Like foam from the roused ocean of deep
Whose every wave breaks on a living shore
Heap'd with the damn'd like pebbles. -- I
am giddy. 350
C. Hun. I must approach him cautiously;
A sudden step will startle him, and he Seems tottering already.
Man. Mountains have fallen,
Leaving a gap in the clouds, and with the shock
Rocking their Alpine brethren; filling up
The ripe green valleys with destruction's splinters;
Damming the rivers with a sudden dash,
Which crush'd the waters into mist and made
Their fountains find another channel -- thus
Thus, in its old age, did Mount Rosenberg -- 360 Why stood I not beneath it?
C. Hun. Friend! have a care,
Your next step may be fatal! -- for the
Of him who made you, stand not on that brink!
Man. (not hearing him). Such would have
been for me a fitting tomb;
My bones had then been quiet in their depth;
They had not then been strewn upon the rocks
For the wind's pastime -- as thus -- thus they shall be --
In this one plunge. -- Farewell, ye opening heavens!
Look not upon me thus reproachfully --
Ye were not meant for me -- Earth! take
these atoms! 370
[As MANFRED is in act to spring front the cliff, the CHAmois HUNTER seizes and retains him with a sudden grasp.
C. Hun. Hold, madman! -- though aweary
of thy life,
Stain not our pure vales with thy guilty blood!
Away with me -- I will not quit my hold.
Man. I am most sick at heart -- nay,
grasp me not --
I am all feebleness -- the mountains whirl Spinning around me -- I grow blind -- What art thou?
C. Hun. I'll answer that anon. -- Away
The clouds grow thicker -- there -- now lean on me --
Place your foot here -- here, take this staff, and cling
A moment to that shrub -- now give me
your hand, 380 And hold fast by my girdle -- softly -- well --
The Chalet will be gain'd within an hour.
Come on, we'll quickly find a surer footing,
And something like a pathway, which the torrent
Hath wash'd since winter. -- Come, 't is bravely done;
You should have been a hunter. -- Follow me.
[As they descend the rocks with difficulty, the scene closes.
A Cottage amongst the Bernese Alps.
MANFRED and the CHAMOIS HUNTER.
C. Hun. No, no, yet pause, thou must not
yet go forth:
Thy mind and body are alike unfit To trust each other, for some hours, at least; When thou art better, I will be thy guide -- But whither?
Man. It imports not; I do know My route full well and need no further guidance.
C. Hun. Thy garb and gait bespeak thee
of high lineage --
One of the many chiefs, whose castled crags
Look o'er the lower valleys -- which of these
May call thee lord? I only know their pottals; 10 My way of life leads me but rarely down
To bask by the huge hearths of those old halls,
Carousing with the vassals; but the paths,
Which step from out our mountains to their doors,
I know from childhood -- which of these is thine?
Man. No matter.
C. Hun. Well, sir, pardon me the question, And be of better cheer. Come, taste my wine;