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ACT III.

SCENE I.

A Hall in the Castle of Manfred.

MANFRED and HERMAN.

MAN. What is the hour?

HER. It wants but one till sunset,

And promises a lovely twilight.

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ΜΑΝ.

It is well :

Thou mayst retire,

MAN. (alone.)

[Exit HERMAN.

There is a calm upon me

Inexplicable stillness! which till now
Did not belong to what I knew of life.
If that I did not know philosophy

To be of all our vanities the motliest,
The merest word that ever fool'd the ear

From out the schoolman's jargon, I should deem
The golden secret, the sought "Kalon," found,
And seated in my soul. It will not last,

But it is well to have known it, though but once :
It hath enlarged my thoughts with a new sense,
And I within my tablets would note down
That there is such a feeling. Who is there?

Re-enter HERMAN.

My lord, the abbot of St. Maurice craves

To greet your presence.

Enter the ABBOT OF ST. MAURICE.

ABBOT. Peace be with Count Manfred!

MAN. Thanks, holy father! welcome to these walls; Thy presence honours them, and blesseth those

Who dwell within them.

Аввот.

Would it were so, Count!—

reverend

But I would fain confer with thee alone.

MAN. Herman, retire. What would my

guest?

ABBOT. Thus, without prelude:-Age and zeal,

my office,

And good intent, must plead my privilege;

Our near, though not acquainted neighbourhood,

May also be my herald. Rumours strange,

And of unholy nature, are abroad,

And busy with thy name; a noble name

For centuries; may he who bears it now

Transmit it unimpair'd!

ΜΑΝ.

Proceed,-I listen.

ABBOT. 'Tis said thou holdest converse with the

things

Which are forbidden to the search of man;

That with the dwellers of the dark abodes,

The many evil and unheavenly spirits

Which walk the valley of the shade of death,

Thou communest.

I know that with mankind,

Thy fellows in creation, thou dost rarely

Exchange thy thoughts, and that thy solitude.

Is as an anchorite's, were it but holy.

MAN. And what are they who do avouch these

things?

ABBOT. My pious brethren-the scared pea

santry

Even thy own vassals-who do look on thee

With most unquiet eyes. Thy life's in peril.

MAN. Take it.

ABBOT. I come to save, and not destroy

I would not pry into thy secret soul;

But if these things be sooth, there still is time ́
For penitence and pity: reconcile thee

With the true church, and through the church to heaven.

I

MAN. I hear thee. This is my reply; whate'er

may have been, or am, doth rest between

Heaven and myself.-I shall not choose a mortal

To be my mediator. Have I sinn'd

Against your ordinances? prove and punish! ABBOT. My son! I did not speak of punishinent,

But penitence and pardon ;-with thyself

The choice of such remains-and for the last,

Our institutions and our strong belief

Have given me power to smooth the path from

sin

To higher hope and better thoughts; the first

I leave to heaven-" Vengeance is mine alone!”
So saith the Lord, and with all humbleness
His servant echoes back the awful word.

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