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Of thy profundity is in the grave,
The ebon'd portal of thy peopled cave,
Where I would walk in spirit, and behold
Our elements resolved to things untold,
And fathom hidden wonders, and explore
The essence of great bosoms now no more.
TO LAKE LEMAN.
ROUSSEAU-Voltaire-our Gibbon--and De Staël-
Leman! these names are worthy of thy shore,
Thy shore of names like these! wert thou no more
Their memory thy remembrance would recall:
To them thy banks were lovely as to all,
But they have made them lovelier, for the lore
Of mighty minds doth hallow in the core
Of human hearts the ruin of a wall
Where dwelt the wise and wondrous; but by thee,
How much more, Lake of Beauty! do we feel,
In sweetly gliding o'er thy crystal sea,
The wild glow of that not ungentle zeal,
Which of the heirs of immortality
Is proud, and makes the breath of glory real!
ON HEARING THAT LADY BYRON WAS ILL.
AND thou wert sad-yet I was not with thee!
And thou wert sick, and yet I was not near; Methought that joy and health alone could be
Where I was not-and pain and sorrow here. And is it thus ?-it is as I foretold,
And shall be more so; for the mind recoils Upon itself, and the wreck'd heart lies cold,
While heaviness collects the shatter'd spoils. It is not in the storm nor in the strife
We feel benumb'd, and wish to be no more,
But in the after-silence on the shore
When all is lost, except a little life.
I am too well avenged!—but 'twas my right;
Whate'er my sins might be, thou wert not sent
To be the Nemesis who should requite―
Nor did Heaven choose so near an instrument
Mercy is for the merciful!-if thou
Hast been of such, 'twill be accorded now.
Thy nights are banish'd from the realms of sleep!--
Yes! they may flatter thee, but thou shalt feel
A hollow agony which will not heal,
For thou art pillow'd on a curse too deep;
Thou hast sown in my sorrow, and must reap
The bitter harvest in a woe as real!
I have had many foes, but none like thee;
For 'gainst the rest myself I could defend, And be avenged, or turn them into friend; But thou in safe implacability
Hadst nought to dread-in thy own weakness shielded, And in my love, which hath but too much yielded,
And spared, for thy sake, some I should not spareAnd thus upon the world-trust in thy truth— And the wild fame of my ungovern'd youth
On things that were not, and on things that are-
Even upon such a basis hast thou built
A monument, whose cement hath been guilt!
The moral Clytemnestra of thy lord,
And hew'd down, with an unsuspected sword,
Fame, peace, and hope-and all the better life
Which, but for this cold treason of thy heart,
Might still have risen from out the grave of strife,
And found a nobler duty than to part.
But of thy virtues didst thou make a vice,
Trafficking with them in a purpose cold,
For present anger, and for future gold-
And buying other's grief at any price.
And thus once enter'd into crooked ways,
The early truth, which was thy proper praise,
Did not still walk beside thee-but at times,
And with a breast unknowing its own crimes,
Deceit, averments incompatible,
Equivocations, and the thoughts which dwell
In Janus-spirits-the significant eye
Which learns to lie with silence-the pretext
Of Prudence, with advantages annex'd-
The acquiescence in all things which tend,
No matter how, to the desired end--
All found a place in thy philosophy.
The means were worthy, and the end is woa-
I would not do by thee as thou hast done!
The Scene of the Drama is amongst the Higher Alps-partly in the
Castle of Manfred, and partly in the Mountains.
ACT I.-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 forms 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,
Powers, passions, all I see in other beings,
Have been to me as rain unto the sands,
Finished in February, 1817, but not published. Probably published in the spring of that year.
Since that all-nameless hour. 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
Of mountains inaccessible are haunts,
And earth's and ocean's caves familiar things-
I call upon ye by the written charm
Which gives me power upon you-
They come not yet.-Now by the voice of him
Who is the first among you-by this sign,
Which makes you tremble-by the claims of him
Who is undying,-Rise! appear !- -Appear!
If it be so.-Spirits of earth and air,
Ye shall not thus elude me: by a power,
Deeper than all yet urged, a tyrant-spell,
Which had its birthplace in a star condemn'd,
The burning wreck of a demolish'd world,
A wandering hell in the eternal space;
By the strong curse which is upon my soul,
The thought which is within me and around me,
I do compel ye to my will.-Appear!
Mortal! to thy bidding bow'd,
From my mansion in the cloud,
Which the breath of twilight builds,
And the summer's sunlight gilds
With the azure and vermilion,
Which is mix'd for my pavilion;
Though thy quest may be forbidden,
On a star-beam I have ridden;
To thine adjuration bow'd,
Mortal! be thy wish avow'd!
[A 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,
With a diadem of snow.
Around his waist are forests braced,
The Avalanche in his hand;
But ere it fall, that thundering ball
Must pause for my command.
The Glacier's cold and restless mass
Moves onward day by day;
But I am he who bids it pass,
Or with its ice delay.
I am the spirit of the place,
Could make the mountain bow And quiver to his cavern'd baseAnd what with me wouldst Thou
Voice of the THIRD SPIRM 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
Thy wishes unfold!
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,
As their summits to heaven
Shoot soaringly fortu,
I have quitted my birthplace,
Thy bidding to bide-
Thy spell hath subdued me,
Thy will be my guide!
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 se
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 dot thy magic torture me with light