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Enter the ABBOT OF ST. MAURICE.
Peace be with Count

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Abbot.

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Manfred! Man. Thanks, holy father! welcome to these walls;

Thy presence honours them, and blesseth those

Who dwell within them.

Abbot. Would it were so, Count!But I would fain confer with thee alone. Man. Herman, retire. What would my

reverend guest? Abbot. Thus, without prelude: -Age and zeal, my office, And good intent, must plead my privilege; Our near, though not acquainted neighbourhood,

May also be my herald. Rumours strange,
And of unholy nature, are abroad,
And busy with thy name; a noble name
For centuries: may he who bears it now
Transmit it unimpair'd!

Man.

Proceed, I listen. Abbot. "Tis said thou holdest converse with the things

Which are forbidden to the search of 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 mankind,

Thy fellows in creation, thou dost rarely 40 Exchange thy thoughts, and that thy solitude

Is as an anchorite's, were it but holy.

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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 dazzling
height,

Even in the foaming strength of its abyss
(Which casts up misty columns that become
Clouds raining from the re-ascended skies)
Lies low but mighty still. But this is past,
My thoughts mistook themselves.

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Abbot.

And wherefore so? Man. I could not tame my nature down; for he

Must serve who fain would sway and soothe, and sue,

And watch all time, and pry into all place, And be a living lie, who would become

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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 sweeps
o'er

The barren sands which bear no shrubs to blast,

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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; 141 Some perishing of pleasure, some of study, Some worn with toil, some of mere weari

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ness,

Some of disease, and some insanity,
And some of wither'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 names.
Look upon me! for even of all these things
Have I partaken; and of all these things, 150
One were enough; then wonder not that I
Am what I am, but that I ever was,
Or having been, that I am still on earth.
Abbot. Yet, hear me still-

Man. 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.

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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 more,
For such are worth redemption; and my duty
Is to dare all things for a righteous end. 170
I'll follow him - but cautiously, though
surely.
[Exit ABBOT.

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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

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Her. 'Tis strange enough; night after night, for years,

He 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. 'T were dangerous; Content thyself with what thou know'st already.

Her. Ah, Manuel! thou art elderly and wise,

And couldst say much; thou hast dwelt within the castle

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SCENE IV

Interior of the Tower.

MANFRED alone.

The stars are forth, the moon above the tops

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Of the snow-shining mountains.

Beauti

ful!

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

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Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar
The watch-dog bay'd beyond the Tiber; and
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

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Appear'd to skirt the horizon, yet ey stood Within a bowshot. Where the Cæsars 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 Caesar's chambers and the Augustan
halls

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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 't were 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,

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