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A DRAMATIC POEM.
• There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Witch of the Alps.
The Destinies. Herman.
Spirits, etc. The scene of the Drama is amongst the Higher Alps-partly in the Castle of Manfred,
and partly in the Mountains.
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 heart 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 itselfBut they avail not: I have done men good, And I have met with good even among menBut 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
Or lurking love of something on the earth.
(A parlse. They coine 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 1-Appear!
Which the breath of twilight builds,
Sixth Spirit. And the summer's sunset gilds
My dwelling is the shadow of the nigh With the azure and vermilion,
Why doth thy magic torture me with light? Which is inix'd for my pavilion ;
The star which rules thy destiny
Was ruled, ere earth began, by me:
It was a world as fresh and fair Mortal, be thy wish avow'd !
As e'er revolved round sun in air;
Its course was free and regular, Voice of the Second Spirit.
Space bosom'd not a lovelier star. Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains:
The hour arrived-and it became They crown'd him long ago
A wandering mass of shapeless flame, On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds,
A pathless comet, and a curse, With a diadem of snow.
The menace of the universe; Around his waist are forests braced,
Still rolling on with innate force, The Avalanche in his hand;
Without a sphere, without a course, But ere it fall, that thundering ball
A bright deformity on high, Must pause for my command.
The monster of the upper sky! The Glacier's cold and restless mass
And thou ! beneath its influence bornMoves onward day by day;
Thou worm ! whom I obey and scornBut I am he who bids it pass,
Forced by a power (which is not thine, Or with its ice delay.
And lent thee but to make thee mine) I am the spirit of the place,
For this brief moment to descend, Could make the mountain bow
Where these weak spirits round thee bend And quiver to his cavern'd base
And parley with a thing like theeAnd what with me wouldst Thou?
What wouldst thou, Child of Clay ! with me? Voice of the Third Spirit.
The Seven Spirits. In the blue depth of the waters,
Earth, ocean, air, night, mountains, winds, thy Where the wave hath no strife,
star, Where the wind is a stranger,
Are at thy beck and bidding, Child of Clay! And the sea-snake hath life,
Before thee at thy quest their spirits areWhere the Mermaid is decking
What wouldst thou with us, son of mortalsHer green hair with shells;
say? Like the storm on the surface
Man, ForgetfulnessCame the sound of thy spells;
First Spirit. Of what-of whom-and why? O'er my calm Hall of Coral
Man. Of that which is within me : read it there ; The deep echo rollid
Ye ktiow it, and I cannot utter it. To the Spirit of Ocean
Spirit. We can but give thee that which we Thy wishes unfold !
Ask of us subjects, sovereignty, the power
O'er earth-the whole, or portion-or a sign
Which shall control the elements, whereof Lies pillow'd on fire,
We are the dominators : each and all, And the lakes of bitumen
These shall be thine. Rise boilingly higher ;
Oblivion, self-oblivionWhere the roots of the Andes
Can ye not wring from out the hidden realins Strike deep in the earth,
Ye offer so profusely what I ask? As their summits to heaven
Spirit. It is not in our essence, in our skill; Shoot soaringly forth;
But-thou may'st die. I have quitted my birthplace,
Will death bestow it on me? Thy bidding to bide
Spirit. We are immortal, and do not forget ; Thy spell hath subdued me,
We are eternal, and to us the past Thy will be my guide!
Is, as the future, present. Art thou answer'd?
Man. Ye mock ine-but the power which brought Fifth Spirit. I am the Rider of the wind,
Hath made you mine. Slaves, scoff not at my The Stirrer of the storm ;
will The hurricane I left behind
The mind, the spirit, the Promethean spark, Is yet with lightning warm ;
The lightning of my being, is as bright, To speed to thee o'er shore and sea Pervading, and far-darting as your own, I swept upon the blast:
And shall not yield to yours, though coop ir The fleet I met sail'd well, and yet
clay! 'Twill sink ere night be past.
Answer, or I will teach ye what I am
Spirit. We answer as we answer d; our reply And for ever shalt thou dwell
In the spirit of this spell.
Though thou seest me not pass by,
Thou shalt feel me with thine eye ours,
As a thing that, though unseen, We have replied in telling thee, the thing
Must be near thee, and hath been ; Mortals call death hath nought to do with us.
And when in that secret dread Man. I then have call'd ye from your realis in
Thou hast turn'd around thy head, vain ;
Thou shalt marvel I am not Ye cannot, or ye will not, aid me.
As thy shadow on the spot, Spirit.
And the power which thou dost feel
Shall be what thou must conceal.
Hath baptized thee with a curse;
And a spirit of the air They are too long already. Hence-begone!
Hath begirt thee with a snare : Spirit. Yet pause : being here, our will would do
In the wind there is a voice thee service;
Shall forbid thee to rejoice; Bethink thee, is there then no other gift'
And to thee shall Night deny Which we can make not worthless in thine eyes?
All the quiet of her sky;
Which shall make thee wish it done.
From thy false tears I did distil
An essence which hath strength to kill ; The steady aspect of a clear large star,
From thy own heart I then did wring
The black blood in its blackest spring;
From thy own smile I snatch'd the snake, Spirit. We have no forms beyond the elements
For there it coil'd as in a brake, Of which we are the mind and principle:
From thy own lip I drew the charm But choose a form-in that we will appear.
Which gave all these their chiefest harm: Man. I have no choice; there is no form on earth
In proving every poison known, Hideous or beautiful to me. Let him,
I found the strongest was thine own. Who is most powerful of ye, take such aspect
By thy cold breast and serpent smile, As unto him may seem most fitting--Come!
By thy unfathom'd gulss of guile, (Seventh Spirit appearing in the shape of a beauti
By that most seeming virtuous eye, fuul female figure.) Behold !
By thy shut soul's hypocrisy; Man.
O God I if it be thus, and thou By the perfection of thine art Art not a madness and a mockery,
Which pass'd for human thine own heart; I yet might be most happy. I will clasp thee,
By thy delight in others' pain,
And by thy brotherhood of Cain,
I call upon thee, and compel
And on thy head I pour the vial
Which doth devote thee to this trial;
Nor to slumber, nor to die,
Shall be in thy destiny;
Though thy death shall still seem near
To thy wish, but as a fear: And the answer'd owls are hooting,
Lo! the spell now works around thee, and the silent leaves are still
And the clankless chain hath bound thee; In the shadow of the hill,
O'er thy heart and brain together Shall my soul be upon thine,
Hath the word been pass'd-now wither! With a power and with a sign.
The Mountain of the Jungfrau.—Time, Morning, There are shades which will not vanish,
Manfred alone upon the Clifts. There are thoughts thou canst not banish; Man. The spirits I have raised abandon me By a power to thee unknown,
The spells which I have studied baffle me-Thou canst never be alone :
The remedy I reck'd of tortured me: Thou art wrapt as with a shroud,
I lean no more on superhuman aid, Thou art gather'd in a cloud :
It hath no power upon the past; and for
The future, till the past be gulf'd in darkness, Proud as a free-born peasant's, at this distance. it is not of my search.-My mother Earth,
I will approach him nearer. And thou fresh breaking Day, and you, ye Moun Man. (not perceiving the other.) To be thustains,
Grey-hair'd with anguish, like these blasted pines, Why are ye beautiful? I cannot love ye.
Wrecks of a single winter, barkless, branchless, And thou, the bright eye of the universe,
A blighted trunk upon a cursed root, That openest over all, and unto all
Which but supplies a feeling to decay
And to be thus, eternally but thus,
With wrinkles, plough'd by moments, not by Behold the tall pines dwindled as to shrubs
yearsIn dizziness of distance; when a leap,
And hours, all tortured into ages-hours A stir, a motion, even a breath, would bring
Which I outlive !--Ye toppling crags of ice! My breast upon its rocky bosom's bed
Ye avalanches, whom a breath draws down To rest for ever--wherefore do I pause?
In mountainous o'erwhelming, come and crush me! I feel the impulse--yet I do not plunge;
I hear ye momently above, beneath, I see the peril–yet do not recede:
Crash with a frequent conflict; but ye pass, And my brain reels-and yet my foot is firm:
And only fall on things which still would live; There is a power upon me which withholds,
On the young flourishing forest, or the hut And makes it my fatality to live;
And hamlet of the harmless villager. If it be life to wear within myself
C. Hun. The mists begin to rise up from the This barrenness of spirit, and to be
valley; My own soul's sepulchre, for I have ceased
I'll warn him to descend, or he may chance To justify my deeds unto myself
To lose at once his way and life together. The last infirmity of evil. Ay,
Man. The mists boil up around the glaciers; Thou winged and cloud-cleaving minister,
(An eagle passes. Rise curling fast beneath me. white and sulphury, Whose happy flight is highest into heaven,
Like foam from the roused ocean of deep Hell, Well may'st thou swoopso near me--I should be Whose every wave breaks on a living shore, Thy prey, and gorge thinę eaglets: thou art gone
Heap'd with the damn'd like pebbles.-I am giddy. Where the eye cannot follow thee; but thine
C. Hun. I must approach him cautiously; if near, Yet pierces downward, onward, or above,
A sudden step will startle him, and he With a pervading vision.-Beautiful !
Seeins tottering already. How beautiful is all this visible world!
Mountains have fallen, How glorious in its action and itself!
Leaving a gap in the clouds, and with the shock But we, who naine ourselves its sovereigns, we,
Rocking their Alpine brethren; filling up Half dust, half deity, alike unfit
The ripe green valleys with destruction's splinters; To sink or soar, with our mix'd essence make
Damming the rivers with a sudden dash, A conflict of its elements, and breathe
Which crush'd the waters into mist, and made The breath of degradation and of pride,
Their fountains find another channel.–Thus, Contending with low wants and lofty will,
Thus, in its old age, did Mount RosenbergTill our mortality predominates,
Why stood I not beneath it? And men are—what they name not to themselves,
Friend! have a care, And trust not to each other. Hark! the note,
Your next step may be fatal : for the love [The shepherd's pipe in the distance is heard. Of Him who made you, stand not on that brink! The natural music of the mountain reed
Man. (not hearing him.) Such would have been For here the patriarchal days are not
for me a fitting tomb ; A pastoral fable-pipes in the liberal air,
My bones had then been quiet in their depth : Niix'd with the sweet bells of the sauntering herd;
They had not then been strewn upon the rocks My soul would drink those echoes.-Oh, that I were
For the wind's pastime-as thus-thus they shall The viewless spirit of a lovely sound,
beA living voice, a breathing harmony,
In this one plunge.-Farewell, ye opening heavens! A bodiless enjoyment-born and dying
Look not upon me thus reproachfullyWith the blest tone which made mel
You were not meant for me--Earth! take these
atoms ! Enter from below a Chamois Hunter.
[As Manfred is in act to spring from the clilt, Chamois Hunter.
the Chamois Hunter seizes and retains hin This way the chamois leapt: her nimble feet
with a sudden grasp. Have baffled me; my gains to-day will scarce C. Hun. Hold, madman!-though aweary of thy Repay my break-neck travail. What is here?
life, Who seems not of my trade, and yet hath reach'd Stain not our pure vales with thy guilty bloodA height which none even of our mountaineers, Away with me--I will not quit my hold. Save our best hunters, may attain : his garb
Man. I am most sick at heart-nay, grasp me Is goodly, his mien manly, and his air
I am all feebleness-the mountains whirl,
Which makes thee people vacancy, whate'er Spinning around me---I grow blind-Wha: art Thy dread and sufferance be, there's comfort yetthou?
The aid of holy men, and heavenly patience C. Hun, i'll answer that anon.
Man. Patience and patience! Hence--that word me
was made The clouds grow thicker there - now lean on For brutes of burthen, not for birds of prey: me
Preach it to mortals of a dust like thinePlace your foot here-here, take this staff, and I am not of thine order. cling
Thanks to Heaven!
Of William Tell: but whatsoe'er thine ill,
It must be borne, and these wild starts are useless. Come on, we'll quickly find a surer footing,
Man. Do I not bear it ?-Look on me- I live. And something like a pathway, which the torrent C. Hun. This is convulsion, and no healthful life. Hath wash'd since winter. - Come, 'tis bravely Man, I tell thee, man, I have lived many years, done
Many long years, but they are nothing now You should have been a hunter.-Follow me.
To those which I must number: ages-ages(As they descend the rocks with dificulty, the Space and eternity-and consciousness,
With the fierce thirst of death-and still unslaked! scene closes.
C. Hun. Why, on thy brow the seal of middle ACT II.
Hath scarce teen set: I am thy elder far. SCENE I.-A Cottage amongst the Bernese Alps.
Man. Think'st thou existence doth depend on
time? Manfred and the Chamois Hunter.
It doth ; but actions are our epochs: mine C. Hun. No, no-yet pause-thou must not yet
Have made my days and nights imperishable,
Endless, and all alike, as sands on the shore, Thy mind and body are alike unfit
Innumerable atoms; and one desert, To trust each other, for some hours at least;
Barren and cold, on which the wild waves break, When thou art better, I will be thy guide
But nothing rests, save carcases and wrecks, But whither ?
Rocks, and the salt-surf weeds of bitterness. Man. . It imports not: I do know
C. Hun. Alas! he's inad--but yet I must not leave My route full well, and need no further guidance.
hiin. C. Hun. Thy garb and gait bespeak thee of high Man. I would I were--for then the things I see lineage
Would be but a distemper'd dream. One of the many chiefs, whose castled crags
What is it? Look o'er the lower valleys,which of these
That thou dost see, or think thou look'st upon? May call thee lord? I only know their portals;
Man. Myself, and thee-a peasant of the AlpsMy way of life leads me but rarely down
Thy humble virtues, hospitable home,
Thy self-respect, grafted on innocent thoughts;
Of cheerful old age and a quiet grave,
This do I see-and then I look within 'T has thaw'd my veins among our glaciers, now It matters not-iny soul was scorch'd already! Let it do thus for thine.-Come, pledge me fairly. C. Hun. And wouldst thou then exchange thy tot
Man. Away, away ! there's blood upon the brim! for mine? Will it then never-never sink in the earth?
Man. No, friend ! I would not wrong thée, nor exC. Hun. What dost thou mean? thy senses wander change from thee.
My lot with living being: I can bear Man. I say 'tis blood-my blood! the pure warm However wretchediy, 'tis still to bearstream
In life what others could not brook to dream,
And with this
This cautious feeling for another's pain, And this was shed: but still it rises up,
Canst thou be black with evil? say not so. Colouring the clouds, that shut me out from Can one of gentle thoughts have wreak'd revenge heaven,
Upon his enemies? Where thou art not--and I shall never be,
Oh! no, no, no ! C. Hun. Man of strange words, and some half. My injuries came down on those who loved me maddening sin,
On those whom I best loved : I never queil'd