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.
The Mountains -- The Castle of Manfred at some distance -- A Terrace before a Tower. -- Time, Twilight.
HERMAN, MANUEL, and other Dependants of
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
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
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
'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
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.