Byron, like Shelley, sought what lay beyond the commonplace, but found it in another aspect of life. His “Manfred”〖H. C., xviii, 407.〗 succumbs not to man or society, but in a solitary struggle with the mysteries of Nature. From her he has wrested secrets, her forces he has learned to command; but his proud knowledge and power have been gained by stifling the social feelings of humanity, and his life is now a penitent search for oblivion, in which science, philosophy, and religion can give him no consolation. “I was,” he laments, “my own destroyer, and will be my own Hereafter!” Byron’s temperament enabled him to fathom a lonely soul like Manfred’s, and urged him to express its passions with fiery vigor. The subject offered almost insuperable obstacles to dramatic treatment, since most of the forces that acted upon Manfred were either abstractions or inanimate objects. Byron, however, felt, and used all the energy of his imagination to make us feel, that these physical phenomena and laws were not vague or dead things, but that earth and air, mountains and cataracts, were to the distracted wanderer real personalities, and exercised upon him an influence more intimate than that of any fellow man.

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