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I am the Rider of the wind,
The Stirrer of the storm ;
The hurricane I left behind
Is yet with lightning warm ;
To speed to thee, o'er shore and sea
I swept upon the blast:
The fleet I met sail'd well, and yet
'Twill sink ere night be past.
My dwelling is the shadow of the night, Why doth thy magic torture me with light?
The star which rules thy destiny
Was ruled, ere earth began, by me :
It was a world as fresh and fair
As e'er revolved round sun in air ;
Its course was free and regular,
Space bosom’d not a lovelier star.
The hour arrived and it became
A wandering mass of shapeless flame,
A pathless comet, and a curse,
The menace of the universe ;
Still rolling on with innate force,
Without a sphere, without a course,
A bright deformity on high,
The monster of the upper sky!
And thou ! beneath its influence born-
Thou worm ! whom I obey and scorn-
Forced by a power (which is not thine,
And lent thee but to make thee mine)
For this brief moment to descend,
Where these weak spirits round thee bend
And parley with a thing like thee-
What wouldst thou, Child of Clay! with me?
Earth, ocean, air, night, mountains, winds, thy star,
Are at thy beck and bidding, Child of Clay! Before thee at thy quest their spirits are
What wouldst thou with us, son of mortals—say?
Of what_of whom—and why?
Man. Of that which is within me; read it there-
Ye know it, and I cannot utter it.
Spirit. We can but give thee that which we possess : Ask of us subjects, sovereignty, the power O’er earth, the whole, or portion, or a sign Which shall control the elements, whereof We are the dominators, each and all, These shall be thine. Man.
Can ye not wring from out the hidden realms
Ye offer so profusely what I ask ?
Spirit. It is not in our essence, in our skill ;
But—thou mayest die.
Will death bestow it on me?
Spirit. We are immortal, and do not forget ;
We are eternal ; and to us the past
Is, as the future, present. Art thou answer'd ?
Man. Ye mock me--but the power which brought ye
Hath made you mine. Slaves, scoff not at my will !
The mind, the spirit, the Promethean spark,
The lightning of my being, is as bright,
Pervading, and far darting as your own,
And shall not yield to yours, though coop'd in clay !
Answer, or I will teach you what I am.
Spirit. We answer as we answer'd; our reply
Is even in thine own words.
Why say ye so?
Spirit. If, as thou say'st, thine essence be as ours,
We have replied in telling thee, the thing
Mortals call death hath nought to do with us.
Man. I then have call’d ye from your realms in vain ; Ye cannot, or ye will not, aid me.
Spirit. What we possess we offer ; it is thine : Bethink ere thou dismiss us, ask againKingdom, and sway, and strength, and length of days—
Man. Accursed ! what have I to do with days ? They are too long already.—Hence—begone ! Spirit. Yet pause : being here, our will would do thee
Bethink thee, is there then no other gift
Which we can make not worthless in thine eyes ?
Man. No, none; yet stay-one moment, ere we
I would behold ye face to face. I hear
Your voices, sweet and melancholy sounds,
As music on the waters; and I see
The steady aspect of a clear large star ;
But nothing more. Approach me as ye are,
Or one, or all, in your accustom'd forms,
Spirit. We have no forms, beyond the elements
Of which we are the mind and principle :
But choose a form in that we will appear.
Man. I have no choice; there is no form on earth
Hideous or beautiful to me. Let him,
Who is most powerful of ye, take such aspect
As unto him may seem most fitting—Come!
Seventh Spirit. (Appearing in the shape of a beautiful
female figure.) Behold!
Man. Oh God ! if it be thus, and thou
Art not a madness and a mockery,
I yet might be most happy. I will clasp thee,
And we again will be-
[The figure vanishes. My heart is crush'd !
[MANFRED falls senseless.
(A Voice is heard in the Incantation which follows.)
When the moon is on the wave,
And the glow-worm in the grass,
And the meteor on the grave,
And the wisp on the morass ;
When the falling stars are shooting,
And the answerd owls are hooting,
And the silent leaves are still
In the shadow of the hill,
Shall my soul be upon thine,
With a power and with a sign.
Though thy slumber may be deep,
Yet thy spirit shall not sleep ;
There are shades which will not vanish,
There are thoughts thou canst not banish;
By a power to thee unknown,
Thou canst never be alone;
Thou art wrapt as with a shroud,
Thou art gather'd in a cloud ;
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
As a thing that, though unseen,
Must be near thee, and hath been ;
And when in that secret dread
Thou hast turn’d around thy head,
Thou shalt marvel I am not
As thy shadow on the spot,
And the power which thou dost feel
Shall be what thou must conceal.
And a magic voice and verse
Hath baptized thee with a curse ;
And a spirit of the air
Hath begirt thee with a snare ;
In the wind there is a voice
Shall forbid thee to rejoice ;
And to thee shall Night deny
All the quiet of her sky ;
And the Day shall have a sun,
Which shall make thee wish it done.