and apprize the Count of my ap
proach. Her. We dare not.
Abbot. Then it seems I must be herald Of my own purpose.
Manuel. Reverend father, stopI
pray you pause. Abbot.
Why so ? Manuel.
But step this way, And I will tell you further. [E.ceunt.
Interior of the Tower.
MANFRED alone. The stars are forth, the moon above the
tops Of the snow-shining mountains.-Beau
tiful! I linger yet with Nature, for the Night Hath been to me a more familiar face Than that of man; and in her starry
shade Of dim and solitary loveliness, I learn'd the language of another world. I do remember me, that in my youth, When I was wandering, -upon such a
night I stood within the Coliseum's wall, 'Midst the chief relics of almighty Rome; The trees which grew along the broken
arches Waved dark in the blue midnight, and
the stars Shone through the rents of ruin; from
afar The watch-dog bay'd beyond the Tiber:
More near from out the Cæsars' palace
came The owl's long cry, and, interruptedly, Of distant sentinels the fitful song Begun and died upon the gentle wind. Some cypresses beyond the time-worn
breach Appear'd to skirt the horizon, yet they
stood Within a bowshot. Where the Cæsars
dwelt, And dwell the tuneless birds of night,
amidst A grove which springs through levellid
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 Au
gustan halls, Grcvel 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.
'Twas such a night! 'T is 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; But yet let not my humble zeal offend By its abruptness ---- all it hath of ill Recoils on me; its good in the effect May light upon your head ---- could I say
heart Could I touch that, with words or prayers,
I should Recall a noble spirit which hath wan
der'd; But is not yet all lost. Man.
Thou know'st me not;
My days are number'd, and my deeds re
corded : Retire, or 'twill be dangerous-Away ! Abbot. Thou dost not mean to menace
Not I; I simply tell thee peril is at hand, And would preserve thee.
Abbot. What dust thou mean? Man,
Look there! What dost thou see? Abbot.
Look there I say. And steadfastly ;-now tell me what
thou seest? Abbot. That which should shake me,
but I fear it not : I see a dusk and awful figure rise, Like an infernal god, from out the earth ; His face wrapt in a mantle, and his form Robed as with angry.clouds : he stands be
tween Thyself and me --but I do fear him not. ilan. Thou hast no cause--he shall not
harm thee-but His sight may shock thine old limbs into
palsy. I say to thee-Retire ! Abbot.
And I replyNever-till I have battled with this
fiend : What doth be here :
Man. Why--ay--what doth he here? I did not send for him,-he is unbidden. Abbot. Alas! lost mortal! what with
guests like these Hast thou to do? I tremble for thy sake: Why doth he gaze on thee, and thou on
him? Ah! he unveils his aspect : on his brow The thunder-scars are graven : from his
eye Glares forth the immortality of hellAvaunt!-
Mun. Pronounce--what is thy missioni Spirit.
Come !Abbot. What art thou, unknown being ?
answer !-speak! Spirit. The genius of this mortal.
Come! 'tis time. Man. I am prepared for all things, but
deny The power which sunimons me. Whosent
thee here? Spirit. Thou'lt know anon--Come!
I have commanded Things of an essence greater far than