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MANFRED AND THE SEVEN SPIRITS.
(MANFRED, Act i. Scene 1.)
MANFRED alone.-Scene, a Gothic Gallery.-Time, Midnight.
Man. THE lamp must be replenish'd, but even 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 itself— But they avail not: I have done men good, And I have met with good even among men— But 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,
I have no dread,
And feel the curse to have no natural fear,
Nor fluttering throb, that beats with hopes or wishes, Or lurking love of something on the earth.
Now to my task.—
Ye spirits of the unbounded Universe!
Whom I have sought in darkness and in light—
Ye, who do compass earth about, and dwell
In subtler essence-ye, to whom the tops
And earth's and ocean's caves familiar things
I call upon ye by the written charm
They come not yet. -Now by the voice of him
If it be so.-Spirits of earth and air,
[A star is seen at the darker end of the gallery: it is stationary; and a voice is heard singing.
Mortal! to thy bidding bow'd,
Voice of the SECOND SPirit.
Mont Blanc is the Monarch of mountains; They crown'd him long ago
On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds,
Around his waist are forests braced,
I am the spirit of the place,
Could make the mountain bow And quiver to his cavern'd base—
And what with me wouldst Thou?
Voice of the THIRD SPIRIT.
In the blue depth of the waters, Where the wave hath no strife, Where the wind is a stranger,
And the sea-snake hath life, Where the Mermaid is decking Her green hair with shells; Like the storm on the surface Came the sound of thy spells; O'er my calm Hall of Coral
The deep echo roll'd
To the Spirit of Ocean
Where the slumbering earthquake
Lies pillow'd on fire,
And the lakes of bitumen
Rise boilingly higher; Where the roots of the Andes
Strike deep in the earth,
Shoot soaringly forth;
Thy spell hath subdued me,
Thy will be my guide!