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SCENE I.-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 menBut this avail'd not: I have had my foes, And none have baffled, many fallen before meBut 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,
They come not yet.--Now by the voice of him
If it be so-Spirits of earth and air,
Mortal! to thy bidding bow'd,
[4 star is seen at the darker end of the gallery: it is stationary; and a voice is heard singing.
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,
The Glacier's cold and restless mass
I am the spirit of the place,
Could make the mountain bow And quiver to his cavern'd base— And what with me would'st Thou?
I have quitted my birthplace,
I am the Rider of the wind,
Is yet with lightning warm;
The fleet I met sail'd well, and yet
My dwelling is the shadow of the night, Why doth thy magic torture me with light?
The star which rules thy destiny
And thou! beneath its influence born-
The SEVEN SPIRITS.
Earth, ocean, air, night, mountains, winds, thy star,
What would'st thou with us, son of mortals--say?
Of what-of whom-and why?
Spirit. We can but give thee that which we possess:
Oblivion, self-oblivion! 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 may'st die.
Will death bestow it on me?
Is, as the future, present. Art thou answer'd?
Man. Ye mock me-but the power which brought ye here
And shall not yield to yours, though coop'd in clay!
Spirit. We answer as we answer'd; our reply
Why say ye so?
Spirit. If, as thou say'st, thine essence be as ours,
Man. I then have call'd ye from your realms in vain;
What we possess we offer; it is thine: