Imágenes de página


That is not in my province; but if thou
Wilt swear obedience to my will, and do
My bidding, it may help thee to thy wishes.


I will not swear-Obey! and whom? the spirits
Whose presence I command, and be the slave
Of those who served me-Never!


Is this all! Hast thou no gentler answer?-Yet bethink thee, And pause ere thou rejectest.


I have said it.

Enough!- I may retire then-say!


[ocr errors]


(The Witch disappears.)

MANFRED (alone.)
We are the fools of time and terror. Days
Steal on us and steal from us; yet we live,
Loathing our life, and dreading still to die.
In all the days of this detested yoke-
This vital weight upon the struggling heart, .
Which sinks with sorrow, or beats quick with pain,
Or joy that ends in agony or faintness-
In all the days of past aud future, for
In life there is no present, we can number

How few-how less than few—wherein the soul
Forbears to pant for death, and yet draws back
As from a stream in winter, though the chill
Be but a moments. I have one resource
Still in my science I can call the dead,
And ask them what it is we dread to be :
The sternest answer can but be the grave,
And that is nothing-if they answer not-
The buried Prophet answered to the Hag
Of Endor; and the Spartan Monarch drew
From the Byzantine maid's unsleeping spirit
An answer and his destiny-he slew
That which he loved, unknowing what he slew,
And died unpardon'd—though he call’d in aid
The Phyxian Jove, and in Phigalia roused
The Arcadian Evocators to compel
The indignant shadow to depose her wrath,
Or fix her term of vengeance—she replied
In words of dubious import, but fulfill'd3.

If I had never lived, that which I love
Had still been living ; had I never loved,
That which I love would still be beautiful-
Happy and giving happiness. What is she ?
What is she now ?–a sufferer for my sins
A thing I dare not think upon-or nothing.
Within few hours I shall not call in vain-
Yet in this hour I dread the thing I dare:
Until this hour I never shrunk to gaze
On spirit, good and evil—now I tremble,
And feel a strange cold thaw upon my heart,
But I can act even what I most abhor,
And champion human fears.--The night approaches.


[blocks in formation]


The summit of the Jung-frau Mountain.


The moon is rising broad, and round, and bright;
And here on snows, where never human foot
Of common mortal trod, we nightly trcad,
And leave no traces ; o'er the savage sea,
The glassy ocean of the mountain ice,
We skim its rugged breakers, which put on

The aspect of a tumbling tempest's foam,
Frozen in a moment-a dead whirlpool's image;
And this most steep fantastic pinnacle,
The fretwork of some earthquake—where the clouds
Pause to repose themselves in passing by—
Is sacred to our revels, or our vigils ;
Here do I wait my sisters, on our way
To the Hall of Arimanes, for to-night
Is our great festival--'tis strange they come not.

A Voice without, singing.
The Captive Usurper,

Huri'd down from the throne,
Lay buried, in torpor,

Forgotten and lone ;
I broke through his slumbers,

I shivered his chain,
I leagued him with numbers

He's Tyrant again!
With the blood of a million he'll answer my care,
With a nation's destruction-his flight and despair.

Second Voice, without,
The ship saild on, the ship sail'd fast,
But I left not a sail, and I left not a mast;
There is not a plank of the hull or the deck,
And there is not a wretch to lament o'er his wreck;
Save one, whom I held, as he swam, by the hair,
And he was a subject well worthy my care;
A traitor on land, and a pirate at sea-
But I saved him to wreak further havoc for me!

[ocr errors]

· FIRST DESTINY, answering.
The city lies sleeping ;

The morn, to deplore it,
May dawn on it weeping.

Sullenly, slowly,
The black plague flew o'er it-

Thousands lie lowly;
Tens of thousands shall perish

The living shall fly from
The sick they should cherish;

But nothing can vanquish
The touch that they die from.

Sorrow and anguish,
And evil and dread,

Envelope a nation
The blest are the dead,
Who see not the sight

Of their own desolation.

This work of a night,
This wreck of a realm-this deed of my doing
For ages I've done, and shall still be renewing!



Our bands contain the hearts of men,

Our footsteps are their graves ;
We only give to take again
The spirits of our slaves !

Welcome!- Where's Nemesis ? •


At some great work ; But what I know not, for my hands were full.

THIRD DESTINY. Behold she cometh.

(Enter NEMESIS.)


Say, where hast thou been ? My sisters and thyself are slow to night.


I was detain'd.repairing shattered thrones,
Marrying fools, restoring dynasties,
Avenging men upon their enemies,
And making them repent their own revenge ;
Goading the wise to madness ; from the dull
Shaping out oracles to rule the world
Afresh, for they were waxing out of date,
And mortals dared to ponder for themselves,
To weigh kings in the balance, and to speak
Of freedom, the forbidden fruit.--Away!'
We have outstaid the hour-mount we our clouds !


« AnteriorContinuar »