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The rock, the vulture, and the chain,
All that the proud can feel of pain,
The agony they do not show,
The suffocating sense of woe,

Which speaks but in its loneliness, And then is jealous lest the sky Should have a listener, nor will sigh

Until its voice is echoless.

And his sad unallied existence:
To which his spirit may oppose
Itself — and equal to all woes,

And a firm will, and a deep sense, Which even in torture can descry

Its own concentered recompense, Triumphant where it dare defy, And making Death a Victory.

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DARKNESS

(1816)

I had a dream, which was not all a dream. The bright sun was extinguished, and the

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stars

Titan! to thee the strife was given

Between the suffering and the wili,

Which torture where they cannot kill; And the inexorable Heaven, And the deaf tyranny of Fate, The ruling principle of Hate, Which for its pleasure doth create The things it may annihilate, Refused thee even the boon to die: The wretched gift eternity Was thine — and thou hast borne it well. 25 All that the Thunderer wrung from thee Was but the menace which flung back On him the torments of thy rack – The fate thou didst so well foresee, But would not to appease him tell: And in thy silence was his sentence, And in his soul a vain repentance, And evil dread so ill dissembled, That in his hand the lightnings trembled.

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Did wander darkling in the eternal space, Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth Swung blind and blackening in the moon

less air. Morn came and went - and came, and

brought no day, And men forgot their passions in the dread Of this their desolation; and all hearts Were chilled into a selfish prayer for

light. And they did live by watchfires: - and the

thrones, The palaces of crowned kings — the huts, The habitations of all things which dwell, Were burnt for beacons; cities were con

sumed, And men were gathered round their blaz

ing homes To look

into each other's face. Happy were those who dwelt within the

eye Of the volcanoes, and their mountain

torch; A fearful hope was all the world con

tained; Forests were set on fire but hour by

hour They fell and faded — and the crackling

trunks Extinguished with a crash and all was

black. The brows of men by the despairing light

once

more

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Thy Godlike crime was to be kind,

To render with thy precepts less

The sum of human wretchedness, And strengthen Man with his own mind. But baffled as thou wert from high, Still in thy patient energy, In the endurance and repulse

Of thine impenetrable spirit, Which Earth and Heaven could not con

vulse, A mighty lesson we inherit. Thou art a symbol and a sign

To Mortals of their fate and force: Like thee, Man is in part divine,

A troubled stream from a pure source; And Man in portions can foresee His own funereal destiny —

50 His wretchedness, and his resistance,

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But with a piteous and perpetual moan, And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand Which answered not with a caress he

died. The crowd was famished by degrees; but

55 Of an enormous city did survive, And they were enemies. They met beside The dying embers of an altar-place, Where had been heaped a mass of holy

things For an unholy usage; they raked up And, shivering, scraped with their cold

skeleton hands The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath Blew for a little life, and made a flame Which was a mockery. Then they lifted

up Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld 65 Each other's aspects

saw, and shrieked, and died Even of their mutual hideousness they

died, Unknowing who he was upon whose brow Famine had written Fiend. The world

was void, The populous and the powerful was

lump, Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, life

less A lump of death a chaos of hard clay. The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood

still, And nothing stirred within their silent

depths; Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea, And their masts fell down piecemeal: as

they dropped, They slept on the abyss without a surge The waves were dead; the tides were in

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Their chins upon their clenchèd hands, and

smiled; And others hurried to and fro, and fed Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked

up With mad disquietude on the dull sky, The pall of a past world; and then again 30 With curses cast them down upon the

dust, And gnashed their teeth and howled. The

wild birds shrieked And, terrified, did Autter on the ground, And Alap their useless wings; the wildest

brutes Came tame and tremulous; and vipers

crawled And twined themselves among the multi

tude, Hissing, but stingless — they were slain

for food! And War, which for a moment was no

more, Did glut himself again: a meal was

bought With blood, and each sate sullenly apart 40 Gorging himself in gloom: no love was

left: All earth was but one thought — and that

was death Immediate and inglorious; and the pang Of famine fed upon all entrails Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;

45 The meagre by the meagre were devoured. Even dogs assailed their masters, all

save one, And he was faithful to a

kept The birds and beasts and famished men at

bay, Till hunger clung them, or the dropping

dead Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out

no food,

a

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their grave,

corse, and

The moon, their mistress, had expired

before. The winds were withered in the stagnant

air, And the clouds perished: Darkness had no

need Of aid from them She was the Uni

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verse.

MANFRED

But this availed not: I have had my foes, And none have baffled, many fallen before

me

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A DRAMATIC POEM

(1816-17)

“There are more things in heaven and earth,

Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ

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ACT FIRST

SCENE I

MANFRED alone.-Scene, a Gothic Gal

lery.-Time, Midnight.

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But this availed 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, Nor fluttering throb, that beats with hopes

or wishes, Or lurking love of something on the earth. Now to my task.

Mysterious Agency ! 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

Rise! appear!

[A pause. 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!

[A pause. 40 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 con

demned, The burning wreck of a demolished 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!

[A star is seen at the darker end of the gallery: it is stationary; and a voice is heard singing.

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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 sailed well, and yet

'Twill sink ere night be past.

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SECOND SPIRIT Mont Blanc is the monarch of moun

tains; They crowned 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,

70 Or with its ice delay. I am the spirit of the place,

Could make the mountain bow And quiver to his caverned base —

And what with me wouldst Thou?

SIXTH SPIRIT

My dwelling is the shadow of the night: Why doth thy magic torture me with light?

SEVENTH SPIRIT

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The star which rules thy destiny 110
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 bosomed 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

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FOURTH SPIRIT Where the slumbering earthquake

Lies pillowed on fire,

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The SEVEN SPIRITS 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?

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or a

The lightning of my being, is as bright, 155 Pervading, and far darting as your own, And shall not yield to yours, though

cooped in clay! Answer, or I will teach you what I am. Spirit. We answer we answered:

our reply Is even in thine own words. Man.

Why say ye so? 160 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 called ye from your

realms in vain; Ye cannot, or ye will not, aid me. Spirit.

Say; 165 What we possess we offer; it is thine: Bethink ere thou dismiss us; ask again; Kingdom, and sway, and strength, and

length of days Man. Accursèd! what have I to do

with days? They are too long already. - Hence be

gone! Spirit. Yet pause: being here, our will

would do thee service; Bethink thee, is there then no other gift Which we

can make not worthless in thine eyes? Man. No, none: yet stay

ment, ere we part, I would behold ye face to face. I hear 175 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,

all, in your accustomed 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 ap

pear. Man. I have no choice; there is no

form on earth Hideous or beautiful to me. Let him, 185

Man. Forgetfulness
First Spirit. 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

sign Which shall control the elements, where

of We are the dominators, — each and all, These shall be thine. Man.

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.

Man. 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 answered ? Man. Ye mock me

but the power which brought ye here Hath made you mine. Slaves, scoff not

at my will! The mind, the spirit, the Promethean

spark,

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Or one,

or

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