Manfred by Lord Byron
Thou false fiend, thou liest!
My life is in its last hourthat I know,
Nor would redeem a moment of that hour;
I do not combat against Death, but thee
And thy surrounding angels; my past power
Was purchased by no compact with thy crew,
But by superior sciencepenance, daring,
And length of watching, strength of mind, and skill
In knowledge of our Fatherswhen the earth
Saw men and spirits walking side by side,
And gave ye no supremacy: I stand
Upon my strengthI do defydeny
Spurn back, and scorn ye!
What are my crimes to such as thee?
Must crimes be punished but by other crimes,
And greater criminals?Back to thy hell!
Thou hast no power upon me, that I feel;
Thou never shalt possess me, that I know:
What I have done is done; I bear within
A torture which could nothing gain from thine:
The Mind which is immortal makes itself
Requital for its good or evil thoughts
Is its own origin of ill and end
And its own place and time: its innate sense,
When stripped of this mortality, derives
No colour from the fleeting things without,
But is absorbed in sufferance or in joy,
Born from the knowledge of its own desert.
Thou didst not tempt me, and thou couldst not tempt me;
I have not been thy dupe, nor am thy prey
But was my own destroyer, and will be
My own hereafter.Back, ye baffled fiends!
The hand of Death is on mebut not yours!
Credits: Reprinted from Lord Byron: Six Plays. Lord Byron.
Los Angeles: Black Box Press, 2007.