Previous Contents Index Next


By George Gordon, Lord Byron

Original MS. of Act III, Scene III,
line 47 [after "The Lady Astarte, his--"] to end of act.

			Look -- look -- the tower --
	The tower's on fire. Oh, heavens and earth! what sound,
	What dreadful sound is that? 			[A crash like thunder

	Help, help, there! -- to the rescue of the Count, --		[50]
	The Count's in danger, -- what ho! there! approach!
		[The Servants, Vassals, and Peasantry approach stupified with terror.]
	If there be any of you who have heart
	And love of human kind, and will to aid
	Those in distress -- pause not -- but follow me --
	The portal's open, follow. 			[MANUEL goes in.

				Come -- who follows?
	What, none of ye? -- ye recreants! shiver then
	Without. I will not see old Manuel risk
	His few remaining years unaided.		[HERMAN goes in.

					Hark! --
	No -- all is silent -- not a breath -- the flame
	Which shot forth such a blaze is also gone:			[60]
	What may this mean? Let's enter!

					Faith, not I, --
	Not but, if one, or two, or more, will join,
	I then will stay behind; but, for my part,
	I do not see precisely to what end.

	Cease your vain prating -- come.
MANUEL [speaking within]
					'Tis all in vain --
	He's dead.
HERMAN  [within] 
	Not so -- even now methought he moved;
	But it is dark -- so bear him gently out --
	Softly -- how cold he is! take care of his temples
	In winding down the staircase.

		Re-enter MANUEL and HERMAN, bearing MANFRED in their arms.

	Hie to the castle, some of ye, and bring			[70]
	What aid you can. Saddle the barb, and speed
	For the leech to the city -- quick! some water there!

	His cheek is black-but there is a faint beat
	Still lingering about the heart. Some water.

		[They sprinkle MANFRED with water; after a pause, he gives some signs of life.

	He seems to strive to speak -- come -- cheerly, Count!
	He moves his lips -- canst hear him? I am old,
	And cannot catch faint sounds.

HERMAN [inclining his head and listening]
						I hear a word
	Or two -- but indistinctly -- what is next?
	What's to be done? let's bear him to the castle.		[80]

			[MANFRED motions with his hand not to remove him.]
	He disapproves -- and 'twere of no avail --
	He changes rapidly.

			'Twill soon be over.

	Oh! what a death is this! that I should live
	To shake my gray hairs over the last chief
	Of the house of Sigismund. -- And such a death!
	Alone -- we know not how -- unshrived -- untended --
	With strange accompaniments and fearful signs --
	I shudder at the sight -- but must not leave him

MANFRED [speaking faintly end slowly.] 
	Old man! 'tis not so difficult to die. 
						[MANFRED, having said this, expires.]

	His eyes are fixed and lifeless. -- He is gone. --		[90]

	Close them. -- My old hand quivers. -- He departs --
	Whither? I dread to think -- but he is gone!