The Misanthrope Reclaimed - Act I Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


A Dramatic PoemA
S L SawtelleB
Dear SirC
To you who have given me friendship in adversity counsel in perplexity and hope in despondency permit me as an expression of my deep and lasting gratitude to inscribe the MisanthropeD
With sentiments of the highest respectE
Your obt servtE
George W SandsF
Frederick City SeptemberC
Dramatis PersonaeG
Werner MisanthropeD
Manuel a cottagerC
Albert his sonH
Rebecca wife to ManuelB
Rose his daughterC
An aerial chorusJ
The Misanthrope Reclaimed ACT IK
A fountain near the summit of a mountain from which through a deep glen a stream descends to the valley below A city seen in the distance Time midnight Werner standing near the fountainH
Werner solusJ
Eternal rocks and hillsJ
Mighty and vast and you ye giant oaksJ
Whose massy branches have for centuriesJ
Played with the breeze and battled with the stormL
He who so oft has trod your rugged pathsJ
And laid him down beneath your shades to restE
Returns to be your dweller once againM
I sooner far would make your wilds my homeN
With nought but your rude eaves to shield me fromA
The winter's cold or summer's heat than beO
One of the hundred thousand human fliesJ
That swarm within yon filthy city's wallsJ
Here I at least may live in solitudeE
Free from a forced communion with a raceJ
Whose presence makes me feel that I am boundE
By nature to the thing I loathe the mostE
Earth's stateliest proudest meanest reptile manP
The beauty of a god adorns his formL
The foulness of a fiend is in his heartE
The viper's or the scorpion's filthy nestE
Nurses a far less deadly poisonous broodE
Than are the hellish lusts the avariceJ
The pride the hate the double faced deceitsJ
That make his breast their dwellingQ
If he be not beneath hell's wish to damnR
Too lost for even fiends to meddle withS
How must they laugh to hear him in his prideE
Baptize his vices virtues making useJ
Of holy names to designate his crimesJ
Giving his lust the sacred name of loveT
Calling his avarice a goodly sinU
Care for his household naming his deceitE
Praiseworthy caution boasting of his hateE
When he no more can cloak it as a proofV
Of strength of mind and honesty of heartE
For all of goodness that remains on earthW
The name of virtue might be banished from itE
Fathers who waste in shameful riotingsJ
The bread for which their children cry at homeN
Mothers who put aside th' unconscious babeX
That they may wrong its father children whoY
Grow old in crime ere they have spent their youthZ
These are its habitantsJ
I cannot brook the thought that I belongA2
To their vile race My sufferings have been greatE
And keen enough to prove my immortalityO
For dust could not have borne what I have sufferedE
My mind has pierced far far beyond the lengthB2
Of mortal vision and discovered thingsJ
Of which men scarcely dream and paid in painC2
The price of what it learned and bought with pangsJ
By which a thousand ages were compressedE
Into one hour of agony a powerC
Which is a terror to possess and yetE
This one thought only irks meO
Methinks the peaceful earth will scarcely giveD2
My dust a resting place within its bosomA
But cast it forth as if too vile to mingleE2
With clay that ne'er has been the slave of sinU
What other watchers here at this lone hourC
An evil spirit enters singingQ
The world is half hiddenH
By midnight's dark shadowE
The filly witch riddenH
Skims over the meadowE
The house dog is barkingQ
The night owl is hootingQ
The glow worm is sparklingQ
The meteor is shootingQ
And forms which lieK
So stiff and stillF2
In their shrouds so chillF2
Through the live long dayG
Now burst their clayG
And flit through the skyK
On their dusky pinionsJ
Hell's dominionsJ
Keep holidayG
Sisters sisters wherever your watchesJ
Are kept fleet hither to meO
Fleet hither fleet hither and leave earth's wretchesJ
Alone to their miseryO
A chorus of evil spirits answer as they enter from different parts of the mountainH
We comeA
Vice needs no assistanceJ
She meets no resistanceJ
Virtue's existenceJ
Is only in nameG2
Drinking and eatingQ
Intriguing and cheatingQ
Carousing completingQ
Their ruin and shameG2
Old age unrepentingQ
Manhood unrelentingQ
Youth sighing and winningQ
Deceiving and sinningQ
Deserting repiningQ
All men are the sameG2
Ho hoE
Earth quakes with the weight of the anguish she bearsJ
Her plains and her valleys are deluged with tearsJ
And her sighs if united were deeper by farC
Than the thunderbolt's peal when the clouds are at warC
There is not a bosom that bears not withinU
Its chambers the blot and the burden of sinU
Not a mind but in many an hour bath feltE
The curse of its nature the pangs of its guiltE
These earth worms whose sire would have had us to bowH2
To his dust moulded Godship what what are they nowH2
In the scale of true goodness they sink far belowE
The poor patient ox that they yoke to the ploughH2
Let them revel awhile in the false glaring lightE
Of deception that blindness but seems to make brightE
Let them gather awhile of time's perishing flowersJ
The revenge of eternity This shall be oursJ
Ho hoE
They settle near the fountain The first Spirit addresses themI2
The night is advancingQ
Come let us dancingQ
In dewy circles deftly treadE
And while we dance roundE
New schemes shall be foundE
To ruin the living and trouble the deadE
They form a circle on the margin of the stream and dance round singingQ
Life is but a fleeting dayG
Half of which man dreams awayG
Night we follow in thy trainC2
Sleep supreme o'er thee we reignC2
Ours the dreams that come when thouH2
Sit'st upon the unconscious browH2
Reason then deserts her throneJ2
We then reign and we aloneJ2
Then seek we for the maiden's pillowE
Far beyond the Atlantic's billowE
Love's apple and when we have found itE
Draw the magic circle round itE
Fearless pluck it then no charmK2
That it bears may do us harmK2
Place it near the sleeper's headE
It will bring love's visions nighK
And when the pleasing dreams are fledE
The waking pensive maid will sighK
Till her bosom has possessedE
The form that made her dreams so blestE
And when a maiden finds a loverC
Her happy days are nearly overC
Nature hath unchaste desiresJ
Love awakes her slumbering firesJ
And the bosom that is true inU
Love is ever near its ruinH
Passion's pleading melts the frostE
Of chilliest hearts and all is lostE
For once vice blots a maiden's nameG2
She soon forgets her maiden shameG2
Haunt the debauchee with dreamsJ
Of the victim of his schemesJ
Paint her with dishevelled hairC
Streaming eyes and bosom bareC
And with aspect pale and sadE
As a spectre's from the deadE
Weeping o'er her new born childE
Her name reproached her fame despoiledE
Let her groanings reach his earC
Pierce his heart and rouse his fearC
Of the retribution givenH
To such deeds as his by HeavenH
Around the drunkard's tattered couchL2
Let pale faced want and misery crouchL2
His children shivering o'er the hearthM2
Cheered by no sound of social mirthW
Upbraiding with their timid glancesJ
The author of their sad mischancesJ
And she to whom the holy vowK
Of the altar bound him nowK
With sunken eye and beauty fadedE
Tresses silvered brow o'ershadedE
Clinging to him fondly stillF2
With a love that mocks each illF2
Which would vainly strive to tearC
Her soul from one who once was dearC
Now haste we each our task to doE
Ere the starry hours wane throughE
They fly off singing as they disappearC
Ere the Morning's rosy wingQ
Has brushed the damp night shades awayG
Ere the birds their matins singQ
Choiring to the new born dayG
Though its bright birth hour be nearC
Many a sigh and many a tearC
Shall attest the mystic mightE
Of those who walk the world by nightE
Werner solusJ
The ruin of the living if that beO
Your only task you have a poor employN2
Give man his three score years and he will makeQ
A wreck the skill of hell might show forth asJ
A sample of its handiwork and thenM
Exult at the completeness of its ruinH
The troubling of the dead if memory livesJ
In that far world to which the spirit hastensJ
When she casts off the clay that clogs her wingsJ
E'en there ye are forestalled for man will needE
No curse to make his second life a hellB
If be retains the memory of his firstE
Had the clear waters of this gurgling brookQ
The pow'r to wash time's blots from th' mind's pageO2
And all earth's mountains were compact of goldE
Her rivers nectar and her oceans wineP2
Her hills all fruitful and her valleys freshQ2
And full of loveliness as Eden wasJ
Ere sin's sad blight fell on its living bow'rsJ
And all were mine I'd give them but to layG
My weary limbs along this streamlet's bedE
And sleep in full forgetfulness awhileR2
But I forget my task now let me to itE
He takes a vial from his bosom and flings its contents into the air chantingQ
Wherever be thy homeN
In earth or airC
My message hearC
And fear itE
By the power which I have earnedE
To which thy knee has kneltE
By the spell which I have learnedE
A spell which thou hast feltE
I bid thee hither comeA
A white cloud appears in the distance floating up the glen and a voice is heard singing as it approachesJ
I saw from port a vessel steerC
The skies were clear the winds were fairC
More swiftly than the hunted deerC
Upon her snowy wings of airC
She flew along the silv'ry waterC
As fearlessly as if some spriteE
Familiar with the deep had taught herC
A spell by which to rule the mightE
Of winds and waves when met to tryK
Their strength up midway in the skyK
Along her trackless watery wayG
With unabated speed she flewE
Still gay and careless till the dayG
Waned past night came the heavens grewE
Black dread and threat'ning Then the stormL
Came forth in its devouring wrathS2
Before it fled Fear's pallid formL
Destruction followed in its pathS2
It passed the morning came in vainC2
I look for that lost bark againM
Far down beneath the deep blue wavesJ
Within some merman's coral hallT2
Her fated crew have found their gravesJ
Above them for their burial pallU2
The mermaids spread their flowing tressesJ
The waters chant their requiemA
From many an eyelid Pity pressesJ
Her tender dewy tears for themI2
The natives of the ocean weepV2
To view them sleeping death's pale sleepV2
Thou mortal wast the bark I sawJ
The waters were the sea of lifeK
And thou alas too well dost knowE
What storms were imaged in the strifeK
Of winds and waves The hopes of youthZ
Thou in that bark's lost crew may'st seeJ
All buried now within that smoothW2
Vast boundless deep eternityJ
And I a spirit though I beJ
Can pity still and weep for theeJ
The cloud settles near the fountain and unclosing discovers a beautiful form looking steadily at WernerC
WERNER addressing itE
How beautifulE2
If intercourse between all living worldsJ
Had not been barr'd by Him who gave them lifeK
I should believe thou wert the guardian spiritE
Of that which men have named the Queen of NightE
Like her thou art majestic pale and sadE
And of a tender beauty those bright curlsJ
That press thy brow and cling about thy neckQ
Seem made of sunbeams caught upon their wayG
To earth by some creative hand and wovenH
Into a fairy web of light and lifeK
Conscious of its high source and proud to beJ
A part of aught so beautiful as thouK
I have seen many full bright mortal eyesJ
That were a labyrinth of witching charmsJ
In which the heart of him who looked was lostE
But none like thine their light is not of earthW
Their loveliness not like what man calls lovelyJ
Beside the smoothness of thy brow and cheekQ
The lily's lip were rough each of thy limbsJ
Is in itself a being and a beautyJ
If that the orb thou didst inhabit ereC
Thou wert a portion of eternityJ
Was worthy of such dwellers oh how fairC
And glorious must have been its fields and bow'rsJ
How clear its streams how pure and fresh its airsJ
How mellow were its fruits how bright its flow'rsJ
How strong and brave the beings fit to shareC
It with thee 'Tis most strange that He whose handE
Fashions such wondrous things should take delightE
In striking them to nothingness againM
Perchance the author of all evil hadE
Invaded it and made it quite unfitE
To be a part of God's great universeJ
And yet thou lookest as if thou wert beyondE
The power of temptation to assailX2
Hast thou too sinnedE
I have lived as thou livest died as thouK
Wilt have to die and am what thou shalt beJ
I have not questioned thee of life or deathY2
Nor of the state which shall succeed them bothZ2
I care not for the first nor fear the secondE
The last I leave to Him who gave to manP
Eternity for his inheritanceJ
But I would know if the unceasing warC
Which good and evil wage upon the earthW
Has reached beyond its confinesJ
Have I not answered theeJ
The Begetter of worlds stars suns and systemsJ
The Father of Creation the BridegroomA3
Of the Spirit hath He not written thatE
Death has dominion only over sinU
And thou would'st know if other worlds have feltE
The curse that fell upon and blighted thineP2
Poor simple child of clay no doubt thou know'stE
The story of the Eden of thy sireC
And think'st that there in its fresh stainless breastE
The baleful seeds of evil first were sownJ2
Which since have spread so fearfully abroadE
When the sad doom that came on him and hisJ
Was but the spray cast from the wave of fateE
Which just then reached thy newly finished orbB3
Where it first started whither tends its courseJ
Where it shall stop how many wrecks of worldsJ
Once fairer far than thine was at its birthW
Shall strew its desolate way is not for thingsJ
Brought forth from dust to knowE
What wouldst thou of meJ
The sole remaining good if good it beJ
That yet is mine to share I have tried allT2
That earthly hope holds out to satisfyK
The longings of man's nature I have lovedE
And made an idol of the thing I lovedE
And worshipped it with all my soul's intensityJ
And for awhile the frenzy of my dreamC3
Shut out all other thoughts But it was shortE
Death plucked my lovely flower from my graspD3
And then the icy chill of desolationH
Came like a snowy avalanche uponE3
My heart and froze the fountains of its feelingQ
I was ambitious I have striven forC
And worn the gaudiest wreath of fame and whenM
I would have placed it on my brow it grewE
A mountain in its weight I courted muchF3
The notice of the world and when men praisedE
The very breath that bore their praise to meJ
Seemed clogged with pestilenceJ
Wealth too I covetedE
And heaped its shining dust in hoards around meJ
And yet it was but dust as barren ofK
Enjoyment as the ground we tread uponE3
I clad myself in purple heaped my boardE
With all the fairest sweetest fruits of earthW
And filled my golden goblets with bright juiceJ
Pressed from the goodliest grapes and made my couchL2
Of down and yet I was most wretched stillF2
My garments were but cumbersome my couchL2
Could give no rest and e'en my generous winesJ
Could not remove the crushing weight that satE
Nightmare like on my heart until it grewE
A palpable and keenly aching pangQ
There is one path which yet remains untrodE
To be my guide in it I called thee hitherC
'Tis that of knowledgeG3
The sameG2
In which the mother of thy race was lostE
With e'en a wiser mightier guide than IK
She thirsted too for knowledge and she gaveK
Her innocence her home in ParadiseJ
The happiness of him who shared her lotE
To know what That her own rebellious handE
Had raised the flood gates of a sea of crimeH3
Which would for ever pour its bitter wavesJ
Upon the helpless unprotected raceJ
Which her rash deed had ruinedE
Think of the sighs the groans the floods of tearsJ
The woes too deep for these which have no endE
Save but in heart breaks Think upon the toilI3
The sweat the pain the strife the crime the bloodE
The myriads of souls with which this oneH
Sad lesson was obtained whose price is yetE
Not fully paid nor shall be so untilF2
The last poor son of earth mingles with dustE
Dost thou not fear to tread a path like thisJ
I have no fearC
It is so long since I have felt its thrillF2
That 'twere a pleasure now to feel itE
What wouldst thou knowE
Thou art familiar with all earthly loreC
More Thou hast gained and wield'st a power to whichJ3
The rulers of the elements do bowK
The hurricane at thy command goes forthK3
Walking where'er thou bid'st it and the stormL
Ceases to howl when thou hast said Be stillF2
Thine anger stirs the ocean and thy wrathS2
Finds out the deep foundations of the mountainsJ
And shakes them with its strength the subtle fireC
That lights the tempest on its gloomy wayG
Starts from its cloud rocked slumber at thy callT2
To be thy messengerC
Canst thou not be content when thou art fearedE
By those who rule a world What is there yetE
Which thy insatiate mind desires to knowE
Would'st learn immortal mysteries ReflectE
Thou art but mortalE2
Spirit why dost thouK
Taunt me with my mortality Weak thingsJ
Brought forth from earth Poor simple child of clayG
These are thy words when well thou knows't that IK
Though bound to earth by bonds made of its mireC
Am mightier than thou Were it not soE
Thou would'st not now be face to face with oneH
Of mortal birth Thou too canst feel revengeL3
And knowest how to wreak it but take heedE
The power which brought thee hither can and mayG
Deal harshly with thee If thou knowest aughtE
Worthy of an immortal mind to knowE
To which I have not pierced reveal thy knowledgeG3
We may not tell the secrets of eternityE
But I can show thee things thou hast not seenM3
And they may profit thee although 'twill shakeQ
Even thy proud heart to look upon themI2
Would'st see themI2
It is my wishN3
Come thenM
Lead onE3
Although thy path be through hell's gloomy gateE
I too will pass its portals at thy backQ
Thou canst not enter where I dare not passJ
The cloud closes around them and moves away and a voice sings as it disappearsJ
To the region of shadowE
The region of deathY2
Where dust is a strangerC
And life has no breathY2
Where darkness and silenceJ
Their dim shrouds have castE
Round the phantoms of worldsJ
That belong to the pastE
Spirits who sit onE3
The thrones of the airC
Guide ye our chariotE
Waft ye us thereC

George W. Sands


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