« AnteriorContinuar »
When thou art gentle. Love us, then, my Cain !
If that a mortal blessing may avail thee,
Bless thee, boy!
Surely a father's blessing may avert
Of that I doubt;
But bless him ne'er the less.
Our brother comes.
Abel. Welcome, Cain! My brother, The peace of God be on thee !
Abel. Our sister tells me that thou hast been wandering,
In high communion with a spirit, far
Beyond our wonted range. Was he of those
We have seen and spoken with, like to our father?
My sister Adah, leave us for awhile
We mean to sacrifice.
Why then commune with him? he may be A foe to the Most High.
And friend to man.
Has the Most High been so if so you term him? 170 Abel. Term him! your words are strange to-day,
Farewell, my Cain;
But first embrace thy son. May his soft spirit,
Cain. I know not.
[Exit ADAH, with her child. Where hast thou been?
Nor what thou hast seen ?
The immortal, the unbounded, the omnipotent,
Abel. Thine eyes are flashing with unnatural light— Thy cheek is flush'd with an unnatural hue— Thy words are fraught with an unnatural soundWhat may this mean?
It means- -I pray thee, leave me. Abel. Not till we have pray'd and sacrificed to
Brother, I should ill
Cain. Abel, I pray thee, sacrifice alone— Jehovah loves thee well.
Both well, I hope.
Cain. But thee the better: I care not for that; Thou art fitter for his worship than I am; Revere him, then-but let it be aloneAt least, without me.
The more my grief; I pray To do so now: thy soul seems labouring in Some strong delusion; it will calm thee.
But I have ne'er
Nothing can calm me more. Calm! say I? Never
Abel. Neither; we must perform our task together.
If it must be so well, then,
What shall I do?
Choose one of those two altars.
Cain. Choose for me: they to me are so much turf And stone. Abel.
I have chosen.
'Tis the highest,
And suits thee, as the elder. Now prepare
Where are thine ?
Behold them here
The firstlings of the flock, and fat thereof-
[He gathers fruits. Behold them in their various bloom and ripeness. [They dress their altars, and kindle a flame
Abel. My brother, as the elder, offer first Thy prayer and thanksgiving with sacrifice.
Cain. No-I am new to this; lead thou the way, And I will follow-as I may.
Who made us, and who breathed the breath of life
Compared with our great crimes :-Sole Lord of light,
Cain (standing erect during this speech).
If thou lov'st blood, the shepherd's shrine, which smokes
On my right hand, hath shed it for thy service
Or if the sweet and blooming fruits of earth,
He is such as thou mad'st him; and seeks nothing
Its mandate; which thus far I have endured. [The fire upon the altar of ABEL kindles into a column of the brightest flame, and ascends to heaven; while a whirlwind throws down the altar of CAIN, and scatters the fruits abroad upon the earth. Abel (kneeling). Oh, brother, pray! wroth with thee.
Cain. Why so?
Thy fruits are scatter'd on the earth. Cain. From earth they came, to earth let them return;
I will build no more altars,
Their seed will bear fresh fruit there ere the summer:
It is too late.
Cain! what meanest thou?
Cain. To cast down yon vile flatt'rer of the clouds, The smoky harbinger of thy dull prayers Thine altar, with its blood of lambs and kids, Which fed on milk, to be destroy'd in blood.
Abel (opposing him).
Thou shalt not :-add not
impious works to impious
Words! let that altar stand-'tis hallow'd now
By the immortal pleasure of Jehovah,