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When thou art gentle. Love us, then, my Cain!
And love thyself for our sakes, for we love thee.
Look! how he laughs and stretches out his arms,
And opens wide his blue eyes upon thine,
To hail his father; while his little form
Flutters as wing'd with joy. Talk not of pain!
The childless cherubs well might envy thee
The pleasures of a parent! Bless him, Cain !
As yet he hath no words to thank thee, but
His heart will, and thine own too.

Bless thee, boy!
If that a mortal blessing may avail thee,
To save thee from the serpent's curse!

Surely a father's blessing may avert
A reptile's subtlety.


But bless him ne'er the less.



It shall.

Of that I doubt;


Our brother comes.

Enter ABEL.

Welcome, Cain! My brother,

The peace of God be on thee!


Abel, hail!

Cain. Thy brother Abel.


Abel. Our sister tells me that thou hast been


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 ?
Cain. No.


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, my brother.

My sister Adah, leave us for awhile

We mean to sacrifice.


Farewell, my Cain;

But first embrace thy son. May his soft spirit,
And Abel's pious ministry, recall thee

To peace and holiness!

[Exit ADAH, with her child. Where hast thou been?

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Nor what thou hast seen?
The dead,

The immortal, the unbounded, the omnipotent,
The overpowering mysteries of space-

The innumerable worlds that were and are—
A whirlwind of such overwhelming things,


Suns, moons, and earths, upon their loud-voiced spheres
Singing in thunder round me, as have made me
Unfit for mortal converse: leave me, Abel.

Abel. Thine eyes are flashing with unnatural light—
Thy cheek is flush'd with an unnatural hue———
Thy words are fraught with an unnatural sound-
What may this mean?

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pray thee, leave me.

Abel. Not till we have pray'd and sacrificed to


Cain. Abel, I pray thee, sacrifice aloneJehovah 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 alone

At least, without me.


Brother, I should ill

Deserve the name of our great father's son,

If, as my elder, I revered thee not,

And in the worship of our God, call'd not
On thee to join me, and precede me in
Our priesthood-'tis thy place.

Cain. Asserted it.


But I have ne'er

The more my grief; I pray thee To do so now: thy soul seems labouring in Some strong delusion; it will calm thee.





Nothing can calm me more. Calm! say I? Never Knew I what calm was in the soul, although

I have seen the elements still'd. My Abel, leave me ! Or let me leave thee to thy pious purpose.

Abel. Neither; we must perform our task together. Spurn me not.

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Cain. Choose for me: they to me are so much turf And stone.




Choose thou!

I have chosen.

'Tis the highest,

And suits thee, as the elder. Now prepare

Thine offerings.



Where are thine ?

Behold them here

I have no flocks;

The firstlings of the flock, and fat thereof-
A shepherd's humble offering.


I am a tiller of the ground, and must
Yield what it yieldeth to my toil-its fruit:

[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.

upon them.


Cain. No-I am new to this; lead thou the way, And I will follow-as I may.

Abel (kneeling).

Oh, God!

Who made us, and who breathed the breath of life
Within our nostrils, who hath blessed us,

And spared, despite our father's sin, to make
His children all lost, as they might have been,
Had not thy justice been so temper'd with
The mercy which is thy delight, as to
Accord a pardon like a Paradise,


Compared with our great crimes :-Sole Lord of light, Of good, and glory, and eternity!

Without whom all were evil, and with whom

Nothing can err, except to some good end
Of thine omnipotent benevolence-
Inscrutable, but still to be fulfill'd—

Accept from out thy humble first of shepherds'
First of the first-born flocks-an offering,
In itself nothing-as what offering can be
Aught unto thee ?-but yet accept it for
The thanksgiving of him who spreads it in
The face of thy high heaven, bowing his own
Even to the dust, of which he is, in honour
Of thee, and of thy name, for evermore!

Cain (standing erect during this speech).
Spirit! whate'er or whosoe'er thou art,
Omnipotent, it may be—and, if good,
Shown in the exemption of thy deeds from evil;
Jehovah upon earth! and God in heaven!
And it may be with other names, because
Thine attributes seem many, as thy works :-
If thou must be propitiated with prayers,
Take them! If thou must be induced with altars,
And soften'd with a sacrifice, receive them!

Two beings here erect them unto thee.



If thou lov'st blood, the shepherd's shrine, which smokes

On my right hand, hath shed it for thy service
In the first of his flock, whose limbs now reek
In sanguinary incense to thy skies;

Or if the sweet and blooming fruits of earth,
And milder seasons, which the unstain'd turf
I spread them on now offers in the face
Of the broad sun which ripen'd them, may seem
Good to thee, inasmuch as they have not
Suffer'd in limb or life, and rather form
A sample of thy works, than supplication
To look on ours! If a shrine without victim,
And altar without gore, may win thy favour,
Look on it! and for him who dresseth it,



He is such as thou mad'st him; and seeks nothing
Which must be won by kneeling: if he's evil,
Strike him! thou art omnipotent, and may'st--
For what can he oppose? If he be good,
Strike him, or spare him, as thou wilt! since all
Rests upon thee; and good and evil seem
To have no power themselves, save in thy will;
And whether that be good or ill I know not,
Not being omnipotent, nor fit to judge
Omnipotence, but merely to endure

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. From earth they came, to earth let them return;

Their seed will bear fresh fruit there ere the summer: Thy burnt flesh-off'ring prospers better; see

How heaven licks up the flames, when thick with blood! Abel. Think not upon my offering's acceptance, But make another of thine own before

It is too late.


Nor suffer any

Abel (rising).

I will build no more altars,

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,
In his acceptance of the victims.



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