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MANFRED ON THE CLIFFS.
(MANFRED, Act i. Scene 2.)
The Mountain of the Jungfrau.-Time, Morning.— MANFRED alone upon the Cliffs.
Man. THE spirits I have raised abandon me-
I lean no more on super-human aid;
It hath no power upon the past, and for
It is not of my search.-My mother Earth!
And thou fresh breaking Day, and you, ye Mountains,
And makes it my fatality to live;
My own soul's sepulchre, for I have ceased
The last infirmity of evil.
Thou winged and cloud-cleaving minister,
[An eagle passes.
Whose happy flight is highest into heaven,
But we, who name ourselves its sovereigns, we,
To sink or soar, with our mix'd essence make
A conflict of its elements, and breathe
The breath of degradation and of pride,
And men are-what they name not to themselves,
[The Shepherd's pipe in the distance is heard.
The natural music of the mountain reed
For here the patriarchal days are not
A pastoral fable-pipes in the liberal air,
Mix'd with the sweet bells of the sauntering herd;
A living voice, a breathing harmony,
Enter from below a CHAMOIS HUNTER.
This way the chamois leapt : her nimble feet
Proud as a free-born peasant's, at this distance--
Man. (not perceiving the other.)
To be thus
Grey-hair'd with anguish, like these blasted pines,
Wrecks of a single winter, barkless, branchless,
Which but supplies a feeling to decay
And to be thus, eternally but thus,
Having been otherwise! Now furrow'd o'er
With wrinkles, plough'd by moments, not by years
Which I outlive!-Ye toppling crags of ice!
In mountainous o'erwhelming, come and crush me!
Crash with a frequent conflict; but ye pass,
And hamlet of the harmless villager.
C. Hun. The mists begin to rise from up the valley; I'll warn him to descend, or he may chance
To lose at once his way and life together.
Man. The mists boil up around the glaciers; clouds Rise curling fast beneath me, white and sulphury, Like foam from the roused ocean of deep Hell,
Whose every wave breaks on a living shore,
Seems tottering already.
Mountains have fallen,
Leaving a gap in the clouds, and with the shock
The ripe green valleys with destruction's splinters;
Friend! have a care,
Your next step may be fatal ! -for the love
Of Him who made you, stand not on that brink!
My bones had then been quiet in their depth;
Ye were not meant for me- -Earth! take these atoms!
the CHAMOIS HUNTER seizes and retains him with a sudden grasp.
C. Hun. Hold, madman !—though aweary of thy life, Stain not our pure vales with thy guilty blood. Away with me▬▬▬▬ -I will not quit my hold.
Man. I am most sick at heart-nay, grasp me notI am all feebleness-the mountains whirl
Spinning around me- I grow blind
C. Hun. I'll answer that anon.-Away with me—— The clouds grow thicker-there-now lean on me— Place your foot here-here, take this staff, and cling A moment to that shrub—now give me your hand, And hold fast by my girdle-softly—well— The Chalet will be gain'd within an hourCome on, we'll quickly find a surer footing, And something like a pathway, which the torrent Hath wash'd since winter.-Come, 'tis bravely done— You should have been a hunter.-Follow me.
[They descend the rocks.