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Art not a madness and a mockery,
[The figure vanishes.
[MANFRED falls senseless.”—p. 15, 16. The first scene of this extraordinary performance ends with a long poetical incantation, sung by the invisible spirits over the senseless victim before them. The second shows him in the bright sunshine of morning, on the top of the Jungfrau mountain, meditating selfdestruction—and uttering forth in solitude as usual the voice of his habitual despair, and those intermingled feelings of love and admiration for the grand and beautiful objects with which he is environed, that unconsciously win him back to a certain kindly sympathy with human enjoyments.
“ Man. The spirits I have raised abandon me —
thine eaglets! thou art gone
To sink or soar, with our mix'd essence make
[The shepherd's pipe in the distance is heard.
With the blest tone which made me!”—p. 20—22.
“ To be thus -
Ye topling crags of ice!
Just as he is about to spring from the cliff, he is seized by the hunter, who forces him away from the dangerous place in the midst of the rising tempest. In the second act, we find him in the cottage of this peasant, and in a still wilder state of disorder. His host offers him wine; but, upon looking at the cup, he exclaims —
Away, away! there's blood upon the brim!
380 MANFRED - EVOCATION OF THE ALPINE SPIRIT.
C. Hun. What dost thou mean? thy senses wander from thee.
Man. I say 'tis blood — my blood! the pure warm stream
C. Hun. Man of strange words, and some half-maddening sin, &c.
Man. Think'st thou existence doth depend on time?
C. Hun. Alas! he's mad but yet I must not leave him.
Man. I would I were — for then the things I see
What is it
Man. Myself, and thee — a peasant of the Alps —
The following scene is one of the most poetical and most sweetly written in the poem. There is a still and delicious witchery in the tranquillity and seclusion of the place, and the celestial beauty of the Being who reveals herself in the midst of these visible enchantments. In a deep valley among the mountains, Manfred appears alone before a lofty cataract, pealing in the quiet sunshine down the still and everlasting rocks; and says — “ It is not noon - the sunbow's rays still arch
The torrent with the many hues of heaven,
The Giant steed, to be bestrode by Death,
flings it in the air, muttering the adjuration. After a pause,
bow of the torrent.]
Son of Earth!
Man. To look upon thy beauty!--nothing further.”—p. 31, 32, There is something exquisitely beautiful, to our taste, in all this passage ; and both the apparition and the dialogue are so managed, that the sense of their improbability is swallowed up in that of their beauty ;- — and, without actually believing that such spirits exist or communicate themselves, we feel for the moment as if we stood in their presence. What follows, though extremely powerful, and more laboured in the writing, has less charm for us. He tells his celestial auditor the brief story of his misfortune; and when he mentions
the death of the only being he had ever loved, the beauteous Spirit breaks in with her superhuman pride.
“ And for this
Man. Daughter of Air! I tell thee, since that hour But words are breath! - Look on me in my sleep, Or watch my watchings— Come and sit by me! My solitude is solitude no more, But peopled with the Furies !— I have gnash'd My teeth in darkness till returning morn, Then cursed myself till sunset ; — I have pray'd For madness as a blessing —’tis denied me. I have affronted Death — but in the war Of elements the waters shrunk from me, And fatal things pass'd harmless.”—p. 36, 37. The third scene is the boldest in the exhibition of supernatural persons. The three Destinies and Nemesis meet, at midnight, on the top of the Alps, on their way to the hall of Arimanes, and sing strange ditties to the moon, of their mischiefs wrought among men. Nemesis being rather late, thus apologizes for keeping them waiting “ I was detain'd repairing shattered thrones,
Marrying fools, restoring dynasties, Avenging men upon their enemies, And making them repent their own revenge ; Goading the wise to madness; from the dull Shaping out oracles to rule the world Afresh ; for they were waxing out of date, And mortals dared to ponder for themselves, To weigh kings in the balance, and to speak Of freedom, the forbidden fruit. — Away! We have outstaid the hour — mount we our clouds !” —p. 44. This we think is out of place at least, if we must not say out of character; and though the author may tell us that human calamities are naturally subjects of derision to the Ministers of Vengeance, yet we cannot be persuaded that satirical and political allusions are at all compatible with the feelings and impressions which it was here his business to maintain. When the Fatal