A Cottage amongst the Bernese Alps.
MANFRED and the CHAMOIS HUNTER.
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
It imports not; I do know
My route full well, and need no further guidance.
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 portals; 10
My way of life
leads me but rarely down
To bask by the huge hearths of those old halls,
Carousing with the vassal
s, but the paths,
Which step from out our mountains to their doors,
I know from childhood-- which of these is thine?
Well, sir, pardon me
And be of better cheer. Come, taste my wine
'Tis of an ancient vintage
; many a day
'T has thaw'd my veins among our glaciers, now
Let it do thus for thine. Come, pledge me fairly. 20
Away, away! there's blood upon the brim
Will it then never-- never sink in the earth?
What dost thou mean? thy senses wander from thee.
I say 't is blood-- my blood! the pure warm stream
Which ran in the veins of my fathers, and in ours
When we were in our youth, and had one heart
And loved each other as we should not love
And this was shed: but still it rises up
Colouring the clouds, that shut me out from heaven
Where thou art not-- and I shall never be. 30
Man of strange words
, and some half-maddening sin
Which makes thee people vacancy, whate'er
Thy dread and sufferance be, there's comfort yet
The aid of holy men
, and heavenly patience--
Patience and patience! Hence-- that word was made
For brutes of burthen, not for birds of prey
Preach it to mortals
of a dust like thine,--
I am not of thine order
Thanks to heaven!
I would not be of thine for the free fame
Of William Tell
; but whatsoe'er thine ill, 40
It must be borne, and these wild starts are useless.
Do I not bear it? -- Look on me -- I live.
This is convulsion, and no healthful life.
I tell thee, man! I have lived many years
Many long years, but they are nothing now
To those which I must number: ages-- ages--
Space and eternity
-- and consciousness,
With the fierce thirst of death-- and still unslaked
Why, on thy brow the seal of middle age
Hath scarce been set; I am thine elder far. 50
Think'st thou existence doth depend on time?
It doth; but actions are our epoch
Have made my days and nights imperishable
Endless, and all alike, as sands on the shore
s; and one desert
Barren and cold, on which the wild waves break,
But nothing rests, save carcasses and wrecks,
Rocks, and the salt-surf weeds of bitterness.
Alas! he's mad-- but yet I must not leave him.
I would I were-- for then the things I see 60
Would be but a distemper'd dream.
What is it
That thou dost see, or think thou look'st upon?
Myself, and thee-- a peasant of the Alps
Thy humble virtues
, hospitable home
And spirit patient, pious, proud and free;
, grafted on innocent thoughts;
Thy days of health, and nights of sleep; thy toils
By danger dignified, yet guiltless; hopes
Of cheerful old age and a quiet grave,
With cross and garland over its green turf, 70
And thy grandchildren
's love for epitaph
This do I see-- and then I look within--
It matters not-- my soul was scorch'd already!
And would'st thou then exchange thy lot for mine?
No, friend! I would not wrong thee, nor exchange
My lot with living being: I can bear--
However wretchedly, 't is still to bear--
In life what others could not brook to dream,
But perish in their slumber.
And with this--
This cautious feeling for another's pain, 80
Canst thou be black with evil
?-- say not so.
Can one of gentle thoughts have wreak'd revenge
Upon his enemies?
Oh! no, no, no!
My injuries came down on those who loved me
On those whom I best loved: I never quell'd
An enemy, save in my just defence--
But my embrace was fatal
Heaven give thee rest!
restore thee to thyself;
My prayers shall be for thee.
I need them not,
But can endure
thy pity. I depart-- 90
'T is time-- farewell!-- Here's gold, and thanks for thee;
No words-- it is thy due. Follow me not;
I know my path-- the mountain peril's past:
And once again, I charge thee, follow not! [Exit MANFRED.