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Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 4.djvu/116

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von Pückler, September 14, 1826, Letters, v. 511) Goethe somewhat modified his views, but even then it interested him to trace the unconscious transformation which Byron had made of his Mephistopheles. It is, perhaps, enough to say that the link between Manfred and Faust is formal, not spiritual. The problem which Goethe raised but did not solve, his counterfeit presentment of the eternal issue between soul and sense, between innocence and renunciation on the one side, and achievement and satisfaction on the other, was not the struggle which Byron experienced in himself or desired to depict in his mysterious hierarch of the powers of nature. "It was the Staubach and the Jungfrau, and something else," not the influence of Faust on a receptive listener, which called up a new theme, and struck out a fresh well-spring of the imagination. The motif of Manfred is remorse—eternal suffering for inexpiable crime. The sufferer is for ever buoyed up with the hope that there is relief somewhere in nature, beyond nature, above nature, and experience replies with an everlasting No! As the sunshine enhances sorrow, so Nature, by the force of contrast, reveals and enhances guilt. Manfred is no echo of another's questioning, no expression of a general world-weariness on the part of the time-spirit, but a personal outcry: "De profundis clamavi!"

No doubt, apart from this main purport and essence of his song, his sensitive spirit responded to other and fainter influences. There are "points of resemblance," as Jeffrey pointed out and Byron proudly admitted, between Manfred and the Prometheus of Æschylus. Plainly, here and there, "the tone and pitch of the composition," and "the victim in the more solemn parts," are Æschylean. Again, with regard to the supernatural, there was the stimulus of the conversation of the Shelleys and of Lewis, brimful of magic and ghost-lore; and lastly, there was the glamour of Christabel, "the wild and original" poem which had taken Byron captive, and was often in his thoughts and on his lips. It was no wonder that the fuel kindled and burst into a flame.

For the text of Goethe's review of Manfred, and Hoppner's translation of that review, and an account of Goethe's relation with Byron, drawn from Professor A. Brandl's Goethes Verhältniss zu Byron (Goethe-Jahrbuch, Zwanzigster Band, 1899), and other sources, see Letters, 1901, v. Appendix II. pp. 503-521.

For contemporary and other notices of Manfred, in addition to those already mentioned, see Eclectic Review, July, 1817, New Series, vol. viii. pp. 62-66; Gentleman's Magazine, July, 1817, vol. 87, pp. 45-47; Monthly Review, July, 1817, Enlarged Series, vol. 83, pp. 300-307; Dublin University Magazine, April, 1874, vol. 83, pp. 502-508, etc.