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For here the patriarchal days are not
Enter from below a CHAMOIS HUNTER. CHAMOIS HUNTER.
Even so This
way the chamois leapt: her nimble feet Have baffled me; my gains to-day will scarce Repay my break-neck travail. What is here? Who seems not of my trade, and yet hath reach'd A height which none even of our mountaineers, Save our best hunters, may attain : his garb Is goodly, his mien manly, and his air Proud as a free-born peasant's, at this distance. I will approach him nearer.
Man. (not perceiving the other.) To be thusGray-hair'd with anguish, like these blasted pines, Wrecks of a single winter, barkless, branchless, A blighted trunk upon a cursed root,
Which but supplies a feeling to decay-
C. Hun. The mists begin to rise from up the valley ; I'll warn him to descend, or he
chance To lose at once his way and life together.
Man. The mists boil up around the glaciers; clouds Rise curling fast beneath me, white and sulphury, Like foam from the roused ocean of deep Hell, Whose every wave breaks on a living shore, Heap'd with the damn'd like pebbles.—I am giddy.
C. Hun. I must approach him cautiously; if near, A sudden step will startle him, and he Seems tottering already.
Mountains have fallen,
Friend! have a care,
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 pastimeas thus—thus they shall be In this one plunge.-Farewell, ye opening heavens ! Look not upon me thus reproachfullyYe were not meant for me -Earth! take these atoms!
(As MANFRED is in act to spring from 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.-
Man. I am most sick at heart—nay, grasp me not-
C. Hun. I'll answer that anon.--Away with me The clouds grow thicker—there—now lean on mePlace
your foot here-here, take this staff, and cling A moment to that shrub now give me your hand, And hold fast by my girdlesoftly—well— The Chalet will be gain'd within an hourCome on, we'll quickly find a surer footing, And something like a pathway, which the torrent Hath wash'd since winter.—Come, 'tis bravely doneYou should have been a hunter. Follow me. (As they descend the rocks with difficulty, the
END OF ACT THE FIRST.
A Cottage amongst the Bernese Alps.
MANFRED and the CHAMOIS HUNTER.
C. Hun. No, no-yet pause—thou must not yet go
It imports not: I do know