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My father pluck'd some herbs, and laid them to
Cain. And so do I. The wound; and by degrees the helpless wretch Lucifer.
'Tis well and meekly done, Resumed its careless life, and rose to drain
Cain. Meekly! The mother's milk, who o'er it tremulous
He is the second born of flesh, Stood licking its reviving limbs with joy.
And is his mother's favourite. Behold, my son ! said Adam, how from evil
Let him keep Springs good!
Her favour, since the serpent was the first Lucifer. What didst thou answer?
To win it. Cain.
Nothing; for Lucifer. And his father's ?
Cain. He is my father : but I thought, that 'twere
What is that A better portion for the animal
To inc? should I not love that which all love? Never to have been stung at all, than to
Lucifer. And the Jehovah-the indulgent Lord, Purchase renewal of its little life
And bounteous planter of barr'd ParadiseWith agonies unutterable, though
He, too, looks smilingly on Abel. Dispelld by antidotes.
Ne'er saw Him, and I know not if he smiles.
I.ucifer. But you have seen His angels. Who shared thy mother's milk, and giveth hers
Rarely. Unto thy children
But Cain. Most assuredly :
Sufficiently to see they love your brother : What should I be without her!
His sacrifices are acceptable. Lucifer.
What am I?
Cain. So be they! wherefore speak to nie of this! Cain, Dost thou love nothing ?
Lucifer. Because thou hast thought of this cre Lucifer.
What does thy God
And if Cain. All things, my father says; but I confess
I have thought, why recall a thought that the I see it not in their allotment here.
(love pauses, as agitated)-Spirit ! Lucifer. And therefore thou canst not see if I
Here we are in thy world : speak not of mine. Or no, except some vast and general purpose.
Thon hast shown me wonders: thou hast shown me To which particular things must melt like sn
those Cain. Snows! what are they?
Mighty pre-Adamites who walk'd the earth Lucifer.
Be happier in
Of which ours is the wreck; thou hast pointed out not knowing
Myriads of starry worlds, of which our own
Is the dim and remote companion, in
Of that existence with the dreaded name thyself?
Which my sire brought us-Death; thou hast Lucifer. And dost thou love thyself?
shown me muchCain.
Yes, but love more But not all : show me where Jehovah dwells, What makes my feelings more endurable,
In His especial Paradise-or thine:
Where is it?
Have some allotted dwelling--as all things; Will cease, like any other appetite.
Clay has its earth, and other worlds their tenants; Cain. Cease to be beautiful! how can that be? All temporary breathing creatures their Lucifer. With time.
Peculiar element; and things which have Cain.
But time has past, and hitherto Long ceased to breathe our breath, have theirs, Even Adain and my mother both are fair:
thou say'st ; Not fair like Adah and the seraphim
And the Jehovah and thyself have thineBut very fair.
Ye do not dwell together? Lucifer. All that must pass away
No, we reign
Together : but our dwellings are asunder.
Cain. Would there were only one of ye! FereCannot conceive my love for her the less.
chance And when her beauty disappears, methinks
An unity of purpose might make union He who creates all beauty will lose more
In elements which seem now jarr'd in storms,
How came ye, being spirits, wise and infinite,
Your essence, and your nature, and your glory! Lucifer.
And thy brother- Lucifer. thou not Abel's brother? Sits he not near thy heart?
We are brethren,Cain.
Why should he not? (God. And so we shall remain : but were it not so, Lucifer. Thy father loves him well--so does thy Is spirit like to flesh ! can it fall out?
Infinity with Immortality ?
Homage He has from all--but none from me: Jarring and turning space to misery
I battle it against Him, as I battled For what?
In highest heaven. Through all eternity Lucifer. To reign.
And the unfathomable gulfs of Hades, Cain.
Did ye not tell me that And the interminable realms of space,
And the infinity of endless ages,
All, all, will I dispute! And world by world,
And star by star, and universe by universe,
Shall tremble in the balance, till the great Lucifer.
Conflict shall cease, if ever it shall cease, Cain, And cannot ye both reign, then? is there Which it ne'er shall, till He or I be quench'd ! Enough ?-why should ye differ?
[not And what can quench our immortality, Lucifer.
We both reign.
Or mutual and irrevocable hate? Cain. But one of you makes evil.
He as a conqueror will call the conquer'd Lucifer
Evil; but what will be the good He gives? Cain,
Thoul for Were I the victor, His works would be deem'd If thou canst do man good, why dost thou not? The only evil ones. And you, ye new
Lucifer. And why not He who made ? I made ye And scarce-born mortals, what have been His gifts Ye are His creatures, and not mine.
To you already, in your little world ? Cain.
Then leave us Cain, But few, and some of those but bitter. His creatures, as thou say'st we are, or show me Lucifer
Back Thy dwelling, or His dwelling.
With me, then, to thine earth, and try the rest Lucifer.
I could show thee
of His celestial boons to you and yours. Both; but the time will come thou shalt see one Evil and good are things in their own essence Of them for evermore.
And not made good or evil by the giver,
But if He gives you good-so call Him; if Lucifer. Thy human mind hath scarcely grasp Evil springs from Him, do not name it inine, to gather
Till ye know better its true fount; and judge The little I have shown thee into calın
Not by words, though of spirits, but the fruits And clear thought; and thou wouldst go on aspiring
Of your existence, such as it must be. To the great double Mysteries ! the two Principles ! One good gift has the fatal apple givenAnd gaze upon them on their secret thrones !
Your reason: let it not be over-sway'd Dust I limit thy ambition; for to see
By tyrannous threats to force you into faith Either of these, would be for thec to perish!
'Gainst allexternal sense and inward feeling : Cain. And let me perish, so I see them!
Think and endure-and form an inner world Lucifer.
There In your own bosom-where the outward fails; The son of her who snatch'd thc apple spake! So shall you nearer be the spiritual But thou wouldst only perish, and not see them; Nature, and war triumphant with your own. That sight is for the other state.
[They disappear. Cain.
Of death! Lucifer. That is the prelude.
ACT III. Cain.
Then I dread it less, Now that I know it leads to soraething definite. SCENE I.--The Earth near Eden, as in Act I. Lucifer. And now I will convey thee to thy world,
Enter Cain and Adah. Where thou shalt multiply the race of Adam,
Adah. Hush! tread softly, Cain. Eat, drink, toil, tremble, laugh, weep, sleep, and die. Cain, .
I will : but wherefore? Cain. And to what end have I beheld these things Adah, Our little Enoch sleeps upon yon bed Which thou hast shown me?
Of leaves, beneath the cypress.
Didst thou not require
Cypress ! 'tis
O'er what it shadows; wherefore didst thou choose Cain.
Alas! I seem
Because its branches Lucifer. And this should be the human sum Shut out the sun like night, and therefore seem'd Of knowledge, to know mortal nature's nothingness Fitting to shadow slumber, Bequeath that science to thy children, and
Ay, the last'Twill spare them many tortures.
And longest ; but no matter-lead me to him. Cain. Haughty spirit !
[They go up to the child. Thou speak'st it proudly; but thyself, though proud, How lovely he appears! his little cheeks, Hast a superior.
In their pure incarnation, vying with Lucifer, No! by heaven, which He
The rose leaves strewn beneath them. Holds, and the abyss, and the immensity
And his lips, too, Of worlds and life, which I hold with Hin-No! How beautifully parted! No; you shall not I have a victor-fruc; but no superior.
Kiss him, at least not now: he will awake soon
His hour of mid-day rest is nearly over;
Whereforo said he so! But it were pity to disturb him till
Jehovah said not that. 'Tis closed.
No; He contents Hirn Cain. You have said well; I will contain With making us the nothing which we are; My heart till then. He smiles, and sleeps !-Sleep And after flattering dust with glimpses of And smile, thou little, young inheritor
lon Eden and Immortality, resolves Of a world scarce less young : sleep on, and smile! It back to dust again--for what? Thine are the hours and days when both are cheering Adah.
Thou know'stAnd innocent ! thou hast not pluck'd the fruit Even for our parents' error, Thou know'st not thou art naked! Must the time Cain,
What is that Come thou shalt be amerced for sins unknown, To us? they sinn'd, then let them die ! (thought Which were not mine nor thine? But now sleep on! Adah. Thou hast not spoken well, nor is that His cheeks are reddening into deeper smiles, Thy own, but of the spirit who was with thee. And shining lids are trembling o'er his long
Would I could die for them, so they might live! Lashes, dark as the cypress which waves o'er them; Cain. Why, so say I-provided that one victim Half open, from beneath them the clear blue
Might satiate the insatiable of life, Laughs out, although in slumber. He must dream And that our little rosy sleeper there Of what? Or Paradise !-Ay! dream of it,
Might never taste of death nor human sorrow, My disinherited boy! 'Tis but a dream;
Nor hand it down to those who spring from him. For never inore thyself, thy sons, nor fathers,
Adan. How know we that some such atonement Shall walk in that forbidden place of joy!
May not redeem our race? Adah. Dear Cain! Nay, do not whisper o'er Cain.
By sacrificing our son
The harmless for the guilty! What atonement Such melancholy yearnings o'cr the past:
Were there? Why, we are innocent: what have we Why wilt thou always mourn for Paradise?
Donc, that we must be victims for a deed Can we not make another!
Before our birth, or need have victims to Cain.
Atone for this mysterious, nameless sin Adat.
Here, or If it be such a sin to seek for knowledge! Where'er thou wilt : where'er thou art I feel not
Adah. Alas! thou sinnest now, my Cain: thy The want of this so much regreited Eden,
Sound impious in mine ears.
(words Have I not thee, our boy, our sire, and brother, Cain.
Then leave me! And Zillah-our sweet sister, and our Eve,
Never, To whom we owe so much besides our birth!
Though thy God left thee. Cain. Yes-death, too, is amongst the debts we Cain.
Say, what have we here! owe her.
Adan. Two altars, which our brother Abel made Adah. Cain! that proud spirit, who withdrew During thine absence, whereupon to offer thee hence,
A sacrifice to God on thy return. Hath saddened thine still deeper. I had hoped
Cain. And how knew he that I would be so ready The promised wonders which thou hast beheld, With the burnt offerings, which he daily brings Visions, thou say'st, of past and present worlds, With a meek brow, whose base humility Would have composed thy mind into the calm Shows more of fear than worship, as a bribe Of a contented knowledge; but I see
To the Creator! Thy guide hath done thee evil: still I thank him, Adah.
Surely, 'tis well done. And can forgive him all, that he so soon
Cain. One altar may suffice; I have no offering. Hlath given thee back to us.
Adah. The fruits of the earth, the early beautiful Cain.
Blossom and bud, and bloom of flowers and fruits, Adah.
These are a goodly offering to the Lord, Two hours since ye departed: two long hours Given with a gentle and a contrite spirit. To me, but only hours upon the sun.
Cain, I have toild, and till d, and sweaten in the Cain. And yet I have approachil that sun, and According to the curse: must I do inore: (sun, Worlds which he once shone on, and never more
For what should I be gentle? for a war Shall light; and worlds he never lit: methought With all the elements ere they will yiek! Years had roll'd o'er iny absence.
The bread we eat? For what must I be grateful! Adal.
Hardly hours. For being dust, and grovelling in the dust, Cain. The mind, then, hath capacity of time, Till I return to dust? If I am nothingAnd measures it by that which it beholds,
For nothing shall I be an hypocrite, Pleasing or painful, little or almighty.
And seem well pleased with pain?
For what I had beheld the imniemorial works
Be contrite ?—for my father's sin, already Of endless beings; skirr'd extinguish'd worlds; Expiate with what we all have undergone, And, gazing on eternity, methought
And to be more than expiated by I had borrow'd more by a few drops of ages
The ages prophesied, upon our seed! From its immensity; but now I feel
Little deems our young blooming sleeper there, Ny littleness again. Well said the spirit,
The gerins of an eternal misery That I was nothing !
To myriads is within him! Better 'twere
I snatch'd him in his sleep, and dash'd him 'gainst And Abel's pious ministry, recall thee
To peace and holiness!
(Exit Adah, with her child Touch not the chill--iny child i thy child! O Cain! Abel, Where hast thou been? Cain, Fear not! for all the stars, and all the Cain.
I know not.
Abcl. Nor what thou hast seen? power Which sways them, I would not accost yon infant Cain.
The deal, With ruder greeting than a father's kiss.
The immortal, the unbounded, the omnipotent,
The overpowering mysteries of space-
The innumerable worlds that were and are'Twere better that he ceased to live, than give A whirlwind of such overwhelming things, (sphers, Life to so much of sorrow as he must
Suns, moons, and earths, upon their loud-voice Endure, and, harder still, bequeath; but since Singing in thunder round me, as have made me That saying jars you, let us only say
Unfit for mortal erse : leave me, Abel. "Twere better that he never had been born.
Abel. Thine eyes are flashing with unnatural lig!:, Adah. Oh, do not say so! Where were then the Thy cheek is flush'd with an unnatural hue, The mother's joys of watching, nourishing, (joys,
Thy words are fraught with an unnatural sound: And loving himn? Soft! he awakes. Sweet Enoch ! What may this mean? (She goes to the child. Cain.
It means I pray thee, leaven. O Cain! look on him; see how full of life,
Abel. Not till we have pray'd and sacrificed 10. Of strength, of bloom, of beauty, and of joy,
gether. How like to me-how like to thee, when gentle,
Cain. Abel, I pray thee, sacrifice aloneFor then we are all alike: is't not so, Cain?
Jehovah loves thee well. Mother, and sire, and son, our features are
Both well, I hope. Reflected in each other; as they are
Cain But thee the better : I care not for that. In the clear waters, when they are gentle, and Thou art fitter for his worship than I am: When thou art gentle. Love us, then, my Cain!
Revere Him, then-but let it be alone And love thyself for our sakes, for we love thee.
At least without me. Look! how he laughs and stretches out his arms,
Brother, I should ill And opens wide his blue eyes upon thine,
Deserve the name of out great father's son, To hail his father; while his little form
If, as my elder, I revered thee not,
On thee to join me, and precede me in
But I have ne'er His heart will, and thine own too.
Asserted it. Cain.
Bless thee, boy!
Abel. The more my grief; I pray thee If that a mortal blessing may avail thee,
To do so now: thy soul seems labouring in To save thee from the serpent's curse!
Some strong delusion; it will calm thee. ddak.
No; Surely a father's blessing may avert
Nothing can calm me more. Calon / say I? Never A reptile's subtlety.
Knew I what calm was in the soul, although Cain. or that I doubt;
I have seen the elements still'd. My Abel, leave me ! But bless him ne'er the less.
Or let me leave thee to thy pious purpose. Adah.
Our brother comcs.
Abel. Neither: we must perform our task togethcr. Cain. Thy brother Abel.
Spurn ine not.
If it must be so well, then, Avel. Welcome, Cain! My brother,
What shall I do! The peace of God be on thee !
Choose one of those two altars. Cain.
Abel, hail !
Cain. Choose for me: they to ine are so much turi Abel. Our sister tells me that thou hast been
And stone. In high cominunion with a spirit, far (wandering,
Abel. Choose thou ! Beyond our wonted range. Was he of those
I have chosen. We have seen and spoken with, like our father?
'Tis the highest, Cain. No.
And suits thee, as the elder. Now prepare Abel. Why then commune with himn? he may be
Thine offerings. A foe to the Most High.
Where are thine ?
Behold them hcrc Has the Most High been so-if so you torm Him?
The firstlings of the flock, and fat thereof
I have no flocks; We mean to sacrifice.
I am a tiller of the ground, and must
Yield what it yieldeth to my tcil-its fruit :
(He gathers fruits. P
Behold them in their various bloom and ripeness. Omnipotence, but merely to endure
[The fire upon the altar of Abel kindles into a Abel. My brother, as the elder, offer first
column of the brightest flame, and ascends to Thy prayer and thanksgiving with sacrifice.
heaven; while a whirlwind throws down the Cain. No-I am new to this ; lead thou the way, allar of Cain, and scatters the fruits abroad And I will follow-as I may.
upon the earth. Abel Ikneeling)
Abel (kneeling). Oh, brother, pray! Jehovah's Who made us, and who breathed the breath of life wroth with thee. Within our nostrils, who hath blessed us,
Cain. Why so ? And spared, despite our father's sin, to make
Abel. Thy fruits are scatter'd on the earth. His children all lost, as they might have been,
Cain. From earth they came, to earth let them Had not Thy justice been so temper'd with
(summer : The mercy which is Thy delight, as to
Their seed will bear fresh fruit there ere the Accord a pardon like a Paradise,
Thy burnt flesh-offering prospers better; see Compared with our great crimes. Sole Lord of light, How heaven licks up the flames, when thick with Of good, and glory, and eternity!
blood! Without whom all were evil, and with whom
Abel. Think not upon my offering's acceptance, Nothing can err, except to some good end
But make another of thine own before Of Thine omnipotent benevolence
It is too late. Inscrutable, but still to be fulfillid
Cain. I will build no more altars, Accept from out thy humble first of shepherds
Nor suffer any First of the first-born flocks-an offering,
Cain! what meanest thou! In itself nothing--as what offering can be
Cain. To cast down yon vile flatterer of the clouds, Aught unto Thee?—but yet accept it for
The smoky harbinger of thy dull prayersThe thanksgiving of him who spreads it in
Thine altar, with its blood of lambs and kids, The face of Thy high heaven, bowing his own Which fed on milk, to be destroy'd in blood. Even to the dust, of which he is, in honour
Abel (opposing him). Thou shalt not I-add not Of Thee, and of Thy name, for evermore!
impious works to impious Cain (standing erect during this speech). Spirit ! Words I let that altar stand-'tis hallow'd now whate'er or whosoe'er Thou art,
By the immortal pleasure of Jehovah, Omnipotent, it may be-and, if good,
In His acceptance of the victims. Shown in the exemption of Thy deeds from evil; Cain.
His! Jehovah upon earth! and God in heaven!
His pleasure! what was his high pleasure in And it may be with other names, because
The fumes of scorching flesh and smoking blood, Thine attributes seemn many, as Thy works : To the pain of the bleating mothers, which If Thou must be propitiated with prayers,
Still yearn for their dead offspring! or the pangs Take them! If thou must be induced with altars,
Of the sad ignorant victims underneath And softend with a sacrifice, receive them!
Thy pious knife? Give way I' this bloody record Two beings here erect them unto Thee.
Shall not stand in the sun, to shame creation !
Cain. Another sacrifice! Give way, or else Or if the sweet and blooming fruits of earth,
That sacrifice may be And milder seasons, which the unstain'd turf
What inean'st thou I spread them on now offers in the face
Cain. Of the broad sun which ripen'd them, inay seem Give way!-thy God loves blood I-then look to it: Good to Thee, inasmuch as they have not
Give way, ere He hath more! Suffer'd in limb or life, and rather form
In His great name, A sample of thy works, than supplication
I stand between thee and the shrine which hath To look on ours! If a shrine without victim,
Had His acceptance. And altar without gore, may win Thy favour,
If thou lov'st thyself, Look on it! And for him who dresseth it,
Stand back till I have strew'd this turf along He is—such as Thou mad'st him; and seeks nothing Its native soil : elseWhich must be won by kneeling: if he's evil,
Abel (opposing him). I love God far more Strike him! Thou art omnipotent, and may'st- Than life. For what can he oppose? If he be good,
Cain (striking him with a brand on the temples, Strike him, or spare him, as Thou wilt! since all
which he snatches from the altar). Rests upon Thee, and good and evil seem To have no power theinselves, save in Thy will;
Then take thy life unto thy God,
Since He loves lives.
Abel (falls). What hast thou done, my brother i