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Enter the ABBOT OF ST. MAURICE.
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,
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.
Man. Ay-father! I have had those
Even in the foaming strength of its abyss
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
And yet not cruel; for I would not make,
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; 141 Some perishing of pleasure, some of study, Some worn with toil, some of mere weari
Some of disease, and some insanity,
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.
A goodly frame of glorious elements,
Mix'd, and contending without end or order,
And shine, and set in glory. Fare thee well! I ne'er shall see thee more. As my first
Of love and wonder was for thee, then take
Her. 'Tis strange enough; night after night, for years,
He hath pursued long vigils in this tower,
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
Interior of the Tower.
The stars are forth, the moon above the tops
Of the snow-shining mountains.
I linger yet with Nature, for the night
I learn'd the language of another world.
I stood within the Coliseum's wall,
Shone through the rents of ruin; from afar
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;
Grovel on earth in indistinct decay.
All this, and cast a wide and tender light,
Became religion, and the heart ran o'er With silent worship of the great of old,