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And still increasing to this night, which ends

My further stay at Würzburg

. . Oh, one day


You shall be very proud! Say on, dear friends!
Fest. In truth? "Tis for my proper peace, indeed,
Rather than yours; for vain all projects seem

To stay your course: I said my latest hope
Is fading even now. A story tells

Of some far embassy despatched to buy
The favour of an eastern king, and how
The gifts they offered proved but dazzling dust
Shed from the ore-beds native to his clime:
Just so, the value of repose and love,

I meant should tempt you, better far than I
You seem to comprehend—and yet desist
No whit from projects where repose nor love
Have part.

Par. Once more? Alas! as I forbode !
Fest. A solitary briar the bank puts forth

To save our swan's nest floating out to sea.
Par. Dear Festus, hear me. What is it you wish!
That I should lay aside my heart's pursuit,

Abandon the sole ends for which I live,
Reject God's great commission-and so die!
You bid me listen for your true love's sake:
Yet how has grown that love? Even in a long
And patient cherishing of the selfsame spirit
It now would quell; as though a mother hoped
To stay the lusty manhood of the child
Once weak upon her knees. I was not born

Informed and fearless from the first, but shrank

From aught which marked me out apart from men▾
I would have lived their life, and died their death,
Lost in their ranks, eluding destiny:

But you first guided me through doubt and fear,
Taught me to know mankind and know myself;
And now that I am strong and full of hope,
That, from my soul, I can reject all aims

Save those your earnest words made plain to me;
Now, that I touch the brink of my design,

When I would have a triumph in their eyes,
A glad cheer in their voices-Michal weeps,
And Festus ponders gravely!

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Beforehand all this evening's conference!
'Tis this way, Michal, that he uses: first,
Or he declares, or I, the leading points

Of our best scheme of life, what is man's end,
And what God's will-no two faiths e'er agreed
As his with mine: next, each of us allows
Faith should be acted on as best we may :
Accordingly, I venture to submit

A plan, in lack of better, for pursuing
The path which God's will seems to authorize :
Well-he discerns much good in it, avows
This motive worthy, that hope plausible,
A danger here, to be avoided-there;

An oversight to be repaired: at last
Our two minds go together-all the good
Approved by him, I gladly recognize;
All he counts bad, I thankfully discard;
And nought forbids my looking up at last
For some stray comfort in his cautious brow-
When, lo! I learn that, spite of all, there lurks
Some innate and inexplicable germ

Of failure in my schemes; so that at last
It all amounts to this the sovereign proof
That we devote ourselves to God, is seen
In living just as though there were no God;
A-life which, prompted by the sad and blind
Lusts of the world, Festus abhors the most—
But which these tenets sanctify at once;
Though to less subtle wits it seems the same,
Consider it how they may.


Is it so, Festus?

He speaks so calmly and kindly-is it so?

Par. Reject those glorious visions of God's love And man's design; laugh loud that God should send Vast longings to direct us; say how soon Power satiates these, or lust, or gold; I know The world's cry well, and how to answer it! But this ambiguous warfare.


Wearies so

That you will grant no last leave to your friend


urge it?-for his sake, not yours? I wish To send my soul in good hopes after you;

Never to sorrow that uncertain words,
Erringly apprehended-a new creed,

Ill understood-begot rash trust in you,
And shared in your undoing.


Choose your side:

Hold or renounce: but meanwhile blame me not
Because I dare to act on your own views,
Nor shrink when they point onward, nor espy

A peril where they most insure success.

Prove you abide

Fest. Prove that to me-but that!
Within their warrant, nor presumptuous boast
God's labour laid on you; prove, all you covet
A mortal may expect; and, most of all

Prove the strange course you now affect, will lead
To its attainment-and I bid you speed,

Nay, count the minutes till you venture forth!
You smile; but I had gathered from slow thought—
Much musing on the fortunes of my friend—
Matter I deemed could not be urged in vain :
But it all leaves me at my need: in shreds
And fragments I must venture what remains.
Mich. Ask at once, Festus, wherefore he should


Fest. Stay, Michal: Aureole, I speak guardedly
And gravely, knowing well, whate'er your error,
This is no ill-considered choice of yours-
No sudden fancy of an ardent boy.
Not from your own confiding words alone
Am I aware your passionate heart long since

▾ Gave birth to, nourished, and at length matures
This scheme. I will not speak of Einsiedeln,
Where I was born your elder by some years
Only to watch you fully from the first:


In all beside, our mutual tasks were fixed
Even then-'twas mine to have you in my
you had your own soul and those intents
Which filled it when, to crown your dearest wish,
With a tumultuous heart, you left with me
Our childhood's home to join the favoured few
Whom, here at Würzburg, Tritheim deigns to teach
A portion of his lore: and not the best

Of those so favoured, whom you now despise,
Came earnest as you came; resolved, like you,
To grasp all, and retain all, and deserve
By patient toil a wide renown like his.
And this new ardour which supplants the old,
I watched, too; 'twas significant and strange,
In one matched to his soul's content at length
With rivals in the search for Wisdom's prize,
To see the sudden pause, the total change;
From contest, the transition to repose-
From pressing onward as his fellows pressed,
To a blank idleness; yet most unlike
The dull stagnation of a soul, content,
Once foiled, to leave betimes a thriveless quest.
That careless bearing, free from all pretence
Even of contempt for what it ceased to seek—
Smiling humility, praising much, yet waiving

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