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Cain, my son,
Behold thy father cheerful and resign'd,
And do as be doth.
[Exeant ADAM and ETE. Zillah.
Wilt thou not, my brother ?
Abel. Why wilt thou wear this gloom upon thy brow,
Which can avail thee nothing, save to rouse
The Eternal anger ?
My beloved Cain,
Wilt thou frown even on me?
No, Adah I no ;
I fain would be alone a little while.
Abel, I'm sick at heart; but it will pass.
Precede me; brother-I will follow shortly.
And you, too, sisters, tarry not behind ;
Your gentleness must not be harshly met:
I'll follow you anon.
If not, I will
Return to seek you here.
The peace of God
Be on your spirit, brother!
[Exeunt ABEL, ZILLAH, and ADAA. Cain (solus).
And this is
Life !—Toil! and wherefore should I toil ? because
My father could not keop his place in Eden.
What had I done in this ?-I was unburn :
I sought not to be born; nor love the state
To which that birth has brought me. Why did he
Yield to the serpent and the woman? or,
Yielding, why suffer? What was there in this ?
The tree was planted, and why not for him ?
If not, why place him near it, where it grew,
The fairest in the centre ? They have but
One answer to all questions, “ 'Twas His will,
And He is good." How know I that? Because
He is all-powerful, must all-good, too, follow ?
I judge but by the fruits and they are bitter-
Which I must feed on for a fault not mine.
Whom have we here?-A shape like to the angels,
Yet of a sterner and a sadder aspect
Of spiritual essence : why do I quake?
Why should I fear him more than other spirits,
Whom I see daily wave their fiery swords
Before the gates round which I linger oft,
In twilight's hour, to catch a glimpse of those
Gardens which are my just inheritance,
Ere the night closes o'er the inhibited walls
And the immortal trees which overtop
The cherubim-defended battloments ?
If I shrink not from these, the fire-arnı'd angels,
Why should I quail from him who now approaches ?
Yet he seems mightier far than them, nor less
Beauteous, and yet not all as beautiful
As he hath been, anå might be : sorrow seadas
Half of bis immortality. And is it
So ? and can aught grieve save humanity ?
Spirit, who art thou !
Lucifer. Master of spirits.
And being so, canst thou
Leave them, and walk with dust ?
I know the thoughts
Of dust, and feel for it, and with you.
You know my thoughts ?
They are thoughts of all
Worthy of thought ;-'tis your immortal part
Which speaks within you.
What immortal part
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.
But live to die : and, living, see nothing
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; think wus
The earth, which is thine outward cov'ring, is
Existence-it will cease, and thou wilt be
No less than thou art now.
No less / and why
Lucifer. It may be thou shalt be as we.
Cain. And ye?
Lucifer. Are everlasting.
Are ye happy!
Lucifer. We are mighty.
Are ye happy!
No: art thou !
Cain. How should I be su i Look on me!
And thou pretendest to be wretched ! Thou !
Cain. I am :--and thou, with all thy might, what art thon!
Lucifer. One who aspired to be what made thee, and
Would not have mado thee what thou art.
Thou look'st almost a god; and
I am none:
And having fail'd to be one, would be nought
Save what I am. He conquer'd ; let Him reign:!
Lucifer. Thy sire's Maker, and the earth's.
And all that in them is. So I have heard
His seraphs sing; and so my father saith.
Lucifer. They say what they must sing and say, on paip
Of being that which I am-and thou art--
Of spirits and of men.
And what is that?
Lucifer. Souls who dare use their immortality-.
Souls who dare look the Omnipotent tyrant in
His everlasting face, and tell Him, that
His evil is not good! If He has made,
As He saith-which I know not, nor believe-
But, if He made us—He cannot unmake:
We are immortal !-nay, He'd have us so,
That He may torture :-let Him! He is great-
But, in His greatness, is no happier than
We in our conflict! Goodness would not make
Evil; and what else hath He made ? But let Him
Sit on His vast and solitary throne,
Creating worlds, to make eternity
Less burthensome to His immenso existence
And unparticipated solitude !
Let Him crowd orb on orb: He is alone
Indefinite, indissoluble tyrant !
Could He but crush Himself, 'twere the best boon:
He ever granted : but, let Him reign on,
And multiply Himself in misery !
Spirits and men, at least we sympathize-
And, suffering in concert, make our pangs,
Innumerable, more endurable,
By the unbounded sympathy of all...
With all ! But Hel so wretched in His beight,
So restless in His wretchedness, must still
Create, and re-create-
Cain. Thou speak'st to me of things which long have snurr
In visions through my thought: I never could
Reconcile what I saw with what I heard.
My father and my mother talk to me
Of serpents, and of fruits and trees : I see
The gates of what they call their Paradise
Guarded by fiery-sworded cherubim,
Which shut them out, and me: I feel the weight
Of daily toil and constant thought : I look
Around a world where I seem nothing, with
Thoughts which arise within me, as if they
Could master all things :--but I thought alone
This misery was mine.--My father is
Tamed down : my mother has forgot the mind
Which made her thirst for knowledge at the risk
Of an eternal curse : my brother is
A watching shepherd boy, who offers up
The firstlings of the dock to Him who hids
The earth yield nothing to us without sweat ;
My sister Žillah sings an earlier hymn
Than the birds' matins; and my Adah, my
Own and beloved, she, too, understands not
The mind which overwhelms me : never till
Now met I aught to sympathize with me.
'Tis well—I rather would consort with spirits.
Lucifer. And hadst thou not been fit by thine own soul
For such companionship, I would not now
Have stood before thee as I am : a serpent
Had been enough to charm ye, as before.
Cain. Ah! didst thou tempt my mother!
Lucifer. I tempt none, Save with the truth; was not the tree, the tree Of knowledge ? and was not the tree of life Still fruitful? Did I bid her pluck them not ? Did I plant things prohibited within The reach of beings innocent, and curious By their own innocence? I would have made yo Gods; and even He who thrust ye forth, so thrust ye Because “ye should not eat the fruits of life, And become gods as we." Were those His words? Cain. They were, as I have heard from those who hoard
them, In thunder.
Lucifer. Then who was the demon ? He
Who would not let ye live, or he who would
Have made ye live for ever in the joy
And power of knowledge ?
Would they had spatch'd both
The fruits, or neither!
One is yours already ;
The other may be still.
By being Yourselves, in your resistance. Nothing can Quench the mind, if the mind will be itself And centre of surro
rrounding things—’tis made Cain. But didst thou tempt my parents ? Lucifer.
Poor clay! what should I tempt them for, or how?
Cain. They say the serpent was a spirit.
Saith that? It is not written so on high :
The proud One will not so far falsify,
Though man's vast fears and little vanity
Would make him cast upon the spiritual nature
His own low failing. Tlie snake was the snake-
No more : and yet not less than those he tempted,
In nature being earth also—more in wisdom,
Since he could overcome them, and foreknow
The knowledge fatal to their narrow joys.
Think'st thou I'd take the shape of things that dio 1
Cain. But the thing had a demon ?
Lucifer. He but woke one
In those be spake to with his forky tongue.
I tell thee that the serpent was no more
Than a mere serpent: ask the cherubim
Who guard the tempting tree. When thousand ages
Have rolld o'er your dead ashes, and your seed's,
The seed of the then world may thus array
Their earliest fault in fable, and attribute
To me a shape I scorn, as I scorn all
That bows to Him, who made things but to bend
Before His sullen, sole eternity;
who see the truth, must speak it. Thy
Fond parents listen'd to a creeping thing,
. For what should spirits tempt them? What
Was there to envy in the narrow bounds
Of Paradise, that spirits who pervade
Space—but I speak to thee of what thou know'st not,
Vith all thy tree of knowledge.
But thou canst not
Speak aught of knowledge which I would not know,
And do not thirst to know, and bear a mind
Lucifer. And heart to look on?
Bo it proved.
Lucifer. Darest thou to look on Death?
He has not yet Been seen.
Lucifer. But must be undergone.
Says he is something dreadful, and my mother
Weeps when he is named; and Abel lifts his eyes
To heaven, and Zillah casts hers to the earth,
And sighs a prayer; and Adah looks on me,
And speaks not.
Lucifer. And thou?
Crowd in my breast to burning, when I hear
of this almighty Death, who is, it seems,
Inevitable. Could I wrestle with him ?
I wrestled with the lion, when a boy,
In play, till he ran roaring from my gripe.
Lucifer. It has no shape ; but will absorb all things
That bear the form of earth-born being.
I thought it was a being : who could do
Such evil things to beings save a being ?
Lucifer. Ask the Destroyer.
The Maker-call Him Which name thou wilt: He makes but to destroy.
Cain. I knew not that, yet thought it, since I heard
Of death : although I know not what it is,
Yet it seems horrible. I have look'd out