Page images




MANFRED alone.

Scene, a Gothic Gallery.-Time,

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
There is a vigil, and these eyes but close
To look within; and yet I live, and bear
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
Must mourn the deepest o'er the fatal truth,
The Tree of Knowledge is not 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! (1)
Whom I have sought in darkness and in light-
Ye, who do compass earth about, and dwell
In subtler essence-ye, to whom the tops
Of mountains inaccessible are haunts, (2)
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!
[A pause.

If it be so.- Spirits of earth and air,

Ye shall not thus elude me: by a power,

(1) [Original MS.

"Eternal Agency!

Ye spirits of the immortal Universe!"-E.]

(2) [MS.-"Of inaccessible mountains are the haunts."-E]

Deeper than all yet urged, a tyrant-spell,
Which had its birthplace in a star condemn'd,
The burning wreck of a demolish'd world,
A wandering hell in the eternal space;
By the strong curse which is upon my soul,
The thought which is within me and around me,
I do compel ye to my will.-Appear!

[A star is seen at the darker end of the gallery: it is stationary; and a voice is heard singing.


Mortal! to thy bidding bow'd,
From my mansion in the cloud,
Which the breath of twilight builds,
And the summer's sunset gilds
With the azure and vermilion,
Which is mix'd for my pavilion ; (1)
Though thy quest may be forbidden,
On a star-beam I have ridden;
To thine adjuration bow'd,
Mortal-be thy wish avow'd!

Voice of the SECOND SPIRIT.

Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains;

They crown'd him long ago

On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds,
With a diadem of snow.

Around his waist are forests braced,
The Avalanche in his hand;
But ere it fall, that thundering ball
Must pause for my command.

(1) [MS." Which is fit for my pavilion."-E.]

The Glacier's cold and restless mass

Moves onward day by day;
But I am he who bids it pass,
Or with its ice delay. (1)
I am the spirit of the place,

Could make the mountain bow
And quiver to his cavern'd base
And what with me wouldst Thou?

[ocr errors]

Voice of the THird Spirit. In the blue depth of the waters, Where the wave hath no strife, Where the wind is a stranger,

And the sea-snake hath life, Where the Mermaid is decking Her green hair with shells; Like the storm on the surface Came the sound of thy spells; O'er my calm Hall of Coral

The deep echo roll'd To the Spirit of Ocean Thy wishes unfold!


Where the slumbering earthquake

Lies pillow'd on fire,

And the lakes of bitumen

Rise boilingly higher;

Where the roots of the Andes
Strike deep in the earth,

(1) [MS." Or makes its ice delay.".-E.]

As their summits to heaven
Shoot soaringly forth;
I have quitted my birthplace,
Thy bidding to bide —
Thy spell hath subdued me,
Thy will be my guide!


I am the Rider of the wind,
The Stirrer of the storm;
The hurricane I left behind
Is yet with lightning warm;
To speed to thee, o'er shore and sea
I swept upon the blast:

The fleet I met sail'd well, and yet
"Twill sink ere night be past.


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,

« PreviousContinue »