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In the dim twilight, brighter than yon world
Lucifer. Thou hast seen both worms and worlds, Each bright and sparkling-what dost think of them? Cain. That they are beautiful in their own sphere, And that the night, which makes both beautiful, The little shining fire-fly in its flight, And the immortal star in its great course, Must both be guided.
But by whom or what?
Dar'st thou behold?
Cain. Show me.
I dare behold? As yet, thou hast shown nought
On, then, with me.
How know I what
SCENE I.-The Earth, near Eden, as in Act I.
Adah. Hush, tread softly, Cain.
Cain. I will; but wherefore ? Adah. Our little Enoch sleeps upon yon bed Of leaves, beneath the cypress.
Because its branches Shut out the sun like night, and therefore seem'd Fitting to shadow slumber.
A gloomy tree, which looks as if it mourn'd
Ay, the lastAnd longest; but no matter-lead me to him. [They go up to the child. How lovely he appears! his little cheeks, In their pure incarnation, vying with
The rose leaves strewn beneath them.
And his lips, too, How beautifully parted! No; you shall not Kiss him, at least not now he will awake soon. His hour of mid-day rest is nearly over; But it were pity to disturb him till 'Tis closed.
Cain. You have said well; I will contain My heart till then. He smiles, and sleeps!-Sleep on, And smile, thou little, young inheritor
Of a world scarce less young: sleep on, and smile!
Adah. Dear Cain! Nay, do not whisper o'er our son
Carn. Yes-death, too, is amongst the debts we owe her.
Adah. Cain! that proud spirit, who withdrew thee hence,
Hath sadden'd thine still deeper. I had hoped
Two hours since ye departed: two long hours
Cain. And yet I have approach'd that sun, and seen
What is that
Of endless beings; skirr'd extinguish'd worlds;
Wherefore said he so ?
Jehovah said not that.
Even for our parents' error.
Adah. Thou hast not spoken well, nor is that
Thy own, but of the spirit who was with thee.
Cain. Why, so say I-provided that one victim Might satiate the insatiable of life, And that our little rosy sleeper there Might never taste of death nor human sorrow, Nor hand it down to those who spring from him. Adah. How know we that some such atonement one day
May not redeem our race?
By sacrificing The harmless for the guilty? what atonement Were there? why, we are innocent: what have we Done, that we must be victims for a deed Before our birth, or need have victims to Atone for this mysterious, nameless sin-If it be such a sin to seek for knowledge?
Adah. Alas! thou sinnest now, my Cain: thy words Sound impious in mine ears.
Then leave me !
Though thy God left thee.
Say, what have we here? Adah. Two altars, which our brother Abel made During thine absence, whereupon to offer A sacrifice to God on thy return.
Cain. And how knew he, that I would be so ready With the burnt offerings, which he daily brings With a meek brow, whose base humility Shows more of fear than worship, as a bribe To the Creator?
Surely, 'tis well done.
Cain. One altar may suffice; I have no offering. Adah. The fruits of the earth, the early, beautiful Blossom and bud, and bloom of flowers and fruits; These are a goodly offering to the Lord, Given with a gentle and a contrite spirit.
Cain. I have toil'd, and till'd, and sweaten in the
According to the curse :-must I do more?
For what should I be gentle ? for a war
And seem well-pleased with pain? For what should I
Expiate with what we all have undergone,
The ages prophesied, upon our seed.
To myriads is within him! better 'twere
I snatch'd him in his sleep, and dash'd him 'gainst
Oh, my God! Touch not the child-my child! thy child! Oh, Cain ! Cain. Fear not! for all the stars, and all the power Which sways them, I would not accost yon infant With ruder greeting than a father's kiss.
Adah. Then, why so awful in thy speech?
"Twere better that he ceased to live, than give
Adah. Oh, do not say so! Where were then the
The mother's joys of watching, nourishing,