The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron

By George Gordon Byron | Go to book overview

My latest look: thou wilt not beam on one
To whom the gifts of life and warmth have been

Of a more fatal nature. He is gone; 200

I follow, [Exit MANFRED.


SCENE III

The Mountains -- The Castle of Manfred at some distance -- A Terrace before a Tower. -- Time, Twilight.

HERMAN, MANUEL, and other Dependants of
MANFRED.

Her. 'T is strange enough; night after night, for years,
He hath pursued long vigils in this tower,
Without a witness. I have been within it, --
So have we all been oft-times; but from it,
Or its contents, it were impossible
To draw conclusions absolute of aught
His studies tend to. To be sure, there is
One chamber where none enter: I would give
The fee of what I have to come these three

years, 210
To pore upon its mysteries.

Manuel. 'T were dangerous; Content thyself with what thou know'st already.

Her. Ah, Manuel! thou art elderly and wise,
And couldst say much; thou hast dwelt within the castle --
How many years is 't?

Manuel. Ere Count Manfred's birth, I served his father, whom he nought resembles.

Her. There be more sons in like predicament. But wherein do they differ?

Manuel. I speak not
Of features or of form, but mind and habits;
Count Sigismund was proud, but gay and

free -- 220
A warrior and a reveller; he dwelt not
With books and solitude, nor made the night
A gloomy vigil, but a festal time,
Merrier than day; he did not walk the rocks
And forests like a wolf, nor turn aside
From men and their delights.

Her. Beshrew the hour, But those were jocund times! I would that such
Would visit the old walls again; they look As if they had forgotten them.

Manuel. These walls
Must change their chieftain first. Oh! I

have seen 230
Some strange things in them, Herman.

Her. Come, be friendly; Relate me some to while away our watch: I've heard thee darkly speak of an event Which happen'd hereabouts, by this same tower.

Manuel. That was a night indeed! I do remember
'T was twilight, as it may be now, and such
Another evening; yon red cloud, which rests
On Eigher's pinnacle, so rested then, --
So like that it might be the same; the wind
Was faint and gusty, and the mountain

snows 240
Began to glitter with the climbing moon.
Count Manfred was, as now, within his tower, --
How occupied, we knew not, but with him
The sole companion of his wanderings
And watchings -- her, whom of all earthly things
That lived, the only thing he seem'd to love, --
As he, indeed, by blood was bound to do,
The Lady Astarte, his --
Hush! who comes here?

Enter the ABBOT.

Abbot. Where is your master?

Her. Yonder in the tower.

Abbot. I must speak with him.

Manuel. 'T is impossible; 250

He is most private, and must not be thus
Intruded on.

Abbot. Upon myself I take The forfeit of my fault, if fault there be -- But I must see him.

Her. Thou hast seen him once This eve already.

Abbot. Herman! I command thee, Knock, and apprize the Count of my approach.

Her. We dare not.

Abbot. Then it seems I must be herald Of my own purpose.

Manuel. Reverend father, stop -- I pray you pause.

Abbot. Why so?

Manuel. But step this way, And I will tell you further. [Exeunt.

-494-

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