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Japh. The sun the sun He riseth, but his better light is gone; And a black circle, bound His glaring disk around, Proclaims earth's last of summer days hath shone ! The clouds return into the hues of night, Save where their brazen-color'd edges streak The verge where brighter morns were wont to break. Noah. And lo! yon flash of light, The distant thunder's harbinger, appears' It cometh ! hence, away ! Leave to the elements their evil prey ! Hence to where our all-hallow'd ark uprears Its safe and reckless sides. Japh. Oh, father, stay ! Leave not my Anah to the swallowing tides' Noah. Must we not leave all life to such Begone ! Japh. Noah. With them " How darest thou look on that prophetic sky, And seek to save what all things now condemn, In overwhelming unison With just Jehovah's wrath ! Japh. Can rage and justice join in the same path 2 Noak. Blasphemer darest thou murmur even now * Raph. Patriarch, be still a father! smooth thy brow: Thy son, despite his folly, shall not sink; He knows not what he says, yet shall not drink With sobs the salt foam of the swelling waters; But be, when passion passeth, good as thou, Nor perish like heaven's children with man's daughters. Aho. The tempest cometh; heaven and earth unite For the annihilation of all life. Unequal is the strife Between our strength and the Eternal Might ! Sam. But ours is with thee; we will bear ye far To some untroubled star, Where thou and Anah shalt partake our lot; And if thou dost not weep for thy lost earth, Our forfeit heaven shall also be forgot. Anah. Oh! my dear father's tents, my place of birth, And mountains, land, and woods ! when ye are not, Who shall dry up my tears 2 2ft. Thy spirit-lord. Fear not ; though we are shut from heaven, Yet much is ours, whence we cannot be driven. Itaph, Rebel" thy words are wicked, as thy deeds Shall henceforth be but weak: the flaming sword, Which chased the first-born out of Paradise, Still flashes in the angelic hands. Aza. It cannot slay us: threaten dust with death, And talk of weapons unto that which bleeds. What are thy swords in our immortal eyes } Raph. The moment cometh to approve thy strength; And learn at length How vain to war with what thy God commands: Thy former force was in thy faith.
Not I. Then die
Enter Mortals, flying for refuge
Chorus of Mortals.
The heavens and earth are mingling—God' oh God!
Chorus of Morrals.
Oh son of Noah mercy on thy kind'
Chorus of Mortals.
For prayer | | | And where
Shall prayer ascend, When the swoln clouds unto the mountains bend And burst, And gushing oceans every barrier rend, Until the very deserts know no thirst? Accurst Be he who made thee and thy sire! We deem our curses vain; we must expire: But as we know the worst, Why should our hymn be raised, our knees be bent Before the implacable Omnipotent, Since we must fall the same * If he hath made earth, let it be his shame, To make a world for torture.-Lo! they come, The loathsome waters, in their rage 1 And with their roar make wholesome nature dumb The forest's trees, (coeval with the hour When Paradise upsprung, Ere Eve gave Adam knowledge for her dower, Or Adam his first hymn of slavery sung,) So massy, vast, yet green in their old age, Are overtopt, Their summer blossoms by the surges lopt, Which rise, and rise, and rise. Vainly we look up to the lowering skiesThey meet the seas, And shut our God from our beseeching eyes Fly, son of Noah, fly! and take thine ease, In thine allotted ocean-tent; And view, all floating o'er the element, The corpses of the world of thy young days: Then to Jehovah raise Thy song of praise! A Mortal. Blessed are the dead Who die in the Lord! And though the waters be o'er earth outspread, Yet, as his word, Be the decree adored 1 He gave me life—he taketh but The breath which is his own : And though these eyes should be for ever shut, Not longer this weak voice before his throne Be heard in supplicating tone, Still blessed be the Lord
For what is past, For that which is : For all are his, From first to last— Time-space—eternity—life—deathThe vast known and immeasurable unknown, He made, and can unmake; And shall I, for a little gasp of breath Blaspheme and groan 7 No ; let me die, as I have lived, in faith, Nor quiver, though the universe may quake.
Chorus of Mortals. Where shall we fly Not to the mountains high; For now their torrents rush, with double roar, To meet the ocean, which, advancing still, Already grasps each drowning hill, Nor leaves an unsearch'd cave.
Enter a Woman. Woman. Oh, save me, save Our valley is no more: My father and my father's tent, My brethren and my brethren's herds, The pleasant trees that o'er our noonday bent And sent forth evening songs from sweetest birds, The little rivulet which freshen’d all Our pastures green, No more are to be seen. When to the mountain cliff I climb'd this morn, I turn'd to bless the spot, And not a leaf appear'd about to fall;And now they are not!— Why was I born ? Japh. To die! in youth to die; And happier in that doom, Than to behold the universal tomb, Which I Am thus condemn'd to weep above in vain. Why, when all perish, why must I remain [The waters rise; Men fly in every direction; many are overtaken by the waves; the Chorus of Mortals disperses in search of safety up the mountains: Japhet remains upon a rock, while the Ark floats towards him in the distance.
“Now the surpent was more subtile than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made."—Genesis, h.m. won \,
The following scenes are entitled “a Mystery,” h conformity with the ancient title annexed to dramas upon similar subjects, which were styled “Mysteries, or Moralities.” The author has by no means taken the same liberties with his subject which were common formerly, as may be seen by any reader curious enough to refer to those very profane productions, whether in English, French, Italian, or Spanish. The author has endeavored to preserve the language adapted to his characters; and where it is (and this is but rarely) taken from actual Scripture, he has made as little alteration, even of words, as the rhythm would permit. The reader will recollect that the book of Genesis does not state that Eve was tempted by a demon, but by “the Serpent;" and that only because he was “the most subtile of all the beasts of the field.” Whatever interpretation the Rabbins and the Fathers may have put upon this, I must take the words as I find them, and reply with Bishop Watson upon similar occasions, when the Fathers were quoted to him, as Moderator in the schools of Cambridge, “Behold the Book 1 "-holding up the Scripture. It is to be recollected that my present subject has nothing to do with the New Testament, to which no reference can be here made without anachronism. With the poems upon similar topics I have not been recently fainiliar. Since I was twenty I bave never read Milton; but I had read him so trequently before, that this may make little differ
ence. Gesner’s “Death of Abel ” I have never read since I was eight years of age, at Aberdeen. The general impression of my recollection is delight; but of the contents I remember only that Cain's wife was called Mahala, and Abel's Thirza: in the following pages I have called them “Adah” and “Zillah,” the earliest female names which occur in Genesis; they were those of Lamech's wives; those of Cain and Abel are not called by their names. Whether, then, a coincidence of subject may have caused the same in expression, I know nothing, and care as little. The reader will please to bear in mind (what few choose to recollect) that there is no allusion to a future state in any of the books of Moses, nor indeed in the Old Testament. For a reason for this extraordinary omission he may consult “Warburton's Divine Legation; ” whether satisfactory or not, no better has yet been assigned. I have therefore supposed it new to Cain, without, I hope, any perversion of Holy Writ. With regard to the language of Lucifer, it was difficult for me to make him talk like a clergyman upon the same subjects; but I have done what I could to restrain him within the bounds of spiritual politeness. If he disclaims having tempted Eve in the shape of the Serpent, it is only because the book of Genesis has not the most distant allusion to any thing of the kind, but merely to the Serpent in his serpentine capacity. Note.—The reader will perceive that the author has partly adopted in this poem the notion of Cuvier, that the world had been destroyed several times before the creation of man. This speculation, derived from the different strata and the bones of enormous and unknown animals found in them, is not contrary to the Mosaic account, but rather ronfirms it; as no human bones have yet been discovered in those strata, although those of many known animals are found near the remains of the unknown. The assertion of Lucifer, that the preadamite world was also peopled by rational beings much more intelligent than man, and proportionably powerful to the mammoth, &c., &c., is, of course, a poetical fiction to help him to make out his case.
I ought to add, that there is a “Tramelogedia” of Alfieri, called “Abele.”—I have never read that nor any other of the posthumous works of the writer, except his Life.
Men.—ADAM. CAIN. ABEL.
Spirits.—ANGEL of THE LoRD. LUCIFER.
Women.—Eve. ADAH. ZILLAH.
ACT I. SCENE I.
The Land without Paradise.—Time, Sunrise.
ADAM, Eve. CAIN, ABEL, Adah, ZILLAH, offering
Blaspheme not : these are serpent's words.
Cain. Why not The snake spoke truth: it was the tree of knowledge; It was the tree of life : knowledge is good, And life is good; and how can both be evil?
Eve. My boy' thou speakest as I spoke in sin. Before thy birth: let me not see renew'd My misery in thine. I have repented. Let me not see my offspring fall into The snares beyond the walls of Paradise, Which e'en in Paradise destroy'd his parents. Content thee with what is. Had we been so, Thou now hadst been contented.—Oh, my son.
Adam. Our orisons completed, let us hence, Each to his task of toil—not heavy, though Needful : the earth is young, and yields us kindly Her fruits with little labor.
Eve. Cain, mv son, Behold thy father cheerful and resigned, And do as he doth. [Ereunt AnAM and Eve
Zillah. Wilt thou not, Iny brother 2
Abel. Why wilt thou wear this gloom upon thy
Which can avail thee nothing, save to rouse
Adah. My beloved Cain,
Cain. No, Adah ; noj
Adah. If not, I will Return to seek you here. Abel. The peace of God
Be on your spirit, brother
Life —Toil! and wherefore should I toil 3–because
My father could not keep his place in Eden.
Cain. Spirit, who art thou?
Lucifer. Master of spirits.
Cain. And being so, canst thou Leave them, and walk with dust 2
Lucifer. I know the thoughts Uf dust, and feel for it, and with you.
Lucifer. They are the thoughts of all Worthy of thought;-'tis your immortal part Which speaks within you.
Caun. What immortal part 2 This has not been reveal'd : the tree of life Was withheld from us by my father's folly, While that of knowledge, by my mother's haste, Was pluck'd too soon; and all the fruit is death
Lucifer. They have deceived thee; thou shalt live.
Cain. I live, But live to die: and, living, see no thing To make death hateful, save an innate clinging, A loathsome and yet all invincible Instinct of life, which I abhor, as I Despise myself, yet cannot overcome— And so I live. Would I had never lived
Lucifer. Thou livest, and must live for ever:
The earth, which is thine outward cov'ring, is
Lucifer. It may be thou shalt be as we.
Cain. And ye *
No less and why
Cain. Are ye happy?
Cain. How should I be so * Look on me!
Lucifer. Poor clay ! And thou pretendest to be wretched . Thou!
Cain. I am —and thou, with all thy might, what
art thou ? Lucifer. One who aspired to be what made thee, and Would not have made thee what thou art. Cain. Ah! Thou look'st almost a god; and— Lucifer. I am none,
And having fail'd to be one, would be nought
Tamed down; my mother has forgot the mind