페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Her faults were mine-her virtues were her own-
I loved her, and destroy'd her!
WITCH.

With thy hand ?
Man. Not with my hand, but heart—which broke her

heart-
It gazed on mine, and wither’d. I have shed
Blood, but not hers—and yet her blood was shed —
I saw-and could not staunch it.
WITCH.

And for this-
A being of the race thou dost despise,
The order which thine own would rise above,
Mingling with us and ours, thou dost forego
The gifts of our great knowledge, and shrink’st back
To recreant mortality-Away!

MAN. Daughter of Air! I tell thee, since that hour-
But words are breath-look on me in my sleep,
Or watch my watchings—Come and sit by me!
My solitude is solitude no more,
But peopled with the Furies;— I have gnash'd
My teeth in darkness till returning morn,
Then cursed myself till sunset ;-I have pray'd
For madness as a blessing— tis denied me.
I have affronted death but in the war

Of elements the waters shrunk from me,
And fatal things pass'd harmless--the cold hand
Of an all-pitiless demon held me back,
Back by a single hair, which would not break.
In phantasy, imagination, all
The affluence of my soul-which one day was
A Cræsus in creation- I plunged deep,
But, like an ebbing wave, it dash'd me back
Into the gulf of my unfathom'd thought.
I plunged amidst mankind–Forgetfulness
I sought in all, save where 'tis to be found,
And that I have to learn—my sciences,
My long pursued and super-human art,
Is mortal here~ I dwell in my despair-
And live-and live for ever.
WITCH.

It may be
That I can aid thee.
Man.

To do this thy power
Must wake the dead, or lay me low with them.
Do so—in any shape-in any hour-
With any torture-so it be the last.

Witch. That is not in my province; but if thou
Wilt swear obedience to my will, and do
My bidding, it may help thee to thy wishes.

Man. I will not swear-Obey! and whom ? the spirits
Whose presence I command, and be the slave
Of those who served me-Never! !
WITCH.

Is this all ?
Hast thou no gentler answer?-Yet bethink thee,
And pause ere thou rejectest.
MAN.

I have said it.
Witch. Enough!—I may retire then-say!
MAN. .

Retire!

[The Witch disappears. Man. (alone.) We are the fools of time and terror:

Days
Steal on us and steal from us; yet we live,
Loathing our life, and dreading still to die.
In all the days of this detested yoke-
This vital weight upon the struggling heart,
Which sinks with sorrow, or beats quick with pain,
Or joy that ends in agony or faintness-
In all the days of past and future, for
In life there is no present, we can number
How few-how less than few-wherein the soul
Forbears to pant for death, and yet draws back
As from a stream in winter, though the chill
Be but a moment's. I have one resource

Still in

my

science-I can call the dead, And ask them what it is we dread to be: The sternest answer can but be the Grave, And that is nothing—if they answer notThe buried Prophet answer'd to the Hag Of Endor; and the Spartan Monarch drew From the Byzantine maid's unsleeping spirit An answer and his destiny-he slew That which he loved, unknowing what he slew, And died unpardon'd—though he call'd in aid The Phyxian Jove, and in Phigalia roused The Arcadian Evocators to compel The indignant shadow to depose her wrath, Or fix her term of vengeance—she replied In words of dubious import, but fulfilld. (3)

If I had never lived, that which I love
Had still been living; had I never loved,
That which I love would still be beautiful-
Happy and giving happiness. What is she?
What is she now?-a sufferer for my sins-
A thing I dare not think upon-or nothing.
Within few hours I shall not call in vain

Yet in this hour I dread the thing I dare:
Until this hour I never shrunk to gaze
On spirit, good or evil —now I tremble,
And feel a strange cold thaw upon my heart,
But I can act even what I most abhor,
And champion human fears.--The night approaches.

[Exit.

SCENE III.

The Summit of the Jungfrau Mountain.

Enter FIRST DESTINY.

The moon is rising broad, and round, and bright;
And here on snows, where never human foot
Of common mortal trod, we nightly tread,
And leave no traces; o'er the savage sea,
The glassy ocean of the mountain ice,
We skim its rugged breakers, which put on
The aspect of a tumbling tempest's foam,
Frozen in a moment-a dead whirlpool's image;
And this most steep fantastic pinnacle,
The fretwork of some earthquake—where the clouds

« 이전계속 »