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His sight may shock thine old limbs into palsy.
I say to thee—Retire!
Abbot. And I reply—
Never–till I have battled with this fiend—
What doth he here 2
Man. Why—ay—what doth he here?—
I did not send for him,-he is unbidden.
Abbot. Alas! lost mortal! what with guests like
Hast thou to do? I tremble for thy sake;
Why doth he gaze on thee, and thou on him *
Ah! he unveils his aspect; on his brow
The thunder-scars are graven; from his eye
Glares forth the immortality of hell—
Man. Pronounce—what is thy mission ?
Abbot. What art thou, unknown being ! answer
Spirit. The genius of this mortal.—Come! 'tis
Man. I am prepared for all things, but deny
The power which summons me. Who sent thee
Spirit. Thou'lt know anon—Come! come !
Man. I have commanded
Things of an essence greater far than thine,
And striven with thy masters. Get thee hences
Spirit. Mortal! thine hour is come—Away!—I
Man. I knew, and know my hour is come, but not
To render up my soul to such as thee:
Away ! I'll die as I have lived—alone.
Spirit. Then I must summon up my brethren.-
Rise ! [Other spirits rise up.
Abbot. Avaunt : ye evil ones'—Avaunt' I say,+
Ye have no power where piety hath power,
And I do charge ye in the name—
Spirit. Old man
We know ourselves, our mission, and thine order;
Waste not thy holy words on idle uses,
It were in vain; this man is forfeited.
Once more I summon him—Away! away!
Man. I do defy ye, -though I feel my soul
Is ebbing from me, yet I do defy ye;
Nor will I hence, while I have earthly breath
To breathe my scorn upon ye—earthly strength
To wrestle, though with spirits; what ye take
Shall be ta'en limb by himb.
Spirit. Reluctant mortal
Is this the Magian who would so pervade
The world invisible, and make himself
Almost our equal 2–Can it be that thou
Art thus in love with life? the very life
Which made thee wretched 1
Man. Thou false fiend, thou liest My life is in its last hour, that I know. Nor would redeem a moment of that hour; I do not combat against death, but thee And thy surrounding angels: my past power Was purchased by no compact with thy crew, But by superior science—penance—daring— And length of watching—strength of mind—and
In knowledge of our fathers—when the earth
Saw men and spirits walking side by side,
And gave ye no supremacy: I stand
Upon my strength—I do defy—deny—
Spurn back, and scorn ye!—
Spirit. But thy many crimes Have made thee— Man. What are they to such as thee
Must crimes be punish'd but by other crimes,
And greater criminals —Back to thy hell !
Thou hast no power upon me, that I feel;
Thou never shalt possess me, that I know:
What I have done is done; I bear within
A torture which could nothing gain from thine;
The mind which is immortal makes itself
Requital for its good or evil thoughts—
Is its own origin of ill and end—
And its own place and time—its innate sense,
When stripp'd of this mortality, derives
No color from the fleeting things without;
But is absorb’d in sufferance or in joy,
Born from the knowledge of his own desert.
Thou didst not tempt me, and thou couldst not
I have not been thy dupe, nor am thy prey—
But was my own destroyer, and will be
My own hereafter.—Back, ye baffled fiends !
The hand of death is on me—but not yours!
[The Demons disappear.
Abbot. Alas ! how pale thou art—thy lips aro
And thy breast heaves—and in thy gasping throat
The accents rattle—Give thy prayers to heaven—
Pray—albeit but in thought, but die not thus.
Man. 'Tis over—my dull eyes can fix thee not,
But all things swim around me, and the earth
Heaves as it were beneath me. Fare thee well—
Give me thy hand.
Abbot. Cold—cold—even to the heart-
But yet one prayer—alas! how fares it with thee —
Man. Old man' 'tis not so difficult to die.
He's gone—his soul hath ta'en its earth
Whither? I dread to think—but he is gone
1. — the sunbote's rays still arch The torrent with the many hues of heaven. Page 224, lines 102 and 103. This iris is formed by the rays of the sun over the kower part of the Alpine torrents; it is exactly like a rainbow, come down to pay a visit, and so close that you may walk into it:—this effect lasts till noon. 2. He who from out their fountain dwellings raised Eros and Anteros, at Gadara. Page 225, lines 86 and 87. The philosopher Iamblicus. The story of the raising of Eros and Anteros may be found in his life by Eunapius. It is well told. 3. —she replied
In words of dubious import, but fulfilled. of Page 226, lines 63 and 64.
The story of Pausanias, king of Sparta, (who commanded the Greeks at the battle of Platea, and afterwards perished for an attempt to betray the Lacedemonians,) and Cleonice is told in Plutarch's Life of Cimon; and in the Laconics of Pausanias the Sophist, in his description of Greece.
* —the grant sons Of the embrace of angels. Page 230, lines 65 and 66.
“That the Sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair,” &c.
“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the Sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty met which were nf o: men of renown.”—Genesis, ch. vi. verses 2 an
This production is founded partly on the story of a novel called “The Three Brothers,” published many years ago, from which M. G. Lewis's “Wood Demon" was also taken, and partly on the “Faust” of the great Goethe. The present publication contains the two first Parts only, and the opening chorus of the third. The rest may, perhaps, appear hereafter
Men.—StraNGER, afterwards CMEs.AR.
Spirits, Soldiers, Citizens of Rome, Priests, Peasants, &c
PART I. SCENE I. A Forest.
Enter ARNoLD and his mother BERTHA.
Bert. OUT, hunchback!
Thou incubus ! Thou nightmare l
The sole abortion |
Arm. Would that I had been so,
And never seen the light!
Bert. I would so too ! But as thou hast—hence, hence—and do thy best That back of thine may bear its burden; 'tis More high, if not so broad as that of others.
Arn. It bears its burden;—but, my heart! Will it Sustain that which you lay upon it, mother 2 I love, or, at the least, I loved you; nothing Save you, in nature, can love aught like me, You nursed me—do not kill me
I was born so, mother. O::t, Of seven socis
Because thou wert my first-born, and I knew not
If there would be another unlike thee,
That monstrous sport of nature. But get hence,
And gather wood'
Arn. I will; but when I bring it,
Speak to me kindly. Though my brothers are
So beautiful aud lusty, and as free
As the free chase they follow, do not spurn me:
Our milk has been the same.
Bert. As is the hedgehog's
Which sucks at midnight from the wholesome dam
Of the young bull, until the milkmaid find
The nipple next day sore and udder dry.
Call not thy brothers brethren | Call me not
Mother; for if I brought thee forth, it was
As foolish hens at times hatch vipers, by
Sitting upon strange eggs. Out, urchin, out.
Arn. (solus.) Oh mother l—She's gone, and I
Her bidding ;-wearily but willingly
I would fulfil it, could I only hope
A kind word in return. What shall I do
[ARNold begins to cut wood: in doing this he
wounds one of his hands.
My labor for the day is over now.
Accursed be this blood that flows so fast;
For double curses will be my meed now
At home.—What home 2 I have no home, no kin,
No kind—not made like other creatures, or
To share their sports or pleasures. Must I bleed too
Like them Oh that each drop which falls to earth
Would rise a snake to sting them, as they have
stung me !
Or that the devil, to whom they liken me,
Would aid his likeness . If I must partake
His form, why not his power Is it because
I have not his will too For one kind word
From her who bore me would still reconcile me
Even to this hateful aspect. Let me wash
[ARNoLD goes to a spring, and stoops to wash
his hand: he starts back.
They are right; and Nature's mirror shows me
What she hath made me. I will not look on it
Again, and scarce dare think on't. Hideous wretch
That I am . The very waters mock me with
My horrid shadow—like a demon placed
Deep in the fountain to scare back the cattle
From drinking therein. [He pauses.
And shall I live on,
A burden to the earth, myself, and shame
Unto what brought me into life 2 Thou blood,
Which flowest so freely from a scratch, let me
Try if thou wilt not in a fuller stream
Pour forth my woes for ever with thyself
On tarth, to which I will restore at once
This hateful compound of her atoms, and
Resolve back to her elements, and take
The shape of any reptile save myself,
And make a world for myriads of new worms'
This knife now let me prove if this will sever
This wither'd slip of nature's nightshade—my
Wile form—from the creation, as it hath
The green bough from the forest.
[ARNold places the knife in the ground, with
the point upwards.
Now 'tis set,
And I can fall upon it. Yet one glance
On the fair day, which sees no foul thing like
Myself, and the sweet sun, which wann'd me, but
In vain. The birds–how joyously they sing!
So let them, for I would not be lamented:
But let their merriest notes be Arnold's knell;
The fallen leaves my monument; the murmur
Of the near fountain my sole elegy:
Now, knife, stand firmly, as I sain would fall!
[As he rushes to throw himself upon the knif.
his eye is suddenly caught by the fountain
which seems in motion.
The fountain moves without a wind: but shall
The ripple of a spring change my resolve *
No. Yet it moves again The waters stir,
Not as with air, but by some subterrane
And rocking power of the internal world.
What's here A mist | No more ?—
[A cloud comes from the fountain. He stand
gazing upon it: it is dispelled, and a tall black
man comes towards him.
Arn. What would you? Speak Spirit or man
Stran. As man is both, why not Say both in one *
Arn. Your form is man's, and yet You may be devil.
Stran. So many men are that
Which is so called or thought, that you may add me To which you please, without much wrong to either But come: you wish to kill yourself;—pursue Your purpose.
Arn. You have interrupted m.e.
Stran. What is that resolution which can e'er Be interrupted 2 If I be the devil You deem, a single moment would have made you Mine, and for ever, by your suicide; And yet my coming saves you.
Arm. I said not You were the demon, but that your approach Was like one.
Stran. Unless you keep company With him (and you seem scarce used to such high Society) you can't tell how he approaches: And for his aspect, look upon the fountain, And then on me, and judge which of us twain Look likest what the boors believe to be Their cloven-footed terror.
Arn. Do you—dare you To taunt me with my born deformity ?
Stran. Were I to taunt a buffalo with this Cloven foot of thine, or the swift dromedary With thy sublime of humps, the animals Would revel in the compliment. And yet Both beings are more swift, more etrong, Incit
In action and endurance than thyself,
And all the fierce and fair of the same kind
With thee. Thy form is natural; 'twas only
Nature's mistaken largess to bestow
The gifts which are of others upon man.
Arn. Give me the strength then of the buffalo's
When he spurns high the dust, beholding his
Near enemy; or let me have the long
And patient swiftness of the desert-ship,
The helmless dromedary;-and I'll bear
Thy fiendish sarcasm with a saintly patience.
Stran. I will.
Arn. (with surprise.) Thou canst
Strum. Perhaps. Would you aught else?
Arn. Thou mockest me.
Ntraz. Not I. Why should I mock what all are mocking * That's poor sport, methinks, To talk to thee in human language (for Thou canst not yet speak mine) the forester Hunts not the wretched coney, but the boar, Or wolf, or lion, leaving paltry game To petty burghers, who leave once a year Their walls, to fill their household caldrons with Such scullion prey. The meanest gibe at thee," Now I can mock the mightiest.
Arn. Then waste not Thy time on me: I seek thee not. Stran. Your thoughts
Are not far from me. Do not send me back:
I am not easily recall'd to do
Stran. Change Shapes with you, if you will, since yours so irks you, Or form you to your wish in any shape.
Arm. Oh then you are indeed the demon, for Nought else would wittingly wear mine.
Stran. I'll show thee The brightest which the world e'er bore, and give thee Thy choice.
Arn. On what condition ?
Strun. There's a question' An hour ago you would have given your soul To look like other men, and now you pause To wear the form of heroes.
What wilt thou do for me *
Arn. No ; I will not. I must not compromise my soul. Strun. What soul,
Worth naming so, would dwell in such a carcass 2
Arn. 'Tis an aspiring one, whate'er the tenement
In which it is mislodged. But name your compact:
Must it be sign'd in blood *
Arn. Whose blood then 2
Strum. We will talk of that hereafter.
But I'll be moderate with you, for I see
Great things within you. You shall have no bond
But your own will, no contract save your deeds.
Are you content 2
Arn. I take thee at thy word.
Stran. Now then –
[The Stranger approaches the fountain, and
turns to ARNoll).
A little of your blood.
Arn. For what *
Stran. To mingle with the magic of the waters,
And make the charm effective.
Arm. (holding out his wounded arm.) Take it all.
Stran. Not now. A few drops will suffice for this.
[The Stranger takes some of ARNold's blood in
his hand, and casts it into the fountain.
Stran. Shadows of beauty
Shadows of power
Rise to your duty—
This is the hour !
Walk lovely and pliant
From the depth of this fountain,
As the cloud-shapen giant
Bestrides the Hartz mountain.”
Come as ye were, That our eyes may behold The model in air Of the form I will mould, Bright as the Iris When ether is spann'd :— Such his desire is, [Pointing to ARNotn Such my command 1 Demons heroic— Demons who wore The form of the stoic Or sophist of yore— Or the shape of each victor, From Macedon's boy To each high Roman's picture, Who breath'd to destroy. Shadows of beauty : Shadows of power! Up to your duty– This is the hour ! [Various Phantoms arise from the water, and pass in succession before the Stranger and
ARNOLD. Arn. What do I see 2 Stran. The black-eyed Roman, with
The eagle's beak between those eyes which ne'er
Beheld a conqueror, or look'd along
The land he made not Rome's, while Rome became
His, and all theirs who heir'd his very name.
Arn. The phantom's bald; my quest is beautv
Inherit but his fame with his defects!
Stran. His brow was girt with lauré's more than
You see his aspect—choose it, or reject.
I can but promise you his form ; his fame
Must be long sought and fought for.
Arn. I will fight too.
But not as a mock Caesar. Let him pass;
His aspect may be fair, but suits me not.
Stran. Then you are far more difficult to please
Than Cato's sister, or than Brutus' mother,
Or Cleopatra at sixteen—an age
When love is not less in the eye than heart.
But be it so | Shadow, pass on 1
[The phantom of Julius Casar disappears.
Arn. And can it
Be, that the man who shook the earth is gone,
And left no footstep
Stran. There you err. His substance
Left graves enough, and woes enough, and fame
More than enough to track his memory;
But for his shadow, 'tis no more than yours
Except a little longer and less crooked
I the sun. Behold another'
[A second phantom passes,
Arm. Who is he
Stran. He was the fairest and the bravest of
Athenians. Look upon him well.
Arn. He is
More lovely than the last. How beautiful!
Stran. Such was the curled son, of Clinias.
Invest thee with his form 2
Arn. Would that I had
Been born with it! But since I may choose further.
I will look further.
[The shade of Alcibiades disappears
Arn What! that low, swarthy, short-nosed, roundeyed satyr,
With the wide nostrils and Silenus' aspect,
The splay feet and low stature I had better
Remain that which I am.
Stran. And yet he was
The earth's perfection of all mental beauty,
And personification of all virtue.
But you reject him :
Arn. If his form could bring me That which redeem'd it—no. Stran. I have no power
To promise that; but you may try and find it
Easier in such a form, or in your own.
Arn. No. I was not born for philosophy, Though I have that about me which has need on't. Let him fleet on.
Stran. Be air, thou hemlock-drinker |
[The shadow of Socrates disappears : another ?"ases. Arn. What's here 2 whose broad brow and whose curly beard
And manly aspect look like Hercules,
Save that his jocund eye hath more of Bacchus
Than the sad purger of the infernal world,
Leaning dejected on his club of conquest,
As if he knew the worthlessness of those
For whom he had fought.
Stran. It was the man who lost The ancient world for love. Arm. I cannot blame him,
l'ince I have risk'd my soul because I find not
That which he exchang'd the earth for.
Stran. Since so far
You seem congenial, will you wear his features
Arn. No. As you leave me choice, I am difficult,
If but to see the heroes I should ne'er
Have seen else on this side of the dim shore
Whence they float back before us.
Thy Cleopatra's waiting.
[The shade of Antony disappears: another rises.
Arn. Who is this 2
Who truly looketh like a demigod,
Blooming and bright, with golden hair, and stature,
If not more high than mortal, yet immortal
In all that nameless bearing of his limbs,
Which he wears as the sun his rays—a something
Which shines from him, and yet is but the flashing
Emanation of a thing more glorious still.
Was he e'er human only f
Stran. Let the earth speak,
Uf there be atoms of him left, or even
Of the more solid gold that form'd his urn.
Arn. Who was this glory of mankind?
Stran. The shame
Of Greece in peace, her thunderbolt in war—
Demetrius the Macedonian, and
Taker of cities.
Arn. Yet one shadow more.
Stran. (addressing the shadow.) Get thee to La-
[The shade of Demetrius Poliocetes vanishes:
I'll fit you still, Fear not, my hunchback. If the shadows of That which existed please not your nice taste, I'll animate the ideal marble, till
W our soul be reconciled to her new garment.
Arn. Content I will fix here.
Stran. I must commend
Your choice. The godlike son of the sea-goddess
The unshorn boy of Peleus, with his locks
As beautiful and clear as the amber waves
Of rich Pactolus, roll'd o'er sands of gold,
Soften’d by intervening crystal, and
Rippled like flowing waters by the wind,
All vow'd to Sperchius as they were-behold them
And him—as he stood by Polixana,
With sanction'd and with soften’d love, before
The altar, gazing on his Trojan bride,
With some remorse within for Hector slain
And Priam weeping, mingled with deep passicn
For the sweet downcast virgin, whose young hand
Trembled in his who slew her brother. So
He stood i' the temple ! Look upon him as
Greece look'd her last upon her best, the instant
Ere Paris' arrow flew.
Arm. I gaze upon him
As if I were his soul, whose form shall soon
Stran. You have done well.
Deformity should only barter with
The extremest beauty, if the proverb's true
Of mortals, that extremes meet.
Arn. Come! Be quich I am impatient. Stran. As a youthful beauty
Before her glass. You both see what is not,
But dream it is what must be.
Arn. Must I wait 2
Stran. No ; that were a pity. But a word or two His stature is twelve cubits: would you so far Outstep these times, and be a Titan Or (To talk canonically) wax a son Of Anak 2
Arn. Why not?
Stran. Glorious ambition 1 I love thee most in dwarfs' A mortal of Philistine stature would have gladly parcd His own Goliath down to a slight David: But thou, my manikin, wouldst soar a show Rather than hero. Thou shalt be indulged, If such be thy desire; and yet, by being A little less removed from present men In figure, thou canst sway them more; for all Would rise against thee now, as if to hunt A new-found mammoth; and their cursed engines, Their culverins, and so forth, would find way Through our friend's armor there, with greater ease Than the adulterer's arrow through his heel, Which Thetis had forgotten to baptize In Styx.
Arn. Then let it be as thou deem'st best.
Stran. Thou shalt be beauteous as the thing thou
And strong as what it was, and—
Arn. I ask not For valor, since deformity is daring It is its essence to o'ertake mankind By heart and soul, and make itself the equalAy, the superior of the rest. There is A spur in its halt movements, to become All that the others cannot, in such things As still are free to both, to compensate For stepdame Nature's avarice at first. They woo with fearless deeds the smiles of fortune And oft, like Timour, the lame Tartar, win them.